CAPE CHARLES WAVE
June 29, 2015
In last Monday’s edition (which broke all readership records – over 7,000 page views in one day) the Wave had the sad task of leading the page with news of another drowning off Cape Charles Beach – a tragic death that competent town leadership could have avoided.
Anyone could have seen that drowning coming, and of course many did. The former “safe” beach has become a death trap now that newly pumped spoil has brought the beach close to the once-distant Cherrystone channel and its sudden drop-off and swift tidal currents.
Three months ago the Wave drew attention to the town’s failure to acknowledge the dangerous beach when we wrote: “A ‘special edition’ of the Cape Charles Gazette purports to tell everything you ever wanted to know about the harbor dredging/beach improvement. We learn what color the sand will turn, and whether it’s safe to walk on the beach. What isn’t mentioned is whether it’s safe to go in the water — specifically, are there dangerous drop-offs now that the beach extends so close to the channel? The town isn’t telling. (April 1, 2015)”
That same Gazette mentions that the town annually budgets $20,000 for beach sand replacement, but with the free spoil, that cost will now be saved. Yet last Saturday’s Eastern Shore News quotes town officials as saying that hiring lifeguards would be too expensive and too complicated.
That same news story quotes officials as saying that a safety line and rope floats have been ordered and should arrive “any day.” But the float line will not be installed until approval comes from the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.
That sounds very much like the recreation director’s report submitted to Cape Charles Town Council back in May, which stated: “The paperwork is almost complete to submit to DGIF. Once they review and approve, we can start on placing the swim area.”
Mr. Mayor, take a lesson from Rudy Giuliani following 9/11: be a leader. Order that float line to be installed immediately and get the DGIF approval retroactively. If you can’t provide a safe swimming area before July 4, then resign. The buck stops with you.
And speaking of resigning, we now announce that our three-year effort to produce a real newspaper for the Town of Cape Charles is ending. As the saying goes, the great thing about banging your head against the wall is that it feels so good when you stop. [Read more…]
By WAYNE CREED
Cape Charles Wave Columnist
June 22, 2015
As Cape Charles is once again menaced by the threat of International Communism, inflammatory statements (aka the Truth), as well as the Virginia Department of Transportation, town citizens that value freedom as a state much prized within the realm of civilized society, the very stuff and pith of all we hold most dear to our hearts, have taken to the streets to protest the bloody implementation of reverse angle parking — an offense which, many feel, has been unfairly inflicted upon the earthy, owl eyed harbingers of truth, must meet its reckoning, and not a moment too soon.
For the record, the process to achieve higher density parking in Cape Charles began a year ago. The discussions began before the sale of the Be-Lo property, and the loss of overflow parking there. Even though this is a “Town Issue,” nothing happens on that street without the Virginia Department of Transportation. After several public Planning Commission meetings, VDOT’s consensus was that if there was going to be angle parking, it was going to be of the reverse angle variety. The Planning Commission’s recommendation was completely consistent with the VDOT edict. Even though there was ample opportunity for citizens to comment, none, including prominent citizen Schulz, was there to take issue and voice their views. It was later determined that the citizenry could not attend said meetings due to laborious and time consuming efforts aimed at addressing the aggravated lack of Pol le Veq, Porceileu, Savoy Aire, Sampolan, Carrier de lest, and Bres Bleu cheeses at the local Food Lion.
Faced with prime, blue ribbon apathy, and no citizen input, as well as chunks of modern (from this century) theory and research seeming to promote reverse angle parking as the hottest new chick at the dance, the Town rightly or wrongly, boldly and audaciously accepted the opinion of persons with some qualifications, and acquiesced to VDOT’s yen to paint reverse angle spaces on Mason Avenue. [Read more…]
June 22, 2015
(EDITOR’S NOTE: The letter below was sent June 18 to the Northampton County Board of Supervisors from Karen Davis, President of United Poultry Concerns, who has requested it be published in the Wave.)
TO NORTHAMPTON COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS
As a resident of Northampton County since 1998, I respectfully join those who object to a rezoning ordinance that would allow commercial chicken facilities into the county. I understand Tyson and Perdue have proposed building 50 chicken houses in Northampton County as soon as possible. I urge you to reject their proposals. The chicken industry is a major source of environmental degradation on the Eastern Shore. Drive through Accomack County and you can smell the oppressive odor of the chicken industry. Drive through Accomack County and you see the sick and suffering chickens going up and down Route 13 and on the back roads. Is that what we want in Northampton County? I stand with those who say No.
Twenty years ago the Washington Post reported that the Delmarva Peninsula produced a million tons of chicken manure a year, enough to fill a football stadium. Now it is even worse. Do we want to turn Northampton County into a dumpsite for manure piles, rodents, flies, air pollution, and other unwholesome consequences for county residents to cope with? If we care about the people who live here, and the land we occupy, the answer is No.
Regarding the manure storage facilities and poultry litter incinerators, a report by Food & Water Watch, Poultry Litter Incineration: An Unsustainable Solution, says the incinerators produce toxic air emissions and will likely be subsidized by taxpayers. Toxic air emissions cited in the report include carbon monoxide, CO2, nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, sulfuric acid, hydrochloric acid, volatile organic compounds, dioxin, particulate matter and the arsenic compound nitarsone. Do we want all this fecal pollution and pharmaceutical residue in a county whose residents, including children, already suffer from high levels of chronic respiratory infection? [Read more…]
June 15, 2015
The June 9 meeting of the Northampton County Board of Supervisors was rather lively. As this would be the last time that residents could address the BOS before staff sends the rezoning scheme out for public comment, many speakers took to the podium to relay their opposition to the widespread plan to industrialize our farmland, among other changes. Those commenting included three former planning commissioners, a marine scientist, two heads of local civic organizations, and other landowners who feared their investments in this county were being jeopardized.
Nearly all of the speakers questioned the Board’s motives for changing the land use rules which currently protect property rights and our limited natural resources (the aquifer and clean coastal waters), all without our consent. Near the end of the citizen comment period, I addressed the Board with what I thought might be in part driving the changes, and I appreciate this opportunity to more fully flesh out my presentation.
Shortly after buying our building next to the Post Office in Exmore in 2008, during a meeting of a local citizens group we became aware of a project called the Exmore Energy Project. The plan was announced at that meeting by a representative of the Bay Coast Railroad. The proposal was called a “Bio Diesel plant” and would manufacture a diesel additive by refining waste oil from the Norfolk Oil Transport Company. The waste product would be railed to the site (next to our shop and in the middle of town), mixed with methanol and other additives, heated, filtered, and stored.
As I had experience with these oil refineries while working for county government in our rural upstate New York county, I quickly concluded that the project was not a good fit for the middle of a business district. Working with other citizens in the town and Virginia DEQ [Department of Environmental Quality], we encouraged Bay Coast and the Norfolk concern to abandon their plans. [Read more…]
Thank you for publishing Wayne Creed’s thoughtful and informative article, including the shout out for International Respect for Chickens Day May 4 and every day. For many people who want to be vegan, including me 30 years ago, cheese is the biggest hurdle. One day I sat in my car in front of my favorite Italian restaurant in College Park, Maryland, crying because I could no longer have pizza with extra (or any!) cheese. I had a good cry in the driver’s seat. Then I dried my eyes, went inside, ordered rigatoni with mushrooms, and never looked back.
I wish that in childhood I had made the connection between eating and animals, but I didn’t. Growing up in a Pennsylvania town where schools were (and still are) closed on the first day of hunting season, where ring-necked pheasants are pen-raised to be released into the woods to be wounded and shot for pleasure, I hated those things, yet I didn’t connect animals and dinner. I don’t hold myself responsible for what I failed to realize growing up, although I regret it, but once my eyes were open, I was responsible.
To this day I consider my decision to respect animals by not eating them to be the single best decision I ever made. For me, being vegan is the opposite of renunciation. It is a totally positive, deeply satisfying diet and dietary decision that has influenced my attitude and behavior in other areas including household and personal care products and in trying to act consciously instead of just conveniently.
If I have any advice for people who want their food to be animal-free, it is to stay firm in your commitment, be happy about it, eat well, and don’t apologize. I invite everyone getting started to sign up for the daily recipes and gorgeous photos featured on One Green Planet. Remember the animals whose lives you are no longer ruining just for a meal. For me, this is the most powerful incentive.
KAREN DAVIS, Ph.D.
President, United Poultry Concerns
By WAYNE CREED
Cape Charles Wave Columnist
June 15, 2015
As Northampton County continues to grapple with the ramifications of the proposed zoning changes, still lurking in the shadows is the subtle opening of the door for the poultry industry, including CAFOs (Confined Animal Feeding Operations), as well as chicken litter waste incinerators. Having less available expansion options left on the northern Delmarva, the industry finally hopes to gain a foothold in Northampton County.
While the special, and even conflicted, interests continued to gather in the back rooms of Northampton to plot their next moves in efforts to make the county “more profitable” through proposed zoning changes, it was reported in the New York Times by Stephanie Strom that the deadly avian flu had struck some of the largest egg operations in the Midwest where millions of chickens will have to be euthanized.
The Center Fresh Group, a top U.S. egg producer must kill (using carbon dioxide or foam) and dispose of about 5.5 million laying hens housed in 26 metal barns on their property. For the last month, the daily ritual of the Agriculture Department has become to report how many more hens must be destroyed. On extreme days, the number can be several million. In Iowa, where a good bit of all eggs originate (including liquid egg products), nearly 40% of the egg laying hens have been affected by the flu.
This is creating a monstrous disposal problem, as carcasses have filled barns; poultry farmers have been pleading for state and federal assistance to deal the disposal effort, as “workers in masks and hazmat gear attempt to clear the barns.” Part of the issue is the way the battery hens are crammed in, with the battery cages stacked on top of each other, usually filling almost every square inch, top to bottom, of the barns. [Read more…]
June 15, 2015
I am writing on behalf of the Board of Directors of the Eastern Shore Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber of Commerce has served businesses on the Eastern Shore for 62 years. Representing more than 450 businesses, our mission is to “serve, promote and connect businesses and communities of the Eastern Shore of Virginia.”
The Board of Directors would like to commend the Northampton County Board of Supervisors for the Resolution they adopted at their meeting on May 12, 2015. We wholeheartedly agree that education should be viewed as the cornerstone for the county’s economic future. We encourage the Board of Supervisors to remain focused on education and to keep all the educational declarations listed below in the forefront of their decision making.
RESOLUTION DECLARING EDUCATION AS THE CORNERSTONE FOR NORTHAMPTON COUNTY’S ECONOMIC FUTURE
WHEREAS, it is well established and recognized that the future of our local, regional and even global society hinges on an engaged, informed, and educated youth; and
WHEREAS, it is also recognized that a well-educated and inspired student body is the engine that drives, and will continue to drive our local and regional economy; and
WHEREAS, Northampton County is fortunate to enjoy world-class teachers who have dedicated themselves to ensuring that their students are equipped and prepared to become productive and beneficial members of society in business, academic and leadership roles; and [Read more…]
June 8, 2015
About a decade ago, family members relocated from our rural area in upstate New York to Northampton County, which they call “the lower Eastern Shore.” Retirement age, they were seeking a more serene way of life, and subsequently invested nearly $750,000 in property there, convinced that the rural and scenic county would meet and exceed their every need. My husband and I, also creeping up on the age where we might want to enjoy living in a milder climate, first visited their new home in 2006. A weekend stay then cocked our heads a bit, and we put a checkmark in the box next to “potential” prospects on our small but growing list.
Our next stay, the following summer, lasted nearly a week. During that time we dug a little deeper into what the county and incorporated towns offered, with a keen eye on whether or not the “lower Shore” would remain a contender. Within several years, our visits expanded to include more lengthy stays, burning up our vacation time between Northampton County and the Outer Banks, another possible retirement site.
The area where we live has seen its share of environmental incursions, from waste incinerators, coal burning plants, hard rock mines, oil pipelines, and construction and demolition landfills proposed for residential areas. Therefore, when looking for property that would be protected from these body blows, we looked very carefully at zoning ordinances and comprehensive plans in prospective retirement candidates, as those blueprints reflect the vision that the majority of residents hold for the future of their local and regional setting. [Read more…]