July was a very strong month of city activities. Longer days of light and a month with 31 days allows us to have more engagement with our residents in Norfolk. I attended the 104th Session Graduation of the Norfolk Police Academy. There were 22 graduates who will serve us well in Norfolk in the years to come. I appreciate these young men and women who commit to protect and serve. It is really touching to see the moms, dads, sisters, wives, husbands, spouses and children who place the badge on the chest of their loved one.
July 4th was a fun day visiting with a few civic leagues to celebrate our nation’s independence. Suburban Acres Civic League and Cromwell Farms/Ellsworth Civic League hosted parades and picnics. Kids decorated bikes, hot dogs were on the grill and neighbors got a chance to meet new neighbors.
Norfolk has had its challenges of late (to say the least) with a recent spate of gun violence with both young and old alike. Norfolk Police Chief Larry Boone is addressing this crisis head on. He is hosting a variety of community events in neighborhoods where gun violence has taken place. He is making a statement about the need for responsible gun ownership and that children shouldn’t be anywhere close to guns. I attended the Guns Down event at Norview Middle School in July. I met several families in the neighborhood who were pretty frank about the challenges in their neighborhood. I appreciated that neighbors came out to be part of the event and that they were willing to talk openly to me and others about what it is like to live on their street and in their neighborhood. Chief Boone is hosting these Guns Down events throughout the summer.
Norfolk Councilwoman Mamie Johnson (Ward 3) and I have driven together in each of our respective wards over the last few weeks. In late afternoon of July 3, I toured (driving tour) Councilwoman Johnson through Ward 2 to show the latest economic development opportunities, neighborhood development, innovation corridor development (like North Colley and Lambert’s Point), and more. While we represent an individual ward or superward, it is important for me and my colleagues to understand our respective areas of focus (mine being — education, safe neighborhoods, economic development and sea-level rise/flooding) and where I am addressing these in Ward 2. It takes five votes to get anything passed. She and I have common interests and it was great to see how we can collaborate on these priorities.
On Saturday, July 27, Norfolk celebrated Norfolk Day with Norfolk in England. Smartmouth Brewery introduced its new Pond Hopping Ale with owners Porter/Kim Hardy in Norfolk, UK and Chris/Chris Neikirk in Norfolk, Virginia along with Councilwoman Andria McClellan and me. We did a live FaceTime call with Porter and Kim and launched the new ale. It was wonderful to celebrate with our Sister City involving an excellent local business.
Norfolk City Council it technically on “recess” for a few weeks in August but please know there are lots of community and business meetings that take place throughout August. Please feel free to reach out to me to share your concerns or compliments related to Norfolk. I always welcome feedback and appreciate your insights.
Have a great weekend.