The BEST (and WORST) of 2014

Cape Charles Yacht Center920

The WAVE nominates the May opening of Cape Charles Yacht Center as the best thing that happened to the town in 2014.


January 1, 2015

Every year has its ups and downs, but for Cape Charles, the year 2014 probably saw higher highs and lower lows than most years. Here are the Wave’s nominations for the BEST, the WORST, and the REST.


1) Cape Charles Yacht Center opened in May, proving once again that if you build it, they will come. Even in winter, dozens of boats of various sizes are in dry dock, lending a more authentic harbor feel to the town. Mega-yachts have called as well.

2) Rennovation: 2014 may go down as the year the Historic District finally lost that derelict feeling. So many houses and buildings have been restored such that a drive down Randolph Avenue no longer evokes images of an abandoned mining town. Perhaps the most heartening example is the once-charming Victorian next to the Post Office currently being rescued from decades of neglect. And the abandoned 1950s flat-roofed doctors’ office on Tazewell and Fulcher met the wrecking ball the last week of 2014 — good riddance!

3) Festivals: Kudos to all the hard-working denizens who leant a festive spirit to the town in 2014. There were so many occasions that we can’t mention them all, but everything certainly came together for the August Harbor for the Arts Festival. Did that really happen in little ol’ Cape Charles? Honorable mentions: Tall Ships, Smitty’s Clam Slam, the Christian School’s Crabby Blues, the Progressive Dinner Tour, and of course July 4th.

4) Bayshore Concrete: The town’s only industry got a much-needed shot in the arm in 2014, winning contracts for structural concrete for New York City’s Tappan Zee Bridge and others. For some, that’s a good thing, while for others the renewed activity at the once nearly-shut-down cement plant means more noise, dust, and visual impact.

5) Fun Pier: With funding from FEMA, the town really got it right when it rebuilt the town pier after Sandy wreaked havoc on the portion that had never been constructed properly in the first place. First-class job!


1) The worst was, sadly, really, really bad — the first drowning off Cape Charles Beach in many years. The freak August 10 accident that took the life of 8-year-old “Ace” Horton remains inexplicable, because no investigation was ever conducted, either by the town or the county. How could a child, said to know how to swim, suddenly fall from an adult’s shoulders in wading-depth water near the Fun Pier and not be found for three days? No one will ever know. Is that area unsafe? No warning sign has been posted. [Read more…]


SUNDAY 1/4: Hungars Episcopal Church Concert

Violinist Dora Mullins and pianist Stefan Dulcie will be presenting a concert at Hungars Episcopal Church on Sunday, January 4, at 4 p.m.  The program will include Honegger’s First Sonata, Poulenc’ Sonata for Violin and Piano, and Brahms’ D Minor Sonata, Op. 108.  This concert is offered without charge and will be followed by a reception.

For more information, please call 757-678-7837.

COMMENTARY: Gentrification Won’t Bring Growth

(EDITOR’S NOTE: The following submission was originally published as a comment to a letter by Robert Toner (CLICK to read). We are republishing it as a Commentary for those who might have missed it.) 


December 29, 2014

Hats off to Mr. Toner for exposing the naked truth about the apparent motives of those digging their spurs into the bellies of the all-too-willing Board of Supervisors (save for Granville Hogg). While marching to the cadence of the “business friendly” chant, the majority of the members of the Board have turned their backs on the citizenry of this great county, targeting especially the middle class and those struggling to stay above the bottom rungs of the economic ladder.

As to Bobby Roberts’ theory that the “whole mess is starting to smell” like GENTRIFICATION, that has been my partial take on the situation since I sat down to read the entire draft zoning ordinance just hours before the March 11, 2014, Public Hearing at Northampton High School (shame on me for not being more involved in county issues before that 12th hour!). The elitists apparently working the strings of the Supervisors (‘cept’n Hogg, who refuses to have those knots tied) seem obsessed with transforming this county into a bustling upscale retirement destination, abandoning the assets which set us far above the cookie-cutter likeness of Virginia Beach and Ocean City.

As the recently-commissioned Competitive Assessment Study recommended, in order to REALLY become more business friendly, the Board should be encouraging and marketing our core industries, the engines driving our local economy. These include agriculture, aquaculture, forestry, small business, and tourism, many of which lead the state and nation in their ranking and growth. The report also directed the Board to cure the real ills stopping growth in the county, such as lack of high-speed Internet, reliable cell phone service, better quality schools, accessible and affordable health care, and the development of a trained and ready workforce.

Instead, the Board has set a course which can only be described as a campaign to gentrify the county, driving taxes higher and ensuring that those on the bottom rungs of the economic ladder will have even a more difficult time remaining on the lower Shore. A few of the examples that support Mr. Roberts’ gentrification theory are: [Read more…]


Found Dog in Central Park


DECEMBER 30 UPDATE: The family that found the puppy has bonded with it and, no owner having come forward, has happily adopted it.

A small puppy, possibly Chihuahua-Beagle mix, was found around Central Park on Saturday, December 27. It does not appear to be a stray, but does not have tags or identification. Anyone recognizing this puppy is asked to call 757-331-3135 with any information.

Auditions at the Palace Theatre

Director Clelia Sheppard will hold auditions for the upcoming play “Barretts of Wimpole Street” on Saturday, January 3, at noon at the Historic Palace Theatre in Cape Charles.  The production will be presented March 27-29, 2015.
There are 17 parts in the cast including seven young men between the ages of 14-35 and four girls aged 13-25. Call Ms. Sheppard at 757 331-2787 for more information.
The play is a romantic classic involving the remarkable poet Elizabeth Barrett who is slowly recovering from a crippling illness with the help of her siblings, especially her youngest sister, Henrietta.  Elizabeth feels stifled by the domestic tyranny of her wealthy widowed father, Edward. When she meets fellow poet Robert Browning in a romantic first encounter, her heart belongs to him. However, her controlling father has no intention of allowing her out of his sight.

Christmas in Cape Charles

December 22, 2014, edition: Cape Charles Christian School with restored stained glass windows was most dramatic stop on this year’s Progressive Dinner Tour. (Photo: Chris Glennon)

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Progressive Dinner Tour, A Christmas Carol Herald Christmas in Cape Charles

Cape Charles Christian School with restored stained glass windows was most dramatic stop on this year’s Progressive Dinner Tour. (Photo: Chris Glennon)


December 22, 2014

Living in Cape Charles is always great no matter the season, whether spring, summer, fall or winter. But Christmas time in Cape Charles is always a special time that sets itself apart from the rest of the year. The streets are lined with decorations, Smitty has his crab pot tree at the harbor, and the shops are decorated as cheerfully as any in Ghent or Old Town Alexandria.

This season, I was fortunate to be able to be part of two wonderful Christmas events: acting in short skit at one of the stops along the Progressive Dinner Tour, and acting and directing in the Palace Theatre’s A Christmas Carol.

The Progressive Dinner Tour’s theme this year was “Christmas by the Bay,” where a yacht full of rich folks are stranded in the harbor, and are forced to endure the holidays in this little bayside village. Of course they, like all of us, fell in love with Cape Charles, and wind up buying a home here. My role in this little drama was to play the saucy Mrs. Lambertson, along with Michael Flannigan as the sea captain and Sagre Strutzman as the chef. I don’t mean to sound immodest, but on this evening I was certainly the sexiest woman in Cape Charles (and moving forward, possibly Cape Charles’ new “I”’ girl).

I have been involved in several Progressive dinners in the past, yet it seems like this year was truly one of the best. Carol Evans and the Chamber of Commerce, along with all the volunteers, should be commended for designing such an elegant, yet streamlined evening (we have seen some of these go well into the night). I wish I could review each and every location but I can only give a first person account from where I was working, at the beautiful Sea Gate Bed and Breakfast. Mr. Bannon did a wonderful job decorating for the occasion, filling each space from the Florida Room to the Peach, Blue, or Yellow bedrooms with ample color and holiday cheer. [Read more…]

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LETTER: Northampton County Is Not Virginia Beach!

December 22, 2014


First of all, thanks to the Cape Charles Wave and reporter Dorie Southern for the expert coverage of the”Occupy the Old Courthouse” rally in Eastville on Tuesday evening, December 9. As Ms. Southern reported [CLICK], the Northampton County Board of Supervisors’ meeting that followed the rousing but cordial rally on the Courthouse green drew a packed house with standing room only. Out of the 18 speakers, many of whom were former county officials and current heads of civic and environmental organizations, only one speaker spoke in favor of the Board’s unilateral attempt to completely rewrite Northampton County’s zoning ordinance with virtually and literally no public involvement (except for our obligatory three-minute comment period at the BOS meetings). This same lone speaker also submitted a lengthy letter to a local newspaper which was printed on the same day as the lead story about the rally, and I greatly appreciate this opportunity to respond to several of her comments.

The writer insinuates that those of us who merely want to be more involved in the decision-making process that will dictate the future economic and environmental future of this great county are misinformed and using scare tactics to prevent Northampton County from growing and prospering in this otherwise difficult fiscal climate. She cites many examples of our alleged “fear mongering” and refutes many of the claims made by those opposing the unilateral changes proposed by the Board.

Upon information and belief, the writer is a real estate professional with roots in Virginia Beach. And while we all love to visit Virginia Beach and its many offerings, we do not choose to live there. Frankly, it is just too crowded for the likes of many of us, and most do not want to pay the high taxes of living in such a congested area. Note VB’s taxes are about 50% higher than Northampton County’s. That said, the writer’s theory that we need to develop Northampton County in a more intensive and commercial manner to bring more revenue into the county is belied by the tax profile in Virginia Beach, as well as Ocean City, Maryland.

As for the misinformation that has been put out by the major organizations which have been intricately involved in this proposed zoning revision, there is not one clear example of what has been presented that has been wrong. Indeed, much of the information distributed in newsletters, flyers, and letters has been based on in-depth analysis and careful consideration by former Planning Commissioners and other county officials who were intensely involved in writing the current zoning ordinance, and also in reviewing the proposed zoning revisions while they still served in an official capacity on the Planning Commission. [Read more…]