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2013 Year in Review

Jordan Crawford | 12/30/2013, 12:34 p.m.
One of the biggest events that occurred in Hampton Roads in 2013 was when Rev. Al Sharpton paid a visit to the Tidewater area.

2- The government shutdown from Oct. 1-16 caused many local government workers to be without jobs during that period. Local establishments found sympathy and made concessions to cater to their loss of work time. The Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center and city-operated historic houses in Virginia Beach offered free, weekday admission to federal workers who’d been sequestered. Other sufferers found other ways to make money, such as selling personal possessions online. Others found ways to avoid idleness by joining local city cleaning groups;

3- Hampton University’s School of Nursing was awarded $1.3 million, Oct. 7, to increase veterans’ enrollment and graduation from the school. The grant, given by the Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration, went towards curriculum adaptation, mentoring and test preparation programs, and services for appropriate recognition of related military education and experiences; and

4- Rev. Al Sharpton was the keynote speaker at First Baptist Church of Hampton’s 150th Anniversary banquet, Oct. 26. The church was founded during the Civil War in 1863 and was built by former slaves. Many newly freed slaves were among the church’s first members and Sharpton invoked their memory to remind the roughly 700 gathered church members that there are still struggles to overcome.

November

1- The Virginia Science Technology Engineering and Applied Mathematics Academy and Fort Monroe officials signed a letter of intent, Nov. 2, which could allow for the school to open in the summer of 2015. The academy could occupy as many as 19 buildings on Fort Monroe in the coming years as new classes begin to enroll. The academy will function as a boarding school for high school students;

2- Gov. Bob McDonnell appointed three new members to Norfolk State University’s (NSU) governing board Nov. 7, along with two special advisers who he said would help NSU overcome its challenges. McDonnell had previously asked for some of NSUs board members to step down due to evidence of it being poorly run. Among the appointees was former president of Tidewater Community College, Deborah DiCroce, who helped turn that school into a model institution;

3- The City of Virginia Beach began reconsidering a proposal to build an 18,000-seat arena at the Oceanfront Nov. 12, after it had fallen apart earlier this year. Earlier plans had intended on attracting an NBA team to the area, but now officials are looking to book smaller attractions and events. The arena, projected to open in 2016, is expected to possibly draw 150 events a year; and

4- First Lady Michelle Obama awarded Newport News’ Pearl Bailey Library with an award for the National Endowment for the Arts and Humanities Nov. 22, at a White House ceremony. The event awarded 13 after-school and out-of-school programs from across the U.S. for their efforts to promote reading while changing the lives of America’s youth.

December

1- The Newport News police department chose police veteran Richard Myers to be its new police chief, Dec. 8. The choice continued a 38 year trend of choosing from outside the department;

2- In view of Christmas, VOICE readers viewed McAffee’s annual 12 Scams of Christmas list Dec. 12. Criminals tend to strike more during the holiday season because they know many people are out Christmas shopping. The most popular scams were said to be identity theft at the mall, bogus charitable pleas, and privacy invasion online;

3- The State Board of Elections announced it would have to manually recount Chesapeake’s 61,000 paper ballots for the Virginia attorney general election. This was because the city’s optical scanning equipment couldn’t separate ballots that were undervoted – didn’t vote in all races - or overvoted - voted for too many candidates. The statewide recount began Dec. 16; and

4- Virginia congressman, Rep. Robert C. “Bobby” Scott and 20 other members of Congress traveled to South Africa, Dec. 9, to attend the memorial service for former South African President Nelson Mandela. On Dec. 17, Scott described his trip as “an inspiring experience.” He recalled that it rained during the entire ceremony. However, hundreds of people turned out anyway to pay their respects.

The 2013 journey has yielded a harvest of wonderful memories. Be sure to look out for what 2014 has in store.