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Fall 2010 • vol. 1, no. 4


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contents | fall 2010

EDITORIAL Tim Reeves Editor R.E. Spears III Managing Editor Tracy Agnew Staff Writer Leila G. Roche Staff Writer Lauren Wicks Contributing Writer

ADVERTISING Sue Holley Director of Advertising Nikki J. Reeves Director of Special Projects Sue Barnes Marketing Consultant Earl Jones Marketing Consultant

PRODUCTION Troy Cooper Designer PHOTOGRAPHY James Bielmann James Bielmann Photography Rebecca Keeling Gagnon Rebecca Keeling Studios Suffolk Living is published four times per year by Suffolk Publications, LLC. P.O. Box 1220, Suffolk, VA 23439 (757) 539-3437

Advertising rates and information available upon request. Subscriptions are $16 annually in-state; $20 annually out-of-state; $24 for international subscriptions. Please make checks payable to Suffolk Publications, LLC PO Box 1220, Suffolk, VA 23439

Inside this edition


Suffolk Events

There’s never a reason to be bored in Suffolk. With the vacation season having passed and temperatures falling back to comfortable levels, there’s more incentive than ever to find something to do right here at home. Check out the calendar for a few suggestions.

Suffolk Is tops

fighting fire as a family inding one’s calling in life can be an arduous journey of self-exploration, sacrifices and trial and error. For Suffolk Fire and Rescue Capt. Steve Johnson, his call to service was clear all along. “It’s been in my family for years,” Johnson said. “It’s in my blood.” Johnson’s father was a firefighter for 24 years, and his uncle has been serving in the fire department for more than 30 years. “I was 19, and I had already graduated and it hit me — Why am I not doing what my family has been doing all along?” Johnson said. Today, after more than 15 years with the Suffolk Fire Department, Johnson says he has never regretted his decision. See JOHNSON page 31

Suffolk firefighters break out windows to release smoke at a fire on Franklin Street in June 2009. At left, from top, firefighters carry the American flag in preparation for raising it for the first time in front of the new King’s Fork Public Safety Center at a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Aug. 3; A historic fire department bell stands in the lobby of the new public safety center; Firefighters battle last year’s blaze on Franklin Street from the ground.


suffolk living



Where is it? Identify the hiding-inplain-sight architectural feature, and you could win a prize.

Gone Crabbing

Sure, Ben Johnson spends a lot of time around crabs. But that doesn’t make him crabby. Crab harvests are going well this year, oyster season is just around the corner, and he gets to spend every day on the rivers of Suffolk and Isle of Wight, another waterman in a family of them.

High tech

where am I?


n each edition the Suffolk Living staff will provide a challenge of sorts, testing how much of Suffolk you really know. We will photograph some location in Suffolk that is readily accessible and open to the public. If you know where this photo was taken, submit your answer, along with your name and contact information to If you’re right, you will be entered for a chance to win a $25 gift certificate to any one of our partner advertisers. So, if you know where this is, let us know. If you’re right, you could be a winner. Go out and enjoy Suffolk!


It’s not exactly Fantasyland, but there’s plenty of make-believe going on behind the doors of Lockheed Martin’s Center for Innovation. These aren’t idle imaginations, though. The simulations that take place in this building save lives and help improve the world around us.


Firefighters and other public servants come out of the shadows.

story by Tracy Agnew photograph by Leila G. Roche


You already knew that Suffolk is a great place to call home. Now, the rest of the world knows, too. Money magazine took a look at some of the things Suffolkians love best and decided they were impressive enough to help make the city one of its top 100 places to live in 2010.



30 suffolk living

get to know

Getting A fresh catch

Like the first person to discover the joys of combining peanut butter and jelly, Dan Babiy knew he’d hit on something that would last as soon as he’d cast his first fishing line from a kayak. Since then, he’s been a sort of kayak-fishing missionary, sharing his love of the sport to all who will listen.

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Cover photograph by Rebecca Keeling Gagnon


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6 suffolk living

8 suffolk living

what to do Driver Days

Mutt Strut

Virginia Historic Garden Week


Taste of Suffolk

CALENDAR OF EVENTS 9/3 — TGIF Location: Bennett’s Creek Park, 3000 Bennett’s Creek Park Road The summer’s last TGIF concert of the year will feature Island Boy at Bennett’s Creek Park from 5:30 to 9 p.m. Concessions, children’s activities and more will be available. Call 514-7267 for more information. 9/10 — Driver End-of-Summer Beach Blast Location: Driver village, 3049 Kings Highway Come celebrate the end of summer from 6 to 10 p.m. in Driver. A hog roast, hot rods, live music, cornhole tournament, games, prizes and more will be available Call 538-3512 for more information. 9/10-10/31 — Food for Thought: Culinary Images in Art Location: Shooting Star Gallery, 118 N. Main St.; Red Thread Studio; 153 W. Washington St.; Suffolk Museum, 118 Bosley Ave.; Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts, 110 W. Finney Ave. The “Food for Thought” show at Shooting Star Gallery will feature prints, paintings, photography

Send us your news To submit your calendar or news item, simply email it to:

and pottery by regional and national artists, all featuring images of food. Call 934-0855 for more information. At the Red Thread Studio, a variety of display ideas for your table will be interspersed with fashion accessories for the wardrobe. Call 9239832 for more information. The Suffolk Museum and Suffolk Art League will present “Nectar of the Gods,” an exhibit of artifacts from the collection of the Italian coffee company Massimo Zanetti. The comprehensive collection contains objects and advertisements that will appeal to coffee connoisseurs, historians and designers alike. Call 514-7284 for more information. At the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts, a traveling photography exhibit on the Japanese tea ceremony and pieces from the collection of Unilever Lipton will bring in visitors from all over. For more information, call 923-2900. 9/11 — Crab Pickin’ with a Purpose Location: Constant’s Wharf, 110 E. Constance

Road Suffolk 60 Care presents a new fundraising event this year. The Crab Pickin’ with a Purpose will be held from 5 to 9 p.m., and includes all-you-can-eat crab dinner, sides and two beer/wine tickets for those over 21. Tickets are $30 for adults, $15 for children 12 and under. Purchase tickets in person at A. Dodson’s, 2948 Bridge Road, or Uniquely Leo’s, 165 N. Main St. For more information, call 942-7070. 9/11 — Taste of Suffolk Location: Downtown Suffolk The fourth annual Taste of Suffolk downtown street festival will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the streets of downtown Suffolk. This familyfriendly event includes two stages for all-day entertainment, samples of signature dishes from Suffolk’s best restaurants, a new car exhibition, eating contests and special deals at on-site merchants and businesses lining the streets. Admission is free. Call 514-4130 or visit www. 9/19 — Mutt Strut Location: Sleepy Hole Park, 4700 Sleepy Hole Road The Suffolk Humane Society’s third annual Mutt

suffolk living

what to do

Suffolk Ruritan Shrimp Feast

Strut dog walk and festival will be held from 1 to 5 p.m., and includes a pledge walk, dog demonstrations, pet health screenings, canine games and contests, pet-related vendors, rescue groups, silent auction, prizes, children’s activities and more. Visit or call 538-3030 for more information. 9/30 — Queen’s Luncheon and Fashion Show Location: National Guard Armory, 2761 Godwin Blvd. Since 1941, the peanut festivities in Suffolk have included the coronation of a queen and her court. This year’s Queen’s Luncheon, produced by the Pilot Club of Suffolk and sponsored by Planters and the Sports Medicine and Orthopaedic Center, will include a fashion show by Denison’s. The festival queen is selected from among high school seniors based on a creative writing essay, school activities, achievements and community involvement. Tickets are $15 each. Call 514-4130 for tickets. 10/1 — Art D’Vine Location: Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts, 110 W. Finney Ave. The fourth annual wine tasting and silent auction fundraiser for the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts will begin at 6 p.m. Tickets required; adults 21 and older only permitted. Call 923-0003 for more information. 10/2 — Boys & Girls Club Barbecue Location: Constant’s Wharf Park & Marina The Suffolk Unit of the Boys & Girls Club for Southeast Virginia will hold a barbecue dinner fundraiser from 4 to 7 p.m. The band Island Boy will provide the entertainment, and adult beverages will be available. Tickets are $30 each. Call 935-9065 for more information. 10/2 — Peanut Fest Parade Location: Downtown Suffolk Come line the streets of downtown Suffolk at 10 a.m. to watch the annual Peanut Fest parade march through the city. Sponsored by McDonald’s and SunTrust Bank, this parade always features the best Suffolk has to offer, including marching bands, animal units and more. Call 514-4130 for more information. 10/7 — Suffolk Ruritan Shrimp Feast Location: Suffolk Executive Airport One of the traditional kick-off activities to the Peanut Fest, the Shrimp Feast annually draws about 5,000 people to enjoy all-you-can-eat steamed shrimp, North Carolina barbecue, chicken, cole slaw, baked beans, rolls and


10 suffolk living Jack and Josh West

what to do

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Suffolk Nansemond Historical Society Candlelight tour beverages. Tickets are $30 each in advance, or $35 at the gate. Call 5144130 for more information. 10/8-10/10 — Suffolk Peanut Festival Location: Suffolk Executive Airport The Suffolk Peanut Festival lasts all weekend, with national and local acts performing on two stages, as well as traditional fair food, rides and games. Parking is $10 per vehicle per day, or $20 per vehicle for a four-day pass. For more information, call 514-4130. 10/23-24 — Driver Days Fall Festival and Car Show Location: Driver village, 3049 Kings Highway Enjoy down-home hospitality with good food, live music, a community pageant, living history demonstrations, pet costume contest and more. A car show is featured with everything from classics to customs. Proceeds benefit the Driver Volunteer Fire Department and local charities. Free general admission; event lasts from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Call 538-2488 or visit 11/6-11/7 — Holiday Open House at Governor’s Pointe Location: Shoppes on the Village Green, 1893 Governors Pointe Drive Get a jump on your holiday shopping — or just enjoy the first signs of the season — at this festive open house at the Shoppes on the Village Green. Participating merchants include A Tisket, A Tasket, Katody’s and Bon Vivant Market. Salon on Pointe and the Vintage Tavern also are featured. Free and open to the public from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Call 238-3810 for more information. 11/19 — Suffolk Illumination Ceremony Location: Market Park, 328 N. Main St. Kick off your holiday season with the lighting of the Christmas tree, hot apple cider, Christmas carols and more signs of the season, beginning at 6 p.m. Free and open to the public. Call 514-7267 for more information. 12/4 — Suffolk Holiday Parade Location: Downtown Suffolk The annual downtown tradition continues this year with colorful floats, marching bands, dancers, equestrian and civic groups, and more entertaining the entire family beginning at 10 a.m. The parade is free and open to the public. Call 514-4130 for more information. 12/4-12/5 — Suffolk Nansemond Historical Society Candlelight Tour Location: To be determined The historical society’s annual candlelight tour opens Suffolk’s most historic and interesting homes and businesses to the public. Period holiday decorations, a sugar plum kitchen and more are featured. Tickets are required. Call 539-2781 for more information. 12/5 — Holland Village Tree Lighting Location: Holland village ballpark This annual gathering of friends and family in the village of Holland features Christmas carols, hot cocoa and the lighting of the Holland Christmas tree, all sponsored by the Holland Ruritan Club. The event is free and open to the public, and begins at 5 p.m. Visit for more information.

suffolk living


news + notes Art D’Vine pairs food with wine


n October event in Suffolk will include Virginia food paired with wines, auctions and entertainment, all for the cost of dinner out elsewhere. Art D’Vine, the main fundraiser for the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts, is set for Oct. 1. “Money generated from Art D’Vine goes into operating support for the center, which helps us with arts education and entertainment, community outreach and partnership,” said Susan Babiy, development director for the arts center. “This is a great way to support the center.” The fourth annual event will include a meal and silent and live auctions, filled with everything from fishing trips to original artwork. “There will be something for everyone,” Babiy said. This year’s theme, “Fall Fare with a Festive Flair,” includes a silent auction during a dinner of local food and wines, followed by an exciting live auction. “This is taking our local foods and making them special and unique,” Babiy said. “It’s hard to go out to dinner for the price of the ticket.” Funds raised at Art D’Vine support a variety of center programs, including gallery exhibits, an education fund that provides scholarships

Last year’s attendees at Art D’Vine cast bids for auction items ranging from oyster roasts and fishing trips to original artwork and restaurant gift cards. This year’s Art D’Vine — the fourth annual celebration — features silent and live auctions in addition to local food and entertainment.

for classes, grants for nonprofit organizations to use the building and more. “The money goes for a lot of wonderful things here at the center,” Babiy said. “We’re a

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community arts center, and this is a great way to support it.” This year’s fundraising goal is $50,000. For more information, call 923-0003. ←

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12 suffolk living

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suffolk living


suffolk scene They came from above

Suffolk Executive Airport hosted the Virginia Regional Festival of Flight in May, with dozens of airplanes and hundreds of pilots, aviation enthusiasts and people just curious about the hobby either flying in or driving in for a look. Aircraft of all shapes and sizes were there, from paraplanes (right) to full-scale working models intended to demonstrate construction techniques, below left, to the popular four-seat Cirrus SR22 commuter aircraft, below right. At bottom, from left, it was hard to miss the decorations on the aircraft that purported to represent Strategic Air Command’s 6th Bomb Wing; a father and son wish a little alongside one of the aircraft being sold at the event; and Henry Cahoon of Chesapeake works on his Christen Eagle II model airplane. Photos by R.E. Spears III

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suffolk scene


Suffolk celebrated the summer with a weekly party known as TGIF. At top, from left, Tracey McAllister, Dawn Heal and Diane Harrison came out to Constant’s Wharf one Friday to hang out and enjoy the festivities. The Michael Clarke Band provided the smooth sounds of the evening at Constant’s Wharf for the first TGIF of the season. Suffolk Police Officer Dan Jordan fishes out the first-place winner of the National Night Out duck race. Below, right, 10-year-olds Payton Fallon, left, and Jarvis Turner play a game of oversized checkers on the lawn. Landen Evans celebrates the National Night Out duck race with an inflatable duck.

Photos by Tracy agnew & Troy Cooper

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suffolk living


suffolk scene Suffolk Graduates

Clockwise from left: Faculty, family and friends congratulate Nansemond-Suffolk Academy’s new graduates following commencement ceremonies this year; Katie W. Taylor, center, with her parents Grace Taylor, left, and Archie Taylor, displays her diploma after her graduation from Nansemond River High School; seniors and teachers alike at Lakeland High School anxiously waited in halls and classrooms for the graduation ceremony on June 19; King’s Fork High School receptionist Orga Boone hugs newly minted high school graduate Nikita DeLoatch following the school’s graduation ceremonies; First Baptist Christian valedictorian Rebecca Ballance delivers her speech at graduation; Dijah Lloyd wipes away tears as she awaits her turn to walk across the stage at Nansemond River High School.

Photos by Suffolk living Staff

18 suffolk living

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suffolk scene Towne Bank Grand Opening

City officials joined bank employees and invited guests to a July 20 gala reception in the Towne Bank’s plush new Harbour View building.The entire 30,000-squarefoot facility was open for inspection as a four-piece jazz combo provided a musical backdrop to the conversations and laughter of hundreds of invited guests. Top: Margaret Lane, Ken Wrenn Sr., Laura Quinn McDermott and Karl Quinn; bottom, left: President and CEO G. Robert Aston. middle: Musicians played in the background as guests mingled; bottom, right: Christen Mclelland, Stephanie Gray and Ashley Ontko. Photos by Leila G. Roche & R.E. Spears iii

Obici WIng Opening

Debbie William, Sentara Obici Hospital auxiliary president, and Phyllis Stoneburner, vice president of patient care services at the hospital, were in attendance at an open house for Sentara Obici Hospital’s new wing; physicians James Wingo, left, an anesthesiologist, and Lindsey Vaughn, president of staff at Obici, chat at the open house June 10; from left, Andy Stephenson, Angie Lowry, Peter Lowry and Dr. Bernie Jamison attended; from left, Linda Austin, Sharon Zirges and Hattie Boone, all Sentara employees, celebrated Sentara Obici Hospital’s new wing opening. The three are standing in a kitchen where rehabilitation patients practice performing daily activities before they are discharged. Photos by Tracy Agnew

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suffolk scene National Night out

Suffolk celebrated National Night Out Aug. 3. At left, Nat Knight prepares for the big day with a “thumbs-up” at a TGIF event. Below: DezReona Baker, 5, dances with other children from New Hope Baptist at the Pughsville Park in an event, organized by the Pughsville Suffolk Civic League; Below, left: The Junior Driver Express hangs out at Driver’s National Night Out party; Bottom left, Brian Marshall, 3, sports a new balloon hat; Bottom center, members of the Suffolk Police Department talk to Isaiah Eton about safety at National Night Out; Bottom right, Rainbow the Clown paints a Spiderman mask on Malcom Hobbs at the Burbage Grant National Night Out party. Photos by Leila G. ROche and Tim Reeves

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suffolk scene Seattle reads Suffolk Living

When friends of Suffolk Living magazine went to Seattle this summer, they took along a few copies to share in The Emerald City. There were lots of new people to meet along the way, but another out-of-towner — from a galaxy far, far away — snagged a copy right off the bat. (Walter Dobbins of Garrison Titan 51st is in the stormtrooper costume.) Top right, Jake Jardine, a fishmonger at Pike Place Fish in Seattle’s Pike Place Market, was excited to catch a copy of the magazine, instead of a smelly fish. And bottom right, Jennifer Dobbins catches up on things in Suffolk while waiting for family outside Pike Place. Submitted Photos

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suffolk scene

Powwow in Chuckatuck

For two days, the Nansemond Indian Tribe, along with Native Americans from throughout the mid-Atlantic gathered for the annual powwow at Lone Star Lakes Lodge in Chuckatuck. Intermingled with the dancing were exhibits, crafts, vendors and great food, along with thousands of visitors who came from all over Hampton Roads to enjoy the event. For Chief Barry “Big Buck” Bass, the event is more than just a chance to visit with old friends and meet new ones. “I really do feel my ancestors during these days, when we are here next to the river,” Bass said. The annual powwow is scheduled for August each year.

Photos by TIm Reeves

26 suffolk living

Suffolk makes top 100 story by R.E. Spears III photographs by Leila G. Roche & R.E. Spears III


uffolk has been named one of the top 100 small cities to live in by Money magazine. Comparing cities across the nation in 37 different criteria, the magazine has ranked Suffolk 91st out of the top 100 small cities in America in which to live. The only other Hampton Roads city to make the list was Chesapeake, which was ranked 85th. Also in Virginia, Centerville (30th) and Alexandria (47th) made the list. Suffolk officials were unsurprised by the recognition of Suffolk as a desirable place to live, but they were glad of the chance for the rest of the nation to learn more about the city. “We’re glad we’re able to share that news nationwide,” Director of Economic Development Kevin Hughes said when the announcement was made in July. “This puts us on the map nationwide, so other people get to know it as well.” On its website, Money briefly describes Suffolk’s Peanut Festival and points out the recre-

ational opportunities that include fishing and canoeing on Suffolk’s lakes and to the Great Dismal Swamp. There also is a brief mention of the city’s restaurants. The magazine compared statistics from 746 U.S. cities with a population of 50,000 to 300,000 to make its rankings. Then, it sent staffers to the top 30 cities on the list to interview residents, and assess traffic, parks and other community resources. Suffolk spokesperson Debbie George said city officials had been contacted several weeks before the announcement by Money staffers and were told that they were being considered among the top “several hundred” small American cities. The magazine’s editors sought more information on a variety of topics, as well as some photos that represented life in Suffolk, she said. One area where Suffolk excelled in the report was in job creation, having posted more than 25 percent job growth since 2000, nearly 10 percentage points better than the average of the See TOP 100 page 27

suffolk living


industry happenings Top 100 continued from page 26

“best cities.” City officials believe the work they’ve done on diversifying the city’s employment base has paid dividends in job growth. “I think it really comes down to the diversity of product,” Hughes said. “We’re not a city who only has one industry, and you either depend on them doing well or not. It’s one of the things we really try to focus on as a government. It also helps the city get through a tough recession.” Leading the list of America’s top 100 small cities is Eden Prairie, Minn., population 64,000. With major employers including trucking company C.H. Robinson, hearingaid manufacturer Starkey Labs and the Minnesota Vikings’ main office and practice facility, Eden Prairie boasts an unemployment rate of just 5.1 percent, according to Money. The magazine also points to 17 lakes that are used for swimming and ice skating, as well as town parks with 125 miles of running, hiking and biking trails, as contributors to the city’s top ranking. The list is set for publication in the magazine’s August edition. It is available online at ←

The Great Dismal Swamp’s Lake Drummond is one of several lakes in Suffolk that provide places to paddle a canoe or a kayak, to drop a fishing line or just to watch Nature do her thing. Such pursuits helped Suffolk score well on qualityof-life measures, which contributed to its Money magazine rating.

28 suffolk living

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story by Tim Reeves photography by Rebecca Keeling Gagnon



he ingredients read like a fine steakhouse menu: seared beef tenderloin with avocado, cream cheese and spicy, marinated, fried onions. The only difference — this mouth-watering meal isn’t found at one of Hampton Roads’ finest steak restaurants, but at an award-winning sushi restaurant in downtown Suffolk — Sushi Aka. And the meal described above is not served simply on a plate, but prepared in a sushi roll with a delectable chili aioli sauce drizzled about. When ordering, simply ask for the Cowboy Crisp. Celebrating its fourth anniversary in October, Sushi Aka has made a name for itself for fine sushi, outstanding flair and a pair of chefs with a style all their own. “Just because you live in Suffolk doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the world,” Chef Mi-

chael Hart said. Hart and Adam Edwards work magic each evening, serving hundreds of customers both inside the restaurant and out. Hart admits he has helped some clients out by ordering fish for their kitchens at home. “If someone wants to do sushi themselves, that’s fine,” Hart said. “But just make sure you start with the best, freshest fish possible.” For those who want to enjoy awardwinning, fresh sushi and have an upclose view as Hart prepares it, Sushi Aka, located on West Washington Street in Suffolk, is open Tuesday through Thursday for lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., Tuesday through Thursday for dinner from 5 to 9:30 p.m. and Friday through Sunday for dinner from 5 to 10 p.m.

Michael Hart and Adam Edwards


30 suffolk living

get to know

fighting fire as a family story by Lauren Wicks photography by Tracy Agnew and R.E. Spears III


inding one’s calling in life can be an arduous journey of self-exploration, sacrifices and trial and error. For Suffolk Fire and Rescue Capt. Steve Johnson, his call to service was clear all along. “It’s been in my family for years,” Johnson said. “It’s in my blood.” Johnson’s father was a firefighter for 24 years, and his uncle has been serving in the fire department for more than 30 years. “I was 19, and I had already graduated and it hit me — Why am I not doing what my family has been doing all along?” Johnson said. Today, after more than 15 years with the Suffolk Fire Department, Johnson says he has never regretted his decision. See JOHNSON page 31

Suffolk firefighters break out windows to release smoke at a fire on Franklin Street in June 2009. At left, from top, firefighters carry the American flag in preparation for raising it for the first time in front of the new King’s Fork Public Safety Center at a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Aug. 3; A historic fire department bell stands in the lobby of the new public safety center; Firefighters battle last year’s blaze on Franklin Street from the ground.

suffolk living 31 JOHNSON continued from page 30

“I can’t get enough of the fire service,” he said. Johnson, a Lakeland High School graduate, said serving the community he grew up in has been one of the greatest perks of the job. “I’m happy to be able to help the city I grew up in,” Johnson said. “We want to make people living in Suffolk enjoy life in Suffolk. I see people that I went to school with, and I am able to help them — help make a good thing out of a bad thing. It’s just a reward of this profession.” While Johnson considers serving the community a reward, he also points to the people he serves alongside as an additional benefit. “I love being around my crew,” Johnson said. “We have five-day breaks, and I find that on the third day on a five-day break, I’m ready to go back just to see everybody. It’s another family to me.” Given the physical and emotional stresses inherent in running round-the-clock calls together, Johnson said the department learns to adapt together. “People think that we’re at the station playing checkers and cards or sleeping all day, and that’s not the case,” Johnson said. “To explain what we go through every night, I tell people to have someone else set your alarm clock. Then, when that alarm goes off, put some new clothes on, run around your house five times and then come back and try to fall asleep. It really is a

stressful job and a lot of work, but I enjoy working with my crew, and our department is a tight family.” That family provides a crucial service to the men and women of Suffolk. Since the early ‘90s, Suffolk officials have required that firefighters be trained emergency medical technicians, as well. “Back in the day, the only thing we had in the truck was a first aid kit,” Johnson said. “Now, there aren’t many fire trucks without a paramedic on board.” Johnson himself takes pride that the department has prepared firefighters to be comprehensive emergency responders. “The average age of our firefighter is 33 to 34,” Johnson said. “We’ve got young, aggressive firefighters and officers, and you have some of the best trained medical personnel coming to your aid. It’s just a reward that there are a lot of people that know they can call 911, and we’re coming to your aid and we’re going to take care of you.” For more information about the Suffolk Fire and Rescue Department, visit ←

get to know

Fire Capt. Steve Johnson says firefighting is a family affair. He enjoys serving the community and serving alongside his friends in the fire service.

32 suffolk living

a growing family

ready to launch ‘Boomers’


xperts are quick to segment society into generations. There are such titles as the Greatest Generation, Generation X and so on, but for those over the age of 45, they can quickly be united under the title of the growing generation. According to population statistics, those over the age of 45 make up 50 percent of the area’s population — and that figure is only expected to rise. More specifically, those areas in the Suffolk and Western Tidewater areas of Virginia and the Gates and Hertford County area of North Carolina are expected to see significant growth in those who fall into the 45 and older age group. In order to meet that growing population and to better serve that segment of its readership, Suffolk Publications announced recently the development and launch of “Virginia-Carolina Boomers.” Virginia-Carolina Boomers is a locally produced magazine with content that reaches far outside of the region’s coverage area and is set to publish twice each year, aimed at serving those in the “active generation.” “Our main goal as a media company is to serve two groups,” Suffolk Publications editor Tim

Reeves said. “We want to serve our readers and our business partners. If we fail to serve the needs of either group, then we fail to have a solid franchise.” Virginia-Carolina Boomers is unique to Suffolk Publications in that it is a joint venture between Suffolk Publications and its sister media companies in Franklin and Ahoskie. “By partnering together, we can better serve the combined region and our valued readers,” Suffolk Publications Director of Special Projects Nikki Reeves said. “The talent we have throughout our companies will give us a great opportunity to create a top-notch product.” The companies will also combine distribution, giving the magazine an impressive 30,000-plus distribution from the very start. The content of the magazine will focus on overall quality-of-life topics, such as travel, home and garden, healthy living, entertainment and more. “We want to make sure this is the type of product that is enjoyed from cover to cover,” Tim Reeves said. “We are really excited about getting started.” The first edition of Boomers is scheduled for this fall, with the second scheduled to release in early 2011. ←

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8/2/10 5:16 PM

34 suffolk living

suffolk living 35

crabbing for life

story by Tracy Agnew photography by R.E. Spears III


Ben Johnson of Eclipse holds a Chesapeake Bay Blue Crab, one of the 30 bushels worth that he and a helper hauled in during a recent morning of checking traps on the James River. Johnson and Sons Seafood has been operating in the Eclipse area for nearly 35 years.

hades of pink are just starting to creep across the night sky when Ben Johnson pulls up in his pickup truck to the pier in Eclipse. The stench of dead fish is heavy in the relatively cool July air. Gravel spins under the tires of Johnson’s two-tone Dodge Ram — license plate: SOFT CRB — as he parks it for the day. It’s still before dawn, but Johnson is running late. He usually gets to the pier by 4:30 a.m.; now, it’s closer to 5. Time isn’t on his side. He has 275 crab pots to empty before he must be done at 1 p.m., per state conservation regulations. He also doesn’t want to disappoint his customers, many of whom will line up at the pier starting at noon, anxious for his return with a boat full of fresh crabs. Johnson and his father, Robert, are partners in Johnson and Sons Seafood. The business has been operating from the Eclipse area for nearly 35 years. “It didn’t have a name until Ben came to work with me,” said Robert “Robbie” See Crabbing page 36

36 suffolk living Crabbing continued from page 35

Johnson, Ben’s father. “When I got out of school in 1975, some of my friends were doing that and it was just something that interested me. I kind of got into it and got going with it and all this time later, I’m still at it.” When Ben finished college in 2001, he joined his father in the business. He is an unusual case. “It’s a dying industry,” Ben Johnson said. “There’s very few people my age. It’s not something that’s being handed down and passed down.” On the pier this Friday morning, Johnson works swiftly to make up for lost time. He and a helper, Berna “Shorty” Drujillo, pack the “Lisa Dawn” — named after Ben’s mother — with supplies for the day. Bottles of water, baskets and $50 worth of dead menhaden baitfish packed in boxes are tossed from the pier into Drujillo’s waiting arms. Soon, it’s time to ship out. Johnson fires the motor and takes the controls in the cabin. As he turns the polished wood of the wheel from within the tiny wheelhouse of the Chesapeake Bay deadrise, the boat leaves Chuckatuck Creek and emerges onto the James River. The sun is still below the horizon. Johnson follows the same routine six days a week, taking only Sundays off. This year’s harvest of crabs has been good, but the watermen of Suffolk still gamble with risk and uncertainty. Johnson and Sons Seafood is no different. As he makes his own 20-minute commute to the mouth of the Pagan River, Johnson guides the Lisa Dawn beneath the James River Bridge. Noting the line of bright red brake lights in the dim light of dawn, he observes the raised steel grid of the drawbridge. “There’s a lot of angry drivers this morning,” he says. With only a couple of crabbers working the portion of the James where his pots are located, traffic isn’t a big concern for Johnson. Crab populations and state regulations are the things that cause him stress. This year’s harvest is good, but it wasn’t always that way. Just two years ago, blue crabs were scarce in Virginia waters, and harsher regulations — such as the 5 a.m. to 1 p.m. harvest period — took effect. Both Johnsons say it’s too soon to tell if the new regulations were effective. “We may turn around next year and not be able to find a crab,” Ben Johnson said. His father was more philosophical. “Man is a little bit egotistical in thinking these things he does make that much of a difference,” Robert Johnson said. “There’s too many variables in there that can’t be measured.” Despite the fickle nature of the industry, however, Ben Johnson says he enjoys that he never quite knows what his pots will yield from day to day. On this cool July morning, he finds that the haul is pretty good. Even in the faint light from the moon and impending sunrise, he steers the boat right to the first buoy of the morning. His crab pots are marked by black buoys with green stripes — registration number C5075. From his spot on Lisa Dawn’s starboard side, Johnson can steer the boat using a secondary metal wheel and throttle. With Drujillo positioned behind him, Johnson locates the buoy with a spotlight, casts a long See CRABBING page 37

Berna “Shorty” Drujillo empties a crab pot aboard the Lisa Dawn as the boat works a line of traps in the soft light of dawn on the James River. There are still about 270 to go.

suffolk living


Ben Johnson guides the Chesapeake Bay Deadrise boat from one crab pot to the next in line during a seven-hour morning in which he and helper Shorty Drujillo check, empty and bait 275 of the traps. The boat’s engine provides the only sound, as the two men work in the practiced silence of people who are used to each other and the work they share. CRABBING continued from pg. 36

pole toward the buoy and hooks the attached rope. After bringing the buoy close enough to grab it, Johnson wraps the rope around a spinning metal gear that reels the rope in. He pushes the buoy and rope toward Drujillo as the crab pot rises from the water. With one swift motion, Johnson loosens the mucky rope from the spinner, hauls the crab pot out of the water, opens the door to the bait compartment and dumps the spoiled remains into the river. He gives the crabs trapped in the wire cage a critical eye before turning to steer the boat once again. The rest is up to Drujillo. With well-practiced motions, he unhooks two sides of the trap and gives it a few violent shakes, sending crabs tumbling into the slotted bin at his feet. The catch scrambles for an escape route as Drujillo stuffs two or three dead fish into the bait compartment, latches the door, hooks the sides back together, tosses it into the water and knocks the buoy off the side of the boat. As the Lisa Dawn approaches the next trap, Drujillo begins sorting the crabs into separate baskets. Those under five inches must be thrown back, with the exception of “peeler” crabs, which are getting ready to molt. These will be monitored at the pier warehouse until they shed their

skin, at which time they become the popular softshell variety. Females without eggs and with eggs are separated, and the “jimmy” crabs are sorted by size — small, medium and large. After a few crab pots are emptied, the sun rises enough to reveal the scenery — opulent waterfront homes, the James River Ghost Fleet in the distance and even a bald eagle keeping a wary eye on the boat’s movements. The choppy waves keep the boat rocking on every axis, sending spray over the side of the boat and keeping Johnson’s framed wedding photo — taken on the Lisa Dawn — swinging wildly on the rear wall of the cabin. Johnson says he’s lucky that his wife, Christi, takes the challenges of being a waterman’s wife in stride. She understands that money is tight sometimes, like when a nor’easter last year caused severe damage to the building that houses the office and molting operation and loosened several of the $30 crab pots from their buoys. “It’s an expensive industry to get into, between the boats and the crab pots,” Johnson said. The two men empty crab pots for the next seven hours, with only brief interruptions. Robert Johnson calls several times for updates on the catch. Ben drops the pole in the murky water once — fortunately, it floats long enough for him to back up and retrieve it.

As baskets fill up with crabs, the boat fills up with baskets. Ben Johnson swiftly places a lid on each full basket as the topmost crustaceans make a last-ditch effort to escape, wildly brandishing their largest claws in defiance against Johnson’s gloved hands. By the time noon arrives, 30 full baskets are stacked in nearly every available space on the boat, and most of the crab pots have been emptied. Johnson and Drujillo pause to clean the boat and themselves before they head back to the pier. As he steers the boat from the cabin once again, Johnson works out the day’s profit on a small notebook. He estimates that he’ll make $1,200 from the crabs on the boat. After taking $200 out for bait, fuel and pay for Drujillo, Johnson has made $1,000. When he arrives back at the pier, half a dozen helpers are waiting to unload the baskets of crabs. Several customers are already in line, trading folded bills for enough crabs to fill the steaming pots they have brought. “They taste sooo good,” said Arleathia Parker, who says she buys crabs from the Johnsons about three times a year. “I buy them especially when I have my family reunion.” While Ben has been on the James River, Robert Johnson has also been pulling peeler crabs See CRABBING page 38

38 suffolk living

Feeling crabby at 4:30 a.m.


Billy Moore, Jacob Johnson and Ben Johnson help unload crabs at the pier in Eclipse after a crabbing trip in July. CRABBING continued from pg. 37

from the water near the Harbour View area in Suffolk. About one-third to onehalf of the day’s catch will be sold directly to customers at the pier. The rest will go to wholesalers in the area, who sell them to markets throughout the world. “Something that’s here today — in two days, it can be across the country,” Robert Johnson said, noting that some local crabs go as far as Japan. “The people we deal with, they can get that product out there.” The Johnsons fish for crabs through November, when they break to do maintenance on the boat and install the oystering equipment. They haul in oysters throughout the winter, and also sometimes fish for striped bass. Crabbing season begins again in the spring. “When I first got into it, the main thing we did was oystering,” Robert Johnson said. “That kind of played out. The watermen kind of got blamed for over-harvesting. Personally, I feel like it was the two diseases that have been killing oysters.” Those diseases — dermo and MSX —

“have pretty well decimated the oyster business,” said Thomas Hazelwood, a former fifth-generation waterman who still owns the pier and building used by the Johnsons. “It never has gotten back to what it was before then.” Hazelwood’s ancestors were among the first watermen in Eclipse, coming here from Accomack County in 1858. Communities in what is now North Suffolk — particularly Eclipse, Hobson and Crittenden — once thrived on the oyster business, but after 20 years in the business, Hazelwood decided he couldn’t do it any longer. “I had a better opportunity,” he said. “I had children to educate and property to maintain.” The financial side of the business is one thing nobody particularly enjoys. “It’s a necessary evil,” said Ben Johnson, an economics and accounting major during his years at college. “It costs me about $200 a day to come do this. If it gets to where I can’t make $200, I’m going to go do something else.” ←

or a longtime night owl who rarely goes to bed before midnight, a story assignment that involved being at the Eclipse pier by 4:30 in the morning was not an attractive option. However, by definition of the word “assignment,” I didn’t have an option. I called Robbie Johnson, wellknown as one of the most respected Suffolk watermen, and signed myself up for a quite sleepless Thursday evening, followed by a Friday morning full of crabbing. I didn’t know it at the time, but my editor, Res Spears — the very one who had assigned me the story — would be joining me as my photographer. Despite the vast discrepancy between the time I would have to rise that morning and when I would normally get up, I was looking forward to the trip. I packed sodas — Mountain Dew for myself, Cokes for Res — water, sandwiches and snacks to WRITER’S SIDE By Tracy Agnew carry us through the eight-hour boating adventure. The laconic but friendly Ben Johnson was to be our gracious host for the morning, and he wasted no time once he arrived in packing the boat, helping us navigate the treacherous-looking wooden ladder hung from the side of the pier, and shoving off toward the James River. As Ben’s helper, “Shorty” Drujillo, sat on the back of the boat preparing baitfish, and Res took hopeful photos of the cloud-shrouded sunrise, Ben and I talked in the cabin on our way to the crab pots. I learned the 31-year-old has been helping his father in the business for nearly 10 years after graduating from Randolph-Macon College with a degree in accounting and economics — subjects that serve him well in the portion of his job he does behind a desk. This morning, though, I wouldn’t see that part. He’s much more at home hauling crabs out of the water. As I watched the process of emptying the crab pots under the disappearing moon and rising sun, it was easy to see why Ben enjoys his job. There’s a lot to be said for being on the water, in the early morning, with nobody to bother you but the choppy sea and the crabby crustaceans. And though the process became monotonous for me after the first 100 or so crab pots, every crab that tumbled out of a trap meant money for Ben and his business. For men and women strong enough to stomach the early mornings, messy work and near-constant job insecurity, it must be a rewarding experience. My thanks to Robbie, Ben and Shorty for welcoming Res and me onto their boat and into their lives for a day. May the area’s waters bring them many more crabs. ←

suffolk living

where am I?


n each edition the Suffolk Living staff will provide a challenge of sorts, testing how much of Suffolk you really know. We will photograph some location in Suffolk that is readily accessible and open to the public. If you know where this photo was taken, submit your answer, along with your name and contact information to If you’re right, you will be entered for a chance to win a $25 gift certificate to any one of our partner advertisers. So, if you know where this is, let us know. If you’re right, you could be a winner. Go out and enjoy Suffolk!


40 suffolk living


Actual emergency planners as well as engineers and technicians interact with other sites across the nation in a disaster scenario exercise that incorporates modeling and simulation at the Center for Innovation. A world class collaborative environment, the Center for Innovation in Suffolk, provides a unique proving ground to demonstrate and understand how new technology concepts will perform in the real world.

low key Simulations help clients prepare for the real thing story by Leila G. Roche submitted photography


urrounded by golden hills of sand for as far as the eye can see, it’s difficult to differentiate the other tan vehicles in the convoy from the scenery as it moves through a Middle Eastern desert. It’s just another morning. As it heads toward a local village to deliver supplies, the convoy manages to stay in line, but there’s a holdup as it stops to wait for a local shepherd and his goats to move from the road. Vibrations from F-16s rattle the seats and shake the spines of everyone on the road. The fighters are providing air cover after locals were spotted planting IEDs in a dead goat just up the road. There is a deafening roar as the planes’ guns combine with the 50-caliber gun mounted on the roof of the Humvee. It almost seems as if the shells are bursting directly above the vehicle, but the driver keeps his place in line, puts a little more weight on the gas pedal, his attention focused on getting to the place where the smoke is rising above the horizon, a sure sign the village isn’t too far off. Heart thudding in his chest, senses on full alert, the driver makes it to the village and delivers the supplies that were called for in this mission. When the walls around him turn blue, he steps out of the vehicle and through a door. A few minutes later, he’s driving down Harbour View Boulevard in North Suffolk. Goat farmers, F-16s, terrorists and IED explosions aren’t what you would expect in North Suffolk, but the experience is just one several to be found at Lockheed Martin’s Center for Innovation. Tucked toward the end of Harbour View Boulevard, the Center for Innovation houses some of the company’s most advanced technology and is part See Lockheed page 42

42 suffolk living LOCKHEED continued from page 41

of one of Suffolk’s most profitable — and least comprehended — industries: modeling and simulation. “This isn’t a sale center, we’re about ideas and innovation,” said Jeffery Laskowski, Chief Architect at the Center for Innovation. “Here, we focus on problems at hand and apply new technology to find a solution.” The Center for Innovation is a world-class laboratory for experimentation and analysis. It has core resources to test ideas and analyze warfighting concepts, and it is the place where Lockheed Martin collaborates with customers to develop solutions for the defense and national security environment. A key to the facility’s problem-solving capabilities is its use of modeling, simulation and analysis, which play a vital role in helping assess the products Lockheed develops for its customers. Modeling and simulation is a technology that was first widely used by the military at U.S. Joint Forces Command to assess military situations. It has developed into an industry that is providing solutions for a variety of fields, including healthcare, architecture, automotive and energy. By creating digital models of an object, situ-

ations that could hypothetically occur can be played out virtually to determine how they would affect the object. “It’s a powerful tool,” Laskowski said. “That’s why you see the growth in the industry. You can put something — like a weapon — in digital form, fire it a million times and see what would happen, without ever wasting a bullet.” At the Center for Innovation, a person can walk into Sector 3 and on computer screens see 3D images of the F-35. That is the model part of modeling and simulation. “Models by themselves do nothing,” Laskowski said. “Simulation drives them from point A to point B 100,000 times to see what happens, what needs to be fixed, what’s efficient, what’s not, where you can save money before building it. The two are intertwined.” For example, a simulation can teach mechanics how to maintain and repair a virtual F-35 without them even having to be in the same room as the simulator. Simulation is often used to teach operators how to use a vehicle before it has been produced. While training doesn’t take place at the Center for Innovation, there are many vehicles that

can be used for operators to test and provide feedback to the architects and engineers behind the model. “In fact, being located in Suffolk, right next to Joint Forces Command and near other Department of Defense agencies, is a huge advantage for us,” Mulleavy said. “It makes it very convenient for our operators to come test our products.” Continuing the F-35 example, analysis would take place when the mechanics provide feedback and learn what changes should be made to make the aircraft more reliable before it ever flies. “Rather than build a new plane and find out that something doesn’t work right or you need to change something, you can do it in a lab rather than bend all that metal finding out something like the mechanic can’t fit his hand somewhere the hard way,” said Mike Mulleavey, communications director for corporate engineering and technology for Lockheed Martin. The analysis that modeling and simulation provides helps Lockheed Martin, its customers and eventually the taxpayers. “If you were to break it down, there are probably four main benefits to modeling and simuSee Lockheed page 43

The 50,000-square-foot high-end laboratory is part of Lockheed Martin’s investment in research and development facilities, programs and infrastructure. The center houses highly trained specialists in operations analysis, modeling and simulation and visualization and is staffed by operational domain experts.

suffolk living

LOCKHEED continued from page 42

lation,” Laskowski said. “It drives affordability, innovation, efficiency and safety.” While some of the technology behind modeling and simulation is expensive, it can save money by allowing engineers to test cost-saving options versus high-cost options to see if the quality will be worth the money in the long run. “For example, you can run different engines in a [vehicle] to see what works and what doesn’t, and determine if the cost is worth it,” Laskowski said. The technology also can help users save money on materials. “If you’re using it for training, it saves all that money on gas and wear and tear on the vehicle,” Laskowski said. “You don’t burn any rubber. You never have to fire a bullet to see what happens 1,000 times later.” By allowing employees to explore new concepts, the technologies help foster innovation, as well. “We’re not just testing current projects,” Laskowski said. “We identify concepts way down the line. They’re proven here. Maybe they’re viable projects down the road, maybe not. But simulation helps verify them.” While affordability and efficiency go hand in hand, it is the life-saving component that may just make the technology worth its weight. “For example, say someone thinks about


A pilot and technician located at the Center for Innovation prepare to operate an F-22 Raptor flight simulator. The flight simulator is a life size replica of the cockpit for the world’s only operational fifth generation fighter aircraft. The technologies used here incorporate engineering, technology, and innovation to provide a window into the future.

putting a skin on an airplane,” Mulleavy said. “Will a plane take off with a new skin on it? You wouldn’t want to put a pilot in that to find out.” Better training also means higher levels of safety. Mulleavy described a pilot who told him that training simulations in mid-air bird-strikes had saved his life. When he encountered the situation in the field, he said, instead of doing what his gut reaction would have been, he automatically did what he had been taught and he lived

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through the experience. Experts say there is a vast array of other uses for the technology found at Lockheed Martin’s Center for Innovation. “The next step is its widespread use in health and energy,” Mulleavy said. “Modeling and simulation is becoming a ubiquitous tool. People are buying things built through simulators. People are using it to train heavy construction workers. Many people don’t realize it, but it’s used in so many applications.” ←

44 suffolk living

a miniature flashback

suffolk living


Model train brings 1907 Suffolk to life story by Tracy Agnew photography by James Bielmann & Tracy Agnew


hile men in straw hats tend to their cotton and peanut crops, ladies in long dresses hang out the laundry they just scrubbed clean. Down at the port on the Nansemond River, men load lumber from the Great Dismal Swamp onto boats, as several deer look on from the nearby woods. A group of hobos camps out under the Kingsboro Bridge, while a burial service goes dreadfully awry in Cedar Hill Cemetery. It’s a Monday in Suffolk, Va. The year: 1907. But unlike the real Suffolk more than 100 years ago, this one requires more than two tons of lumber and other material, 300 feet of model train tracks, and more than a mile and a half of wiring to make it come alive. The model train at the Suffolk Seaboard Station Railroad Museum celebrated its 10th birthday on June 7 this year. That is the day in 2000 when a group of dozens of volunteers began constructing the elaborate model, which would not be completed until more than three years later. Those who were the most involved in the project say they didn’t realize how much work it would be, but are glad they did it. “Crazy me, I was the one that raised my hand,” said Norm Garner, the chairman See TRAIN page 46

46 suffolk living TRAIN continued from page 45

of the intricate construction project. Garner was among those in a meeting of the Tidewater Division of the National Model Railroaders Association when the late James McLemore came on behalf of the Suffolk Nansemond Historical Society to ask if they would take on the project. A professional railroad modeling company had requested $60,000 to start the project. The hobbyist recruits were given a total budget of $3,000. The first step in the planning process was acquiring blueprints and maps of old-time Suffolk. The historical society picked the year 1907 because of the existence of a large poster, labeled 1907, with an aerial view of the town and sketches of dozens of prominent buildings as they appeared at the time. Also, in 1907, six railroads — Atlantic Coastline, Southern, Norfolk Southern, Tidewater, Virginian and Seaboard — ran through Suffolk. Next, the team made blueprints of how the model should look, working closely with the historical society to whittle the content down to a manageable level. The scope of the initial plans would have required expanding the historic train station, Garner said. The model was planned for HO scale, 1/87 life size, because anything larger would have been unworkable, he said. Finally, the team got down to construction. Bill Fay, the electrician on the job, used about a ton of wood to create the infrastructure for the model and strung more than a mile of wiring to run the trains — a job that took about six weeks. “We had a lot of fun,” Fay said. “We spent many an hour down there.” Once the base was built and the wire run, the tracks were laid and the model began to take shape. McLemore painted trees on the back wall for a backdrop, and construction began on dozens of buildings, two boats, several bridges and one tunnel. The tunnel, Garner says, is not historically correct, but they needed to make the train track a complete circuit so that the train could be set up and allowed to run on its own. Many of the smaller buildings were constructed by McLemore, Garner said. Two prominent buildings, however, were made by John “J.J.” Johnson, and netted prestigious first-place awards for off-line structures from national model railroad conferences. Johnson constructed replicas of Riddick’s Folly and the Nansemond County Courthouse, which took him a total of about nine months to complete. “Norm asked me to make these two buildings,” Johnson said. “I said, ‘Well, I’ll give it a try.’” Johnson did more than just “give it a try,” though. He took hundreds of photos of the buildings, and noted meticulous measurements — even measuring the width of the doorknobs

John “J.J.” Johnson brushes dust off his prize-winning model of the old Nansemond County Courthouse. The tiny building contains roughly 800-900 individual pieces, he estimated.

and climbing onto the roofs for photographs. Riddick’s Folly alone contains 2,168 individual pieces, including 98 shutters, 49 windows that Johnson customized from a purchased window pattern, and a doorknob smaller than the head of a pin. The courthouse, at only 800-900 pieces, is less intricate. It includes fluted columns made of wood and about 70 pieces in the front door area alone. “I’m still amazed I finished it,” Johnson said. He still has the county clerk’s office, which is currently represented on the model by a proppedup photograph, on his to-do list. “Maybe someday I’ll build that,” Johnson said, acknowledging that the uniqueness of Suffolk architecture and the team’s tight budget meant they had to make everything from scratch. “You can buy horses, and buggies. You can’t buy the courthouse or Riddick’s Folly, though.” Garner agreed. “We couldn’t go to a hobby shop and pull everything off the shelf,” he said. “Everything had to be scratch-built.” After the model’s main buildings were in place, the details were filled in — ladies washing clothes (Monday was laundry day 100 years ago); a hobo camp under a bridge, with a campfire; a funeral mishap in Cedar Hill Cemetery, with the coffin falling out of the back of an old-

fashioned hearse; deer among the hundreds of trees; crops being gathered on the outskirts of town. When the model was completed in November 2003, ownership was transferred to the historical society, and it was none too early for those who worked on it tirelessly for three years. “After you work on a project this long, you get burned out,” Garner said. Even so, he still has a list of things he wants to add, like a four-bay engine house and turntable. These days, the model brings delight to hundreds of visitors to the train station annually. Volunteers stop by occasionally to dust the buildings, clean oil off the tracks, clear cobwebs and switch the trains around for a different look. Train station staff can set the train up, set its speed with the control panel and let it run, much to the enjoyment of visitors young and old. Sue Woodward, current president of the historical society, said she initially was overwhelmed by how much time and space the model was taking. Now, however, the historical society realizes its value. “It turns out to be the best teaching tool in the house, really,” said Sue Woodward, current president of the Suffolk Nansemond Historical Society. “It’s only a sliver of Suffolk, but it tells a lot about Suffolk 100 years ago.” ←

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48 suffolk living

fresh catch

Kayak Feature

story by Andrew Giermak photography by James Bielmann


hen Dan Babiy went kayak fishing for the first time, for all he knew, he was inventing something entirely new. He had a love for fishing that went back for many

years. “I grew up fresh-water and salt-water fishing wherever and whenever I could,” Babiy said. “I would throw a lure into a swimming pool as long as no one would stop me.” Some time ago, he bought kayaks for himself and his wife, and they started paddling around Lake Meade near their home in Riverview. The two pastimes were destined to come together eventually. “One day I just thought, it would be a lot of fun to throw a rod and a couple lures into the kayak when I went out in it,” he said. There are national kayak fishing organizations and even a Tidewater Kayak Anglers of America club, but Babiy didn’t know it as he was “discovering” his new sport. Nevertheless, he learned good lessons quickly, most with good stories to go along with them. “Never take any more stuff than you’re willing to lose, because you can get tipped,” Babiy said. Actually, he didn’t have to learn that lesson the hard way, at least not with his own gear and equipment. “One of my buddies who goes out often with me, he’s just as crazy as I am now, but he spent $100 or more on a bunch of new gear,” Babiy recalled. A trip off the North Carolina Outer Banks was the first chance to use the new equipment. If the rest of the tale isn’t obvious, the length See KAYAK page 50

suffolk living


“It’s addictive. Most of the people I’ve introduced it to have wound up loving it. It’s a totally different way to fish. The first time a huge fish pulls you around, it’s amazing how exciting it is.” Dan Babiy – Fisherman

Suffolk resident Dan Babiy has become a self-taught, avid kayak fisher in the lakes, rivers, streams, inlets, bays and oceans of Virginia and North Carolina.

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Suffolk’s Dan Babiy shows one of his catches, although not one of his larger ones, during a kayak fishing outing. Babiy didn’t know there was such a sport as kayak fishing before he began fishing from a kayak shortly after buying kayaks for himself and his wife. KAYAK continued from page 48

of the story isn’t. “He never made it out,” Babiy said. “The first wave capsized him and everything, all of it, went right to the bottom.” Babiy’s most avid recruit into his hobby is his son, Parke, who graduated from NansemondSuffolk Academy in June. “My son and several of his friends are really into it now,” Babiy said. “It’s definitely the type of activity that’s even better to do with a few friends.” Dad likes to tell the stories of what his son’s caught more than the ones about what he’s reeled in himself. Among Parke’s best catches have been a 31-inch drum that was too large to keep and a bowfin that Parke caught on one of his first trips, and before either Parke or his dad knew it was even possible to catch and bring in a bowfin from a kayak. During the past couple of years, Babiy has learned there’s little limit to what can be caught and where a kayaker can go. In fact, he can get to more spots and more fish in his kayak than other fishermen, he says. He has yet to venture outside of this region, but that still leaves thousands of places to explore. Many evenings after work or school, the Babiys paddle from Constant’s Wharf onto the Nansemond River. In the Atlantic, Babiy has been within touching distance of dolphins swimming a couple hundred yards beyond the surf.

“It’s addictive,” he said. “Most of the people I’ve introduced it to have wound up loving it. It’s a totally different way to fish. The first time a huge fish pulls you around, it’s amazing how exciting it is.” There’s a different strategy involved in kayak fishing than many fisherman are used to, according to Babiy. Instead of fighting and reeling in a fish, most of the time in a kayak the strategy is to hook the fish and then let it pull the line, the kayak and the angler around until the fish tires. Trying to bring in a four-foot gar, which is about half the length of the kayak, won’t work with sheer muscle and leverage in a narrow kayak. The mouth of the Nansemond River is one of the best spots to take the kayak and it sports a wide variety of fish, Babiy said — “croaker, drum, striper, blue cats, bowfin, shad.” Sometimes, even he is surprised by the experiences he can have in his small boat. Last fall, Babiy was on the Nansemond fishing close to the banks as some anglers on a 27-foot Grady White left one of the docks early in the day. He was still there when the big powerboat returned later in the afternoon. The guys on the large boat reported no luck for the day. Babiy replied that he had a slow day, too. Hidden from view of the folks on the other boat was Babiy’s string, which had large stripers on it. Hampton Roads enjoys an almost uninter-

rupted kayak fishing season. For the dedicated, kayak fishing is okay in the rain. It’s even fine here in the winter, though there’s always the risk of capsizing in the narrow boat. “Being dumped in August is one thing,” Babiy said. “In December, you usually choose to stay even closer to shore in case you’re dumped.” Exercise is a benefit of the hobby, he said, but it’s certainly not his main motivation for going out as often as possible. Occasionally a couple of adult beverages and a couple cigars become part of the necessary gear. Fishing is, of course, the point, as well as the unique mix of relaxation and excitement — except when something other than fishing is the best story of the day. “Something neat always happens,” Babiy said. He and his party have seen bald eagles circling and swooping on Suffolk’s lakes. “In a kayak, you’re moving so quietly, you aren’t disturbing the fish, other animals don’t hear you,” he said. Deer have come right to the edge of a lake or riverbank and a few steps from his kayak before realizing it, and the kayaker, are there. Sunrises and sunsets in Suffolk, on the Chesapeake Bay or on the James are outstanding, as well. Babiy wants to travel to the Pacific Northwest or Alaska and test his ability there, and even the Great Dismal Swamp offers unexplored territory for his kayak and unfished waters for his rods. All he needs is a little more time.←

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aboard the Bataan Sailors honor ship’s connection to Suffolk


ometimes the arc of history connects the most unlikely people and places in the most unlikely ways. Think of the union between ancient Egypt’s Queen Cleopatra and the ancient Roman ruler Mark Antony. Or the ambitious English gentleman, Sir Walter Raleigh, whose friendship with a queen helped found a New World. Or the invention of the printing press, which led to the

Protestant Reformation. In a similar way, that arc connects the city of Suffolk and the Bataan Peninsula in the Philippine Islands. The connection goes all the way back to 1942, when 78,000 American and Filipino troops, who had surrendered to the Japanese army, were forced to march 65 miles over six horrible days to a Japanese prison camp. Senior Master Sgt. Norman P. “Jack” Mat-

story by R.E. Spears III photography courtesy of the U.S. Navy

thews, a Suffolk native, survived the march. His brother, Edward Matthews Jr. — who enlisted in the Army the day after Jack Matthews and served in the same squadron as Jack — was unable to sustain himself through the torture of Japanese captivity and died in 1942 while still imprisoned. Suffolk, it turns out, has an especially soft heart for survivors of the Bataan Death March See BATAAN page 53

suffolk living 53 BATAAN continued from page 52

Medical personnel aboard the USS Bataan treated 97 patients during the time the ship was stationed off the coast of Haiti this spring. Everyone who came aboard the ship for treatment survived the injuries received in the earthquake.

The USS Bataan, an amphibious assault ship, returned in April from an 80-day deployment to Haitian waters, where it took part in an international humanitarian effort to help the nation following its devastating January earthquake. Above, the Bataan operates off of Baie De Grand Goave, while an MH-60S Knighthawk lifts off from the ship’s deck and an air-cushioned landing craft makes its way to shore from the Bataan’s well deck.

and other veterans of the fight against the Japanese empire. “I get misty-eyed just thinking about these guys,” said William Blair, who for years has sprung for breakfast once a month for a group of World War II veterans, mostly from the Pacific theater, who have gathered to swap stories, educate admirers and generally keep in touch with one another. Jack Matthews was a longtime fixture at those breakfast meetings until his death in 2009 at the age of 92. He was posthumously honored this year by the Suffolk post of the American Legion, which renamed itself the Norman “Jack” Matthews Post 57. As Suffolk has honored the memory of Jack and Edward Matthews, the U.S. Navy also honored the American and Filipino servicemen who fought so valiantly before they were forced to surrender to the Japanese on the Bataan Peninsula near the beginning of World War II. The USS Bataan, an amphibious assault ship, was commissioned Sept. 20, 1997. It is the fifth of the Navy’s WASP-class ships, and its mission, according to the See BATAAN page 54

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BATAAN continued from page 53

Petty Officer Second Class Teddy Chambers, a hospital corpsman aboard the USS Bataan, prepares to restock an IV for one of the Haitian patients brought aboard the ship from Haiti for treatment.

Navy, is “to enable the Navy and Marine Corps team to accomplish a seamless transition from the sea to the land battle as the lead ship and centerpiece of an Amphibious Readiness Group.” The ship can accommodate a full Marine Expeditionary Unit of 2,000 Marines, along with helicopters, air-cushioned landing vehicles and amphibious vehicles to deliver tanks, vehicles, artillery, ammunition and other supplies to support the Marines. As it turns out, the Bataan also makes a pretty good hospital. In April, sailors and Marines attached to the Bataan returned from an 80-day deployment in support of Operation Unified Response, the humanitarian effort following the devastating Haitian earthquake. The Marines and many of the sailors went ashore to provide help with the recovery effort, and the space occupied by their equipment was transformed into an orthopedic hospital that treated 97 patients during the time the ship was stationed off the coast of Haiti. The Bataan was the first American military ship on the scene and the last to leave Haitian waters at the end of the operation. While in Haiti, the ship had “the largest medical capability in the Navy, aside from (the Navy’s) two comfort ships,” Tony Sisti, the Bataan’s public affairs officer, said in May during the return trip to Norfolk. Averaging 10-20 patients a day for the first couple of weeks on station, the ship and its 80-person augmented medical crew were a vital part of the humanitarian response. Everyone who was brought aboard the ship for treatment ended up surviving their injuries, Sisti said, despite the fact that so many of those injuries were so different from the types that doctors aboard the Bataan were used to seeing. “We’d been through mass casualty situations in Iraq, but this was totally different” than the gunshot and blast wounds that came out of that operation, said Petty Officer Second Class Teddy Chambers, a hospital corpsman, as the ship made its way north along the eastern seaboard in April. With the crush injuries that required orthopedic specialists and the children who needed pediatric care, “We did a lot more than this ship normally could do,” he added. See BATAAN page 55

suffolk living


photograph by R.E. Spears III

Petty Officer Second Class Teddy Chambers shared a happy reunion with his family when the USS Bataan returned from an 80-day deployment to Haiti in April. Meeting him on the docks at Naval Station Norfolk were his wife Alissa and sons, 17-month-old Fisher and 3-year-old Camden. BATAAN continued from page 54

Chambers, who has served in the Navy for six years and on the Bataan for about a year and a half, lives in Suffolk with his wife and two young sons. It is just one of the many connections the ship’s crew has with Suffolk. Back at Bunny’s Restaurant, commanding officers, chaplains and sailors who serve on the Bataan are regulars during the monthly veterans’ “breakfast club.” Whenever the ship is in port — as it was scheduled to be for five months upon returning to Norfolk in the spring — sailors of all ranks have made an effort to join the aging men and their families and friends for breakfast in Suffolk. “This has been, for me, an amazing history lesson,” Chaplain Thomas Cook said as he sat near Stanley Woody in May 2009. Woody had served aboard the USS Houston, which was sunk during the Battle of Sundra Strait in February 1942. His story of escaping from the sinking ship and swimming to shore, only to be met by Japanese soldiers with rifles, was a favorite of those who’d come to learn about the war. Cook, who was chaplain of the Bataan at the time, had come to pay his respects once more before being reposted to another ship.

“We’d been through mass casualty situations in Iraq, but this was totally different. We did a lot more than this ship normally could do.” Teddy Chambers — Petty Officer Second Class

Woody died in June, and the sailors of the USS Bataan came out to Suffolk once again for him, this time to pay their respects at a service at the Albert G. Horton Jr. Memorial Veterans Cemetery. An honor guard from the ship joined more than 100 of Woody’s friends and relatives at the cemetery June 7 for the 22-year veteran’s interment ceremony. “It’s important for our sailors to understand their heritage,” Capt. Steve Koehler, the Bataan’s commanding officer, is quoted on the ship’s

website as having said of the crew’s involvement in the memorial service. “We owe it to men like Woody to learn their stories and pass them along to future generations.” One day, men like Petty Officer Chambers could find themselves in the position to pass along their stories to new generations, perhaps even at Bunny’s Restaurant. Perhaps in the course of telling those stories, they’ll even remember the following words that were spoken by Capt. Tom Negus, commodore of the Bataan Amphibious Relief Mission, as the crew stood on the deck of the ship prior to leaving Morehead City, N.C., on the way home: “What you did in Haiti was great, a true greatness that comes from giving of yourselves. Thousands and thousands of people are alive because of you.” It was a fitting tribute to a crew that had sacrificed so much, and the sacrifice was appropriate from a ship whose name honors those who gave so supremely in World War II. And both the tribute and the sacrifice contribute to the unlikely bond that exists between one small Virginia city and one big amphibious assault ship. ←

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a peanut festival introduction

suffolk’s prized legume H

ow can something so small be so important? How can a single crop grow up to mean so much to one small town? The peanut may be small in stature, but it is oh-so-large in impact. From the days of the first crop through the heyday of the peanut industry to today’s operations, the peanut has etched itself firmly into Suffolk’s history. Today, the peanut industry is no longer the single driving force to the economy of Suffolk, but that does not stop Suffolkians from taking pride in it. Witness the “NUT” stickers that many place on their back windows or the opportunity to pose for a photograph inside a peanut at the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts. And, be honest, when you have guests in town, you just have to take them to see the Mr. Peanut statue in downtown. October once again marks the annual Peanut Festival, where, for a few days, people from Suffolk and people who are just visiting Suffolk all will take pride in “going nuts.” This section honors that Peanut Festival and the mighty legume that inspired it. - Tim Reeves, editor

suffolk living 57 story by Lauren Wicks

Intro to Peanut Festival


or the past three decades, the Peanut Festival has been Suffolk’s time to shine. The city’s local businesses, community groups and citizens all come together to put on a weekendlong show to celebrate the city’s favorite crop. This year will be no different. “With all the volunteers and the sponsors we have, we are putting together a great event for everyone to enjoy,” said this year’s co-chairman Charles Gregory. Gregory and fellow co-chair Kenny Smith have been longtime Peanut Fest volunteers — together they have more than 30 years of Peanut Fest experience. Gregory said they are not only honored to serve as co-chairs of the event, but specifically because of this year’s theme. Gregory said this year’s theme “We’re Nutty About Friends and Family” is a perfect summation of the Peanut Fest experience. “We have always been focused on good family fun at the Peanut Fest,” he said. “Family and friends come out and have a good time together. Hopefully, everything will be interesting enough to bring everyone out again this year.” The 33rd annual Peanut Fest will kick off Thursday, Oct. 7 and continue through Sunday, Oct. 10. The festival will take place at the Suffolk Executive Airport, and is expected to bring in more than 200,000 people during its four-day run.

If the tiara fits


hinking about peanuts does not normally conjure images of perfectly manicured hands, flowing ball gowns or a bright, sparkling tiara. However, the annual Queen’s luncheon easily pairs legumes with luxury when it honors the Peanut Queen and her Peanut Princesses. Two princesses are chosen from each of the public and private schools, Lakeland High, Nansemond River High, King’s Fork High, Nansemond-Suffolk Academy and First Baptist Christian School. The young women are asked about their community involvement, school participation and extracurricular work. Additionally, they are asked to complete an essay, which is judged by a variety of local community leaders. “So many different people put so much into Peanut Fest. It’s really amazing to see how it all comes together,” said last year’s Peanut Queen Elizabeth Scott. “I felt really honored to get to represent the community and the Peanut Fest, and it made me appreciate my community a little bit more. I think that’s going to be an experience that’s going to stay with me my whole life.” This year, the following princesses will vie for their chance at the crown: from Lakeland, Meagan Johnson and Hannah Joyce; from King’s Fork, Jennifer Humphrey and Whitney Nichols; from Nansemond River, Kalea Laverette and Ashley Key; from NansemondSuffolk, Morgan Duplain and Ciara Viola; and from First Baptist, Meredith Overton and Katelin Jones. This year’s Queen will be announced Thursday, Sept. 30 at the Queen’s Luncheon and Fashion Show at the National Guard Armory.

Highlights of Peanut Festival


emolition Derby? Yes. Tractor Pull? Absolutely. Free concerts? Without a doubt. Is there one specific event or big draw that people are most looking forward to? It’s hard to say. “Definitely good weather,” said Suffolk Peanut Festival’s co-chairman Charles Gregory. “Outside of that, we have such a wide variety of things to do that there is something for everybody who comes, ages 5 to 65, to enjoy themselves.” This year’s festival will boast many of the fan favorites of years past, including a horseshoe competition, fireworks show, Bingo games, amusement rides and games, a demolition derby, a truck and tractor pull, the Swamp Roar motorcycle ride, a peanut cook-off and the commercial and arts and crafts exhibitors. There also will be constant free entertainment on the festival’s three stages, the Budweiser Main Stage, Harvest Family Stage and Peanut Lounge. Many acts are lined up for the weekend, including southern rock band Molly Hatchet on Friday night, English rocker Brian Howe on Saturday night and country singer Tracy Lawrence, who has been tapped as Sunday afternoon’s closing performer. Lawrence has such hits as “Sticks and Stones,” “If the Good Die Young” and “Find Out Who Your Friends Are.” Above all, though, Gregory said the weekend’s various events will help bring the community together for a great time. “There is a good family atmosphere out here,” Gregory said. “You can feel safe, have a good time and bring the kids out for some good fun.”

The Peanut and suffolk


or one crop to have a festival dedicated to it for 33 years, it must be pretty relevant. And despite changes in the industry, the peanut is still important to Suffolk. At one time, peanuts were the leading crop for the city. Amedeo Obici opened a processing plant for Planters Peanuts in town, Mr. Peanut was born here and Suffolk soon earned the moniker “The Peanut Capital of the World.” But today things are different. “It’s a ‘has-been’ crop” said Carson Ashburn, a Suffolk farmer and director of the Virginia Peanut Growers Association. “As far as growers are concerned, we are on the downhill side.” Ashburn said farmers still grow peanuts locally on about 3,000 acres a year, but the goober’s glory has waned during the past decade. “The whole city of Suffolk thrived on peanuts and the peanut industry,” he said. “Suffolk is still hanging on, but it’s nothing like eight to 10 years ago.” Ashburn said a combination of factors have led to the peanut’s drop in production, especially the government’s drop of mandatory minimum prices on the peanut crops. “The price of peanuts went down, and that was all she wrote,” Ashburn said. “It’s an excellent crop, and some will always be grown. The peanut in Suffolk still has a future, but it’s not the brightest future in the world.”

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tasty recipes for the peanut lover in all of us ... Spicy Peanut Soup Ingredients 2 Tbsp. butter or soybean oil 2 slices bacon, finely chopped 1 medium onion, thinly sliced 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and chopped ¼ tsp. cinnamon ¼ tsp. chili powder ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper 3 c. chicken stock 1 c. unsalted Virginia peanuts 2 Tbsp. tomato paste ½ c. sour cream Directions In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and sauté bacon. Add the onion and cook until tender. Stir in potato, cinnamon, chili powder, cayenne pepper and stock. Simmer for 20 minutes. Place peanuts and tomato paste in blender and process until consistency of peanut butter. Add soup to blender and process until smooth. Return to pot and heat until piping hot. Serve with a dollop of sour cream. Makes 4-6 servings.

Peanut Butter Fudge Ingredients 4 c. sugar 1 stick margarine 1.5 c. evaporated milk 1 7-oz. jar marshmallow cream 1 12-oz. bag Peanut Butter Pieces Directions Bring from boil to soft ball stage, about 5 minutes. Add jar of marshmallow cream and bag of peanut butter pieces. Pour into greased butter pan. When cold, cut into squares.

Peanut Stuffing Ingredients ¾ c. chopped onion 1.5 c. chopped celery ¾ c. butter or soybean oil 8 c. soft bread 2 tsp. crushed sage 1 tsp. ground thyme 1/s tsp. pepper 2 c. chopped unsalted roasted peanuts Directions In a large skillet over medium heat, saute onion and celery in butter until tender. Stir in 1/3 of the bread cubes. Transfer contents of skillet to a large mixing bowl. Add remaining ingredients and toss to mix well. Spoon mixture into a greased 9x13-inch baking dish. Bake at 350˚F until crusty and browned, about 30 minutes. Makes 10 servings.

Peanut Butter Cookies Ingredients 1 c. smooth peanut butter 1 c. sugar 1 egg 1 tsp. vanilla Directions Mix ingredients together, roll into balls and press down onto a cookie sheet with fork, making criss-cross pattern. Bake at 350˚F for 7 – 10 minutes.

suffolk suffolk living living 59 59

fun facts about peanuts 4The peanut is not a nut, but a legume related to beans and lentils. 4Four of the top 10 candy bars manufactured in the USA contain peanuts or peanut butter. 4The average American consumes more than six pounds of peanuts and peanut butter products each year.

Chattanooga Chew-Chews Ingredients 4.5 c. rolled oats 1 c. all purpose flour 1 tsp. baking soda 1 tsp. vanilla extract 2/3 c. butter, softened ½ c. honey 1/3 c. packed brown sugar 1 tsp. ground cinnamon ½ tsp. apple pie spice ½ c. chopped peanuts ½ c. mini chocolate chips ½ c. chopped dried apples, or fruit of your choice ½ c. golden raisins Directions Preheat oven to 325˚F. In a large mixing bowl, combine the oats, flour, baking soda, vanilla, butter, honey, brown sugar and spices. Stir in the peanuts, chocolate chips, dried apples and golden raisins. Lightly press mixture into greased 9”x13” pan. Bake at 325˚F for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool for 10 minutes then cut into squares. Allow cookies to finish cooling completely in pan.

Peanut Butter Dog Biscuits Ingredients 1.5 c. water ½ c. canola oil 2 medium eggs 3 Tbsp. peanut butter 2 tsp. vanilla 1.5 c. whole wheat flour 1.5 c. unbleached flour ½ c. corn meal ½ c. oats Directions Beat until doughy ball forms. Roll out with flour and cut with cookie cutter. Squeeze onto sheet. Bake at 400˚F for 20 minutes. Turn oven off and let cool in oven.

Spiced Peanuts Ingredients 1 c. sugar ½ c. water 1 tsp. cinnamon ½ tsp. nutmeg ½ tsp. ground cloves 1 lb. roasted peanuts, blanched or red skins on Directions: Boil sugar, water and spices until syrup threads from a spoon. Drop peanuts into syrup and stir until nuts are dry looking. Pour out on waxed paper and let stand until cold and dry.

4Tom Miller pushed a peanut to the top of Pike’s Peak (14,100 feet) using his nose in 4 days, 23 hours, 47 minutes and 3 seconds. 4Peanuts contribute more than $4 billion to the American economy each year. 4Two peanut farmers have been elected president of the USA - Thomas Jefferson and Jimmy Carter. 4Adrian Finch of Australia holds the Guinness World Record for peanut throwing, launching a goober 111 feet and 10 inches in 1999 to claim the record. 4Peanut butter is the leading use of peanuts in the USA. It was the secret behind “Mr. Ed,” TV’s talking horse. 4It takes about 540 peanuts to make a 12-ounce jar of peanut butter. There are enough peanuts in one acre to make 30,000 peanut butter sandwiches. 4Peanut butter was first introduced to the USA in 1904 at the Universal Exposition in St. Louis by C.H. Sumner, who sold $705.11 of the “new treat” at his concession stand. 4November is Peanut Butter Lovers Month, but someone who suffers from arachibutyrophobia probably will not celebrate, as he’s afraid of getting peanut butter stuck to the roof of his mouth. 4The average child will eat 1,500 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches before he/she graduates high school. Americans eat enough peanut butter in a year to make more than 10 billion peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. — Courtesy of the National Peanut Board

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suffolk living

index of advertisers AAA Travel......................................12 AllState - Roberts Insurance Agency...16 Array 700.........................................24 Atlantic Shores Heating & Cooling......7 Autumn Care...................................10 Bella Fabrics......................................6 Bon Secours Health System.............63 Bronco Federal Credit Union..............4 Carver Cemetery.............................22 Charter Communications................51 Chippokes Plantation.......................10 Chorey & Associates........................64 City of Suffolk.................................47 Consulate Healthcare......................18 DB Bowles Jewelers........................22 Down to Earth Boutique.....................9 Duke Automotive.........................6, 32 Eclipse Lawn Care............................18 Ellen Drames, Realtor.........................2 Farmers Bank...................................16 FLEXA Outlet...................................16 Fowler Sales & Service..................6, 24 Hampton Roads Financial...............10 Holiday Inn Express.........................14 James Bielmann Photography.........60 Jammin’ Jerk BBQ..........................20


Want to join us as an advertiser? Contact Nikki Reeves at 757-934-9618 or e-mail to Lofts at East Point ...........................23 Meadowbrook Cemetery.................28 Mike Duman Auto...........................20 Nancy’s Calico Patch........................11 Nansemond Suffolk Academy..........18 New Life Suffolk...............................xx ObGyn Associates of Hampton......12 Parr Funeral Home..........................18 Powell Home..................................12 Producer’s Peanuts..........................27 Professional Academy of Health.......11 Rawlings Mechanical......................11 Rebecca Keeling Studios.................24 RL Howell & Associates.....................18 Salon Amore....................................10 Saunders & Ojeda...........................22 Sentara Healthcare...........................3 Smithfield Gardens...........................9 Starr Motors.....................................14 State Farm Insurance - Ken Deloach...14 Suffolk Insurance..............................20 Suffolk Public Schools......................11 Suffolk Sheet Metal............................9 Village at Woods Edge....................33 Womble Generator...........................9 United Way......................................43



Upcoming Deadlines: Winter 2010 Issue: November 2, 2010 Spring 2011 Issue: Feb. 2, 2011 Summer 2011 Issue: May 1, 2011 Fall 2011 Issue: August 2, 2011

where am I?


n each edition the Suffolk Living staff will provide a challenge of sorts, testing how much of Suffolk you really know. We will photograph some location in Suffolk that is readily accessible and open to the public. if you know where this photo was taken, submit your answer, along with your name and contact information to if you’re right, you will be entered for a chance to win a $25 gift certificate to any one of our partner advertisers. So, if you know where this is, let us know. if you’re right, you could be a winner. Go out and enjoy Suffolk! Photo by James Bielmann

Last issue’s Where am I? In the summer issue of Suffolk Living, we challenged you to identify the location of the mystery photo. Some folks knew where it was right away. Others never realized it was an old structure next to Bridge Road in the Belleville area.

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62 suffolk living


Playful pachyderms: In one of the most memorable publicity stunts of its history, the Suffolk Peanut

Festival called on the elephants to help kick off the 1941 event. Pachyderms from Barnum & Bailey’s Circus helped themselves to a load of peanuts right in the middle of Main Street, bringing national media coverage to the city and to the annual event it holds to celebrate the lowly legume. Suffolk is still known to many as the Peanut Capital of the World. — Photo courtesy of the Suffolk-Nansemond Historical Society

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Suffolk Living - Fall 2010  

Suffolk news, events, and information.