LETTER
Chief Pruitt Urges Citizens to ‘Thank a Policeman’

May 18, 2015

DEAR EDITOR,

Today in the United States, approximately 900,000 law enforcement officers put their lives on the line for the safety  and protection of others. With great success, they serve with valor and distinction.

Federal statistics show that violent crime and property crime rates in the United States are at historic lows, thanks to the dedicated service of the men and women in law enforcement. The national Law Enforcement Memorial is ever-changing as new names are added to the memorial every year due to the selfless sacrifice of the men and women that serve our communities.

In 2014, 127 police officers were killed in the line of duty, leaving 159 children without a parent — and as of today 44 officers have fallen in 2015. These numbers are tragic on their own, not to mention the void that will never be filled.

In what other occupation is one expected to make correct, split-second, serious, and possibly life-and-death decisions while navigating complicated laws and procedures, in addition to having to lay his or her life on the line for total strangers?

The men and women of law enforcement are content in doing a difficult job, one most people in the world could not or would not do, and they do it well. It truly takes an extraordinary person to be a police officer. [Read more…]

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WAYNE CREED
Blue Crabs, Menhaden Showing Resurgence in Bay

By WAYNE CREED
Cape Charles Wave Columnist

May 18, 2015

This summer, my daughter Rachel will be spending her summer break from college working at the Cherrystone Campground Bait and Tackle shop. The job duties include monitoring the weather, marking the tides on the chalk board, recommending bait and tackle for the campers, and of course, running down the rules and size limitations when it comes to summer flounder and blue crabs.

For crabs, she is trained to remind the folks to always throw back sooks carrying a sponge, and that jimmys must be 5 inches point to point. You can use tape a measure, or just the railing at the end of the pier, which is 5 inches.

This season, the pier at Cherrystone may have a bit more blue crab action, as results of the winter dredge survey showed modest improvement in the Bay’s blue crab fishery. According to results released by Maryland DNR, “juvenile crabs increased 35 percent from 2014, and more than doubled from the record low in 2013. The 2015 juvenile abundance of 269 million crabs is just above the 26 year average of 261 million. The total abundance of crabs — which include juveniles, and adult males and females – was approximately 411 million.”

Going back to the results of the last few years, including the disastrous drop in populations recorded in 2013, the latest results show just how volatile the blue crab population is, and how vulnerable it can be to factors such as weather patterns (colder winters), changes in coastal currents, and of course fluctuations in levels of natural predators such as rockfish and red drum.

This year, the report estimates that 19% of the crabs died due to the severe winter temperatures. Given this amount of environmental variability, the task of managing this fishery is still a daunting one. According to Tom Miller of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science Chesapeake Biological Laboratory, “Managers acted to ensure the crab stock is no longer depleted as it was last year, and if we maintain exploitation rates close to the target the crab population will continue to increase over the long term.” [Read more…]

GUEST EDITORIAL: Prisons vs. Prosperity

May 11, 2015

We understand that two Northampton Supervisors recently lamented in a public meeting the county’s decision back in the mid-1990s not to allow a state prison to be built here. What’s happened to the counties which were included in the state’s prison building boom over the last 30 years? Did the promises of jobs, economic development and state-provided benefits meet expectations? Not so much.

And not for many rural counties. Localities were looking at prisons as economic engines back then, and Northampton County’s refusal to take the bait in 1993 was considered Wise County’s windfall. By the middle of the decade Wise county had not one, but two so-called “Super Max” prisons. Greensville, Buchanan and Mecklenberg Counties, all rural, had one state prison each, and the correctional system was often the largest employer in the county.

Then the prison population started to fall off – court imposed sentences became shorter, the crime rate fell and in the midst of lawsuits against the Commonwealth for unacceptable treatment of inmates, other states took back their farmed-out prisoners.

Former Governor McDonnell closed the Mecklenburg prison, nearly bankrupting the town of Boydton. The town relied heavily on the prison’s sewage payments to support their town budget, and was left with a $1.4 million debt for sewer lines to the prison. One of the Wise County prisons was downgraded, causing layoffs and long-term unemployment. The state prison in Pittsylvania County closed less than 10 years after it was built, and a brand new facility in Grayson County has never opened. [Read more…]

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In Defense of Meat and Other Animal Products

By KAREN GAY
Wave Columnist

May 4, 2015

This continalttableues my previous article about the Weston A. Price Foundation’s dietary principles.  I’ll discuss the Foundation’s belief that health is best found in a diet of unprocessed, traditional foods containing some sort of animal product, be it fish, shellfish, fowl, sea mammals, eggs, milk and milk products, or even reptiles or insects. There has been some discussion in the Wave regarding the virtues of a vegetarian diet, and I’d like to provide a gentle rebuttal to those points of view.

Weston A. Price was a dentist born in 1870 who noticed that most people who had serious dental problems also had degenerative health issues. Over the course of 10 years he travelled to study isolated indigenous societies to determine the factors responsible for good dental health. Dr. Price visited tribes in Alaska, Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Peru, and even sequestered villages in Switzerland. After analyzing the foods used by these societies he saw that in comparison to the American diet of the 1930s, they provided at least four times the water soluble vitamins, calcium, and other minerals, and at least 10 times the fat-soluble vitamins — from animal foods such as butter, fish, eggs, shellfish, organ meats, and animal fats.

In his travels he had been hoping to find a society which demonstrated good health solely from fruits and vegetables, but he was disappointed. In his book, Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, he concluded ”As yet, I have not found a single group of primitive racial stock which was building and maintaining excellent bodies by living entirely on plant foods. I have found in many parts of the world most devout representatives of modern ethical systems advocating restriction of foods to the vegetable products. In every instance where the groups involved had been long under this teaching, I found evidence of degeneration in the form of abnormal dental arches to an extent very much higher than in the primitive groups who were not under this influence.”

What about the cruelty issue?

My neighbor, Wayne Creed, spoke eloquently in the Wave of the confined animal feeding operations that produce most of our meat available in traditional grocery stores. I support Wayne in urging people to boycott meat from animals that have not been treated humanely. However, everyone’s definition of what is humane is different. I believe that meat animals should be grown in the natural environment in which they thrive and in populations that do not overwhelm the natural resources of the land. So, to me, this means that cattle are raised in pastures with plenty of fresh green grass, hay, and shelter in the winter. Chickens should be outdoors in the sun pecking for insects, and hogs should free range under the shade of trees where they can dig for tubers and insects. [Read more…]

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SHORE THING: Eastville Inn Fails Again

Eastville Inn’s bumpy ride in recent years reflects the difficulty of making a living from running a restaurant on the Eastern Shore.

By GEORGE SOUTHERN
Wave Columnist

April 27, 2015

A little shy of two years ago, Eastville resident and Wave student journalist Sarah Gollibart wrote an article entitled “Eastville Inn Rises Again.” It went on to become one of the Wave’s most-read stories of the year, so I know that a lot of folks are interested in the Eastville Inn.

But after the Inn shut down again on March 24, I started wondering, just what does it take to run a successful restaurant on the lower Eastern Shore? If the Eastville Inn can’t make it, who can – and how?

The Eastville Inn is a good case study because on paper at least it has so much going for it. Start with a historic building (c.1724) in a quaint town. Add proximity to the courthouse and county seat government center. Top it off with a talented chef/owner (Brent Schmidt) who bent over backward to make his venture special and inviting.

So what went wrong? The quick response might be that Chef Schmidt’s nouvelle cuisine wasn’t the local clientele’s cup of tea – either in taste (light), portion (small), or price (high).

But wait a minute – those were some of the same causes attributed to the Eastville Inn’s failure two iterations earlier.  Following that shutdown, a local team converted the Inn’s format to kind of an upscale Exmore Diner. But that didn’t work either – the former clientele didn’t like it, and the hoped-for new customers stayed at Yuk’s.

So I’m thinking that the Eastville Inn’s woes are not of its own doing but rather reflective of the whole lower Shore. This is a tough market! Follow me up Route 13 and see what I mean. [Read more…]

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LETTER: Chicken Houses Will Lower Property Values

April 27, 2015

EDITOR’S NOTE: Professor Art Schwarzschild submitted the following letter April 20 to the Northampton County Board of Supervisors, asking that it be made public record.

Dear Members of the Northampton County Board of Supervisors, Planning  Commission, and County Staff,

I would like to start this letter with an apology for the tone of my  last letter which questioned the motivations behind what I saw as the  mysterious insertion of the new zoning use, “Event Venue,” into the  revised draft zoning proposal.  That being said, I believe it is important for you to understand that  the back room procedure being used to write and repeatedly tweak the  proposed zoning changes with little to no public involvement or explanation has led many Northampton County residents to question the  motivations behind the proposed changes.

Once again, I would remind you of the comparison between the procedure used to create our current zoning code and this ongoing and confusing  process.  During the previous process the public was invited and  encouraged to attend zoning work sessions in order to help craft a new  comprehensive plan and zoning ordinance.  These public work sessions  were run by the County Planning Director and Planning Staff with  additional support from paid consultants.

Members of the PC and BOS were  in attendance at each of these meetings to witness public input.  Scientific data, Economic Reports and Case Studies were presented and used as guides to ask citizens what they wanted to see in Northampton  County and to help provide a realistic road map for us to achieve these  outcomes.

In stark contrast, I have seen no data, surveys, or case studies used to support the multitude of zoning changes being  proposed.   What’s even worse, these changes have often been presented  in a confusing and misleading manner. [Read more…]

LETTER: Lost Foreign Trade Zone Status Is Tragedy

April 27, 2015

DEAR EDITOR,

On October 23, 2012, you published my commentary, Expert Warns Eastern Shore: Special Trade Zone Status Slipping Away. Now it has happened.

As Virginia political leaders decide whether President Obama deserves fast approval powers for two massive trade agreements, the entire Eastern Shore has lost a valuable global trade incentive overlaying properties at Wallops Island (Site 14), Accomack Airport (Site 15), and in Cape Charles (Site 18).

I warned your community this might happen back in 2012. Your specially designated U.S. Foreign-Trade Zone sites are gone. However, the State of Virginia continues to promote to investors and traders an incentive that no longer exists. A Northampton County economic development staffer continues to mislead inquirers that it’s simple to regain designation. It’s not. Your congressional delegation and local elected officials repeat the same misleading information. [Read more…]

WAYNE CREED Dishes it out to Town Council (Again)

By WAYNE CREED
Wave Columnist

April 20, 2015

On this day, April 16, 2015, the Cape Charles Town Council met for its Regular Meeting, and Mayor George Proto announced it to be National Proclamation Day. Town Council then proceeded to the business of approving several new proclamations, including National Safe Boating Week Proclamation, National Police Week Proclamation, Building Safety Month Proclamation, National Public Works Week Proclamation and Municipal Clerks Week Proclamation. After each proclamation was approved, Mayor Proto read every word, every line in its entirety. If the CIA ever finds that they need a new, cutting edge torture procedure to use on terrorists, Proto may have just come across it for them. Half-way through proclamation recitations, even the most hardened individual would divulge any information just to make it stop.

This meeting was the first time new Town Manager Brent Manuel was in attendance proper; however it was Assistant Town Manager Bob Panek that did all the talking. During his report on the Cape Charles Community Trail, Panek seemed firm on following the precedent he set on previous adventures such as the overpriced and underperforming, yet exquisitely malodorous wastewater system, using a finely honed skillset of naiveté and hubris to once again drag hapless Cape Charles down the rabbit hole of benightedness.

During his report to Council, Panek informed them that the $95,000 engineering study was a teeny bit off. That is, after receiving actual bids on the work, the cost would be $350,000 more than was stated in the engineering study. There is no grant money available to make up the difference, so in typical Cape Charles fashion, the plan is to cut corners by sacrificing citizen safety. Just as the town was too cheap to place warning signs at the beach, and the lack of those signs led to the tragic drowning of a child last summer, they now plan to just use half the amount of lights to illuminate the trail at night. Of course, once someone gets raped or murdered, and the publicity might begin to affect the amount of cash being stuffed into the tourist tills, the Town will then add the additional lighting.

On the bright side, Chief Pruitt did display his new chest video camera, so I guess we can all sleep well knowing that bit of technology is now in place.

As a note, the firm that produced the engineering study for the trail (handpicked by Panek and Co.) is the same one the town used to design our magnificent series of Finger Lakes (Lake Cape Charles) that surround Central Park. A question still lurking: while the Mayor was handing out all these proclamations, where’s the one for National Ineptitude Day or National Lack of Due Diligence Day? [Read more…]

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