1st District Newsletter
December 2016
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NEWS ROUNDUP
You can access the News Roundup by  clicking this link  to read all of the stories listed below.

CITY HALL
After warnings of cash-strapped coffers, Jones gives city workers

City attorney: Richmond mayor lacked authority to unilaterally authorize bonuses


Bon Secours plans to tear down Westhampton site for medical office building abandons nursing school plans

Prosecutor: Overlap between city and mayors church smacks of cronyism but no evidence found to support criminal charges

Incoming Richmond council members support anticorruption reforms in wake of Jones report

The 2016 Richmond mayoral race was most expensive in the city's history

Richmond mayor-elect plans to retain current chief administrator will hire Va

Mayor-elect Levar Stoney named RTD Person of the Year

With no grand plans on the horizon Richmond mayoral candidates enjoy return to private life

Kim Gray sits on Richmond-s School Board and is moving to City Council but in Denmark she-s a celebrity

Residential tower 800 space parking garage proposed for Grace Street lot across from Carpenter Theatre


Grant money helps pilot projects for mentally ill in Chesterfield and Richmond jails

Newly opened Potterfield Bridge has become favorite spot in Richmond for lovers

Claims against Richmond sheriff are most expensive in the state

After eight years in office Mayor Dwight Jones reflects on accomplishments, missteps

Hilbert is likely pick for president of incoming Richmond City Council

Words of advice for Richmond Mayor-elect Levar Stoney

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Leaf Collection Ongoing

The City is currently still collecting leaves citywide and some areas in the district still need to be collected. Some delays caused by weather could mean a rearrangement of the schedule for a later pickup. 

If your leaves still have not been collected, please call my office at 646-5349 and let us know so we can inform Public Works the areas that still need to be collected. 



How Can You Help Richmond Animal Care & Control

-- Like us on Facebook and ask ALL of your friends to do the same.

Click here to use the power of social media to share posts and tweets about all the ways you can help make a difference in the lives of animals!

Sign up for our monthly newsletter and share in the wonderful adoption stories, current shelter needs and upcoming events. Stay in the know!

Volunteer --Volunteers who work directly with the animals can increase an animal's chances of adoption by providing additional human contact and also help us inform the community of the philosophy of RAC&C and promote responsible pet ownership.

Become a Foster Parent --A foster home is a temporary living situation for pets in our program while they are awaiting placement in a permanent home or to move into one of our overnight adoption programs. Foster families provide shelter, food, care and love. We can help save more animals with more foster parents who open their homes to help. 

Canine Adventure Walk - Send a shelter dog on an adventure for the day! The dogs come back happy after 2 hours of hiking, wet from swimming and tuckered out for the day! It is a wonderful experience for everyone-plus the CA staff will send you pictures and a write up of their adventure! Consider sponsoring an adventure walk for dogs.



2017 Pet License Program

All cats and dogs living in the City of Richmond are required to be licensed and have a current Rabies vaccination. Further, this legally required form of identification is your best friend's most valuable asset in getting home safely should they become lost. Each year, Richmond Animal Care & Control (RACC) receives over 3000 animals, yet the vast majority of them have no form of identification to assist RACC in reuniting pets to their families. Your pet can't tell RACC where they live, so speak for them by purchasing a pet license today.

City of Richmond residents are required to purchase a license for each pet that is owned. Attach the license tag to your pet's collar. This simple step ensures that if someone finds your pet wearing its registered license tag -- whether a citizen or animal control officer - they will know immediately that the animal is  lost and belongs to YOU!

The cost of a pet license is $10 for each cat or dog and must be renewed yearly. 



Monument Avenue 
10K Signup 

Attention runners! RVA's signature running event takes place Saturday, April 1, 2017.  Registration costs $32 for adults through December 31 then increases on January 1, February 1, and March 1.
 
Experience the awesome architecture and beauty of spring along Richmond's most iconic street, enjoy great local bands, revel in the crazy costumes, and enjoy the sidewalk parties that help lift runners up and across the finish line!


1st District Twitter Picture of the Month

December 23
Richmond's skyline all lit up Christmas


1st District Most Clicked
A fun feature each month to show the top 3 most clicked links in the previous  month's E-newsletter! 


Find A Missing Pet

Richmond Animal Control (RACC) has a site that provides descriptions and photos of each stray animal housed at RACC. Enter basic descriptive information (date missing, breed, color) and search through the database of animals in our care. Additionally, users can post found animals that are not residing in the shelter. Users can view both lost and found animals with a quick search. 



RPS Schools App

There is a Richmond Public Schools app on iTunes and Google Play that parents can download so that they can receive information via their phones (search for "Richmond Public Schools"). The application includes links to news, menus, social media accounts, calendars, the RPS directory and more.


 
Click here to learn more


UPCOMING MEETINGS

City Council Meetings

-- Mon., January 10, 2017  - 6:00pm
-- Mon., January 24, 2017  - 6:00pm

If you have not already done so, you might consider joining the neighborhood social network called NextDoor. It is a great way to connect with your neighbors to meet, talk online, and share information that can make your neighborhood better and safer. 

Many people are using Nextdoor to spread word about suspicious activity or break-ins, organize a neighborhood watch group, find a trustworthy babysitter or handyman, requesting help in looking for missing pets, and find nearby neighbors! 

You can join from your laptop or download the app and stay connected with neighbors through your phone or iPad.   


Track Crime Online


RAIDS Online helps make it much easier for you to keep track of crime anywhere in the city and communicate with officers.

 

Get updates for your neighborhood within a certain radius of your address, get email alerts, as well as report crimes or issues in your area and improve communication between the public and the department. You can also analyze the data you select via a map, graphs and analytics, as well as a data grid and data layers.


 
Click here to see a video tutorial


SeeClickFix App
You can always email us or call to report them, but you can also download the handy SeeClickFix app for your phone that lets you report potholes and other issues such as non-functioning street lights, bulk pick ups, etc. Look for the   SeeClickFix in your app store 

Reporting Neighborhood Issues
There are multiple ways that you can report neighborhood issues that you need us to address. 

1. You can call my office (804-646-5349) and speak to either me or my liaison, Eli.

 

2. You can log on and use 

SeeClickFix to report issues such as potholes, non-functioning lights, bulk pick up requests, etc. 

 

3. You can also log in to the 

Citizens Request Service (CRS) to report more serious needs (or again, call my office).


If possible, please send us a picture(s)  with your request for service or issue. Many times, a picture snapped with your cell phone goes a long way to helping us relate your request to City staff so they can easily identify the issue and correct it!

Important Numbers

Police Sector 311
Sector Lt. Nathaniel Bynum
804-646-1945 -  E-mail

Finance Department  
804-646-6452

West End Library
CLOSED for renovations
804-646-1877
Belmont Library
804-646-1139


Contact Me
804-646-5349 (Office)
804-592-1060 (Cell)
900 E. Broad St. Ste. 303
Richmond, VA 23219

Eli Wong, Council Liaison
804-310-1738 or

Social Media 
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Committee Assignments:
- Government Operations (Chair)
- Land Use, Housing & Transportation
- Organizational Development
Thank You & Farewell
It has been my pleasure to serve as your Council representative for the last four years. It has been an adventure and an honor to work with my colleagues  and the wonderful staff in the Council and Clerk's offices who did so much heavy lifting to help the machinery of city government move (slowly) forward. 
 
It has been a rewarding, enriching - and occasionally trying! - experience. I have always tried to put the city first -from supporting and improving our school system and public safety sector, protecting Bandy Field, adding funding to James River Park and to continue work on the Riverfront Plan (incl. the Potterfield Bridge), adding the city's online check registry, requiring the city's monthly financial data online, making sure developers engage in extensive community outreach, and opposing a bad plan to put an $80 million baseball stadium project in Shockoe Bottom.

I have always tried to listen, do my homework on the issues, and done what I think is best for the district and the city as a whole moving forward. 

I implemented a robust newsletter and social media platform to communicate with residents that had been lacking and tried to keep you updated on the news around the district and the city. I know that expectation will continue. 
 
I am happy to say that the transition for incoming Councilman Andreas Addison has been smooth. He has access to the issues in the district and I am accessible to  him as needed, but I know for sure the district will be in good hands! He will have his own style and methods of communicating with you, and I am transferring my list of emails to him so he can keep you informed and updated on his efforts at City Hall. 

Thank you again for putting your support in me and allowing me to serve you. It has been a true privilege. I will never forget my service in the neighborhoods and at City Hall and I will continue to work in whatever form and fashion I can to help make Richmond better each day. Thank you. 

Christmas Tree Pickup
When you are ready to take down your tree and decorations, please remember that Public Works (DPW) policy concerning Christmas trees is the same as a bulk pick-up request.

DPW will collect trees curbside from January 9 through January 30 for residents who contact the 311 Call Center or 804-646-0999. Let the agent know you have a Bulk Pick-Up/Live Christmas Tree for pickup. Let them know if you have a street or alley pickup location. You can also visit the lot near the Diamond to drop off or shred your tree on Saturday, January 7 (see next story below).

Trees left out with your supercan may not be picked up on regular trash collection days, as a separate truck is used to collect the trees.

You can also call incoming Councilman Addison's office at 804-646-5349 and let him know the address and they will enter your request or follow up if any trees are missed.

"Bring One for the Chipper" Recycling Event Sat., January 7  
The Department of Public Works will host the fifth annual "Bring One for the Chipper" Christmas tree recycling event on Saturday, January 7th from 9:00am-2:00pm in the lot at 1710 Robin Hood Road (at the corner of Robin Hood and Boulevard). 

Richmond residents can bring up to five boxes of paper for shredding. Small electronic items that will be accepted for recycling include, but are not limited to, printers, computer monitors, radios and microwaves. Televisions will be disposed at a cost of $10 each. There is no charge for all other items. Residents can bring their trees to the event or drop them off in advance in the lot.


Tyler Potterfield Bridge connects instantly with Richmond culture 
One of the best aspects of the city's Riverfront Plan and the city in general is the completion of the Potterfield Bridge from Brown's Island to Manchester. I worked with Tyler Potterfield in the Planning Department for four years and can not think of a more appropriate naming honor to see his dream accomplished. It is a dream that will garner national attention in the months ahead and is worth a walk or bike trip the first chance you get.  Mark Holmberg offers his take

After years of anticipation and 15 months of construction, the Tyler Potterfield Memorial Bridge, aka the "Dam Walk," is open and is already attracting hordes of strollers, runners, dog-walkers, bird-watchers, river-lovers, cyclists, skateboarders and folks delighted that long-disrespected but now-booming South Richmond is truly connected to downtown.

Turning it into a walkway was the dream of senior Richmond planner and historian Tyler Potterfield, who died young of a heart attack two years ago.
And now there's this sweet, nature-filled connector to the Riverwalk, the Buttermilk, North Bank and Capital Trails along with some of the city's prime party spots.

Also,  Michael Paul Williams notes the uniqueness of the bridge: 

"It's difficult to imagine anything like this bridge anywhere in urban America. You can emerge from the quietude along the path on the south bank of the James and, by mid-bridge, experience the rush and the roar of the James River beneath all while drinking in a gleaming urban skyline. 

Visionaries have not only given us this new pedestrian bridge but also a Canal Walk and a wonderful Virginia Capital Trail. Richmond, virtually overnight, has tremendously enhanced its options for walkers, joggers, runners and cyclists. And it was heartening Saturday to see the wheelchair visitors on the new bridge and pathways."

Construction Begins on Westhampton Development 
Construction has begun on the Westhampton on Grove development, which is expected to begin in earnest in February or March and be completed in early 2018. 

Dispatch has details on the project. 

"The first floor was to be occupied by a Long & Foster location, a Mango Salon, a Tazza Kitchen restaurant and Taste Unlimited, a Hampton Roads-based gourmet market chain.  However, Tazza Kitchen has pulled out. Taste Unlimited is looking at a mid¬≠summer 2018  opening.

"The goal for Tazza was to open in 2017, but because of the time to get city approvals, they have since
moved on," Guillot said. The restaurant is working on opening a location in Scott's Addition.

"While it was unfortunate to lose Tazza, a number of high ¬≠quality retailers and restaurants have lined up to  fill that spot," Guillot said, adding that he hopes to announce new tenants soon after the new year.

Preservation of the movie marquee, which was in rough shape, did not make the final cut either. "The new building was designed in the likeness of the theater and will feature outdoor patios, landscaping and accessible walkways and bike racks to encourage pedestrian traffic," Guillot said. "


Public Safety Update
Daring Rescue Saves Infant From Inferno
A daring rescue that took place earlier this month is a good reminder of the risks our public safety sector employees take every day to keep us safe in our city. We owe a debt of gratitude to all of them and this rescue story from the Times-Dispatch about firefighters from Station 11 clearly proves why. 

"Upstairs, the situation deteriorated quickly.
As Samuels and fellow firefighter Parker Ramsey felt their way through the smoke in the bedroom trying to find the infant, the whole room was consumed by a fireball.

Firefighter Marcus McGee was just outside the room when the flames consumed it. "Clothes were burning.  The TV was burning, the paint was burning - everything was on fire," he said.  In firefighting parlance, it's called a flashover.  "Most people bail when the flashover occurs," said the station's fire captain, Patrick Schoeffel.

"It's a traumatic experience. You're in a room with almost no visibility through all the smoke. When it flashes over, it's orange. You've got a fire right here in your face. You're completely involved in fire. It's not like the fire is over there. You're sitting here, and all of a sudden in a matter of seconds - boom - it's orange. You're surrounded by it."

"There was zero viability," Samuels said. "I took my fingertips and felt around and put my face down close to it. "I saw the baby, I just picked her up. ... I hesitated at first. I wanted to put her in my coat, but that would have taken too long. 

I just put my gloved hand over the top of her head and covered her up as much as I could and just ran through the door, ran down the steps. "By that time, I looked behind me, the fire's coming in, rolling over the ceiling in the room. If I had been maybe 20 seconds later...."
 
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Sector 311 Crime Update 
From Sector Lieutenant Bynum's Sector 311 newsletter: 

There has been a 21% increase in total property crimes. The numbers of arsons, residential burglaries, theft from buildings, theft from motor vehicles, motor vehicle theft and moped theft have all increased year to date. Theft from Motor Vehicles is up 54% (185 to 243) and Vehicle Thefts are up 157% (from 21 to 54). Many of these are from vehicles that are left unlocked.

If you need immediate assistance or report a crime or suspicious activity, call 911. If you have a neighborhood problem which does not require an immediate police response kindly contact the below area/on-duty sergeant at (804) 646-1413:

-Sergeant O'Dell in Museum District (Nights)
-Sergeant Pullen in Sauer Gardens/Malvern Gardens (Nights)
-Sergeant Stinger on Cary Street/Windsor Farms (Evenings)

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Winter Heating Safety
A big blast of cold air is coming to RVA next week and the Fire Department has some timely reminders in their latest bulletin. 

-- Have your furnace inspected and serviced by a qualified technician.
-- Chimneys and vents should be cleaned and inspected by a qualified professional once a year if used.
-- Have a covered metal container ready to use to dispose of cooled ashes from the fireplace or woodstove.
-- Ensure children stay at least 3 feet away from the fireplace, woodstove or space heater.
-- Portable electric space heaters should be plugged directly into an electrical receptacle. They should also be placed at least three feet from anything that can burn.
-- Test your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detector to make sure each is working properly.

Also, in winter it is very important to know Carbon Monoxide Safety tips. Often called the invisible killer, carbon monoxide (CO) is an invisible, odorless, colorless gas created when fuels (such as wood,
coal, natural gas, propane, and oil) burn incompletely. In the home, heating and cooking equipment that burn fuel can be sources of carbon monoxide.


Bon Secours Westhampton School Project
Earlier this month, Bon Secours announced plans to construct a two-story medical office building on the site of the former W esthampton School building at Patterson and Libbie Avenues that, if approved, will require the demolition of the existing two school buildings. 

The original plan approved by City Council in November 2012 planned for an office building and noted that efforts would be made to save the school buildings. In late 2013, Bon Secours altered the plans to move the School of Nursing to the location. After an extensive review of the facilities in partnership with the Historic Richmond Foundation, it was determined the school would be housed in the existing buildings but not use historic tax credits. The Times-Dispatch has the latest developments

"We couldn't get (the project) down much under $43 million, whereas if you built a college of nursing freestanding on green space, it would cost $15 million," said Toni Ardabell, CEO of Bon Secours Virginia Health System and of Bon Secours Richmond Health System.

The plans for a medical office building and relocation of the nursing college have yet to go through Bon Secours' internal approval process, Ardabell said.
And the new plan for the 4-acre Westhampton School site will require multiple layers of city approval before it can advance. The health system expects to file the necessary paperwork to start the process in the next couple of months."

Bon Secours received an extension from the Economic Development Authority to try and gain zoning approval by March 2018. This has long been a sensitive issue for the local neighborhoods and business communities, and incoming Councilman Addison will fully engage all parties on this development.  


Russell Flammia, aka, "Mr. TJ"
Check out this great story about a dedicated servant involved for a half a century of bettering public education here in Richmond from the Times-Dispatch

"If the three years as a student at Thomas Jefferson High School weren't enough for Russell Flammia, then surely the 34 years as a teacher at the Richmond school would have given him his fill of the place.
Apparently not.

Since 2001, a year after his retirement from teaching, he has been the most faithful of school volunteers. He shows up to tutor students but also raises money for the nonprofit Tee Jay Vikings Fund and helps to organize class reunions.
"Here's the joke: It took him 37 years to get out of TJ," said a friend and classmate, Sidney Padow, "and then he went back, anyway."

Flammia, 72, has devoted more than five decades of his life to the school - and you could say his devotion to TJ extends well beyond campus: His wife, Jackie, graduated from TJ a year after her husband.

Click here to read the story.

Richmond Public Schools
RPS Community Perspectives Survey
Superintendent Dana Bedden and RPS are seeking candid feedback from you about the School District. Please voice your opinion by completing the RPS survey via this link .  
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Landscaping the Marquee at Albert Hill
Great team effort from the Albert Hill newsletter: "Three intrepid members of Mrs. Perry's Ecology Club planted and mulched around the new school sign. Plants were a gift from the PTA."

L-R: Arlo Spivey, Emerson Lewis and Tony Caramucci
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Mary Munford Dancing Classroom Champs!
Mary Munford's 5th grade
team are the city-wide dancing classroom champs! This is a program that all 5th grade students 
are fortunate enough to participate in thanks to support by the PTA. Selected students will go on to the city-wide competition and represent Mary Munford.  Congratulations dancers!  

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Author Jerry Pallotta Visits Munford for Dinner 
Jerry Pallotta, the award-winning author of children's alphabet books and imaginative fiction will visit Mary Munford for a talk and dinner on Tuesday, January 10th. His books combined interesting facts, detailed research humor, and realistic illustrations that mesmerize children everywhere. You can purchase your raffle tickets here to have dinner with Jerry on January 9th at Dinamo. 

"Cheap Eats" Dines in RVA
The Cooking Channel was in town recently to film an episode of "Cheap Eats" with Ali Khan as he had 12 hours and a $35 budget to make worthwhile food finds in RVA at Early Bird Biscuit Co., Millie's, Mama J's and Shyndigz. 

The Times-Dispatch talked with Khan:
"In short, he said, Richmond has two things going for it: a food scene with restaurants that offer well-marketed menus featuring locally sourced foods and farmers and chef-driven initiatives and other trendy practices, but also those other places where chefs and cooks simply throw caution to the wind, cook what they love and tell you to eat it because it's good. 

"Richmond's got something going on," Khan said, and made the comparison between Richmond and places such as Charleston, S.C., where "their restaurants carry such strong impressions." What makes Richmond special, he added, appears to be that consumers' high expectations for their dining experiences are being met by good food options all across town."


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