Come hear good news

Published 12:00 am Sunday, April 6, 2003

On Tuesday Mayor E. Dana Dickens will report on the state of Suffolk at the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce-sponsored State of the City address.

This year’s event will be held at the new Target East Coast Distribution Center on Manning Bridge Road.

I imagine that the mayor will deliver an optimistic assessment of where the city stands, and with good reason. Throughout the nation municipalities are struggling under the weight of a weak economy, lower than expected tax collections and reduced federal and state aid.


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But not in Suffolk. Here, home prices are rising faster than the ire of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, new schools and public safety buildings are being built/opened and downtown is experiencing a renaissance as each passing week, it seems, brings news of projects that are being undertaken to revitalize buildings and entire neighborhoods. Our cup runneth over.

The State of the City is always a great event. Tickets remain available I’m told, and can be obtained by calling the Chamber’s Suffolk office at 664-2611, or the Chamber’s reservation hotline at 664-2558.

The deadline for filing our federal income tax returns looms. I’ve always procrastinated when it comes to tax time and this year was no exception. On the advice of Gene Dennison, who works in our classified advertising department, I picked up a copy of Turbo Tax Tuesday night at Wal-Mart and I’ve become a believer.

I breezed through my returns that night, filed them electronically (state included) and to my pleasant surprise found that I was owed a big pile of money by Uncle Sam. It’s about time.

My thoughts immediately turned to golf clubs. I’ve been away from the game for several years. It used to be an obsession and came darn near breaking up my marriage early on.

My son, Adam, is now of the age where he is interested in it and has picked up the golf virus. We’ve been going out to Suffolk Golf Course (another hidden gem in our city) as often as possible of late to hit balls at the range and last weekend I played my first 9-hole round in over two years.

I was pricing titanium drivers and new irons to replace the PowerBuilt Citations I’ve carried since 1977.

And to prove that I’m not completely self-absorbed, I also told my wife to start checking into airline tickets for a family vacation -preferably some sunny spot with a championship layout nearby.

But, big surprise, my affluence was short-lived. When I got home Wednesday there was a letter awaiting me from the Virginia Department of Taxation claiming that I owed the Commonwealth roughly half of what the feds owed me from tax year 2000. Then Friday, I had to take my wife’s mini-van to get looked at. It had been acting up. The shop ran diagnostics that showed the air conditioning compressor needed to be replaced along with some electronic gadgets. There went the other half.

Then my lawnmower broke.

So instead of launching 300 yard drives down the center of Myrtle Beach fairways this spring, I guess I’ll be scrounging up money for a bucket of balls after I pay somebody to mow my grass. Good thing the PowerBuilts still have a few good rounds left in them.

And as for our family vacation, lucky for us &uot;it’s a good time to be in Suffolk.&uot;

Andy Prutsok is editor and publisher of the News-Herald.