Tidewater News Top 10 headlines of the year

Published 5:45 pm Tuesday, December 23, 2014

For the annual year in review article, the staff at The Tidewater News thought we’d try something different. This year, the team wants to invite readers to help us rank what you think are the Top 10 headlines or narratives from the year.

We compiled a list of stories that we thought were the biggest of the year, coming up with more than 20 of them. We narrowed that list down to 10 and will unveil the final standings for the Top 10 headlines or narratives of the year in our Wednesday, Dec. 31 edition.

In no particular order:

Choose up to three stories you think were the biggest this year.

  • Franklin City Public Schools and the Virginia Board of Education (18%, 24 Votes)
  • Crime in Franklin (18%, 23 Votes)
  • Continuing success of Franklin robotics (12%, 15 Votes)
  • Officers Livingston and Lyons save a life (12%, 15 Votes)
  • County's first Gay Marriage (10%, 13 Votes)
  • Franklin Christmas Parade shenanigans (9%, 12 Votes)
  • Superintendents in Franklin (8%, 10 Votes)
  • Dominion installing Atlantic Coast Pipeline (6%, 8 Votes)
  • Sunday Hunting Bill passed (4%, 5 Votes)
  • The saga of Route 460 (4%, 5 Votes)

Total Voters: 51

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Franklin City Public Schools and the Virginia Board of Education
• This includes the Division Level Review at the beginning of the year; the corrective action plan; continued human relations problems, such as the teacher hired who allegedly distributed heroin; and the gains and losses of the year on Standards of Learning.

Superintendents in Franklin
• In the beginning of the year, it looked like Dr. Michelle Belle would be able to remain superintendent, until a few members of the school board decided they had enough and voted her out, 3-2, in January. Following that, the board hired Willie J. Bell to begin on July 1.

Crime in Franklin
• The year started out with the alleged murder of a child and ended with the murder of Martinez Hill. There were also two big robberies downtown, first the bank robbers and then a downtown cat burglar at Liberty Coin. Termaine Porter was also sentenced to multiple life sentences after being convicted of several rapes during the previous year.

Officers Livingston and Lyons save a life
• Officer Quentin Livingston and Sgt. Todd Lyons were presented with the Medal of Valor for their heroic actions, which occurred on Feb. 26. On that day, they pulled a homeowner out of a Bracey Street house fire.

County’s first Gay Marriage
• Two Capron men — William Nick Kitchen IV and David Heath — became the first to marry in Southampton County on the same day that the Supreme Court declined to hear arguments to uphold bans on same-sex marriages in Virginia, as well as four other states.

Franklin Christmas Parade shenanigans
• Immediately after the parade, a pair of fights broke out near downtown. Not long afterward, parents complained that a band and community youth organization did not stick to any decency guidelines at the end of Christmas parade, which included swearing and inappropriate dancing.

Sunday Hunting Bill passed
• House Bill 1237 passed and signed into law, allowing Virginians the right to hunt on Sundays. Specifically, it allows private landowners and their family members to hunt, provided the land’s not within 200 yards of a place of worship.

Dominion installing Atlantic Coast Pipeline
• Dominion and a number of other companies announced their proposal to build a natural gas pipeline from West Virginia down to North Carolina, and going through the southern part of Southampton County.

The saga of Route 460
•The Virginia Department of Transportation’s work on building a new Route 460 from Suffolk to Petersburg was halted by the State Transportation Secretary Aubrey Lane in mid-march. At issue is the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers withholding permits because the project reportedly threatens hundreds of acres of wetlands that could be affected by the new road.

Continuing success of Franklin robotics
• This year, the Franklin High School Robotics Team 1610 competed in the FIRST World Championship in St. Louis. In nine years of competition, one of the smallest teams in Virginia has made it to the World Championship four times.