March 2017 meeting info and President’s message

The March 2017 Wards Corner Civic League meeting will be held on the 20th at 6:45pm at the Fitness and Wellness Center.

Invited speakers are Officer William Old, Bev Sell, Founder and General Manager of Five Points Farmer’s Market, Frank Walker, President of Norfolk Beekeepers, and Jay Jones, Candidate for Delegate of the 89th District.

Below is the President’s Message:

By Scott Guirlinger, President

Dear Neighbors,

Sustainability. Go Local. Or just the color Green. These are terms we hear all around us these days. Sustainable living promises to help us save money, be healthier, cut out toxic chemicals, reconnect with our community, grow our knowledge and skills, and improve our quality of life. There are many sustainable practices taking place in Norfolk now, some for a very long time, and others just starting up.

This month we will feature two great champions of local sustainability with Bev Sell, Founder & General Manager of Five Points Farmer’s Market, and Frank Walker, President of Norfolk Beekeepers. They will fill us in on all of the cool things that their associations have going on now and in the coming months. With spring officially starting on the day of our next civic league meeting (March 20th), there’s a lot of buzz (pun intended) and excitement in the air. Please do come join us; we’re all bound to learn at least a thing or two that will help make our lives a little better and hopefully our neighborhood and city better too.

Looking beyond this month, I’d really like to hear from you, the residents. Our civic league board exists not to tell residents what the city needs, but rather to advocate your needs and concerns to the city. Our board can always meet and discuss what we think are neighborhood priorities and issues, but we can be much more effective with your input. What we really want to know is, what do you want our Wards Corner neighborhood to be? We’re here to listen first, then take action.

For example, if someone gave you $500 to spend on a neighborhood project, what would your project be? (By the way, such grant money does exist!) Send me an email at, message me on NextDoor, or catch me after one of our upcoming meetings. And if I’m not available for some reason, I’m certain any of our other board members would be glad to listen. I’m sure all of you have some fantastic ideas worth sharing with our board and the rest of the neighborhood.

Scott Guirlinger
President, Wards Corner Civic League

January 2017 meeting info and President’s message

The January 2017 Wards Corner Civic League meeting will be held on the 23rd at 6:45pm at the Fitness and Wellness Center.

Invited speakers are Rick Dempsey, Department of Utilities, Roger Whitley, NPD Crime Prevention, and Community Resource Officer, William Old.

Below is the President’s Message:

By Scott Guirlinger, President

As many of you are probably aware, Jim English stepped down as president of our civic league last month after many, many years at the helm. He saw Wards Corner through a transitional period and kept pressure on city hall to ensure that they heard our voice and delivered on their promises. Without a doubt, he always had (and still has) our neighborhood’s best interests at heart. On behalf of the entire neighborhood, I would like to thank Jim for his service. He will remain on our board as immediate past president.

For those who have not met me, my name is Scott Guirlinger and I am your new civic league president. I have lived in Wards Corner since 2009 and have been active with the civic league since 2013. My personal focus for our neighborhood this year centers on how to combat crime, how to beautify our neighborhood, and how to make our communication channels more effective and more efficient. But more important than what I want for this civic league is what you the residents want. I very much want to hear from you, so please share your thoughts, suggestions, and concerns with me and the other board members at our upcoming meetings, via email, phone, or NextDoor, or just out around the neighborhood!

Thanks, Scott

November 2016 meeting info

The November 2016 Wards Corner Civic League meeting will be held on the 21st at 6:45pm at the Fitness and Wellness Center.
Invited speakers are Superintendent of Norfolk Public Schools, Dr. Melinda J. Boone and Community Resource Officer, William Old.  We will also receive an update from Stormwater Management.

October 2016 meeting info and President’s message

The October 2016 Wards Corner Civic League meeting will be held on the 17th at 6:45pm at the Fitness and Wellness Center.

Invited speakers are Department of Emergency Response and Preparedness

Below is the President’s Message:

by Jim English

Dear Neighbors,

I want to discuss a couple of items from our last civic league meeting. First, because we were in the throes of a tropical storm, our speakers from Emergency Manage-ment, Preparedness and Response were unable to join us and make their presentation. Since they have a very interesting presentation, they have been invited back to our October meeting and have confirmed that they will be there.

Secondly, an issue was raised that the Watermark Apartments, being constructed by Collins, are not being built according to the plan approved by the Talbot Hall civic league, our civic league as well as the Planning Commission and City Council. It was suggested that Collins was somehow allowed by the city to get away with not following the approved plan. I went back and reviewed the plan that was approved by our civic league, the Talbot Hall civic league, the Planning Commission and City Council. I also went to the site to compare what is being built to the plan. I also conferred with Martin Thomas Jr. who was on the Planning Commission at the time. It is very clear and evident to both of us that what is being built is in accordance with the approved plan. Mr. Collins is NOT getting away with anything as was so stated. It would be helpful in the future if facts were checked before inaccurate statements are made. It does us all a disservice.

Another issue has come up again since our meeting. That is the flooding in the 400 and 500 block of Burleigh Ave. This problem has gotten worse since the sewer lines were moved to the middle of our streets. Although a meeting was held on this issue this summer, no satisfactory answer to the problem was given. At a recent discussion with Kristen Lentz, Director of Utilities, I was informed that if water stands in the street for more than 3 days it must be addressed. Well, that applies to this area. Therefore, Utilities and Public Works will be at our October meeting to discuss this and our citizen concerns. If you are affected by this flooding, please come to this meeting.

Finally there is a very important National election for President and Vice President coming up in November that will affect us all. I am sure you have heard about it, I mean how you could you miss it unless you were on another planet. Therefore, I want to take a moment and discuss the importance of voting in this election.

This is probably one of the most important Presidential elections of our time. As much is at stake, please make sure you listen carefully to the candidates and try to make as informed choice for the President as possible. We have been bombarded with a lot of rhetoric over the last several months, with more to come, and it is clear that making a choice may be very difficult for some.

Because of these important elections and our responsibility as a US citizen to vote in every election I am including a short piece on the reasons we should vote.  The following is from the website of and I thought I would share it with you.

Voting in a local, state, or national election is an exciting opportunity provided by democratic nations to their citizens.

There are many good reasons to vote, including the following:

1. Casting a vote allows an individual to express a choice among candidates who wish to become government leaders. It’s up to each voter to locate available information about each candidate and to make an informed decision about how to vote. Rather than allowing potential leaders to hide weaknesses and wrong-doing from public awareness, a democratic voting process urges citizens to get involved and to share viewpoints about who should lead. Failing to register a vote is tantamount to saying you don’t care. Few people truly remain oblivious to government leadership. Most have opinions about the way things should go, and they should use the voting process to express their preferences.

2. Voting provides a medium for citizens to support the democratic structure. If a majority of citizens chose not to vote, democracy might become a thing of the past, replaced by another form of government that might prove more elitist in nature. Registering to vote means that you believe in the democratic process and will participate in it to represent your right to freedom of speech.

3. Supporting the electoral process helps to reinforce your regional government. Showing that you care with your vote tells candidates that they must be accountable to the public. It also suggests that those who introduce issues for a vote must provide adequate information to answer citizens’ questions and address their concerns rather than attempt to foist a half-baked idea onto the general public.

4. Showing up at the poll on voting day sets a good example to others. Remember, your children observe all that you do and will learn from your example, right or wrong as it may be. Civic awareness is an important part of their training and one of the early steps on the road to maturity. Discuss the candidates with your family and make a point of mentioning your vote, or wearing the pin distributed at many polls that reads “I voted today.”  Voting also sets a positive example to neighbors, friends, and family who may be uninterested in or unfamiliar with the electoral system.

5. Finally, taking time to vote reflects pride in your nation and its government. The country becomes a beacon of liberty for the rest of the world who will be watching. Let everyone know that you care enough about your homeland and its leaders to have a say in the election’s outcome. Never surrender your right to speak your mind via the vote on Election Day.  If you are not currently registered to vote, call or stop in at the electoral office in Norfolk City Hall to get signed up. It only takes a few minutes, and even that step is likely to get noticed by those who are watching.”

Finally, I hope to see you at the next civic league meeting on October 17th. Please enjoy this edition of the Wards Corner Civic League newsletter. Our newsletter editor puts a lot of effort in producing our great newsletters.


September 2016 meeting info and President’s message

The September 2016 Wards Corner Civic League meeting will be held on the 19th at 6:45pm at the Fitness and Wellness Center.

Invited speakers are Department of Emergency Response and Preparedness

Below is the President’s Message:

by Jim English

Dear Neighbors,

Welcome back to the last half of this civic league year. The summer of 2016 is now almost in the history books as it has once again sped by very rapidly. I hope your summer was enjoyable and relaxing. Mine sure was and I actually was able to spend a lot of time at my summer home in Maine. Let’s hope we don’t have any more hurricanes or other significant weather events this season. I hope you are now ready to begin the fall activities. With fall fast approaching, school is in session and the Wards Corner Civic League will begin holding its regular meetings again, starting with our meeting at 645PM on September 19th to be held at the Norfolk Fitness and Wellness Center. This newsletter reflects some of the issues and concerns that we have been involved in and working on.

Congratulations are in order for our own Martin Thomas Jr. on his election victory to Ward 1 of City Council. Thank you for all who came out and supported Martin in this election. As far as I know this is the first time that anyone from our civic league has been elected to City Council. This makes the victory even sweeter. Our precinct had the largest turnout in this election and the most votes for Martin of the 5 precincts. Way to go folks. Martin has been with our civic league for 10 years and has been a vice president for 9 of those years. He has been an invaluable asset to our civic league. Martin has decided to step down as vice president so that he can focus his time full time on the needs of Ward 1. We understand that and respect his decision although he will be missed in that role. Martin has indicated he will visit us regularly and help us whenever the need arises.

To Martin, we sincerely thank you for all of your support and work for our civic league these past years. You have been and will continue to be a very important part of our community and we look forward to working with you in the future.

The bylaws allow the President with approval of the Board to appoint another VP. However since we will be having an election in December we are going to wait until then to fill that position when we elect other officers at that time. A slate of candidates will be presented at the December meeting by the Nominating Committee to be considered for election. Nominations will also be taken from the floor at that time.

We will have informative speakers on timely city topics for you to hear. Therefore, I want to welcome you back to another year of good productive civic league meetings. If you regularly attend our meetings, please bring a neighbor. If you have never been to a meeting or you are new to the area, please join us. A strong active civic league like ours gives us good and continued political clout, which we have built with our council representatives to this area. The Wards Corner Civic League is recognized as one of the strongest civic leagues in Norfolk.

We have a great fall program lined up and we hope to see you at the meetings.
Please enjoy this newsletter. Please join your civic league. Thank you and I look forward to seeing you on the 19th of September at 645PM at the Norfolk Fitness and Wellness Center.



In support of Martin Thomas

408 Burleigh Ave, Norfolk, VA 23505

August 15, 2016

Dear Wards Corner Neighbors,

As you are aware there will be a special election to elect our next Ward 1 councilman to the Norfolk City Council. The Wards Corner Civic League Board of Directors and the members named below are enthusiastically endorsing and supporting Martin Thomas Jr. for our choice to fill that vacant council position. This is an unprecedented move for our civic league and Board of Directors but we feel compelled to do so for several reasons.

Since joining the Wards Corner Civic League 11 years ago Martin has been a faithful and productive member of our civic league. For the last 10 years he has served as our First Vice President where he has headed up our membership and communications social media. In fact Martin was the one who developed our website when he first became a member. He has also helped increased our membership substantially. That website has been very successful and is to this day. Martin has also been involved in the Wards Corner Task Force, the Wards Corner Partnership and was founder of Wards Corner Now and its website He has been our eyes and ears to city hall for the past several years and always keeps us updated on the important issues facing our community and city.

Martin has been actively involved in pushing for many of the issues in Wards Corner including the Suburban Shopping Center development, the appropriate development of the Collins properties, the Denby Park apartment demolition and revitalization and the improvements to the infrastructure in the business district. Through all of this and more Martin has stood tough to ensure that these projects were developed in the best interest of us all. He has been a tremendous asset to the Wards Corner area. Martin also won a small grant on behalf of our city league to develop a paved walkway from Newport Ave. to Granby Street on North Shore Rd. which walkers now enjoy.

As a member and Co-Chair of the Norfolk Planning Commission he has been an advocate, with the civic leagues input, for Wards Corner on many of the projects that have come to fruition. In this role he has also served Ward 1 well as he has for the entire city.

Martin is thoughtful, insightful and considerate and possesses those qualities that we need and want in our city council representative. It is vitally important and crucial that we support and endorse him as our next Ward 1 councilman. We have gained so much over that past 10 years in Wards Corner and to lose that momentum now with anyone else would be very unfortunate. Please join us in doing so when this special election is held on August 23rd, 2016.

A. James English Jr., President
Sue Classick, 2nd Vice President
Joan Griffey, Secretary
Ray Duron, Treasurer
Barbara Ross, Newsletter Editor
Scott Gurlinger, Board Member
Daniel Graves
Fred Baker
Melissa Baker
Shirley Thompson
Scott L. Cravey
Sherry Romulus
Cynthia Baker
Pablo Yepez
Clem Blanco
Percy Peele
Barbara Vasko
James Pressler
Linda Pressler

June 2016 meeting info and President’s message

The June 2016 Wards Corner Civic League meeting will be held on the 20th at 6:45pm at the Fitness and Wellness Center.

Invited speakers are Robert Blizard from Norfolk SPCA and Jeanita Castille from Prime Plus Senior Services.

Below is the President’s Message:

by Jim English

Dear Neighbors,

Summer is just around the corner and schools will be out and hopefully we will all enjoy some relaxing vacation time. Hopefully this summer will be great and we will once again be spared any major hurricanes just like we were last year. However make sure you are prepared just in case. Over the summer please continue to enjoy the Norfolk Fitness and Wellness Center. There are many great activities to be enjoyed at this facility.  If you are not a member yet please consider joining. Please take advantage of this exceptional facility in our back yard. Also please consider joining our social media Next Door Ward Corner at .  It is a great way to keep up with many of the things happening in our civic league area.

The June meeting marks the last meeting of the first half of the civic league year until we resume our schedule again in September. We will not have a newsletter in July and August. We will, however, post any news that you should know about on our Wards Corner Civic League website and the Wards Corner Now website. We will not have a meeting in July and August unless absolutely necessary.

           This brings me to the critical point of electing a replacement councilman for Ward 1. As you are aware Councilman Andy Protogyrou will no longer be our councilman as of July 1. At its July 1st meeting the newly elected city council will determine when a special election will be held to fill that seat. We are pushing for an August election. If the election date is held in August then we will have an election forum or meeting in July, a date to be determined. As you are as aware I have endorsed Martin Thomas Jr. for this seat and our Board of Directors has also done the same at its meeting on June 6th. Therefore please look for announcements about this important election on our website as well as the Next-door website. It is vitally important that we elect Martin Thomas Jr. If the election is not held in August, then I will let you know when it is planned.

This is the time of year that I like to thank all of those folks who have made our civic league great over the course of the year. First, I wish to thank Barbara Ross for her dedicated service as our newsletter editor and board member. She has done an excellent job of preparing the newsletter each month. This takes a significant amount of time to complete and Barbara’s newsletters are informative and always on time. Barbara, we thank you for your service and look forward to your newsletters again in the fall. Enjoy your two months of newsletter free time. Speaking of keeping us informed a hearty thanks goes to Martin Thomas Jr. for keeping our website up to date and informative. He also manages the website for the Greater Wards Corner area. We also thank Martin for the good work he is doing on the Planning Commission for our area and the city. Also a special thanks to Joan Griffey and Ray Duron for keeping the records of our meetings and ensuring that our finances are in order. Joan, also thanks for your continued efforts as Chair of the Beautification Committee with the Wards Corner Task Force. A thank you also goes to our 2nd VP, Sue Classick for organizing the delivery of our newsletters each month with our many newsletter carriers. Thanks also to our many newsletter carriers for their time in delivering our newsletters to you. This also is no small task. It is yet another valuable service that we are providing to all of the residents of the Wards Corner Civic League area residents. It is also the envy of many of the civic leagues in the Greater Wards Corner area as well as citywide. Thanks also to Betty and Ray Duron for organizing and conducting our adopt-a-street cleanups over the past several years. Thanks also to the members of our civic league who help in each of these cleanups. I thank Scott Guirlinger for all his help as a board member. Thank you for organizing the evenings at Guads and planning our civic league picnic. We are pleased that you have joined us. Lastly I want to thank Socko Pearson who is now coordinating and soliciting the ads for our newsletter.  He has already brought in several new advertisers that you will see in the future. Thank you all for your service.

I also wish to thank our Police Officers who keep us safe every day and also provide us with needed information each month at our meetings. They do an outstanding job. We especially thank Officer William Old for his service to our civic league. Please make sure we follow their advice about how to keep ourselves safe. With the rise in car larcenies this means keeping our cars locked at all times and not keeping any valuables    in our car. It also means calling the police at either the 911 number or non-emergency number to report any and all crimes that are witnessed. If they don’t receive the calls, the crime is not registered with them and there is no record.

Finally, I extend a very grateful thanks to all of our paid members for your continuing support and attendance at our monthly meetings. Your presence and input at our meetings is much appreciated. Please tell your neighbors to join us in attendance and membership as more numbers mean a bigger voice at city hall.

One thing is for sure. The Wards Corner Civic League is one of the strongest and most powerful civic leagues in the city and you helped us with getting that distinction. The dedication and commitment of the membership of the Greater Wards Task Force, and area Civic Leagues (including and especially ours) will continue the push with our city elected officials and senior city management staff to help us correct and develop the area and rid it of the dysfunctional and criminal element that has unfortunately been drawn to the area. We will not be taking the summer off but will continue our fight. Please join us in that fight as numbers speak to elected officials. Maybe by the time the September meeting comes around we will see new businesses open or opening in the shopping center on the Northeast corner of the business district. You know that shopping center with all the vacant parking spaces that exist now!

Please have a safe, relaxing and enjoyable summer. We will continue our work to improve our area throughout the summer. We hope to see you again in June and then in the fall at our September meeting. Please also join us for our civic league picnic on June 25th at the Northshore Ave playground.  There will be food and fun for all.