COUNTY AND TOWN OFFICIALS “OUT” CRITICAL EMAILS  — For several months, Northampton County activists led by Ken Dufty have circulated emails among their supporters highly critical of county rezoning attempts that could allow chicken houses and waste incineration among many other ills. The emails name names and pull no punches. Some of the emails went to a long list of supporters while others planning strategy were circulated only among a smaller core group. Now reports are that County Economic Development Director Charles McSwain got wind of one of the strategy emails and decided to blow the activists’ cover by including the email among the official documents for discussion at the Board of Supervisors June 9 meeting. The county document includes the email addresses of all recipients. Most recently, the opposition to County plans extended to the PSA sewer scheme, which involves the Town of Cape Charles as well. Not to be outdone, Town Clerk Libby Hume has now circulated a private report by Dufty describing the town’s June 4 work session on the PSA. This email originally went to some 150 readers, and every one of their email addresses has been exposed by the town clerk. The clerk annotated her email as follows: “Attached are the notes from last night’s work session that were emailed by ‘enviroduf’ to his/her group this morning.” This raises the question of the propriety of paid town and county officials circulating private, critical communications, strategy, and address lists never intended for them (or their political bosses) to see. Those who remember Watergate might draw a parallel with Nixon’s “Enemy List.” (6/9)

MAYOR PROTO SPEAKS ON REVERSE-ANGLE PARKING — Cape Charles Mayor George Proto made the following statement May 30: “The roll-out for reverse angle parking was not good at all. We should have spent a lot more time talking to people about this. We should have put out flyers. We should have looked at better signage. In general, that’s something I’m not so proud of. . . . Verbally we had been told many times by VDOT that head-in parking would not be approved. We lost parking across from Mason Avenue and we had to recover parking spaces. Angle parking allows us to get 30 additional parking spaces. We felt that was really needed for big events and in summer. The VDOT website says they do not allow angle parking; they don’t say which kind, but in the past we had been told they would not approve head-in parking. Tucson, Arizona, has reported that when they switched to reverse angle parking they had a drop in bicycle accidents. Prior to that they averaged three to four bicycle accidents per month. Afterwards, for two years, they had none. In this town we have golf carts, bicycles, motorized wheel chairs — the belief is that it is safer to have reverse angle parking. So this is the best that we can do.” (6/1)

QUIET PATRIOTISM — On Friday, May 22, I went to The Oyster Farm restaurant at Bay Creek to pick up a take out order of oyster stew. While at the counter, as I proceeded to sign my charge, a pleasant looking gentleman at the bar came up to me and said, you cannot pay for that.” We did not know each other, and his insistence confused me until he asked, “How old are you,” to which I responded, 84. He then asked if I had been in the military and I said “yes, Air Force in Texas.” He then gently pushed away the charge slip and repeated “You cannot pay for that,” and quietly resumed his seat at the bar. I asked for his name and the lady behind the bar said “Tony.” It took me a few minutes to realize that this quiet gesture was to recognize someone he assumed was a veteran on this weekend of honor and memorial. It was not about me but about those who have served and given their lives to protect our country. Having never before had such an experience, I found it to be quite moving and genuine. Thanks to Tony for helping all of us to remember. –Dr. Andrew Dickinson, Virginia Beach (5/26)

hannahHELP HANNAH GO TO NYC — High School senior Hannah DeMarino was accepted by the American Musical & Dramatic Academy in New York City, a very competitive performing arts college and conservatory. She will begin classes in October studying acting, musical theatre, dance, and voice. Hannah will be working hard this summer as a hostess/waitress at The Oyster Farm Eatery. She has half the tuition from grants and scholarships . If you would like to help Hannah achieve her dreams, please send any donations, payable to AMDA College & Conservatory, to: Hannah DeMarino, 4361 Sunnyside Road, Cape Charles VA 23310. (5/26)

CAPE CHARLES RANKED #15 FOR SAME-SEX WEDDINGSShewired.com has ranked Cape Charles as the 15th best place in the country to hold a same-sex destination wedding. “Once you get to this remote location the beauty and charm will overwhelm you and your guests! This small beach town is unmatched for brides looking for a beautiful and secluded destination, especially since you need to cross a 23 mile bridge to get there!” Not totally accurate about the bridge, but at least they got us in Virginia, not Maryland. The top same-sex wedding destinations for brides? 1. Las Vegas, 2. Key West, 3. San Francisco. (5/20)

TED SHOCKLEY COMES OUT ON TOP — The entry just below this one reported that the Eastern Shore News won top recognition last year from the Virginia Press Association when Ted Shockley was still editor. But this year, as part of parent company Gannett’s downsizing, Shockley’s editor position was done away with and he received a new title as “writing coach” for Gannett’s Eastern Shore newspapers, including the Salisbury Daily Times. But wait: Today, Gannett named Shockley executive editor not only for the Daily Times but also for the entire Delmarva Media Group of nine weeklies. That includes the online component (which is any newspaper’s only hope for the future). Delmarva Media Group President Bill Janus said, “As we continue our transition to a digital marketplace, having someone like Ted lead the newsroom is crucial for us. He knows what our readers expect and he is very capable of delivering that across multiple platforms.” Good to see a local journalist come out on top. (5/4)

EASTERN SHORE NEWS VOTED BEST — The Gossip page has previously reported the sad decimation of the Eastern Shore News by its national owner, Gannett, so it’s only fair to also report that the Virginia Press Association recently named the ESN the best out of 40 papers within its circulation group. But again, sadly, we have to note that the ranking was for 2014 — before Gannett dissolved the position of editor and reassigned Ted Shockley as “writing coach” for its Salisbury paper as well as the ESN. Shockley got awards for several editorials and columns he wrote last year, but the staffer who really brought home the bacon was photographer Jay Diem with 15 awards, including his poignant shot of family members grieving for “Ace” Horton, who drowned off the Cape Charles beach last summer. Also notable was Jay’s portrait of Karen Davis holding one of her chickens at United Poultry Concerns. The area’s other print newspaper, the Eastern Shore Post, has chosen not to submit entries to the Virginia Press Association. If it did, we think that sportswriter Bill Sterling would sweep the deck. (4/23)

GANNETT DISMISSES NORTHAMPTON COUNTY — We noted some time back that the online edition of the Eastern Shore News lumps all Northampton County news under the heading of ACCOMACK. Here’s photographic proof, courtesy of today’s Google News “local news” roundup: CLICK to see the new Cape Charles town seal. (4/23)

MISSING CAT — On April 16, Kat (our cat ) went missing from Richardson’s Tire Service in Cheriton. We think she hitched a ride with a customer, unknowing to them or us. The vehicle traveled from Bayside Road to the Harbor docks in Cape Charles and then to the Cape Center. She could be anywhere. Spayed female, no collar, CLICK for picture. Call 757-331-4701 or 757-331-1376. (4/22)

HAS CHARLES McSWAIN HAD ENOUGH? — Rumors circulating this past weekend are that Northampton County’s Director of Economic Development, Charles McSwain, has said that he’s fed up with all the criticism and is quitting effective this summer. According to a reliable source, McSwain made that statement last Thursday, saying that his “skin isn’t that thick.”  McSwain did not respond over the weekend to a request to confirm or deny that he is quitting, which is why this news item has been relegated to the GOSSIP page instead of Page 1. McSwain has received considerable criticism since he assumed the newly created Economic Development  position in January 2013 — most recently for the way the county’s massive rezoning proposals were drafted with little prior community input or adherence to the Comprehensive Plan. (4/12)

TIGHTER SECURITY AT BAY CREEK — No more “courtesy openings” at the Bay Creek main gate: residents must now enter their codes into the keypad. All others — such as those going to the Coach House Grill — must provide their names to the gate keeper. Our Bay Creek correspondent calls this “a step in the right direction — now all we need is for someone to fix and adjust the security cameras and figure out how to download the images. A return to roving night patrols would also be welcome.” (4/12)

JEOPARDY! ERASES VIRGINIA FROM DELMARVAShore Daily News reports that yesterday’s (April 7) Jeopardy! quiz contained this “answer”: 17.6 miles of bridge & 2 miles of tunnel help travelers cross this bay from Virginia to Maryland. Never mind that the 17.6 miles should have included the 2 miles of tunnels — what should irk any fan of Virginia’s Eastern Shore is that once again our little strip of heaven has been assigned to Maryland. There are even maps that show the same thing. Also common are outline maps of Virginia that omit the peninsula altogether. And a Maryland candidate for Senate, Donna Edwards, gained notoriety recently for her logo depicting the state of Maryland as including Virginia’s Eastern Shore. That might not win her a Senate seat, but she could probably win at Jeopardy! (4/8)

STARBUCKS COMING TO TOWN? — Unless it’s an April Fool’s prank, the Wilson Building is slated for a Starbuck’s. Sounds fishy, but that’s what the sign says. Wilson’s owner Gordon Campbell would know for sure, but he hasn’t had anything to say to the Wave since a year ago today, when he reported his own April Fool’s joke.  Meanwhile, a Starbuck’s in Cape Charles poses more questions than answers: Would it do business year-’round, and if so, how? After all, the Shanty, Hotel Cape Charles, Brown Dog Ice Cream, and even the town toilets don’t operate during the winter.  And then, what would a chain coffee shop mean for the Romeos’ Cape Charles Coffee House? No way there’s enough business for both. Up the road in Mappsville, 800 people signed a petition against opening a Dollar General store that would take business from the nearby Matthews’ Market (not that the petition did any good).  Stay tuned for more information on whether a Home Depot will build on the former Meatland property. (APRIL 2 UPDATE: Majority of commenters on Campbell’s Facebook page say April Fool! — but there are many believers as well.) (4/1)

END OF STORY FOR BEACH GLASS AND STORIES — Karen Jolly Davis’s whimsical shop “Beach Glass and Stories” is giving way to another real estate office, this one run by Kathy Weiner. Kathy works both sides of the housing market, selling for Dave Griffith’s Coldwell Banker Harbour Realty, and managing Cape Charles Vacation Rentals in partnership with Chuck Little. Word is that Kathy will also continue to sell some of Karen’s jewelry and other stock. This makes the second (and only remaining) transition of a beach glass shop to a real estate agency — the first being former Mayor Dora Sullivan’s beach glass and office supply, now Long & Foster Realty. (4/1)

TOWN DODGES DREDGING QUESTION — A “special edition” of the Cape Charles Gazette purports to tell everything you ever wanted to know about the harbor dredging/beach improvement. We learn what color the sand will turn, and whether it’s safe to walk on the beach. What isn’t mentioned is whether it’s safe to go in the water — specifically, are there dangerous drop-offs now that the beach extends so close to the channel? The town isn’t telling. (4/1)

TENNIS, NO ONE? — The same special Gazette cited above also reports the closure of the town tennis courts, next to the closed town basketball court. According to the report, several of the lights are unstable and pose a safety hazard. It will take town staff until “the end of May or early June” to fix the lights, during which time the courts will remain closed. Meanwhile, new Town Manager Brent Manuel starts work April 6 — this will be a good test to see whether he is content for his staff to take two months to change a lightbulb. (4/1)

ANTIQUES SHOP LEAVING THE STATION — Beverly and Ray (“Fig”) have announced they are shutting down the Cape Charles Station Antiques and Collectibles shop at 211 Mason Avenue due to a bad roof that has become unsafe. They are renting half of the pottery building just south of Sting Ray’s restaurant, where Fig already runs a junk shop/flea market on the north side of Sting Ray’s. Opening is “in about a month.” The vacancy is a rare setback for Mason Avenue, where empty storefronts have become almost scarce. (3/20)

QUOTE OF THE WEEK  — “If every time someone wants to build a business in a Hamlet District, and people protest against it, then maybe we need to not have a Hamlet District.” –Developer Bill Parr to Northampton Board of Supervisors (3/12)

HIGH NORTHAMPTON COUNTY SALARIES — Wesley Edwards of Shore Daily News reports that during the March 10 Northampton Board of Supervisors meeting, “some citizens questioned staffing salaries as compared to other locations. References to the County Administrator’s salary of $120,000 per year versus a statewide average of $57,000 per year, the Commonwealth Attorney’s salary of $146,000 per year versus the Virginia average of $85,000 per year, and the Economic Development [Director’s] salary of $107,000 versus a state average of $71,000 per year were all suggested as areas that could be cut and save tax increases.” Not part of Edwards’ report was that at an earlier meeting when County Administrator Katie Nunez’s salary (and latest raise) were cited, she visibly blushed. (3/12)

DECIMATION OF THE EASTERN SHORE NEWS CONTINUES — Last August a Gossip entry (scroll way down to read) forecast a gloomy future for Tasley-based Eastern Shore News, owned by Gannett, publisher of USA Today. The Gossip report cited three excellent journalists at ESN: Editor Ted Shockley, reporter Connie Morrison, and photographer Jay Diem. Since then, Morrison left in September to become Regional Planner at Accomack-Northampton Planning District Commission, and now Ted Shockley has left the editor’s post he held for a decade. Shockley continues to work for Gannett; his new title is “writing coach” for the Delmarva Media Group, whose flagship is the Salisbury Daily Times. There’s no indication of any replacement for Shockley at the ESN – and why should there be? The paper is devolving into an adjunct of larger Delmarva publications, publishing the same news written for the Daily Times. Northampton County ceased to exist as a geographical region in ESN reporting some time back, and now it looks like Accomack will follow in the same footsteps. Best of luck to Shockley, who began his career at the ESN at age 18. CLICK to read his upbeat farewell. (3/8)

WAVE GOES TOPLESS — National advertising in the right-hand column of the Wave is provided by Google, and the Wave has no control over what appears. And now it appears that Google has no problem featuring topless models, as in this “It’s Better in the Bahamas” ad (CLICK) appearing in some editions of the Wave. Never mind the lady on the beach — check out her topless companion. Is that over the top? (2/25)

BAY CREEK PRICE AND PRIVILEGE — Bay Creek property owners each pay $155 monthly dues to the Property Owners Association to keep things looking nice — those thousands of roses don’t grow on trees, after all. But it turns out that, just as the Town of Cape Charles fails to charge all users a monthly water fee (CLICK), the Property Owners Association fails to charge all owners monthly dues. In the case of the town, the lucky ducky is favored Old School developer J. David McCormack. In the case of Bay Creek, again it’s a developer: lucky “Dickie” Foster. At last count Foster still owned some 75 lots after selling the rest of his holdings to Keyser/Sinclair, doing business as Bay Creek South LLC. Foster pays not one dime dues on those 75 lots — the “little people” are left to cover that. But then again, Foster has never paid the same fees and taxes imposed on the little people: for example, when he sold seven lots on Randolph Avenue formerly leased to the town to exhibit the magnificent “Welcome to Cape Charles” sign, we learned that the town had never charged him property tax during the years he leased the lots. Back in Bay Creek, Foster saves $140,000 a year in POA dues, which of course means higher dues for everyone else. But why would the POA agree to such a thing? Turns out that Bay Creek property owners have no control over their “own” association and will not until Bay Creek is more fully developed (currently only 10 percent). Until that time, Keyser/Sinclair controls the POA. It should come as no surprise, then, that Keyser/Sinclair, owner of hundreds of vacant Bay Creek lots, also pays no dues. That’s written into the charter, but Foster lost (or should have lost) that privilege when he sold out. Now, Bay Creekers Dr. Paul Strong and  Steve and Susan Husak are mounting a legal effort to make Foster pay up. Such a battle has been won at least once before — see 1 Samuel:17 (and that victor also got a tax exemption). (2/22)

DORA OUT THE DOOR — When former mayor Dora Sullivan and her husband, former town councilman Mike Sullivan, both announced they would not run for re-election last year, some folks wondered if they would quit the town altogether. Oh no, Miss Dora proclaimed — they had had enough of politics but would never leave their adopted land on the Eastern Shore. But then the Sullivans put their office building up for sale, where both Dora and Mike had run their own businesses, amplifying the scuttlebutt that the Sullivans were not long for the Shore. Still denials rang out: Cape Charles would be their final resting place. But now the word is that indeed the Sullivans are leaving to join their married child and grandchild across the Bay. Even Dora’s parents, who have a part-time home in Cheriton when not living in their native Greece, are pulling up stakes for across the bay. Dora has long campaigned for improved healthcare access for Cape Charles residents; having failed to obtain it, and with the hospital moving north, she and Mike apparently decided to move where they could enjoy both family and healthcare. The saga is reminiscent of Bay Creek developer Dickie Foster, who once proclaimed that his mansion overlooking the golf course and the bay would become his principal residence. Instead, he sold out. Meanwhile, Brown Dog Ice Cream owner Miriam Elton is buying the Sullivans’ office building on Mason Avenue, now leased to Long & Foster Realty. No word yet if the Sullivans have a buyer for their Monroe Avenue residence (originally the town’s elementary school) named “Villa Dora.” (2/17)

BROADWATER TEACHER WINS BIG ON JEOPARDY! — Broadwater Academy Latin teacher Eric Hack (see below) took home the gold ($17,800) in his first appearance on Jeopardy! Wednesday night, meaning he will return. By the time of Final Jeopardy!, Hack was so far ahead of his fellow teacher contestants that he wagered $0 — a good thing, too, because the question he wrote was wrong. Ironically, one answer during the game referred to a word in Latin, and Hack got the chance to ask the question. His first words were “I should know this,” and it sounded as though he did, but before he could fully say the word the buzzer sounded. The correct question? “What is vigilante”? The “Hack Attack” returns Tuesday, February 10, to compete against other semi-finalists.  A shot of Broadwater students also appeared on the show. (UPDATE: Unfortunately, Hack did not manage to repeat his first week’s success — but he came close.) (2/4)

JEOPARDY! IN KELLY’S GINGERNUT PUB  — Attention Jeopardy! and Broadwater Academy fans: Kelly’s Gingernut Pub is the place to be Wednesday night, February 4, at 7:30 p.m. when Broadwater Latin teacher and cross country coach Eric Hack competes against other teachers on the Jeopardy! TV quiz show for a chance to win $100,000. According to the Eastern Shore News,  Hack will be watching the show at Kelly’s with friends. Who buys depends on the outcome of the show. (2/2)

OLD SCHOOL VACATION RENTALS — Paige Pollard, agent for Old School developer J. David McCormack, has revealed that McCormack plans to convert the school’s auditorium and stage into dormitory-style weekly rentals for families. The auditorium area will be “designed to accommodate multiple families, providing primarily open interactive space with some privacy allowed for sleeping, etc.,” Pollard wrote to Department of Historic Resources historical architect Suzanne Tripp. It sounds like a plan to host church groups and other youth groups. The contract with the town states that the school would be converted to 17 units, but no one knew that one of the units would be for “multiple families.” Pollard formerly worked for the Virginia Department of Historic Resources but now works for McCormack and other clients. Prior to her revelation, the old school plans had been represented as conventional rentals leased on an annual basis. Since McCormack has been given a waiver on most town requirements (greatly reduced water and sewer hookup fees, no current water bills, property tax deferrals, illegal parking lot in front of building, not to mention being given the building by the town), it will be interesting to see if he will be required to follow town rules for vacation rentals. Unlike long-term rentals, vacation rentals require a business license, payment of personal property tax on the furnishings, and an 11 percent occupancy tax. (1/24)

CENTRAL PARK “RIOT” — The Eastern Shore Post reported January 9 that according to Police Chief Jim Pruitt, seven people have been charged following a December 28 “riot” at Central Park. Pruitt is quoted as saying the incident began on Facebook when “two of them decided they wanted to fight each other. Then others wanted to bet on who would win. The suspects later posted a video of a battle on the website. That’s how we got wind of it. Three or more people contributing to violence” is a riot, Pruitt said. Cody Nicholas Brady, 19, of Cheriton, and Dory Epps, 19, of Exmore, were charged with conspiring to incite a riot, participating in a riot, and three counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Five  juveniles were also charged. Police Officer Chelsea A. Pfeiffer was the investigating officer, according to the Post. (1/9)

TOWN BUYING SPREE? — Cape Charles Town Council met behind closed doors Thursday, January 8, to discuss buying more real estate. What, they won’t say. After selling prime park property for a song in 2012, Town Council has reversed course and now seems only to want to buy — first the bank building (beating out a bank that was interested), then Dickie Foster’s vacant lots (that time no one else was interested), and now? Does Bay Coast Railroad perhaps want to unload some property for quick cash instead of leasing it to the town? State law requires the town to say specifically what will be discussed that is so sensitive as to merit barring the public from the meeting. Only a few reasons are allowed. The town clerk has listed the “general” reason as:  “discussion or consideration of the acquisition of real property.” Then she lists the specific details: “Real Property Acquisition Opportunity.” That merely repeats the general reason — illegal under state law, but try telling that to Judge Lewis. (1/6)

GORDON CAMPBELL MAKES NATIONAL GEOGRAPHICCLICK to view Bay Creek pilot-photographer Gordon Campbell’s aerial photo of Hog Island Bay, which National Geographic selected as its January 5 “Photo of the Day.” (1/6)

CHERITON TIRE CENTER FOR SALE — Another commercial property on Bayside Road just south of Cheriton has a For Sale sign — Phil Richardson’s tire shop. Just down the road, the Fab Man property belonging to Tom Kaufman is also for sale. Both owners would have to pay heavily if a PSA scheme is approved requiring them to hook up to a sewer pipe stretching all the way to Cape Charles. Richardson has been an outspoken opponent of the PSA plan. (12/18)

PANEK CROSSES POLITICAL LINE (AGAIN) — As town manager, Bob Panek might be expected to concentrate on town administration and stay away from town politics. But that has never been the case. Panek has been active in political debates for Town Council elections, choosing what questions were asked to which candidates. Worse, as the Wave has documented (CLICK), Panek sought to manipulate the results of the 2012 Town Council elections by postponing the sale of the old school until after the election. Now Panek has moved in the political arena again, suggesting that the town should save money by holding Town Council elections in November rather than May. The saving is insignificant (working out to $2 a day), so the real issue is political, not administrative, and no decision should be made without first consulting voters in a referendum. Panek nevertheless inserted the proposal into last month’s Town Council agenda under Town Clerk Libby Hume’s name, as if to suggest it was really her idea. Mayor George Proto suddenly found himself forced to call a vote on the proposal. It was a close call: Bay Creekers Steve Bennett and Joan Natali both voted yes, while Sambo Brown and Chris Bannon voted no. Tom Godwin and Frank Wendell were absent. Proto broke the tie (the only instance when the mayor votes), voting no, and the proposal was defeated for now. Will Proto realize he needs to keep a closer eye on Panek’s political agenda? (12/16)

PAVE PARADISE, PUT UP A PARKING LOT — When the Town of Cape Charles bought the Bank of America building, it also got the empty lot on the corner of Randolph Avenue and Pine Street, best known for containing one of the largest and most prolific pecan trees in town.  The town has classified it as a “signature tree” contributing to the significance of the streetscape along Pine Street.  The Cape Charles Tree Plan and Tree Ordinance legally protect “appropriate existing trees.” Town Council has decided to build a parking lot on that corner, and asked the Planning Commission for a recommendation on whether to save the tree or cut it down to gain four more parking spots. The Planning Commission responded that a professional arborist should be consulted on how the tree might fare in a parking lot. Town Manager Bob Panek was tasked to find an arborist, and the one he chose quoted a fee of $790 to give an opinion on the tree. When Town Council heard that, they decided to dispense with the advice of the Planning Commission, and voted unanimously to chop down the tree (Councilman Wendell was absent). No mention was made of the town’s requirement of residents to plant two trees for every tree cut down. (12/13)

BIG PLANS FOR OLD NORTHAMPTON HOTEL — After a false start at restoration (see 5/1/2014 GOSSIP), the short-time New Jersey owners of 1 Mason Avenue sold the building, and the new owner has revealed plans for a $500,000 restoration as a hotel/restaurant/gift shop under the original Northampton Hotel name. Manager Beth Walker of  Austin, Texas, is requesting permission from the town’s Historic Review Board to extend the front porch the full length of the building and to screen in a portion for outside dining. A crumbling chimney would also be removed. CLICK to view an architect’s rendering. The Historic Review Board has previously balked at allowing a full-length front porch (2 Monroe Avenue) and removing a chimney (621 Jefferson Avenue), although the Board relented when the Jefferson Avenue owners failed to install a fake chimney. Walker has stated that she wants to see what the Board says before making any further decisions. Ask an old-timer how long the sagging Northampton Hotel has stood vacant. (12/9)

CAPE CHARLES HITS THE BIG TIME — Suzanne Golibart, proprietor of Periwinkles Consignment Boutique, is spreading the word that Joe Flanagan of Channel 13 news is coming to Cape Charles 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, December 10, 
to film an episode of 
”Joe’s Jobs.” He will be driving Angie Pfeiffer’s  horse-drawn carriage and promoting the town’s Festive Fridays (on Wednesday, no less). The plan is to show what a vibrant, bustling town awaits Friday night visitors. Organizers will convene in front of the Palace Theatre and are looking for warm bodies to walk around downtown, in and out of the shops. No purchase necessary (although Periwinkles is offering a discount to any customer who can show a little bustle). (12/8)

POLICE NAB BAY CREEK LITTERERS — Our Bay Creek correspondent reports that a young woman used her brother’s pass code to enter Bay Creek with a carload of people who subsequently were spotted  dumping “debris.” An observant employee took down the license plate number and provided it to the Cape Charles Police Department, who responded. Bay Creek management circulated a notice about the incident. Kudos to the Town Police and to the Bay Creek employee. (11/18)

NORTHAMPTON KICKS REASSESSMENT DOWN THE ROAD — Until now, Northampton  properties have only been reassessed every five years, which worked nicely for the County after the real estate bubble burst: properties continued to be taxed at their 2008 bubble value. But all good things must come to an end, and the 2013 reassessment reflected an enormous drop in property value: 20 percent for the County overall and a whopping 35 percent in the Town of Cape Charles, where formerly six-figure Bay Creek empty lots dropped a digit (from $250,000 down to $50,000, for example). Equivalent tax rate increases were then passed by the County and the Town so as not to lose any revenue. But earlier, in 2011, the County also passed an ordinance changing reassessments from every five years to every two years. That meant a new reassessment for tax year 2015. Since the 2013 reassessment did not fully reflect current property values, the 2015 reassessment would have shown a further decline in values. (As an indication, the Wave REAL ESTATE section has begun publishing the tax assessed value of recently sold properties for comparison with the sales price.) But last night (November 12), Northampton Board of Supervisors repealed the two-year ordinance before it ever had an effect, delaying the next reassessment until 2018. County Administrator Katie Nunez requested the change because she said the County did not have time to migrate to a new software program following the decease of the current software provider. Nunez thought the County might be able to perform a reassessment for 2016, but that will not happen unless the Board of Supervisors passes yet another ordinance.  Supervisors also earlier voted to bill twice a year for property taxes instead of the current once a year, but software problems prevented that from happening as well — even before the death of the provider. Now Nunez says that beginning in 2015 property owners will be required to pay half their annual tax by June 5, with the final installment due December 5. Town tax bills will also be due in June and December. (11/13)

BAY CREEK GRAFFITI – Some areas of Bay Creek South including the golf cart tunnel got an unwelcome spray paint job last week in the form of gang-style graffiti. But the perpetrator was not a gang member — just a copycat. Town police quickly apprehended him. No word on what action may be taken. Cape Charles Police Department gets kudos for quickly responding to a call and apprehending the suspect. (11/8)

POLICE INTERCEPTORS — Cape Charles Police Department’s vehicle of choice is a Dodge Charger Police Package with 370 hp V8 engine. That’s to patrol streets where the speed limits are 25 mph, creeping up to 35 and 40 on the two roads out of town. But Chief Pruitt reported last month that Cape Charles’ Finest arrested a miscreant for driving 85 mph in a 55 zone. Hopefully the speeder was headed away from town, not toward it. (11/7)

END OF AN ERA FOR WOMEN’S CLUB –The Women’s Club of Cape Charles held its final meeting last week after some 60 years in existence. The dwindling membership voted to disband when no one was willing to serve as president. A luncheon at Aqua Restaurant was the final hurrah. The concept of a “women’s club” is viewed by many as an anachronism — a vestige of earlier days when women stayed home and had time to socialize during the day. Garden clubs are also an endangered species. The Women’s Club of Cape Charles was perhaps best known for sponsoring the annual Christmas Holiday Decorating Contest, recognizing the best-decorated houses and storefronts. (11/6)

TOWN PLANNER’S DREAM LOCATION — After the Wave reported last month that Town Planner Rob Testerman was resigning, Testerman left a comment below the story explaining that he was taking a job “in an area that I have wanted to live since I was a kid.” But he didn’t say where. Now the word is out: Testerman is following in the path of the Wright Brothers to Kitty Hawk, NC, where he will head the planning department. His last day of work in Cape Charles is November 12. (11/5)

PATRICK HAND BUYS MASON AVENUE PROPERTY — Town Manager Panek has confirmed that local real estate entrepreneur Patrick Hand has purchased the former Be-Lo grocery store and two adjacent lots currently used by the town for public parking. Hand plans a mixed-use building with commercial storefronts at ground level and condos upstairs. Some 160 public parking spots for Mason Avenue businesses will be lost. To partially compensate, the town plans to construct a parking lot on the vacant lot behind the new library reaching to Randolph Avenue. At risk is the magnificent pecan tree on that lot. Even if the town sacrifices some parking spaces to save the tree, the town’s design firm, Land Studio, says the tree likely would die in a few years anyway due to the expanse of pavement surrounding it. (11/4)

RED (ES)TATE vs. BLUE (ES)STATE — Competing real estate offices on Mason Avenue are having to “keep up with the Joneses.” When Long & Foster moved to town last month they painted the former Sullivan’s building a sparkling white and set it off with a red awning to go with the red L&F signage. That left the Blue Heron building, just up the street, looking, well, a little drab. So last week Blue Heron got a coat of paint — blue, naturally, with white accents. You can’t miss the building now, and it towers over the L&F single story. Reaction so far to the bright blue has been mixed.  (11/2)

IN DEFENSE OF NEWSPAPERS — Virginian-Pilot writer Kerry Dougherty makes some poignant observations in reaction to the announcement that the Pilot has again cut its news staff, this time by 25 percent: “Lots of [readers] were eaten up with schadenfreude . . . Some said they couldn’t wait until The Pilot was gone. Well, The Pilot is not gone. And every single person in Hampton Roads — except corrupt politicians — ought to take comfort in that. . . . Before damning The Pilot, these maligners ought to pause for a moment to imagine Southeastern Virginia without an award-winning daily that exposes no-show workers, child abusers and political shenanigans. Without an aggressive newspaper in town, who’s going to force city officials to tell the truth about the death of a homeless man on a city beach? . . . It’s worth remembering that it was The Pilot that told the community about the Portsmouth auditor who seems to have done precious little auditing, about secret hotel negotiations in Virginia Beach and about Elizabeth River Crossings’ sloppy toll collection procedures.” (10/22)

RESPONSE TO “Music Festival Was a Flop” — Promoter Luis “Cheech” Perez responds: “Yes, the Stay Tuned Fest did not turn out the way many had hoped. Timing was wrong — too many other events the same day on the Shore and across. As to your assumption of why this was not advertised in the Wave — yes, it was a decision by the promoters. I have firsthand knowledge that no matter how much you advertise it in the Wave or esva.net, people still ask, ‘What is going on?’ or ‘Oh I didn’t know about it.’ How do I know this? Years of promoting and aiding in the booking of music here on the Shore. You are entitled to your opinion/assumption. But let’s give some props to those involved to have the courage to try something good to Cape Charles. This was a grass roots effort to create a cool music venue to showcase local talent and turn others on to what great music is out there to be experienced. Vendors were invited to set up without fees, and all who worked this event did it out of love. All monies for this were put up out of pocket. You can blame, point out, and assume all you wish, but know and acknowledge the efforts given by many to pull this off. This was a learning experience that will help in next year’s Stay Tuned Fest. Much success to everyone and their events. May you find more support than criticism in your efforts.” –LUIS “CHEECH” PEREZ (10/7)

MUSIC FESTIVAL WAS A FLOP — Sadly, the “Stay Tuned” Music Fest featuring eight bands all day Saturday, September 27, at the Shanty had everything except an audience. Whether it was the $20 cover charge, or just a fact of off-season life in Cape Charles, can be debated.  If readers wonder why there was no publicity in the Wave, the answer is that the festival organizers wanted it that way. Was it because the Wave has publicized every unsavory aspect of the Old School giveaway to a developer who happens to be a good friend of the Shanty’s owner? The Wave cheerfully provides free publicity to any local function, which includes a headline emailed to nearly 1,000 subscribers and another nearly 500 Facebook friends. Every Wave story headline and link also appear prominently on esva.net, which gets thousands of hits daily. More than 2,000 unique readers visited the Wave during the week leading up to the Music Fest. Meanwhile, the Wave is publishing a free display ad through October 4 for the Fourth Annual Barbara Custis Music + Fall Festival in Nassawadox. Proceeds benefit Shore Little League, and we hope the festival will be a big success. (9/30)

SULLIVAN’S OFFICE SUPPLY CLOSES — The Eastern Shore News reports: “Dora Sullivan once opened Sullivan’s Office Supply in her pajamas on a Sunday because a customer needed something. That’s typical of small-town businesses on the Eastern Shore, said Sullivan. It’s probably also typical of Sullivan herself. Sullivan is equal parts charm and candor. It seems to suit her, as well as her customers at Sullivan’s, a fixture on Cape Charles’ main shopping drag, Mason Avenue, for 13 years. But Sullivan’s closes permanently [Friday, September 26]. After a month-long half-price sale, the remaining inventory will be donated to Cape Charles Christian School. It’s the end of a great and productive time in her life, but Sullivan, 63, and her husband, Mike, want more time to visit family and friends. They have three grown children and six grandchildren, and another grandchild is due soon. Sullivan’s was a business that customers likely will miss in more ways than one. On this weekday, one of her final days in the store, Sullivan worked her charm — half sass and all business — on each person who came in, and there were a lot of them. “The price goes up the longer it takes you,” she said to customer Mike Strub, who took a few moments to dig for cash to buy manila envelopes. She was teasing, of course, though she said it with a straight face. It’s classic Sullivan, say the people who know her. Teasing her customers comes naturally to Sullivan, a native of Greece, who met her husband while he was staying there. Later, they moved to Cape Charles from Virginia Beach. Her business sense comes naturally, too. “I’m pretty smart up front,” Sullivan said of her ability to anticipate customer needs and keep items in stock. “They’d ask for one (item), and I’d buy two.” “They call me the Greek merchant,” she said with pride.” CLICK for full story. (9/27)

PSA COST OVERRUN — A year ago this week the Wave reported that Northampton County’s Public Service Authority had recommended mandatory sewer service for 70 commercial properties with a total tax value of $18 million. The sewer project was going to cost $1.8 million, which was 10 percent of the total value of the properties. County taxpayers were going to be stuck with 25 percent of the cost, with the remaining 75 percent paid by owners of the participating commercial properties. The county tax rate in the special district would nearly double. But that was last year. Now we hear that the $1.8 million cost estimate by engineering firm Hurt & Proffitt (not a joke) has  been raised to $2.7 million — a 50 percent increase. To hold down costs to the commercial property owners, the PSA is suggesting that Northampton County shoulder 50 percent of the total cost instead of 25 percent. (9/19)

WILL PANEK PLEDGE ALLEGIANCE TO PSA? — Word on the street is that if the Town of Cape Charles hires a real, qualified town manager, acting $40-an-hour town manager Bob Panek would not be interested in a full  or part-time assistant position playing second fiddle to someone he cannot so easily manipulate as was the case with the former town manager. Therefore Panek is busy creating a new part-time well-paying job as PSA director of Northampton County. Indeed he is acting as if he is already on the job — persuading the Town Council to charge the PSA as little as possible at a recent workshop meeting so as not to jeopardize his anticipated new position or the project — meanwhile minimizing the financial benefits to the town, which wishes to lower its residents’ monthly utility bills by $5, having been convinced that the Route 13 commercial project represents no real threat to the historic commercial  district in Cape Charles. Justification for such a gamble that conflicts with both the town’s and county’s comprehensive plans is based largely on interest expressed by Hardees and McDonald’s, who would be the PSA’s largest customers — even though they both have fully functioning septic systems and the Hardees location near Cape Charles is rumored to be possibly closing. The owners of the Food Lion building and shops  also have expressed interest in the new tax district project for wastewater services; however, they are expanding their drain field to service new customers but interestingly still pledge support to the PSA (according to Panek). The PSA project is to be funded by a combination County-wide tax increase as well as the creation of a special tax district encompassing the Route 13 and Route 184 intersection area. (9/19)

UTTER CONFUSION OVER SEWER PLANS — If you read it often enough you start to believe it: The September 5 Eastern Shore Post reports that “Cheriton’s Public Service Authority (PSA) representative Greg Hardesty provided an update on the status of the wastewater line for the Cheriton area. Hardesty said Cape Charles has not decided whether to accept wastewater from outside of its town limits.” But the Wave has repeatedly reported that Cape Charles Town Council passed a resolution August 9, 2012, to accept sewage from the county. New Cape Charles councilman Sambo Brown serves on the town-PSA liaison committee, but at the last town council meeting he also stated that the county was waiting for the town to decide whether to take the sewage, to which Assistant Town Manager Bob Panek echoed “that’s right.” That’s wrong: CLICK for the hard evidence. (9/5)

YOGURT BAR (NOT) COMING SOON — Last November GOSSIP ran an upbeat report about the Asian family who bought the Delisheries building on Mason Avenue with plans to open a yogurt bar. The family layed bricks themselves for a two-story addition out back in the alleyway and apparently intended to live over the store. But after the town slapped a stop work order or two on the property for failure to adhere to building codes, all forward progress stopped, and Code Enforcement officer Jeb Brady says all their building permits will soon expire. No roof was ever built over the addition, and if the project is never completed the town might eventually have to knock it down as a safety hazard, Brady reported to Town Council in August. (9/2)

SHUT OUT AT THE SHANTY — Cape Charles was really hopping Labor Day weekend — Virginia’s “best kept secret” seems to have been let out of the bag.  Visitors report that The Shanty was turning people away at 8:30 Sunday night, and over at Kelly’s Gingernut Pub there was a half-hour wait to get inside. Of course, overflow crowds three weekends a year are not enough to keep a business going, so it will be interesting to see how Sharkey’s Bar above Aqua Restaurant fares when it finally opens. (9/1)

LOTS OF LOTS — On June 6, GOSSIP reported that after the Town of Cape Charles purchased seven lots on the north side of Randolph Avenue from Bay Creek developer Dickie Foster for $100,000, there was an opportunity to buy more property on the south side as well — lots more. Northampton County listed 48 lots owned by Foster to be sold for back taxes, including 37 lots on the south side of Route 184 (Stone Road/Randolph Avenue). Then on July 29, GOSSIP speculated that a closed town meeting July 31 to consider another “real property acquisition opportunity” was to consider buying more of Foster’s lots. Apparently the town didn’t bite, because the county has now set an auction date of September 23 for 28 of the lots. Interestingly, unlike the earlier tax notice, this one doesn’t mention Bay Creek LLC. Instead it shows the owner as HJ Rail LLC. But no matter — HJ Rail LLC is owned by Bay Creek LLC (not to be confused with Bay Creek South) which in turn is owned by Foster. (8/24)

WHAT FUTURE FOR EASTERN SHORE NEWS? – For people following the steady decline of print journalism, the big news is that the Gannett company is spinning off its newspapers in order to focus on more profitable TV and digital businesses. Gannett is the largest U.S. newspaper publisher, best known for USA Today, but also owner of the Eastern Shore News. Gannett is not selling off its newspaper business (who would buy it?), but the spinoff means the newspapers will no longer be propped up with broadcast media profits. Analysts believe the next move will be deep staff cuts. But in the case of the Eastern Shore News, there’s practically no staff left to cut. Since Gloria Bradley’s departure more than a year ago there has been zero coverage in the ESN of Cape Charles Town Council. In fact, almost the only local political coverage during the past six months was a whimsical story by Connie Morrison about campaign signs – George Proto’s mustache sign and David Gay’s VOTE GAY sign. Sadly for local journalism, the ESN is losing money for three reasons: (1) It has no Sunday edition, which is the only profitable area left in print journalism. Sunday newspapers depend on inserts from big chains such as Best Buy, Home Depot, Staples, Michael’s, etc. – none of which exist on the Eastern Shore. (2) How can a 75-cent paper compete with the Eastern Shore Post, which not only offers more Virginia shore news, but also is free? The Post continues to gloat that its circulation of 13,000 dwarfs the ESN’s 5,000 (although we wonder what percentage of that 13,000 press run is actually read). And (3) the ESN has further reduced readership by erecting a “pay wall” around its online version. Although the paper hasn’t revealed how much the pay wall has hurt online readership, one can get an idea from the number of online comments now being posted: essentially none, in contrast to a reasonable number before the pay wall. The ESN also eliminated what arguably was its most popular feature: “Your 2 Cents Worth,” leaving one less reason for anyone to buy the paper. Indicative of the ESN’s decline is its Facebook page (CLICK), last updated February 15, 2011. The ESN staff of editor Ted Shockley, reporter Connie Morrison, and photographer Jay Diem are all trained professionals who can produce a quality product, but if nobody reads it, what’s the point? (8/20)

SEWER COSTS AND PANEK’S “NEW MATH” — It’s no secret that Assistant Town Manager Bob Panek has moved heaven and earth to try to get more sewage piped into the town’s under-utilized new plant. Trouble is, nobody outside of town would dream of paying the sewage costs that town residents are stuck with. The County has been waiting all year to hear how much the town would charge to take sewage from commercial properties on Route 13, but the town has yet to say. Here’s why: if they try to charge town prices, most county users would decline, but if they offer a cut rate, in-town businesses could rightly protest unfair competition. Panek’s ploy is to charge the county a per-gallon amount equal to the cost of treating the sewage, which he calculates at 1.215 cents. Trouble is, town residents pay 3.1635 cents per gallon, or 2 1/2 times as much as Panek wants to charge the out-of-towners. Panek had no luck getting his cut-rate scheme approved by the old Town Council but is trying again August 21 with the new Council. (8/16)

TOWN WAGE STUDY DELAYED — Back in February Cape Charles Town Council voted to pay Richmond-based Springsted Inc. $10,300 to conduct a wage-compensation study for town employees.  Six months later the results of the study are still not in. A Springsted representative was scheduled to address a Town Council work session August 13, but the meeting was cancelled because he had car trouble. Meanwhile, without seeing any results of the wage study, Town Council decided July 31 to also hire Springsted to find a new town manager. The decision was made in closed session, and the cost to the town was not revealed — another apparent violation of the Virginia state Freedom of Information Act which requires such matters to be public record.  The reason cited for the closed session was: “Discussion, consideration, or interviews of prospective candidates for employment.” But in fact there were no prospective candidates to discuss, and the private meeting instead was to hire Springsted without anyone having to publicly say why or how much it would cost. (8/16)

BEACH TRAGEDY — A reader writes, “I’m really surprised that the Wave has not reported any information on the drowning at the beach.” Here’s our response: The purpose of the Wave is not to echo the same news available on TV, radio, and other newspapers — rather, it’s to print local news that the larger media leave out. We did report on the Cherrystone tornado because Northampton County officials provided information that was worthwhile to pass along. But in the case of Sunday’s drowning of a child at the Cape Charles beach, the reports were at first wildly conflicting. A local newspaper reported that the boy fell off a jet ski, which appears to have been erroneous hearsay. The Wave sees no purpose in printing what everyone has already heard and is talking about — particularly if it is incorrect. If we have unique information we will print it. –EDITOR (8/12)

STROKE OF IRONY — Riverside Shore Memorial Hospital is mailing out glossy postcards to Cape Charles residents urging them to “know the signs of a stroke — and act FAST when they occur. ” The card continues: “Dr. Paschall provides first-line treatment in the RSMH Emergency Department for anyone suspected of having a stroke,” and concludes that “taking FAST action to get help through local EMS squads or RSMH’s Emergency Department can save lives and help minimize long-term damage to brain tissues.”  Not mentioned is the fact that the 20-minute drive from Cape Charles to the hospital’s current location in Nassawadox will become an hour’s journey when Riverside moves to Onley — not so “FAST.” (8/6)

TOWN BUYING MORE REAL ESTATE? — After the town borrowed another million dollars several months ago for no particular reason other than that the interest rate was low, the money has been burning a hole in Town Council’s pocket. So first they bought seven empty lots on Stone Road/Randolph Avenue for $100,000 from Dickie Foster, again for no particular reason other than that Foster asked them to buy them. Now the town is holding a closed meeting July 31 to consider another “real property acquisition opportunity and potential uses.” Virginia law requires the town to reveal more specifics than that — namely, to let citizens know just what property is being considered. But the town has always violated that law with impunity. A good guess, however, is the property mentioned in GOSSIP June 6 (below): 48 additional lots owned by Bay Creek LLC, Foster’s company. Unless the town or someone else buys the lots first, they will be sold for back taxes. They include 37 lots on the south side of Route 184 (Stone Road/Randolph Avenue). Whenever the town buys real estate, it is removed from the tax rolls, reducing town income in perpetuity. But if the town thought it got a great deal paying $100,000 for seven Foster lots, how much might it be willing to pay for 48 more? (7/29)

GUTTING THE OLD SCHOOL — 18 months after a developer bought the Old School in Central Park for $10, signs of activity have begun. A porta-potty has been installed (although the new $35,000 Park bathroom is only 100 feet away), and laborers are filling a dumpster with trash.  Meanwhile, final approval has yet to be received for historic tax credits to convert the school into an apartment building. (7/26)

ILLEGAL SIGNS & BANNERS — Under the town’s new “business-unfriendly” sign ordinance (Joan Natali’s brainchild), all the new signs and banners promoting Cape Charles businesses are “illegal billboards.” No sign is allowed off the premises of an actual business. So Town Planner Testerman has ordered the removal of banners advertising Shane Hayward’s Wave Runners and Watson’s Historic Hardware Store. The banner on Strawberry Street advertising all the shops off Mason Avenue is also illegal — no word yet on whether Testerman will go after it as well. The sign for Cape Charles Yacht Center, although “non-conforming,” is “grandfathered.” Even though the sign is brand new, it’s located in front of the sewer plant where a former sign listed funding amounts for the sewer. Even though the new sign is completely different, the existence of the former sewer sign “grandfathers” it, according to Testerman. The “billboard” on Fig Street advertising Aqua, Sharkey’s Bar, Complete Angler, etc., is also grandfathered and so escapes the Natali axe. Same for the town’s own “non-conforming billboard” advertising businesses at the Town Harbor. The town erected the sign only days before Town Council enacted the new sign ordinance making it illegal. (7/26)

BANNON RE-ELECTED VICE MAYOR — The new Cape Charles Town Council met July 17, and the first order of business was to choose a vice mayor. The mayor is elected at large by the town citizens but the vice mayor is elected by the members of Town Council. In 2006 they elected Chris Bannon vice mayor and re-elected him in 2010. In the latest election, Bannon was the only one to be nominated, and he received the votes of all Council members except Frank Wendell. (7/17)

GREAT STORY ABOUT GRANVILLE HOGG — Connie Morrison has written a fascinating story in this week’s Eastern Shore News about County Supervisor Granville Hogg, who donned a swimsuit, inspected Morley’s Wharf, and saved taxpayers $7,000. CLICK to read it online. (7/9)

STOLEN GOLF CART — The Reynolds family golf cart was stolen from in front of their Washington Avenue condo early Monday morning (July 7).  CLICK for photo. Call Pam Reynolds at 434-252-4171 to provide any information. She says the police have been looking all day in hopes that someone just took it on a joy ride, but now she fears it was loaded on a trailer and taken away. (7/7)

COUNTY SUPERVISORS LIVING (AND WORKING) IN LAST CENTURY — The CBES Shoreline reports that according to Northampton Assistant Administrator Janice Williams, two out of the five County Supervisors have no access to the Internet. “Oliver [Bennett] and Larry [Trala]  do not have email capability,” she wrote, explaining that she prints out emails sent to Bennett and Trala and snail-mails them to their residences. That’s 40 percent of the elected leadership of Northampton County without Internet — a possible entry for the Guinness Book of World Records. (6/30)

REEF CHIEF OUTCLASSED IN HARBOR — (See below) The next day, Reef Chief  suffered one-upmanship with the arrival of Casino Royale — at 163 feet she made Reef Chief appear to be lacking something. As the FIAT ad says, “It’s not the size of your car, it’s the size of your yacht.” Casino Royale even has her own website (CLICK). (6/29)

REEF CHIEF CALLS AT CAPE CHARLES — They said Cape Charles Yacht Center would attract mega-yachts, and so it is. Today (June 23) the 120-foot Reef Chief arrived. According to information on the Internet she was built in 1990 in Australia, her home port is New York City, she has twin Caterpillar diesels developing 3,500 horsepower, and holds 18,000 gallons of fuel. A fill-up at the Town Harbor could cost close to $100,000, for which price they should clean her windshield at no extra charge. (6/23)

SULLIVANS SPLIT ON PANEK REAPPOINTMENT – With only a few weeks to go before Mayor Dora Sullivan and her husband, Councilman Mike Sullivan, complete their terms of office and step down, they publicly disagreed on whether to reappoint Assistant Town Manager Bob Panek to the County’s Public Service Authority. Panek had been chairman of the PSA until the County Supervisors forced him out after numerous complaints of conflict of interest: In sewer rate negotiations between the County and the Town, was Panek representing the County, the Town, or both? Although Panek is no longer chairman, Vice Mayor Chris Bannon wanted to reappoint him as the Town’s representative to the PSA, and Council member Joan Natali agreed. But Councilman Steve Bennett said the Town “had a lot of qualified citizens,” and voted against Panek. So did Mike Sullivan. Council members Tom Godwin and Frank Wendell were absent, so it was a tie vote, which is the only time that the Mayor votes. She cast the tie-breaking vote against her husband and for Panek, giving him another four-year term on the PSA. (6/17)

JUDICIAL SALE OF BAY CREEK LOTS – Now that the Town of Cape Charles has purchased seven lots on the north side of Randolph Avenue from Bay Creek developer Dickie Foster for $100,000, there’s an opportunity to buy more property on the south side as well. The Northampton County Treasurer is advertising a “Judicial Sale of Real Estate” for 48 additional lots owned by Bay Creek LLC, Foster’s company. The lots will be sold for back taxes, and include 37 lots on the south side of Route 184 (Stone Road/Randolph Avenue). The lots will only be sold if Foster fails to pay the tax. (6/6)

BAY CREEK LOCKS OUT REAL ESTATE AGENTS — According to folks who should know, today, the day before the Bay Creek lighthouse is due to be sold at auction, one or more real estate agents were denied entry to Bay Creek South when they attempted to show the lighthouse to prospective buyers. They had been showing the lighthouse for weeks, but today they were turned away at the gate. Which realty company was it? Hint: the largest one in the local area. Meanwhile, the lighthouse auction (and 22 other Bay Creek lots) begins at 12:30 p.m. Saturday, May 31. (5/30)

RECALL ELECTION? —  The new Shore activist group “Citizens for Open Government,” formed to oppose the comprehensive rezoning plan for Northampton County, is talking seriously about recalling at least one of the Northampton County Supervisors – “to send a shot across their bow,” in the words of Exmore activist Ken Dufty. First step is finding someone willing to run against a Supervisor in a recall election – never an easy task in Northampton County. Last November all but one of the Supervisors running for re-election were unopposed. But Dr. Arthur Schwarzschild of Willis Wharf stated publicly April 2 that, had he known the Supervisors were going to push for rezoning (including removing all Chesapeake Bay Act protections from the seaside), he would have run against his Supervisor (Oliver Bennett, who has served more than a decade). Schwarzschild is director of the UVA Anheuser-Busch Coastal Research Center in Oyster, so his livelihood depends on clean water. Will he put words into action and oppose Bennett in a recall election? (5/30/2014)

LICENSE TO STEAL  — The price of those special Eastern Shore license plates featuring the Virginia peninsula above a bed of sea grass just increased 150 percent – from $10 to $25 a year, by act of the Virginia General Assembly. The cost is in addition to the regular license fee. For the first 1,000 Eastern Shore license plates sold, the Commonwealth keeps all the proceeds; after that it will contribute $15 per plate to the Eastern Shore of Virginia Chamber of Commerce Foundation. According to the legislation, the funds are to be used “to support education, charity, and scientific study for Virginia’s Eastern Shore business community.” No funds will go to the Eastern Shore of Virginia Tourism Commission – or any other Shore non-profit, for that matter. Charity begins at home. (5/30/2014)

GREAT BALLS OF FIRE — Thursday night’s thunderstorm appeared to have scored a direct hit on a Harbor Avenue condo, with the owner reporting seeing a “fireball” upstairs. Two fire trucks were dispatched to the scene, but fortunately the lightning strike did not set the house on fire. Volunteer firemen stayed at the condo for quite a while to ensure nothing was smoldering that later could ignite. A neighbor who is a life-long resident observed that he had never heard of a house in Cape Charles being directly hit by lightning — although houses had been secondarily hit when lightning struck an adjacent tree or pole. (5/23/2014)

FIGHTING DEVELOPMENT TOOTH AND NAIL – Northampton County Economic Development Director Charles McSwain and Exmore civic activist Ken Dufty are engaging in a “feist-fight” for the title of most feisty fighter in the county. Newcomer McSwain, supported by County Administrator Katie Nunez, seems undaunted by pushback from several prominent, longtime locals over county plans to open up development to “Ocean City” standards. Lawsuits have been threatened. At the same time, the county proposes banning single-wide trailers not built on permanent foundations. Dufty calls that a violation of fair housing laws. Not so, says McSwain – and besides, single wide trailers “are a poor investment and less safe than other types of homes.” In Dufty’s corner are Realtor David Kabler, former Tourism Director Donna Bozza, and citizen watchdog Bob Meyers. Backing McSwain and Nunez are Realtor Bill Parr, Planning Commissioners Jackie Chatmon and Michael Ward, and the entire Board of Supervisors (except Granville Hogg). (5/20/2014)

1 MASON AVENUE BACK ON THE MARKET — The 17-room Victorian hotel near the corner of Mason and Bay Avenues is for sale again. A New Jersey couple bought the once-imposing, now-deteriorated structure a couple of years ago and planned to return it to its former glory as a hotel. (Original plans were to become a B&B, but town officials informed them it was too large for that).  Built as a home in 1900, a hotel wing was added later to accommodate ferry passengers to and from Norfolk. Asking price is $849,000. Tax assessment is $405,000 for the land and $237,400 for the building for a total of $642,400.  (5/1/2014)

PSST! WANNA BUY A LIGHTHOUSE? — The Galloway brothers are auctioning off 22 lots in Marina Village East (Bay Creek) PLUS the Plantation Flats replica lighthouse in Bay Creek South. The lighthouse was part of a settlement agreement after the Galloways sued Paul Galloway’s former business partner Richard “Dickie” Foster, the developer of Bay Creek (CLICK to read the January story). The auction begins 12:30 p.m. Saturday, May 31, at Aqua Restaurant. The 22 lots are all east of Fig Street in the area presently ungated. Don’t expect giveaway prices: the minimum starting bid for a lot is $20,000. Meanwhile, 10 similar lots in Marina Village East currently are listed for sale through Realtors, the lowest for $13,500. Auction information does not reveal whether the lighthouse will have a minimum starting bid. (4/23/2014)

ANOTHER B&B FOR SALE — Now is a great time to buy a bed and breakfast in or near Cape Charles: half of them (three out of six) are for sale. The Evans are asking $695,000 for Cape Charles House at 645 Tazewell Avenue, while the Meyers want $990,000 for Chesapeake Bay View at 212 Bay Avenue. Newly added to the list is King’s Creek Inn for $1,275,000 in Tower Hill. Also, the house at 202 Madison known as “Chesapeake Charm” once was a B&B — it’s listed for $459,900. (4/13/2014)

POLICE SWEEP TOWN CLEAN — Cape Charles’ Finest cleaned house Wednesday (April 9), removing the majority of political signs both on the entrance to town as well as in front of many residences — all in the name of preserving the “right-of-way.” It turns out that although residents are responsible for maintaining the property between the sidewalk and the street in front of their houses, they may NOT post a sign in that space. The town looks much more like a proper resort now, thanks to vigilant management. (4/9/2014)

TOWN THREATENS TO REMOVE POLITICAL SIGNS — The Town of Cape Charles has notified candidates in the May 6 election that their political signs will be removed by town police if they are in state right-of-way. The letter cites the new town sign regulations as authority. But in Virginia, state law supersedes local law. In 2008, when Robert McDonnell was state attorney general, he issued an advisory opinion to Fairfax County finding that Virginia “does not prohibit the posting of political campaign signs within state rights-of-way.” (CLICK to read.) McDonnell did advise that the signs could be legally removed by officials if they remained in state right-of-way more than three days following an election. Cape Charles has long disregarded state and federal protections for posting political signs: Even though the Supreme Court has struck down time limitations on political signs, Cape Charles continues to restrict them to 45 days before an election. (4/8/2014)

CITIZENS FOR OPEN GOVERNMENT – Opposition to the proposed Northampton County zoning plan is taking concrete shape under the leadership of Ken Dufty and David Kabler, who are forming an organization called COG – Citizens for Open Government. Shorekeeper Jay Ford, who originally led opposition to the zoning with an online petition, remains energized but has not joined ranks with COG, possibly due to concerns that COG could become a lobbying organization incompatible with the tax-exempt and non-political Shorekeeper group. Dufty reports that last night (April 7), Exmore Town Council passed a resolution opposing the county’s proposed elimination of “Town Edge” zones. Elimination of the Town Edge zones would remove any formal opportunity for towns (including Cape Charles) to give input on county decisions about property bordering the towns. Expect the COG group to make an appearance at Cape Charles Town Council sometime soon. (4/8/2014)

LIGHTHOUSE REWARD — Galloway Corporation is offering a $ 5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the removal of the Fourth-Order Lens and the Life Boat  from the Old Plantation Flats replica lighthouse  in the Bayside Village section of Bay Creek. Send information to [email protected]. (4/2/2014)

FOSTER SELLS ANOTHER ASSET — Bay Creek developer Richard “Dickie” Foster appears to be selling off all his remaining Eastern Shore assets, one by one. According to Wikipedia, Bay Creek Railway’s historic dining car has been sold: “It was loaded onto a flatbed trailer and left Cape Charles on March 11, 2014.” Wikipedia continues: “In 2007, Bay Creek Railway began operating a self-propelled dining car along Bay Coast Railroad track, making one- to two-hour round trips from Cape Charles. This passenger excursion service used a restored interurban railcar, built in 1913 by St. Louis Car Company. It originally served the former Texas Electric Railway in Dallas, Texas, as car number 316. When Texas Electric ceased operating in 1948, its fleet of interurban railcars was sold for salvage. Car number 316 was used as a cabin at a ranch in Fort Worth, Texas, until its recent restoration for the Bay Creek Railway. . . . By December 21, 2011, the car was listed for sale on the Ozark Mountain Railcar equipment broker website. The initial asking price was $260,000, later reduced to $205,000.” High winds blew over the rail shed for the historic dining car last year, but subsequently the shed was completely rebuilt. (3/30/2014)

WILL THE WAVE CONTROL THE ELECTION? – Somebody (and regular Wave readers can guess who) is at it again, posting innuendoes about the Wave on the Post Office telephone pole. “Will the Wave try to control the town election?” asks one of the posters (CLICK to view). The phantom pole-poster is a man of few words; there is lots of room left to say more.  The Wave suggests the following quote be added: “Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government; that, whenever things get so far wrong as to attract their notice, they may be relied on to set them right.” –THOMAS JEFFERSON (3/29/2014)

WARRING CANDIDATE FORUMS – Before any debate has even occurred in the run-up to the May 6 town elections, there is already debate about the debate. This year, the group “Citizens for a Better Eastern Shore” (CBES) has agreed to sponsor a candidate forum at the Palace Theatre 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 29, and all eight candidates are planning to participate. Established in 1988, CBES (CLICK) is a non-profit civic organization serving Northampton and Accomack counties.  Widely recognized for its fairness and impartiality, CBES has years of experience hosting candidate forums, most recently conducting two forums for last November’s elections for County Board of Supervisors and School Board. But now, after arrangements are all in place, the Cape Charles Rotary Club is trying to organize a competing candidates forum. Rotary President Paul Strong said, “We feel that our citizens should have every opportunity possible to get to know the candidates and understand the issues prior to this important election, and there could be a significant number of people who cannot attend a single candidates forum no matter when it is scheduled. . . . We would like to schedule a second forum at a time when the most candidates can attend.” Although Rotary is not a political organization, Rotary member and former town councilman John Burdiss is intimately connected to the Cape Charles power structure. The CBES sponsorship of a candidate forum had been seen as a breath of fresh air after previous forums were run by town employees. In the last town candidates forum, assistant town manager Bob Panek selected the questions to be asked, even though he was displaying a campaign sign in his yard for Steve Bennett. The question now is whether Burdiss and Strong are really worried that one candidates forum is not enough, or if they are risking Rotary’s good name by trying to sabotage the already scheduled forum hosted by CBES. (3/27/2014)

SEWAGE TREATMENT ACCOMACK STYLE — Shore Daily News reported today that plans for a 500,000 gallon per day sewer plant in Atlantic have been withdrawn.  To meet the needs of a proposed four-building office complex, a “package” wastewater treatment plant measuring  8.5 feet wide and 12 feet high would be constructed with a treatment capacity of 10,000 gallons per day. The treated water is returned to the ground — not into the Bay. Is the Northampton PSA familiar with this technology? (3/21/2014)

BEST NEST COMING HOME — Best Nest home furnishings has apparently decided that the grass is not greener on the other side of the Bay after all. A year ago in January, Best Nest vacated its Mason Avenue location in favor of Shore Drive in Virginia Beach. Now owners John Selway and Nikki Schroeder, who have been commuting from their Eastern Shore home, are bringing Best Nest back to Cape Charles. Not the exact home, however, because Gull Hummock is happily ensconced in the former Best Nest storefront. So Best Nest has rented the Betis Building on Strawberry Street, which was just vacated by Coldwell Banker in favor their new Mason Avenue location next to the ice cream shop. Bet is Betis is Best Nest’s next-best nest. (Say that quickly three times.)  (3/21/2014)

SOLD ON THE COURTHOUSE STEPS — Three Cape Charles properties were sold at auction March 19 for delinquent real estate taxes. A house at 229 Tazewell Avenue with an assessed value of $154,100 sold for $70,000. A house at 416 Plum Street with an assessed value of $119,800 sold for $32,000. And a vacant lot on Monroe Avenue extension with an assessed value of $60,000 sold for $6,000. The Monroe lot previously was purchased for $120,000 during the real estate bubble. (3/20/2014)

PROTO ENDORSES HIGHER LODGING TAX — Mayoral candidate George Proto, also president of the Cape Charles Business Association, has conveyed to town officials his support for a hike in the lodging tax from 3 percent to 4.2 percent. When county and state taxes are added in, the total would be 11.5 percent (versus 10.3 percent outside town limits). Proto estimates the tax hike would generate $21,000 a year, which he wants used for the “Cape Charles By the Bay” website and marketing campaign. Proto said the current CCBTB advertising campaign received over 50 requests from potential visitors last month alone, but no one responded to the requests due to lack of funding. Although Proto said he was speaking for the Business Association, members were never asked whether they support a higher tax. With campaigning for the May 6 local elections yet to begin in earnest, Proto has thus identified himself with two other candidates comprising  the “tax and spend” faction: Chris Bannon and Joan Natali. Meanwhile, one Business Association member is vigorously opposing the proposed lodging tax hike: prominent local hotelier Ned Brinkley charges that higher taxes will reduce demand for lodging. “The notion that Eastern Shore visitors are fat hens waiting to be plucked is not supported by any research done by localities or by the Virginia Tourism groups,” Brinkley wrote in a widely distributed email. (3/19/2014)

TWO HOTELS INTO ONE — The Gossip in January was that the owners of Hotel Cape Charles had purchased Hotel Blue next door. Turns out they have done more than buy it — they are swallowing it whole. When a hole is punched through the upstairs wall, the former Hotel Blue rooms will be accessed from the Hotel Cape Charles corridor. Hotel Blue will disappear in favor of a larger Hotel Cape Charles. (3/12/2014)

COLDWELL BANKER MOVING ON DOWN THE LINE — Dave Griffith’s Coldwell Banker office is on a relentless march to the sea (or at least to the Bay). Previously located on the corner of Mason and Nectarine, the office moved last year to the Betis Building on Strawberry Street, three blocks closer to the Bay. Closer, but not close enough. Now Coldwell Banker is on the move again, and soon will open next to Brown Dog. Is it the ice cream? Meanwhile, Lynn Gray and Melanie Brown have vacated the combination realty/antique shop in that location in favor of Long & Foster Realty in Onancock. (3/7/2014)

NO MORE HARVEST FESTIVAL? — With no prior warning, the ESVA Chamber of Commerce announced today that it would no longer sponsor the annual Harvest Festival held each October at Sunset Beach Inn near the Bridge-Tunnel. Last October’s event was the 21st year for the festival, which is the largest annual Eastern Shore event south of Chincoteague’s Pony Penning. Given the popularity of the all-you-can-eat festival, there’s always a chance that another group could take over the sponsorship — but who? Could the ESVA Tourism Commission take it on? (3/3/2014)

VET ON THE HIGHWAY — Looks like Cape Charles is going to get a veterinarian’s office after all — sort of. As reported January 8 below, the veterinarian who planned to buy the building housing Unique Graphics hair salon pulled out of the deal when he learned from town officials how much it would cost to bring the building up to code. Now word is that he is leasing the former Movie Gallery space in the Food Lion shopping center. Meanwhile, Unique Graphics was forced to relocate to 555 Mason Avenue, leaving the former building vacant with neither an animal hospital or a beauty salon — neither hide nor hair, you might say. (2/28/2014)

EXIT STAGE RIGHT — Will artistic temperaments be the demise of Stage Door Gallery? Word is that many of the volunteers who keep the gallery open seven days a week are leaving following disagreements between paid and unpaid staff. Look for a new gallery to open just west of Watson’s Hardware. Can Cape Charles support them both — plus Gallery 209, plus Beach Glass and Stories, plus Willows (and Thelma Peterson’s Seaside Gallery)?  (2/27/2014)

BLOXOM DEFEATS RANDALL — With 32 out of 33 precincts reporting as of 8:15 p.m. election night, February 25, Robert Bloxom (R) handily defeated Willie Randall (D) in the special election for Virginia House of Delegates. The only precinct not reporting by that time was Cape Charles. Randall obtained a scant majority in Norfolk (893-818), but that was not nearly enough to offset his loss in Accomack County (2,346 to Bloxom’s 4,464). In Northampton County, Bloxom led 1,175 to Randall’s 982, with Cape Charles still to be represented. UPDATE: Cape Charles results were: Bloxom 352, Randall 252. Northampton County results were 1,527 for Bloxom and 1,234 for Randall. (2/25/2014)

INTERESTING STORY ABOUT CHIEF PRUITT — The Eastern Shore News has a story by Connie Morrison on Cape Charles’s new police chief. CLICK HERE to read. (2/25/2014)

TOWN PROMOTES OUT-OF-TOWN LODGING — Last year the Wave reported the Cape Charles Planning Commission’s endorsement of “hotels on the highway” (CLICK HERE). Now the taxpayer-subsidized “Cape Charles By The Bay” website is actually advertising out-of-town lodging (CLICK HERE) — specifically “Mermaid Bay” beach cottage, located off Route 13 south of Arlington. The $15,000 website was funded by tax-supported grants as well as local businesses and the Town of Cape Charles. Now, in addition to subsidizing advertising for out-of-town lodging, Town Council wants to raise the tourist tax in town, which does not apply to the Mermaid Bay cottage. As Planning Commissioner Andy Buchholz said, “In town there are taxes and licenses. Out of town there aren’t.” (2/22/2014)

HIGH SCHOOL CIVICS LESSON — The new town website (CLICK HERE) states: “The Town of Cape Charles is governed by the Strong Mayor form of government.” They got that backwards — like most towns, Cape Charles has a “weak mayor” form of government. As Wikipedia explains (CLICK HERE), “in a ‘weak’ mayor-council system, the mayor has no formal authority outside of the council; she cannot appoint and/or remove officials, and lacks veto power over council votes.” (2/22/2014)

WILLIE RANDALL THE POSTMAN’S FRIEND — The U.S. Postal Service deficit might be going away in the face of the Democratic Party’s mailings for Willie Randall for Delegate. Mailings have been sent every few days for the last couple of weeks, but February 21 set a record: three mailings in one day, all from the Democratic Party, all for Willie Randall. (2/21/2014)

CAPE CHARLES ELECTIONS  — May 6 is election day for a new Cape Charles mayor and three members of Town Council. Candidates have to file by March 4. So far, George Proto has filed for mayor, and Chris Bannon, Charles “Sambo” Brown, and Joan Natali have filed for Town Council. Incumbent Mayor Dora Sullivan and her husband, incumbent Town Councilman Mike Sullivan, do not plan to run for re-election. (2/21/2014)

SHOREKEEPER PETITION TO NORTHAMPTON COUNTY — “Northampton County Slow Down and Ensure Public Participation.” Zoning Ordinances are hugely influential on the day-to-day life of the average citizen affecting how we grow our businesses, what we live next to, and how we treat our natural resources. This process is far too important for Northampton County to sidestep proper procedures for public participation and involvement. We deserve to have a publicly vetted Comprehensive Plan for Northampton’s future that everyone has had a chance to weigh in on. CLICK HERE to sign the Shorekeeper Petition Drive (and to read the list of signatures and comments). Shorekeeper will be presenting these petitions to County officials before public comment begins March 11. (2/20/2014)

EASTERN SHORE ARTISAN’S TRAIL — Meredith Restein writes about “an exciting new tourism initiative to develop an Artisan’s Trail on the Eastern Shore that will connect the dots between local artists, wineries, agri-businesses, galleries, restaurants, and lodging. Maybe you’ve already heard about it, but Mills Wehner from Chatham Vineyards asked that I share [this] with anyone who may be interested in helping get this project off the ground. This model has been very successful in other areas, and I think it has great potential for the Shore to help market both our cultural and agricultural assets. If you want to follow the progress you can check out the Eastern Shore Artisan Trail Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Eastern-Shore-Artisan-Trail/346906372118560. Please help spread the word to anyone you think would be interested, as the local organizers need to quickly raise the funds necessary to secure a matching $10,000 donation to bring the Eastern Shore Artisans Trail to life! Every little bit helps! Click here to donate, or call Mills Wehner at 757-678-5588.  (2/18/2014)

CAMPGROUND RAPE SUSPECT ARRESTED — A suspect in the Halloween rape at Cherrystone Campground has been arrested. Caleb Ryan Parks, 20, of Harrisonburg was arrested February 10 in connection with an October 27, 2013, sexual assault at Cherrystone Campground. Northampton County Sheriff David L. Doughty, Jr., said that Parks is charged with object sexual penetration and two counts of strangulation. He is being held in the Eastern Shore Regional Jail with no bond.  On the Sunday before Halloween, a 25-year-old woman reported being sexually assaulted in the campground bath house near the General Store and Mini Golf. Her assailant was described as wearing a tan Halloween mask with large saggy eyes. (2/18/2014)

SULLIVANS SELLING OUT — Seen today on Mayor Dora Sullivan’s Facebook page: “very excited to announce that after 13 years of owning and operating our printing and office supply business we are RETIRING…. business is for sale…inquire within.” In answer to a question from a friend, she clarifies that she and husband Mike are not moving away from Cape Charles. The building next door (Bay Creek Communications) already has a For Sale sign; now Sullivan’s is joining it. No mention of whether Mayor Sullivan will run for re-election in May. (2/17/2014)

SALTY SIDEWALKS — The new VDOT sidewalks installed last year aren’t lasting long — at least in front of the Post Office, where salt must have been poured to melt snow and ice.  Concrete takes a long time to fully cure, and when salt sinks into the concrete the surface turns to powder. Town Councilman Tom Godwin complained publicly last year that the new sidewalks were not well made. He should know: his father, T.L. Godwin, installed most of the sidewalks in town many decades ago, and they bear his imprinted name. (2/16/2014)

VALENTINE’S DAY ANNOUNCEMENT – King’s Creek Inn proprietors Dawn Flynn and Jim Nevill are now Mr. & Mrs. Nevill after eloping to the Elvis Chapel in Las Vegas. Jim’s wedding present to his bride was a new home in Bay Creek’s Heron Pointe. That will make more room for bed & breakfast guests at the Inn.  (2/14/2014)

DONNA BOZZA ON JIM BAUGH OUTDOORS — Check out the Shore’s own Donna Bozza featured on “Jim Baugh Outdoors” as she reviews her meal with Jim at the Eastville Inn: CLICK HERE. (2/12/2014)

FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH MENTORING PROJECT — “There is a progressive degradation of activities for youth within the Town of Cape Charles,” the Rev. Felton Sessoms told the Eastern Shore News. One example he cited is the closing of the town’s only basketball court, with no replacement in sight. Without ongoing positive influences, children despair of their futures, he said. “They are getting into activities that are not wholesome. We want to displace despair with hope,” he said. CLICK HERE to read the ESN story. (2/10/2014)

UNAWARE OF EASTERN SHORE — Definition of “irony”: Arthur Frommer admits he was unaware of the Eastern Shore of Virginia even after publishing his tourist guidebook series for over 55 years. Interviewed in the Washington Post, Frommer, 84, said, “I still travel. I just got back from an area of the United States of which I was completely unaware and which is known as the Eastern Shore of Virginia. We had a delightful time in an area that is finally being touristed. It used to be solely agricultural, and now you can see hotels going up.” (2/9/2014)

RAINING ON THE MAYOR’S PARADE — Mayor Sullivan was happy and excited as she waited for Governor McAuliffe to arrive for the big ceremony at Bayshore Concrete Products today — until she saw the Wave staff walk in. The Wave’s photographer tried to reassure her that this was a “good news” story and she had nothing to worry about, but the Mayor was having none of it. “Too late,” she replied, “after 19 months of bull” (referring to the Wave’s 19 months of publication). Is “bull” a four-letter word? Is the Mayor really going to run for re-election? (2/4/2014)

GOV. McAULIFFE COMING TO TOWN? — The town website is mum, there’s nothing in the Eastern Shore News, the Eastern Shore Post, or Shore Daily News,  but according to the Virginian-Pilot, Governor McAuliffe will visit the Eastern Shore Tuesday, February 4, to make “a major economic development announcement for the town of Cape Charles and Northampton County.” The Virginian-Pilot got the information in an email from the state’s Virginia Economic Development Partnership, but that website is also without information. Late Monday night, the only possibility the Wave could turn up is a town calendar entry for “Bayshore Concrete Ceremony, 11 a.m. Tuesday, February 4.” Is that what it’s all about? Guess we’ll find out after the fact. (UPDATE: It was, and the Wave was there.) (2/3/2014)

THERE’S A NEW KID IN TOWN – “Oo ah oo ah cool cool Kitty, Tell us about the boy from New York City. He’s kinda tall,” etc. Are they talking about singer-guitarist Dan Flynn, the new sensation that brought down the house at “I Played the Palace” earlier this month? It sounded like Flynn brought his own cheering section to the Palace, but in fact no one in the audience had ever before heard of him. The son of Dawn Flynn, who runs King’s Creek Inn, Dan is a come-here from New York City, where he has his union credentials as a master electrician. By day he electrifies old houses in Cape Charles; by night he electrifies his audiences. Flynn’s next appearance is this Saturday, February 1, at the Machipongo Clam Shack in Nassawadox. The show runs from 6:30-8:30 p.m. There’s no cover, and Flynn’s performance should be the hottest thing in February on the Shore. (1/29/2014)

THANKS FOR CHRISTMAS GIFTS — Betty Brown would like to thank the kind and generous folks that heard her plea for children’s gifts this Christmas holiday. She said the grandma who was helped called to see if there was some way that people could be thanked for seeing that Santa made his way to their house this year. The toys and clothes brought smiles and excitement that they have, she believes, never experienced in the past. She delivered the comforter, kerosene, and the $20 bill to the needy man in Bayview. He was so appreciative and surprised. She could tell that the kindness offered him would last far beyond Christmas day. She thanks you all for the joy you brought needy people this holiday season. Many kind wishes to you in 2014. (1/28/2014)

HOTEL CAPE CHARLES BUYS HOTEL BLUE — Word is that Hotel Cape Charles owner David Gammino has purchased his next-door-neighbor, Hotel Blue, from Patrick Hand. This is an acquisition that makes perfect sense. With only six rooms, Hotel Blue never offered a front desk, making guest service a hit-and-miss experience.  But the 16-room Hotel Cape Charles includes the normal hotel amenities of a lobby and front desk. Now manager Ned Brinkley can offer a wider range of rooms, while still keeping an eye on everything. One question: will Hotel Blue continue to be open all year, or will it shut down for the winter like Hotel Cape Charles? (1/26/2014)

TOWN TREASURER RESIGNS — During banter before yesterday’s Town Council meeting, Steve Bennett was overheard jokingly asking Frank Wendell if he wanted to be the Town Treasurer. Wendell demurred, but it turns out Bennett was only half joking: Town Treasurer Kim Coates has just resigned, effective the end of the month, due to overwork. The resignation comes just at the time of year the Town undergoes its financial audit. Coates has been working up to 80 hours a week.  When the Wave requested a list of overdue Town property taxpayers, it was billed for three and a half hours’ work by the Treasurer to compile the list. Coates began working for the Town in 2012. Among her accomplishments was the discovery of a Town bank account for the library that had been forgotten and was not listed on the books. (1/23/2014)

DID TOWN SCARE AWAY THE VET? Rumors are that the veterinarian who planned to buy the former  Unique Graphics salon building in order to open a practice in Cape Charles has bailed out due to demands by Town Administration — including a $30,000 utility hookup fee. The Wave is investigating. Meanwhile, Unique Graphics still had to move, having signed a lease at 555 Mason Avenue. (1/8/2014)

OLD SCHOOL VISIT — Owner of the Old School in Central Park, J. David McCormack, was seen giving a tour of the building today to two men in business attire (bankers?). McCormack purchased the building from the Town a year ago this month, and has the distinction of being the only building owner in town hooked up to water and sewer who neither receives (or pays) a water bill. He successfully petitioned the County to reduce his 2013 tax valuation from $510,900 down to $285,000. When he bought the building from the Town for $10, it had a tax valuation of $921,900. McCormack told County officials that it would cost him over $2 million to convert the school into an apartment building, and that upon completion, the total value of the building including the land would only be between $750,000 and $1 million. It’s not known if his prospective underwriters know this.  At a public information session a year and a half ago, McCormack told local residents that financing for the project was assured.  “If we do not get financing, we will not take possession of the building,” he said — “but we already have financing promised.” Things changed after that: McCormack lost his financing, but he bought the building anyway. (12/20/2013)

NEW POLICE CHIEF — Word around town is that Jim Pruitt will be selected to replace retiring Chief of Police Charles “Sambo” Brown.  Sgt. Pruitt, who grew up here, was earlier a policeman here, left to work elsewhere, and then rejoined the Cape Charles force in 2010. Unlike many town employees, he actually lives in the town (as does Brown and another member of the force). Meanwhile, rumors continue to circulate that Sambo will run for Town Council next year. He once served on the Council and the police force simultaneously until the issue of conflict of interest led to his resignation from Town Council. (12/9/2013)

LA MER MOVING TO LA RIVE GAUCHE – La Mer Design Studio is moving from the house at 339 Randolph Avenue to the former Sea Shore Realty building at 215 Mason Avenue.  Did Town officials finally force La Mer out of the residential district? Randolph Avenue, known as “Main Street” to old-timers, is zoned commercial on the left side and residential on the right.  La Mer is on the right, as is the Post Office (but that building came long before zoning). The Browns’ house at 339 Randolph had been vacant for years before Tammye Delk Van Clief and Nicolle Isaacs Smith transformed it into the showpiece that is La Mer. Now they have to start over again – a recurring experience to Nicolle, who formerly managed the Marina Village Shops. The question of whether La Mer was “legal” was raised by a member of the Town Planning Commission, but the Town Planner was instructed to follow a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. The relocation is a loss for Randolph Avenue and the Strawberry Street shops reaching toward it, but a great plus for “Front Street,” where yet another vacant storefront is coming to life. (12/1/2014)

HAIR TODAY, THERE TOMORROW — Unique Graphics Salon owner Angie Pruitt confirms that her salon is relocating to 555 Mason Avenue (facing Nectarine Street). Unique Graphics will close December 20 and reopen at its new location January 7. Open House will follow soon. (11/25/2013)

INNS FOR SALE — Two of the five B&Bs in the Town of Cape Charles are on the market.  Longtime operators Bruce and Carol Evans have listed Cape Charles House at 645 Tazewell Avenue for $695,000. The house has 7 bedrooms and 8 baths.  Rumor is that the Evans plan to move across the street to another of their properties, currently divided into 1- and 2-bedroom apartments. Meanwhile, down the street, Hank and Sandy Mayer are offering Chesapeake Bay View at 212 Bay Avenue for $990,000. The house has 3 bedrooms, 3 1/2 baths, and a water view. The Mayers plan to relocate a little further down the Bay at Butlers Bluff. (11/18/2013)

SHANTY SHUTTING DOWN — This is the last week of business for the Shanty restaurant until next year’s tourist season.  The restaurant was built in 2011 as a open-air building without air conditioning or heat, but customers quickly demanded A/C. The units that were installed can also produce heat. Now there’s talk of insulating the building, which suggests that in the future the Shanty may be open year-’round. (11/10/2013)

VETERINARIAN COMING TO TOWN — Cape Charles is getting a full-time vet, who will be setting up shop in the current Unique Graphics salon. The vet reportedly bought the building, so the salon has to relocate. (11/10/2013)

HOME BREAK-IN — Someone broke through the back door of one of the new houses near the corner of Washington and Plum streets Friday night (November 8). The home belongs to a part-time resident and was unoccupied at the time. (11/9/2013)

SUPPORT OUR OYSTER NEIGHBOR — Eastern Shore residents are going all out to show their support for the young female victim of a vicious attack October 24 outside of Oyster. First she was hit by a car, then assaulted, then abducted. Amazingly, she was able to escape, but not without injury. The local American Legion is sponsoring a benefit supper November 9 (click for details), but that’s not all. Purchase a bouquet of sunflowers at  Watson’s Hardware. Buy a raffle ticket at the benefit. All proceeds go to the victim in an effort to show her how much her Eastern Shore neighbors care. (11/6/2013)

FULFILLING THE AMERICAN DREAM — The Asian family that bought the Delisheries building on Mason Avenue (with the sign “Yogurt Bar Coming Soon”) can be seen daily working behind the building, where they’re constructing a brick two-story addition. The man laying brick doesn’t look the part in his cardigan sweater, but the professional-looking results speak for themselves.  A woman with a shovel mixes mortar for him, while another family member and an American helper complete the work crew.  The current historic building is only one story, but the parapet makes it look higher. Because the new second story will rise behind the existing building, it should not alter the streetscape. The addition will be living quarters “above the store.” If the current industriousness of the family is any indication, the yogurt bar can be expected to be open seven days a week. (11/4/2013)

BLAME INN DELAY ON SANDY – The New Jersey couple who bought the old hotel at the foot of Mason Avenue have a good excuse for why they’ve never done much of anything with it: Hurricane Sandy. The husband is a general contractor and has been too busy rebuilding structures in New Jersey to do any projects in Cape Charles. At first, plans were to use the building as a B&B, but with 17 bedrooms and 17 baths it exceeds the size allowed by the Town for that purpose. But there’s no rule against operating a 17-room Inn, so that’s the current plan. When will construction get underway? Ask Sandy. (11/1/2013)

DISAPPEARING MAILBOX BLUES  – At least two blue mailboxes in Cape Charles, located at opposite ends of Monroe Avenue, are destined for the scrap heap. The Postal Service checks the boxes six days a week, but rarely do they find a letter.  The removal of the mailboxes is part of a national program to reduce costs by increasing postal efficiencies.  The mailboxes were due to be removed by November, and notices had been posted on them to advise the public. But the removals have been delayed, and the notices removed. The mailboxes are still on the way out, but not just yet. (10/25/2013)

TAX TIME: GO FIGURE — Northampton County real estate and personal property tax bills have been sent out, and once again taxpayers are instructed to send their money out of the county, even out of the state, all the way to Baltimore MD, where people have jobs opening envelopes and depositing checks. Those skills are also available in Eastville, and in fact, come income tax time, taxpayers are instructed to send their state returns, not to Richmond, but to Eastville. (10/23/2013)

IGNORED NEGLECT — Three years ago a weekend resident bought a decrepit old house on Tazewell and proceeded to pour money into it. A local architect drew plans for an addition, the foundation was rebuilt, interior gutted, slate roof restored, copper gutters installed, and the eyesore shed out back transformed. The house was magnificently furnished, the grounds were professionally landscaped,  and the final touch was a new white picket fence. That’s when the Town Planner stepped in, giving notice that the fence is too close to the sidewalk (it is exactly aligned with the next fence down the street).  Meanwhile, around the corner on Randolph, the house next to the Post Office has seen no repair over those same three years, even to the extent of failure to board up missing window glass. The tumbling-down sections of wrought-iron fence out front have been chained and padlocked together to prevent theft.  Any number of similarly abandoned properties may be seen in the Historic District. (10/22/2013)

HIKING THE “HUMP” — Two women, one using a cane, were seen on the Hump today, walking down the middle of the lane against traffic. Now that Bay Coast Railroad has posted notices threatening arrest of anyone crossing the railroad tracks, the only legal way across is via the Hump, which has no space for pedestrians. (10/15/2013)

CHAIN MOTEL COMING? – Looks like Cape Charles Planning Commissioners might get their wish for a chain motel on the highway – but not as close to town as they would like. Word is that the new owner of the Kiptopeke Inn, Robert Occhifinto, wants to obtain a franchise for it after he fixes it up – something like a Holiday Inn Express.  The Kiptopeke Inn will need a lot of work to reach that standard, but it’s not impossible — years ago it was a Holiday Inn.  Either way, a revitalized Kiptopeke Inn would not hook up to the proposed sewer pipe to Cape Charles – it’s too far south. (10/8/2013)

GRAND-MAYOR — Congratulations to Mayor Sullivan and husband Mike on the birth of their granddaughter across the Bay. (10/7/2013)

SHE CAME IN THROUGH THE BATHROOM WINDOW — Anyone who remembers the words of the Beatles’ song will appreciate the irony of a Cape Charles policeman’s home being “egged” the other night. Word is the “eggers” were adults who should have known better. (10/6/2013)

“LYIN’ EYES” PARODY — An anonymous wag unknown to the Wave has composed a song about Town politics, sung to the Eagles’ tune “Lyin’ Eyes.” The songwriter refers several times to someone called “Panic.”  Copies of the lyrics are being distributed to stores on Mason Avenue willing to have them. (9/26/2013)

PAYING BOB PANEK – It’s well known that two of Bob Panek’s hats are as assistant town manager for Cape Charles and chairman of the Eastern Shore Public Service Authority. Town taxpayers cover Mr. Panek’s work for the Town, but who pays for his work for the PSA? The answer appears to be: Town taxpayers. A letter from Northampton County Administrator Katie Nunez (click here to read) concludes: “Please do not hesitate to contact my office or PSA Chairman Bob Panek. . . . Mr. Panek’s office number is 757-331-3259 ext. 19.” That number rings the phone in Mr. Panek’s Town of Cape Charles office, where according to Ms. Nunez he is available to discuss PSA business. Ironically, Assistant Town Manager Panek declined to provide a status report on the PSA at the September 19 Town Council meeting when asked to do so by Councilman Frank Wendell. (9/23/2013)

PSA LAWSUIT? — After a raucous meeting at the Cheriton Fire Department to discuss the proposed PSA project for the Southern node which doubles property taxes and levies a yet-to-be-determined mandatory monthly sewer charge, disgruntled landowners and businessmen in the proposed special tax district are said to be considering a class action lawsuit against members of the Northampton Board of Supervisors, Cape Charles Town Council, and the Public Service Authority. (9/20/2013)

WHITE FLAG FOR BOARD OF SUPERVISORS? – Word is that the County Board of Supervisors may have gotten the message after the PSA “informational” meeting September 16 at the Cheriton Fire Hall. The PSA has recommended mandatory sewer hookups for 70 commercial properties on Route 13 and outside Cheriton. PSA Chairman Bob Panek repeatedly told an angry audience to talk to the Supervisors, and that’s what is happening. At least one Supervisor, Larry LeMond, attended the PSA meeting, but Administrator Katie Nunez was not there. A public hearing on the sewer issue is set for Monday, September 23, at the County boardroom in Eastville. Immediately following will be the Supervisors’ monthly meeting, and with an election nearing, they are said to be thinking about putting any decisions about the PSA on hold. According to a knowledgeable source, at least some Supervisors are willing to drop the Cape Charles pipe plan altogether and consider other alternatives. (9/18/2013)

JUDGE CERTIFIES AUCTION RESULTS — It’s official: a Florida bankruptcy judge has approved offers totaling $75 million for assets controlled by the Madonia family, owners of East Coast Brokers & Packers. A Tampa judge September 5 approved all sales except one — the exception being the Red Rose  Inn & Suites in Plant City, Fla., for which a $2.1 million bid was rejected. But the judge approved the local bid of $45,000 for the 14-acre Webster Canning property in Cheriton, which some local observers and Realtors consider the real steal of the whole show. The Webster site includes several large buildings and has a tax value of $1.4 million. The successful bidder was Robert Occhifinto, who bought Aqua Restaurant and the adjoining marina at bankruptcy for $4.6 million last December. Word is that Occhifinto will use the Webster buildings to store banquet equipment such as party tents to be used for wedding receptions at Aqua. Also approved by the bankruptcy judge were sales of two Bay Creek houses, including developer Dickie Foster’s one-time personal residence. Foster’s Heron Pointe crossed the auction block at $1 million, and “Magnolia Plantation”sold for $950,000. (9/10/2013)

BLOGS — Word has gotten around that the best way to push the Wave editor’s buttons is to call the Wave a “blog.”  Even the mayor has caught on, and now says “a local blog” instead of “the Wave.” It’s true — the “blog” word does set the Wave editor off — but not because of any antipathy toward blogs.   Blogs do a lot to enrich the Internet. Right here in Cape Charles are at least two outstanding bloggers, each very different.  Wayne Creed has long penned an occasional piece of shock and/or awe on his blog: http://www.assesandvillains.com. And newcomer Sher Horosko contributes beautiful thoughts and photography on her blog at http://sherhoroskoblogdotcom.wordpress.com/. Anyone confused about the difference between a blog and an online newspaper might want to visit those sites.  (9/9/2013)

BYE-BYE BAGWELL — Looks like the Bagwell Oil family is selling out at the right time. Fuel oil sales continue to decline as customers convert to propane or electric heat pumps. Founded in 1915, Bagwell Oil did not begin selling propane until 2005. But now propane faces tough competition as plans are under way to pipe natural gas down the Eastern Shore into Accomack County. Natural gas sells for as little as one-third the cost of propane. Wallops Island and the chicken processing plants in Accomack are driving the demand for natural gas, so there’s not much chance the pipe will continue to Northampton County anytime soon. Meanwhile, the Bagwell name will disappear, replaced by “Pep-Up” of Delaware. The Pepper family, owner of Pep-Up, is promising to retain all “current” employees, which suggests that downsizing will only occur through attrition. Bagwell employees like David, who has driven an oil delivery truck most of his adult life, will still make the rounds in Cape Charles, as will technicians Drummie and Mark. (9/7/2013)

DUAL ROLE WORRIES — Word is that some members of both the Northampton Board of Supervisors and Cape Charles Town Council are increasingly uncomfortable that the assistant town manager, Bob Panek, is also chairman of the Eastern Shore Public Service Authority. Officials want to avoid the appearance of impropriety that has arisen from the dual roles. Panek has recused himself from calculating a sewer rate to be charged by the town to PSA customers, but he seems to be the only one who knows how to do it. Without his expertise, the September 16 information meeting and September 23 public hearing will not include information about sewer rates. Supervisor Rick Hubbard has called for more information and an “independent analysis” of the Cape Charles sewer system. If concerned officials prevail, the public hearing and perhaps the information meeting will be rescheduled. Ultimately, Panek may have to choose between his PSA chairmanship and his job as assistant town manager. (9/6/2013)

NEXT POLICE CHIEF? — Town Chief of Police “Sambo” Brown retires at the end of this year, and would-be replacements are jockeying for position. High on the list seems to be Jim Pruitt, who brings several advantages to the table. First, he’s already a member of the police force, and hiring from within is good for morale. Second, he lives in town, unlike other applicants. And finally, Pruitt distinguished himself by organizing a dedication service last October for the Town’s only officer to be killed in the line of duty (a century earlier). Pruitt was recognized in a letter from Gov. Robert McDonnell for his organizational ability. Pruitt rejoined the police force in 2010 and recently was promoted to sergeant. (9/3/2013)

ANOTHER DOLPHIN — Another big beautiful dolphin washed off the shore this morning at Bay Creek, another slice of beach reclaimed by the bay, reaching closer and closer to the fenced dunes. Our observers also report “garbage everywhere — we are picking it up from the dunes, from the waves. Friday must have been a big party night at the beach because the parking lot was littered with Red Bull and ice tea bottles.” (9/2/2013)

IRS ON THE PROWL — The local American Legion Post 56 reports “receiving orders to show proof of their members’ veteran status to the Internal Revenue Service or face fines of several thousand dollars per day.” Problem is that although the Post requires an applicant to present his discharge papers, “there has never been a requirement to maintain that form on file.” Post 56 leaders say they will comply with the order – “However, this takes time away from our mission of focusing on the veteran and working with those who need to work through the system for benefits deserved and earned on the battlefield.” Post members are asked to provide a copy of their DD-214 to Adjutant Ive Chubb as soon as possible. (9/1/2013)

RED TIDE RISING — Now that floating docks have been installed next to the Coast Guard Station where the yacht repair facility is being built, people can walk along the bulkhead at the water line. There they can see an underwater pipe capped at the end. If they time their visit just right, somewhat like viewing “Old Faithful” at Yellowstone National Park, they will be treated to an eruption of red liquid spewing out into the harbor. Word has it that the pipe hooks to the new sewage treatment plant, and the discharge comes when plant filters are backwashed. (8/30/2013)

DOLPHIN — A Registered Nurse writes: Can someone please find out the status of the dead dolphin on the beach? It’s improperly barricaded and is decomposing. The smell is atrocious. It has been there well over 24 hours and is leeching germs into the sand. (8/28/2013)

WHAT’S HAPPENING TO ‘CAPE CHARLES HAPPENINGS’? — The indefatigable Joan Natali has built up her trademark email service over many years, keeping subscribers informed about upcoming events, items for sale, and businesses new and old. But now “Cape Charles Happenings” seems to have a death wish: The website has not been updated for going on three four weeks, and Natali is requiring all her readers to resubscribe or be dropped from her list. That’s a good way to cut readership by half. (8/27/2013)

TOURIST PRICES — Premium gasoline is now $5.89 a gallon at Straight Line Automotive on Mason Avenue — thanks to a prankster. Residents are of course aware that the Town’s only gas station went out of business last April, but tourists don’t necessarily know that. Arriving in town only to be greeted by a sign advertising almost $6 gas could be a shock to many a vacationer. (8/26/2013)

RENTAL MARKET — The vacation rental business in Cape Charles is booming, but year-round rentals are a different story. Landlords often earn more from three months of summer rentals than from a conventional 12-month lease. In the long-term market, every landlord’s dream is to rent to a teacher. Some 40 County teachers were hired for the new school year, which sounds like a good opportunity for the rental market. Trouble is, the same number of teachers left their jobs last year, and many of them have moved away. Coast Guard personnel are another source of renters, but again, the arrival of a new Coast Guardsman means that another Coastie has departed. On Tazewell Avenue, a Coast Guard/teaching family was reassigned, and the house is for rent. Down the street, a new Coast Guard family has rented another house, but next door is vacant after a teacher moved away. Another multi-family house has been advertising one- and two-bedroom apartments most of this year. Ironically, the owner, a former Town Councilman, was an avid supporter of giving away the Old School to a developer for conversion into 17 one-bedroom rental units. (8/25/2013)

MAYORAL RACE — Town elections are still eight months away, but names are already being bandied about for mayor. Incumbent Dora Sullivan is a perennial candidate, having already served for what will be eight years, and on Town Council for four years before that. What’s interesting is that the name of Peter Lawrence is being floated. Lawrence works part-time at Sullivan’s Office Supply, which serves as unofficial Town political headquarters, so he’s well positioned to hear all the issues. As a close associate of Mayor Dora, it seems obvious that Lawrence would not oppose her. Another name heard on the street is that of Malcolm Hayward, proprietor of Eastern Shore Custom Carts and Cape Charles Water Sports. But the surest candidate at this early stage is Deborah “Barking” Bender, so nicknamed by the mayor herself, who famously stated for the record at last week’s Town Council meeting: “I don’t allow the Benders to bark back.” Madame Bender attends every Council meeting and always has something to say during public comment time — to the mayor’s obvious displeasure. (8/23/2013)

COUNCILMEN CITED — Two members of Cape Charles Town Council were cited this week (and not for exemplary behavior). It seems that both councilmen have vehicles parked on their properties with expired license plates. Word is that the crackdown was not the police department’s idea — orders came from on high (2nd floor of #2 Plum Street). Who are the two councilmen? Coincidentally, they’re the same two who defeated incumbents in the May 2012 election. (8/22/2013)