Suddenly it’s Noble and Stormont

Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 10, 2003

I’m glad that the Procaccianti Group pulled out of the Hilton Inn financing fiasco because I had trouble pronouncing the name. It’s one of those words you see in print and skip over because that’s easier than studying the word to be sure you get in all the syllables. I mean, who has the time? So, they’re gone and the Noble Investment Group does the noble thing and jumps into the arrangement. Now it’s another of those &uot;Who’s on first?&uot; deals; we, the taxpayers, come up with $13 million, which could be generated by an IDA sale of industrial bonds. Noble and Stormont pony up a paltry 3.5 million, Towne Bank risks $6 million and we, honorable taxpayers, back that loan by securing it with $2 million through a letter of credit by the City of Suffolk. Does that mix make you just a tweet nervous?

Haven’t heard any reports from either the Mattanock Indian village task force, or Calvin Jones who volunteered his services to find a way to satisfy, in this case King Herbert, with a &uot;business plan&uot; the Indians could live with. I take more than a passing interest in this project because it would be good for Suffolk, Chuckatuck, tourism, and my ego because I have been voted an honorary member of the tribe. Chief Bass informed me just this week and I’m looking for a genuine deer hide suit to wear with my bow and arrow. However, even if I find one that fits a body 6′ 4&uot;, I will not wear it at the Indian powwow this summer, because of the heat. As a member of the tribe I can now suggest they change the date of that event to one with more possibility of cooler weather. I lost five pounds last year just watching them dance.

The constant merging of banks with name changes is really getting to me even though I am always told it is in the name of efficiency, greater profits, and more – not always free – services. I think I saw a sign over on Godwin, our up and coming new downtown, that a new bank would be going up over there. That’s close to where I live and I will shift once again, not because I love those savings account interest rates, but because there is hope they will keep the same bank name on my checks at least during the remainder of my life. I will make that part of the deal: you change this name or location and I’m gone. I like that part of banking where they guarantee your deposits up to $100,000 even though I’ve never had more than a hundred dollars in a saving account; But get serious, you are going to pay me 1 percent? And how many decades have they guaranteed up to a hundred grand, how come that doesn’t go up like everything else?

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We did Andy Damiani’s Round Table Talk from the Suffolk Executive Airport where the potential is all around you. Fire hydrants indicate that a large water line supplies it, but the 30-inch Hampton Roads sewer line needs several force pumps before they can go on line way out there, hopefully, next year. We had breakfast and lunch off the Throttle Back menu and Andy’s guest was Evelyn Jones, chairwoman of the Airport Commission. She knows the facts and pointed out that completion of the Suffolk bypass was greatly needed if the airport is going to really fly. We’re talking here of the link between Carolina Road and Hwy 58 on the east side of town. Then the bypass would form a complete circle around the business districts making the airport easy access from all four directions. That’s not on next year’s must list but should be. Every airport in Tidewater has a waiting list for hangers. Let’s get there first.

Saw two new planes there at the World War II aircraft museum, &uot;The Fighter Factory&uot; where they beautifully restore old planes gathered from around the world. This is one of the largest private collections of vintage military aircraft. The public is welcome Monday through Friday. No charge, but there should be, and your kids will love it. They have just purchased a Hurricane, found up in Canada, and a huge PBY. I drop by now and then just to reminisce.

Last year’s air-show around Father’s Day was a huge success and it will be bigger next June. Thousands will attend but more about that later. Plan for it now.

Robert Pocklington is a resident of Suffolk and a regular News-Herald columnist.