Jim Morrison

Jim Morrison

Jim Morrison has been a freelance writer since 1990. His stories have appeared in Smithsonian, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Wired, and many other outlets. He won the 2021 Excellence in Reporting award from the American Society of Journalists and Authors and was a finalist for best feature story in the 2021 Covering Climate Now Awards administered by the Columbia Journalism Review. Prior to freelancing, he was a staff writer at The Virginian-Pilot. He lives in Norfolk. Contact him at [email protected].

A military-themed brewery sparks a fight in a Virginia military city

By: - December 4, 2023

NORFOLK — Alan Beal, the chief executive of the fledgling Armed Forces Brewing Company, was scouting locations in Florida to buy a brewery in January when he got a call from Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin. “The governor let me know that Virginia would love to have us relocate and open a brewing facility and employ […]

After 15-year gap and political pressure, Hampton Roads Ventures pledges Norfolk investment

By: - November 14, 2023

A for-profit subsidiary of the Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority that hasn’t invested in Norfolk for 15 years pledged last month to back a shopping center with a grocery store, potentially eliminating a food desert adjacent to two public housing communities. The $3.5 million investment by Hampton Roads Ventures would help finance the $10 million […]

Violent crime in Norfolk is up. The jury is still out on why — and what to do about it.

By: - March 1, 2023

In March of 2021, a Norfolk prosecutor who had recently retired after 27 years wrote to City Council, the police chief and the city manager urging them to cast aside what he called a “malaise” and explore changes to combat the city’s longstanding violent crime problem. “Violent crime has been a constant over the last […]

How Norfolk’s progressive prosecutor ended up in the crosshairs of debate over rising crime

By: - February 28, 2023

When Norfolk officials held a September press conference following a night in which three people were killed and 11 others injured, Mayor Kenneth Alexander, City Manager Larry “Chip” Filer, Interim Police Chief Michael Goldsmith and Sheriff Joe Baron spoke. Conspicuously missing was Commonwealth’s Attorney Ramin Fatehi, who had not been invited. Alexander did not mention […]

Amid push for local investment, report offers glimpse of Norfolk development group activities

By: - October 17, 2022

In a report required by Norfolk City Council, Hampton Roads Ventures, the for-profit development subsidiary of the city’s housing authority, says that it has met with representatives of several Norfolk projects including a shared kitchen, a grocery store, and a health and wellness center, but has not completed deals to invest in them. HRV also […]

Community development group has millions that could be used in Norfolk

By: - June 14, 2022

Hampton Roads Ventures, the subsidiary of Norfolk’s housing authority, has $43 million in tax credits that have not been assigned to projects, according to a federal report.  A pandemic exception to the program’s stringent investment regulations means some of that money could go to a qualified Norfolk project, bypassing the hurdles to backing local projects […]

Norfolk leaders push community development group to invest locally

By: - May 12, 2022

After months of scrutiny of the out-of-state deals financed by Hampton Roads Ventures, Norfolk Mayor Kenneth Alexander said the city will draft a resolution requiring the housing authority’s subsidiary to focus on Norfolk.  The comments by Alexander came after a meeting with representatives of the Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority and Hampton Roads Ventures during […]

Amid scrutiny, Norfolk housing authority subsidiary says it will attempt to add a local project

By: - May 3, 2022

Hampton Roads Ventures, the controversial subsidiary of Norfolk’s housing authority, will try to add a Norfolk project in the next application for tax credits used to finance projects in distressed areas.   The corporation came under fire from some City Council members after a Virginia Mercury series revealed it had won $360 million of New Markets […]

‘We weren’t making any money’: Hampton Roads Ventures’ ex-CEO defends investing elsewhere

By: - January 25, 2022

John Kownack says Hampton Roads Ventures, the for-profit community development company created by the Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority, was facing an existential crisis when he took over in 2011.  The company, which Kownack led for 10 years, hadn’t won any new allocations of federal tax subsidies in a couple of years. It had made […]

Some Norfolk City Council members want answers on housing authority subsidiary’s investments

By: - January 3, 2022

NORFOLK — Some Norfolk City Council members want answers about the housing authority’s for-profit subsidiary that has invested the bulk of its federal tax subsidies in far-flung projects in 15 states and the District of Columbia, but not in Norfolk.  Following a two-part Virginia Mercury series, three members say they have asked for a report […]

The mystery of the management fees

By: - December 22, 2021

NORFOLK — In the nearly two decades since the New Markets Tax Credits program began, Norfolk lawyer Delphine G. Carnes has marketed her expertise putting together the often-complicated deals that entice investors to projects in low-income areas. While those ventures can serve as a catalyst for private investment in often-neglected neighborhoods and rural regions, they […]

Why is a Norfolk community development entity investing everywhere but Norfolk?

By: - December 21, 2021

NORFOLK — When they posed for a picture in an empty field 18 years ago, Robert K. Jenkins and other Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority officials were confident that a new subsidiary would bring a much-needed shopping center to Norfolk’s Berkley neighborhood by pioneering the use of a fledgling federal tax credits program.  Hampton Roads […]