Cape Charles Christian School: An Appreciation

One of many yard sales at the Christian School. (Wave photo)

One of many yard sales at the Christian School. (Wave photo)


September 2, 2014

As school starts today, I have to say it is a little bit sad not have any of my children going back to Cape Charles Christian School. My son and daughter were part of the first class at the school, when it was housed by the generous folks at Trinity Methodist and Cape Charles Baptist. From its very beginnings, the school embodied the very best of our community, and I can’t tell you what a joy it was to once again see gaggles of kids traipsing through Cape Charles.

Now that my son Joey has moved on to Broadwater (he really wanted to play varsity sports), I am personally going to miss those mornings, watching him strap on his backpack, hop on his scooter, and go off to school in the same town where he grew up. He loves playing sports at BA, but I know he also misses the Christian school too.

I am so grateful for everything that CCCS did for our kids — the values they taught and the sense of community that they have built.  It has been a fruitful partnership with the citizens of Cape Charles, our Library and staff, and especially Arts Enter, which has been so gracious and helpful with classes, instruction, and use of facilities.

Kate Tayloe, Valerie Travis, Dawn Lewis, Carrie Cabello, and Leslie Savage provided the best lower school experience one could wish for. Andrea Davis is no longer there, but she was also instrumental in laying the intellectual foundation for success. Thanks to Ms. Tayloe for showing my kids that, yes, reading can actually be fun. Holly Hubbard brought so much talent and passion to our upper school, teaching the required disciplines needed to excel in not just the upper school, but all through the educational experience. [Read more...]

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‘To Think Daddy Sold the House for $20,000!’

"One of the prettiest houses in town": Randolph Avenue home was built c. 1945 and purchased by the Wendell family c. 1958 for $20,000. The home remains in the family today. (Wave photo)

“One of the prettiest houses in town”: Randolph Avenue home was built c.1945 and purchased by the Wendell family c.1958 for $20,000. The home remains in the family today. (Wave photo)

September 2, 2014

Cape Charles Historical Society has for more than a decade been recording oral histories of the area’s earlier days.  A grant from the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities enabled 15 interviews to be transcribed, and the Historical Society has made this one available for readers of the Wave. 

1990 Interview of Virginia Fitzhugh conducted by Virginia Savage


VIRGINIA SAVAGE:  There’s a house [southwest corner of Randolph and Peach] owned by Ham Hamilton.  He was married to a Whitehead [from Townsend -- two doors east of Miss Iva].

VIRGINIA FITZHUGH:  They’re related in some way.  You know you can’t talk about anyone around here, Virginia, because everyone is kin!

You know, I found that early!  When I came to the Eastern Shore I found out in a hurry you don’t talk about anybody because everybody was kin!

That’s where Carrie King lived for years [before she built her house].  Yeah, she lived there for years and years, Carrie King.  Now who built it, I don’t know.

Now which house is that?

Where Ham Hamilton lived on that corner.

Tazewell and Peach.  Then Carrie built the house up Randolph Ave that the Wendells now live in.  And I think she must have built that about 1945.  You know, in about 1958 we bought what was the Dr. Lynch house, the Dr. Moore house before that, we didn’t pay but $7,500 for that house.  And the Wendells bought Aunt Carrie’s house not long after that and I don’t think they paid but $20,000 for that and that was one of the prettiest houses in town.

Dr. Lewis Belote, the dentist, only paid $20,000 for the Moore house.  [Jack Moore house on Bay Avenue.]  And that came right from Elizabeth.  Because you know when Joan wanted to sell it, she wanted $100,000 and Elizabeth had a fit.  She said, “My Lord, my Daddy sold that to Lewis Belote for $20,000 and I think left the piano in there.”  [Bobby Rittenhouse has it.]

And that was thirty years ago, because I think Wade was about two years old when they moved into that house, because I kept him during that period of time.  He and Jake were buddies.  So that was about thirty years ago, they paid $20,000 for that house.  Isn’t that amazing!

Elizabeth said she just couldn’t get over it.  To think Daddy sold it for $20,000. [Read more...]

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Town Again Postpones Decision on County Sewage Rate

Assistant Town Manager Bob Panek has yet to convince Town Council to subsidize out-of-town sewage collection. (Wave photo)

Assistant Town Manager Bob Panek has yet to convince Town Council to subsidize out-of-town sewage collection. (Wave photo)

Cape Charles Wave

August 25, 2014

Despite Assistant Town Manager Bob Panek’s best efforts, Cape Charles Town Council once again has sidestepped any decision on how much to charge to accept sewage from out-of-town commercial properties on and near Route 13. Panek recommended providing the county with “updated cost estimates” to process sewage, but Town Council balked at their August 21 meeting, voting instead to hold a work session to further consider the matter.

The “update” would be to an earlier cost estimate that Panek provided the County Public Service Authority without authorization from Town Council. That was when Panek was also chairman of the PSA, a position he lost following complaints of conflict of interest. But he remains the town’s representative to the PSA.

Almost a year has passed since Town Council last wrestled with the question of how much to charge for sewage coming from the highway. Since then, one strong opponent of subsidizing out-of-town businesses – Mike Sullivan — has left the council. That leaves Frank Wendell as adamantly opposed, with Joan Natali and Chris Bannon on Panek’s side. Mayor George Proto and Councilman Steve Bennett also expressed reservations at last Thursday’s meeting, which prevented Panek from getting his wish.

Newly elected Councilman Sambo Brown said he believed the county simply wanted to know whether the town was willing to accept sewage, to which Panek responded “That’s right.” Panek did not explain to the new councilman that Town Council had already twice indicated a willingness to accept county sewage, first informally at a June 24, 2010, work session, and later, at Panek’s insistence, on August 9, 2012, with a formal motion. All council members approved that motion with the exception of Wendell. [Read more...]


Big Renovations at Cape Charles Christian School

Former Presbyterian Church sanctuary is

Former Presbyterian Church sanctuary will become a multi-use event space for everything from conferences to weddings.

Cape Charles Christian School

August 25, 2014

Cape Charles Christian School is beginning its sixth year with exciting physical, educational, and administrative changes. “If you have driven by the corner of Tazewell and Strawberry lately you have seen a lot of action taking place both inside and out,” said Gwen Coghill, CCCS Board member. From the outside additional parking sets the stage in the front of the school but the exciting part occurs when you open the doors of the sanctuary of the former Presbyterian Church of Cape Charles, built in 1925.

The renovation will bring new life to the former sanctuary while maintaining and respecting its historical bones. The space is being transformed into a multi-use event space that will serve as the school’s fellowship hall as well as host anything from wedding ceremonies to meetings and conferences. An exciting component to this project is the unveiling of the magnificent stained glass windows that have been shielded by a protective plexiglass for years. The school will launch a fundraising campaign this fall providing donors with a chance to dedicate a window in honor or memory of someone significant to them. “Take a drive by one evening and you too will witness this glorious site,” says CCCS Board Chair John Burdiss. [Read more...]

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WAYNE CREED: Give Sharks a Break!

In encounters with sharks, humans usually come out on top. (Sunshine Coast Daily photo)

In encounters with sharks, humans usually come out on top. (Sunshine Coast Daily photo)


August 25, 2014

Discovery Channel’s Shark Week 2014 ended the same as always, with the statement: “Sharks have more reason to fear us than we have to fear them.” Only 10 people died from shark attacks last year, yet on average, 73 million sharks are killed by people each year (that works out to more than 8000 sharks per hour).

Estimates from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) indicate that 90 percent of large sharks have been severely diminished (93-99 percent of all large sharks off the east coast of North America have been destroyed (tiger sharks, bull sharks, hammerhead sharks.) On the IUCN’s Red List of endangered species, 50 shark species are listed as being at high risk of extinction (either critically Endangered, Endangered, or Vulnerable) and 63 additional endangered shark species are approaching threatened status. Another 199 species of sharks are considered “data deficient”; they may be endangered, but there is insufficient data to determine their status.

When Europeans first came to the New World, they had no word for shark. Spaniards used the Carib Indians’ term “tiburon,” while English transformed the Mayan word “xoc” to shark. No matter which name was chosen, these animals were much larger and more numerous than what we currently see. According to NOAA shark biologist Jose Castro, who just released a paper on shark history, “Historical Knowledge of Sharks: Ancient Lore, Earliest Attacks.” He writes, “Imagine what it was like back in the 1500s. The number of sharks in those waters can only be imagined, but it must have been tremendous.”

These great predators have ruled the seas for 450 million years, and it is not until the viral spread of humans that they have become threatened. Industrial exploitation of sharks in North America began in 1917, with the incorporation of the Ocean Leather Co. Due to its ability to produce unusually high quality leather the company set out processing a thousand sharks a day. It only took a few decades before many shark populations reached overfished status.

Sharks are particularly sensitive to overfishing due to their tendency to take many years to mature and have relatively few young. Modern day industrial overfishing is mainly due to Hong Kong’s unsustainable appetite for shark fin soup, which sells for over $100 a bowl. Shark finning goes entirely against the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization’s International Plan for the Conservation and Management of Sharks; however, these are not legal requirements but recommendations which cannot be enforced. There are no national or international laws or treaties that exist to prohibit the sale of shark fins. Shark finning is the practice of catching a live shark, slicing off its fins with a hot knife blade and then dumping the still-living shark back in the ocean, where it drowns or bleeds to death. [Read more...]

A Trip to the New Chiropractor (Needles Included)

A little neck manipulation — and then come the needles.

Cape Charles Wave

August 18, 2014

It’s not every day that you find yourself shirtless in a room with a man who recently moved from the Dominican Republic. Now, don’t jump to conclusions! I was receiving acupuncture treatment from Dr. Greg Stern, Cape Charles’ newest acupuncturist and chiropractor.

I tensed as he pushed the third needle into the muscle of my right shoulder. About seven more needles were waiting to puncture my back, hands, shoulders, and ears. Surprisingly, it didn’t really hurt. According to Dr. Stern, acupuncture isn’t supposed to cause pain, but instead promote healing and well-being.

“Dr. Greg,” as he’s called, was treating my shoulder for an injury I received almost two years ago in a bicycling accident. I fell while riding downhill and dislocated my shoulder. I partially tore my rotator cuff and immobilized my arm. Eight months of physical therapy has almost fully restored my arm’s motion, but left my deltoid useless and without sensation. The deltoid is a very crucial muscle involved in arm movement. Dr. Greg chose to focus on my shoulder injury for my acupuncture and chiropractic treatment. [Read more...]

ORAL HISTORY: Parsons House Fire Was ‘Worth It’


Parsons House burned c. late 1970s. The five dormers were lost along with the Chippendale railing around the upper porch and the slate roof. The house is now the Chesapeake Bay View Bed & Breakfast.

August 18, 2014

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Cape Charles Historical Society has for more than a decade been recording oral histories of the area’s earlier days.  A grant from the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities enabled 15 interviews to be transcribed, and the Historical Society has made this one available for readers of the Wave.  All the transcriptions may be read at the Cape Charles Museum.CLICK to read previous oral histories in the Wave.)

1990 Interview of Virginia Fitzhugh conducted by Virginia Savage


VIRGINIA SAVAGE: Where was the Fitzhugh house?

VIRGINIA FITZHUGH:   Right there on the corner where Shrieves lives [southwest corner of Randolph and Peach].

The yellow house on the corner of Peach and Randolph.  And that’s where you started housekeeping.  Did Mr. Fitzhugh build that house?

No. That house was built by Dr. Kellam, the doctor that was in Cape Charles.  And Mr. Fitzhugh bought it from him.

Now the house next to that where the Johnsons lived now. And the next house was Harold Smith’s. 

That’s right.  That was a boarding house.

That was an old Federal type building there [torn down in the '80s].  Do you remember when the Mack buildings were built?

Yep.  They were built late.  I would say ’30s or ’40s.

Do you remember when Mr. Parsons built his house on the beach?  Mr. Russell Parsons . . . Miss Alice Parsons.  The one the second floor burned probably during the late ’70s.

I don’t know how old I was when that was built.

That was such a gorgeous house.  What a calamity that it burned.  [The five dormers were lost, the Chippendale railing around the upper porch and a wonderful slate roof.]

Listen,  it was worth it.  They got so much money back, because it had gone perfectly terrible and they didn’t have the money to fix it.  But how in the world they got so much insurance money — it’s like an almost entirely new house inside.  I tell you, Virginia, Miss Alice Parsons had property but I don’t think she had much cash.  Because she was a working woman.  She had all those apartments up over where Harold Smith had his hardware store.  And up there where the Eastern Star was.  [Parson building on Mason.]  See they had apartments up there.  They owned all these big houses at the end of Tazewell. [Read more...]

Arts Festival Is Essence of Economic Development

August 18, 2014


It is with much praise and gratitude that I express my sincere appreciation for the event “Harbor for the Arts” in Cape Charles August 1-17. As the second annual event, this arts festival deserves great acclaim. Not only has our cultural arts organization Arts Enter Cape Charles demonstrated expertise in grant and sponsorship funding, it has also proved to the world that our community has one of the premier cultural arts centers in the nation if not the world.

Performances and exhibitions took place over a two week period using venues that represented the best private and public assets of the Town of Cape Charles and her surrounding environs. Street performances, bands under pavilions on the park and at the beach, concerts and films in our beautifully restored historic theater, entertainers gathering audiences on the sidewalks, a multi-media dance production in a classic 150-year-old equestrian barn overlooking the seaside sounds and islands, and more — wherever one turned during these two weeks the cultural arts permeated our living space here in Cape Charles. How blessed this writer felt to be living and working in such an incredibly talented community!

Arts Enter Cape Charles deserves all of the support our community can possibly give — through attendance, financial gifts, sponsorships and volunteer participation. This dedicated group colors our community with excellence in the arts, offering instruction in the performing and visual arts as well as amazing performances that educate, entertain and thrill her audiences. This is the essence of economic development: establishing our community as a center of the arts and education, improving our reputation and attracting new growth and business to our region.

Thank you to Arts Enter Cape Charles for enriching our lives and lifting our souls!


Letters to the Editor are welcome, and a diversity of opinions is encouraged. Send submissions to [email protected].


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