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December, 2012

  1. Norfolk conference center plans

    December 24, 2012 by Christy

    For about a decade, city leaders have vied for a new conference center, but their last three attempts – including a proposed deal with the founder of Black Entertainment Television – have yielded only disappointment.

    Their luck might be changing.

    Mayor Paul Fraim said there is “life in the project,” but he wouldn”t elaborate.

    Three members – Andy Protogyrou, Tommy Smigiel and Angelia Williams – weren”t in office for the original 2005 vote or for any of the subsequent amendments. Because of that, Smigiel said it”s important that the city staff share more details so council members can decide whether it”s a good deal.

    The council briefly discussed the project in closed session at its September retreat. Smigiel said he wants to know “what this means for the city and our budget.” Williams isn”t as concerned, citing a council consensus on what is expected with the project. She said she”s confident it will be “something spectacular.”

    “We expect the best deal possible,” Protogyrou said. “We”re not

    trying to chase the city of Hampton or Virginia Beach for these mega conventions,” said Councilman Barclay C. Winn. “We”re looking for our own little niche.”

    Read the full article here.

  2. Many not surprised by Norfolk’s poor report card

    December 16, 2012 by Christy

    The sweeping shortcomings and numerous recommendations in a recent review of the city’s middle schools should have been obvious to the division long ago, several school advocates said.

    The report by the Council of the Great City Schools listed flaws such as dumping weak teachers into middle schools, and compressing two years of middle school math into one year so the division could skip a more difficult Standards of Learning exam. The test-skipping was seen as a way to improve the division’s state accreditation results.

    The division’s administration and board got the report this

    said Councilman Andy Protogyrou, who read about it in the newspaper. “Putting in middle schools teachers who may not be up to snuff, skipping one test to take another and damaging the children in their academic potential,” he explained. “Hopefully the new administration has seen that and is working on it.”

    Read the full article here.

  3. Grand jury calls for indictment in Norfolk no-show case

    December 14, 2012 by Christy

    A special grand jury has recommended bringing a felony indictment against a former high-ranking Norfolk Community Services Board administrator over her conduct involving a 12-year no-show worker.

    The panel found former Director of Administration Brenda Wise “knowingly failed to pursue investigation and other processes” for more than 10 years that would have resolved the employment of Jill McGlone, according to a report filed Tuesday with the Norfolk Circuit Court. The Pilot obtained a copy of the document Thursday.

    Andrew Sacks, Wise’s attorney, disputed the recommendation. The grand jury was pressured to find fault after previous investigations failed to do so, he said. Wise is a scapegoat, he said. At worst, she committed an administrative error, he said. “That’s not a criminal offense.”

    Mayor Paul Fraim declined to comment on the recommendation.

    Council member Andy Protogyrou suggested that the recommended charge was exactly what he had in mind earlier this year, when he took the city attorney’s office to task at a public meeting over the issue. The grand jury’s message was “you can’t treat the public’s funds that way,” he said.

    Read the full article here.