Want to give your 2 cents’ worth but don’t feel comfortable using your name? Send it to [email protected] with the subject “Anonymous.” Keep it short, and no pot shots — you can criticize, but don’t attack.
LONG-WINDED M/C — The Cape Charles Community Band tried to bring the glory of Christmas melodies to the people that came to see and hear the festivals of the lighting of the Central Park Christmas Tree. Instead we heard a long-winded blue-jeaned master of ceremonies talk longer then the program we had rehearsed months in preparing for this celebration. Instead of the seven melodies we planned to give you to enjoy, he let all us musicians freeze our fingers close to icicles, so we had to cut it to three songs. (12/7/2013)
RESPONSE (5) TO “Start School Change at the Top” – Yes, the data quoted by the poster determined to blame Dr. Clemons for a 21 point drop in English Reading SOL scores obtained those numbers from the VDOE School Report Card for NCPS. What the poster failed to do was include the context for that data. Therefore the presentation of the data has been filtered for the purpose of blaming the current superintendent for a huge drop in scores. On page 1 of that VDOE School Report Card the context of the pass rates is clear. The VDOE Federal target for the English Reading SOL pass rate during the 2012-2013 school year was only 66%. That means that the NCPS pass rate of 57% fell 9 points below the target not 21 points.
The poster fails to include information from the VDOE that clearly explains the anticipated drops in pass rates across the state during the 2012-2013 school year due to increasing rigor and a move towards preparing students for college and careers. The rigor of History SOL tests was raised during the 2010-2011 school year (prior to Dr. Clemons). The rigor of the Math SOL test was raised during the 2011-2012 school year (Year 1 under Dr. Clemons). The rigor of the English and Science SOL tests was raised during the 2012-2013 school year (Year 2 under Dr. Clemons). While there is much progress to be made, NCPS only failed to meet the Federal AMO for Math during the 2012-2013 school year. Dr. Clemons is being proactive by working to meet and exceed these targets without the benefit of a 3 year average during the 2013-2014 school year, ever increasing expectations, and a state benchmark of 75% for English and 70% for all other subjects. Our students aren’t doing worse than they were before his arrival. They are adjusting to the higher career and college ready expectations. Filtering out that reality renders the data meaningless and suggests another motive. That information can be found for people to consume and digest for themselves at http://www.doe.virginia.
Readers can also view and consider the last three years of performance by NCPS for themselves by going to https://p1pe.doe.virginia.
Archived assessment results – Prior to 2006, spring testing results for English, mathematics, history/social science and science for grades 3, 5, and 8, as well as for end-of-course tests were reported.
I would encourage all interested citizens and new board members to do their homework by researching the details and the proper context instead of allowing any individual to filter and interpret the data for you. (12/1/2013)
RESPONSE (4) TO “Start School Change at the Top” – I certainly hope that the new School Board members will do their own research and evaluate the data. After checking a previous poster’s data I find it is not a filtered representation. It is factual information taken from the 2013 VDOE Report Card.
As stated in the post, NCPS has been identified by the state of Virginia and the federal government as a persistently low performing school division. In 2012-13, Mr. Clemons hand-picked a new administration and put it in place. How did that work out? The division scores dropped: 21 points in English, 17 points in Writing, 11 points in Science,1 point in Math and a 3 point increase in History. At the end of that year to cover his actions, he fired one of his new principals and moved another to a math position.
Do we have a principal at the high school yet? Each year dozens of faculty/staff leave or retire. Morale in the system is at an all time low. I watched the video linked to the post and saw that even with millions of dollars from the federal and state government being provided to the system, no progress is being made. What will happen when those funds are gone?
The data is clear: NCPS is on a downward spiral. Our children do deserve better leadership. The election results were very clear. They sent a clear message that they want changes made in order to revive the school system for our children. It said the voters are sick and tired of no school leadership. The newly elected school board members need to remember this message. (11/29/2013)
DON’T KNOW ABOUT THAT — The Cape Charles Mayor, Council, and staff don’t know the amount of debt they owe, don’t know that a fixed rate refinance is better than a variable rate when rates are this low, don’t know how many employees they have, don’t know how much they pay their lawyer, don’t know that the PSA project on the highway will hurt downtown Cape Charles, and when it comes to the historic Cape Charles High School they gave away located in the park, they don’t even know what direction the front door faces. Perhaps we should show them the front door to Town Hall on their way out after the May elections. But now after raising our taxes to hand out some raises and raising our water bills, they want to borrow yet another million dollars to add to our debt. I DON’T KNOW ABOUT THAT! (11/27/2013)
BEACHFRONT BARGAIN TV SHOW — A very nice picture of beautiful Cape Charles. But did anyone warn that lovely family that the local county government has tried to put prisons, waste dump sites, and chicken houses on some of those farm fields around the pretty little Town of Cape Charles? I didn’t think so. (11/26/20130
CREATIVE FINANCING — Looks like the Town Council, mayor, and staff of Cape Charles bought the creative financing hook, line and sinker. (11/19/2013)
TOWN DEBT: DON’T ASK, DON’T TELL — Councilman Frank Wendell asked Treasurer Kim Coates how much debt the Town currently has, but Coates was unable to say. How can the Treasurer for the Town NOT have this basic information at the tip of her tongue? (11/19/2013)
HOW MANY TOWN STAFF? Walking into the Town Hall to pay a bill, I noticed a new staff member behind the desk. How many people work for the Town of Cape Charles now? According to information I have seen, the population here is approximately 935 people. At one time the staff count was approximately 38, or roughly one Town employee for every 25 citizens. It seems to me that we are well over that count now. The crucial positions are water, waste water, and police. How many people are working in Public Works and administration? (11/18/2013)
VARIABLE INTEREST RATE IRRESPONSIBLE — What the Town Council does not need is more money to waste. Whatever happened to the $9 million they have already borrowed? It appears the mayor and gang of five’s strategy is to borrow more money now so they don’t have to raise taxes again this election year or trim staff. However, this is a fools’ game approach because the taxpayers must eventually foot the bill. The apparent aim of the administration is to have the bill come due after the election when the gang of five are safe in their seats until the next election cycle. Every taxpayer should be very concerned about this crowd. We can’t afford them. Make your vote count on election day and send these guys packing. (11/17/2013)
MAY ELECTIONS – When May elections come around do not re-elect anyone who is now in office in Cape Charles. We need people who work for the people, not just for their own benefit. (11/15/2013)
RESPONSE (3) TO “Start School Change at the Top” – I certainly hope that the new School Board members will do their own research and not rely on a previous poster’s filtered representation of the data. The bottom line is that NCPS has been identified by the state of Virginia and the federal government as a persistently low performing school division. Those truths were not wordsmithed by Dr. Clemons. The good old days were not so good for many of this county’s children. When he arrived on the scene in July of 2011, the previous superintendent and school board had already selected the federal transformation model of school improvement and accepted federal school improvement grant money that came with certain conditions. The replacement of principals who were unwilling to carry out an aggressive plan to improve the status of those schools was one of those conditions. There have absolutely been missteps over the last 3 years, but progress has absolutely been made. It is dangerous for the new Board to consider leading with an agenda that focuses on the battle over who should have been or should be fired instead of an agenda that focuses on the welfare of ALL children in this county. Board members and interested citizens can review the Virginia Board of Education review of Dr. Clemons’ performance by watching the video of the September 26 meeting at the 2 hour mark at: http://220.127.116.11/usermedia/lifesizeplayer-1.1.swf?video_id=758 (11/15/2013)
CAR TAX – Can someone please explain to me again why we have to pay BOTH Northampton County and the Town of Cape Charles on our personally owed vehicles? Somewhere along the line I’d like to physically see what this tax is being used for. Does it go into a General Fund or is it used for something specific? It can’t be for road repairs because they’re paid by VDOT — correct? So where exactly does this money go? Something really feels wrong here with the current fiscal situation in this town. (11/14/2013)
RESPONSE (2) TO “Start School Change at the Top” — A previous poster opines that “our schools were in terrible shape before Dr. Clemons arrived and some of the firings were just and needed.” These are the facts with testing information taken from VDOE:
– Mr. Clemons came in 2011-12 to NCPS where division proficiency improved in every tested area from the previous year with the exception of Math where a new test had been implemented. In March 2012, with neither testing completed nor these improved scores reported, Mr. Clemons and the BOE fired 4 administrators. Dozens of faculty/staff left.
– In 2012-13 with Mr. Clemons’s hand-picked administration in place, division scores dropped 21 points in English, 17 points in Writing, and 11 points in Science. There was also a 1 point further drop in Math and a 3 point increase in History. By the end of that year, he had fired one of his new principals and moved another. Dozens of faculty/staff left.
– The 2013 school rankings show: KES in the bottom 6% and OES in the bottom 18% of all elementary schools. NHS is ranked in the bottom 12% of high schools.
– Mr. Clemons has had 3 years, which is longer than he gave anyone else. Here’s hoping that the School Board will do its own research, not take one thing this man says at face value, and make a “data-driven decision.” (11/13/2013)
YEAR-’ROUND RESORT — This resort town should stop being run like it is a summer getaway. After all, it is cold almost six months of the year! If we need to pay down the enormous debt our elected have incurred, businesses need to start thinking year-’round and be open at least until 9 p.m. Attract year-’round residents. [With all the winter shutdowns] I don’t even want to live here year-’round anymore! (11/13/2013)
RESPONSE TO “Start School Change at the Top” — I get the very strong sense that the newly elected school board members, with two exceptions, are preparing to do the bidding of the Friends of NCPS group. This group has been sharpening their pitchforks and lighting their torches, and now are ready, they think, to go after the superintendent’s head as their first order of business. I want them to know that they do not have a mandate to enact their revenge agenda. Our schools were in terrible shape before Dr. Clemons arrived, and some of the firings were just and needed. I hope that clearer thinking will prevail and that we do not “go back to the good old days” before the perceived boogeyman arrived. We can do better and bigger things for our children than indulge in this witch hunt. (11/12/2013)
START SCHOOL CHANGE AT THE TOP — The voters of Northampton County sent a loud and clear message that they want immediate and dramatic changes made in order to revive the school system. Start at the top. Don’t forget that in two years, this superintendent has fired or replaced five principals and the alternative school director. With the previous Board’s blind approval, he has created such low morale that quality faculty and staff have left in droves. Recruiting new teachers is extremely difficult because Northampton County Public Schools now have a statewide reputation of mismanagement and poor work climate. At the end of the day, the superintendent leaves all this behind as he heads home across the bridge. (11/9/2013)
ELECTION SENT A MESSAGE — This election, and the defeat of every person who had an opponent, is a big red flag to the ones left in office. The voters are sick and tired of no leadership. They sent a big red STOP signal to the Board of Supervisors and to the School Board. Stop spending money and getting nothing back. Stop adding to the County debt. Stop borrowing money without a voter referendum. Stop trying to force people to pay for something they don’t want. Stop listening to the special interests. Stop hiring people who can’t get things done. Stop raising taxes. (11/7/2013)
DEAR PLANNING COMMISSION – Please keep the fast food restaurants out of the Town of Cape Charles. They would be a detriment. People would litter the Town with McDonald’s, Burger King, and Taco Bell trash — and we don’t need the unhealthy food! People come here for good food, not fast food. (11/6/2013)
16 TONS AND WHAT DO YOU GET? — Two years ago the Town built a nice pier around the harbor, but now whoever is constructing another breakwater thinks the pier is a good place to stage their concrete forms. Most of the forms are in the parking lot, but I counted seven of them resting on the wooden pier. Together they must weigh 16 tons — far more than the pier was designed to support. And to add insult to injury, they’re blocking what was built to be a nice walkway around the harbor. (11/4/2013)
TAX CREDITS FOR HISTORIC DESTRUCTION — The Virginia Department of Historic Resources needs to think twice about granting historic tax credits to the old school apartment house developers. Issuing tax credits would assure destruction of the 100-year old stage and auditorium in the historic Cape Charles High School. The demolition of what is quite possibly the Eastern Shore of Virginia’s oldest public stage and auditorium would be hard to justify as proper use of the tax credits to members of the state’s General Assembly, and could bring additional scrutiny and legal challenges to the tax credit program — which already has suffered from developer abuses. (10/30/2013)
PLAYING LAWYER — Overlooked in the hoopla concerning the Cape Charles Mayor, Council, and staff not able or willing to identify the front of the old school building or its southern exposure is the legally questionable maneuver of Town Manager Arcos and Town Planner Testerman denying an appeal to Old School Cape Charles based on legal assumptions that they are not qualified to give. Even more amazing, while Arcos and Testerman were “playing lawyer” at the last meeting, the Town’s highly paid real lawyer, Mike Sterling, sat silent all night, collecting his pay, the only exception being when he jumped to his feet to whisper something in Mayor Sullivan’s ear. Is Mr. Sterling the Town’s lawyer, or Mayor Sullivan’s lawyer? If Arcos and Testerman can give legal advice to Town Council to deny a citizens group its due process, why did we need to pay lawyer Sterling? Agree or disagree with OSCC, they should be afforded their due process when it comes to the Town’s ordinances and the state and federal laws. Otherwise, the phrase ”with liberty and justice for all” seems as optional as not answering questions at the last Council meeting. (10/29/2013)
SAVE OUR TOWN (2) — When are elections held in Cape Charles? Hopefully soon. The noise and confusion that has been coming from Cape Charles certainly means there is going to be a shift in who is running what — wouldn’t you think? Please don’t let the momentum the citizens have built up go to waste (unless it has all been just white noise to cover up something else). It’s time for change or time to keep quiet. (I would have said something else but I know how sensitive some people are.) 10/27/2013
SOMETHING HAS TO GIVE — I continue to remain-open minded on some of the issues that surround the Town of Cape Charles; however, over the last few weeks it’s my belief that the Town has lost its ability to cogently lead the citizens anymore. We continue to be mired in the muck of water issues with no end in sight, the ongoing issue with the Cape Charles School has become a punchline at coffee shops and bars, and now the Town Council has made a joke of navigational aids. This is a great town, but something has to give here folks, because we’re losing good people — and future citizens are reading the Cape Charles Wave, which happens to be telling it exactly like it is here. (10/26/2013)
SAVE OUR TOWN — I just read this interesting article in the Wall Street Journal. It sounds almost like Cape Charles. We really have issues with our elected officials. The elected officials need to remember that they are public servants. They serve the people to help the town and should not serve just for the power and their own vision for the town. The people of this town are spirited and refuse to be run over. I think they are the cream of the crop and I am so proud to be their neighbor. Let’s not get too distracted with all of the rhetoric and work together to help save our town for us and our children. http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304682504579154080600053864 (10/26/2013)
“DON’T ANSWER THAT’’ (7) — Seems the flagpole and circle disappeared during the discussions with the developer. (10/25/2013)
“DON’T ANSWER THAT’’ (6) –- I attended the Town Council meeting last month, and I wonder — why did Councilwoman Natali not want the mayor to answer a simple question? “Where is the front of the school?’’ The Mayor should have been able to speak for herself, but was told, “Don’t answer that.” The penny postcard picture of the school in the Wave is worth a thousand words. It shows the old front door and the front of the building with the United States flag flying high on top of Cape Charles High School. It is an historic picture of the school before the circle and flagpole were in front of the building. I wonder what happened to them? (10/25/2013)
“DON’T ANSWER THAT” (5) — I was in attendance at the now infamous Cape Charles Town Council meeting when Councilwoman Natali exclaimed to Mayor Sullivan, “Don’t answer that!” – to a question being asked by Councilman Wendell. The controversial question was, “Does the front door of the school still face south?” What the Wave news report missed was that Town Planner Testerman’s response to that same question was a shrug as if he didn’t know. A shrug from the Town’s professional planner? However, it gets worse — Assistant Town Manager Bob Panek just smiled at Wendell and answered, “I haven’t got a clue,” when Wendell again asked the same question to him right after the meeting was adjourned. “No clue?” Really? There was even a picture of the high school as a reference. My question is, what is compelling our elected and appointed Town officials to not answer, or to falsely answer, such an obvious question? Perhaps they are more concerned about furthering the interests of Echelon Resources/Charon Ventures (the company that they gave the old school to) than providing a truthful, simple answer to the public they are supposed to serve. The front door of old Cape Charles High School still faces south, the same direction our Town Council has been heading in ever since they embraced Echelon Resources’ “confidential proposal.” It seems that not only is Mayor Sullivan and company having trouble with their magnetic compass, they are also having more trouble with their moral compass. (10/24/2013)
“DON’T ANSWER THAT” (4) — Why is an elected official yelling orders to silence Town officials? Councilwoman Natali should have been reprimanded by the Mayor for her outburst and warned that if it was repeated, she would be removed from the meeting. A question was asked about public business — there should have been a civil response to a simple question. There wasn’t one. Why not? (10/23/2013)
“DON’T ANSWER THAT” (3) — May is too long to wait for elections with a Council and Town leadership that have betrayed its constituency. We heard the voices. Now we need action. “Don’t answer that!” You must be joking, Madame Natali. Do WE have the cojones to do more than just talk? (10/23/2013)
“DON’T ANSWER THAT” (2) — If the Town Planner cannot answer the question, “Which side of the Old School building is the front?”, how can he be competent to be the town planner? For that matter, if the Town Council and Mayor don’t know front from rear, how can they be competent to lead? (10/23/2013)
“DON’T ANSWER THAT” — What does it say about the character of our Town officials when they cannot answer a simple question about which side is the front of the Old High School building? Why have they paid over $100,000 of our tax money to a high-priced law firm to cover their secret negotiations with an out-of-town developer? Why have we never seen the transcripts of those meetings now that the negotiations are over? The information certainly cannot damage their bargaining position at this point. Why are they afraid to hear the Old School Cape Charles appeal? The Mayor and Town Council have a lot of questions to answer for the citizens of Cape Charles. Whether you live in the Historic District or Bay Creek, we deserve to hear the answers. But it appears you will never get them from this group. They seem to operate in the shadows and don’t play by the rules. Elections are coming in May. It is time to vote this group out and bring in some folks who believe in open and honest government for the people. We need to bring harmony back to our community. (10/22/2013)
RESPONSE to “Fishy Smell” (2) — The writer of “Fishy Smell” was not making allegations. He or she was merely wondering if there were underhanded or illegal activities by the Mayor or Town Council in the “sale” of our Old School for $10. The Mayor and Town Council brought these rumors on themselves by not conducting Town business in a transparent manner. The rumors will not stop until our Mayor and Town Council act like public servants rather than people in power. (10/21/2013)
GREAT PARENTING — How nice to see the children of the Rotary Club members helping to pick up trash. Kudos to the kids for setting such a good example. What a great lesson in civic pride and volunteerism. Now that’s great parenting! (10/21/2013)
RESPONSE TO “Fishy Smell” – No offense, but those are some pretty serious allegations. Do you have some more detailed information or is this a “feeling” you’re getting after contacting your Guru? Seriously, the Town has some issues but I believe those particular issues involved some past and a present Council member that are documented at the Northampton County Circuit Court. I ask that if you have specific information regarding your allegations you should contact the Virginia State Police or the FBI — but please DO NOT make malicious statements. This is what starts trouble. (10/20/2013)
FISHY SMELL? — I for one would like to know whether any of the Town Council members, mayor, and Town staff have dollar signs in their eyes and are investing in some of the private shenanigans that are going on around town or getting kickbacks. Something really stinks and it’s not just the new sewer plant. (10/18/2013)
NEED TO WORK TOGETHER — Is it just me, or is anyone else really tired of all of the anger and back-biting going on in Cape Charles? (1) The school issue is definitely problematic, but where were all of these people when that school closed in the 1980s? Why didn’t all these lifelong residents raise issues with it then? (2) The water plant isn’t something that just landed in the laps of the taxpayers; it has been going on for years. The problem is that the Town got sidetracked with all of the conflict of interest issues within the Town Council when they should have been paying closer attention to water issues. (3) How in the world can you re-elect a councilman who was most likely a focal point in these water issues and expect a positive result for the Town? (4) It’s the same people all the time writing, re-writing, but then kowtowing to the very people causing the problem. (5) Who’s watching the “moves” at the Harbor? The Town of Cape Charles is finished if the Harbor falls into private hands. The Town is better than this — stop the BS and work together. (10/17/2013)
OUT-OF-TOWN STAFF – Most Town of Cape Charles employees live outside town limits — even the Town Manager. They avoid paying the high sewer and water rates and double taxes that town residents have to pay. Do they understand the consequences for town residents of the tax and utility rate increases that they recommend? These taxes and fees are hurting working families and retirees in town. Perhaps if town employees lived in town, they would be better in touch with the consequences of their spending. Certainly the Town Manager should reside in town. (10/11/2013)
BORROWING MONEY TO SPEND MONEY — Town Council is talking about borrowing another million dollars to cover their spending of the well bond money on the Bank of America building to turn it into a library. The current Town Council cannot be trusted with the people’s assets. They proved that when they gave away our historic old school in Central Park. (10/10/2013)
GOOFY BILLBOARDS – Who designed the amateurish billboards for Aqua Restaurant? With the cartoon crab, they would be better suited advertising a Chuck E. Cheese kids restaurant. And you can hardly read the name “Aqua,” inside a small bulls-eye. If I were a tourist seeing these billboards I would never guess that Aqua is really a very classy restaurant. (10/10/2013)
WHO’S TO BLAME FOR HIGH WATER BILLS? – Town Staff or Town Council or both? Town residents, both in the Historic District and Bay Creek, are still complaining about the monthly minimum $108 water bills. Working people and retired people on fixed incomes wonder why the Town had to make a sewer plant big enough for Bay Creek and beyond if current residents have to pay for it. It was not supposed to be that way. But the current Town Council does not care how much they hurt the residents of Cape Charles. One has to wonder why the Town attorney hasn’t recommended suing to collect from the Bay Creek developer. They don’t seem to find any problem collecting from us with overdue charges if we are late by a day. (10/9/2013)
VACATION RENTALS — I really enjoy reading the Wave; the articles are interesting and help to keep me up on the goings-on while I am out of Cape Charles. This article however, seems to distort the facts a bit and is not the kind of article I have enjoyed reading in past issues. Businesses are required to pay taxes on revenue, so holding the town responsible for that is not quite right. Businesses in the county are required to pay taxes and to file various forms for doing business, so again I don’t think the town has any control over that issue. The Certificate of Occupancy, unless being in Cape Charles is different, is done by the Health Department. Regardless, if you are in this county or state, you still need to get one. That leaves only one or two items that the town collects on or makes a requirement of. This being said, the citizens of Cape Charles have only one option — vote those in charge out and vote in new people who will eliminate these various charges, or at least reduce them to make the town more receptive to new businesses. But please keep in mind, the sidewalks still have to be fixed, water lines need repair, grass has to be cut, streets need sweeping, staff needs to be paid, insurance has to be paid for — the list goes on. How else but by charging fees can the town pay to keep the place looking nice to attract tourists? (10/8/2013)
HIGHWAY DEVELOPMENT — When will Cape Charles leaders stop trying to change this beautiful place we live in? They have already taken Hollywood Farms, King’s Creek, and our Little League field and ruined them. Now they have eyes on Route 13 with chain this and chain that. Please — be thankful for what we have been blessed with here or kindly leave! (10/6/2013)
RESPONSE TO “Come-heres” — Come-heres are people that move here. While we love having new people move here, we don’t like the people that move here for the peace and quiet and THEN try to change everything. A few outspoken come-heres have been rude to people that have lived here their entire lives — for example, calling locals ignorant and stupid. THOSE are the come-heres that the locals would be more than happy to help them pack their belongings into a U-Haul and send them back where they came from. I, for one, moved to the shore almost 40 years ago and love it just the way it is. Not anonymous — Deborah Bender. (10/6/2013)
COME-HERES — I’m so confused after reading the recent anonymous posts and comments on the HGTV show article — is the term “come-here”‘ a bad thing? Doesn’t the Town need come-heres to spend their money on B&Bs, food, goods, etc? Some folks seem to hate come-heres, and others seem to encourage them to visit or buy real estate. (10/5/2013)
“AMATEUR YOKELS” – So what is the converse of “amateur yokels”? Perhaps it is “professional come-heres.” Professional come-heres located an expensive sewer treatment plant on a high-profile corner in the geographic center of Cape Charles. So the next time you ”reasonable-thinking citizens” get a good whiff of your “professionalism” on your way to and from Bay Creek or the town harbor, remember it isn’t roses you are smelling — what you are smelling is the stench of arrogance and ignorance. The same stench can be experienced at most Cape Charles Town Council meetings. I think the “amateur yokels” add a much-needed breath of fresh air to the malodorous and putrid nature of political decision-making and discourse here in the Town of Wastewater Obsession. So, when you come-heres travel back to visit your hometowns, do you see people as old friends, neighbors, and family, or as “amateur yokels” that shouldn’t be in charge of anything? Whose eyes are lyin’ now? (10/4/2013)
PSA SEWER PROJECT (2) — See, the people spoke up and you made a change. Good going citizens, and some of you didn’t even have to leave the comfort of your couch. Stand for your rights, make sure the people who YOU elected listen to you. If you keep pressing, everything will come out, and you will have the full story. Keep up the good work you have started citizens of Cape Charles, Cheriton, and Northampton County! Now, just make sure this wasn’t a cover for something else to happen, just a diversion so you wouldn’t see what was really happening. I wouldn’t worry about that, the citizens have started a good thing and I am sure will keep rolling with it. Democracy, ain’t it great! (10/3/2013)
RESPONSE (3) to “Lyin’ Eyes” Parody — Your rules for “Anonymous” are “Keep it short, and no pot shots — you can criticize, but don’t attack.” The original statement published [in "Gossip"] about the “Lyin’ Eyes” parody appears to violate your stated policies. (10/2/2013)
Point taken — The sample lyrics to the “Lyin’ Eyes” parody have been removed from the “Gossip” column. –EDITOR
RESPONSE (2) to “Lyin’ Eyes” Parody — To whoever wrote the statement, “Talk about Old School — this is high school lunchroom behavior”: There was no bad behavior from the people who want to save our old high school property for use by the Town. The Town staff and Council would not listen to the people’s comments at the public hearing. The Town Council jumped at giving away property assessed at $900,000 in a prime Central Park location to an out-of-town developer, plus they gave $41,000 in cash, gave 75 percent off the water and sewer hookup charges, and gave away the only basketball courts in town. The Council ignored all the proposals from Old School Cape Charles. Maybe if the Council met at the old high school lunchroom and discussed the positive effect a community center would have both on the people that live here and on the tourists, they might have made a different decision. Old School had the interest of the Town’s children in mind, while it appears that Town Council had the interests of the developer. It is a sad song. (10/2/2013)
RESPONSE TO “Lyin’ Eyes Parody” – “Amateur yokels?” The problem with this town is that it is being run by a bunch of people that are NOT from here and couldn’t care less about the heritage of our town. Things will change when new people are voted into office that actually LOVE this town the way that it is. We don’t want another Virginia Beach, Dewey Beach, or anything like that. Problem is that people move here for the peace and quiet and then do everything they can to change the town into something else. And just for the record, I don’t have to hide behind “Anonymous.” — DEBORAH BENDER, loud and clear! (9/30/2013)
CAPE CHARLES, GOOD AND BAD — We consider Cape Charles our second home having traveled there eight years ago, and acquired properties there. The charm and sweet hospitality of the town is what we were impressed with most and knew this was to be our permanent home one day. Call us “come-heres” (silliest thing I ever heard), but our love for the Town is what everyone else’s is — to make it a great place! It’s a slice of Mayberry. Being a New Yorker, to me Cape Charles displays what true Southern Hospitality is. Neighbors offering you peaches and tomatoes, invites for kids to come play. You really can’t ask for a better place to raise kids. Having said that, it’s disheartening to see the mismanagement on the Town level. Everyone that lives/rents in Cape Charles no doubt wants the Town to thrive, but how can that happen when you are hurting the people that live there? Raising taxes, higher water bills when you’re not even using what the minimum, and these crazy handshake deals that you learn about after the fact. My point in this is to the Wave, which I have followed from the beginning: While I thought the opinions were very one-sided, you do give the big picture and allow for opinions of those that have been living through these challenges to voice their opinions. I would not have known of any of these shenanigans had you not provided these forums. Hopefully some new faces will be voted in and rise to the crazy challenges ahead to bring the Town together again. (9/28/2013)
“LYIN’ EYES” PARODY — The song parody reveals the kind of mean, immature, and hateful rhetoric that has made the Town an unpleasant place to live. Talk about “old school” — this is high school lunch room behavior. It shows why the amateur yokels shouldn’t be in charge of anything. It has gotten out of hand, and personal attacks like this should be boycotted by reasonable thinking citizens. (9/28/2013)
WATER ISSUES: ANOTHER VIEW — Let’s try to remember that Bob Panek works for the Town of Cape Charles and follows the orders given to him by the Town Council and the Town’s leadership. If you really want to address the current issues in an intelligent manner you need to go back to the CAUSE versus the EFFECT. Ask why Cape Charles:
1. Didn’t press Bay Creek a lot more for the water money they owe the Town. Seems to me that most of the Town officials were more concerned about being invited to the Bay Creek Christmas Party and seeking Foster’s approval than taking care of Town’s water business.
2. How did the developer’s attorney end up becoming the Town’s attorney for the 1991 Amendment, coincidently the same document that allows Bay Creek to “duck & cover” every time a water issue is brought up.
3. Also look at the fact that the Town had various conflicts of interest with council members (including a current member) going on at a crucial time that disrupted all transparent proceedings (not all related to water issues but enough to totally disrupt the system of good government). BTW, all of these conflict of interest documents can be found at the County Court House — including the past conflict of interest with a current council member.
Right now you have a former town council member out there speaking at meetings bashing the very things he voted for when he was in office — so the “Cape Charles Pivot” is alive and well.
So who becomes the “poster boy” for this mess? Bob Panek, but the real responsible parties are the people that some of you voted in and still continue to vote in. They’re the people steering the “Titanic” — NOT Panek. (9/27/2013)
FROM A VACATION RENTER — Such a bummer to hear that they have not yet replaced the basketball courts, never mind the whole school fiasco! Our boys absolutely LOVED going to the courts. They would meet Stefan and friends there and play for hours. I would have to walk down and drag them home in the evening. It’s such a lovely town, but I’m sad to hear that they don’t believe in investing in their youth. (9/26/2013)
NO TO PSA SEWER PROJECT — The Board of Supervisors listened to the people’s public comments and concerns. County property owners cannot afford any more tax increases and are opposed to the sewer line extension to Route 13. Each Supervisor spoke against it, and went with the people’s input. The people’s opinions were valued with respect against the sewer line. Thank you to all the Supervisors. (9/26/2013)
DISTRICT 1 SUPERVISOR — “We heard you, we listened, there will be no action on this plan until we get a better understanding of what to do,” announced BOS chairman Willie Randall. Let’s hope that the “better understanding of what to do” isn’t a political “rope-a-dope” to just wait out the supervisors election and then ramrod their ill-conceived, double taxing, strip zoning, southern node project down the throats of those who have the common sense to oppose PSA Chairman and Cape Charles Assistant Town Manager Bob Panek’s latest problematic proposal (conflict of interest not withstanding). The District 1 supervisor election this November should be interesting: “Slick Willie” vs. “Boss Hogg.” Most are betting on Hogg to “bring home the bacon” and become our next District 1 supervisor. (9/26/2013)
ESLAND 4 — An interesting story in the Eastern Shore News explains the “cruise and drinks” referenced by an earlier Anonymous writer: http://www.delmarvanow.com/article/20130925/ESN01/309230024/VA-SHORE-Cape-Charles-Yacht-Center-promises-jobs
“The poor have sometimes objected to being governed badly; the rich have always objected to being governed at all.” ~ G.K. Chesterton
“The best leaders are the ones who have enough sense to pick good people and the self-restraint to keep from meddling with them while they do their job.” ~Theodore Roosevelt
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” ~ Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King (9/26/2013)
CAPE CHARLES HARBOR – The greatest asset that the Town of Cape Charles has is its harbor. Over the past few years several people and organizations have come forward with plans and proposals to “take over” the harbor and its operations. This would be the final and fatal blow to the Town of Cape Charles. My understanding is that this is the second deepest port on the Chesapeake Bay, second only to Annapolis, so it’ll be well sought after if these wind turbines come into being. Please, someone start paying attention to the Cape Charles Harbor and the people “sniffing around” there. (9/25/2013)
ESLAND (3) — I can’t believe our elected officials and upper management would EVER take a little of this or that in exchange for favors. (9/23/2013)
ESLAND (2) — To the person who is asking about ESLAND and free stuff to local politicians/officials: You have been around long enough to know, you don’t give anything away for free. I am sure they will be paid back ten-fold in the coming months/years. Everyone seems to miss the prime idea of follow the money. (9/22/2013)
WHO IS ESLAND? — The Town Gazette said some outfit called ESLAND is giving away free food and drinks and a cruise to our elected town and county officials. Isn’t that what got Gov. McDonnell and Attorney General Cuccinelli into trouble, and now there’s an investigation about all the free stuff they took? Did our local officials really take free meals and drinks? Which ones? And who is ESLAND anyway? Developers? Lobbyists? Maybe the Wave can take a look at what’s going on. (9/21/2013)
PSA PIPE DREAM — It appears that “Panek’s Pipe Dream” (the PSA southern node project) has turned into a “Nightmare on Main Street” for the citizens and taxpayers of Cheriton, Cape Charles, and lower Northampton County. (9/18/2013)
WATER BILLING — I have been tracking my water usage for the past 14 months since I moved to Cape Charles and noticed that the monthly bill does not indicate the actual current reading date, only the billing date. I checked with the town clerk and was told that the billing date does not always correspond to the reading date. If you want to know the actual date, you will need to request a Detailed Meter Reading Report by Account ID. My question is, if we are billed for a minimum usage of 2,000 gallons monthly, but the number of days between readings is arbitrary, does minimum billing make sense? In my case, the number of days varies from 19 to 40! My normal consumption, as a single-person household without a garden to water, is about 500 gallons short of the minimum, yet I pay the full minimum cost, which is now $107.92 (groan). If my logic and math are correct, since my consumption is lower than the minimum, am I subsidizing the heavier users (presumably higher-income households) in this town? That is a very painful thought, indeed. (9/17/2013)
SEWER SYSTEM — Town leaders have taken a lot of knocks for building a sewage treatment plant with more capacity than needed. As a relative newcomer to the town, someone with no political predisposition or agenda, I applaud town leaders for their foresight. A town is nothing without sufficient infrastructure: good sewers and roads are the backbone of growth. If the town is wise with its investment in a sewer plant — and patient — it will one day have the capacity to service the kind of economic growth that will stimulate the economy here, and by so doing employ people throughout the county. Large hotels by the marinas, shops by the inlet, boat building, new housing — all need sufficient sewerage. If the town spends that capacity now, fueling growth elsewhere, will it have the capacity it needs in the future to grow? The sewage system is an investment, one made by the town at significant cost to its residents. Since Cape Charles residents have made the sacrifice for the future, isn’t it only fair that they reap the rewards in the future? Is it worth giving away valuable sewage capacity now to save a few dollars now on sewage bills? That would be short-term thinking. (9/17/2013)
RESPONSE to “No National Anthem” – I agree, why can’t we play the National Anthem? Why has it become so negative to support the country, the flag, or the people? Yes, some of us do not agree with the politics. Yes, some of us do not agree with things the country has done. Yes, some of us do not agree with what is happening in the world and the position the U.S. is in. However, to shun the showing of support for the ideals, the flag, and the good things this country has done is just wrong. We should not be afraid to play the National Anthem or to display the colors. If others don’t like it, then I guess they don’t like it. Nobody is asking them to show the proper respect during the playing of the National Anthem — remember, in some places you are forced to show respect or be shot, or beaten, or put on a list and watched. Why can’t we play the National Anthem, fly the flag, and try to keep in mind the good the people have done? (9/17/2013)
NO NATIONAL ANTHEM — Last Friday night I attended the Northampton High School football game verses West Point High School. A son of a friend of mine plays for West Point. I could somewhat overlook the long grass and untrimmed fence on the visitor’s side, but no National Anthem? As a former football and track coach, athletic director, and a high school principal for 20 years, I have observed several hundred high school football games. I cannot recall attending a game where the National Anthem was not played and the American flag was not displayed before the start of the game. If the school’s band or choral group were unable to play or sing the National Anthem, a pre-recorded version played over the school’s excellent public address system would have been appreciated. Not sure why an American flag was not displayed, but contestants and spectators should know to face the music when no flag is present. Regardless, I found it inexcusable for a public high school not to take such an opportunity to teach patriotism and to honor our country. These comments are in no way meant to be disparaging to the school’s players, coaches, and parents. The responsibility for this blatant oversight falls squarely on the shoulders of the school’s administration. (9/16/2013)
B&Bs vs. HOTELS — Deborah Bender was quoted as saying that “a hotel would hurt the B&Bs.” Why is that? On one hand, you want to attract more visitors; on the other hand, you don’t have enough rooms for them to stay in. So to protect the B&Bs, which only have a few rooms available, you are against providing lodging for the very people you are trying to attract. It’s been my experience that B&Bs attract a certain type of customer, while others would prefer more privacy than a B&B affords. Personally, I would prefer a hotel to a B&B. I don’t want to have to be on their schedule for breakfast or miss it altogether, nor do I want to sit at a table with strangers and make small talk first thing in the morning. I also don’t care to share a bathroom. For people who like the B&B experience, they will choose the B&B. If my only choice is to stay in a B&B, I will keep driving until I find a hotel where I can come and go as I please without worrying if I am waking someone up or the other inconveniences that go with staying at a B&B. They are two completely different customers. Ms. Bender is not looking at the big picture. While I appreciate her concern for the few B&Bs that only provide a few rooms, where are the visitors she hopes to attract supposed to stay? In addition, a hotel would provide many local jobs, something that is sorely needed. So to save a few B&Bs, she would oppose a business that would provide jobs and give visitors a place to stay locally where they would spend their money. If this is typical of her ideas to promote Cape Charles and help the OTHER local businesses, I will be voting for someone else if she runs for mayor. With this type of attitude, it’s no surprise that someone considering opening a new business on Route 13 near Cape Charles would look elsewhere. (9/15/2013)
SEWER LINE — Has the county changed the zoning laws/ordinances around Cape Charles to encourage business in the area? Has there been a relaxing of the rules and guidelines that chased so many other businesses away in the past? Do you still get permitting information from the county one piece at a time to slow the process down? Do you still have to deal with the two people in the county who will not approve any kind of building no matter how meticulous the plans? If these details have not been changed then we shouldn’t even be talking about running a sewer line to Route 13. Isn’t that putting the cart in front of the horse? (9/13/2013)
TOWN COUNCIL — I am speaking for myself. Debbie Bender is my “favorite public comment maker.” She presents the truth based on facts. She presents issues that the rest of us discuss over the backyard fence, but wouldn’t dare bring to to the Council meetings to hold them accuntable for the decisions that they make — no matter what the public says. Councilman Godwin complimented Mrs. Bender at the last Town Meeting for researching information and presenting factual information to the Council regarding various issues. Debbie Bender has not damaged the community’s image. That is being accomplished effectively by the Town governing body. (9/13/2013)
RESPONSE to ‘Response to Blog’ – Your comments have no merit when the agenda of the Mayor and Town Council is to stifle free speech. The very public comment structure of the Town Council meetings negates open discourse between the citizens of Cape Charles and the elected government/town management. This administration has to go before our reputation is further damaged in the eyes of the public and tourist trade. (9/13/2013)
RESPONSE to “Blog” – Speak for yourselves please. Deborah Bender is not “the town’s favorite public comment maker.” She may certainly be the loudest and most aggressive, but can hardly be christened a “favorite.” The tone of her comments is embarassingly hostile, snarky, and unproductive. As for her being insulted by the mayor, that brings to mind the old saw, “You can dish it out but you can’t take it.” I hope for a return to a more respectful, fact-based back and forth in this town, and soon. Discourse like this is damaging our community’s image in ways much larger than the internal debates we need to have. (9/12/2013)
BLOG — Yes, it is pitiful that the Mayor of Cape Charles doesn’t know the difference between a blog and an online news source. Mayor Sullivan spends a lot of time telling people to “not read or believe anything that you read on that Cape Charles Wave BLOG.” At last month’s Town Council meeting the town’s favorite public comment maker Deborah Bender gave Mayor Sullivan a quick lesson in the difference between a blog and an online news source. The mayor ignored her and proceeded to insult both Mr. & Mrs. Bender. I wonder if she will apologize to the Benders at the next Town Council meeting? (9/11/2013)
OLD SCHOOL — I am getting very tired of hearing the whining of those complaining about the Old Cape Charles School. Where do they think they could have come up with the money for its restoration? Why did they not think of getting something done much earlier rather than waiting for the school to be in such a shambles that the town needed to act? Frankly, I think its best use is for it to be torn down and have houses built there instead of apartments. But no, emotions rather than good common sense did not prevail on either side. Cape Charles, get your act together and agree on a common vision for the town or be relegated to dust. (9/10/2013)
HISTORIC STAGE — Is the stage and auditorium built in 1912 located in the old Cape Charles High School really slated to be destroyed? Is it really the oldest stage in Northampton County and possibly the Shore? Does anyone know of one that is older that is publicly owned? Why can’t it be saved? What a shame and waste. I thought they were big on historic preservation down in Cape Charles. It seems that the Town Council is only interested in promoting and profiting on their sewage treatment plant. That stinks! (9/9/2013)
BASHING – I have been reading the Wave for some time now and a common theme seems to come up. There seems to be a bit of government bashing and the bashing of the people who are elected to represent our community. Citizens, please try to remember, our system of government is set up by the people, for the people. If something isn’t right then you as the citizens of that area must make a change. Vote the people out, replace them with people you feel will do a better job representing the citizens. If not, then don’t complain about what’s going on. If you are not willing to put in the time and resourses to make changes then don’t sit on the sidelines and be an armchair quarterback. Just think, if this was 1776 I guess we would still be flying the Union Jack. It takes action, not rhetoric, to make changes. If you are not willing to act, then your words will be just what they are — words. (9/8/2013)
CRAPE MYRTLES — Town maintenance staff did a nice job trimming the crape myrtles on Stone Road a couple of weeks ago. That property is outside town limits, but VDOT gave the town permission to groom the approach. What’s ironic is that last year VDOT swept through town with chain saws, absolutely butchering crape myrtles and other trees growing near the streets. Maybe the town should keep our own trees carefully trimmed so that VDOT won’t feel the need to do another hack job. (9/7/2013)
CONFLICT OF INTEREST (2) – Wikipedia defines “conflict of interest” as a set of circumstances that creates a risk that professional judgment or actions regarding a primary interest will be unduly influenced by a secondary interest. A conflict of interest occurs when an individual or organization is involved in multiple interests, one of which could possibly corrupt the motivation for an act in another. According to that definition, Mr. Bob Panek has a conflict of interest: he is simultaneously the Cape Charles assistant town manager and the chairman of the Eastern Shore of Virginia Public Service Authority. The two organizations are supposed to be negotiating a sewer rate. (9/6/2013)
RESPONSE (2) to “Back-Room Deal” – From what I understand from speaking with many Cheriton residents and business owners, no one wants “the pipe.” Many of the people that live in Cheriton left Cape Charles to get away from rising taxes and water/sewer bills. Now they feel like Cape Charles is chasing them down. Cape Charles needs to worry about their unhappy residents and leave Cheriton and the highway alone. The residents of Cheriton don’t want to get tangled up with Cape Charles — and I don’t blame them. (9/5/2013)
RESPONSE to “Back-Room Deal” – There is no back-room deal. Mayor Joe Habel is trying to rescue the Town of Cheriton from its failed septic fields and gain more Route 13 exposure. Mr. Robert Occhifinto needs warehouse space for the new businesses he will bring to the Shore. And it’s just possible that the owners of the new businesses will appreciate deep water access without Cape Charles and Eyre Baldwin approvals. (9/4/2013)
CONFLICT OF INTEREST – Conflict of interest doesn’t seem to bother county or town officials. The County Administrator is the same person as the Executive Director of the PSA. She put $130,000 of taxpayer money into this year’s budget for a Tax District that doesn’t even exist. The Board voted for it. So if the county is paying for 25% of this mess, can’t we figure out the 75% the tax district property owners will be paying? But that’s just the beginning — that doesn’t include the monthly service charge, plus a fund for the deadbeats who won’t pay — or will the county get stuck for that too? And what’s the deal with no hookup fee? Who pays for those? (9/4/2013)
BACK-ROOM DEAL? — Mr.Occhifinto in a savvy move has acquired the 14-acre Webster Canning property in Cheriton for $45,000, as well as two other properties on the way to or in Oyster. Then we hear that his employee, Cheriton Mayor Hable, is all in with the Cape Charles sewer pipeline, mainly for “development” opportunities. Coincidence? Maybe, but given the proven ability of Mr. Panek, Mayor Sullivan, and Council members Natali and Bannon to concoct back-room deals, one has to wonder what surprises lie in store for County and Town residents. Could it be another holiday surprise like the December gift of the $10 Echelon deal? (9/4/2013)
SPEAKING OF BAY CREEK — Has anyone else noticed the cars speeding around roadways well over 50 mph, not stopping at the stop signs? Did anyone else notice the seemingly out of control crowds of visitors at the beach and pool areas this summer? I know it’s good for business to have people here, but the 4th of July was particularly bad. I personally saw small fires on the beach, and idiots lighting sky rockets in crowds where one went off prematurely (thank God no one was hurt). The noise levels coming from the rental properties were also loud and the litter in the medians and cart ways was terrible. It doesn’t do any good to call Security — they were too busy keeping track of the cars entering the property. (9/4/2013)
BUILDING IN BAY CREEK — There’s been a lot of talk about connecting the sewer line to Route 13 in hopes of driving more revenue, but what I don’t get is why not focus on getting more homes built in Bay Creek? My family recently purchased a lot in Bay Creek, and after researching all of the building guidelines and talking with local builders, it’s not worth building a home there. There are homes in Bay Creek fully furnished for $420k (http://bit.ly/17xpniv). To build and furnish that same home in today’s market would be a minimum of $500k. If Bay Creek adjusted its building codes, which haven’t changed since 2007 (http://bit.ly/1a9OmKW), people would be more inclined to build a vacation or retirement home. This is just a theory, but if more homes were built, more taxes would be paid, more water connections would be paid, more people would be in town to purchase more goods, etc. (9/1/2013)
CHERITON SEWER LINE — Judging from the way the mayor of Cheriton approved the sewer line deal, I wonder when Sullivan’s Office Supply will open in Cheriton? People of Cheriton, take your town back before another come-here drives it into the ground. (8/31/2013)
P-U – I just went for a ride around town, and the town smells like dirty underwear! The old sewer plant never stunk like the one we have now. Could it be the more it costs the more it stinks? (8/31/2013)
LIVE WHERE YOU WORK? — Maybe one of the requirements to work for the Town of Cape Charles should be that you must actually live within the town’s borders. This would make town employees more aware of the consequences of their actions regarding rules, regulations, policies, and procedures that they help set into motion. I wonder how many town employees actually live within the Town of Cape Charles? (8/31/2013)
RESPONSE to GOSSIP — Too Good to Be True? – If the Judge really wanted to see a deal that is TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE he should look at the Old School deal. Here is a building that was owned by the Citizens of Cape Charles and valued at $900,000. Our town manager and assistant town manager, using their superior negotiating skills, forged a deal to PAY the developer $41,000 to take the building off our hands. They also gave away part of Central Park, the basketball court, and reduced the tap fees for the developer by 75 percent. No wonder our water and sewage fees are going up — someone has to cover the loss. Doesn’t this negotiating strategy sound a lot like Pentagon procurement practices where government blindly accepts the vendor’s conditions and never questions the $500 hammers and $1,000 toilet seats? (8/30/2013)
RESPONSE to Comment (Would someone help me understand her point? A larger volume in the plant will make it operate more efficiently and lower the cost for everyone.) — No sir, more volume does not mean lower sewerage cost to the consumer. You will never see sewerage fees reduced under this administration. They don’t care that you pay more, and if they can con a few more suckers into this game they will raise their fees as well down the road. When you rely on big government to take care of all your problems you must continue to feed the monster until she devours you. (8/29/2013)
RESPONSE to “Fatal Shot” – The beginning of the end for Cape Charles came from greed — plain and simple. Many years ago the town started taxing the ferry. The people running the ferry got mad and relocated to Kiptopeke. Many of the stores started to struggle. Next came the Bay Bridge-Tunnel. Now the struggling stores were really in trouble because locals found it easier to go across the bay to shop. Many stores and businesses closed permanently. Cape Charles was a wreck at this point. So along came Dickie Foster with his great ideas for a golf course, gated community, marina, and restaurants. The town made a big comeback, but it got greedy again. They improved the town’s marina and rented valuable waterfront property to a restaurant – basically going into business and competing with the very businesses they encouraged to come here. Next they built a new wastewater plant, no bigger than the plant they already had, and had the audacity to put it next to the Rosenwald School and on a busy street instead of back in the woods where it would have been out of sight. Now, because the powers that be jumped without thinking about the payment that would be required on the new wastewater plant, every home in this town gets a whopping 80% sewer increase. And — they are going after businesses on the highway by offering to run a sewer pipe to the highway and across the highway into Cheriton. Welcome to Cape Charles — now get out your wallet! (8/28/2013)
GOSSIP — I am pleased with the new Gossip section of the Wave and with the tidbits on the Town Council race. The mayor has been grooming candidates to serve her agenda for years and years so the fact that she has a new sidekick candidate is no surprise. What would be a surprise is if she decided to run. I know I wouldn’t vote for her again. Now she is trying to discredit the one candidate who best represents most of us in this town, Debbie Bender. Debbie, you rock! (8/27/2013)
FATAL SHOT? — First it was the Bridge Tunnel that would bring droves of people to Cape Charles from Norfolk and Virginia Beach. What did we get? The demise of the ferry and the flow of traffic bypassing Cape Charles. The town began to decay. Then it was Bay Creek Resort that was supposed to bring droves of people to Cape Charles. What did we get? A developer that lined his pockets flipping real estate and an unwillingness to honor his commitments to the water and sewer system. Now our Town Council says that building a sewer line to the highway will bring droves of people to the area and fix our failing new sewer plant. What will we get? Higher taxes which will drive homeowners and prospective home purchasers to other less costly markets. Many folks moved here from New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and DC because the taxes were low and the living was easy. Unfortunately it seems our Town Council wants to recreate the tax-and-spend scenario that is bankrupting other cities. Sadly, Cape Charles may not survive this latest boondoggle. (8/26/2013)
RESPONSE to “Who Pulls the Strings” – The puppet show is Dora Sullivan’s. Panek is just part of her game, and she recruited Arcos to join the circus. So we have to pay for two people to run the mayor’s show instead of just one. (8/25/2013)
SEWER LINE TO THE HIGHWAY – Is it true Cape Charles taxpayers will pay extra taxes to build the highway sewer lines? District 1 Supervisor needs to have a meeting and explain this mess. Or maybe the guy running against him would give a better straight story.
WHO PULLS THE STRINGS — Assistant Town Manager Bob Panek and his puppet show (Cape Charles Town Council) plan to run sewer lines to Route 13 to develop businesses outside of town to compete with businesses in the historic business district — even though the town’s Comprehensive Plan contains language against such a foolish and costly boondoggle. If the puppeteer is successful, Howdy Doody can say Goodbye to Rayfield’s and other family-owned businesses and Hello to corporate chain stores and restaurants on the highway. Cape Charles By the Bay can say Hello to Cape Charles By the Strip Mall.
LOOKING OUT FOR THE CITIZENS? – Bay Creek refused to pay for the expansion of the wastewater treatment system when the town projected a usage of 250,000 gallons per day beginning this year. The town told Bay Creek that if the expansion did not happen in 2009 it would be much more expensive in a few years when the capacity was needed. Bay Creek kinda said, “So what,” to the town’s leaders. Being the visionaries that they are, Council said that they were not expanding capacity but paid a price that looks like they did. Meanwhile, Bay Creek gets to save some money — well really a lot of money, because they did not pay anything. The rest of us get to pay $25 more each month for wastewater treatment, which is the reason that our bills are now a minimum of $108 per month. HATS OFF to our town leaders!
DOGS BARK, PEOPLE SPEAK – The mayor’s canine characterization of Don and Deborah Bender at last Thursday’s Cape Charles Town Council meeting was a four-legged inflammatory insult. Having to put up with the “Barking Benders,” as she called them, is no excuse for the way she conducted herself. It is, however, revealing of how she sees people who have an opinion which is different from hers. She sees them as mere “barking dogs.” The mayor owes the Benders a public apology at the next Town Council meeting. Citizens have a right to address their concerns before Council — no matter how uncomfortable it makes the mayor feel.
WHY ART MATTERS — Say a philanthropist gives $10,000 each to 10 needy families. The grant enables a family’s brilliant daughter to stay in school, become a scientist, and discover a cure for multiple sclerosis. Or in an alternate universe, the philanthropist gives $100,000 to Arts Enter Cape Charles to finance the Harbor Arts Festival. About 100 young people participate in the various artistic events and performances. Some of the attendees are so moved and inspired that they pursue careers in the arts, becoming the future Judith Jamison, Steven Spielberg, Duke Ellington, Mary Cassatt, and Beverly Sills. Not a bad investment! The enjoyment of art provides an immediate experience enhancing our views and perspectives of time, space, sound, light, and the world around us. Developing an appreciation of our natural world makes us more susceptible to making love not war. However, in this country there is always an ongoing debate during budgetary crises on whether art education is important to the common man or is an elitist pursuit.
WHAT WOULD MARK TWAIN SAY — “We may not pay the Mayor of Cape Charles reverence, for that would be indiscreet, but we can at least respect her talents.” (Adapted from Mark Twain)
WATER BILL — I just paid my Cape Charles water bill: an extra $23 this month and I’ve been away from the house! So based on this increase I’m projecting that the entire bill will cost me an extra $270 to $310 per year. I believe I can afford that at this time, but with the coming health care changes in 2014 and the raising gas prices, etc., it’s going to get tougher and tougher to have that extra Christmas money. What happens to the citizens that are living paycheck to paycheck? I know — “Let them eat cake,” right? SAD.
WHO DOES COUNCIL WORK FOR ANYWAY? — When the developers of Bay Creek refused to pay any of the invoices sent to them by the Town of Cape Charles, Mayor Sullivan and her Council took NO LEGAL ACTION to protect the interests of the people of Cape Charles. They just raised our rates. Yet Mayor Sullivan and her Council have spent upwards of $100,000 on lawyers to protect the interests of developers Echelon Resources and Charon Ventures against the citizens group Old School Cape Charles who wished only to save a valuable 100-year-old public building and park property for civic uses and retain the town’s only basketball courts. Watch your elected officials’ actions instead of listening to their words. Their actions show where their hearts are and where their real loyalties lie.
TAKE A CLOSER LOOK — Maybe Cape Charles taxpayers need to look closer at what’s going on inside the Town office, not just the Town Council. Why was Joe Vaccaro told to keep his hands off water projects? Why does a place the size of Cape Charles need two Town Managers? Why is the Town’s sewer guy the County’s sewer guy too? Why are County taxpayers, including Cape Charles people, paying for highway sewer lines? The same name keeps coming up.
IQ TEST — Just read, “Why Water Bills Just Went Up.” In March 2008 Town Manager Joe Vaccaro wrote a letter to Bay Creek Resort and Club construction manager Steve Bennett asking that it cover the cost of water and wastewater expansion per the 1991 Annexation Agreement. Two months later Steve Bennett got elected to Town Council. Eight months after Bennett took office, Joe Vaccaro was forced out of his job. Residents of Cape Charles, including those with little income and retirees with fixed incomes, are now expected to pay though their water bills the money that Bay Creek refused to pay. How did this happen? Perhaps the next time the town is scheduled to test its drinking water, they should test the IQ of the townspeople as well.
BASKETBALL HOOPS — We are coming to Cape Charles today from McLean, Virginia, and I’ve been reading on your website about the basketball hoops being taken down but were they ever put back up? I’m going to be staying for two weeks and my son wanted to practice shooting hoops.
VOTE THEM OUT OF OFFICE — I just read a comment, made by a lawyer who maintains an office in town, regarding the continuing imbroglio surrounding the Town’s sale of the Old School. He wrote: “Old School” has taken on a life of its own by the discord it has created in the community. If the citizens disagree with the elected officials’ decisions, vote them out of office.” But that’s just it: the citizens DID vote them out of office — three members of Town Council were NOT re-elected on May 1, 2012, and I am sure that their plans to give away the old school, basketball court, and playground parking were the reason why. The problem was that the “lame duck” Town Council nevertheless went ahead and voted to give everything away just before they left office. Another tragedy was the untimely decease of Councilman-elect Don Clarke. With his passing, Town Council appointed as his replacement one of the former members who had just been “voted out of office” — Larry Veber. Yet our commenter believes the Old School group should quit complaining and confine their citizen actions to voting once every two years.
IVIR DANCE PERFORMANCE — I just walked in the door after watching the dance company, IViR Danza, perform at the Palace Theatre. I am speechless. I was expecting an amateur performance geared to tourists and what I saw was nothing but superlative that I am embarrassed I only paid $12 admission. My hats off to Clelia Sheppard for making this happen. This is abstract painting come to life –- a Matisse, Magritte and Lichtenstein rolled into one. The choreography is awesome, for lack of a better word, and the dancers are all beautiful, young and energetic, their movements precise, intricate, graceful and playful. They deserve to be seen. Wow.
OLD SCHOOL CAPE CHARLES – We are your neighbors, and we are not going away. We have a right to stand up and speak the truth to those who think that we have no rights. We are ready to take them on and call them out. The Mayor continues to claim that she wanted to save the school, but that there were no viable offers from us. That is just not true.
TOWN ELECTIONS ARE NOT FAR OFF (MAY 2014) — That is the time to dump this failed administration and their secret meetings, sweetheart developer deals, unfulfilled promises, wasteful spending, undrinkable city water, faulty sewage analysis, and hair-brained schemes for poop pipelines to 13 before Cape Charles has so much debt that we die by taxation. Hopefully, the silent majority will rise to the occasion and clean house. We owe it to ourselves, our children and the town we love.
REDUCE THE TOLL — 1% of traffic comes from local residents. 99% of traffic comes from everyone else. I’ve spoken to several residents. We can start a petition to reduce the toll for residents as we are such a small percentage of the revenue generated by the CBBT. Reducing the toll for us will have virtually no impact on revenues. In fact, those can be made up by non-residents. Go ahead and raise the toll for non-residents, the 99% of users, and provide us a discounted rate. If you don’t live here, you really have no idea what it’s like for a family. The Eastern Shore has one of the lowest-ranked school districts in VA (Northampton); one of the highest poverty rates in the region (3x higher than Va Beach); and one of the lowest average incomes in the region.
STRIP DEVELOPMENT — There should not be strip development built near Cape Charles and Cheriton on Rt. 13. Has anyone really seen the plans? Onancock is very far from Rt. 13, making it very isolated. That’s why it failed. Cape Charles and Cheriton are not that far removed from Rt. 13. The boundaries should be extended to make them Town Centers like they do in Maryland. I would even suggest they merge. Both towns could use a bakery, pet grooming services, doctors offices, an ambulatory center, etc. One area of growth, not three separate areas. Cohesiveness is the answer. Just a suggestion.
BAY CREEK’S EMPTY PROMISES – When we first moved here years ago we heard stories from Foster & Company that there was going to be a beach club, a free gym near the tennis courts, minimal fees for the golf course, a convention/ community-type building near the pro shop and first-class security for this enclosed community. There were also stories that Foster “loved” the area so much that he was moving here full time; I heard him say it. We watched as his small “elite” circle of friends gained our confidence and eventually got a foothold in the local political arena. I remember all of the hoopla at the opening of the Aqua Restaurant and Cabana Bar and the excitement of living at Bay Creek. What I see now are failed promises and an organization that is bleeding the Town of Cape Charles for monies again. This time it’s water usage; is anyone watching out for the citizens here anymore? Honestly, the area is beautiful and the people are nice but it’s in an economic death spiral and Bay Creek isn’t helping the situation at all.
BEACH CLUB CONNECTION CHARGES — Since when is having $109,000 subtracted from an original calculation of $153,000 to yield the sum of $44,000 NOT a REDUCTION? When Mayor Sullivan does the math — that’s when. Go figure — is this some sort of new math, or the same double talk?
HARBOR DEEPENING REJECTION — The business most affected by the rejection of deepening of the harbor would be the concrete company. I hope they don’t leave the town for a better locale. If they decide to close up shop and move to a better locale, the immediate effect would be catastrophic for the town. I wonder why the stars don’t seem to be aligning for Cape Charles. We have already lost the hospital. I don’t know for sure, but I have read that the state of Maryland directed their state agencies to consider the risk of coastal flooding and sea level rise for capital investments in the next century. Does anyone know if the state of Virginia is doing the same for the eastern shore of Virginia and low-lying areas like Virginia Beach? Does anyone know the big picture?
BAY CREEK BEACH CLUB — The description of the proposed membership plan makes the Beach Club (not adjacent to the beach, by the way) a private amenity. How much will the private amenity pay to the Homeowners Association for use of community assets such as roads, security, street lights, etc.?
HIGHER BRIDGE TOLLS — We are reaping what we sow. I remember years ago when some people were adamant that the bridge should not go under state control to reduce the tolls. Very foolish people! They were afraid the riff-raff would come here to live and visit (no kidding!). We will be lucky if anyone comes here when the tolls increase. In fairness, the residents of Northampton County should have discounted tolls like other jurisdictions. Something needs to be done about that bridge because it is sucking the life out of Cape Charles. Don’t you see it!? Even rich people don’t like to be taken.
SHER — Thank you, Sher, for showing us what we look at every day but don’t choose to really see. When we see, we will be changed too.
RESPONSE to “Old School Parade Truck” — I understand that the school issue means a great deal to people and that viewpoints differ. I believe that everyone has the right to express their opinion. However I also believe in kindness, consideration, and the importance of good manners. Just because I have the right to say or do something, doesn’t mean it is necessarily a good idea. For me, the disturbing part of the Old School float was the “Stop Discrimination” sign posted on the front. I wonder what impression that gave to the many visitors to our town on July 4? Did it make them feel that we are a kind and caring community? Did it create the impression that we welcomes guests? Did it instill in them a desire to return to Cape Charles and support our businesses? Our words and our actions have consequences — we should all try to choose them wisely.
RESPONSE to “Haves and Have-Nots” – There’s a larger section to this Amendment of 1991 and it’s called The Annexation Agreement of 1991. That document, and not the one noted below, contained specific information like the local communities getting $300 bumped to $400 for every home built from 1991 to 2001 in Bay Creek. It also listed specific areas the money would go to like the library, sidewalk repairs, etc. There were several copies of the document floating around Town Hall in 2007. I saw one in the Cape Charles Coffee House and it was an interesting read for sure. It’s also on the Town of Cape Charles Records and Publications web site.
OLD SCHOOL PARADE TRUCK – I don’t know why some people think that the Old School Cape Charles’ truck in the 4th of July Parade was not positive. It was positive. It was calling for a community center in the Old School. That is what Old School Cape Charles called for from the beginning. That is what they made three proposals for to the town. The town never negotiated with Old School at all. That is too bad. It will be a positive thing when we get the school back and have the opportunity to use it as a community center.
RESPONSE to “Haves and Have-Nots” — It’s really laughable that some citizens believe that Bay Creek residents think they’re “above” their fellow citizens. They’re not. Candidly speaking, I’d be more concerned about the Amendment of 1991 where Bay Creek was “supposed to” provide monies to the community based on the number of homes they built, etc. Where’s that money now? Last I heard, Northampton County collected it years ago. The amendment in question also addressed water/sewage issues; basically, Bay Creek is NOT paying anything due to a capacity clause written into the amendment. BTW, whoever was the Cape Charles Town Manager back then (late 1980s & early 1990s) thought it was a smart idea to use [Bay Creek developer Richard] Foster’s lawyer (a Mr. Nutley) to also represent the Town of Cape Charles. How’s that working for you? The Town has several “issues,” but pick an issue that is worthy of your time and stop whining about the HAVES & HAVE NOTS.
RESPONSE TO “Bay Creek Citizen Police” – Mayor Sullivan, “Tear down that wall!”
HAVES AND HAVE-NOTS – Within their gated community the HAVES have a private beach, have private recreational opportunities, and soon will have a private beach club. Meanwhile, the HAVE NOTS of the old town have not an historic school – which until recently was valuable park property. The Old School holds great potential as a multi-purpose community center bringing all of Cape Charles citizens together in fellowship. The multi-use public space would be another amenity that would increase economic vitality and the quality of life in town for both HAVES and HAVE-NOTS. But the HAVES were not having any of the public space preservation idea. So they petitioned Town Council to convert the public property to private ownership for private profits. Now the HAVES have it like they like it – PRIVATE. A private corporation exploiting publicly held assets. With Town Council’s private deal, the HAVES get more private property and tax write-offs and the HAVE-NOTS lose public access to public property. The public is entitled to question the legality of such an ignorant and specious transaction by which the Town of Cape Charles and high-level staff have conducted the people’s business to benefit a private corporation. Now you have it – or NOT.
LA MER DESIGN STUDIO — “Randolph Avenue House Becomes La Mer Design Studio”: Just curious, did the architectural review committee approve the fence and the lights by the front door? I thought that house was in a residential area; is Randolph Avenue commercial?
RESPONSE TO “Bay Creek Citizen Police” — As a lifelong resident of Cape Charles (65+ years), I have not found any of the Bay Creek residents I’ve met to be “haughty.” Too bad that you have. Don’t paint everyone by this experience. My gosh, where would we be without the many contributions our new residents make to our community? There are so few of us long-timers, aren’t we fortunate to have newcomers in our town who take an interest and are so active? I am happy that they can see what a sweet place we have, want to live here, and are involved. If you feel we ARE divided, is it because of your notions of “haves and have nots”? Are you really able to “live together in harmony and peace” with all? I wonder who has the “entitlement problem.”
RESPONSE TO “Bay Creek Citizen Police” — I agree with your comments about the haughty Bay Creekers laying claim to their gated community. Some Bay Creekers really have an entitlement problem. The worst thing Dickie Foster could have done is build a “private” gated (fenced-in) community within Cape Charles town limits. It has divided the town and its people. We would all be better off if Bay Creek let go of its “private” enclave and really became part of the town so that everyone could enjoy nature and live together in harmony and peace. Talk about perceived haves and have nots!
RESPONSE TO “Outlet Mall” — You are a visitor to our charming town, and I hear your concern. We like it that way too but we have to survive. However, you are just a visitor. We have to live here and survive with high taxes, high water bills, and tourists that come and go. We can’t pay all the expenses of the town and county just so you can enjoy your vacations. Most of us live on fixed incomes. We need more businesses to take the load off and more jobs. Living here full time and being just a visitor are two entirely different things.
BAY CREEK CITIZEN POLICE — What’s up with the self-appointed Bay Creek Beach citizen police? I do not appreciate, as a longtime resident of Cape Charles, being rudely accosted on the beach next to the concrete factory, by self-righteous residents of the gated enclave of Bay Creek, informing me that I am trespassing on Bay Creek property. Yes, the signs on the boardwalk say “stay on the boardwalk.” But then why are Bay Creek residents allowed to wander freely when others are not? Not very hospitable or friendly, I tell you. When the town erects a razor-wire fence at the end of Bay Creek’s beach, then we will both have to stay off. Back off, Beach Nazis.
OUTLET MALL – I live in Richmond, and on family vacations we are not looking for Williamsburg, Virginia Beach, or Nags Head. My family has been vacationing in your lovely town for several years. We are drawn to your quiet, beautiful town because it is NOT about shopping for items you can find in other tourist areas. You have a specific location, calm environment, friendly neighbors, visitors, and shopkeepers who are very vested in the culture you currently have. I think that to have a shopping mall on Route 13 would be a detraction, bringing a different clientele. Beaches would get crowded, and so would the town. Once you make those moves, you can’t go back. We are drawn to your culture, fishing, sailing, canoeing, kayaking, golf, walking, biking, and your beautiful park. We love getting farm-fresh veggies and fresh seafood. Your 4th of July celebration is amazing. I have already brought two families to your area this year. We rented houses. I do think a Hampton Inn on Route 13 not close to the light at Food Lion but down toward the state park would help your fishing and boating businesses.
HERE TOO LONG — I’ve been a Cape Charles resident and property owner 18+ years now. The town has grown in a lot of ways, and like any growth there is good and bad, advantages and disadvantages. The bad part is that Cape Charles is continuing to lose its charm! Little things like not waving a greeting, town council members not responding to all questions presented at a meeting, the Mayor ignoring a pleasant greeting. And yes, the town is too top heavy –too many cooks spoil the stew. Cape Charles is growing but it seems it’s losing its charming and friendly past. Let’s get back to a bit of the simple and friendly place that attracted us here back in the day.
SEAFOOD EXTRAVAGANZA — I support the Cape Charles Fire Department but the fish extravaganza was just too hot. It was inconsiderate to the public to be left out in 90 degree temperatures with no shade. We sat out in the broiling sun without even any breeze to cool us off. The new location is not good. I could not help noticing that not many people from the town showed up to the event. If they can’t have it in the firehouse like they used to, I don’t think I will be attending next year.
CAPE CHARLES HIGH SCHOOL REUNION — I wonder why it is that the town wanted the Cape Charles High School Reunion planners to buy insurance to use the park. Did they make the Fire Department buy insurance to use the land up near the pier? I wonder if they are just embarrassed about the fact that they gave away our historic school and did not want the former students to go there to see what they have done.
RESPONSE to “Library Lollipops” — You have a valid point. Why not tell the librarian? Or send a note (anonymously) to the town? Posting your concerns here seems an inefficient way of getting the situation rectified.
LIBRARY LOLLIPOPS — The Town Library should not be giving out lollipops to kids that come in for books. I’m tired of my young child having a pop thrust under his nose every time we want to read. I don’t need a sugared up kid and I don’t need a kid having a meltdown because his mom refused the pop that is dangling in front of him. Why not stickers? Or fun bookmarks? I know where to go if I want to offer my child sweets — and it shouldn’t be the Public Library! Every time I think about taking my kid to the library, I have to be prepared for the lollipop situation — what a pain! P.S. Are you aware of how much local and national civic groups are doing to combat obesity?
RESPONSE to “Cape Charles by the Bay Website” — Check ABOUT Cape Charles and click on CHURCHES. It has pictures and hours etc. Can’t imagine what more you would need. (6/29/2013)
RESPONSE to “Central Park” comments – Volunteer for the Citizens of Central Park. Make a donation. The park was developed and maintained by donations, grants and fundraisers. Complaining is easy; the work is not. Did you support our Pirate Festival and Ball June 15? It was for the benefit of Central Park! (6/29/2013)
HARBOR ACCESS ROAD – What’s the deal with the big new road off Stone Road, the one that’s going to bypass Cape Charles? Is something really big going in down at the harbor? An amusement park? A casino? (6/26/2013)
OUT OF CONTROL IN CAPE CHARLES – Our town manager made it clear at Thursday’s Council meeting that she can spend as much of our tax money as needed ($80,000 and counting) to defend the interests of an out-of-town developer who wants to turn our historic school into an apartment building in Central Park. She claims she doesn’t need Council approval. She also amended the $10 sales contract to further benefit the developer, again without Council approval. There are three kinds of people who spend other people’s money: children, thieves, and politicians. All three need supervision! (6/22/2013)
RESPONSE TO “Gun Barrel” – Indeed it is within the purview of the Park Service to maintain and celebrate American history, military and otherwise. I recommend a visit to Yorktown, Fredericksburg, Manassas, Fort McHenry, Sharpsburg, or Gettysburg. In my experience, Park Rangers are congenial, knowledgeable and happy to indulge patrons in discussion of wildlife, habitat, the historical significance of their site, and most other topics we may care to ask about. (6/20/2013)
TOWN BUDGET — Cape Charles is running on empty. The idea seems to be that the town can borrow its way out of trouble, which is a sure way to bankrupt the town. Perhaps it is time for certain people to move to a location where they can buy their underwear locally. (6/11/2013)
CAPE CHARLES BY THE BAY WEBSITE – The new tourist website is supposed to show everything about Cape Charles that visitors might be interested in. Restaurants, hotels, night life, and on and on. But they forgot something (maybe on purpose): our Churches. Reading the website, you would think no church existed in Cape Charles, or at least that no tourist would be interested in attending church during their vacation. That’s just not true. The website should recognize the Town’s many churches, which have a proud heritage. (6/9/2013)
PUBLIC-PRIVATE COLLUSION? — Last weekend I visited Cape Charles with my wife and another couple from Richmond. On the surface, your town appeared to us as having the potential to be a great place for an active retirement with a small business until I discovered the story behind the deal to sell the old school to a developer. What a shame, as the whole story smacks of “old school” collusion between elected officials and well-funded private sector parties. Anyone who might consider Cape Charles as a retirement home should know about what happened and consider carefully if they want to live somewhere that is run for the benefit of private sector interests ahead of its full time voting residents. I’m not anti-development but I’m very put off by the stench of how this appears to have gone down. (5/24/2013)
GUN BARREL — Due to misplaced priorities the National Park Service appears to be celebrating military history. Is that really their job? I thought the military took care of that well enough. How about we throw the big gun barrel in the water to protect the shore. (5/23/2013)
PARK BATHROOMS – Don Riley’s trip to court to appeal the misplaced bathrooms in Cape Charles Central Park could have been a demonstration of democracy in action. But due to the fact that he did not even get a hearing and his letters and petitions were ignored, it was a miscarriage of justice. (5/13/2013)
NATIONAL POLICE WEEK –Sunday starts national police week this week is dedicated to the men and women of law enforcement who keep our streets, and family’s safe. Sadly every 57 hours one of these officers loose there life and will never return home to there loved ones.The national law enforcement memorial has over 19,000 name of officers killed in the line of duty,and as of today’s date 41 more officers have died in 2013. Please join me this week and put a light on your porch or a candle in honor of the fallen which gave their life to protect others from harm. (5/12/2013)
SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE — While I applaud the engagement of the Cape Charles Christian School and its students in our town, I think we need to remember that public institutions funded by public tax dollars, like our new library, are just that: public, and should not be used on recurring basis as an adjunct classroom setting for a private religious school. (5/3/2013)
SAVE KIPTOPEKE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL — What is going on at Kiptopeke Elementary School? How can a National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence end up in such shambles? Why are we heading into the second testing season in a row with another principal with one foot out the door? Why has KES seen an 11.8% drop in enrollment in one calendar year compared to a 2-3% change at the county’s other two schools? Why isn’t anyone paying attention to the mess? Why are we blaming teachers when it is a clear leadership issue? (5/2/2013)
CENTRAL PARK — The original idea for Central Park was not what it has become. I remember school youth participating in the design of the park. It had sports fields, seating for spectators, and other ideas. Why did it become a showcase for special events and not a park for sports and activities promoting health and fitness? Does anyone know the governmental agency that funded this project? I sure think it would be interesting to know how the park evolved into a walking and sitting place rather than a place where sports are played. Has anyone noticed that the Town Council has no interest in sports for the Town’s youth? First the baseball fields went away. Then the sports fields in the park went away. Recently the basketball court was taken from us. All we have left is the tennis courts. Has anyone noticed how little they are used? (5/1/2013)
RECYCLING — I recently moved into town and when I asked if I could get a recycling can sent to my house, I found out the town doesn’t do recycling. This certainly shocked me. I figured Cape Charles would be an eco-friendly town, and recycling for anyone is really effortless. I have talked to some folks who live in town who recycle as well, and they are just as troubled over the idea as I am why Cape Charles does not have that option. It is a little irritating to know I have to take my own recycling to a place outside of town when I pay monthly for a trash service in town. I think this should definitely be considered and can’t believe it isn’t already a given. (4/27/2013)
TED WARNER writes very nice pieces. His stories are interesting, thought provoking, attentive, and beautiful. It is nice to read anything he composes, as you can sense a genuine heart behind it. (4/9/2013)
BASED ON COMMENTS submitted by readers, in this town it’s better to be a beloved stray dog than a slain waterman. (4/9/2013)
CENTRAL PARK: If you want to do some investigative reporting, check out the amount of money spent on Central Park and what we’ve gotten for it with a focus on at least the following three items:
1. The fountain is broken more often than it flows. There was some discussion that the fountain is built atop a spring, which causes the subsoil to shift, which, in turn, causes the fountain’s basin and plumbing to rupture. I don’t know if that’s true.
2. The sprinkler system appears to be 80% dysfunctional. It’s probably already been ruined by the harsh water, but that should have been in the calculation of which materials to use, and the chemicals or process to adequately flush the system if possible should have been part of considerations. It may be that no system can tolerate our water and that the money should not have been spent at all.
3. The mosquito ponds simply sit there, stagnant, for weeks. If there are routine rains, they never dry. Again, there are legitimate issues, such as the need for compliance with the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act, which impacted the grading, drainage, etc. However, for instance, lowering the pond drain in the northwest corner of the park would have a significant impact at least in that area. (4/4/2013)
OLD SCHOOL GIVEAWAY 2: Why did the Town even consider giving away Town property to an out-of-town developer when they refused to even negotiate with Town residents? It seems that it was more important to the mayor to make Echelon Resources happy than to allow the people of Cape Charles to have a community center and a basketball court. We paid Echelon to take it! Our Town wasted more than a million dollars by giving away valuable Town property. How do you explain this giveaway? (3/7/2013)
OLD SCHOOL GIVEAWAY: Cape Charles has really wasted a lot of money on lawyers to give away our historic Old School building, basketball court, and playground parking lot. If the mayor had been willing to negotiate with Old School Cape Charles on the offer to purchase or lease the school, there would have been no lawsuits and the property would either belong to the Town or would be purchased for the community. Now our children have no recreational venue. Now the town should give the old library over for community recreation and services. (3/7/2013)
OLD SCHOOL LITIGATION: Judge Revell Lewis did not live up to his reputation when it came to the Old School in Cape Charles. We had heard that he would listen to the arguments and weigh the case carefully. It appears that all he did was try to get out of a difficult decision. It is a sad day for Cape Charles. (3/4/2013)
HISTORIC DISTRICT REVIEW BOARD 2: No, the Historic District Review Board was not being ridiculous; they were doing what they were supposed to do and providing a community service. Little did they realize that was not what the Town Council wanted them to do. Their decisions were OK when they were in line with what Town Council wanted, but when their decisions were contrary, the Town ignored them as an “advisory group” (Old School) or over-ruled them (hotel). (3/4/2013)
CITIZEN GUIDELINES AT TOWN MEETINGS: Our town mayor picks and chooses who gets thrown out of meetings. A former council member verbally attacked a sitting member and the mayor did nothing. But when she had to listen to a speaker criticize her, the mayor had her gavel IN HER HAND the entire time, just waiting to throw her out. (3/1/2013)
OLD SCHOOL AMENDED CONTRACT: We have all been bamboozled by this project. This is just gross incompetence by the Mayor and Town Council and not good for the Historic Town economically in the long run. (2/28/2013)
HOTEL CAPE CHARLES 2: There is an interesting study done in 2007 called Benefits of Residential Historic District Designation for Property Owners. Perhaps our Town Council members should read this to gain a better understanding of how their actions in the case of the Hotel Cape Charles could negatively impact all property owners of this town. The Town Council’s handling of this situation sets the precedent for businesses and homeowners to simply ignore the historic district guidelines. After all, if our Town Council places no value in the recommendations of the Historic District Review Board and can’t adhere to their own guidelines, how can they enforce these guidelines going forward? Kudos to the Historic Review Board members who took a stand. I’m sorry that their volunteer hours and community service to this town have been in vain. It is sad to say that the decisions made by our Town Council in recent months seem to continuously put their own self-interests and immediate gains over the long-term interests of the citizens of this Town. (2/28/2013)
HOTEL CAPE CHARLES: I don’t live here but I’m what you are looking to woo — a tourist. What does Cape Charles have to offer? No waves, no real night life and now the possibility of destroying your one great asset — the architecture of a bygone time. The hotel thumbed its nose at the Historic Review Board and Town Council decided to be short-sighted. The renovator decided to do what he wanted to do. The door has been opened and an ugly precedent has been set. I commend the Historic Review Board for having the [courage] that Town Council doesn’t have. Now let’s see: this weekend should I go to Cape May, Annapolis, New Castle, DE, Mystic,CT, New Bedford, MA — I think you get the point. (2/27/2013)
HISTORIC DISTRICT REVIEW BOARD: Glad to hear they resigned; they were being ridiculous. (2/26/2013)
BRIDGE-TUNNEL 3: Funny, that’s all I see when I drive down Rt. 13 — traffic and strip malls. As for crime, unless we do something about the plight of the very low income we will see increased crime anyway. Anybody checked the statistics on drug-related crime lately or burglaries and vandalism? Just because some can afford the toll does not mean the majority can. They must do something because doing nothing is sucking the life out of the County. What is everybody afraid of? Progress? Increased wealth? Get a grip! We are not in the dark ages anymore. (2/21/2013)
FLUORIDE: Fluoridation opposition is scientific, respectable, and growing. More than 4,500 professionals (including 343 dentists and 538 MDs) urge that fluoridation be stopped because fluoridation is ineffective and harmful. See statement: http://www.fluoridealert.org/researchers/professionals-statement/text/ (2/20/2013)
BRIDGE-TUNNEL 2: The writer of the anonymous comment [below] has provided incorrect information. The CBBT is not a private business. The Bridge Tunnel District is a political subdivision of the Commonwealth of Virginia, created by the Acts of Assembly. The Bridge Tunnel Commission is the governing body of the District. Some folks seem to get confused by this since revenue bonds to build the bridge tunnel were sold to private investors. This is no different than the sale of municipal bonds by cities, towns and counties, or the sale of revenue bonds by industrial development authorities or public service authorities. They are issued by government entities and purchased by private investors. (2/19/2013)
BRIDGE-TUNNEL: The first issue that should be addressed is that the bridge was created as a private business and as such, the citizens of Northampton County, the County Board of Supervisors or anyone outside of the CBBT shouldn’t have any influence on prices they charge for their service. I don’t see anyone lobbying for lower prices at Bay Creek for example — which without a doubt, if initiation fees were knocked to $0 would certainly encourage growth. Second, the CBBT has long discussed plans and costs associated with building a new set of tunnels to reduce risk for its passengers, a cost that’s been reported at over $1B per tunnel. It would take quite some time to pay for this even considering $46M in gross revenue/year. Also, why should tax dollars be spent on a private business that clearly can generate its own revenue? The Shore would most definitely become an extension of Hampton Roads despite zoning plans. It won’t take long for some self-serving individuals to become involved to the point where the lower Eastern Shore could be rezoned to allow for additional development. (Look at the individuals pushing for the Commuter Toll — I’ll bet they drive to and from Virginia Beach quite frequently.) For those of you not “From Here,” consider why you moved here, and not Virginia Beach and that should be sufficient for not pushing a commuter toll. (2/19/2013)
PARK BATHROOM 4: It’s a good thing that the bathroom construction has been stopped. The bathroom is in a lake when it rains. The time to choose a different location for the building is before it is built. (2/18/2013)
PRIORITIES: Sadly, it appears that this community cares more about arguing where or where not to put a public bathroom than it does the state of our public schools. They also seem to really care that kids don’t have a place to shoot hoops. How about a decent school for these same kids to get an education in? The apathy over this issue is astounding. (2/6/2013)
INDOOR BASKETBALL: Just a few years ago, I remember the good times my grandchildren had when they went to the Town Community Center in the park for after-school programs and Boys and Girls Club. Now they are teenagers and it would be nice if they could have a community center again where they could play basketball indoors and do other after-school activities. (2/1/2013)
UNINCORPORATE CAPE CHARLES: There appear to be many issues with the town council and mayoral office. There is epidemic discussion of corruption and incompetence. Yet I hear of virtually no one in town who wants these jobs or is willing to do the campaigning necessary to “shake up” the status quo. Are there current term limits in place? Could this be a solution so that others would be willing to run without heavy campaigning to build the necessary name recognition? A more radical thought would be to just unincorporate the town. What services would we really give up? And could our taxes go down? Security could be handled by the county. We don’t have schools to support. And there could still be a historic district. Yes, there would be job losses, but a town doesn’t exist to hire people, it exists to provide services which are in the town’s best interest. And many in the town (including me) don’t believe that this mayor or town council has any interest except self-interest. (1/29/2013)
ALLEGED HOUSING DISCRIMINATION BY TOWN: A private owner of a private rental property does not have to participate in the Section 8 housing voucher program. The owner cannot deny anyone the opportunity to apply for rental housing, however. 24 CFR, part 1 Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, prohibits discrimination against applicants or tenants based on race, color, national origin, sex, age, disability, religion and familial status. The source of income does not apply. The town should make sure they do not violate any state civil rights laws or local ordinances pertaining to housing, including marital status or sexual orientation. (1/25/2013)
TOWN COUNCIL DOESN’T CARE: I remember going to the court to play tennis and seeing all the kids, black, white, red and brown, using and enjoying Central Park. I learned who they were and what they wanted out of life. I played with them, I took them out to McDonald’s after our games. I remember the Boys and Girls Club, which served the needs of the “wrong types” and was closed for such. The old gym where you could play basketball all year, which was closed as unsafe, but was used to have dances and anything else the CCVA chosen ones wanted. Now we lament the removal of the basketball courts, the parking for the kids’ playground and the selling of the old school. But looking further into this ask yourself: What do you expect with the present Town Council? Look at the makeup of this council with no cultural diversity or depth of political leanings. You see no parents of young children (however Frank Wendell is a parent of a teenager), only one person of color, and all approaching or over 60. With the ages closer to 100 than 20 this is the age they are screaming for the kids to get off their lawns, not play on them. How can I put this any simpler: They just don’t care! And until someone challenges this shady, dishonest, unholy cabal you will continue to have the failed, crooked, and corrupt leadership you do. Remember: you get the leadership you deserve — you voted for them.
Disappointed Former Resident. (1/24/2013)
CENTRAL PARK BATHROOMS 3: Once it’s open, they better clean it every day. (1/22/2013)
CENTRAL PARK BATHROOMS 2: The people who live near Central Park should be consulted about the placement and design of the bathrooms. Why should the Citizens for Central Park ignore their complaints and act like they are just an inconvenience? When they look out toward the Park they will have to see that ugly brick building with no windows. We have Historic District Guidelines that state a building should be in character with the surrounding HISTORIC buildings in the neighborhood — not the sewage pumping station that should not be there anyway. (1/22/2013)
BASKETBALL COURT 4: Echelon bought the school and basketball court before Christmas, but now they’re not going to do anything until at least April. In the meantime they got the Town to do their work for them and take down the basketball hoops so that no children can play on the court. They should tell the Town to put back the hoops and let the kids use the court until April. That would be a good neighbor. (1/18/2013)
I DIDN’T SPEAK OUT: First they disbanded the Boys and Girls Club in the old school, and I didn’t speak out because my children didn’t live here. Then they shut down the softball field, and I didn’t speak out because it made no difference to me. Then they took away the soccer goals in the park, and I didn’t speak out because I liked a “quiet” park. Then they gave away the basketball court, and I didn’t speak out because I didn’t want “undesirables” coming to play basketball. Then they raised my taxes due to a shrinking population, and I’m mad as hell and not going to take it anymore! (1/18/2013)
BASKETBALL COURT 3: So, based on the Echelon contract in regards to removing the basketball goals, the Cape Charles town manager was or wasn’t telling the truth when she stated that removing the goals was a condition of the contract? And the assistant town manager was or wasn’t telling the truth when he stated that the basketball goals were removed to avoid liability — even though the goals by then were private property located on private property. Can someone help me find the truth? (1/17/2013)
RURAL COUNTIES IN DECLINE: Here’s an interesting story from USA Today: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/01/12/rural-decline-congress/1827407/ (1/14/2013)
BASKETBALL COURT 2: The Town Council sold our school, basketball court and parking for the children’s playground to Echelon Resources because they cared more about that company more than they care about the children of Cape Charles. Now they think that they can hurry up and put up a new basketball court and everything will be OK. But it won’t. They don’t have as good a place for it as the one that we had. The solution is for Old School Cape Charles to win the lawsuit against the town so that all the mistakes can be walked back and Echelon can leave. (1/14/2013)
TRIATHLON: The Ultra-length” 140-mile triathlon in the Fall will be a boon to Cape Charles and the lower Virginia Eastern Shore. Get involved! The town needs help. (1/8/2013)
SOCCER GOALS: Last year, the soccer goals, promised to be returned, then basketball hoops, next the parking access to the playground, perhaps next the handicap ramps on street corners! Maybe soon a gate at route 13! (1/5/2013)
BASKETBALL COURT: How do you like that? Our town does not have a basketball court for kids to play on. It does not have parking for the children’s playground. But most of town council think they have done nothing wrong. It seems like the town council only cares about tourists. Maybe the people will be tired of that come time for the next election. (1/3/2013)
ANONYMOUS IN 2012
HAPPY NEW YEAR’S EVE: Keep up the fight, Old School Cape Charles. We are going to win this. It is not right for our town council to give away town property to a private “entity” when there is a group of townspeople that have a use for it. Besides, people were already using the basketball court and the playground parking. What is with giving that away? (12/31/2012)
CAPE CHARLES SCHOOL: The town took down the basketball hoops at Christmastime. That shows that the Town Council has no heart. Now the kids in town have no basketball court in the park to play on. It was so sad to read about the boy who was throwing balls through the hoops as they were taken away. It just proves how clueless our Town Council and mayor are about what our town really needs. (12/31/2012)
AQUA: Great, just what the Shore and Cape Charles needs — someone else who knows how to work the system. Go bankrupt, stiff the hard-working merchants, and come back with no debts. Thank you Washington D.C. (12/29/2012)
CAPE CHARLES IS THE NEW GREECE: Cape Charles and Greece have a lot in common: cronyism, nepotism, favoritism, mismanagement, and high taxes. Echelon, you didn’t even need to steal Christmas. It was stolen FOR YOU. (12/28/2012)
HIGH WATER: Isn’t that the model toilet aka sewage pump station behind the new Mercedes? What does the high water do to all those ugly electric switches and pumps? (12/27/2012)
MERRY CHRISTMAS to the group of Old School Cape Charles for keeping up the fight. Keep fighting, and you will win. (12/25/2012)
TALL SHIPS ADVERTISING: Just to let the people of Cape Charles know that the large billboard advertising the arrival of the Tall Ships last spring is still in place just north of the New Church scale (just south of the Md/Va state line). Old advertising like this doesn’t look too good for the town. Please inform the responsible party. Thanks and Merry Christmas! (12/24/2012)
NEWTOWN: I respect Mr. Lindeman’s thoughts on the Newtown tragedy, but I had a different reaction: We have no reason to be surprised by a Newtown or a Virginia Tech or any of the other mass murders that happen from time to time. What we should be surprised and grateful about is that they don’t happen more often than they do. Because our culture worships lethal weapons. We are a nation perpetually at war, both overseas and among ourselves. The so-called ban on assault weapons expired in 2004, and few politicians dare to risk the wrath of the NRA to reinstate it. As long as we manufacture weapons of mass slaughter, somebody will be sick and crazy enough to use them. By themselves, people are not very good at killing. They need guns, bombs, and rockets. Which our society is quick to supply. (12/19/2012)
SAD SITUATION FOR BAY CREEK. Love all the amenities! I don’t place blame on Bay Creek, I applaud their efforts for trying so hard to stay afloat. They have really tried to raise the bar. As a business owner in CC, we are fortunate to be doing well. We are doing well because our market is global. However, where we are having problems is finding qualified help on the Shore. Our employees have to come from across the bay, which increases costs. It’s also hard finding qualified individuals who are willing to travel an hour to work. We may need to relocate soon to grow. (12/18/2012)
KUDOS TO THE COAST GUARD STATION IN CAPE CHARLES for rescuing a kayaker off the Virginia Eastern Shore. This is the kind of good press that makes me proud of our town. (12/14/2012)
FISHING PIER LIGHTS: Has the town drawn plans for the new pier? Do they have lighting plans? Numerous avid fisherman are not fond of the new lights on the pier. I have heard returning tourists complain about the new curlycue lights and asked why they replaced the old florescent lights. The florescent tube lights brought much more light for people to see the marine life such as crabs, fish, jellyfish etc. (12/13/2012)
HEALTHCARE CRISIS: I finally see that the Town Council agenda includes trying to deal with the Healthcare crisis in Cape Charles and that also exists in surrounding Northampton County areas. It is great reading comments about the community trail, old school, Bay Creek, Cape Charles Hotel problems but these problems are small and the real big problems seem to be ignored. If Cape Charles is to survive, much needs to be done about the health care crisis, jobs, education and transportation problems. Let’s get real, taxes are going up everywhere, not just Cape Charles and Northampton County. People demand services and we must pay for them. Our Town Council, Mayor and Northampton officials must make wise decisions considering our limited resources. We will never attract owners and thus new tax income until these basic necessities are dealt with. (12/12/2012)
TOWN FAILED TO FOLLOW ZONING ORDINANCE: One reason the Hotel Cape Charles errant balconies should be forgiven is that the town did not follow its own zoning ordinance: Section 8.31 Inspection by Administrator After Approval — When a Certificate of Appropriateness has been issued, the Administrator or Town Building Official shall from time to time inspect the alteration or construction approved by such certificate and shall give prompt notice to the applicant of any work not in accordance with such certificate or violating any ordinance of the Town. The Administrator or Town Building Official may revoke the certificate or the building permit if violations are not corrected by the applicant in a timely manner. Since work was not stopped by the town, it seems like it is kind of late and overly expensive to ask that the work be redone. (12/12/2012)
OLD SCHOOL LAWSUITS: A hearing on the two lawsuits brought by Old School Cape Charles against the Cape Charles Town Council will be held next Monday, December 17, at 11 a.m. in the courthouse in Eastville. One of the lawsuits is about the sale of the school for $10. The other is about the spot zoning of the property that the school is on, including the basketball court and the parking for the children’s playground. A lot of people wonder if the town council was playing by the rules when they made those decisions. It is sad that our town council had so little respect for the people of Cape Charles that they made a deal like that. (12/11/2012)
CENTRAL PARK BATHROOMS 1: The sewer pump station is not historic. The question of the park bathrooms does not hinge on a couple of people who live near the park agreeing to an eyesore. It hinges, as Roger Munz wrote, on whether the Guidelines of the Historic District are followed. The Guidelines say that the new building should be related to the design character of the historic buildings in the area. The sewer pumping station is not a historic building — therefore, it should not have been used as a model for the bathrooms. (12/10/2012)