Suffolk magazine launched

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 2, 2006

“This has been a big year.”

A simple sentence, an understatement even, of what 2006 has been like for the city of Suffolk.

Virginia L. “Jinks” Babey, editor-in-chief of Discover Suffolk magazine, tried to capture the essence of the changes in this year’s edition of the now annual publication that was launched yesterday morning.

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Much of the magazine, and the breakfast at the Hilton Garden Inn and Suffolk Conference Center celebrating its release, centered on the newly opened Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts. Babey was a 1969 graduate of Suffolk High School and was as excited as anybody about its spectacular transformation.

Discover Suffolk, a magazine dedicated to celebrating all that is good in the city, was started 12 years ago. The 144-page glossy publication is used to help market the city to prospective residents, businesses and industries. Mayor Linda Johnson said, as a real estate agent, she keeps them in her car so that when someone wants to know what Suffolk is about, she can simply hand them a Discover Suffolk.

Rosemary Check, vice president and head administrator with Sentara Obici Hospital, said the first word to come to her mind when she perused the new edition was “celebrate.” A lot of the magazine’s content speaks to the celebration of Suffolk and the former Nansemond County, the rich history of the area, new development, businesses and more, she said.

Whitney Saunders, a partner with a local law firm and president of the Corporate Board of the SCCA, was another speaker during the breakfast at the Hilton. He asked the crowd in the packed ballroom to think back eight or more years ago to when city leaders were brainstorming ways to reverse stagnation in Suffolk.

Revitalization began with the Mills E. Godwin Courthouse, then the Professional Building, the Hilton and finally, the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts, he said.

“We have an absolute jewel of a building which needs to be taken advantage of by all of us,” Saunders said.

Physically, economically, the tides have turned in the city, he said, but now the mentality of Suffolk residents needs changing. Saunders said he still hears people say they don’t feel like they’ve been anywhere unless they travel to Norfolk.

“You don’t have to go anywhere!”

Now Suffolk has a great cultural venue, excellent restaurants n all that people need for a fun, enriching experience. And Discover Suffolk, per its motto, is “everything you need to know to live, work and play in Suffolk.”

The magazine’s format still includes lots of newcomer-type information on schools, utilities, attractions, etc., interspersed with profiles of various Suffolk residents, past and present, such as retired teacher and volunteer John Monroe, Director of the SCCA Michael Bollinger, and actor Tim Reid, of WKRP in Cincinnati fame.

Discover Suffolk is available at many city offices and businesses, and

at the Suffolk Division of Tourism Visitor Center at the Historic Prentis House, 321 North Main Street. Call 757-923-3880 or toll free 866-SEE-SUFK.