Town Beach Replenishment and Bay Creek Erosion


March 23, 2015 — At top, Craig Richardson’s drone equipped with fisheye lens provides a dramatic shot of Cape Charles public beach’s new real estate, courtesy of the Army Corps of Engineers, who are dredging the harbor channel and pumping the spoil onto the beach.

Meanwhile (bottom left), erosion at Bay Creek’s private beach prepares to again attack the golf cart path, which previously fell to Hurricane Sandy.

At bottom right, Wayne Creed reports that the muddy material dredged from the harbor will be taken to the Upland Placement Site, just south of the railroad tracks that parallel Stone Road. Construction and rehabilitation of the site has already begun.

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Council Appoints Brent Manuel Town Manager, Commends Heroes for Icy Rescue

Cape Charles Wave

March 23, 2015

Cape Charles Town Council met March 19 at the Civic Center, and Mayor George Proto began by announcing that the Town has appointed Brent T. Manuel of Woodstock, Virginia, as the new Town Manager. The appointment is effective April 6.

Hardly a newcomer to local government, Manuel has over 16 years of experience, having served the towns of Purcellville, Strasburg, and Woodstock and the county of Frederick.  For the past 13 years Manuel was Woodstock’s Assistant Town Manager of Operations and Director of the Department of Planning and Community Development.

“While I have thoroughly enjoyed my time in the Northern Shenandoah Valley, I am very enthusiastic about the opportunity that awaits in the beautiful town of Cape Charles,” Manuel says.

Mayor Proto stated, “The Town Council and I look forward to his beginning, his tenure, and the contributions I believe he will make to the town.”

Councilman Frank Wendell added, “We are very excited to have him here, and the fact that he chose to live in town is a very good sign.”

Although the decision to hire Manuel was made a few weeks ago, the process had been stalled due to his difficulty finding rental housing within the town limits. But with that problem resolved, Manuel begins work in two weeks.

Mayor Proto issued Commendations to Officer Tom Potts, Sergeant Jay Bell, and Keith Lewis for a dramatic rescue at the Town Harbor on the night of March 5.  About 7:45 p.m., Lewis saw a man fall off the icy dock into the frigid water. He immediately dialed 911, alerted authorities, and attempted to assist the victim. Officer Tom Potts soon arrived, and he and Lewis crawled out on the ice, where Potts worked to keep the man above water. A few moments later, Sergeant Jay Bell arrived and joined the effort. The team pulled the victim out of the water and dragged him across the ice and up to the dock where an ambulance was waiting to transport him to the hospital. The victim has made a full recovery. [Read more…]

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Rezoning ‘Information Session’ Turns into Showdown

Supervisor Larry Trala faces up to two of Northampton County's most determined rezoning opponents: Bob Meyers (from back) and Ken Dufty (right). (Wave photo)

Supervisor Larry Trala faces up to two of Northampton County’s most determined rezoning opponents: Bob Meyers (from back) and Ken Dufty (right). (Wave photo)

Cape Charles Wave

March 23, 2015

After several delays, the winter weather finally relented and allowed Northampton County to conduct two Public Information Sessions for the county’s proposed zoning ordinance. Although the event was sparsely populated, those in attendance were eager to hear or see just what was in store, and if it differed in any way from what had already been gleaned from Economic Developer Charles McSwain’s Information Paper.

The first session, at Kiptopeke Elementary, kicked off with an overview of what the county considered the most significant and impactful changes, such as shore widths, allowable uses, the continued incorporation of the Bay Act throughout the county, and the inclusion of mobile homes in the plan. County Long Range Planner Peter Stith emphasized that this effort was meant to be a way to streamline the process, make definitions more clear, and simplify the overall zoning, such as by reducing the number of districts from 21 to 15.

The room had stations set up on the perimeters, with county staff available to answer questions. Mr. Stith and the Geographic Information System Department also provided several large wall maps showing just what the physical changes are going to look like in a very holistic manner. Each station was loaded with a fairly robust level of information, and county staff was pleasant and eager to answer questions. Among those attending were Cape Charles Town Council members Chris Bannon and Joan Natali.

While the mood of the general public was initially buoyant, news that public comments would be limited to “written only” comments sucked a good bit of the air out of the event. As the public milled about, and somewhat hushed conversations echoed off the cinder block walls of the auditorium, the room began to take on the sad feel of a job fair intended for recently released inmates from the county jail rather than an exciting question and answer session.

Night two at Occohonock Elementary, however, had an entirely different feel. The format was the same, but after Planner Stith finished his introduction and was on his way to one of the tables, he was bushwhacked by Dr. Art Schwarzschild of Willis Wharf. “Peter, I have a question. There is such a big difference between the first proposal and the current one, and the difference is not well highlighted. We at Willis Wharf and Oyster, we spent a lot of time, two years, picking all the things we wanted in our villages — why did we change this for something new that was developed behind closed doors?” he asked. [Read more…]

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LETTER: Supervisors’ Complacence Threatens County

March 23, 2015


My wife and I attended the zoning informational meeting at Kiptopeke School this week. While discussing the zoning with one of the Supervisors present we were told that he believes the majority of people in the county actually support the proposed zoning but are simply not attending the meetings, and that the group of people who attend all the meetings (and overwhelmingly oppose the zoning) are actually the minority. The takeaway here would seem that if you are against the zoning changes, or at least skeptical of them, you had better get to the meetings and be heard or you are assumed to be supporting them.

While expressing our concerns to this same Supervisor about the zoning changes paving the way for uses such as medical waste disposal and manure processing/incineration (just to name a couple) we were told,”Uses like that would never happen.” But if our zoning is weak and leaves loopholes, then, whether we like it or not, uses like these can and will happen and could negatively affect every resident of Northampton County.

Any use, in any district, that has the potential to
— foul and pollute our air,
— pollute the water we drink or grow our clams and oysters in,
— pollute the ground our crops are grown on and our children play on, and
— negatively impact the values of our business and homes,
should NEVER be allowed “by right.” These types of uses should always have to go through a “special use” process so that community members have the ability to change or stop, when necessary, something that is harmful to the county as a whole.

Cape Charles

Letters to the Editor are welcome, and a diversity of opinions is encouraged. Send submissions to [email protected].


Cape Charles Wave Columnist

This is the first of a series of columns I am calling The Alternative Table. I will discuss many topics beginning with interviews and photos of some of the new sustainable farms on the Eastern Shore and also covering what are healthy food choices and cooking techniques, recipes, important books and movies on these subjects, and alternative health options. I’ll approach these subjects from the point of view of a journalist, reporting on farms I’ve visited and topics I’ve been reading about. I’d like to be clear about the fact that I am a layperson with wide-ranging interests in these topics and not a doctor, nutritionist, or healer.

My first topic is the Weston A. Price Foundation and how it has helped my health. I understand that what has worked for me is not necessarily a weight loss solution for everyone. We all come from different genetics, cultural heritages, and physical experiences, and as a result each of our bodies operates in a slightly different manner.

At first, my friends looked at me incredulously when I explained how I lost 50 pounds by incorporating the principles of the Weston A. Price Foundation. The ingredient that did it for me was fat — lots of fat! Like most people coming of age in the 1970s I learned about the new USDA food pyramid and the need to eat less meat, dairy, and fat. I took this seriously, as my mother had always kept abreast of health trends, listening to Carlton Fredericks and Adele Davis on the radio. My siblings and I were probably the only children who went to school after a breakfast of orange juice and brewer’s yeast. Fortunately, the niacin flush wore off just as I arrived at school.

Fast forward past high school, college, marriage, kids, and a career. By the time I retired in April 2014 I was physically exhausted from raising children, coping with a really stressful career spent mostly in front of computers in dark rooms, and a commute that took occasionally more than two hours on the return trip. I was way overweight, exhausted, and my preference during non-work days was to read in bed. Somehow over the years when initially I tried to make healthy food choices I stopped reading labels and bought food primarily for convenience. I found myself looking forward to meals and snacks as replacements for fun and over time began to crave sugar and then fat alternately.

Once I got those cravings, it got to be an addiction. My drugs of choice were potato chips followed by ice cream. No matter how each day I resolved to skip the grocery store, by the time I finished work I could not resist. At the time I knew I had a problem but did not know how to resolve it. For quite a few years I was convinced that I just lacked willpower. [Read more…]


FRIDAY 3/27: Ed Bull on ‘New Treatment for Peripheral Neuropathy’

Science and Philosophy Seminar of the Eastern Shore of Virginia’s next seminar, “New Treatment for Peripheral Neuropathy,” will be 12:30 p.m. Friday, March 27, in the Eastern Shore Community College Lecture Hall, 29300 Lankford Hwy. Ed Bull will describe how sufferers of peripheral neuropathy resulting from diabetes, chemotherapy, Agent Orange, and other diseases, may be helped by Class 4 Laser treatment. [Read more…]

APRIL 12, 19, 26: Printmaking Class with Eden Ertle at Arts Enter

Beginning April 12 and continuing on April19 and April 26,  artist Eden Ertle will teach printmaking during her Sunday Art Sessions at Arts Enter from 2:30-4:30 p.m. The three week class is priced at $90. Register for one class or for the entire series.  Classes are open to anyone 12 or older.  Contact ArtsEnter at  (757) 331-2787 or instructor Eden Ertle at (757) 331-4079 or [email protected]. [Read more…]