An Afternoon Chat with Mayor Proto

Mayor Proto takes oath of office. (Wave photo)

George Proto is sworn in last July as Mayor of Cape Charles (Wave photo)

Cape Charles Wave

March 30, 2014

Mayor George Proto has begun holding “office hours” twice monthly for an hour at the Cape Charles Civic Center, and last week the Wave took that opportunity for an interview. Proto holds degrees from Drexel (BS Physics) and University of Virginia (PhD Materials Science). He worked at IBM for 30 years, interacting with and managing diverse groups of people from multiple countries and continents.

“I was responsible for projects that demanded that people worked together in order to be successful.”

So, how did you come to find yourself in Cape Charles?

Well, my wife tells the story better than I can — but, briefly, I guess I would go back to 1999, and both our parents had just passed away, within a few months of each other. And we just wanted to get away, so went to Bethany Beach. We just wanted to sit in the sun, and just relax, maybe jump in the surf now and then. But it rained the entire time. The whole week.

Now my wife, who is from Milford, Delaware, still had a good friend living in Belle Haven, and since the weather was going to be so bad anyway, we drove down to the Eastern Shore to visit, and explore some. There were small towns all up and down, and I even got to see the Bridge-Tunnel for the first time (I had never been that far south on the Peninsula before).

On the way down to see the CBBT, we saw the sign for Cape Charles, so on the way back we pulled in and explored, and just fell in love with the place. We bought property, and when we retired, we moved here.

How would you rate the current status of Cape Charles?

Overall, I would say it’s in good shape. Of course, there’s much more to do. Obviously, from an economic standpoint, I would like to see more growth. The tourism — the current tourism we have I think is a good thing, but I would like to see more growth in industries that are year round. I think the yacht center is something we can look to, where the success there will create, or provide opportunities for other businesses to build up around it.

One asset that we do have in our favor is high speed Internet — did I ever tell you what I did when I worked for IBM? Well, basically whatever they told me to do (laughs) — but later on, I was working more in project management, or more problem management, where our teams were spread out all over the world. I think high speed Internet can allow that kind of collaborative work to occur here.

What we’d like to see is a little more density [year round], to help all of our businesses — but there are barriers to getting people to move here. Number one is the schools. Then there is the lack of emergency medical services. Third is the toll. Now, if we could lower the toll even more, I’m sure there are people in Virginia Beach that would move here, if we could also offer a better public school option. Like I said, I think our tourism is always going to be a big part of what we do, but in our case, it is the type of tourist that chooses to come here that differentiates us. They seem so willing to embrace us, to embrace our values. [Read more…]

County Planning Commission Hears Discouraging Data

Cape Charles Wave

March 30, 2015

The Northampton County Planning Commission met March 25 to continue amending the zoning and land use map. Commissioners Mike Ward provided statistical handouts  including the following:

· Population decreased 7.39% in the years 2000-2014;

· Jobs declined 20.7% in the period 1999-2014;

· Property values declined 20.26% between 2009-14;

· Median Household income declined 7.44% between 2010-2014;

· Poverty rate increased to 24.3% in 2013, up 6.3% from 2007; and

· Economic Development plummeted in recent years.

· Northampton commercial establishments that closed in recent years include Roses, LeCato, A&N Clothing, Bank of America in Cape Charles, Sun Trust Bank in Nassawadox, KFC, Taco Bell, Wendy’s, and Burger King and Fresh Pride in Exmore. Rural Health moved from Nasswadox to Onancock, and Riverside Shore Memorial Hospital is doing the same.

Ward also noted that Shore Memorial Hospital’s impending move will create health, safety, and public welfare challenges. Similar challenges also face economic development endeavors, and poor school performance and low teacher salaries serve as a disincentive to attract “quality personnel.”

Residents may want to prepare for an increase in taxes, he said, as there will be fiscal pressures due to the need in part to “replace aging equipment and maintain existing facilities, together with salaries”.

When the Planning Commission meets April 7, on the agenda are three Special Use Permits, a single wide mobile home request, a Conference Retreat Center for Mimosa Farms, and a proposal to open a raw bar/bistro in the 1,000 square-foot Harvey building on the waterfront in Oyster. [Read more…]

1 Comment

Chicken Litter Incinerator Causes Toxic Waste

United Poultry Concerns

March 30, 2015

In the Cape Charles Wave on March 22, Ken Dufty commented on WAYNE CREED Pays a Visit to United Poultry Concerns regarding a proposal to build a chicken litter incinerator in Northampton County “aimed at giving the industrial chicken farms a purported solution for the millions of pounds of chicken manure generated annually” on the Eastern Shore. In Maryland alone, the chicken industry produces 700 million pounds of poultry litter each year, of which 300,384 tons exceed the capacity of local cropland to assimilate the phosphorous and other components of the waste, according to a study cited by Food & Water Watch in their May 2012 report, Poultry Litter Incineration: An Unsustainable Solution.

“Poultry litter” is the mixture of fecal droppings, antibiotic residues, heavy metals, cysts, larvae, dead birds, rodents, and sawdust in which the chickens are forced to sit for six weeks before they are slaughtered. According to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, used poultry litter has four times the nitrogen and 24 times the phosphorous found in pig and dairy cow operations. Dumped on the environment, this mountain of toxic waste burns fragile plant cells, poisons the water, and spawns excess algae that consume aquatic nutrients. The excess algae block sunlight needed by underwater grasses and suffocate fish in the process of decay.

Used poultry litter — which is nine parts manure by the time it is scraped out of the chicken houses after several years of accumulation — has been found to be “rich in genes called integrons that promote the spread and persistence of clusters of varied antibiotic-resistant genes,” according to a May 2004 article in Farm and Dairy.

The Food & Water Watch report on poultry litter incineration cites studies showing that burning poultry litter for electricity on the Delmarva Peninsula would almost certainly depend on taxpayer subsidies. An analysis by the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources suggests that burning poultry litter “may actually produce as much or more toxic air emissions than coal plants.” The emitted poultry litter toxins are carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, sulfuric acid, hydrochloric acid, volatile organic compounds, dioxin, particulate matter, and arsenic. [Read more…]


WAYNE CREED: I Was Wrong about Backyard Chickens

Cape Charles Wave Columnist

March 30, 2015

On Friday, March 20, Farm Animal Rights Movement (FARM) set up their annual campaign, the 2015 MeatOut, meant to encourage the public to try a vegan diet for one day.  People from 96 countries pledged to “Eat Vegan for a Day.” This simple effort saved 1,343 farmed animals. MeatOut was soon followed by an opinion in the New York Times by Dean Ornish, clinical professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, and the founder of the Preventive Medicine Research Institute. Ornish’s article focused on the questionable notion that “Americans have grown fat because they eat too much starch and sugar, and not enough meat, fat and eggs.”

The implication is that consuming lean meat and animal byproducts (even those labeled organic or grass fed) is somehow “healthy.”  More recent research indicates that animal protein may significantly increase the risk of premature mortality from all causes, among them cardiovascular disease, cancer, and Type 2 diabetes, and a study published by NIH last March found a 75 percent increase in premature deaths from all causes, and a 400 percent increase in deaths from cancer and Type 2 diabetes, among heavy consumers of animal protein under the age of 65 — those who got 20 percent or more of their calories from animal protein.

According to Ornish, “Low-carb, high-animal-protein diets promote heart disease via mechanisms other than just their effects on cholesterol levels. Arterial blockages may be caused by animal-protein-induced elevations in free fatty acids and insulin levels and decreased production of endothelial progenitor cells (which help keep arteries clean). Egg yolks and red meat appear to significantly increase the risk of coronary heart disease and cancer due to increased production of trimethylamine N-oxide, or TMAO, a metabolite of meat and egg yolks linked to the clogging of arteries.”

When questioning the ethics of eating and the effect that our food choices can make, it is important to realize that those choices have much broader implications than just weight loss or personal health and well-being — they also play a big role in the health of our environment. By the numbers, one person going vegan for one year would preserve 53,900 square feet of rain forest, and save 1,350,500 gallons of water.

For many folks living on the Eastern Shore or greater Delmarva, the environmental effects of agribusiness have been a concern for some time. A report from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) provides key data points on the adverse environmental aspects of animal farming, such as land degradation, air and water pollution, and loss of biodiversity. Even as agribusiness (livestock) only accounts for a relatively small proportion of the total GDP, it should still be noted that the sector still plays an important role both socially and politically in not just the poorest developing countries, but also the poorest communities of the United States. [Read more…]


ALTERNATIVE TABLE: Fat and Scientific Shenanigans

Cape Charles Wave Columnist

March 30, 2015

In my article of last week, I featured the Weston A. Price Foundation (WAPF) and described how their recommended traditional diet helped me lose 50 pounds over nine months by changing my fat intake to greater than 30 percent of calories coming mostly from saturated and monosaturated fats.

alttableAs I lost my food cravings I began to do research on fat and its impact on one’s body. How could it be that for over 40 years the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) was a strong proponent of low fat diets?

In 1968, after seeing an image of a child who had died of starvation in the CBS documentary, Hunger in America, George McGovern became the chair of the “Select Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs” with the goal of wiping out hunger and malnutrition in the United States. In 1977 the Select Committee published the “Dietary Goals for the United States” after hearing Dr. Ancel Keys and other supporting researchers speak about the link between saturated fat and cholesterol consumption.

From 1972 to 1973 and concurrent with the Select Committee, the American Heart Association, American Medical Association, and the National Academy of Science developed the following recommendations:

  • Americans’ cholesterol is too high;
  • We should measure our cholesterol in medical examinations;
  • People considered as “at risk” should receive appropriate dietary advice;
  • At risk Americans should reduce their intake of saturated fat by substituting polyunsaturated vegetable oils;
  • Modified and ordinary foods (to support the ingestion of vegetable oils) should be available in the marketplace; and
  • More studies should be performed to determine if lowering cholesterol can reduce chronic heart disease.

1 - 1992foodpyramidThe piling on the bandwagon by these organizations led to the 1992 USDA Food Pyramid that most of us remember so well.

So how did all of these organizations arrive at these conclusions? I believe it was the work of Ancel Keys in the 1950s that started the idea that saturated fat led to the increase in heart disease. He noticed that death from heart disease dropped in areas where food rationing had been in place due to WWII and increased in industrialized areas of the world. Keys created graphs using food intake data and mortality statistics from the late 1940s using six countries: Japan, Italy, England, Australia, Canada, and the USA. The data appeared to show a correlation between the ingestion of fat and the increase in heart disease. We now call this the Diet-Heart Hypothesis which puts forward the idea that saturated fat causes cardiovascular disease (CVD) by raising blood cholesterol. He presented a graph at the 1955 World Health Organization conference that mapped fat intake to each country’s rate of death from heart disease. [Read more…]


SATURDAY 4/18: Book Sale at Northampton Library

The Friends of the Northampton Free Library in Nassawadox will be having their first annual Spring Book Sale on Saturday, April 18, from 1:30-5 p.m. in celebration of National Library Week. Teens will also be able to choose a free book from selected young adult titles in honor of Teen Lit Day. [Read more…]

FRIDAY 4/3: Bill LeCato Chairs Addiction Seminar at ESCC

Science and Philosophy Seminar of the Eastern Shore of Virginia’s event this week is “Addiction:  A Panel Discussion.”  The free 2-hour + seminar will begins at 12:30 p.m. Friday, April 3, in the Eastern Shore Community College Lecture Hall, 29300 Lankford Hwy., Melfa. Bill LeCato of Hospice will lead the discussion on various aspects of addiction and its consequences here on the Shore. [Read more…]

Jack White: County Supervisor, Bridge-Tunnel Commissioner, Shore Memorial Board Member

1549040_profile_picMarch 26, 2015

John “Jack” Williams White, Sr., 88, passed away Wednesday, March 25, at Riverside Shore Memorial Hospital in Nassawadox. A graveside service will be conducted 2 p.m. Sunday, March 29, at Christ Episcopal Church Cemetery in Eastville with Rev. Daniel Crockett and Rev. Jonathan Carpenter officiating.

Mr. White was a Cape Charles native and served in numerous positions of distinction, including as a Northampton County Supervisor, a Board Member of Shore Memorial Hospital, and a Commissioner of Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel. He was a retired salesman for Dunn and Bradstreet and a member of Christ Episcopal Church.

Mr. White was the husband of the late Lucy Addison Restein White and the son of the late Richard Read White and the late Jessie Williams White. He is survived by a son, John William White, Jr., and his wife, Carin, of Virginia Beach; a granddaughter, Brooke White of Virginia Beach, and a niece, Linda White Volner and her husband, Rick, of Onancock. [Read more…]