Anti-Western, Texas Plays Kick Off Theater Season

Christy Iverson, Mellisa Stein and Sherri DeMarino on a hot Texas porch in "Laundry & Bourbon." (Photo: Chris Roll)

Christy Iverson, Mellisa Stein and Sherri DeMarino on a hot Texas porch in “Laundry & Bourbon.”
(Photo: Chris Roll)


December 1, 2014

In the early 1960s, novelist Larry McMurtry studied writing as a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University. In that same class was Ken Kesey, Peter S. Beagle, Robert Stone, and Gordon Lish. While Kesey was taking his trip across America (with his band of Merry Pranksters) in a day-glo-painted school bus, McMurtry returned to Texas to begin creating the desolate, anti-western motif found in his novels. The adaptation of his novel Horseman, Pass By into the film Hud, directed by Martin Ritt and starring Patricia Neal, Paul Newman, and Melvyn Douglas, sealed his reputation. McMurtry’s anti-western motif reached its apex with Peter Bogdonovich’s adaptation of his novel The Last Picture Show, starring Timothy Bottoms, Jeff Bridges, and the debut of Cybil Shepherd (whom McMurtry described as a beautiful scoop of vanilla ice cream).

Last week, the Palace Theatre brought to the stage a giant swig of that same anti-western, north-Texas motif with the production of James McClure’s set of one act plays Lone Star and Laundry and Bourbon (together, also known as 1959 Pink Thunderbird). Laundry and Bourbon and Lone Star are set in the small, rural town of Maynard, Texas. Mclure’s scripts for both shows cling to McMurtry’s recurring themes of discontent, distorted memory, and the ultimate acceptance of your life, one way or another.

Laundry and Bourbon, deftly directed by Clelia Sheppard, takes place in the back yard of Elizabeth (played by Christy Iverson). Her AC is broken, and as it’s way too hot on her front porch, she retreats to the back where she does her very best to avoid a basketful of laundry that is ready for folding. She has a lot on her mind since her husband Roy, a restless Vietnam veteran, has been missing for two days, out somewhere in his beloved 1959 pink Thunderbird. Soon enough her closest friend Hattie (Mellisa Stein) arrives to shoot the breeze, as well as some bourbon, a refuge and respite from her three challenging children. [Read more...]

Out-of-Towners Win Both Prizes in ESSO Golf Cart Raffle

MAYER & MAYOR: Hank Mayer assists Mayer Proto in Thanksgiving Day golf cart raffle drawing.

MAYER & MAYOR: Hank Mayer assists Mayor Proto in Thanksgiving Day golf cart raffle drawing.

Eastern Shore Spay Organization

December 1, 2014

The winner of the Eastern Shore Spay Organization golf cart raffle is Steve McCready of Willis Wharf.  The 2nd place prize of a night at a participating Cape Charles B&B and a $50 gift certificate at Aqua Restaurant is Des Moore of George.  The drawing was held on the steps of the Cape Charles Civic Center on Thanksgiving morning, with Cape Charles Mayor George Proto drawing the winning tickets. Mayor Proto explained to those present at the drawing how ESSO provides funds and subsidies to pet owners for spay and neuter services for cats and dogs on the Eastern Shore to prevent over-population.

ESSO is a non-profit organization incorporated one year ago in November by four local residents, and is dedicated to the prevention of cruelty to animals. ESSO also provides: trap, neuter, release service for feral/community cats; safe, healthy maintenance of small adult feral colonies that have been left behind by others, and trapping of abandoned kittens and puppies. ESSO provides medical check-ups and transportation to the SPCA in Virginia Beach or Norfolk to be placed in permanent homes. [Read more...]

Mary Miller, David Handschur Closing Eastville Gallery

Mary Miller and David Handschur in their Eastville gallery. (Photo: Artisan Guild)

Mary Miller and David Handschur in their Eastville gallery. (Photo: Artisan Guild)


December 1, 2014 

After decades as nationally known designers, Mary Miller and David Handschur, artisans and owners of the Gallery At Eastville, are retiring. “It’s been wonderful running a business, and working as artists on the Shore,” said David. The pair are founding members of the Artisans Guild of the Eastern Shore, and frequent exhibitors at national venues like the Smithsonian. With their experience, they have been happy to mentor new Guild artisans. “We’ve helped with setting up businesses, finding reliable suppliers and markets, even showed how to photograph art work,” said Mary.

Renowned Shore Folk Artist MAMA Girl is one of their favorite stories. After buying one of Mary Onley’s first works at a street fair in Cape Charles, they helped her believe she had a bright future as a folk artist. “We just put a little wind in her sails, the rest is her story,” Mary says. [Read more...]

PSA Defies Board of Supervisors on Route 13 Sewerage

Cape Charles Wave

November 24, 2014

Northampton’s Public Service Authority voted November 18 to construct a wastewater collection system to run from the Cheriton area of Route 13 to the Cape Charles sewer plant, contingent on funding. The vote would appear to fly in the face of a September 23, 2013, decision by the county Board of Supervisors to table any further action on a sewer pipe to Cape Charles. Facing overwhelming public opposition at the time, then-Chairman Willie Randall said, “We heard you, we listened, there will be no action on this plan until we get a better understanding of what to do.”

Supervisors’ meetings over the past year reveal no “better understanding” today than before. In fact, a Supervisors meeting tonight (November 24) will discuss using the Bayview treatment plant instead of Cape Charles —  an option not under active consideration by the PSA.

On paper, the PSA is an independent body, with four members appointed by participating municipalities and five members appointed at large by the Board of Supervisors. But while the PSA can vote to do whatever it wants, it has no taxing authority. The Board of Supervisors allocated $130,000 for the PSA in last year’s budget, $58,000 of which has been spent for sewer pipe engineering studies by the firm of Hurt and Profitt. But no money was allocated to the PSA for the current budget year.

PSA Chairman John Reiter (At Large) said that although the PSA is not yet ready to construct the sewer pipe, he requested authorization “to execute the contract at such time as the BOS approves the special tax district and mandatory connections and wants us to go forward.” J.T. Holland (At Large), Bob Panek (Cape Charles),  and Felton Sessoms (Nassawadox) joined Reiter in approving the motion.  Taylor Dukes (Exmore) and Greg Hardesty (Cheriton) voted against it.

Following the vote, Dukes said, “What I feel from the public is, they’re not for it.” He said he could not see supporting something the public is vocally against. Hardesty reported that business owners in Cheriton are not only opposed to the project, “they are vehemently opposed to it.” [Read more...]


LETTER: Don’t Call Me a Come-Here, Mr. Supervisor!

November 24, 2014


In regard to the Northampton County Board of Supervisors’ unilateral plan to change the current zoning ordinance to resemble an Ocean City or Virginia Beach model of development, it raises my ire when Supervisors such as Larry Trala dismiss those of us seeking more of a voice in this process as “come-heres.” This conjurs up the “pot and the kettle” scenario considering we have been told Larry may have roots in Detroit.

I take this dismissal personally, and must respond to several issues regarding various statements made by the Supervisors who are promoting the rezoning campaign. In response to the “come-here” remark, I have two comments. First, those who have discovered Northampton County and have decided to move here and invest much of their life’s savings in this great county do so because they have fallen in love with what we have to offer. Their tax dollars support our schools, our roads, our businesses, our support services, and our cultural resources. Rather than branding them something less than what they are as “come-heres,” we should open our arms and realize that they are here because they are “wanna-be-heres” as Art Schwarzschild recently stated at a public forum on the rezoning debate, and have fallen in love with the county for what it isn’t (Ocean City or Virginia Beach) — a scenario that is being threatened by this closed-door scheme.

As for this “come here,” I don’t think so. In fact, my father’s family, the Schoolfields, came to the Eastern Shore with the contingents that accompanied Lord Baltimore in the 1600s. My maternal great-grandfather, G. Russel Smith, was a horse-and-buggy doctor in Cheriton in the 19th century. His daughter, my grandmother, and her husband, Gansevoort Hurlbut, bought the majestic Wellington estate on the Nassawadox in the 1930s and later purchased the smaller Refuge estate, now the home of the county attorney (one of the prime movers of the “let anyone do anything they want on their property” zoning revision). My grandmother also worked at the Northampton-Accomack Memorial Hospital and helped raise the funds necessary to build that facility. I was born in that hospital 60 years ago (wow, where does the time go?) and spent many years and indeed every summer of my life on the Nassawadox Creek with my children. And as for my “come-here” husband, Ken, he is a “brought-here” — by me — and his involvement in the zoning debate is partly because I asked him to do so because I owe it to my heritage to protect this county from impending assault, and partly because we both want to protect our many investments in Northampton County and the Town of Exmore. [Read more...]


LETTER: Citizens Should Oppose Rezoning NOW

November 24, 2014


Several of our key Northampton elected and salaried officials apparently have taken zoning matters into their own hands thus necessitating the Shore citizens groups’ volunteer forum November 6 to bring us up to speed — in a cordial, impressively professional manner — on the complexities of the disturbing scenario. We owe CBES [Citizens for a Better Eastern Shore] and Shorekeeper our gratitude and respect.

Four centuries ago the original Shore inhabitants were blindsided with the arrival of Europeans who in short order — a generation or so — transformed forever their heritage and way of life by relocating them (displacement) to a reservation, the 52 acre fragment of which remains today as Indiantown Park, Eastville seaside. No matter that the natives were friendly and peaceful, used coastal waterways as their highways, and were not prone to fouling their own nests as they moved back and forth seasonally from their small scattered settlements.

Equally soon by early spring of 1651-1652 the invasive settlers found cause to protest excessive taxation in the first such demonstration in American history. So, you see, dramatic earth shaking and shaping events can happen very quickly. We may be on a similar precipice.

Thus far our elected officials — save one — propose opening Pandora’s box for unbridled development on our rural lower peninsula, not only with the potential for a bar in Franktown as our hospital closes down, but also more seriously with unannounced nasty wastes and dangerous biomass uses. Their unleashed rezoning ignores state code requiring a (formerly carefully crafted) Comprehensive Plan as its foundation, the format of which was defined by Northampton citizen input over an extended period. Thankfully our Comp Plan, aka the backbone approved by state code, remains a flexible document in that it can be adjusted or amended when necessary. Critics of rezoning often have cited this key advantage. So if it ain’t broke, why fix it? [Read more...]

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‘Festive Fridays’ Deliver Old Fashioned Holiday Feel

Cape Charles Wave

November 21, 2014

Cue the song by Little River Band “Reminiscing.” The song is playing on a Friday night, just as a guy is walking his girl home, a frequent happening in small towns like our own Cape Charles.

If only there were more events to walk your girl or guy home from in Cape Charles!

“Well, I want to tell you, Cape Charles, I want to plan my schedule around you. Tell you that it’s true. I want to make you understand. I’m talking about a holiday plan!”

Calling all Cape Charles residents! You too can walk through the park reminiscing — after “Festive Fridays” that is.

“Festive Fridays” will take place on six consecutive Friday evenings beginning November 21 through December 26. This is your chance to enjoy an old-fashioned, small-town holiday experience, including shopping, delicious food and drink, entertainment, seasonal decorations, and plenty of good cheer.

Each Friday from 5-8 p.m. enjoy events like horse-drawn carriage rides, special deals at restaurants, refreshments, and special promotions at local merchants. Get into the holiday spirit by following the luminaries lighting the sidewalks of Cape Charles while enjoying holiday caroling and appearances by Santa and Mrs. Claus. Even the “Love” sign will be front and center in town and decorated for the season. Don’t miss your chance to make new memories in Cape Charles that you’ll reminisce about for years to come.

More Rezoning Opposition at Supervisors Meeting

"NO REZONING" signs are popping up like mushrooms around Northampton County. (Wave photo)

NO REZONING signs are popping up like mushrooms around Northampton County. (Wave photo)

Cape Charles Wave

November 17, 2014

Northampton County residents again turned out for a Board of Supervisors meeting Wednesday, November 12, to raise concerns about proposed zoning ordinance changes that have been the center of controversy since they were presented to the public last spring. All but one of the dozen speakers requested the withdrawal of the rezoning proposals. Only local Realtor Bill Parr, who as chairman of the Comprehensive Plan Advisory Committee helped to influence the proposed changes, spoke in favor of going forward with the zoning code rewrite. [Read more...]


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