Businesses lining up to support NNO

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 17, 2004

Suffolk News-Herald

The &uot;21st Annual National Night Out (NNO),&uot; has been scheduled for Aug. 3, and local businesses are lining up in support of the event. That comes as no small surprise since the theme this year is &uot;National Night Out is in the Business of Crime Prevention,&uot; calling attention to the important role that businesses and the &uot;Business Watch&uot; program play in crime prevention.

National Night Out is a nationwide one-night rally where citizens and law enforcement join forces to strengthen neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships. The evening is also for the community to get to know local police officers in the hope of forming bonds that will make their neighborhoods an even safer place to live.

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Meeting at Western Tidewater Regional Jail on Tuesday, the executive committee of the NNO 2004 discussed plans for city-wide events and they came up with something of interest for all ages, as well as the local businesses.

In fact, the business community will be displaying artwork by local children who will either color an NNO logo, or they may create their own poster using this year’s NNO theme for inspiration.

Beginning with the youngest of Suffolk’s citizens, pre-kindergartners, the coloring contest should be a lot of fun. Every child in the city is encouraged to color the logo and winners will be awarded certificates from three local restaurants.

Kevin Thomas, manager of Burger King on North Main Street, said he’s donating 15 Kids Meals, 10 Burger King stadium cups and five Burger King scanner radios to award the youth for their artwork. He’s also using an entire wall of his restaurant to display the artwork once they are received by the NNO committee.

&uot;I love kids and I’m totally committed to helping out the NNO events in Suffolk,&uot; said Thomas. &uot;Anything that Burger King can do to assist law enforcement, we are more than happy to make the commitment.&uot;

Jennifer Owen, the general manager of Hardees on Route 58 said she sees NNO as an opportunity for local businesses to bond with law enforcement and she’s proud to include Hardee’s in this community effort.

Kay Jones, manager of McDonald’s on North Main Street, has committed to providing 15 Happy Meals for the winners of the coloring contest.

&uot;We are proud to stand with local law enforcement and we are proud to take part in the National Night Out events,&uot; said Jones.

Youth in three age groups are encouraged to participate in the poster contest. Winners will be chosen from the six to eight year old group, the nine to 12 year olds, and those 13 to 15 years old. They will also be rewarded for their work.

The coloring contest pages will soon be available at area businesses, the Suffolk News-Herald and Suffolk Parks and Recreation as well as at area day schools.

The deadline for submission of artwork is July 12, and it will be on display at various businesses throughout the city, before, during and after the Aug. 3 NNO.

In addition to the youth, civic leagues across Suffolk are also joining up to participate in the NNO. This year, a panel of three judges will select the best display by a civic league and the organization will be honored with presentation of an award and featured in a News-Herald story.

Capt. Stephanie Burch of the Suffolk Police Department said she would like to see every civic league in Suffolk get involved in that contest. Also, any other neighborhood group who would like to show their support for law enforcement may get involved in the NNO by calling Donna Perry at 679-3993; or Suffolk Police Officer Debbie Benavidez at 469-1956; or Officers John K. Cooke or KarlV. Adams at 923-4741.

Last year’s National Night Out campaign involved citizens, law enforcement agencies, civic groups, businesses, neighborhood organizations, and local officials in Suffolk. It was the same in over 10,000 communities from all 50 states, U.S. territories, Canadian cities and military bases worldwide. In all, over 34 million people participated in NNO 2003.

As Capt. Burch noted, NNO strengthens neighborhoods by generating support for, and participation in, local anti-crime programs. The celebrations also serve to send a message to criminals letting them know that neighborhoods are organized and fighting back.

Preparations for this year’s events are progressing and citizens can look for special events to begin in July. One of the events will be a great Sidewalk Sale that would take place on July 17, and shoppers may find not only some sizzling summer sales, but also a special exhibition of the brand new K-9 Unit and a motorcycle exhibition by law enforcement from Suffolk and surrounding areas. Suffolk officers will also have on display their drug intervention Marine Patrol equipment.

On July 31, look for a &uot;Care Fair&uot; at John F. Kennedy Middle School and Officers Cooke and J.H. Jackson will be on hand with sno-cones for the kids and crime prevention information for the parents.

Donna Perry, the financial development coordinator for the Suffolk Chapter of the American Red Cross, said she will also be at that event with her popcorn machine and the &uot;Ident-A-Kid&uot; program. Children will be fingerprinted free of charge, and the parents are given the card bearing the child’s fingerprint in case the child ever goes missing.

The list of businesses participating in NNO events this year is growing, and those who wish to participate should call the Community Improvement Unit at 923-4744. The deadline for applications is July 23.

Capt. Burch, Major Wilson and others of the NNO committee urge civic leagues, church groups, clubs, and individuals to get involved with this special project.

Suffolk has won awards in the past for its participation and the committee is hoping that citizens and businesses alike will take part in celebrating NNO with some of those award-winning activities again.

Suffolk’s Night Out 2004 Team includes: Police Major Larry Wilson; Captain Stephanie Burch; Officers John Cooke, Karl Adams and Debbie A. Benavidez; Mark Furlo of Parks & Recreation; Cathy Wolford of VDOT; Donna Perry, the financial development coordinator of the Suffolk Chapter of Red Cross: Diana Klink, community outreach coordinator for the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office; and Donald Bennett of Neighborhood Development Services; Susan Blair, president of Hall Place Neighborhood; Mark Wilcox of Western Tidewater Regional Jail; Judy Hickey of Suffolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority; Gail Clements of Senior Services of Southeastern Virginia; James Daily, a Citizen’s Police Academy Alumni; and Pam King, of the Suffolk Fire Department.

As of June 14, the following business had signed up for the &uot;N.N.O Sidewalk Sale;&uot;

Barr Bros. Jewelers, Cafe’ Moose, Hair Cut Express, Wal-Win Carpet, Heirlooms of Tomorrow Antiques & Collectibles, Farm Fresh, Southern Interiors Inc.

Payless, Fashion Cents,D. B. Bowles Jewelry, Denison’s, Hall Mark Cards & Gifts, Karen’s 4 Kids, A & N, East Coast Communications, Domino’s, Children First, Holiday Foods & Ice, Lowe’s of Suffolk, Wal-Marts on North Main Street and College Drive,

Absolute Tan, Movie Time, G.N.C., Dollar Tree, The Winning Edge, Food Lions at Holland Plaza and Lee Farm Lane, Copico, Virginia Beach Feed & Seed, Driver General Store, Print and Stitch, Arthur’s, The Christian Book Store, Dollarville, Village Hairloom and Weightloss 4/Ever.