Column – Rocking the day away

Published 4:57 pm Tuesday, September 12, 2023

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Technology and education advances were the highlights of 1987 and ’88. In February of 1987, the City Council took a big step in expanding citizen participation in government. The unblinking eyes of Suffolk Cablevision’s cameras were upon the city council as its first February session became its first-ever televised meeting. TV cameras from Suffolk Cablevision monitored the happenings of the council as it addressed issues new and old on Channel 13. 

Brandon House Furniture and the American Cancer Society sponsored a fundraising challenge at the end of February. Highlights of the challenge included Pee-wee Herman underwear and a rock-a-thon. The event took place in the front display window of Brandon House Furniture. The rocker who raised the most money and rocked the entire 24 hours received a rocking chair from the store. As for Pee-wee’s underwear, the public was encouraged to send in bids for that delightful item and several others through a “Silent Auction.”

In late May, the traditionally male Rotary Clubs of Suffolk faced the prospect of having local women join their ranks due to a Supreme Court decision. “‘I haven’t heard of any women who want to join yet,’ Richard Turner, president of the North Suffolk Rotary Club, said. ‘I think there is a place for both. Only time will tell how it will work.’ The North Suffolk and Suffolk Rotary Clubs are the two local clubs linked with the international service organization. ‘It should be emphasized that the purpose of the Rotary Club is not a select group of people getting together to socialize,’ Turner said. ‘But it’s ‘service above self.’ That’s our motto. We are concerned with local and national needs of people.’”

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A scramble by parents and guardians began in October 1987 thanks to a new federal tax law requiring them to show Social Security numbers for dependents five years and older when claiming them as dependents on tax forms. The scramble was a result of the necessity to obtain a Social Security card. According to a survey earlier in ’87, only 16 percent of Virginians have obtained a Social Security number for their children. But Suffolkians had obtained Social Security cards for about 75% of Suffolk youth. 

On Sept. 21, 1988, lottery sales legally began in Virginia. 

In October 1988, after seven years of discussion and bargaining, the School Board and City Council came together to break ground for the city’s two new high schools. The ceremony was held first at the Nansemond River High School site at Nansemond Parkway and Sleepy Hole Road, where bulldozers had just begun leveling the ground. Then it was on to the Lakeland High School site on Kenyon Road, where a farmer, who leased the property from the former owner, was completing his peanut harvest. 

1988 finished with the City Council voting to appropriate $117,000 to buy computers, printers, and satellite dishes for use in Suffolk’s public high schools.