COMMENTARY
Drowning Does Not Merit Bickering and Finger-Pointing

By BENJAMIN LEWIS

September 29, 2014

Upon reading Wayne Creed’s well written article in the Wave September 22 (CLICK), I couldn’t help but feel a certain sense of sadness and disappointment all at once. As the son of a Cape Charles native and grandson of a former Cape Charles town manager, mayor, and business leader, I feel a special connection to Cape Charles. From its perfectly aligned and tree-shaded streets to its small-town America vibe, Cape Charles has a unique panache that cannot be duplicated.

However, not unlike many boom towns across this great country of ours, Cape Charles has not been without its troubles. From its earliest days, this southernmost enclave on the Eastern Shore has seen fortunes come and go with the tides that frequent its shores. Starting with the railroad that placed Cape Charles on the map, to the Bay Creek development that practically saved its future and then almost lost it again, the town knows a thing or two about recovery.

This summer has been a particularly trying season for the area. Starting with the disastrous and deadly tornado that ripped through Cherrystone, it was quickly followed by the tragic drowning death of Uvihin “Ace” Horton at the public town beach. In the days and weeks following Horton’s death, the people of this town have quietly begun the process of introspectively digesting what happened and how it possibly could have been prevented. The death of anyone by drowning, much less a child on vacation, is a horrific tragedy. It further highlights the risk we all take when enjoying the prolific expanses of nature that surround our peninsula.

In Mr. Creed’s article, he rightly questioned why the town has not installed some type of safety measures beyond a sign that is posted on the dunes nearest the Gazebo. Life guards, more safety signs, a daily posting of high and low tides, and floats attached to rope indicating the outer limits of safe swimming are all good starts. However, beyond these suggestions is where I draw the line in agreeing with Mr. Creed’s assessment of the town’s handling of the drowning, their attitude towards safety, and the overall climate of the town’s current state of affairs. [Read more...]

8 Comments

The War Years (Part 4): Women Proved Their Mettle

By ANDY ZAHN

September 29, 2014

PART 4

On the home front many men were gone into the military. There was a need for people to enter the work force and do the jobs that the men left behind. Who else but the women to fill these slots and to work in factories making such things as jeeps, trucks, B-17 bombers, rifles and so many other products?

With many husbands now earning “21 dollars a day, once a month” as GIs, where they used to bring home $35 a week, there was a need for extra income. The women were magnificent!  The plants building war items flew on their flag poles a letter “E” for efficiency awarded by the government. Even far more important the women were forced to manage the household budget, pay the bills, taxes, mortgages, or rents and raise their children by themselves long before “single moms” existed. Some men owned businesses and it fell on the wives to take over the business and put in the hours that required so when the war ended the business was still there.

Andy Kless had a little dining car on Springfield Avenue, and when he was in the Navy, Mrs. Kless took over, cooking, washing dishes, etc. Andy was a friend of mine and when he returned home the business was in good shape. Andy got a GI loan, removed the old dining car, and put in a beautiful shiny new diner. He later bought two more new diners in Irvington, but when the town went to ruin the one diner was moved to Beachwood where it now stands. Adele Joa in Pine Beach, NJ, took over Mack’s Tavern on Highway 9 in Bayville while her husband was in service.

Another side of this was that the mothers and wives were not hardened by the horrors of being on a battlefield, and provided a nurturing, warm, loving environment for the children and the returning veterans. Civilized nations did not send their women off to war. During and after the war we had women in service; my wife was in the USAF, but we didn’t put then in harm’s way. In the Korean “Conflict” we were capturing and holding as POWs women from the Chinese Army. We were horrified that women would be sent into combat! Now we are doing the exact same thing. Even worse, we have fathers and mothers both in service and both being deployed with grandparents watching the kids. There is talk of reinstituting the draft and now a possibility of drafting girls. Like they say, “we’ve come a long way baby,” and I for one don’t like it at all. [Read more...]

2 Comments

Andy Zahn Remembers the War Years (Part 3)

Admiral Nimitz's stripes went almost up to his elbows.

Admiral Nimitz’s stripes went up to his elbows.

By ANDY ZAHN

September 22, 2014

PART THREE

At home we got the Newark Evening News and every day they told how the war was going. They daily had a map showing how far General Patton had gone that day. One day he advanced 65 miles and had to stop because his tanks needed gasoline. He saved our bacon in the Battle of the Bulge by having his Third Army cut across all the supply lines and racing to reinforce our forces. He was my hero and I wanted to be a “tanker” and wear two pearl handled .38s but it wasn’t to be. Ernie Pyle had war stories that were great and I believe he got killed by enemy fire.

General Marshall had more brains than any 20 other generals. He put so many things together that all came together at the same time and same place. Training an army while making their M-1 rifles, 6×6 trucks, cargo ships, troop transports, training pilots before their planes were built, managing the rails, coal, and steel plus everything else an army and navy needs.

Eisenhower was a low key, quartermaster issue army officer. D-Day and the European campaign were sheer brilliance. We had an elderly corporal in the 4th MPs and he was waiting to retire. He just came in and talked and then went back home. He should have retired but they had him down for six months bad conduct time which he had to make up. His mother wrote Ike, and a letter came back from the White House. He had served with Ike at Fort Lewis long ago when Ike was a major. The letter said “THIS MAN HAS NO BAD CONDUCT TIME. REPEAT NO BAD CONDUCT TIME.” The corporal got his pension!

In the Pacific, Admiral Nimitz was my hero and I have his autograph. I saw him after the war and he was the most handsome naval officer there ever was, bright SILVER hair. Medium height, about 5’6″, in his blues his stripes went to his elbow or above. He was a five star as were Ike and Marshal along with Halsey, MacArthur, and Bradley, and he had a wide gold stripe with four regular gold stripes. He was the Fleet Admiral of Task Force 57 and they went through hell with Jap aircraft and Kamikazes. He defeated the Jap fleet at the Battle of Midway and that was the turning point in the Pacific. There was a Navy Lt. Commander who worked with codes and he cracked the Jap code. Because of that Nimitz knew where and when the Jap fleet would be and that was a large part of our victory. Nimitz, a FIVE STAR WAR HERO, put the Lt. Commander in for a medal and the Pentagon rejected the request. It is hard to believe — and also hard to believe that Patton would be humiliated for slapping a malingerer. [Read more...]

Andy Zahn Remembers the War Years (Part 2)

"The Perils of Pauline" was Saturday matinee movie fare.

“The Perils of Pauline” was Saturday matinee movie fare.

By ANDY ZAHN

September 15, 2014

A couple hundred area kids went to the Liberty Theater on Springfield Avenue Saturday afternoons to see a war movie, a serial to see if Pauline could undo the ropes and get up before the train got to her and a crime or spy movie. Three or more times each Saturday there was a flash of light as another kid came through the exit door to see the movie, which cost about 12 cents, for free.

The spies were always a German couple and the man wore a white suit with a straw Panama hat. He also drove a Lincoln Zypher car. In my friend’s house in the attic apartment there was exactly such a couple. We all knew they were spies.

One day the FBI was picking up radio signals and put direction finders on the signals. The waves crossed at my friend’s house and the FBI tore up the apartment, finding a trasmitter. The two were arrested and never seen again! In a real war agents are not tried in civil court and the penalty is death. Our agents know this as the enemy used to also know.

Springfield Avenue is the main street through Irvington, NJ, and had trolleys going from Springfield through Millburn, Maplewood, Irvington, and downtown Newark. People came from miles to go to Olympic Park with rides, a huge swimming pool, and a merry-go-round now at Disney World in Orlando. There could be a story about the park, now gone, there was so much. There were stores all along the Avenue and we saw the town install parking meters. Bamberger’s had a clock on the sidewalk and everyone used to say “Meet me at Bamberger’s clock.” After the trolleys they had buses with trolly poles that ran on electricity or their regular motor. Six days a week the Avenue was a mass of activity and on Sunday it was deserted as in the song “A Sunday Morning Sidewalk.” [Read more...]

5 Comments

COMMENTARY: Remembering the ‘Greatest Generation’

By ANDY ZAHN

September 8, 2014

I was 10 when Pearl Harbor was bombed. All of our lives changed on that December 7th day, 1941. We had air raid drills at school where we went to the basement and stood with our heads in our arms against the wall lockers. My father taught all the town’s teachers first aid in case we actually had a raid and needed help. Air raid sirens could go off at any time, and if at night all lights had to be made not visible. Gasoline was rationed and you had to display a letter in the rear window of the car or truck with an “A” letting you buy three gallons per week if you had the money and the ration coupons. The speed limit was 35 mph to save gasoline. The top half of the headlights had to be covered with black electrical tape.

Dad trained the soldiers from Fort Monmouth how to be firefighters, and their fire engine came to our drill tower weekly for instruction. After getting the town ready for war, equipping and training the Civil Defense firefighters and working with the Red Cross, Dad tried to go back into the Army but was too old. He then joined the Navy! When the local judge heard what Dad had done we met him on Sunday outside church and he remarked that he would never do such a thing.

Now Mom and I were alone, and at age 12 I was the man of the house. Mom went to the ration board and picked up two books of coupons, one for each of us. When she got home and opened the books all the meat coupons had been stolen by a worker at the board. For the next six months we were not able to legally buy any meat.

While there were a lot of patriotic people, there were also a lot of low-lifes. Many young men joined the military and many others waited for the draft. But there were many who we called “draft dodgers” and “slackers.” There were all manner of ways to avoid the draft. Some men with one child hastened to have another baby, figuring men with two or more kids would not be drafted. Some bachelors quickly married a woman with children. Some moved to Lakewood, NJ, and took up raising poutry. Some put blotters inside their shoes to give a false pulse reading. And there was the black market where things were sold at high prices without ration coupons. [Read more...]

3 Comments

COMMENTARY
Retired Teacher Recalls ‘New Math’ Hoax

By ANDY ZAHN

August 11, 2014

In 1957 I was an MP in the 4th Infantry Division and Fort Lewis. One of our Captains at Fort Lewis was in Germany at the end of WW II. His sole assignment in Germany was to get Werner Von Braun to the United States in case the USSR should attack.

Before the war Dr. Goddard was ahead of his time and was studying rocket science. He told the government of the possibilites but our leaders paid no attention. The Germans heard and they began work on jet engines and rockets. They had several outstanding scientists working on the program and by war’s end had jet fighter aircraft and V-2 and V-12 rockets with guidance systems raining destruction on London. It was agreed that half these scientists would be in the Russian Zone and half in the U.S. Zone.

Those in our zone came to Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, and worked on a rocket that would escape earth’s gravity and orbit the earth. That group, led by Dr. Von Braun, had such a rocket on the launching pad at Redstone but because of politics were not allowed to attempt a launch until the Air Force made a few tries ending in failure.

In the meantime the Russians launched Sputnik and thus were first to orbit the earth. When the army at Redstone was permitted to fire their rocket we were successful but in 2nd place. The American school system got the blame. Sound familiar? It had nothing to do with our schools nor with the Russian schools. The entire program was German!

In 1958 I was teaching math and science to 7th and 8th graders. We had wonderful textbooks written by three authors who knew not only the math but the readiness of the students, and it was written at their level of understanding. The 8th grade text took up where the 7th grade left off, and the 7th grade book prepared them for next year. There were always revews of the basics already learned, lots of practice problems, thousands of word problems dealing with all manner of everyday useful practical math, and here the students were also learning about borrowing, investing, compound interest, bonds, stocks, measuring, weights, volume, dry measure, geometric constructions, perimeters, areas, volumes, and a few new concepts such as the 3rd type percent problem, positive and negative numbers, and basic algebra. [Read more...]

3 Comments

LeMond, Dufty Trade Shots on County Zoning

August 4, 2014

EDITOR’S NOTE: Last week the Wave published a commentary by Ken Dufty on “Northampton Zoning’s ‘Man Behind the Curtain.’” (CLICK to read.) Northampton County Board of Supervisors Chairman Larry LeMond reacted to Dufty’s commentary at a Board meeting July 28. In turn, Mr. Dufty has asked the Wave to publish his reply to Mr. LeMond’s reply. Both gentlemen’s statements appear below. 

JULY 28 STATEMENT BY CHAIRMAN LEMOND

There is no “man behind the curtain” in regard to the proposed zoning code. The Code draft is per the direction of the Board of Supervisors and was drafted by a team of seven employees from Administration, Legal, Planning and Zoning. Mr. McSwain was hired at the direction of the Board to provide several functions as Director of Development, including among them streamlining the planning and permitting process and addressing economic development.

The author of these letters suggested that PEMSCO would be allowed under the draft zoning code. In fact, such a use is not permitted in any district. Perhaps the confusion is that the use of burning soil to remove petroleum is not a biomass conversion of any type. In fact biomass conversion, which is only permitted on a small scale in all districts because it is required by Virginia Code, is the process of taking renewable resources, such as wood, and creating some type of energy. So a wood fireplace is a small scale biomass converter. As to the statement regarding the Exmore biodiesel project, the County has no influence over Exmore zoning. Regardless, any industrial operation, if permitted for a land use, must also meet all performance standards regarding offensive activity, U.S. EPA and VDEQ rules.

As to the draft code allowing a prison, the statements made are incorrect. Prison use is allowed in an agricultural district and then only with a special use permit which requires a public hearing. It is allowed by right in industrial, but the largest industrial site in the county is far too small to accommodate a prison, and thus a rezoning would be required with a public hearing to create a prison. The prison use was included to address the topic in the zoning code, not to enable one without a public hearing.

Further, Mr. McSwain on occasion works outside the community to support the economic development profession. He recently served as a judge for the International Economic Development Council 2014 Awards. He has not accepted any new outside compensation engagements since being employed by Northampton County.

KEN DUFTY RESPONDS

At the conclusion of the July 28, 2014, Northampton County Board of Supervisors work session, Chairman LeMond read into the official record a rather lively rebuttal to my “Who is the Man Behind the Curtain” letter that was printed in this newspaper last week. While I try to space the timing of my letters on the proposed zoning revisions, I greatly appreciate this rare chance to respond in a timeframe that this issue demands. [Read more...]

COMMENTARY
Northampton Zoning’s ‘Man Behind the Curtain’

By KEN DUFTY

July 28, 2014

Thank you to the Cape Charles Wave for keeping us all ahead ot the curve regarding the zoning dispute in Northampton County. The complete rezoning of the county into a what several developers hope to be a Disney-like resort retirement destination deserves to be scrutinized, and readers are well-served by the Wave’s reporting.

The million dollar question of who is the “man behind the curtain” orchestrating the plan to completely rezone Northampton County into an industrial, commercial, and resort-style mecca looms ominously heavy on the horizon. And the Board of Supervisors’ “we need to be business friendly” mantra makes us wonder what businesses our protective Comprehensive Plan drove out of the county, and prompts us to wonder what it would be like if the curtain of resource and environmental protection was drawn fully open.

In our quest to answer these questions, we had to do a little digging. And we unearthed a plan in 1992 by PEMSCO to bring 60,000 tons/month of contaminated soil to a 65 acre tract in Cheriton, formerly home of the KMC Food Processing Plant. There the petroleum-soaked soil would be “cleansed” by incineration and “biological processes” so that it could be spread throughout Northampton County and beyond, used in landscaping and road building. But because it required a Special Use Permit, county residents had the chance to learn about it, research it, and oppose it en masse for obvious reasons. It was defeated.

But under the new “business friendly” zoning crafted by Economic Development Director Charles McSwain, this type of use will be allowed “by right” in any agricultural zone. The public will not be notified and no public hearings will be necessary.

In the same year, it was discovered that a local industrial contractor was importing and remediating “contaminated soil” and adding it to his asphalt product, using it in repaving and road projects. Again, once the act was discovered, it was deemed a violation of the county zoning ordinance, and the zoning department issued a “cease and desist” order, giving the owner 90 days to meet “binding contracts” already in place.

Again, under the proposed “business friendly” zoning ordinance, this process would be allowed “by right,” and residents would not know what was happening until they smelled the stinking fumes from the incinerators. [Read more...]

Next Page »