City#8217;s favorite nut may grace plates

Published 12:00 am Monday, October 17, 2005

Nearly 100 goober-lovers have signed a petition to serve up the world’s most distinguished nut on their plates.

If all goes as planned, Mr. Peanut n the elegant top-hatnclad Planters Peanut icon –

will be the newest addition on the state Division of Motor’s menu of specialized license plate offerings by January 2006, said Tom Powell, a downtown businessman and chairman of the Suffolk Heritage, a citizen committee organizing the city’s participation in the Jamestown’s 400th anniversary celebration in

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At least 350 motorists must pre-pay for the plates before they will be made, according to the DMV.

The plates will cost $35; after the first 1,000 plates are sold, the state agency will donate $15 for each additional plate sold to Suffolk Heritage, Powell said.

The Mr. Peanut license plate was the brainchild of Powell’s committee, which will use the proceeds to help fund the city’s 2007 legacy project, The Web site will be a sort of online museum chronicling the city’s history as told by residents.

The Suffolk City Council unanimously approved a resolution supporting the Suffolk Heritage project at its last meeting.

The committee is still waiting for the official green light from Kraft Foods, the parent company of Planters, Powell said. Although the company has given the verbal OK, details are still being ironed out.

“We have had a lot of people show interest,” said Powell. “I expect thousands of people will want to have Mr. Peanut on their license plates.”

Mr. Peanut was born in Suffolk, the creation of a child who won a drawing contest sponsored by Planters founder Amedeo Obici in 1916. But even though the legume has special ties to this city, the special plate will be available to any motorist in Virginia, Powell added.

Suffolk Heritage is planning several other fundraisers to support its electronic museum, including:

*A limited edition reprinting of Kermit Hobbs’ book, &uot;Suffolk: A Pictorial History,&uot; which has long since been sold out. The book would include 16 additional pages devoted to the city’s history since its original printing more than two decades ago.

*The sale of commemorative prints showing highlights in Suffolk history, commissioned by a well-known Hampton Roads artist.