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A summertime potpourri

A summary of random thoughts about the Suffolk News-Herald’s best stories of the past week:

  • Suffolk Sister Cities International is one of the coolest groups in Suffolk. It regularly sponsors student exchanges between both of its sister cities, Oderzo, Italy, and Suffolk County, England. For an American teen, how cool is it to have the opportunity to travel to Europe, stay with host families who can give you a glimpse of how folks in that country really live, and see all sorts of cool sights? The same can be said of Italian and British teens who come to America, as four of them did this week. Suffice to say that I’m jealous.
  • A school supply drive is happening for children with parents incarcerated in Western Tidewater Regional Jail and Hampton Roads Regional Jail. These children have been placed in a really tough situation through no fault of their own, but it’s more common than you might think: roughly 1 in 14 children in America have had a parent incarcerated. The drive goes through mid-August, so while you’re out shopping for your own kids or grandkids, throw a few extra items in your cart and give Building Resilience in Communities a call at 598-4272 or an email at info@brcinc.com. They will arrange to get the donations from you.
  • Gov. Ralph Northam did the right thing last month when he made permanent the Virginia Department of Veterans Services’ Military Medics and Corpsmen program, which you can read about on today’s front page. This program makes the transition go smoothly for military health care professionals who are leaving the military and would like to continue their health care career in the civilian world. The U.S. military offers some of the best training in the world, and it’s a shame that it so often goes to waste because veterans — for a number of different reasons — often can’t find work in their field after they leave the military. This program paves the way, and we’re all better for it.
  • The Suffolk Public Library’s “Family Fridays” events seem to be a hit. Kids have enjoyed art projects and other activities, some of them at the park, this summer, and last week, they got to enjoy archaeology activities courtesy of the Fairfield Foundation. Kids got to wash artifacts, put broken plates and bowls (not real artifacts but still super-cool) back together and sketch artifacts they could look at in a glass case. One wonders how many of those kids went home with a new career aspiration and promptly went to work seeing what they could find in the backyard.
  • The Suffolk Public Library held an informative presentation last week on Nansemond County Training School, given by Mae Burke, an alumna of the school and advocate for saving the building and repurposing it. The building has historical significance as one of the schools build by the Rosenwald Fund, established by Sears, Roebuck & Co. executive and philanthropist Julius Rosenwald to provide for the construction of schools for black students in the rural South during segregation. About 5,000 schools eventually were built with $4 million from the fund, but many of them have been lost to the passage of time. Nansemond County Training School is one of a fraction still standing, and it cannot be allowed to suffer the same fate.