Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Master Naturalists, Boat Launch Reopens and More: News in Brief for Feb. 23


(Courtesy of Sara Harris Photography)

Retail Alliance Board — New Officers and Directors

Hampton Roads’ Retail Alliance board recently elected new officers, two new board members, and re-elected directors.

The 2023-24 Officers are:

  • Robert Gurnee (Elcan & Associates), Chairman of the Board
  • Bob Harper (Bob Harper Portraits), Vice Chairman of the Board
  • Phil Scotti (Philip Michael Fashion for Men) Immediate Past Chair of the Board
  • Jenny Crittenden (Retail Alliance), President/CEO
  • Chava Lind (Retail Alliance), Secretary of the Board

The new Board of Directors appointed are:

  • Kisha Moore (Hummingbird Dessert Boutique)
  • Chris Shelton (Cure)

Current Board of Directors:

  • Michael J Benton (Stark & Legum Men’s Wear)
  • Carlyle Bland (Second Mouse, Inc.)
  • Denise Clarke (Care-A-Lot Pet Supply)
  • Jason Graves (Graves Funeral Home)
  • Lori Janke (Once Upon A Child Newport News)
  • Pam Katrancha (Garden Gazebo)
  • Kathy Knack (Kathy Knack Interior Designs, Inc.)
  • Chris Leigh (Oyster Cove Boatworks and Yacht Brokerage, Inc.)
  • Sarah Pishko (Prince Books)
  • Brock Potter (Potter and Company)
  • Ron Russell (RNR Tire Express)
  • Bryan Salerno (Jersey’s Cards and Comics)
  • Joe Taylor, (Taylor’s Do It Center)
  • Nancy Ware (Mary Barnett’s)
  • Ben Willis, III (Willis Furniture)
  • Jim Wofford (MacArthur Center)

Director Emeritus

  • Raymond J. Mattes

Middle Peninsula Chapter of Virginia Master Naturalists Training Course

The Middle Peninsula Chapter of Virginia Master Naturalists will begin a new basic training course in the fall. The course covers background knowledge and skills to prepare students for volunteer service with the organization. The course begins at the end of August and concludes around the end of January, with a holiday break. Classes will be provided on-line via Zoom, during the evening. In person field trips are a part of the training and will be conducted on some Saturdays. To learn more about Virginia Master Naturalists, the Middle Peninsula Chapter’s environmental activities and to apply for the upcoming training offered, go on-line to middlepeninsulamasternaturalists.com.  Applications will be accepted from March to mid May.

Register for Session 3 of the VAPDC Winter Series

The Virginia Association of Planning Commissions (VAPDC) returned with a short series
of educational and informational programs to kick off the new year. Session 3, Confronting Cyber Challenges, is Friday, March 3, from noon to 1 p.m. The session will explore policy, response plans, communication, an training to be considered before, during and after a cyber breach, and offer helpful tools for local and regional governments. Chris Carey, responsible for administrative oversight of the VACORP group self-insurance risk pool and John Harrison, CGCIO, Director of IT for Franklin County, Virginia will be the speakers. Cost is $25 and registration is online. Once registered, participants will receive login information the day before the event.

Little Creek Reservoir Park Boat Launch Reopens

The boat launch at Little Creek Reservoir Park, 180 Lakeview Road, has reopened, following rising water levels over the past two months. The water level is currently 52-feet, making it safe to resume launching kayaks, canoes and boats. Launching of all watercraft vessels is permitted using the Self-Pay Option. The Little Creek Reservoir Park store is open Saturdays and Sundays from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. for more information, concessions and live bait. If the store is closed, call the Park Ranger at 757-592-1665. At this time, the rental of kayaks, canoes or any watercraft vessel equipment at the Park store is not available.

Recreational activities at the Park are managed by James City County. For more information, call 757-207-0880 or email josh.bew@jamescitycountyva.gov. For information on the reservoir and water capacities, visit Newport News Waterworks. For more information on James City County park amenities and programming, visit online, email parks.rec@jamescitycountyva.gov or call 757-259-4200.

JCCPD Celebrates Two New Lieutenants

James City County Police Department announced the promotion of two officers, Sergeant Jason Slodysko and Sergeant Sterling Perry, to the rank of Lieutenant.


Lieutenant Jason Slodysko joined the department in 2005. He has served as a certified firearms instructor, a field training officer, and a nationally certified crisis and hostage negotiator. As an investigator in the Criminal Investigations Unit, he worked on cases ranging from fraud to homicides. As Sergeant, he supervised the department’s Community Service Unit, and he was the James City County Officer of the Year in 2014. He has earned two Life Saving awards, two Investigative Service awards, and the Community Policing and Supervisory Service awards.


Lieutenant Sterling Perry has been with the department since 2000. He has served as a patrol officer, SWAT Team Leader, and sniper/observer. Perry has received several awards and decorations for his service and dedication. He supervized the Traffic Unit, and was awarded the 2013 James City County Officer of the Year, SWAT Operator of the Year in 2010, and 2017 Officer of the Quarter.

Ben Jealous to Visit Gloucester March 5 

Ben Jealous, a prominent civil rights leader, will visit Gloucester’s colonial courthouse March 5, at 2 p.m. to conduct a free lecture and book signing. Jealous is the youngest person to serve as NAACP President and CEO; and is the newly-appointed executive director of the Sierra Club. He draws on lessons from his life, his family, and his work in his deeply personal new book, “Never Forget Our People Were Always Free: A Parable of American Healing.” 

The free lecture and book signing will be hosted by the Gloucester Museum of History, the Friends of the Museum, the Fairfield Foundation, and the Gloucester Historical Society. The colonial courthouse is located at 6504 Main Street, Gloucester, 23061. Doors open at 1:30 p.m. 

McDonald’s USA $1M Scholarship Program Invests in Financial and Mental Wellbeing of HBCU Students

Incoming and current HBCU Students in the Norfolk and Hampton Roads area can apply for a McDonald’s Black & Positively Golden Scholarship to receive up to $15,000 for the 2023–24 academic year.  With mental health and wellness being an integral part of a holistic educational experience, students will also be offered a year-long subscription to Alkeme, a Black-owned streaming platform that provides therapist and expert-led wellbeing courses, guided meditation and livestream sessions.

Applications are open, and incoming and current HBCU students are encouraged to apply today at tmcf.org, which also lists eligibility requirements. The deadline for applicants is March 27 at 11:59 p.m. EST. Winners will be announced Summer 2023.

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