‘Addams Family’ House Finally Getting a Makeover

Tumbling-down wrought-iron fence adds spooky effect to Randolph Avenue ghost house. (Wave photo)

Tumbling-down wrought-iron fence adds spooky effect to c. 1890 Randolph Avenue “ghost house,” one of the oldest structures in town. (Wave photo)

Cape Charles Wave

January 26, 2015

Walking past the Post Office towards the beach, as I pass the old gothic-Victorian house in a state of despairing disrepair next door, I am often reminded of the decaying mansion in Truman Capote’s novel Other Voices, Other Rooms. Stopping on the sidewalk just in front of the twisted iron fencing, looking up at the gabled top-floor windows, I half expect to see the figure of Capote’s “queer lady” gazing down at me.

The gothic imagery may soon have to find another room, as this historically beautiful home at 237 Randolph Avenue has found a new family that has already begun restoring it to its former glory. Meadow Green Builders has applied to the town’s Historic District Review Board for permission to construct a second-floor rear addition.

When adding on to an existing restoration project, several aspects need to be taken into consideration, such as the condition of the home, the structural integrity, how much of the original design has been left intact and how much of it has been altered over the years. Walking the tightrope of code requirements is also an issue — do the code requirements have an adverse effect on historic character?

As part of the restoration and addition, owners Jennifer Jackson and Bobby Baird, who currently reside on Strawberry Street, are going to leverage the historic tax credit program through the Virginia Department of Historic Resources and have hired consultant Paige Pollard to handle the application process. Ms. Pollard previously worked for the Department of Historic Resources, and is also handling tax credit applications for the developer of the old Cape Charles High School.

The house at 237 Randolph is a gabled, ell-framed dwelling dating from circa 1890, making it one of the oldest homes in Cape Charles. In some cases, we have seen restorations go rogue (see the Wave’s story on Hotel Cape Charles), generally ignoring the historical significance of a structure (as well as the Historic Review Board) relative to time, language, and culture. That does not appear to be the case with Ms. Jackson and Mr. Baird. The intent here is to get as close to the original design as possible while making the space modern and livable. [Read more…]


Slow Down, Supervisors — This Is God’s Country

January 26, 2015

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Penny Lusk wrote the following letter to Northampton County Supervisors, and requested the Wave to publish it. We are pleased to do so.)

To: Chairman Richard Hubbard, District 4; Granville Hogg, District 1; Larry Trala, District 5; Larry LeMond, District 2; Oliver Bennett, District 3


Outside of Fort Adkins, Wisconsin, in the hill country, you might come upon a sign on the side of an old barn. In large letters it reads, “Slow down. This is God’s country.” Is the sign meant to slow traffic or to get folks to stop and see beautiful nature, or, in the stopping and looking, to soul-search about what is important for good living? The stalwart agrarian folk of that area have a good handle on nature, hard work, and community.

Please, please, Northampton Board of Supervisors, slow down with these new zoning plans. Eastern Shore families have the same basic values as those rural Wisconsin folk. If rural is unattractive, why are so many young adults coming back. They are black, white, and Latino. They are medical professionals, entrepreneurs, small business starters, teachers, lawyers, contractors, aquaculture farmers and workers, organic farmers, artists, and tour guides. Many employ others, and all pay taxes. Some work several jobs just for the privilege of living here and raising their children in this rural environment.

The economic crash of ’08, mostly due to speculation gone awry, left us here in Northampton County with many subdivided lots sitting empty, causing costs to the county and loss of state funds for our schools.

On the plus side, since then, aquaculture and tourism have boomed and more small businesses have come and stayed. Organic farming is growing, our conventional farming is stronger, and our nursery businesses remain healthy. How incredible is all this that such a tiny county with a limited aquifer and a fragile but very special environment with rare habitat could prevail!

We are also blessed with retired citizens who have come with experience and expertise because they like what we are and what is here. They have seen their worlds paved over in the name of progress. They bring their grandchildren here to see the stars. We really do shine in today’s world. [Read more…]


Legal Followup on Selling a Pie to Your Neighbor

Cape Charles Wave

January 26, 2015

Martin Luther King Day was an appropriate day for the many advocacy organizations to come together at the Richmond General Assembly for their Lobby Day. This is a day in which individuals and groups can visit their Senator and Delegate and express their interest in pending legislation. I attended to promote a bill to allow the farmer and individuals the right to create food products in their home for sale to individuals without government intervention. These products would need to be labeled as not government inspected and could not be sold for resale.

House Bill 1290 would allow you or your neighbor to bake a pumpkin pie and sell it to someone who wants to eat home-baked goods but may not be able to make it himself. Older folks who can’t get out of the house to shop could order meals from a neighbor and provide a livelihood for a stay-at-home mom and obtain good nutrition in return. This is the lowest level of commerce, and the ability to fend for oneself in the kitchen should be available to all citizens.

The problem with Virginia regulations is that they are geared to an industrial product in which a farmer has acres of corn, soy, and wheat, or a factory that produces sterile, shrink-wrapped food. There is a whole subculture of individual entrepreneurs for whom these laws do not work. The legal bar to creating a small home-based food business is so high that many people operate small businesses illegally, or look for a low-paid job with a retailer in which they have no personal investment aside from putting in the specified number of hours.

Working for oneself empowers people to think creatively and is the historic foundation of the economy in our country. However, our laws in Virginia stifle the individual in favor of the corporation or corporate farm. I advocate a two-tier system of laws that support both small and large enterprises. This approach would provide maximum choice to individuals who could then decide for themselves what kind of food they prefer to buy. This provides opportunity for everyone.

Let me tell you about two of the people I met who support the Virginia Food Freedom bill: [Read more…]


County-Wide Rezoning Could Be Adopted in August

January 26, 2015


Due to the public outcry over the Northampton County Proposed County-wide Rezoning, and the potential impacts of such zoning on the quality of life of all our citizens, CBES pledges to help keep you informed. CBES has examined the Board of Supervisors’ Packet released last Friday, and is circulating the draft of the zoning timetable below.


On January 23, 2015, the Board of Supervisors was provided with a draft memorandum prepared by Katie H. Nunez, dated January 20, 2015, presumably for discussion at the January 26, 2015 Board Work Session. The memorandum notes the following schedule for adopting the County-wide Rezoning.
  • Jan. 26:  “…review the revised draft documents and map to be sent to joint public hearing (only those items which have changed since the original March 2014 joint public hearing)
  • Jan. 29: Revised draft document is available for the public’s inspection on the County website.
  • Feb. 19 and Feb. 24:  Conduct two (2) public information meetings about the revised document and map.  To be held at Kiptopeke Elementary School and Occohannock Elementary School.
  • March 4:  Board of Supervisors Recessed Meeting to review comments …”and decide if those comments need to be included in the revised documents.”  (A decision must be made that night in order for the remaining calendar to hold true.)
  • Apr. 22:  Joint Public Hearing between the Board of Supervisors & the Planning Commission on the Zoning Ordinances & Map.
  • July 31:  end of review time by the Planning Commission.
  • Aug. 11:  “Next available Board of Supervisors Meeting where action can occur.” 
Citizen attendance encourages good government. BOS Workshop Sessions do not allow for public comment.  

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MAKE ME LAUGH: A Page of Corny Jokes

January 26, 2015

EDITOR’S WARNING: The following has nothing to do with the Eastern Shore. It is merely a reprint from a Florida weekly newspaper of the corniest jokes we have heard in 50 years. The first challenge: read them without cracking a smile. The second challenge: quit reading them before you reach the end.

St. Cloud In The News

Q. What do you call a fish without an eye?
A: Fsh

Q: What was the name of the girl who kept a frog on her head?
A: Lily

Q: Why does a dog wag its tail?
A: Because no one else will wag it for him.

A team of little animals agreed to play football with a team of big animals. During the first half of the game the big animals were winning, but in the second half a centipede scored so many touchdowns that the little animals won the game. Afterward, a chipmunk asked the centipede, “Where were you during the first half?” The centipede replied, “Putting on my shoes.”

Q: What word becomes shorter when you add two more letters to it?
A: Short

Q: A man leaves home, turns left three times, and then returns home where he sees two men wearing masks. Who are those masked men?
A: A catcher and an umpire

Q: If April showers bring May flowers, what do May flowers bring?
A: Pilgrims

Q: What did the snowman say to the customer?
A: Have an ice day!

On Halloween a kid takes a shortcut through a graveyard, where he is startled to hear a tapping sound coming out of the darkness. Trembling with fear, he sees an old man with a hammer and chisel, chipping away at a headstone. “Whew, I thought you were a ghost,” says the kid. “Why are you working so late?” The old man just grumbles, “Idiots — they misspelled my name!”

While visiting the home of his grown daughter, a father calls her at work to ask for the password to the WiFi. “It’s taped under the modem,” she tells him. Fifteen minutes later he calls her again. “I’ve tried over and over but I can’t log in. Am I spelling this right: T-A-P-E-D-U-N-D-E-R-T-H-E-M-O-D-E-M.

Two robbers hold up a restaurant. They line up the customers against a wall and proceed to take their wallets, watches, and other valuables. While this is going on, the first robber jams something into the second robber’s hand. Without looking down, the second robber whispers, “What is this?” to which the first robber replies, “It’s that $50 I owe you.”

OK, ONE MORE, BUT THAT’S IT [Read more…]

Be-Lo Building Brought Low

January 19, 2015

Mason Avenue’s biggest eyesore is no more. The old Be-Lo grocery store, run out of business when Food Lion opened on the highway, got a mercy killing this past week as developer Patrick Hand cleared the area for a mixed-use building with commercial storefronts at ground level and condos upstairs. Also falling victim to Hand’s development are 160 public parking places surrounding the old building. The town plans to lease parking space on railroad property a bit further walk to shops compared to the old lot. (Photo: Irene Munz)