Robots, Laser-guided Carts, and Northampton Supervisors

Northampton County Supervisors Larry Trala, Willie Randall, and Oliver Bennett, with Janice Williams, assistant to the County administrator, before their tour of the factory. No photos were permitted in the factory. (Wave photo)

Cape Charles Wave

August 27, 2012

Members of the Northampton County Board of Supervisors went on a field trip last Thursday. They visited the Stihl manufacturing plant in Virginia Beach.

“I heard it was a good trip to see how high quality businesses function,” said board Chairman Oliver Bennett, who is also a teacher. “I wanted to see the operation, and see what we should be teaching our students.”

Bennett drove the small white activities bus that took the group to the factory. The building was huge — more than 2 million square feet of interior space on 150 acres, with 1,900 employees.

Most of the work was done by enormous robots, with a skilled technician manning two or three machines at a time. Long assembly lines filled several buildings, with people in high-tech workstations fitting, measuring, and inspecting the products in 12-hour shifts.

“What are you looking for in a student coming out of high school?” asked Supervisor Willie Randall. [Read more…]

Creative Writing Soars with 10-Week Workshop

Authors Lenore Hart and David Poyer give writers wings at Eastern Shore’s Own.

Special to the Wave

August 26, 2012

Creatively grounded? Why not get serious about starting — or finishing — that novel, short story, memoir, nonfiction article, nonfiction book, play, or screenplay?

Two much-published authors — Lenore Hart and David Poyer — are ready to coach both new and experienced writers in a weekly Creative Writing Workshop at the ESO Arts Center in Belle Haven. The class starts September 4, lasts 10 weeks, and is limited to eight writers on a first-come, first-served basis.

The popular workshop is in its 16th year. David Poyer’s 32 books have been reviewed in the New York Times and on USA Today’s bestseller lists. His work has been translated into Japanese, Dutch, and Italian, and rights have been sold for films and audiobooks. He teaches in the MA and MFA in Creative Writing programs at Wilkes University.

Novelist Lenore Hart will be the primary instructor this fall. Her books have been alternate selections of Book of the Month, Doubleday, and The Literary Guild, and have won the Barnes & Noble Discover Award. Her six critically acclaimed adult novels include Waterwoman, Ordinary SpringsBecky and, most recently, The Raven’s Bride. They have been translated into Norwegian, Swedish, and Portuguese, and two have been optioned for film. [Read more…]

Old School Epilogue — Can’t We All Just Get Along?

August 25, 2012


Rodney King famously asked, “Can’t we all just get along?”

Now that our representative government, the Town Council, has voted in accordance with the opinion of the majority of residents who chose to publicly render their opinions on this matter, isn’t it time we moved on?

Despite the animosity, division, anger, and hyperbole we all saw throughout this debate, I have also born witness to the strength of our community. We are not just a sleepy little beach town.

I have heard, and read, opinions from residents are who smart, funny, and engaging, that I didn’t know existed in this town.

I, for one, relish robust political dissent. However, perhaps it is time to lay down our swords on this issue and move forward toward the goal of a greater good and a more cohesive community.

Personally, I see no need for a publicly funded community center, but I am open to being persuaded if the venue is smaller and more affordable than the old high school. I look forward to all of us having that discussion.


Letters to the Editor are welcome on any subject relevant to Cape Charles, and a diversity of opinions is encouraged.  Letters should be original and never submitted elsewhere. Email submissions to [email protected].


Council Gives Final OK to Turn Old School into Apartments

Developers Edwin Gaskin (left) and J. David McCormack of Echelon Resources, Inc., plan to convert the old school, basketball court, and playground parking area into 17 one-bedroom apartments. (Wave photo)

Cape Charles Wave

August 24, 2012

Cape Charles Town Council voted Thursday night to rezone the Town’s old school, basketball court, and playground parking area from Open Space to R-1 Residential, and also to allow a 17-unit apartment building to be built in a single-family residential area.

The vote in each instance was 5-1, with Councilman Frank Wendell dissenting.

Some 100 people turned out for the meeting in the Fire Hall. Mayor Dora Sullivan laid out several ground rules but was unsuccessful in enforcing them. “Be respectful and stay on topic,” she said – no personal attacks or accusations. She informed Wendell that he could speak during the public hearing or during Council discussion, but not both.  However, Wendell insisted that when he was elected a member of Council, he did not lose his rights as a public citizen. Ultimately he was allowed to speak at length.

During the Public Hearing, Town Police removed two of the speakers from the podium, and a member of the Planning Commission threatened to assault a member of the press for photographing him.

Wendell urged Council to heed the advice of former town manager Tim Krawczel to put some conditions in the conditional use permit. That should include heeding the recommendation of the town’s attorney for a buyback option and performance bond to protect the Town’s interest in the property in case the developers were unable to carry out their plans. Wendell also moved that the Town retain the basketball court and playground parking lot, suggesting that Echelon build a parking lot across the street for the apartment house. The motion did not pass. [Read more…]


Public Hearing on School Rezoning and Use as Apartments

Cape Charles Town Council will hold a Public Hearing and Special Meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday, August 23, at the Fire Hall.

Following public comment, Town Council will vote on two resolutions.

The first resolution is to rezone the school property adjoining Central Park from Open Space to R-1 Residential.

Because R-1 Residential does not allow an apartment building, Town Council will then vote on a resolution to permit a Conditional Use of the property for a 17-unit apartment building.

The Town’s information packet for the meeting may be accessed here: 20120823 TC Agenda Packet

Earlier, at 5:30 p.m., Town Council will convene a closed session to interview applicants for the Planning Commission, which has three vacancies.

Survey: Northampton County on Wrong Economic Track

Cape Charles Wave

August 21, 2012

What do the people of Northampton County want for the future?


That’s according to two public surveys. One was done by the Comprehensive Plan Advisory Committee, which telephoned 350 local residents. The other  was by the County Planning Commission, involving 221 residents in an extensive public meeting process.

“Some of the main messages are not dissimilar,” said Sandra Benson Thornton, Northampton County Director of Planning and Zoning and head staffer for both projects.

But the methods and objectives of the two groups are very different. The Comprehensive Plan Advisory Committee (CPAC) began their process with the assumption that the County “was on the wrong track” in its planning and zoning process, and set out to prove it.

“It’s accurate to say they started with that assumption,” said Thornton. “I think they felt there were major issues that need correcting. They felt [the public meetings] didn’t draw from a broad enough representation of the population, and the input didn’t accurately reflect the feelings of the citizens and property owners.”

The CPAC telephone survey was funded by the National Association of Realtors. Its first goal was “to obtain community input on future land uses preferences for use in updating the Comprehensive plan.” [Read more…]


3 Candidates File for November Town Council Election

Larry Veber

Dan Burke

Steve Bennett

Cape Charles Wave

August 20, 2012

When Cape Charles voters enter the election booth on November 6 to choose their next President, senator, congressman, and more, they will also see a local race that for the first time in Town history is sharing space with a national election.

Way down at the bottom of the ballot will be a three-way race for one Town Council seat. The candidates are: Steve Bennett, Dan Burke, and Larry Veber.

Unlike the national contests, the local candidates will not be identified by political party, since Council races in Cape Charles are non-partisan.

Because the special Town election will take place concurrent with the Presidential election, no extra expense is incurred.

Virginia election law does not provide for runoffs. Whichever candidate receives the most votes wins. Where three candidates are vying for one seat, the winner hypothetically could receive as little as 34 percent of the vote if each of the other candidates received 33 percent.

Town Council elections normally are in May. The November special election is due to the death of Don Clarke, who was elected May 1 to Town Council but passed away in June before taking office.

After Clarke’s death, Town Council appointed Veber to serve in an interim capacity until a special election could be held.

Steve Bennett and Larry Veber were both elected to Town Council in 2008, and were both defeated for re-election in May 2012. Of the five candidates running in May, three were elected, Veber placed 4th, and Bennett came in 5th.

When Town Council had to pick an interim replacement for Clarke, the majority supported Veber. [Read more…]


TUESDAY 8/21: Historic District Review Board Meeting

The Cape Charles Historic District Review Board will hold a regular session at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, August 21.

The Board will consider a request for roof line modification of the dwelling at 615 Jefferson Avenue.