EXTRA: Arts Maven Clelia Sheppard Bids Adieu

Clelia Sheppard has announced her resignation as

After 18 years of dedicated service to the arts in Cape Charles, Clelia Sheppard has announced her resignation as Executive Director and Artistic Director of Arts Enter, the organization she founded.

March 4, 2015

EDITOR’S NOTE: To our great surprise, yesterday we received the letter below from Clelia Sheppard, whose name is synonymous with the arts scene in Cape Charles and, by extension, the entire lower Eastern Shore. Ms. Sheppard is resigning as director of Arts Enter, but promises that she will remain a board member “ad infinitum.” Here is her eloquent and breathtaking letter:

DEAR COMMUNITY MEMBERS, 

As I step down from my role as Executive Director and Artistic Director of Arts Enter Cape Charles, I have a question. I want to know—what inspires you? An Eastern Shore sunset? A work of art that grabs you and won’t let go? Perhaps it’s seeing your child perform on stage for the first time, or hearing the right chord just when you need it most.

When I first stepped inside the Historic Palace Theatre, with her worn seats and dark, quiet stage, I found my calling. To bring this gem back to life. To shine a spotlight on the people of Cape Charles and the lower Eastern Shore. To share my love of the arts. And to test my own limits and abilities: it was a personal challenge.

Now, after 18 years, I must thank the people in our community who have shared the rigors and privilege of growing Arts Enter with me, those pioneers and serious volunteers who put their hearts into our mission of celebrating and teaching the arts, who will always be remembered for their hard work: In alphabetical order, Victor Abrahamian, Sue Anglim, Dianne Appell, Kathy Barefoot, Anne Bois, Anne and Andrew Bonniwell, Donna Bozza, Bill Burton, Marty Burgess, Jennifer Byler, Brent and Libby Carpenter, Jim Chapman, Evie Chapman, Marijana Cvijetic, Mary Ann and Don Clarke, Robin Cochran, Sarah Colson, Wayne Creed, Stephan Dulcie, David Feeney, Michael Flanagan, Keith and Gail Fox, Victor Gazzolo, David and Carol Glowacki, Maureen Green, Janne Guirin, Joe and Carol Habel, Christina Hardy, George Holmes, Mara Ifju, Rachel Isabelle, Susan Kovacs, the David Long family, Sandy Mayer, Vernon McCart, Larry McCluskey, Erik Medina, Vera Miller, Ellen Moore, Dora Mullins, William Neill, Bill Neville, Thomas O’Connor, Edie Outten, Ginnie Parker, Berkley and Joy Rayfield, Tommy and Francine Rayfield, Will Rickets, Chris Roll, Walt and Jean Roll, Tony Sacco, Virginia and George Savage, Malvina and Tommy Savage, Gwen Skeens, Kim Starr, Melissa Stein, Bill Sterling, Terry and Michael Strub, Nicki and Paul Tiffany, Ebba Tin Win, Sunny Trippel, Arthur Tross, Amy Watkins, Jack Woolley, Lyn Wyatt, and so many others. I cannot mention them all, but to each of you I am extremely grateful — you know who you are. [Read more…]

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Oyster Farm at Kings Creek Launches Operations

March 4, 2015

When the Wave broke the news that Aqua Restaurant was being renamed The Oyster Farm at Kings Creek, the story quickly became the most read of the year. Everyone was interested to hear about the changes — although the majority of commenters turned thumbs down on the new name. Now the restaurant has launched, heralded by the magnificent photo above. CLICK for the Oyster Farm website, which includes new menus for the renamed restaurant.

PHOTOS
Oyster Harbor Frozen; Sock Monkey Unperturbed

Submissions to our FROZEN FOTOS this week come from Craig Richardson (top), who with the aid of his quadcopter unmanned aerial vehicle captured an iced-in Oyster harbor. Meanwhile, Ken Dufty reported that “Our sock monkey didn’t have to go to school today. He was so happy, he snuck out into the snow to take a ride on his snow horse. Never underestimate the joy that lives within a sock monkey.” (March 2, 2015)

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BOARD OF SUPERVISORS
County Schools Hit by Shrinking Federal, State Aid

By WAYNE CREED
Cape Charles Wave

March 2, 2015

With more snow and colder temperatures looming, the Northampton Board of Supervisors met February 23 to conduct a joint meeting with the Northampton County School Board to discuss the FY 2016 Requested Budget. A joint meeting with the Planning Commission, along with the Town of Nassawaddox, was also conducted. At the forefront once again was the need to raise salaries for County teachers and staff. The School Board is looking for a 1.5% increase, on top of the step increase from last year. Superintendent Charlie Lawrence, pointed out that even as there was a 1.5% increase last year, the 1.5 % increase in healthcare completely wiped it out.

In all, of the $19.8 million the school board is requesting, over $8.5 million is to be funded locally. This is a $500,000 increase from last year. Lawrence pointed out that back in 2008-2009 the budget was $8.4 million, which adjusting for inflation would be $9.3 million today. “It just goes to show how far we have fallen behind,” he said.

Lawrence observed that “25 years is considered a generation. Twenty-two years ago, Northampton had high achieving schools. Fast forward and we now have just one school clinging to accreditation. I know it’s a lot of money and it won’t solve all our problems. The citizens of Northampton County deserve better or average schools. The students of Northampton, economically . . . we cannot afford to have average or better schools.

“During your last meeting, I was told that the morale of our teachers was low. That is just not true. Look, the men and woman of our county schools come to work each day and toil before and after school, doing all they can to move this division forward. Are they frustrated and feel that they need better working conditions? Yes. In the end, it is the taxpayers and children that deserve better schools,” he declared.

Even as Lawrence emphasized the need for the budget increase, he also spoke to important parts of the budget that would have to be dropped, like much needed repairs to schools (such as painting the bathrooms at Kiptopeke, which have never been painted), a teacher of alternative education, additional math and science teachers (even as we expect our children to compete globally on a technological scale, due to staffing constraints, we cannot offer a full year of science in 4th and 5th grade, and the math classrooms are still considered overcrowded).

From a Financial and Operations perspective, Director of Finance E. Brook Thomas offered an elegant presentation which provided a granular level insight into the issues and challenges of the operations budget. Of note, 65% of the budget goes to instruction, and breaking it down further, 78% goes toward salaries and benefits. This is critical because, as the Board looks to make cuts, “it is very difficult since you would be cutting people whose lives are dedicated to serving children,” Thomas said. [Read more…]

WAYNE CREED
Supervisors Missing Chance to Lower Flood Premiums

By WAYNE CREED
Cape Charles Wave

March 2, 2015

As the wonderful photography of Gertraud Fendler has documented, this winter has changed much of the Bay into a frozen pond. Despite the clean, white appearance, the actual condition of the water tells a different story. According to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s latest State of the Bay report (2014), the Bay is showing minor improvement, with Water quality indicator scores going up slightly. The problem with even this minor improvement is that the baseline has shifted so far towards the negative that incremental improvements such as this will hardly ever make a dent in the “real” health and quality of the Bay. The report also notes that Blue crabs and striped bass are showing signs of severe stress (due to pollution, diseases, overharvesting); again, these “metrics indicate a system still dangerously out of balance.” According to data from ChesapeakeBay.net, the abundance of spawning-age female blue crabs in the Chesapeake Bay decreased to 68.5 million in 2014, compared with 147 million in 2013.

Even as data continues to indicate an unhealthy Bay, and much of it pointing to the effects of human activity, it appears the Northampton County Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors are once again looking at removal of the Chesapeake Bay Protection Act from Seaside, using the rationale that it does not apply to the Seaside. This notion seems inconsistent with the original intent of the CBPA, which was envisioned to cover the Chesapeake Bay, its tributaries, and “other state waters.” According to the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, the Bay Act program is designed to “improve water quality in the Chesapeake Bay and other waters of the State by requiring the use of effective land management and land use planning.” At the heart of the Bay Act is the concept that land can be used and developed to “minimize negative impacts on water quality.”
The first sentence of the Bay Act serves as a theme for the entire statute: “Healthy state and local economies and a healthy Chesapeake Bay are integrally related; balanced economic development and water quality protection are not mutually exclusive.”

The eloquent nature of the Bay Act is that it perceives that land should be used and developed to not just generate wealth for a few, but to minimize negative impacts on all water quality, which would benefit the majority of citizens (and even incubate economic development in the form of aquaculture and clean water tourism). In Virginia, the state designed the Bay Act to enhance water quality while at the same time allowing “reasonable development.” I guess this is the semantic argument, where a balancing act between state and local economic interests and water quality improvement is required. In Virginia the Bay Act puts the onus on local governments (who have the primary responsibility for land use decisions) to manage water quality, and “establishing a more specific relationship between water quality protection and local land use decision-making.” This quiet notion seems to be glaringly absent in the current proposed zoning. [Read more…]

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PETA Breaks Silence after Killing Parksley Pet

Example of a citizens group’s reaction to PETA’s kidnapping and killing of Maya, a pet chihuahua belonging to a young Parksley girl.

COMPILED FROM NEWS SOURCES

February 27, 2014

When PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) workers removed a Parksley child’s pet from the porch of her home on October 18, 2014, and euthanized the dog the next day, the news travelled around the world. It was certainly the biggest story of the year coming out of Virginia’s Eastern Shore.

But perhaps the most surprising element of the story was that PETA, a large, international organization, gave no response whatsoever. Even as citizens groups demonstrated in Accomack County against Commonwealth’s Attorney Gary Agar for his refusal to press charges, PETA remained mum. Only now, more than four months later, has PETA broken its silence and offered an explanation for what happened.

Although Parksley falls outside the Wave’s area of news coverage, the story is so remarkable that we are reprinting portions of an interview with a PETA spokesperson appearing in today’s Virginian-Pilot. Tim Eberly reports from Norfolk that just as a state investigation “is about to become public record, [PETA] is breaking its silence on the bizarre ordeal. It’s our fault, the agency acknowledges. We’re very sorry. And we’ll do whatever it takes to keep it from happening again.” [Read more…]

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ON THE TELEPHONE POLE

TUESDAY 3/3: Shore Little League Registration

In-Person registration will be held at the Cape Charles Rescue Squad at 22215 S. Bayside Rd., Cheriton, on Tuesday, March 3, from 5:30-7:30 p.m.

In-Person registration will be held at Shore Little League on Thursday, March 5,from 5:30-7:30 p.m.

On-Line registration is available at http://Shorelittleleague.leaguetoolbox.com [Read more…]

SUNDAY 3/8: Eastern Shore Orchestra at Hungar’s Church

The Orchestra of the Eastern Shore under the direction of  Dr. Paul Kim presents “Songs for Spring”  at Hungar’s Church in Bridgetown at 7:30 p.m. Program includes Mozart’s Exsultate, jubilate with soprano soloist Anna Sterrett, and Bach’s Cantata No. 56 (I Will Gladly Carry the Cross) with Matthew Scollin, bass-baritone and chorus. [Read more…]

County Education Foundation Announces $40,000 Scholarship

The Northampton County Education Foundation has established a scholarship covering tuition cost up to $10,000 per year to a Northampton High School graduating senior who is in need of financial assistance for post-secondary education at a four-year accredited institution. [Read more…]

Arts Grant Funds Cultural Enhancement on Eastern Shore

Wren Masters

Wren Masters

The Commission for the Arts has awarded the Northampton County Education Foundation a grant to help support an upcoming concert benefiting the Foundation’s work in Northampton County Public Schools.

According to Crosby Johnson, Chairman of the Board of Directors, “This is the first in a series of cultural enhancement and high quality arts opportunities the Foundation will be sponsoring here on the Shore.  All proceeds will support scholarships, teacher grants, and special event activities in Northampton County Public Schools. Twenty-five tickets will be distributed to students involved with music programs at all four Northampton schools.” [Read more…]

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FRIDAY 3/6: Donna Bozza on ‘How CBES Got its Groove Back’

Science and Philosophy Seminar of the Eastern Shore of Virginia will sponsor “How CBES Got Its Groove Back,”  a free 90-minute seminar at 12:30 p.m. Friday, March 6, in the Lecture Hall of the Eastern Shore Community College, 29300 Lankford Hwy., Melfa. Donna Bozza will explore the journey of a grassroots organization, Citizens for a Better Eastern Shore, from its passionate conception to its commitment to community 27 years later. A former journalist and later director of the Eastern Shore Tourism Commission, Bozza is the first full-time director of CBES.

SATURDAY 3/14: Town’s Favorite Talent Show ‘I Played the Palace’

I Played the Palace
7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 14 (rescheduled due to weather)

Come see or perform in Arts Enter’s annual non-competitive talent show, open to all ages. Enjoy a lighthearted and non-competitive evening at the Historic Palace Theatre, where the talents of neighbors and friends will be highlighted, all in good fun. [Read more…]

New EMS and Medical Services Foundation Established In Northampton

The Northampton County EMS and Medical Services Foundation, a non-profit 501 (c) 3, has been established in Northampton County. One of the recommendations of the Board of Supervisors-appointed EMS Task Force was to establish this foundation as a vehicle through which citizens, civic organizations, and other charitable groups could support expanded county and volunteer emergency response agencies.

H. Spencer Murray, Foundation President and CEO and a former member of that Task Force, accepted the responsibility to fund the establishment of the non-profit. IRS tax-exempt status has been received and a kick-off campaign has been planned for early Spring. Other Foundation board members are H. Furlong Baldwin, Director; John Coker, Treasurer and Director; and Cela Burge, Attorney and Director. [Read more…]

Publish Your Event in the Cape Charles Wave

Holding an event of interest to the general public in or near Cape Charles? Send an email to
[email protected] and your event will be listed in ON THE TELEPHONE POLE. Events will normally be publicized the same week they occur. Deadline for submission is the preceding Saturday.


BEACH PHOTOS: The Agony and the Ecstasy

Reader submissions on the coldest, snowiest week of the year include the stark reality of the Cape Charles beach, documented by Frank Wendell, and a fantasy of sugarplums dancing through the head of Gertraud Fendler and her Photoshop. (Published February 23, 2015)

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TOWN COUNCIL
Steve Bennett Loses Showdown Over Parking

By WAYNE CREED
Cape Charles Wave

February 23, 2015

With sidewalks frozen and iced over, temperatures dipping into the teens, and winds gusting to 30 knots, the Cape Charles Town Council put on their parkas and braved the elements to conduct the February 18 Regular Meeting at the Civic Center. With normal walkway entrances flooded and crusted over with a thin layer of ice, Chief Pruitt and Jeb Brady had to be on hand to help attendees traverse a makeshift path through the snowbank up to the sidewalk.

Mayor Proto called the meeting to order, and as first order of business, requested a motion to amend the agenda, tabling discussion and vote on the Manhole Rehabilitation Project, and substituting the purchase of property on Mason Avenue. The motion was approved by unanimous vote.

Several items were set to be addressed as new business, but because bids for the manhole project only came in that afternoon, the Town did not have adequate time to review them, and thus produce an accurate number of just how much the work was going to cost. Given this uncertainty, items such as Harbor for the Arts Festival Marketing, Tourism Map, Pine Street Lot Trash Management area, and Beach Swimming Area Safety Measures (Buoys, markers, signage) were put on hold. Council did approve $11,000 for Compensation Study Implementation (due March 1), $10,000 for Leased Parking Area improvements, and then began the discussion of using $70,000 to purchase a lot that currently is part of Patrick Hand’s Strawberry Street Plaza.

When Mr. Hand purchased the old Be-Lo market, he acquired both sets of parking lots that for so many years accommodated overflow for Palace Theatre and Stage Door Gallery events as well as providing convenient access to Mason Avenue restaurants and shops such as Breezes Day Spa, Sea Glass and Stories, Drizzles, and the Cape Charles Coffee House. Purchasing the lot from Mr. Hand, which could be converted into parking, seemed like a definitive win for the Town, destined for a quick, unanimous vote. Instead, Councilman Steve Bennett attacked the logic and timing of the motion. “Strawberry Street is just not important. I don’t think it is a wise investment of taxpayer dollars,” he said. Councilwoman Joan Natali countered, “But we need this to secure parking.”

Councilman Frank Wendell then addressed the Council. “How can visitors access the town without parking? Here, Council seems happy to pay hundreds of thousands to run a pipe (PSA) out to the highway to promote investment there, yet turns a blind eye to the consumers and shops on Mason Avenue.” [Read more…]

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WAYNE CREED Pays a Visit to United Poultry Concerns

Karen Davis with some of her brood at United Poultry Concerns on Seaside Road. (Photo: Washington Post)

Karen Davis with some of her brood at United Poultry Concerns on Seaside Road. (Photo: Washington Post)

By WAYNE CREED
Cape Charles Wave

February 23, 2015

My roots are in the clay hills of northeastern Alabama, where for generations my forebears were basically subsistence farmers living on what the land would provide them. Mainly corn, cotton, apricots, and other rotational crops were supplemented with eggs (chickens produced year round). A flock of 100-120 chickens lived outside during the day, pecking the dirt for worms and insects, and in the evening returned to the safety of a fairly large corrugated metal and wire chicken house enclosure. This somewhat bucolic memory allowed me for so many years to perpetuate the myth of “cage free” or “free range” organic chicken farming in my own mind.

I would argue for the promotion of “organic” family chicken farming in Washington, DC, and Northern Virginia (where I lived for 25 years), as well as for expanded operations here on the Eastern Shore. That all changed a year ago. As I was traveling to work in Norfolk, I got behind a truckload of caged chickens. The thermometer in my car registered 18 degrees, and as I stopped at a traffic light, I could see each face, crammed in and waiting. I have never been much of an adherer to James Joycean epiphanies, but this was one. It was a realization that I had been very wrong about the myth of the family farm and the possibility of “humane” chicken farming. No matter what justification I tried to use, Morrisey was right: meat is murder — it’s unnecessary and just not possible to farm animals humanely. The end of the line would eventually lead to a cage in the back of a truck. I told myself I would try to no longer be party to this.

Almost one year later, I find myself on another cold morning traveling Seaside Road on the way to the chicken sanctuary and headquarters of United Poultry Concerns. Karen Davis, PhD, is the president of UPC, which she founded in 1990. UPC is a nonprofit organization “dedicated to the compassionate and respectful treatment of domestic fowl” and addresses the treatment of domestic fowl in “food production, science, education, entertainment, and human companionship situations.” [Read more…]

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