Suffolk rings in ’06

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 3, 2006

For most of Suffolk, Saturday night marked an annual ending. For Michael Walsh and Kate Rockey, however, it was a special beginning. With just a few hours left in 2005, the two were married at Westminster Reformed Presbyterian Church.

&uot;She’s everything I ever wanted,&uot; said Walsh, who, ironically enough, met Rockey while hiring her for the north Suffolk software engineering firm EchoStorm Inc. &uot;I knew she worked well with others, and things just went from there.&uot;

Over the past few years, Walsh joked, he’d compiled a list of qualities for his ideal lady.


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&uot;Some of my friends were telling me that I needed to cut it down to a few things,&uot; he said, &uot;but she filled everything on it. I had to add things for her. She’s a dream come true.&uot; The couple planned to honeymoon in Hawaii.

They weren’t the only ones with something extra to celebrate for Dec. 31; at Baron’s Pub, Sherry LaSalle’s friends and family helped the Florida resident enjoy her birthday.

&uot;I’m from Florida, and they’re from here, so we just ended up at Baron’s,&uot; LaSalle said, adorned in a celebratory lei. &uot;They hang out here, and this is where we ended up. The atmosphere is very nice.&uot;

As the band Sweet Papa and the Too Hot Blues Crew rocked the downstairs, T.J. Owens and his friends prepared for 2006 by getting in a few last games at Baron’s bowling video game.

&uot;It’s the best place in town,&uot; Owens said between strikes and spares. I was here for the last New Year’s Eve, and I had to come again.&uot;

The midnight hour drew closer. Televisions at Baron’s, A.J. Gators and several other restaurants turned to the clocks of Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Year’s Eve and other welcoming celebrations. Suffolkians prepared to say farewell to one year and welcome in a fresh start.

Then the ball in Times Square started to fall. There was a minute to go. Then 40 seconds. Thirty. Twenty. Ten… nine… eight… seven… six… five… four… three… two… one…

The celebration began. Thousands filled the streets. Cheers filled the ground and fireworks the skies. Sitting at a table at Gators with his wife Christine, David Shaffer was already looking into a year just a few moments old.

&uot;I want to lose about 150 pounds and quit tobacco!&uot; he said as the booming sound and flaming sight of fireworks lit up nearby Suffolk skies. &uot;I think I have to quit eating.&uot;

&uot;I want to finish my degree in counseling at Old Dominion University,&uot; Christine

said. &uot;I haven’t been back for about six years because I had a couple children, but I can go back now.&uot;