VIDEO: 2014 February Freeze at Cape Charles Beach

CAPE CHARLES WAVE

February 10, 2014

A bumper crop of cold-water crazies turned out for Saturday’s 2014 Habitat for Humanity February Freeze at the Cape Charles Beach. Watch the video to see who gets the wettest, and keep a sharp eye out for Kiptopeke Elementary Principal Subrina Parker. As always, swim instructor/polar bear Victor Abrahamian spent the longest time in the water (and actually “swam” a few strokes at the finish). Click bottom right of box for full-screen view (but don’t get wet!).

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SATURDAY 2/15: ‘Perception’ at Palace Theatre: You Can’t Always Believe in Happy Ever After

February 10, 2014

An Atlanta performing arts production company will present “Perception,” an original play 7:30 p.m. Saturday, February 15, at the Palace Theatre. Tickets are $12.

Perception is the love story of Hamilton and Margaret, a newlywed couple who fall deeply in love and share that love with the baby of their dreams. Their dream is shattered when Margaret awakes one morning to find their baby not breathing and herself on the verge of insanity. Hamilton soon finds himself struggling with the desire to want to move on with their lives but has to figure out a way to deal with his wife’s instability which leaves him at a crossroads. In addition to dealing with his wife’s instability, he now has to deal with a mother-in-law who is willing to do anything to keep her daughter’s marriage together and a best friend who isn’t forthcoming about the troubles of his own marriage. The story of Perception leads one on a dangerous ride that involves love, lust, and betrayal. Are you ready to have your Perception of Love changed?

EXTRA! Gov. McAuliffe Visits Bayshore, Brings Check

Gov. Terry McAuliffe presents check to Northampton County Board of Supervisors Chairman Larry LeMond and Cape Charles Mayor Dora Sullivan. The grant money goes to Bayshore Concrete Products in return for creating 135 jobs. (Wave photos)

Gov. Terry McAuliffe presents check to Northampton County Board of Supervisors Chairman Larry LeMond and Cape Charles Mayor Dora Sullivan. The grant money goes to Bayshore Concrete Products in return for creating 135 jobs. (Wave photos)

By DORIE SOUTHERN
Cape Charles Wave

February 5, 2014

Newly elected Governor Terry McAuliffe came to town yesterday bearing a gift — a $150,000 grant for Bayshore Concrete Products in return for creating 135 jobs. The expansion at Bayshore comes after a debilitating dry spell: Bayshore General Manager Chad Saunders noted that in 2012, production was down by half. And in 2013 things got even worse: Bayshore poured only 20 percent of its normal amount of concrete.

All that is changing now that Bayshore has won some big contracts: Great Egg Harbor Bridge in New Jersey, the Bayonne Bridge between Bayonne, NJ, and Staten Island, NY, and most recently for New York’s Tappan Zee Bridge. In order to ship larger concrete products out of Cape Charles, Bayshore is spending $4 million on harbor infrastructure.

Northampton Economic Development Director Charles McSwain said that for Bayshore to qualify for the state grant money, both Northampton County and the Town of Cape Charles had to “partner” in the endeavor by providing their own tax incentives to Bayshore. The county and the town will “forgive” Bayshore the increased property taxes for 10 years that it otherwise would pay on up to $1.8 million of  infrastructure improvements. Based on current tax rates, that translates to $12,000 county annual tax relief and $5,000 for the town, for a total over 10 years of $170,000.

In December the Town of Cape Charles also awarded Bayshore Concrete a “stimulus grant” that will refund to the company the increased machinery and tools tax it otherwise would pay on its infrastructure improvements. Town Manager Heather Arcos told the Wave she estimates the value to Bayshore in town tax credits at roughly $10,000 a year for five years. The total tax relief package for Bayshore from the town and the county equals about $220,000.

“Things are looking up,”  said County Chairman Larry LeMond, “after a difficult last five years.” As Vice President of Bay Coast Railroad, LeMond has every reason to be pleased:  Bay Coast Railroad is largely dependent on business from Bayshore, as the cement to cast concrete products arrives on Bay Coast rail cars.

The arrival of the governor shut down Bayshore operations for a couple of hours as every employee gathered at a tent set up for the ceremony. When McAuliffe spoke the magic word “jobs,” the employees clapped and cheered.

Bayshore Concrete employees applaud announcement of 135 new jobs.

Bayshore Concrete employees assembled to hear the Governor (at left). More will join them this year.

[Read more...]

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VIDEO: Cape Charles Snow Day

January 30, 2014
We take a drive down Mason Avenue and over the Hump so you don’t have to. (Click bottom right of window for full screen view.)

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COMMENTARY: I Remember Nelson Mandela

By GEORGE SOUTHERN
Cape Charles Wave

December 7, 2013

Rarely is anything printed in the Wave that does not relate directly to the Eastern Shore. But the passing of Nelson Mandela compels me to write about what he meant to me. I offer this commentary to those who may be interested, while recognizing that it is not for everyone.

Among the early accounts of Mandela’s death December 5 at age 95 was a striking quote from, of all people, Arnold Schwarzenegger. He said: “President Mandela’s life is the closest thing we have to proof of God.” I would call that an overstatement, but I agree with the sentiment that Mandela, at least within the group of people we label politicians, was heads and shoulders above all the others. Mandela was a modern statesman in a time when the word seems obsolete.

Somewhere in my old collection of VHS tapes I have the Sunday morning recording I made of Mandela’s release from prison February 11, 1990, after 27 years of confinement. At the time I was training for my upcoming assignment to South Africa as a political aide to the U.S. ambassador.

I arrived in South Africa in June, just four months after Mandela’s release from prison. The country was in a state of hypertension, with all races fearful that a civil war would shortly erupt. For more than a decade, the conventional wisdom had been that war was inevitable.

This was where Mandela showed his genius for toughness encased in humility. During the negotiations between his African National Congress and the white ruling government, his eloquence, humility, intellect, determination, and yes – sense of humor – eroded the white power structure’s long-held conviction that a black president would run their nation into the ground, just as they had seen happen in Zimbabwe and elsewhere. [Read more...]

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LETTER: Watch Out for Right Whales

Click on photo to watch a YouTube video on the endangered Right Whale.

December 6, 2013

DEAR EDITOR,

Now that the air and water has finally cooled, trucks and boat trailers overrun the parking lot and roads around Cape Charles harbor — sure signs that the rockfish season is now in full swing. This time of year also marks the start of the North Atlantic right whale calving season which begins in November and runs through April. The whales are now migrating from their normal habitat in northeast U.S and Canada to the south coast of Georgia and Florida. NOAA Fisheries reminds boaters to be aware of these whales, and to take precautions to avoid collisions. There are fewer than 400 left, making them the most endangered marine mammal in the world.

The right whale got its name from northeast whalers who called it “the right whale” to hunt. These mammals had large amounts of blubber, were very slow swimmers, and once harpooned, tended to roll over and float, making them easy to strip and clean. Chapters 93-96 in Melville’s Moby Dick describe capturing the whale and the process of cutting the blubber into sections and preparing it for rendering.

Adult whales average 40-55 feet in length, can weigh up to 140,000 pounds, and may live up to 50 years. They spend the majority of their lives in the zooplankton- rich waters off northeastern U.S. and Canada. (Having no teeth, they mainly feed on copepods, euphausiids, and cyprids). In the fall of each year pregnant females migrate south to give birth to calves that are 10-15 feet long and weigh up to 1.5 metric tons. After birth, the calves drink mother’s milk for 8 to 17 months.

The coasts of Georgia and Florida are the only known calving areas for right whales, and NOAA wants to raise awareness of their migratory patterns and movement. The biggest issue is that, even as it would seem easy to spot something as big as a whale, in reality it is very difficult. They are dark, do not have dorsal fins, and swim just below the surface of the water. The only way is to be keenly aware of any changes in the texture of the water surface. [Read more...]

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REALTORS’ DREAM: Cape Charles Hits the Big Time

CAPE CHARLES WAVE

December 2, 2013

Is Cape Charles finally hitting the big time? Is the “best kept secret” finally out of the bag? That may depend on how many people nationwide saw the HGTV show a week ago Sunday. For those who missed it, the video clip above tells the story.

Glossy magazines like Southern Living (click here) and National Geographic Traveler (click here) have featured the attractions of Cape Charles during the past year and a half. So have the Washington Post (click here), USA Today (click here), and the Richmond Times-Dispatch (click here). But there’s nothing like a real nationwide TV show to seal the deal.

The HGTV show featured a Richmond family, the Outlands, who fell in love with Cape Charles and wanted to buy a beach house with a water view while prices are still low. Blue Heron Realty agent Eva Noonan was their guide, and showed them four properties. Click the screen above to watch the first four minutes of the show.

Plenty of Empty Rooms at Local Inns, Owner Says

Click above to hear Fig Street Inn Bed & Breakfast owner Donna Kohler address the Cape Charles Planning Commission.

By DORIE SOUTHERN
Cape Charles Wave

November 12, 2013

Perceptions that Bed and Breakfasts in Cape Charles are doing a booming business are not accurate, Fig Street Inn owner Donna Kohler told the Cape Charles Planning Commission November 5. The reality is that occupancy last year averaged 28 percent among the five B&Bs in town, she said.

Kohler addressed the Planning Commission after the Wave reported October 3 that Commissioners wanted more motels on Route 13.  Commissioner Joan Natali said, “I’d love to see two or three hotels out on Route 13. The occupancy of our hotels has been consistently full. The reason is we have become a wedding destination.”

Not so, refuted Kohler. Even in August the occupancy rate was only 53 percent. “There is the idea that we need more rooms because we’re becoming a wedding destination and we need places for these guests to stay. Speaking only for my bed and breakfast, wedding guests aren’t staying at my inn . . . they make up under 10 percent of my business,” she said.

Kohler noted there are “multiple weddings” on any given weekend. “We know that the guests are coming, but we also know that they’re not choosing to stay in town.

“Is it appropriate for the Town to be concerned about a market that is basically a pass-through?” Kohler asked. “They’re here for one reason only – a wedding – and they are literally in and out in less than 24 hours.

“There is not enough demand for the inventory that already exists,” Kohler said. “If there were, I would think that the Hotel Cape Charles would be open year-‘round.

“You might want to say that we’re a summer destination and we need places for people to stay in the summer months,” Kohler continued. “That is not necessarily true. For August 2013, my inn had an occupancy rate of only 46 percent – far below what anyone would expect of a peak season. [Read more...]

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