IP closing defines year

Published 6:07 am Friday, December 31, 2010

EDITOR’S NOTE: The year 2010 was a big one for headlines. Western Tidewater experienced the closing of International Paper Co.’s Franklin mill and loss of 1,100 jobs. The summer brought drought and several record-breaking days of 100-plus degree heat, while the year closed with the first white Christmas in 30 years, leaving the area blanketed with more than one foot of snow. It was a year with successful fundraisers and community celebrations in addition to tragic deaths and personal loss.


Jan. 6—Southampton Memorial Hospital welcomed the first baby of the year on Jan. 3. Ayden Jayce Whitehead was born at 8:46 a.m. to Alethia Whitehead and Michael Johnson.

Jan. 13—Carrsville and Windsor elementary schools were recognized with Virginia Index of Performance incentive program awards from the state Board of Education.

Jan 20—Customers were treated to $50 gift cards as Dollar General held its official grand opening in Boykins.

Jan. 22—Three people were injured and seven horses were killed after the animals were hit in three separate crashes on Carrsville Highway.

Jan. 27—James Edward Moyler Jr., the 79-year-old former Franklin attorney accused of taking more than $4 million from clients’ estates while serving as executor of their wills, pleaded guilty in federal court to making a false declaration in a bankruptcy case.

Jan. 27—Newsoms District supervisor Walt Brown declined to receive most of his $5,500 annual salary for being a Southampton County Supervisor.

Jan. 27—Southampton Memorial Hospital laid off 10 workers in a restructuring move blamed on the current economy.

Jan. 29—J.P. King Middle School was on lockdown after two 9 mm bullets were brought to school.

Jan. 30—From 6 inches to 8 inches of snow fell in Franklin, depending on where the measurement was taken.

Jan. 30—Murfreesboro Council appoints John Hinton as its mayor.


Feb. 10—Two Franklin police officers involved in a fatal shooting in December have been cleared of any wrongdoing. The officers, who have not been identified, were on paid leave since the Dec. 20 shooting of 37-year-old Donald A. Whitley Jr. at his home on Fairview Drive during an armed confrontation.

Feb. 17—Franklin and Southampton County are talking about merging their Departments of Social Services.

Feb. 19— According to a recent report, Isle of Wight County residents tend to be healthier than their neighbors in Franklin and Southampton County. The County Health Rankings report ranked counties on how healthy people are and how long they live. Isle of Wight County was ranked 45th out of 132 counties and cities in Virginia. Southampton County ranked 90th and Franklin 123rd.

Feb. 24—Jadon Artis of Franklin was sentenced to 15 years in prison for his role in a 2008 attempted robbery and shooting.

Feb. 28—It was announced that International Paper Co. will permanently shut down the two remaining paper machines at the Franklin mill on April 15.


March 3—Don Blythe, Franklin Planning Commission member Ray Smith and Jamie Brown have filed to run for the Franklin City Council seat held by Councilman Mark Fetherolf, who isn’t seeking re-election.

March 10—James Edward Moyler Jr., the former Franklin attorney accused of taking more than $4 million from clients’ estates while serving as executor of their wills, was sentenced to 18 months in prison in Southampton County Circuit Court.

March 14—Business owner Bennie Cullipher Jr., 46, of Franklin was killed in an accident on Route 611 in Southampton County.

March 17—Isle of Wight County Sheriff’s Sgt. Ronald Williams Carwile is facing several felony charges stemming from alleged sex acts with a juvenile.

March 19— Eric Douglas Powers, 22, of Windsor pleaded guilty to dunking his infant son’s hand into a hot cup of coffee. Isle of Wight County Commonwealth’s Attorney Wayne Farmer said Powers faced two to 10 years in prison.

March 26—Isle of Wight County School Board voted unanimously to include keeping Windsor Middle School open in next year’s proposed budget.

March 31—Franklin Sportsman’s Association celebrated its 40th anniversary with a dinner and program at the organization’s building on South Street.


April 2—International Paper Co. will move 35 customer service employees to Suffolk, rather than to the fourth floor of the Franklin Business Incubator.

April 4— Dr. Paul W. Conco will become the seventh president of Paul D. Camp Community College this summer.

April 4— A former Chesapeake police officer pleaded not guilty in Southampton County Circuit Court to charges related to the attempted robbery of a Newsoms bank last December. Richard Eugene Boyce III faces felony charges of robbery and wearing a mask in public.

April 7— Twelve full-time employees of Caraustar Industries got the news they were expecting. The Route 58 plant east of Franklin, whose primary client is International Paper, is closing.

April 15—Thursday afternoon’s shift change at the International Paper Co. mill in Franklin had all the appearances of being a normal, routine activity. But for all of the workers, it was anything but a normal day at the mill. It was the last day paper was being made there. The Nos. 4 and 5 machines at the mill were shut down.

April 21—Felicia Tennessee of Capron and Bridgett Edwards of Emporia and formerly of Franklin are suing their employer for allegedly taking no action after the pair discovered three peep holes that allowed their male co-workers to watch them shower. The suit was filed against Murphy-Brown, a hog production subsidiary of Smithfield Foods in Waverly. Both are asking for a jury trial and $500,000 in damages.

April 21—Windsor Planning Director Michael Stallings was named town manager.

April 23—Gov. Bob McDonnell announced that two state agencies will partner with Isle of Wight County to conserve more than 2,500 acres of forested land, some of which is along the Blackwater River.

April 23—Former Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe said his consortium is one of “a couple” of final bidders in the running to purchase facilities at the International Paper Co. mill in Franklin.

April 23—Retiring Fifth Circuit Court Judge Westbrook J. Parker has been selected to succeed Bobby B. Worrell as executive director of the Camp foundations on Jan. 1.

April 23—A total of 1,371 books, DVDs, tapes and magazines on loan were returned during Fine Free Week at Blackwater Regional Library’s nine branches.

April 28—An investigation continues into the shooting death of a former Franklin man while he was turkey hunting in Sussex County. Alan B. Rader, 61, died after a 17-year-old Petersburg-area boy shot him on private land at Rohampton and Butts roads, said Julia Dixon, spokeswoman for Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries in Richmond.

April 30—A record 12 will run for Boykins Town Council in the Tuesday, May 4, election.

April 30—The City of Franklin is interested in contracting with the Navy to allow practice touch-and-go landings for two types of turboprop aircraft at Franklin Municipal Airport.


May 2—Franklin Planning Commission approved the site plan for a proposed Tractor Supply Co. store on Armory Drive. Tractor Supply wants to build a 19,000-square-foot store on 2.2 acres west of Farm Fresh.

May 4—City voters handed Mayor Jim Councill an eighth term in the city’s top job.

May 7—It took a jury four hours to convict Rockne Butler of murdering a 26-year-old Franklin man and attempting to murder a police officer.

May 9— A warehouse that was being used to store shelving, mannequins and other items for department stores burned to the ground Friday. Firefighters from 17 jurisdictions responded. There were no injuries.

May 14—The largest group of International Paper Co. workers, 348 total, will be terminated from their jobs at the paper mill this weekend. This will leave about 250 workers at the mill.

May 16—Windsor Police Chief Robert Porti is leaving to join the Franklin Police Department.

May 23—The pilot of a home-built plane was killed when the aircraft crashed at Wakefield Municipal Airport.

May 26—By 10:59 a.m. Monday, Keisha Keys’ family had doubled in size. The 28-year-old single mom from Franklin gave birth to quadruplets at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital. The two boys and girls are joined by siblings Kira, 11; Damian, 9; Nyny, 4; and Lanari, 2.

May 30— BB&T plans to start building a new facility on College Drive in the fall and eventually consolidate its Franklin operations by closing the branch in downtown Franklin.


June 4—The real estate and heavy machinery of the former Franklin Equipment Co., as well as its furniture, fixtures and equipment, will be up for auction next week.

June 9— Franklin residents will pay $3 less a month garbage pickup starting July 1.

June 11—Samina Azhar, the former owner of six area Burger King restaurants, was arrested in Plano, Texas, on warrants for failure to pay back meals taxes in Franklin and Isle of Wight County.

June 18—Despite persistent rumors, International Paper Co. has not sold the Franklin sawmill. The recent activity around the sawmill has focused on work being done to maintain and secure the equipment. IP closed the sawmill on May 31, 2009, citing a lack of orders in the housing and lumber markets. The closure affected 119 employees.

June 23—Troy Mayfield of Newsoms will be charged with the 2009 murder of 20-year-old Brandon Keith Turner at an apartment complex on Oak Trail in Courtland.

June 30—Stephen West watched helplessly as a 50-foot tall gum tree fell onto his mobile home. The tree crashed into the bedroom, where his wife, Becky West, and 4-day-old Jonathan David were asleep. The Wests’ other children — Noah, 5, Joseph, 4, and Naomi, 1 — also were inside the home. No one was hurt.


July 2— About 100 people worked their last day at the International Paper Co. paper mill in Franklin. Among them was Edward Johnson, a welder in the maintenance department for nearly 35 years.

July 7—A 16-year-old Courtland girl was flown to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital after she lost control of the four-wheeler she was driving in Sedley.

July 7— It’s been at least 25 years since Walt Young experienced a summer as dry as this one. Young lost half of his peanut and corn crops that year and a third of his soybeans. Now he’s worried about this year’s harvest given that the Western Tidewater region has gone a month without a significant amount of rainfall. Another week without rain could mean a total loss to his 100 acres of corn.

July 9— It appears the Western Tidewater region experienced its hottest day ever when temperatures hit 106. According to records dating back to the late 1940s by the website weather.com, the all-time high previous for Franklin was 105 set on June 27, 1952.

July 14—Monday night’s rain was a little too late for the 70 acres of corn on Bruce and Gayle Phillips’ Southampton County farm. “Dead,” is how Gayle Phillips described the crop on their farm north of Courtland.

July 16— More than six months after closing its pharmacy, Parker Drug, an icon in downtown Franklin since 1887, will be shutting down its gift shop and soda fountain on July 27.

July 28—Sunday was the sixth day in a row for record-breaking heat in Franklin, according to the Weather Channel’s website, weather.com. It was also the sixth consecutive day for 100-plus degree temperatures, including all-time record highs of 108 on Saturday and Sunday. The previous all-time high was 106 set on July 7, according to weather.com records dating back to the 1940s.


Aug. 4— Jamila Shey Parker, 32, of Franklin has been charged with robbing Franklin Eagle Mart after allegedly accosting the clerk with a butcher knife and biting him.

Aug. 11—Richmond Police said they are continuing to investigate the death of a former Franklin man. Jonathon McCoy Willis, 18, was found dead underneath a car at 7 p.m. Aug. 4 at a Dorchester Road location.

Aug. 11—An Emporia man was killed when the pickup he was driving hit a tanker truck transporting milk, according to Suffolk officials. Raymond Fields, who died on the scene, did not see the tanker truck, which was attempting to turn around in the fog at 4:20 a.m.

Aug. 18—William “Bill” O’Brien, who served as Franklin’s chief of police for eight years, died Friday. He was 89.

Aug. 20— A Franklin man will serve the rest of his life in prison for killing sisters from Emporia. William Curtis Futrell, 36, pleaded guilty in Hertford County Superior Court to two counts of first-degree murder for the Aug. 4, 2006, stabbing deaths of Dorothy Hobbs, 74, and Nellie Bradley, 71.

Aug. 22—Ten public schools in local districts fell short of federal Adequate Yearly Progress standards for the 2009-2010 school year, largely due to low scores in English and math, but also because a new method was used to calculate graduation rates.

Aug. 25—Award-winning musician and songwriter Jim Witter and The Piano Men will open Franklin-Southampton Concert Association’s 33rd season at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 27.

Aug. 27—Southampton County is looking to collect nearly $1.7 million in unpaid real estate and personal property taxes.

Aug. 29—Kathleen Perry sold Franklin Bowling Center in the Armory Plaza to Chuck Guynn and his fiancée, Peggi Hendrix.


Sept. 8— Despite intermittent showers over the last six weeks, local agricultural officials predict this year’s drought will result in lower yields for peanuts, cotton and soybeans.

Sept. 8—Isle of Wight operates the Isle of Wight/Franklin Skating Rink, however, current economic conditions have county leaders talking about the future of the facility.

Sept. 12—David Fuller, the chief executive at Southampton Memorial Hospital, is leaving his post Oct. 1 to accept a promotion and become the CEO at a larger hospital in Florida.

Sept. 22—Passenger rail service linking Richmond and South Hampton Roads could soon be a reality, and county and town leaders want to make sure Windsor isn’t left out. They say a train station could be a boon to the town’s economy.

Sept. 24—Local and company officials indicate that International Paper Co. could make a decision on what to do with the shuttered paper mill facilities in Franklin by the end of the year.

Sept. 28—The assistant administrator for Southampton County has resigned in hopes of getting a job elsewhere. Jay Randolph’s last day on the job was Friday.


Oct. 1—A Southampton County jury in 40 minutes convicted a Newsoms man of a 2009 murder at a Courtland apartment complex and recommended he spend the rest of his life in prison. Troy Mayfield, 29, was found guilty of first-degree murder in connection with the shooting death of Brandon Keith Turner, 2, on March 3 on Oak Trail.

Oct. 1—Just two months after being recognized as the patients’ choice for best hospital in Hampton Roads, Southampton Memorial Hospital has been named the most consistent facility in the state as well.

Oct. 3— Robert Camp Ray, a longtime supporter of the community and one of the co-founders of the James L. Camp Jr. YMCA in Franklin, died at his home in Florida. He was 92.

Oct. 6— Phil A. Wright II will take over as the chief executive officer of Southampton Memorial Hospital on Nov. 1. Wright will replace David Fuller, who was promoted to CEO at North Okaloosa Medical Center in Crestview, Fla.

Oct. 6—Flooding from 14 inches of rain swept away Jimmy Anderson’s mailbox along with a portion of his front yard and a 300-foot stretch of Sunbeam Road in front of his home. In total, flooding damaged nearly ¼-mile of section of Sunbeam Road near the intersection with Sandy Ridge and Mill Path roads, including the area around a bridge.

Oct. 13— Six months after he was hired as Boykins’ sole police officer, Town Sgt. Willie Culpepper has resigned. Town Council is looking for a replacement. The job pays $27,000 annually plus health insurance and a retirement package.

Oct. 15—Two people were killed in a crash near Ivor. Annette Hicks Turner, 49, of Ivor and Leslie Gay Jr., 53, of Wakefield were killed in the 3:45 p.m. crash at Boothe and Sadler roads, according to Virginia State Police. Police said a male teenager was driving northbound on Sadler Road in a 2008 Toyota Tacoma when he ran a stop sign. His pickup traveled into the path of a 1994 Geo Prism driven by Turner.

Oct. 20— A mother and her three teenage daughters lost everything in a fire at Southampton Meadows mobile home park on Route 258. Karen Falkins, who had no insurance for the trailer she rented, is looking for a place to stay and clothing for her children, who are 17, 14 and 12. Falkins’ father, Billy, also lived with the family.

Oct. 22— An Isle of Wight County Circuit Court judge dismissed a sexual battery charge against a county school administrator. Windsor Middle School Assistant Principal Timmie Edwards, 61, of Smithfield was charged with the misdemeanor after a 30-year-old woman claimed he made unwanted sexual advances.

Oct. 27—Tractor Supply Co. on Oct. 30 will open its new store in Franklin at 1465 Armory Drive in Franklin. Deb Smith has been named the store manager.


Nov. 3—Traveling the entire 55-miles of a new limited-access U.S. Route 460 between Suffolk and Petersburg could cost between $5.50 and $11 one way. That’s by car. For trucks, the toll could be as high as $22.

Nov. 7—Boykins Town Council during a special meeting voted unanimously to hire a retired Portsmouth homicide detective as its new town sergeant. George Brozzo will replace Willie Culpepper, who resigned in September.

Nov. 10— A Courtland man died from injuries he suffered in one-car crash on Friday outside Courtland, Virginia State Police said. Lester McCoy Artis, 61, was taken to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital, where he died.

Nov. 10—Retired college basketball referee Larry Rose of Courtland was among eight inducted into the Hampton Roads African American Sports Hall of Fame.

Nov. 12— Isle of Wight County Board of Supervisors Chairman Phillip Bradshaw announced he would resign from the elected position he’s held for 17 years. The news came one day after Bradshaw accepted the job as Isle of Wight County Schools’ new chief financial officer, which pays $95,333 annually.

Nov. 17— A judge ruled the city of Franklin isn’t legally required to give a former police sergeant his service weapon, identification card or city recognition award. Ronnie McClenny, who was a city police officer for nearly 25 years, filed a civil claim against the city for the items earlier this year.

Nov. 21—The Isle of Wight Board of Supervisors authorized the school division to apply to see whether it is eligible for a $15 million interest-free loan toward the possible construction of a new Windsor Middle School.

Nov. 24—A fire destroyed an $85,000 cotton picker purchased three weeks ago by D&T Farms in Newsoms.


Dec. 1—After about two years of planning, Isle of Wight County officials broke ground on a new, nearly $1 million animal shelter.

Dec. 10—Megan Banton, 21, charged with felony child neglect after her 7-month-old daughter tested positive for cocaine, was sentenced to three months in jail.

Dec. 12—Isle of Wight County School Superintendent Dr. Michael W. McPherson announced that he has told the School Board he plans to retire at the end of his contract, which expires June 30.

Dec. 22 —A former Franklin man serving 23 years for his role in the 2009 killing of a Courtland man faces more troubles. Eric Owen Parker, 21, was recently charged with the nearly four-year-old murder of Courtney Blunt, 26, at Southampton Meadows Mobile Home Park.

Dec. 22—Virginia and Norfolk Southern Railway signed an agreement that within three years will bring daily passenger rail through Isle of Wight County.