By GEORGE SOUTHERN
Cape Charles Wave
November 26, 2012
Bay Creek once saved the Town of Cape Charles from financial ruin. Now the reinvigorated Town of Cape Charles is sucking the lifeblood out of Bay Creek. Is this town big enough for both of us (“both” being the Historic District, and Bay Creek)?
A little background: Twenty years ago, when the Town of Cape Charles was infamous for its crack houses, and the only growth industry was Section 8 subsidized housing, a savior appeared on the horizon – Brown & Root, Inc. Circa 1974, Brown & Root had purchased 980 acres known as Hollywood Farm — where racehorses once were trained — for use as a fabrication plant for offshore oil platforms. But then the 1973 oil embargo was supplanted by an oil glut, and nothing ever happened at Hollywood Farm.
Fast-forward 20 years to 1993: By then, Brown & Root had given up any thought of industrial use for Hollywood Farm. Instead, the property would become a planned unit development known as Accawmacke Plantation. Well-heeled residents of Accawmacke Plantation would demand two services that Northampton County could not provide: water/sewer and a local police force. But the struggling Town of Cape Charles could provide those services – if Accawmacke Plantation were incorporated into the Town.
Northampton County was loathe to lose control of the property to Cape Charles, and fought the annexation in the courts. But Brown & Root supplied the Town’s legal counsel, and the County never had a chance. [Read more…]
By GEORGE SOUTHERN
Cape Charles Wave
January 27, 2014
When I moved to the Town of Cape Charles four years ago, I didn’t realize that the majority of the Town would be off-limits to me. Sure, I knew that Bay Creek was a gated community, but I didn’t think I would be banned from riding my bicycle over there.
That’s because, as a college student in the 1970s, I worked construction one summer on Hilton Head Island, where Sea Pines Plantation looks like it must have been the prototype for Bay Creek. Cars entering Sea Pines had to have a pass, but bikers and pedestrians could waltz right through. That was before 9/11, of course – maybe things have changed now.
Nevertheless I was shocked to learn of the “unneighborliness” of Bay Creek. German guests at our vacation rental rode bikes over to the gate and naively said they just wanted to “look around.” They were turned away, of course, not knowing the magic words “Coach House Restaurant.” Even my new weekender neighbors, a doctor and his professional wife, also on bikes, were turned away. [Read more…]
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. [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…]