A quick review of 2002
Published 12:00 am Monday, January 20, 2003
We taped Round Table Talk smack in the middle of Suffolk’s number one Tourist Draw, and you must visit this &uot;museum&uot; for an honest trip back in time. If you enjoy places like Riddick’s Folly you will revel in the splendor of Heirlooms of Tomorrow. It is located in the huge three-floored old Montgomery Ward building, kitty corner from the new court- house on Main. This place should be listed first in any brochure pointing out highlights of our city. If you visit the Prentis House you will see many pieces purchased from there for the city by the DOT. Heirlooms is a fascinating place to shop – a must for the ladies.
Sitting between two former mayors of Suffolk, Andy Damiani and Tom Underwood, I felt I was serving as a facilitator, at a vastly reduced price, between two former giants who were already bonded but they did not agree on everything. We kicked around many &uot;events&uot; of 2002 and I list here a few of them. We noted this was the first full year for the &uot;new&uot; chief of Police, William Freeman. Police unhappiness has received far less press attention, and there has been no news concerning poor recruitment. That department is expanding and the city seems relatively quiet under his tenure. We don’t pay police enough, DOT personnel get more, and the &uot;billboards&uot; didn’t help much.
The King’s Highway Bridge is also a quiet issue. The old bridge has been rated zero by the state inspectors and could collapse at any moment, but traffic flows and we wonder where all the fuss went. The region’s citizens squashed the road referendum and we are told we are headed for highway Armageddon if we don’t invent autos that fly. DOT may have swerved into a solution for those headed to Norfolk. They provide breath-taking views of the Nansemond on the Spirit Elite at $35 a pop. Pickup point will be the new Hilton slated to be completed at least two years before any need for it, as was the DOT.
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Prior Mayor Milteer finished a courageous year when he declared a month of Confederate Heritage and History. He also gave Muslims a shot at pre-council meeting prayer, and scooped the Governor when he &uot;prematurely&uot; announced the Target Warehouse. He also said he wouldn’t run again, and that he would push moving elections to November.
The large, partly Indian, Task Force disagreed with then Assistant Manager Herbert and decided Mattanock Town Indian Village should be located in Lone Start Lakes where the Indians and buffalo once roamed free and survived without a marina or a golf course. The DOT needs it more than it does the Dismal Swamp. The city of Suffolk &uot;earmarked&uot; $60,000 for lobbying purposes to get the Federal Government to place the Dismal Visitor Center in new downtown Suffolk on Constance, across from the Hilton. The visitor center that Dismal Director Lloyd Culp, wants – and he doesn’t care where it’s located – would eliminate any need to visit the swamp, except to paddle on Lake Drummond and slap mosquitoes. State conservationists insist that the three bears once living in the swamp, were driven out by a horde of motorcycles that loudly circled their living quarters.
The new Obici Hospital opened under a revised label, &uot;evicting&uot; the words &uot;Louise Memorial,&uot; intended to be there by the man, Amedeo Obici, who paid for the original Hospital and dedicated it as a memorial to his wife. A marketing strategy by the board?
Republican Kit Webb had a conniption fit when her party named prisoner Mark Grethen as Republican of the year. And there was much fuss when our assessor raised some water front properties by 30 percent. One block long Prentis Street, going nowhere, constructed for what reason, opened and serves mainly as a parking lot. The city duped Damiani out of his try for the Phoenix Bank on East Wash and will attempt to dupe folks into thinking it will make a great African-American Museum. Older citizens got 1.4 percent raises from SS and top city employees got as much as 16 percent. The Professional Building was unloaded. Our new Council is now thoroughly bonded and the next retreat will be held at Bunny’s.
Robert Pocklington is a resident of Suffolk and a regular columnist for the News-Herald.