LETTER: Grand Illumination Marks Year of Enlightenment

December 1, 2012


Tonight the Town of Cape Charles will have its Grand Illumination in Old School Park. The lights will come on, speeches will be given, and we can all hug and have a hot chocolate.

The use of the word “illuminate” dates to 15th century Middle English — in the archaic, meaning to brighten with light, or to be intellectually or spiritually enlightened. The basic meaning still stands today.

It is fitting then, that the Grand Illumination should be taking place in School Park, as the Grand Old Dame herself, the Old School, broodingly looks on as the self-congratulatory event takes place.

But let’s leave that for now, because this is a season to give thanks. Thanks to the Echelon deal, it has been a year of enlightenment.

Despite the deal being concocted in the dank, musty recesses of Executive Sessions, meant to keep citizens in the dark until it was too late to do anything, in the end, through diligence and the power of the Freedom of Information Act, the inner workings of our town have been dutifully adorned with light.

We learned, thanks to independent engineering reports, that everything we have been told about the Old School has not been entirely true. According to the reports, the Grand Old Dame is in wonderful shape, solid as a rock, with little asbestos even to be found.

The cost to turn it into 17 apartments might take a chunk of change, but basic renovations and repairs (lest we forget the power of Eastern Shore volunteerism, tax credits, grants, etc.) to open it back up as a multi-purpose event venue, could be done for pennies on the dollar.

When the cost ($349,000) of the harbor bath house came to light, one had to wonder why the school was left to languish, without even a few tubes of caulk being budgeted to correct water leakage at either end. That question is still shrouded in darkness—we may need more lights. [Read more…]


Mary Elizabeth Brady, Cape Charles Resident, Oyster Native

December 1, 2012

Mary Elizabeth Brady, 77, wife of the late John Edward Brady and a resident of Cape Charles, passed away Friday, November 30, at Riverside Shore Memorial Hospital in Nassawadox.

A celebration of life service will be held Sunday, December 9, at 2 p.m. at Sunnyside Village Community Center with Pastor Joe Moore officiating. Flowers will be accepted or memorials may be made to S.P.C.A. Animal Shelter, P.O. Box 164, Onley, VA 23418.

Ms. Brady was a native of Oyster, and was the daughter of Louise Brady Parker of Cape Charles and the late Howard L. Parker. She was a member of Travis Chapel United Methodist Church. [Read more…]

Sunday Service for Frederick Etz at Cape Charles Cemetery

December 1, 2012

Frederick P. “Fred” Etz, Jr., 57, a resident of Capeville, passed away Thursday, November 29, at his residence.

A graveside service will be held Sunday, December 2, at 2 p.m. at Cape Charles Cemetery with Pastor Patricia S. Money and Reverend Jeff Conrow officiating.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Cheriton United Methodist Church, c/o Jo Ann Heneghan, P.O. Box 297, Cheriton, VA 23316.

Mr. Etz was a native of Cheriton, and was the son of the late Frederick P. Etz, Sr., and the late Phyllis Parker Etz. He was a farmer, waterman, and member of Cheriton United Methodist Church. [Read more…]

Historic Review: Second Rejection for Hotel Cape Charles

Glass balcony walls at Hotel Cape Charles lend a modern look not in keeping with the Town’s historic character, says the Historic District Review Board.

Cape Charles Wave

November 30, 2012

Cape Charles Historic District Review Board on November 20 rejected for the second time the balcony treatment at the newly renovated Hotel Cape Charles.

The hotel is operating on a temporary occupancy certificate, and the Town will not grant a permanent certificate until the hotel meets the historic standards.

Board chairman Russ Dunton said the Board’s decision is final, and that the developer can either change the balconies to conform to the original approved plan or appeal the Board’s decision to Town Council.  “Town Council is bound by the Historic District Guidelines just as we are,” he added.

Dunton emphasized that the Board did not want to be unreasonable. He also acknowledged that the developer had spent a lot of money on the building, and that many people like its modern look. “But it’s our job to make sure that historic properties in town maintain their character,” he said.

The Board did make some concessions to the building’s modern alterations: They allowed the glass on the third floor in place of a railing, and they accepted the modern light fixtures. They also agreed to overlook the developer’s failure to install decorative wrought iron on the ground floor as originally promised.

But the Board could not accept the glass balconies on the second floor. [Read more…]


Eastern Shore Library System Strengthens Cape Charles

November 30, 2012


What a wonderful article Sarah Barban has written about the new libraries!

It is always such a pleasure to see people who enthusiastically support us and realize how essential a good library is for the community surrounding it.

I especially appreciated the way you emphasized that the Cape Charles Memorial Library is part of the Eastern Shore Public Library System. The new library in Onley should help the new location of the Cape Charles library become an even stronger magnet for its community. [Read more…]

SATURDAY 12/8: Santa’s House at Cape Charles Christian School

Cape Charles Christian School will  host its annual Santa’s House 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, December 8. [Read more…]

Conversion of Auditorium to Apartments Violates Guidelines

First page of letter from Department of Historic Resources to Town of Cape Charles. CLICK TO READ FULL-SIZE.

Cape Charles Wave

November 29, 2012

The Virginia Department of Historic Resources has rejected an application by the Town of Cape Charles for tax credits in association with conversion of the old school at Central Park into a 17-unit apartment building.

The Town has signed a contract to convey the school and adjoining parkland to developer Echelon Resources, Inc. The contract specifies that Echelon will pay the Town $10 for the school and parkland, and the Town will pay Echelon $41,000 toward repairs to the school.

However, Echelon has made clear from the beginning that it will not close on the deal unless state and federal authorities approve the request for tax credits.

Echelon hoped to receive 25 percent credit from Virginia plus 20 percent credit from Washington, for a total of 45 percent of the total cost to convert the building to apartments.

The application for tax credits was signed by Town Manager Heather Arcos because the Town remains the owner of the property. The application was prepared by Echelon consultant Paige Pollard.

The November 21 letter to Arcos (shown above) rejects the application for three reasons: [Read more…]


LETTER: Put Aside Bitterness at the Grand Illumination

November 28, 2012


It has been a troubling year for Cape Charles filled with strong emotions, hurt feelings, bitterness, and angry words.

It is heartbreaking to hear of broken friendships, community members no longer supporting the town or town businesses because of political differences, and citizens looking to find fault and place blame.

The old school building is a valuable part of our community, but it is just a building. It has no heart, no soul, and no feelings. However, people do and these people are our friends and neighbors.

These people are the ones who used to celebrate our joys, show concern when we became ill, and comfort us in times of loss. People, relationships, and community are so much more important than a building or a political position.

It is now the beginning of the season when we give thanks for our gracious plenty and cherish our family and friends. It is time to put our community before opinion, before politics, and before material objects.

I fear, if we keep on the path we are currently traveling, we will destroy all that we hold most dear.

I encourage you all to come to Central Park on Saturday evening at 6:15 p.m. for the Grand Illumination. [Read more…]