2006 – The stories that were the news

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 30, 2006

During the next two days, the News-Herald will recap some of the top stories, the newsmakers, of 2006. Today, we look back at the third quarter, July through September.

The date is the day the story appeared in the newspaper.


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1 n A new state law went into effect requiring all sixth-graders to have the tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis booster shot before entering school Sept. 5. The law affected more than 1,000 Suffolk students.

5 n Robert Hunter Braford, who spent more than a quarter century as president of Bank of Suffolk, died at the age of 82.

6 n Linda T. Johnson was chosen from among the City Council members as mayor. She is the first woman to serve in this capacity in the city’s history. Curtis Milteer was named vice mayor.

9 n Harrison Nelms received his Eagle Scout rank. He is a member of Troop 1.

11 n A Suffolk grand jury indicted Tammy Skinner on the charge of inducing an abortion. She shot herself in February, killing her unborn baby. Originally, the charges were dropped.

13 n By a unanimous vote, the City Council chose to fire City Manager R. Steven Herbert. Mayor Linda T. Johnson said, “This action was not our first option, but became the only option afforded us.”

15 n Higher Ground Economic Development Association announced plans to open a transition house in Hall Place, a downtown Suffolk neighborhood. It would be a facility for inmates who are release from similar programs in prison.

18 n James Dean Henderson, convicted of setting a local catholic church on fire to hide a burglary, was sentenced to 20 years in prison, with all but four years suspended. The suspension was contingent on the 19-year-old attending and completing the Youthful Offender Program.

20 n Residents of Hall Place voiced their concern about a planned transitional home in their neighborhood. Vice Mayor Curtis Milteer was present at the meeting.

21 n Hall Place residents took their concerns over a transitional house to City Council. Vice Mayor Curtis Milteer said while he supported giving people a second chance, he didn’t think Hall Place was the appropriate location for the facility.

26 n Pruden Hardware held a special open house to celebrate its 100th year in business.

29 n Danielle Monique Davis, of Isle of Wight County, was charged in the July 2005 shooting death of Diane Holland. Holland was standing with a group of other teens along Hunter Street when somebody began shooting. A second teen was wounded. Davis was charged with first-degree murder and other charges.


4 n Tammy Skinner, indicted by a grand jury for inducing an abortion by shooting herself in the stomach in February, pleaded not guilty during an arraignment on the charge. Prosecutors asked for a jury trial, saying the case is one of “such community importance.”

8 n The bodies of two Emporia sisters were found in a rural area of North Carolina. The women, Dorothy Hobbs, 74, and Nellie Bradley, 71, were discovered by a Murfreesboro, N.C. resident.

9 n The city finalized a deal acquiring 57 acres of surplus property on the Tidewater Community College’s Portsmouth campus for $5.5 million. The land will be used for further development along Suffolk’s high-tech corridor in the area of College Drive and Interstate 664.

10 n Gov. Tim Kaine and members of his staff visited Hampton Roads. Daniel G. LeBlanc, the governor’s senior workforce advisor, made a stop in Suffolk.

12 n Due to poor Standards of Learning results, the superintendent of schools, Dr. Milton Liverman, told school officials that some of the area’s schools could lose their accreditation.

Danielle Monique Davis, charged earlier in the year with the shooting death of Diane Holland in 2005, is given a court date for later August, where she is expected to be arraigned on a charge of first-degree murder.

13 n City Council announced its members were considering calling for an independent financial analysis of the city’s books.

15 n The Shoppes on the Village Green opened in Governor’s Pointe.

18 n City Council received the results of a Youth Violence Study developed by the Suffolk Initiative on Youth. The group sent nearly three dozen recommendations to the council in a 200-page report dealing with ways to stem the increase in youth violence in the city.

22 n Local and state officials and dozens of others were on hand Aug. 20 for the official opening of the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts, located in the former Suffolk High School. The school had been vacant for more than a decade before a multi-million dollar renovation.

24 n A Suffolk grand jury handed down indictments charging Antonio E. Riddick with four counts of capital murder in connection with the April 28 shooting deaths of Brandon Whittington and Dynia Branch in North Suffolk.

26 n A fire in a macadamia nut roaster at Planters Peanuts kept firefighters busy for several hours. Nearly four dozen firefighters answered the call at the Morgan Street facility.

29 n James Martin and Heather Frango, whose 2-year-old son Jonathan Martin was mauled to death by one or both of the family dogs in 2005, were sentenced to three years each. Suffolk Circuit Court Judge Carl Eason gave each of them seven years in prison for the involuntary manslaughter of the child and five year each for felony child neglect. He then suspended all but the three years and ordered them to pay $5,500 in restitution.

30 n The National Hurricane Center was tracking Tropical Storm Ernesto, predicting it would move over the Hampton Roads area within two days.

31 n Officials with the Western Tidewater Health District reported the discovery of the area’s first case of equine West Nile Virus for 2006. It was detected in a horse in Whaleyville.

Officials announced that the two dogs involved in the mauling death of Jonathan Martin in 2005 will be destroyed because the case had been resolved.


1 n One of 49 people killed in the Kentucky crash of a Comair commuter jet had ties to Suffolk. Marcie Thomason, 25, was engaged to marry Suffolk native Charles Cutchin Powell Jr., son of the late Charles Powell and Ann Royall Story Powell.

Richard A. “Dick” Davis, secretary-treasurer of the Richard Bennett Trust, died at age 85.

2 n

Tropical Storm Ernesto moved across Hampton Roads, dumping up to 10 inches of rain on Suffolk and causing widespread flooding.

8 n City lawmakers began talking about the possibility of the city voters electing the mayor. The current system allows for the mayor to be chosen from among the City Council members.

9 n Mount Sinai Baptist Church, on Holy Neck Road, was added to the Virginia Landmarks Register by the Virginia Department of Historic Resources.

10 n The annual Nosh on the Nansemond River drew thousands of visitors.

Mayor Linda T. Johnson said she wants the City Council to start holding meetings at other venues across the city in order to reach more people.

12 n The Suffolk Redevelopment Housing Authority filed a petition to condemn 10 properties owned by local businessman Frank Sheffer to make way for the city’s $10.5 million Fairgrounds Redevelopment Project.

Nansemond-Suffolk Academy officials announced the acquisition of 47 acres adjacent to the school which will initially be used as practice athletic fields. The land nearly doubles the size of the school’s campus.

14 n

Senior Patrol Officer Junius “Jay” Jackson was named the city’s “Top Cop.” He will go on to compete against his peers in Hampton Roads for the top regional honor.

17 n Former Suffolk Mayor E. Dana Dickens III was named to the Commonwealth Transportation Board by Gov. Tim Kaine.