2003 CPEO Military List Archive

From: CPEO Moderator <cpeo@cpeo.org>
Date: 10 Mar 2003 20:59:24 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] Story of creek is Paradise lost and found
Story of creek is Paradise lost and found
By PAUL CLANCY, The Virginian-Pilot
© March 9, 2003

PORTSMOUTH — There’s a certain irony in the name Paradise Creek.
Look what it’s been up against: a naval shipyard that for more than a
century dispatched waste into the watershed; heavy industry lining its
banks; city streets that sent storm water rushing straight into the

To longtime residents of Cradock, the blue-collar town that was created
beside the creek to house World War I shipyard workers, the name evokes
a smile.

‘‘Those of us who love our community joke about returning to paradise,’’
said Dottie Wyatt, president of the Cradock Civic League.

But that’s not so far-fetched anymore, now that the effort to improve
Paradise Creek has been held up as a national example of how to tackle
the vast damage to rivers.

Cobbling together one industry, one community, one government at a time,
the Elizabeth River Project has literally surrounded the creek with
efforts to restore it.

Ted Hinson, who came on as terminal manager of Giant Cement at the mouth
of the creek, caught on fast.

Instead of mowing grass on the 22-acre meadow adjoining the creek, he
readily agreed to let it grow. Crossing the meadow last week, he pointed
proudly to wild animal trails, cutting through deep winter thatch.

‘‘In a couple of months it’ll be up to here,’’ Hinson said, his hand
almost up to his waist.

Giant Cement is a Spanishowned company that imports cement from as far
away as Indonesia.

Four years ago, the company took over the former Alcoa Aluminum site,
with its deep-water terminal on the south end of the creek where it
joins the Elizabeth.

Dry cement is transferred to waiting rail cars and trucks that haul it
to customers around the country. Hinson installed wind deflectors and
high-powered vacuums to make sure the cement doesn’t spill, and he
changed his air compressor from water-cooled— adrain on the city’s water
supply — to aircooled.

Hinson said the company is proud of the ‘‘Riverstar’’ sign that the ERP
has erected at the entrance to his sprawling operation.

‘‘We’re just trying to do what’s right,’’ he said.

The Riverstar emblem is awarded to those who are working to clean up the
Elizabeth River.

_From the top of the giant crane that leans out over the creek, the
biggest customer, by far, in the neighborhood — the Norfolk Naval
Shipyard —can be seen. Before environmental laws banned such practices,
the Navy used land along the creek as burial ground for debris and toxic
material. In 1969 and 1970, it buried tons of ‘‘black beauty,’’ the grit
and paint blasted from ship bottoms, in a field that slopes toward the

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