On gridlock, culture and useful lame ducks

Published 11:03 pm Tuesday, October 1, 2013

This and that about this and that …

  • If the Suffolk City Council succeeds with its agenda of “Getting Things Done” at Thursday’s annual retreat, perhaps its members can give some tips to Congress and the White House. Little of anything is getting done in Washington these days.
  • Friday’s annual Art d’Vine fundraiser at the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts reminded us afresh of the foresight community leaders had more than a decade ago to bring the crumbling Suffolk High School back to life as an arts and entertainment hub. How blessed Suffolk is to have such a cultural gem, now in its seventh year. The annual Jazz & Jeans event raised important funds for the center’s operations, but another effective way for citizens to ensure its long-range vitality is to buy tickets and fill the theater every time the doors are open for a performance.
  • A terrific opportunity awaits on Saturday, Oct. 12, when humorist Jeanne Robertson visits SCCA for an 8 p.m. performance. The former Miss North Carolina is known to keep audiences in stitches with such stories as “Don’t Go to Vegas Without a Baptist,” “Don’t Bungee Jump Naked” and “Don’t Send a Man to the Grocery Store.” Tickets are $35 each and available at www.suffolkcenter.org or 923-2900.
  • Admission is free the next day when the Suffolk-Nansemond Historical Society hosts its fall membership meeting at the center with a talk by Joyce Hurdle Trump on “Amedeo Obici — His Life and Legacy in Suffolk — Planters Peanuts and More.” Refreshments are planned at 2 p.m., followed by the program at 2:30. While there, check out the ongoing Planters memorabilia exhibit, one of many local events commemorating the company’s 100th year of operations in Suffolk.
  • Wonder how much money Walmart, the biggest of big boxes, lost in the few hours Suffolk’s North Main Street store was closed Tuesday because of a carbon monoxide scare? On the first of the month, no less.
  • Still surprised that nothing along Pruden Boulevard made the list of Suffolk’s most dangerous intersections, as ranked by the Hampton Roads Transportation Planning Organization based on accident data from 2009 to 2012.
  • Virginia Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling would rather be in the game than on the sideline this election year, but Bolling is putting his time as a lame duck to good use. Bolling recently proposed needed reform of the commonwealth’s ethics laws for elected officials, including banning gifts in excess of $250 in aggregate for a calendar year; expanding gift reporting requirements and limitations to spouses and children; requiring disclosure of additional information regarding board memberships, income, investments and loans; prohibiting the use of campaign funds for personal expenditures; and creating a statewide Ethics Review Commission to review ethics-related complaints against elected officials and issue advisory opinions on ethics related issues. Had these rules been in place in recent years, Gov. Bob McDonnell might not be in such hot water today.

Steve Stewart is publisher of the Suffolk News-Herald. His email address is steve.stewart@suffolknewsherald.com.


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