The monthly meeting of Oriental’s Town Board was held on Tuesday, January 6th. The town bid a sad farewell to Deputy Town Clerk, Jayne Beyer. She will be leaving mid-month after accepting the position of Deputy Town Clerk at Cove City, closer to her home. Town Manager, Diane Miller said “Our loss it their gain.” Local resident, Elle Diamond will be filling the position on a temporary, long-term basis.
The Cartwright House, a historical Bed and Breakfast in town, was granted a special use permit to reestablish their business after being closed for extensive renovations. According to Town Manager, Diane Miller, the Cartwright House has obtained all sign permits and is compliant with regards to building, parking, landscaping requirements. Owners, Johnny and Margaret Reiswig, plan to reopen the turn of the century inn located at 301 Freemason Street in time for this Year’s Boat Show.
The amendment to Article VI, Section 89 of the GMO regarding RV Parks was removed from Tuesday’s agenda because the town’s attorney, Scott Thomas, was unable to attend to share his recommendations. The amendment will be added to February’s public hearing agenda.
Town Manager, Diane Miller gave an update on the Water Advisory Committee. In hopes of acquiring additional revenue, the town has reached out to Cellular providers and offered the water tower for lease for placement of cellular towers. So far, they have not had any firm interest. The town has signed a contract to provide e-billing for water customers, allowing residents to pay on line. Miller hopes this will be implemented within the next month. She also stated that additional holding tanks have been installed at the water treatment facility and “everything is working splendidly.”
The Board was made aware by the town’s attorney that Oriental resident, David Cox, has filed yet another appeal with the Pamlico courts on December 24th in his ongoing suit, Cox vs. the Town of Oriental and Board of Commissioners. The suit pertains to the South Avenue right of way exchange. According to Commission, Larry Summers, the town has spent $75,735 in legal expenses, thus far.
Oriental’s Chief of Police, Dwaine Moore, was absent from the meeting as he was on vacation, Town Manager, Miller, commended Chief Moore for his assistance in the apprehension and arrest of Stephon Lee Greene in the early hours of Sunday, January 28th. Greene was arrested in the Steamer parking lot and charged with possession of with intent to sell and or deliver a schedule II controlled substance (crack cocaine) and possession of drug paraphernalia. The arrest was a result of the Pamlico Sheriff’s office and the Alcohol Law Enforcement Branch of the State Bureau of Investigation execution of a joint operation to target drug activity in Pamlico County.
The Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee meets today at 8 a.m. at the town hall. The Water Advisory Board meets, Tuesday, January 20th at 10 a.m. with the Board of Commissioners and NCDENR Representatives. The purpose of this meeting is to discuss the policies and procedures necessary for Cross Connection Control and Backflow Devices in Oriental. The Tourism Board also meets on Tuesday, January 20th at 5:30 p.m. The Planning Board will meet on Wednesday, January 21st, at 3:00 p.m. The Tree Board will meet on Tuesday, January 27th at 9 a.m. The Water Advisory Committee will convene on Thursday, January 29, at 2 p.m. and the Town Board Agenda Workshop will take place on Thursday, January 29, at 4 p.m.
A proposal to require fishing guides and charter captains to use a for-hire logbook for each trip is drawing mixed reviews.
A newly formed group, the Cape Fear For-Hire Captains’ Association, is hoping to provide a unified voice for guides and captains as well as representation in marine fisheries management. A meeting set for today (Wednesday) in Wilmington will address the proposed for-hire logbook and likely result in an official stance against requiring logbooks, according to Matt Wirt, one of the group’s organizers and charter boat captain.
“The majority of captains are against this measure and for good reason,” Wirt said. “Providing the amount of data required is simply too much for the average boat to accurately provide.”
The proposal would require for hire boats to record how many trips were run, length of each trip, area fished, what was kept, what was released (including trash fish) and the bait used.
“It’s difficult enough to keep the lines baited, never mind trying to keep up with all the information the Division is proposing,” Wirt said. “Making it even worse are the possible penalties for failing to meet the requirements.”
The proposal states that captains failing to send in a weekly report could be charged with a class 2 or class 3 misdemeanor resulting in their for hire permit being pulled.
But the proposal also has its advocates. Among them is Marine Fisheries Commissioner Anna Beckwith, who believes the logbook could be of benefit to for hire captains.
“The log book will better help represent the for-hire industry’s stake in various fisheries, especially on the federal level by improving the data available,” Beckwith said.
Wirt, however, thinks the proposal could result in the collection of bad data.
“Trying to list every single fish is simply unrealistic,” Wirt said. “It’s just not possible to do accurately.”
Currently there are 600 active for hire permits in North Carolina, but that number also includes boats that make only a few trips each year such as corporate or tournament boats.
Wirt estimates there are about 400-450 boats that regularly run for hire trips in the state, possibly skewing the data even more.
“The bottom line here is the system has too many unknowns to be effective,” Wirt said.
The division expects the majority of members of the commission will be in attendance at Wednesday’s meeting which is not being organized or sponsored by the commission.
The logbook will be voted on at the February 18th NCDMF meeting at the Hilton in downtown Wilmington.
Just In: Mackie Spruill has resigned from her seat on the Pamlico County Board of Education effective January 31, 2015. Ms. Spruill is moving to the Chapel Hill area. She represents Township 2. The board of
education has scheduled a special call meeting on January 26, 2015 at 5:00 pm to address this matter.
By Martha L. Hall
Pamlico News Staff
With two new school board members on board as well as a new chairman and vice chair, the Pamlico County public schools prepare to tackle ongoing needs for students and teachers in 2015.
The Pamlico County School Board had two new members elected this past year - at-large members Judy Humphries and Paul Delamar, Jr. They replaced two veterans - former Chairman Reginald Hawkins and Garry Cooper.
The new board has had one meeting after they were sworn in before embarking on 2015.
Incumbent Beatrice Mays ran unopposed and was re-elected in Township 4.
John Prescott who was first elected in 2008, will not be up for election until 2016 in Township 1. He was elected chairman of the new board, a step up from being vice-chairman.
The new vice chairman is Gene Dudley of Township 3.
Other members include John McCotter of Township 5; and Mackie Spruill in Township 2.
Prescott expressed confidence that the two new members will help maintain what he considers a board that will serve the county well.
“We have a great board,” he said. “This is not a contentious board. This is a board that is willing to work together. When you are making decisions that are good decisions and positive decisions that create positive outcomes, it’s not hard to make those decisions.”
As for potential clout as chairman, Prescott offers modestly, “I am only one of seven. It is about the kids and that is what I want. The kids are what is important. Being chairman does not give me any extra power over the school board.”
He does have vested interest in the success of the school system other than being a board member.
He has a daughter in the third grade.
“I am a very strong teachers’ advocate. I am a very strong advocate for the children,” he said. “They come first.”
He doesn’t see any radical changes in how the school board goes about its business for the students and teachers at the system’s four schools.
“What I hope is that we continue what we have been doing and doing what is best for all children in Pamlico County in getting them a good, sound and basic education - that is guaranteed to them in our Constitution,” he said.
He noted that the job of the school board was to set policies and then have the superintendent, principals and other administrators implement them.
“I consider principals and janitors, everybody is on the same playing field,” he said.
Judy Humphries said she was looking forward to working with Prescott. She said she was “so new” but she was learning.
Humphries was the director of technology at Pamlico County High School before she retired in 2008. She began as a high school math teacher. She was a big part in the initial groundwork of a solid base network at Pamlico County schools. She said she was passionate about the use, the availability and the monitoring of the technology to make sure it’s having a positive use. She is also interested in the sustainability of any project that would directly impact classrooms.
“We’ve had one meeting of the school board,” she said. “At that meeting principals presented an update on their school improvement plans. As far as what’s coming up, I believe in the not so distant future they will start into the budget process. I really want to see money focused on classrooms so I personally will be very attentive to expenditures and making sure that the money is going where it will have the greatest impact on our students.”
Humphries said textbook funding and teacher assistants have been slashed across the state.
“School systems that have a large tax base and local support have been able to fill that gap,” she said. “Pamlico County has tried very hard to meet the critical needs but I have witnessed through my daughter who just began teaching, the lack of text books and what that means. I find myself comparing teaching in 2014-2015 to my environment when I was heavy into classroom teaching in the 1970s and ‘80s. I not only had a teacher’s guide with full explanations of everything but a textbook too. Teachers today are pulling from many different sources to put their lessons together. My concern there is nothing for the parents to help their children learn. My fear, and I believe it’s an accurate concern, is that students are not learning how to read textbooks. They are actually more ‘handfed’ than they have ever been. I’m not saying that teachers can’t pull that off because they are. I guess a lot of it revolves around money.”
Humphries has accrued volunteers for grades 1-8 who come in and make copies for teachers.
“All the volunteers have a teaching background or have been associated with education,” she said. “These are people who want to volunteer and not necessarily be with students. I have one volunteer who is 81 years old. I paired her with a friend. They take their responsibility very seriously and they enjoy it.”
Humphries said as a board member she wants to focus on needs and how they can fill those needs. If it has to be out-of-the-box, she said, then that’s the way to do it.
Paul Delamar Jr., who retired as the assistant superintendent of county schools and served previously eight years ago on the school board, said he is looking forward to his next four years. Humphries and Delamar both expressed their gratification to Prescott as chairman and felt good about working with him.
Delamar Jr. said there’s no doubt as a result of the General Assembly, the schools are will be more challenged than they have ever been.
“That’s another reason we have to look at our resources and try to use or redirect them as best we can,” he said.
“I’m not talking about teaching positions here. I’m talking about all of the support. I would like to make sure that we can find economies that would allow us to direct more of our resources to the classroom. That’s why I ran for office.”
Delamar Jr. said if they could show something that demonstrated real needs to the Pamlico Commissioners, and if we didn’t have any resources to redirect those needs, the Commissioners would come through.
“I want to see the local teachers’ supplement increase to a point that we are competitive with local counties, specifically Craven and Carteret” he said. “I want Pamlico County schools to be just as attractive as they can be. One of those ways is to give them the best possible working environment. I’m not saying they’re bad now, but we can make them better. That may take several years. That’s something I’m going to advocate for.”
Delamar Jr. said the biggest challenge will be the dropping birth rate resulting in fewer local students. Another area is young people leaving the county for larger venues after they graduate.
“It all comes down to giving the teachers the best possible working environment and the resources that they need and let them do their jobs,” he said. “I continue to be concerned about the amount of needless paperwork that the state requires of teachers and the lack of clear direction on where they’re supposed to go now that they’ve dropped core curriculum. I think we need to tell the schools and the teachers what they need to teach and then give them the opportunity to do the job.”
Week of January 7, 2015
Dragon Runs Fills Hodges Street for Annual
New Year’s Eve Celebration
ORIENTAL - The annual Oriental Dragon Run again filled Hodges Street with spectators for the New Year’s Eve celebration.
For the second year, both of the town’s dragons arrived in time to celebrate the ringing in of the New Year, with runs along the town waterfront for early and late evening events.
The traditional dragon, with more than a dozen people underneath guiding it, made appearances at 8 p.m., in which the street near Town Dock was wall-to-wall spectators and again for the pre-midnight run, when it was joined by the newer Dancing Dragon from China.
Many of the revelers dressed for celebration, with hats and festive clothing, while sporting noisemakers including traditional pots and pans.
After several passes between the Bean and the Town Dock, the dragons departed in opposite directions shortly before midnight.
An electronic board counted down the hours, minutes and seconds before the final countdown and lowering of the Croaker from the mast of a visiting sailboat at the Town Dock.
BAYBORO - Pamlico County Commissioners gave new Sheriff Chris Davis unanimous support Monday night in his request for additional drug investigators, vehicles and equipment.
The board approved the hiring of one of two requested drug agents, promising to fulfill the total request, pending any assistance that could come through state or federal drug enforcement funding.
The board also approved the purchase of three new vehicles, one for the upcoming new officer and two others to fill a need where Davis said the department was two vehicles short after he had increased the deputy patrol staff.
The total package for the two undercover officers, vehicles and related equipment will be about $160,000.
The board pledged by consensus to fill the request, even if it takes money from the county fund balance.
Commissioner Paul Delamar III noted that the county had been very conservative in its budgeting in recent years, adding money to the county savings account.
The base salary cost for each new investigator is $43,482, with an overall cost of $60,227 for each position including benefits.
Delamar said the sheriff’s vowed battle against drugs was a purposeful use of the county money. It also has provided the county with a workable cushion on several occasions following hurricanes.
Davis provided a detailed written and oral presentation on his requests, which longtime Commissioner Christine Mele called the most detailed request she had seen during her time on the board.
Commissioner Kenny Heath said the board supported the sheriff’s goals, noting that many Pamlico County families, including his own, had been touched by and suffered from the problem of drugs.
Davis, who took office in December, said the drug problem had reached all-time new highs in the county, with heroin now the biggest problem. He said heroin arrested soared 400 percent during the past year. He also noted that meth and meth lab arrests increased dramatically.
He said the county had become a hub for imports by Mexican drug trafficking.
Davis said Pamlico County had not had a designated drug investigator since 2012. He said that surrounding counties have many officers working on drug problems, including four in Craven County, five in Carteret County and six in both Onslow and Beaufort counties, along with the Jacksonville Police Department.
He explained his reasons for hiring two new officers to establish sources and make undercover buys.
He said it presented a dangerous situation for a single officer to conduct the investigative and arrest activities alone.
A motion by Commissioner Carl Ollison, with a second by new Commissioner Ed Riggs was approved unanimously by the seven-member board.
In another matter, the board voted to have County Manager Tim Buck and staff prepare a resolution for its first meeting in February to establish a separate Board of Equalization and Review to hear appeals on property tax assessments.
Pamlico is among a minority of counties where the commissioners have also served as the tax review board.
The resolution will contain language for a five-member board of local residents, with no less than two years living in the county and it will encourage diversity of occupations by members.
Tax Supervisor Kathy Tyndall provided a 12-page report she compiled, which included a preferred diverse board with an attorney, appraiser, farmer, banker and contractor or home builder.
Commissioners noted that with Pamlico being a small county of about 13,000 people, prescribed occupations could limit the candidates.
Anyone interested in serving on the board can contact the county office at 745-3133.
Registration for spring classes at Pamlico Community College conclude on Wednesday, January 7, but the door is by no means closed for students to enroll if they miss that deadline. Students who fail to compete registration by that date can still register for any class that has not yet begun. Classes begin January 9. Also, perhaps the once familiar Otis Reding song, “Sittin’ on the dock of the bay” is a visual aid to impress students that ONLINE classes, on the dock of the bay or anywhere else, do not begin until January 26. That gives almost three extra weeks for students to register for those classes. Check the class schedule page on the college website, www.pamlicocc.edu, to view all the helpful information about spring registration.
Week of December 24, 2014
Little Girl’s Generosity Provides Gifts For Animals
By Deborah Dickinson
Pamlico News Staff
Now that the Christmas season is here we all think of those less fortunate. Looking around we’ll find needy people and animals everywhere. For the past two years nine-year old Delanie Royal has used her birthday to help people and animals. Rather than asking for birthday presents, Delanie asked that her friends and family make a donation to a good cause. Last year Delanie turned her birthday into a fund raiser to help her mother’s friend, Jennifer Lizardi who was suffering from a health condition and required a double lung transplant. This year Delanie decided she wanted to have her friends and family help her make a donation to an animal welfare group. So, this year instead of birthday presents, Delanie requested that her birthday party guests bring dog food, cat food and toys for both to her party on Dec. 7th. Delanie’s revelation for which animal welfare group to direct the donation was gleaned from a past issue of the Pamlico News. Delanie’s mother, Echo, remembered reading an article featuring the “New Leash on Life” Program. A New Leash on Life is a program that allows minimum and medium custody state prisons to partner with local animal shelters, animal welfare agencies, and/or private non-profit agencies to train dogs in preparation for their adoption. In turn, the inmates are given a chance to serve the community by training dogs to be well-behaved pets. Jackie Schmidt, president of P.A.W.S. (Pamlico Animal Welfare Society) was on hand to thank Delanie and show appreciation for her good deeds. “Because of Delanie’s altruistic nature and her parents nurturing, encouragement, and direction, dogs and cats in Pamlico County will have food and toys for Christmas,” said a grateful Schmidt.
Pamlico Children are Winners from Local Toy Collections
By Martha L. Hall
Pamlico News Staff
ALLIANCE -- Anyone who responded in the past month to a large number of collection boxes in Pamlico County labeled Tots for Tots or Toys for Pamlico Kids, helped create a toy bonanza and a happier Christmas for local youngsters.
Both of the non-profits worked toward a Merry Christmas through the Department of Social Services in Alliance to make sure that under-privileged children are remembered on Christmas. All that was required was for a parent or guardian to go to Social Services and ask for the paperwork.
Toys for Pamlico Kids - sponsored by the Pamlico Chamber and Camps Sea Gull and Seafarer in partnership with DSS - completed its drive last week and made distributions.
The Oriental Dragon Detachment of the Marine Corps League collected Christmas toys, but will have boxes out until and after the big day for extra donations.
Sarah Rhymer, director of Community Services at Camp Seagull, said 200 families received Christmas presents last Tuesday and Thursday at the Department of Social Services in Alliance.
“Volunteers came from St. Timothy Episcopal Church’s outreach program on those two days to help families find toys,” said Rhymer. “The families took the unwrapped toys home to wrap them.”
Rhymer said there were about four gifts per child.
“We had 110 families on Tuesday and around 75 on Thursday,” she said. “There are also many charities through the various churches in the county. A lot of the churches adopt families and there is the Angel Tree in some churches. People select an “angel” off the tree and give to that one family.”
There is still time to donate to the local Toys for Tots campaign.
George Steenson, head of the Marine Corps League in Oriental, said the group had changed their policy of toys going to Cherry Point or Jacksonville to be distributed.
“We took our toys last week to the Department of Social Services in Bayboro,” he said. “Our bins are open until after Christmas and probably right after New Year we will deliver any further collections to Heartworks.”
The Baybor-based non-profit offers programming and assistance to area children.
Steenson said they had 15 toy donation bins this year around the county.
In the new year, the Marine Corps League will turn its attention again to assisting Military Missions in Action, led by Mike Dorman. His group is still working on completing a new home for a disabled Marine and his family.
Military Missions in Action has had a set-back in completing the house for a military family chosen last year to receive housing. The Marine group plans to return to the site and finish the house for the family in 2015.
ORIENTAL – When New Year’s Eve rolls around next week, once again there will be not one, but two Dragon Runs, an Oriental tradition that draws locals and out-of-town visitors each year.
And, once again, there is a choice of two dragons, with early and late evening romps along Hodges Street.
During the late run, visitors get to double-down on their dragon-watching.
There’s the old traditional dragon, originally designed by Betsy Cox and Grace Evans in the 1970s.
This dragon has survived to see the light of many New Year’s Days - despite too much audience love and dental problems.
So many people touched his teeth, some fell out, prompting a request to revelers to watch-not-touch. It’s a hard rule to enforce.
Then, there is the younger dragon, bought from China two years ago. It is a slimmer, high-flying dragon, 18-feet long.
Charlie Overcash is the patriarch of the “newer” dragon.
Last year, there was some concern that the meeting of the two dragons would be somewhat contentious.
But, at the 11:30 p.m. meeting of the two behemoths, they met in a kiss.`
According to dragon handlers, the traditional dragon will dash about in the 8 p.m. run on New Year’s Eve, next Wednesday.
Overcash said that at 11:30 p.m., the dancing dragon - AKA the Chinese dragon - will arrive.
According to Keith Smith at towndock.net, the traditional dragon will again join the fun.
“They will both run,” he said of the near-midnight run. “At 8 o’clock it is strictly the old dragon and 11:30, we run out both.”
As the midnight dawning of 2015 nears, another tradition dating nearly a decade comes into play.
The Croaker will “drop” from atop a boat at the Town Dock.
“We said we do all this ‘dragony’ stuff, but nothing happens at midnight, and that seemed wrong,” Smith recalled. “So, we made a plywood Croaker and over the years the plywood Croaker has grown.”
For those who have attended the festivities regularly, they will attest that the “town fish” has increasingly had more lights and dazzle..
As for the dragons, the traditional one spends its spare time in a storage unit in town. The dragon’s rent is paid for by donations, which come in within a few hours after a fundraiser by towndock.net.
Smith said he and Ken “Turtle” Midyette handle the dragon housing responsibilities. The dragon also shares his quarters with The Croaker.
The next appearance by the newer Chinese dragon will be in February in late afternoon for the Chinese New Year. 2015 is the Year of the Goat.
“We’re hoping to get some children involved in that,” Smith said.
The Chinese Dragon attended Oriental commissioner and kayaker Larry Summers’ wedding. It was also seen at the Croaker Parade and it kicked off the Summer Reading Festival at the Pamlico County Public Library in Bayboro.
“We were asked to bring it to the up to the Dragon Boat festival in New Bern but we didn’t go,” Overcash said. “We just felt it was the Oriental dragon.”
About a decade ago, the traditional dragon made some trips out of town, going as far as Wilmington. It was later determined that he should also just stay “local.”
So, New Year’s Eve and the Chinese New Year are now the dragons’ main gigs, dancing and prancing along the Oriental waterfront.
No need to travel.
The audience comes to them.
Week of December 17, 2014
Gaskill Named Southeast Region Teacher Of The Year
An assembly at Pamlico County High School turned into a huge celebration when it was announced that their beloved history teacher, Joshua Gaskill, was named Southeast Region Teacher of the Year. Gaskill, is a 2003 graduate of Pamlico County High School with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Sciences from NC State University and a Master of Arts in Teaching from East Carolina University. Current 2014 North Carolina State Teacher of the Year, James Ford, a World History Teacher at Garinger High School in Charlotte-Mecklenburg School District, was on hand to bestow the honor on Gaskill. “This is a telling evaluation and this is where we celebrate,” said Ford.
The National Teacher of the Year Program has been in existence for over fifty years and North Carolina has participated in this program recognizing outstanding teachers since 1970. The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, along with its sponsors, administers the program and chooses a candidate who is "dedicated and highly skilled, a candidate proven capable of inspiring students of all backgrounds and abilities to learn. Pamlico High Junior, Mariah Meador, served on a student interview committee, which was part of Gaskill’s vetting process. “He is an amazing teacher and I never doubted that he would win the honor, I appreciate everything he has done,” Meador said proudly.
Gaskill is now a member of the elite eight representing each region in the state and in the running for the North Carolina Teacher of the Year chosen by a committee consisting of professional educators as well business and community leaders. The State Teacher of the Year and the other Regional Finalists form a collaborative network to provide ongoing professional development and support throughout the state on critical issues facing public education.
Gaskill’s family was on hand to celebrate his monumental achievement. Proud father to Joshua, Dennis Gaskill, says that teaching is in his son’s blood. He is a fourth generation Pamlico educator and carrying on quite a legacy. According to Dennis, Joshua’s mother, Martha, is currently a teacher in the district, his late grandmother, Beulah, also a teacher, was totally committed to education and would be so proud. In addition, Joshua’s great grandfather, Elbert Prescott, taught in Pamlico County. Joshua’s wife, Meredith Gaskill, boasted about her husband’s natural talent and his ability to garner his students’ respect.
Pamlico’s Superintendent, Wanda P. Dawson, Ed. D., was overjoyed by the news of Gaskill’s achievement and was overwhelmed by the outpouring of support. “Joshua is so deserving because he loves what he does and it comes out every day in the classroom. Parents and students consider him a hometown hero. He is a natural talent and he refuses to let any student be left behind,” she added.
Gaskill was over wrought with emotion upon learning of his distinguished honor. “You guys make it worth it every day and I can’t thank you enough. This is an incredible opportunity. I work in the best school system in the state…the world,” said Gaskell. “This is the best job ever. It is amazing to wake up each morning and change lives and help students achieve their goals. I am so lucky to be a part of that and I can’t wait to represent these amazing students that make me the teacher that I am,” he added.
Operation Veggie Box Looks Toward Expansion in 2015
By Martha L. Hall
Pamlico News Staff
It has been a good year for Operation Veggie Box, the Pamlico County Christian ministry that was launched at Bethany Christian Church in Arapahoe in August of 2013.
PotashCorp – Aurora has donated $10,000 and $1,000 recently came from a Presbyterian church in New Jersey.
Veggie Box leader David Bailey said there is also a verbal agreement for a $3,000 grant from the state.
“That $3,000 is to be used just for supporting community gardens in Pamlico County,” he said.
Plans are ongoing for 2015 for those gardens to grow fresh vegetables that are subsequently harvested and routed to local food pantries for delivery to those in need locally and in numerous counties in Eastern North Carolina.
“We are currently recruiting people to do garden sites,” he said, adding that they hope to continue sites at Don Lee Farms, Arapahoe Charter School, the Pamlico County Senior Center and others.
He said OBV can use its funding to underwrite these garden sites.
“If they will just supply the labor, I can supply all the materials,” he said. “As far as money goes, we are sitting very good. We have about $16,000 total.”
Another community garden being added next spring is at Camp Caroline.
He noted that Bethany Christian Church was instrumental in getting the nonprofit off the ground.
He said the large PotAshCorp donation “now makes it feasible for OVB to expand its low-cost, standard garden methodology, as well as, its square foot garden methodology to other parts of eastern North Carolina.”
Veggie Box is also working to establish relationships with large scale farming interests in eastern North Carolina who will grow vegetables for the annual harvest.
They are also looking for partnering groups in other areas around the East.
“We have some churches in the Ayden and Farmville area that want to do gardens this spring, so we are starting to see some growth,” he said.
He said they plans to do the annual Veggie Box Operation packing event in 2015 in conjunction with the New Jersey church.
“When you think of Operation Veggie Box, there are actually two components to it,” Bailey said. “There is the community garden industry and then there is our annual event; that is where we get the community together at a location and we box up vegetables.”
That event includes boxes of 10 to 15 pounds of corn, potatoes and onions, along with a spiritual message.
The OVB then works with food pantries who make the deliveries. The first one was last year at Bethany Christian Church.
He said the organization was focused on feeding people and spreading the word of Jesus.
He said a goal for 2015 is to get growth in as many as four other states for the annual event.
“I believe that part of our ministry is very scalable and the Potash donation really gives us a chance to start to grow the ministry,” he said.
He said getting more large farm operations to participate is another goal.
“Don Lee Farms and Neuse River Turf Farm are fantastic corn growers,” he said. “Flatland Ag, the onion growers in Aurora are wonderful people.”
Now he is looking for a major potato grower to participate, joining hundreds of local volunteers over the past year and a half.
Last minute holiday shopping? Don’t panic. During this last minute holiday shopping frenzy think local first. One of the greatest things we can do to support our community is to patronize its locally owned businesses. The National Retail Federation has forecast overall holiday sales will increase 4.1 percent from last year to $616.9 billion in 2014. So, when making your Christmas gift list think about how to pump some of those dollars into our local economy. Of course, we usually choose to do business where we perceive the best value for our time and money. Keeping that in mind, here are a few last minute gift giving ideas that will make your holiday shopping this year a whole lot easier.
For the art lover in your life, tap into your creative side and give a gift certificate from local artist, Betty Brown, to sketch that special something that your loved one holds near and dear to their heart or purchase her 2015 calendar featuring sketches of local land marks. Perouse the works of local artists at the Village Gallery to find that one of a kind piece or stop by the Old Theater and pick up tickets for the upcoming Holiday concert featuring Oliver Henderson and Abigail Mitchell. For handcrafted pottery, Christmas ornaments and jewelry all crafted by local artists visit Pigments of Imagination Studio in Alliance.
For the auto enthusiast, think gift certificates. Diversified Automotive in Arapahoe is offering a $15 off any oil change through the end of the year. Pamlico Parts NAPA Auto Care Center in Alliance has a full inventory of automotive parts and accessories and offers a reserve on line and pick up in store program, making shopping that much easier. Hardison Tire Company, also in Alliance, has been family-owned and operated since 1973 and specializes in tires, brake service and alignments. Who wouldn’t love a free oil change or a set of shiny new rims this holiday season?
For the nautically (not naughty) minded, there is no need to travel far to find that perfect gift. Visit Seacoast Marine, a certified ray marine dealer for all your electronic needs. Maybe you have been really good all year and are hoping Santa will leave a brand new shiny boat under the tree or at the dock. If so, see the new owners of Deaton Yacht Sales and check out their inventory. If someone on your gift list has a boat that could use some TLC, Deaton Yacht Services offers professional repairs and maintenance for your boat. For that hard to buy for person on your list that seems to have everything give a life-changing gift by enrolling them in a boating course offered by World Wide Marine in Oriental.
Everyone could use a little pampering during this hectic time of year. Why not give the gift of relaxation. Purchase the gift of beauty with a gift certificate from Studio 55 or a beginner’s yoga class at the Partners In Health Yoga studio both located in Oriental. Axelson Chiropractic with locations in New Bern and Alliance, offers chiropractic care, physical therapy and nutritional support. For the ultimate in relaxation and rejuvenation, Rosebud’s in Oriental offers a deep tissue therapeutic massage. For the health nut or swimming enthusiast, a membership to Village Fitness is the gift that keeps on giving.
We can’t forget our furry friends this Christmas, so why not pamper your pet with a visit to the Oriental Pet Parlor. Traveling over the holidays? Make sure your four legged friend is warm and safe by securing a stay at Dove Landing Kennels in Merritt. Fill Fido’s stocking with treats from Bill’s Pet Shop in New Bern. Or, give the ultimate gift of love by adopting a pet through P.A.W.S. and providing them a warm, safe and loving home.
Recycle, Reuse, Repurpose. Going green is in this holiday so why not shop our local thrift and consignment stores to find that something special for that someone special. Support a great cause and visit Habitat for Humanity Restore store in Grantsboro, offering everything from building supplies, furniture, home goods, books and jewelry. Looking for name brand clothing or something nautical? Check out Second Chances in Alliance. New To You in Bayboro is open on Wednesday’s and Saturday’s and all proceeds benefit the Alliance Pentecostal Holiness Church. Twice as Nice in New Bern is offering 25% off all jewelry through December. Hidden treasures abound at Pickers on Rte. 55, so stop in to see what you might find.
Gentlemen, there are plenty of gift options for that special lady in your life that will warm her heart, so please no vacuum cleaners, toaster ovens or pink tool boxes. No matter how many times we say we want something practical, we don’t really mean it. Let me make this year’s shopping a little easier. Any gifts from the following will do. The store that has a little bit of everything, Nautical Wheelers, offers a wide selection of Spartina 449 handbags, wallets & accessories. Marsha’s Cottage offers free gift wrapping and all items are currently 40% off and will be 50% off after Christmas. If your better half is more of the outdoors type, check at the Inland Waterway Provision Company for all your nautical needs. Foul weather gear, flip flops, t-shirts and all things boating are on sale now. Keep your sweetie’s tootsies warm with a new pair of Ugg boots or Danskos from the Shoe Boutique in New Bern. Reminder, diamonds are a girl’s best friend and McNeill Jewelers of New Bern carries Pandora necklaces, bracelets 14k yellow gold and diamond rings.
For other last minute gifts both Pamlico and Bayboro Pharmacies offer a huge selection of house wares, picture frames, holiday decor, baby gifts and so much more. Some merchandise is available to me monogrammed making for the perfect personalized gift.
If you find yourself running out of steam while doing all this shopping feel free to stop in any of our local eateries. Refuel with one of Brantley’s delicious buffets or take a break while taking in the scenery while imbibing in an adult beverage and a hot cup of chowder at The Toucan. Catching the ferry in Arapahoe? Stop by Changing Latitudes Cafe and enjoy a hot cup of fresh brewed coffee and homemade breakfast or their already famous fresh, local North Carolina shrimp basket.
Speaking of food...What to get that Foodie that everyone has on their gift list. Once again, gift certificates are king. Let someone else do the holiday food shopping by giving them a gift certificate to Town & Country in Oriental or the Piggly Wiggly in Grantsboro. Henry & Shorty’s in Grantsboro offers a wide variety of specialty foods and gift baskets. While visiting Oriental’s Farmers Market, stop by Fulchers Seafood for their fresh catch to serve your guests at this year’s holiday party. Need a wine to pair with that fish or to bring as a hostess gift? Paradise Cove Marina in Merritt, has a wonderful selection of wines and is offering a free wine bag with the purchase of any bottle of wine.
If you are looking for something new for the home Wells Wayside Furniture Inc. in Havelock has a vast collection of home furnishings that will compliment the most discerning home. For the “Mister Fix It” or “Do It Yourselfer” on your gift list look to Pamlico Homebuilders in Bayboro or Village Hardware in Oriental. Despite the cold temps gardening is still on the minds of those with a true green thumb. Harbourside Garden Company in Bayboro has a large selection of live trees and holiday wreaths. Thinking ahead to Spring, Yard Barbers Garden Center in Oriental offers mowing and full service landscaping services and visit Forrest Farm Supply for all your equipment and lawn and garden needs.
So this holiday season as you venture out to try and find the perfect gift for that special someone, remember, you don’t have to look far. One of a kind businesses are an integral part of the character of our community and a community with vibrant independent businesses retains its unique character as a great place to live and visit.
For a complete list of the merchants above, please contact Deborah Dickinson at The Pamlico News.
Week of December 10, 2014
Spirit of Christmas Coming This Weekend
By Martha L. Hall
Pamlico News Staff
ORIENTA L – Oriental is getting ready for Christmas. Oriental is, after all, the venue for anything exciting and just a little different in Pamlico County, site of Friday and Saturday’s annual Spirit of Christmas.
This year, the starting the 28th parade is at 1 p.m., a new time on Saturday.
“The concept this year is the movies, holiday movies,” said Paul Fairbank, parade meister. “The photographers seem to appreciate the time change. We will not speak of the time change again. It confuses people.”
Fairbank says he doesn’t count the units until the day of the parade.
“My goal is to have more people in the parade than are watching the parade,” he said.
They will accept people on the day of the parade if they show up but they would prefer knowing in advance who was coming
Asked if the Kuzoo players would show up for this year’s parade, Fairbank said they had been replaced by the “Twelve Pipers Piping.” Asked what they were playing drew a succinct answer.
Pipes,” answered Fairbank.
In the Oriental Spirit of Christmas parade, this could be anything from saxophones to sewer pipes.
“While the Gators will be wrapped up in Morehead City, we will have one local Gator that will be here,” said Fairbank. “The Mourners will be here. I haven’t heard from the Cooligans. We may not see the Cooligans. We will always now have the parade in the early afternoon. It used to be that the Christmas parade ended at Lou Mac Park with the lighting of the Christmas tree. That tree has been cut down. There really has been no one who has taken that part of the celebration by the horns so there is no reason sense in freezing to death from late in the afternoon until later in the afternoon.”
The parade starts at the Mini-Mart on Regan and Broad streets. The parade lines up on Regan Road. It will go past the Bean on Hodges Street and goes by Neuse River Drive right along the river and will end at Lou Mac Park.
“The parade runs about 30 minutes,” said Fairbank. “There will be food all over the village. We’re (the Village Hardware) serving WD-40 soup from 10:30 until 1 p.m. The WD stands for wonderfully delicious and there are 40 ingredients. Habitat for Humanity will be serving chili and the Pamlico County Historical
Association will be out in front of the hardware store selling chances on this year’s tractor.”
One of the things the Spirit of Christmas team are excited about is the Friday night concert by the Pamlico County High School choir led by Patrick Bliss.
“It may be the high school combined with middle school students and maybe even elementary school students,” said Larry Sumners, who is responsible for the Friday night lighted kayak show. “That will be at Hodges Street at the Old Town Dock. While the choir is singing, there will be a lighted kayak flotilla coming in. We’ll be lighting the Christmas star at 5:30 p.m. There will also be a Christmas market from 4:30 p.m. until 6:30 p.m. Axelson Chiropractic will be serving cider and Village Gallery is doing a mashed potato bar. It is mashed potatoes in a tub with every kind of topping to go on it.”
Summers said he was encouraging kayaks and any kind of rowed or paddle vessel to join in the lighted kayak display.
“We’ll be meeting at 4:30 p.m. at the Wildlife ramp,” he said. “Then we’ll paddle over to the Old Town dock a little before 5 p.m. so we can back up the activities. We had about six boats last year and this year we’ll have 20. The problem with lighting the sailboats is they can’t get close enough to be seen. They have to stay 100 or 150 feet off the harbor.”
There is also a flotilla planned after an absence of several years.
Organizer Joe Valinoti said five sailboats had registered through Monday.
Boats will rendezvous at Oriental marker “1” at 4:30 p.m. on Friday. The route will go toward the high-rise bridge and then Whitaker Creek and back to Marker 1.
He said the boats would be best viewed from Lou Mac Park, the town dock, dinghy dock and other waterfront areas.
He said the closest to shore viewing times are probably 5:30 to 6 p.m.
Those participating and desiring a reserved slip at the new, free, town dock will be provided one on a first to register basis. This dock will be reserved from Friday noon until Sunday noon. A limited amount of electricity will be provided at this dock for lighting only. We will also have free overflow slips available throughout Oriental for out of area or out of town boaters.
Contact Valinoti via email at email@example.com for the entry form and flotilla instructions including slip assignments.
Marsha Paplham is responsible for the hundreds of luminaries that will light the night on Saturday.
“I didn’t have that many people sign up but I think we’ve got it in hand. We are planning to put the luminaries out on Friday night and they will be lighted again on Saturday. For the program, I was just the gathering point. The newspaper is putting it together.”
There will be a radio remote broadcasting from Marsha’s Cottage, hopefully drawing people to the county. There will be printed programs available all over town.
“The Pamlico Chorale is performing Friday night at 7 p.m. and Saturday night at 8 p.m. Reba Turner will be directing. We’ve done this for 20-some odd years.”
There is a cantata going on at the Baptist Church. The live nativity featured by the Oriental United Methodist Church will be held on Saturday. Check the program for timing.
“All the non-profits are going to be doing stuff,” said Paplham. “The shops will be serving various dishes. There will be more than enough food and more than enough activity for all to be well fed and entertained.”
Be sure to get a copy of the program, printed by Pamlico News. It will keep you apprised of what’s going on, at what time and where.
On Saturday nine students from Fred A. Anderson Elementary School, along with their running buddies, took part in a Girls on the Run® 5k Run to celebrate the culmination of this fall’s Girls On The Run® program. Girls On The Run®, established in 1996 in Charlotte, NC, is a program which uses running to inspire and motivate young girls, encourage lifelong health and fitness, and build confidence through accomplishment.
Despite a rainy start, teammates, coaches, Dream Team Girls (Girls on the Run® alumni), volunteers and family members descended on the Pamlico County High School track and joined together to cheer on this season’s team. The generosity of numerous volunteers and contributors make this event possible. The success is due in part to both corporate and local sponsors and those individuals who donate their time to help make a difference in these young girls’ lives. At Saturday’s 5k run participants were treated to refreshments, music and a chance to get “Happy Hair.” Donned with rainbow-colored “Happy Hair,” each teammate crossed the finish line, received a certificate, and was awarded a Gils On The Run® medal.
The mission of Girls on the Run is to inspire girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates running. During the program, the girls learn what it means to be strong, confident and connected and physically and emotionally prepared to participate in a 5k run with their teammates.
At Girls on the Run, however, the finish line is just the beginning, as the ultimate goal is to provide the girls with the tools and resources that develop their ability to think critically-a skill that will serve them for a lifetime.
With the help of over 55,000 volunteers, the Girls on the Run program is now serving over 130,000 girls in 200 plus cities across North America each year. During the program, the girls learn how to resist negative peer pressure, make healthy life choices, develop individual strengths, and feel more comfortable in meeting the challenges today’s adolescents face.
GRANTSBORO – The Pamlico County Chamber of Commerce selected its annual awards for top citizen and businesses last week at the Delamar Center on the Pamlico Community College campus.
Some familiar names – Citizen of the Year Pat Prescott and Business of the Year, Hardison Tire and Oil Company – were joined in the winners’ circle by a relatively new company, Fresh Coat Paints, named the best new business.
The event was catered by the Pamlico Community College culinary students.
Prescott is a county native, who enjoyed a banner of a day.
Earlier in the evening, she was elected chairman of the Pamlico County Commissioners.
She graduated from Pamlico County High School in 1964 and dedicated her life to education. No one told her about retirement where you do at least three times as many things and often, get no thanks for it. However, Prescott was announced as Citizen of the Year at the Chamber banquet last weekend. Somebody noticed.
“I have 36 years in education,” she said. “I did primarily two things in my career. I taught high school math for 15 years. The balance of the years were as the Technology Director for Pamlico County schools. Not all my years were at Pamlico, but the majority were. I taught at Farm Life High School in Vanceboro for two years; the next 10 years were at Sanderson High School in Raleigh.”
She probably had more time working and raising a family than she does in retirement.
Prescott is the town clerk for the town of Grantsboro and serves on its planning board, the executive director of the Pamlico County Historical Association and a county commissioner, this year taking the lead position as board chairman. She serves on several boards and committees in her job as commissioner.
“I serve on the library board, the regional library board, The Eastern Council of Government and the Senior Services board.”
She is also incoming president for the Pamlico County Community Foundation which she says is part of the North Carolina Community Foundation, a group that raises money to award to non-profits. They only meet four times a year.
“I told them I would do it for a year. I think all my contribution to the county comes in the area of non-profit stuff,” said Prescott. “It’s a little more time than I want to put in right now.”
When she accepted her award, Prescott told the Pamlico Chamber of Commerce attendees that she really wanted to thank her husband, Jerry, because he does without ironed shirts or hot meals and her office at home spills over into the entire house.
Business of the Year was awarded to Hardison Tire and Oil Company and the three brothers who run it. Hardison Tire and Oil Company was opened in 1974 by Eldon and Hellen Hardison. It is said that Eldon started the business to keep his sons working and out of trouble. Gray Hardison came to accept the award.
“My daddy had four boys that needed something to do,” said Hardison. “What better way to put them to work. We’ve all worked with each other our whole lives. That’s how we’ve been. Now Jay has branched out but me, Timmy and Barry still work there. Jay opened Eastern Propane.”
Hardison said he knew about the award before the banquet.
“They wouldn’t have got me out there no other way,” Hardison said. “It’s an honor to be recognized out of all the businesses in the county. I think it’s pretty cool.”
The Hardisons employ 13 people in their business making them potentially one of the biggest employers in Pamlico County. They work hard, give back to the community by supporting civic organizations. They are honest people and will tell the plain truth as they know it.
“There are good people in the county and they have kept me well fed,” Hardison said. “The people of Pamlico County has made us what we are. I have a lot of loyal customers that come back over and over and I try to keep everything going on them. It kinda works hand in hand. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else in the world.”
The award for New Business of the Year went to Fresh Coat Paints
Jim and Lorraine Yeager arrived in Pamlico County as helpers after Hurricane Irene. They were part of the hard-working team of Eight Days of Hope. They felt like they had come home. They fell in love with the friendly locals and decided to relocate to Pamlico County in the Spring of 2013 and start their business Fresh Coat Painters. Fresh Coat Painters does all types of painting from residential and commercial jobs. The business is not limited to Pamlico County and they do jobs throughout the region. The business is growing and employing people.
Yeager is a military veteran and has donated his time paint and his painting expertise to the Wounded Warriors project in Pamlico County. Both of the Yeagers continue to volunteer for other needs in the County. One of those volunteer activities was to help by contributing to and joining in the Pamlico County Community College Annual Golf Tournament. This event raises money for student scholarships to Pamlico Community College. Fresh Coat Painters also assists new startup businesses by hiring them whenever possible to work on jobs with them.
Vice President Debbie Harrison was sworn in. Co-Vice President Robbie Sadler, Napa/Pamlico Parts, who was out of town and could not attend. Ray Orndorff- Life Max Insurance; Lisa Thompson-Sea Harbour yachts; Dottie Moore- Caldwell Bankers; Eddie Wynn- Piggly Wiggly are all new members of the board.
Week of December 3, 2014
Davis Sworn in as New Sheriff in Front of Huge Crowd
By Pamlico News Staff
BAYBORO – New Pamlico County Sheriff Chris Davis was in the audience Monday night at the Pamlico County Commissioners meeting, just hours after he took the oath of office in the nearby courtroom in front of about 100 people.
Davis, a Bayboro resident, defeated 12-year-incumbent Billy Sawyer Jr. in the November election.
He said his presence at commissioner meetings was on his long list of priorities that includes more patrol deputies, hiring drug investigators and generally making the department more professional.
Davis was sworn in during an official court ceremony, attended by members of his new department, former and present county commissioners and other officials, including Craven County Sheriff Jerry Monette, Carteret County Sherriff Asa Buck and District Attorney Scott Thomas.
Judge Karen Alexander oversaw the ceremony and before administering oath, called Davis an “eager and committed young man.”
The Pamlico High ROTC presented the colors and Davis led the Pledge of Allegiance.
He later thanks his wife Sarah, his family and friends, the Republican Party, his election committee, his Election Day poll workers and the voters.
He also offered tribute to the departing sheriff, thanking Sawyer for his many years of service to the county.
He promised to be a hard-working sheriff.
“Being sheriff is not what I do, but who I am,” he said.
For the past three years, Davis has been a Martin County drug investigator. Before that, he was a jailer and deputy under Sawyer.
“It is important as the sheriff to attend the commissioners meeting,” he said prior to his swearing-in. “The Martin County Sheriff attends every commissioners meeting.”
Davis said that he wants to talk with County Manager Tim Buck and with individual commissioners about the need to hire designated drug investigators. He said the county currently has no investigators with that job designation.
Later, he plans to make a request of the commissioners for help in hiring the new personnel.
For now, the 43-person department has had a turnover of five employees along with some reassignment of some duties to allow for more deputies on the road.
He has added two patrol deputy positions from what were previously clerical jobs.
Davis said all five positions; including three jailers have been filled with new employees from the county.
He said that the need for more visible law enforcement in the rural county was expressed often to him by citizens during the campaign.
Pamlico Commissioners Honor Spain,
Welcome Riggs to Board
Pamlico News Staff
BAYBORO - The Pamlico County Commissioners offered hugs, handshakes and words of praise to retiring District 3 Democrat Commissioner Jimmy Spain on Monday night, then welcomed his successor, former Alliance Mayor Ed Riggs, Jr.
Spain, who lives in Stonewall, chose not to seek re-election after 12 years in office.
The board had ordered a plaque for Spain, which did not arrive in time for the meeting. He was given a framed certificate of appreciation and the plaque will be awarded at a later date.
Riggs defeated Democrat John Buck of Stonewall in the general election to become the third Republican on the seven-member commissioners, along with Christine Mele and Kenny Heath.
Outgoing Chairman Paul Delamar III said Spain was man true to his convictions, who always kept the people of the county at the forefront of his votes.
“I don’t think he has ever cast a vote here that he didn’t think what would be best for the people of Pamlico County, and not only that, but what do they want,” Delamar told a crowded commissioners room audience that included new Sheriff Chris Davis.
“I would just like to thank the citizens of the county for the opportunity to serve them,” Spain said, giving his wife Marie a hug and adding, “this is my backbone right here.”
Delamar later nominated Pat Prescott to be the new chairman and Mele to return as vice-chairman. There were no other nominees and the two were voted in unanimously.
Delamar, Ann Holton and Carl Ollison, unopposed Democrats, were also sworn in Monday night.
Riggs was sworn in by Alliance Town Clerk Linda Marshall. He was joined for the swearing-in by his wife Heather and daughter Haley.
Holton was joined by her husband Charles and the oath was administered by her niece, Judge Karen Alexander.
Delamar and Ollison were sworn in by District 3B Judge Clint Rowe of Craven County, whose jurisdiction includes Pamlico County.
Riggs has been on the Alliance commissioners for the past decade, serving as mayor for the past five years. He was succeeded by Mayor Pro Tem Frank Willis, who has been on the board for several decades and served as mayor on several terms.
Riggs took his seat and during the traditional “commissioner time” at the end of the meeting thanked his family and friends, adding “It is an honor to be up here. It is a good board and I respect each of them.”
Delamar also proposed that he be replaced on the water committee by Riggs, who is the manager of First Craven Sanitary District in Craven County.
The meeting itself was short, with the board giving approval to a grant application for planning purposes to improve tourism. Prescott noted that the grant does not require a match, but that an offer of a $1,000 county match could help chances to be selected.
The board also approved four requests by the new Sheriff Davis, including an allocation of about $30,000 to cover pay-outs for retiring and departing department personnel.
The board also approved Davis to reclassify certain positions and for him to adjust/increase salaries for current staff and to hire new staff above the hire rate as long as he stays within the current overall salary budget for the sheriff’s department, jail and dispatch positions.
The board will not have another meeting this month due to the Christmas holiday.
Commissioners did agree to meet at 8:30 a.m. on Jan. 26 for the first budget workshop of the year.
Oriental residents, Davone Bryant and Wendy Hudson went before Pamlico District Magistrate Judge W. David McFadden during separate arraignments on Friday to face charges stemming from a deadly shooting in Bayboro on Friday, November 14th.
Bryant, 21 years of age, is accused of killing Steven Ray Squires and wounding Demario Himbry and Terrelle Greene all of Bayboro during an argument which escalated on Vance and Water Streets in Bayboro last Friday. Bryant is charged with two counts of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill. In addition, he faces two drug trafficking charges stemming from a raid of his home in September. The first of the charges is possession with intent to sell and deliver cocaine. The second charge is possession with intent to manufacture and sell a level two controlled substance, oxycodone.
Sheriff’s deputies have charged Bryant’s girlfriend, Wendy Hudson, twenty years of age, with a class “C” felony being an accessory after the fact. Hudson is accused of driving Bryant, who suffered a gunshot wound during the November 14th incident, to a Raleigh hospital to seek treatment. Bryant was initially taken to Carolina East Medical Center, but refused treatment and left against medical advice. Deputies said they tracked Bryant down to a hospital in Raleigh and after developing evidence and gathering witness accounts and arrested Bryant for the triple shooting.
During the arraignments Judge McFadden advised both Bryant and Hudson of the possible maximum sentences they face. If found guilty on both counts, Bryant could face the death penalty or life without parole. Bryant, who has been in jail since his arrest, was remanded back to the Pamlico County jail, where he is being held without bail.
Hudson, whom is currently out on bail from a previous drug offence from September, could face up to 280 months in prison. Hudson had been free after posting $50,000 bond, however Judge McFadden granted a request by District Attorney Scott Thomas to increase Hudson’s bail to $250,000 due to the previous drug charges. According to Thomas, if a person is charged with a crime while out on bail, the new bail is automatically doubled. Hudson was also remanded to jail.
After the arraignment District Attorney Scott Thomas cautioned out that these are only the initial charges for both defendants and that additional charges are possible. He also stated that the sentences that Judge McFadden set forth are maximum punishments for the defendants and that the defendant’s past criminal record will have a bearing on the final sentencing.
A second court date for both defendants is scheduled for Dec. 12, 2014.
The Pamlico Hurricane’s season came to an end with a devastating loss to Lakewood in double overtime with a final score of 20-18 in Bayboro Friday night. A two-point conversion by Lakewood led to the end of the Hurricane’s playoff run in the second round.
Pamlico scored first, with 20 seconds remaining in the first half, on a 9-yard touchdown pass to Treyvon Respers. Pamlico (10-3) out-gained Lakewood by more than 100 yards. The Hurricane’s Tony Credle gained 98 rushing yards on 22 carries and Josiah Simmons passed for 125 yards with a passing score and a rushing score. But, it was injuries, turnovers and penalties that plagued the Number 3 seed Hurricanes.
Tony Credle put Pamlico on top, 12-6, with a 1-yard touchdown run in the first overtime, but the extra point attempt was missed. Pamlico also scored first in the double overtime with an 8-yard run by junior quarterback Josiah Simmons, but again came up short when they failed to complete a 2-point conversion. Lakewood ran 10 yards on their first play of double overtime, tying the score at 18-18 and then went on to score a 2-point conversion, sending the Leopards to the third round where they will play host to South Creek next week.
Injuries seemed to have a big impact on the Friday night’s final outcome. One of the Hurricane’s key players, Cameron Moore, was absent due to an injury incurred during last week’s game and they lost another five starting players due to injuries early in the game. It was an emotional loss for Pamlico’s second year head coach, Kevin Yost. “It was tough to see five starters go down, but those kids still fought. It wasn’t meant to be for whatever reason,” lamented Yost.
Coach Yost has taken the Hurricanes to the playoffs for two consecutive years. Despite this loss he was proud of his team’s accomplishments this season. “I thought our guys played really well. There were guys who made big plays,” said Yost. There are seven seniors in key positions that won’t be returning next year, but Coach Yost still has high expectations for next year’s team. According to Yost there are key holes to fill, but there is a lot of talent coming back. “There are a lot of talented juniors and sophomores and we have a number of freshmen coming up through the ranks from Pamlico’s middle school’s team which won the championship,” said Yost. I feel we can stay at the top for some time. We need to continue to encourage the kids both on the field and in the classroom,” he added.
BAYBORO - Two newly-elected officials from a Republican sweep of contested Pamlico County races will be sworn in next week.
New Sheriff Chris Davis takes the oath of office at 3 p.m. Monday and District 3 County Commissioner Ed Riggs, Jr. takes his seat on the board later in the evening at the 7 p.m. meeting, also at the courthouse.
Republican legislative incumbents, Sen. Norman Sanderson of Arapahoe and Rep. Michael Speciale of Craven County will be sworn in early in January.
Davis is a Vandemere native who now lives in Bayboro and was a former deputy under Billy Sawyer, Jr., the man he defeated for the sheriff’s job on Nov. 4. Sawyer had been the sheriff for 12 years after 13 years as a deputy, rising to the rank of captain before his first term as sheriff.
Davis has concluded his work of the past three years as a Martin County Sheriff’s Department investigator and is already shaping plans as the lead law enforcement officer in Pamlico County.
That work includes some changes in the department personnel.
“Over the last two weeks, we have been trying to put together a list of employees that I think the citizens of Pamlico County would be proud of,” he said. “We’ve been doing interviews and trying to put people in the right positions. We haven’t cleaned house. We’ve just tried to become more efficient.”
He said that includes “about five people who either retired or decided they would move on.”
Davis spent last week at Duke University at the Sheriffs’ Leadership Institute.
“We learned a lot of great things, especially dealing with finances and personnel issues,” he said. “I also learned we (Pamlico) were doing a lot of things wrong. There were people who became sheriffs who had been chief deputies over the past 10 years who said the same thing. I’m not just talking about small departments. We had people from the School of Government, old veteran sheriffs helping teach, and we had law professors from Duke and Carolina.”
He said the transition from Sawyer’s administration was going well, although he was anxious to get on the job and begin battling his campaign promise - Pamlico County drugs.
“Starting day one, we’re going to start on this drug issue,” he said. “We will work with the commissioners to get some new positions to help combat the drug problem. So far, that is going very good. I think they understand the need and want to help us in every way that they can.”
He said that departmental professionalism was another campaign promise in his focus.
“The way we dress, the way we approach people, the way we investigate crimes,” he said. “We got rid of two clerical positions within the department. We need to be seen on the road versus being seen in the office.”
Riggs will replace longtime retiring Commissioner Jimmy Spain of Stonewall in the District 3 seat.
With his swearing in, Riggs will relinquish his current elected role as mayor Alliance.
He said his background as head of the First Craven Sanitary District water system and his service on the Bay River Metro Sewer board will be an asset he can add to the seven-member board of commissioners.
“It’s been indicated that I will be placed on the Water Committee,” he said. “I am hoping to help out in that capacity and I understand we are going to look at some county policies as it relates with the water department, particularly as it pertains to the county’s Leak Adjustment Policy.”
His arrival for assistance in that area is timely.
“It was mentioned at the last county commissioners’ meeting that that’s one of the first things they wanted to look at and compare with others in the surrounding area,” he said. “I did a lot of research in leak policies about a year and a half ago where I currently work, so I can certainly help out on that end.”
He said another water-related discussion involves needed repairs at the county water department office in Bayboro.
“What the best avenue is – whether to repair the office or relocate. I know that’s going to be discussed this coming year,” he said.
Riggs expressed his support of new Sheriff Davis.
“I am looking forward to working with the new sheriff and looking forward to hearing his ideas and I’m going to do everything possible to help him get the resources to carry out his job,” he said.
Sanderson defeated Carr Ipock of Craven County to win his second term as the District 2 state senator. Before that, he served a term as state District 3 House member.
“I think we’re being sworn in on Jan. 1. We will probably do it in Raleigh,” he said last week.
He said home insurance costs were a major priority for his next term.
“I’m tired of paying for something that’s a lot more than what it needs to be. I think the whole system is convoluted and they’re not doing what I think they should be doing,” he said. “I think it will take a major overhaul of the insurance system to make it equitable. I’m tired of people in the Piedmont and the west saying that they have to subsidize the east, when in actuality if you look at all the numbers it’s the other way around.”
Environmental issues with coastal buildings and homes in eastern North Carolina are another target.
“I’ve been working with another organization to ease of the restrictions on building permits here in the east,” he said.
Sanderson’s district includes Pamlico, Craven and Carteret counties.
“I think that Morehead City is one of the most under-utilized business places in the east. We’ve got the main channel closing up. We’ve got ships sitting off-shore now waiting for high tide to come in,” he said. “The Corps of Engineers has no money to dredge it. We have really got to come up with a plan to keep that open. If we don’t act on that quickly, we’re going to lose it.”
He said the effort to kill ferry tolls once and for all was another priority, an issue hanging over local riders of the Cherry Branch-Minnesott Beach route for several years.
‘I think we’ve got some support this year so I hope we’ll do away with all the tolls this year,” he said of the entire coastal ferry system.
Speciale defeated New Bern attorney Whit Whitley in the general election to gain a second term in the House. He succeeded Sanderson. He said he hopes to have a local swearing-in ceremony.
He wants to see the state legislature make headway toward some national issues.
“I would like to see us standing up to the Federal government on some of these unconstitutional issues they’ve been passing – Obamacare and the immigration policy that he is trying to legislate unilaterally,” he said.
He listed state priorities as jobs, the economy and teacher pay.
“Everybody wants us to cut expenses, or an exception for their district - Just don’t do it in my backyard,” he said. “That is one of the biggest hurdles we have to deal with – each other.”
Speciale added that the ferry toll issue is also a priority.
“I have talked to the Transportation Chairman, Rep. John Torbett. He is going to push to take the tolls off all the ferries. I think it will be a boon to tourism to ride free ferries. It will help more than the little bit of money we get for the ferries.”
Week of November 19, 2014
Four Shot, One Killed In Bayboro
By Deborah Dickinson
Pamlico News Staff
An altercation at the intersection of Water and Vance streets of Bayboro turned deadly on Friday evening. One person was killed and three others were injured by gunfire.
Steven Ray Squires, 28, whose body was not discovered until around 2am Saturday morning, was pronounced dead at the scene. Three others were wounded. The names of those three have not been released, but the most seriously injured was air lifted to Vidant Medical Center in Greenville for two gunshot wounds to the back. According to Lt. Scott Houston, the individual is listed in critical condition. A second man was treated and released for a bullet wound to the hand at Vidant Beaufort Hospital in Washington. A third was taken to Carolina East Medical Center where he was treated and admitted with a leg wound. The man later left the hospital against medical advice.
All three told deputies that an unknown black male had shot them. According to Lt. Scott Houston of the Pamlico County Sheriff’s Office, the trouble began around 5 p.m. at the intersection of Water and Vance streets, on Water Street where several young men gathered and a verbal fight turned into a physical fight and an unknown assailant drew a gun and began firing. The intersection, by an abandoned house, is known as a local hangout area
A bloodhound was brought to the scene and deputies located four shell casings. The crime scene was cleared about 7 p.m. Authorities soon learned that Squires had been at the scene. At about 2 a.m. the deputies had made a decision to start a hunt for him when family members discovered his body in a back yard about seventy five yards from the scene of the original fight. It is suspected that Squires’ body was not there during the initial search leaving authorities to believe that he either came back to the scene on his own and later died or that his body was left there by unknown individuals.
According to local residents the area was at one time a center for narcotics. According to records, there has never been a shooting at this location and no violence had been reported for quite some time.
Lt. Houston said the sheriff’s office is still looking for witnesses to the fight. If anyone would be willing to give information anonymously they can call the sheriff’s office at 745-3101.
BAYBORO - The Pamlico County Commissioners voted 5 to 1 Monday night not to support an environmental group’s plans for a likely lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency over the controversial Atlas Tract land-clearing project.
The board instead voted to ask the sides - Southern Environmental Law Center and the Coastal Federation and landowners Spring Creek Farms of Illiniois - to try and work out an agreement in the next 45 days and submit a report to the board on Jan. 20.
The board was asked by the Coastal Federation and its legal reps to support a planned 60-day letter of intent to sue the EPA for what it says are failures to enforce the Clean Water Act in the conversion of mainly forest and wetlands land to agriculture use. Currently at issue is about 250 acres that have been cleared.
The protesting groups contend the Army Corps of Engineers and the EPA erred in allowing 251 acres of a nearly 4,600 acre tract to be cleared. They claim the area is wetlands and the project endangers the local water table and could produce adverse, even catastrophic effects on local tributaries that feed the Bay River and even the Pamlico Sound in the event of a major storm or hurricane.
More than 50 people attended the meeting which was moved to the county’s main courtroom. All but one of more than a dozen citizen speakers supported the environmental group, expressing fears of dangers to local waters and estuaries.
The motion for the discussion and report by the opposing parties was made by Commissioner Ann Holton. It received support votes from Carl Ollison, Christine Mele, Pat Prescott and Paul Delamar III. Commissioner Kenny Heath voted against it after earlier saying he felt the commissioners should support the letter of intent to sue. Commissioner Jimmy Spain did not attend.
After citizens spoke, Derb Cartesr, Jr., the director of the Chapel Hill office of the Southern Environmental Law Center offered the side of those seeking to stop the controversial land clearing. He said their position is that the Corp had erred in allowing the land clearing and the EPA should uphold enforcement of the Clean Water Act.
He was asked by Commissioner Holton if the letter of intent and the lawsuit could or would be pursued without the commissioners’ support.
He said his group planned to go ahead with those plans on behalf of the Coastal Federation.
Todd Miller, who heads the Swansboro-based Coastal Federation, said his office began receiving many calls from citizens when the issue first surfaced last year. He said the federation enlisted the aid of the Southern Environmental Law Center, which will provide free legal support.
Last year, the commissioners send letter of inquiry to the federal agencies.
Earlier, Carter, along with local Realtor Allen Propst, who brought the matter to the public’s attention last year, both said they were seeking the county support to give a potential lawsuit in federal court “standing” and an official Pamlico voice.
Propst said that if the land is not protected it would leave the headwaters of as many as a dozen tributaries in peril.
He said water flowing freely during a major weather event could total a billion gallons of unfiltered water entering local waterways in a 24-hour period.
Carter said the 60 day notice of intent would give the EPA a change “to reconsider its position.”
The landowner’s attorney Clark Wright, told the commissioners that his clients always intended to be good environmental neighbors and that they merely followed what the federal agencies said was legal.
He said they planned to keep parts of the massive tract available for hunting and to have a water management plans to protect wetlands and waterways.
He expressed hope that the two sides could “work at some middle ground.”
Carter’s group contends that illegal non-permitted ditching was conducted in 1990 by a previous land owner had and that EPA had failed to recognize that.
Wright held up an aerial photo he said show ditching 10 feet deep and 20 feet wide on areas other than the 251 acres being discussed now. He said those were dug around 1975, long before the Clean Water Act.
During commissioner discussion, Holton presented her motion for both sides to work out an agreement.
“I was glad to see dialogue this evening and I would like to see it continue,” she said.
She said she was hesitant to put the county in the position of being involved in a lawsuit.
She also said she would like to see the board in agreement on the issue, either unanimously or by super majority.
Mele read a portion of a letter from the Spring Creek Farms owner Mark Beck, which indicated a desire to have discussions.
“We want to sit down and meet with the members of the board (commissioners), and other concerned citizens to talk about how our vision for the Atlas Tract can include protection of riparian buffers, protection of wildlife values, use of water control structures and other management practices to greatly reduce the potential for nutrient or sediment runoff, and, of course, protection of our private property values, including the right to rely on expert governmental regulators, who have spent a great deal of time on this land showing us where we can – and cannot – engage in the farming activities that are an important part of why we spent over $7 million dollars to buy this land.”
BAYBORO – Pamlico County candidates running for commissioner and sheriff raised more than $30,000 for their campaigns.
The figures, from records at the Pamlico County Elections office, reflect only through the last reporting period on Oct. 18.
Lisa Bennett, the elections director, said a report must be filed for candidates receiving or spending more than $1,000.
Since the last report was 18 days before the November election, the totals will likely be higher.
She said the contribution totals often reflect the candidate’s own money, which if designed as a loan to their campaign, can be repaid.
Bennett said some candidates will keep their campaign accounts active.
If the account is closed the remaining money must be used as a charitable contribution or a donation to another candidate.
“They can’t just pocket the money,” she said.
Far away the top spender was newly elected Republican Sheriff Chris Davis, who listed $24,955 in contributions and spent $19,905.
Incumbent Democrat Sheriff Billy Sawyer Jr. listed $3,850 in contributions and $3,607 in expenditures.
In the race for the county commissioner District 3 seat, winner Ed Riggs, Jr., a Republican, reported $2,100 in contributions and $1,214 in expenses.
John Buck, the Democrat challenger reported expenditures of $1,754, with just $260 in contributions from two individuals.
Bennett said all the records are public and available for viewing at her office in the county courthouse.
Davis got multiple donations from individuals of $100 and $200, as well as one $1,000 contribution from a county commissioner and the same amount from a local lawyer. He also had a $750 donation from a local Republican party leader and several $500 contributions from Pamlico business owners.
He also got $500 donations from two Virginia Beach sources, an individual and an auto dealership.
His expenditures were for media advertising, T-shirts, car magnets, billboards, graphic designs and $875 to cater a fundraising event.
Sawyer’s largest contribution was $1,000 from a New Bern attorney, with most of his being his money.
His expenditures included buttons, signs, bumper stickers and media advertising.
Buck spent money on signs and banners, a mail-out campaign and media ads.
Riggs’ main contribution was $1,000 from the North Carolina Realtors Political Action Committee of Greensboro. He also got $900 from a county commissioner.
His expenses included signs, media ads and office supplies.
She said that Riggs, who did not have a primary opponent in May, did not break the $1,000 reporting threshold until late in the campaign.
Week of November 12, 2014
New Cancer Care Planned for Area
CarolinaEast Medical Center and UNC Cancer Care announce a collaboration that will bring cancer care capabilities in the east that were previously only available in the Triangle Region of North Carolina.
“There have been a few red letter, banner days in my career – today is one of them,” said Ray Leggett, President and CEO of CarolinaEast Health System. “This relationship is good for us, good for UNC Cancer Care, and most importantly, good for the residents of eastern North Carolina,” he added.
CarolinaEast will construct a new, leading edge cancer center on the Neuse Boulevard campus that will bring together the many cancer services previously offered by the organization and community under one roof. “We have been providing exceptional cancer care at CarolinaEast and in the local community for decades. We were the first provider in coastal North Carolina to offer radiation therapy back in 1977,” explained Leggett. “The new cancer center supported by our wonderful local clinicians and enhanced by our collaborative efforts with UNC Cancer Care will make the journey to recovery much more navigable and make available specialists, protocols and clinical trials never before available in our region.”
According to the National Cancer Institute/Centers for Disease Control, four of the top 10 counties with the highest annual incidence rates for cancer in North Carolina directly border Craven County. Six of the seven counties in our region are well above the state and national average incidence rates. Roughly, 2,500 residents in Craven, Jones, Pamlico, Carteret, Onslow, Lenior and Beaufort counties are newly diagnosed with cancer every year. Nearly 1000 people die every year.
“I knew this was the right thing to do when we approached the UNC Cancer Care leadership and they wholeheartedly agreed this was a need that must be met and we were the right partners to bring the vision to fruition,” said Leggett.
Six of the seven counties in our region are well above the state and national average for annual incidence of cancer. (Craven, Jones, Carteret, Onslow, Lenoir, and Beaufort are all above the average. Pamlico is the only county below…and they are actually below the state and national averages). In these counties, 2421 people on average are newly diagnosed with cancer each year.
New Pamlico Sheriff Plans More Deputies on the Road
By Martha L. Hall
Pamlico News Staff
BAYBORO – Newly-elected Pamlico County Sheriff Chris Davis is already setting wheels into motion for his administration, naming a new chief deputy and realigning staff to put more deputies on the road.
Davis defeated 12-year incumbent Billy Sawyer, Jr. by an unofficial 127 vote margin on Nov. 4. It was a result that Sawyer conceded the night of the election could not be overturned by provisional or absentee ballots.
Davis, a Republican, is a Vandemere native and lives in Bayboro. He is leaving his job as investigator for the Martin County Sheriff’s Department to take the helm as Pamlico lead law enforcement officer.
“Right now we’re meeting with employees and coming up with a game plan of how we want to go about it, who we’re going to put where,” he said Monday. “We’re making some changes, trying to put more deputies on the street and ultimately we’re trying to come up with some positions to have more drug investigators.”
He said Sawyer was assisting in the transition of leadership.
“I’ve had a conversation with Billy and I have also named Danny Pugh as my chief deputy,” he said. “He (Pugh) was a captain, but he was a bailiff.”
Davis said he did not intend to have a random “house-cleaning” of current employees.
“We are not necessarily replacing them. We have a few people that we’ve talked to and let them know that this is what we expect out of them,” he said. “We are not necessarily going in there and getting rid of everybody, but we are going to expect everybody to do their job.”
He said shifting of duties work toward his goal of more sheriff’s deputies being visible to the public.
“Right now, there are several officers that are office staff and we’re trying to make sure that we’re covering our bases within the office, but we’re trying to get more people on the road,” he said. “We’re trying to get them out of the office and get them where they’re being seen. So far, we’ve come up with two clerical positions that we’re going to turn into deputy positions.”
Davis said he is busy finishing his current job and getting training for the new one.
That includes training that the North Carolina Sheriffs Association hosts next week at Duke University. “They ask that all incoming sheriffs attend that training,” Davis said. “They’re going to teach us stuff that we need to make sure we’ve got covered – sex offenders, gun permits, detention facilities. They say they really break it down in this training and teach you the things you need to know in the first three months of being a sheriff.”
Another session on budgeting is scheduled in three months. Overall, the training is four weeks over two years.
Davis said he was elected but not sure what his salary would be.
I’m not sure where they’re going to start me out,” Davis said. “We haven’t discussed that yet. I am not sure when that will come up.”
County Manager Tim Buck said it would be the same as Sawyer, $70,994
Pamlico Hurricanes Seeded No. 3 in the NCHSAA 1A Playoffs.
The Pamlico Hurricanes are a number three seed in the NCHSSA 1A playoffs after clinching the Coastal Plains Conference title with a 34-16 win over Southside on Friday in Bayboro. Friday night, was Senior Night and with the Coastal Plains Conference Championship on the line, the game was dedicated to the team’s exiting seniors. Senior running back Tony Credle rushed 12 times for 188 yards and had two touchdowns, both over 45 yards each. Credle then picked up an interception on defense, to bring the team to victory over Southside. Credle said it felt good to be on a winning team after being 1-9 his first two seasons as a Hurricane and now to winning the conference championship. Pamlico finished second in the conference in 2013 and lost to Lejuene in this very same game. The loss to Lejuene in addition to two nonconference losses earlier this year to Farmville Central and Edenton Holmes, seemed to heighten the intensity of Friday’s game and made the win that much more crucial.
Josiah Simmons passed for 124 yards, with a 60-yard score to Cameron Moore. But, two incomplete passes on two fourth downs left the Hurricanes up by only 7-0 at the half. The Hurricanes shut out the Seahawks until half way into the fourth quarter when Southside backup quarterback, Donshae Miller, threw a 40-yard score to Matt Baxter and the Seahawks added the 2-point conversion for a score of 21-8. Hurricane’s Cameron Moore then caught a touchdown pass from Josiah Simmons to cinch the win. The Seahawks fumbled the ball and the Hurricane’s Trevon Ollison recovered at the 20 yard line with Jacobie Simmons running it in from five yards out, resulting in the 34-16 win.
Hurricanes coach, Kevin Yost, was proud of his team and credited them for their hard work. “This win is one for these kids to celebrate, they earned it.” They knew how important this game was and that they can write a piece of history in the school’s athletic record book,” boasted Yost.
The New Bern Bears (10-0), after finishing their regular season with an unbeaten record, received the top overall seed in the East for the NCHSAA 4A playoffs and will play host to 16th seed Clayton (6-4) in the first round. Hoggard (10-0) is the second seed, Scotland (10-0) is the third seed and Seventy-First (10-0) is the fourth. The Hurricanes (9-1) will open the postseason in Bayboro against No. 14-seed Weldon (2-8) at 7:30 p.m. this Friday. If The Hurricanes are victorious over Weldon on Friday they will then host either Lakewood (6-4) or Columbia (3-7) on November 21.
Week of November 5, 2014
Former Deputy Davis Upends Sawyer for
Pamlico County Sheriff
By Martha L. Hall
Pamlico News Staff
BAYBORO – There’s a new sheriff in Pamlico County after former deputy Chris Davis defeated his old boss, 12-year Sheriff Billy Sawyer Jr., in Tuesday’s high-vote general election.
With a 57 percent turnout (5,459) of the county’s 9,515 registered voters, Davis was joined in the local winner’s circle among contested races by District 3 County Commissioner Ed Riggs Jr.; state District 2 Senator Norman Sanderson; state District 3 House representative Michael Speciale; and Soil and Water Conservation District Supervisor Elbert Lee Jr.
Davis, a Republican who lives in Bayboro and currently works as an investigator for the Martin County Sheriff’s Department, edged out Sawyer, a 25-year veteran of the department, by 127 votes.
There are no run-off potential in local elections, although provisional and absentee ballots remain to be counted.
But, Sawyer was gracious afterwards Tuesday night, congratulating the new top law enforcement officer in the county.
“I congratulate him,” he said to media afterwards. “He ran a good clean race, worked hard and he won.”
Davis, who campaigned on fighting the county’s drug problem, said his 21-month campaign had paid off.
“We feel great. We’ve spent a lot of time on the road, a lot of time out pounding doors and meeting people in the community and it feels great to have your hard work pay off,” he said. “I take over the job on Dec. 1. I intend on going back on Monday and probably working another week in Martin County and then coming back.”
Davis got 51 percent of the vote, 2,757, to 2,630 for Sawyer.
Ed Riggs, Jr., the mayor of Alliance, will be resigning that job to become the District 3 county commissioner, with his 514-464 victory over planning board member John Buck of Stonewall.
Three unopposed Democrats also returned to office unopposed – Chairman Paul Delamar III, Ann Holton and Carl Ollison.
Other unopposed candidates returning to office include Clerk of Superior Court Steven E. Hollowell and District Attorney Scott Thomas.
Arapahoe resident Sanderson returns for his second term as the state Senator for Pamlico, Craven and Carteret counties after his 13,000 vote victory over Craven County School Board Chairman Carr Ipock II. Sanderson carried Pamlico County by a 3,047 total to 2,320, or 57 percent of the vote.
Speciale won a battle of Craven County residents for the local House race against Whit Whitley. He won Pamlico County with 54 percent of the votes, a 491-vote margin.
Pamlico Hurricanes Continue To Coastal Plains Conference Championship After Win Against
The Pamlico Hurricanes are one win away from a title after a huge 47-8 win over Jones Senior on Friday in Trenton. The Hurricanes, with an overall record of 8-2 will vie for their first title since 2003 against Southside this Friday on their home turf in Bayboro.
Pamlico Hurricane’s Coach, Kevin Yost, put a lot of weight on this game. In the week leading up to Friday’s game Yost said “Throw the records out the window. This is a huge game, a rivalry game. If we can take care of business we will set ourselves up with a home conference championship game against Southside High School. Our athletes are ready and we continue to draw closer together.” And, the Hurricanes did just that.
On the third play from scrimmage, Pamlico’s Tony Credle ran 66 yards for a touchdown to put the first score on the board. The Hurricanes were up 26-0 at halftime and scored another 21 points in the third quarter. Credle ran for 113 yards and Cameron Moore caught six passes for 62 yards and a touchdown to keep the Hurricanes in the lead. Derrick Columbus also caught a touchdown pass. Quarterback, Josiah Simmons passed for 293 yards with two touchdowns and ran in one touchdown. Jacobie Simmons added a rushing touchdown. The Hurricanes forced three turnovers and rushed for 240 yards as a team overall.
The Pamlico Hurricanes, with an overall record of 8-2 and 4-0 in the Coastal Plains, now prepare for their challenge this Friday night in Bayboro against Chocowinity Southside Seahawks with an 8-2 record. Southside is coming off a 55-8 win against Lejeune.
Coach Yost said this win is what they prepared for given playing in the championship was one of this year’s goals. “As usual, we appreciate the community support and hope that this is the place to be on Friday nights,” addedYost.
The issue of the controversial Atlas Tract, a massive 4,658-acre tract of forest and wetlands in the Florence-Whortonsville area, has returned with a threatened lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency.
Charges of illegal ditching and destroying wetlands and the water table were leveled by citizens in 2013, with complaints to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The federal agency had given an Illinois company the go-ahead to clear and ditch the land for conversion to agricultural use.
Following a cease and desist letter from the overseeing Environmental Protection Agency in April of this year, it was believed the situation was resolved.
Now, the Coastal Federation and the Southern Environmental Law Center are preparing a letter of intent to sue the EPA for a decision not to go forth with an enforcement action against the land owners, Spring Creek Farms LLC, of Illinois.
According to Allen Propst, a local man who has been involved in the protest since the start, those groups plan to be on the Pamlico County commissioners' agenda for Nov. 17 and ask the county to sign on to the letter.
The groups had hoped to attend this Monday's meeting, but rescheduled for the board's second November meeting.
Paul Delamar III, chairman of the commissioners said the county had responsibilities to the people to protect them from selective enforcement by the federal government.
But, he said a second issue was to act in a way that was budgetarily sound.
"We need to be fully briefed on any possible financial ramifications on anything we might do," he said of the board signing on to a potential lawsuit. "I’m not going to take an issue like this and turn it into a crusade that’s going to bankrupt the county. I’m not going to vote for that. I want a lot of reassurances before we do anything other than what we’ve already done."
The commissioners have sent letters of inquiry in the past to the federal authorities seeking information and expressing its concern.
"I want it to be understood that should we come to a point where we might be facing liability or expense, we need to have an opportunity to opt out," Delamar added. "Our people want the laws enforced and they want them enforced fairly and equally.
"We should be looking out for our folks and making sure that when the federal government applies the laws, that they apply them equally, and in the attempt to force the federal government to do its job and to apply the laws equally, we don’t bankrupt the county."
Propst said the county support was needed if a lawsuit goes to federal court to give it "standing," showing local support. The Coastal Federation is headquartered in Swansboro and the pro bono Southern Environmental Law Center is in Chapel Hill.
“If the county is interested, it wouldn’t be a financial burden on the county. It’s a serious issue and we understand it’s a big decision by the county to join or not,” Miller said. “Because the agencies haven’t ruled on the remaining acres, the court could either remand on the decision on the 251 acres, telling the agencies that they needed to redo the process on it, or they could rule that it’s wetlands and it’s not right.
“If they ultimately were unable to get a permit, they would have to restore the hydrology.”
According to Propst, 251 acres have been cleared and ditched. He and the complainants contend that it threatens the water table and if much or all of the tract's wetlands are destroyed, it could have a catastrophic effect on estuaries, especially in the advent of a hurricane.
Propst said the 251 acres are perhaps the most sensitive area of the tract, located on the headwaters of Trent Creek.
He said the Corps was originally in error by allowing the project, because it did not research and “do its due diligence” on the land records. He said maps proved that illegal ditching first occurred around 1990 by an earlier landowner.
The illegal ditching came five years after the Swampbuster provision of Food Security Act of 1985, to discourage conversion of wetlands to croplands.
“What the Swamp Buster said was you cannot convert wetland, forest to farmland,” Propst said. “And over and over it said you cannot change the hydrology in order to do that. The reason was to rein in people cutting timber and draining areas.”
He said changing the water table is achieved only through ditching.
Propst also said the EPA also erred when it first sent the April cease and desist letter, mistakenly sending it to a registered land agent who had died in 2008. He said the Coastal Federation uncovered that mistake.
Propst said the fear is that if the EPA is not forced to enforce its own order, the company will return and continue work.
Week of October 29, 2014
Record-Breaking Early Voter Turnout Statewide
By Martha L. Hall
Pamlico News Staff
BAYBORO – A record turnout has been recorded through the first three days of One Stop voting in Pamlico County, which can be attributed either to voter enthusiasm or the side effect of a shortened early voting period in advance of the Nov. 4 general midterm election.
More than 1,000 of the nearly 9,500 registered voters had come through the county’s lone One Stop location through Monday at the Pamlico County Courthouse. One Stop began last Thursday and ends at 1 p.m. Saturday.
“One Stop has become increasingly more popular as time has gone on,” said Lisa Bennett the county elections director.
But the seeming popularity this year may have been influenced by a number of changes last year by the General Assembly, including cutting the time period for the early votes.
“The daily turnout has been higher than most of our One Stop days for the first couple of days (in the past),” Bennett said. “We beat those numbers by a lot, but you have to remember that One Stop is a week shorter, so it is going to be hard to tell until we are finished if we got the same turnout – higher or lower.”
Bennett said it had kept the staff very busy, with at least four workers on site at all times, along with her assisting during the busiest rushes.
“In fact, Thursday, the first day we opened, I called in a couple of other workers to come in early, because we were really surprised by the response first thing that morning,” she said.
There were 380 voters on that first day.
“Friday we started off a little slow, but it got busy during the middle of the day,” she said of a turnout that finished with 387 voters.
“Today (Monday), it hasn't seemed as busy,” Bennett said late in the afternoon before the extended 8 p.m. deadline. “I don’t know if we have gotten used to it, or if has been a little slower.”
The extended hours to 8 p.m. through Thursday is a first for the elections office. It returns to 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and finishes Saturday with the traditional 1 p.m. ending time.
“This will be a learning experience,” she added. “We really have nothing (historical data) to base it on.”
Neither the lines nor the wait time have not been overly long.
“We haven’t had a line longer than 10 minutes,” she said.
People have inquired about changes in election law, in particular the abolishing of straight party voting.
“We have explained that the law changed,” she said.
Poll workers also explain to each 2014 voter that in 2016 they will have to show an appropriate form of photo ID.
Also, in 2018, there will be a change in voting equipment.
The high voter turnout could be linked to local races for sheriff and county commissioner, although Bennett said that the trend is statewide.
“Everybody is having a large turnout,” she said. “It could be the Senate races or it could just be that we are going to be busier every day because of the shortened One Stop time.”
Bennett said the large early turnout is good for Election Day.
“The more people we have vote early, the easier Election Day is for me and the election officials,” she said.
There is a public transportation system in Pamlico County that many individuals may not know about.
It, however, is not a taxi or bus service.
It is CARTS and there are limitations and notification requirements for riders.
Pamlico County Manager Tim Buck said CARTS, housed in Craven County, travels all over the three counties – Craven, Pamlico and Jones and can be helpful to the handicapped and elderly.
“You have to make appointments by calling,” said Buck. “There are some requirements for payment.”
Those needing rides call 646-4917.
There are several programs. This is a state-funded public transportation program administered by the North Carolina Department of Transportation Division.
The Rural Operating Assistance Program includes the following programs: the Elderly and Disabled Transportation Assistance Program, the Employment Transportation Assistance Program and the Rural General Public Program.
ROAP funds are allocated to each county by a formula. Employment Transportation Assistance
Rural General Public Program costs $2 and you have to book at least 48 hours in advance. It is not a taxi service.
Debbie Green at the Department of Social Services is the coordinator for Pamlico County. When you call the CARTS Craven County number, you should contact Kelly Walker who is the transportation coordinator in Craven County.
The biggest population that uses CARTS are the elderly.
There are some students at Pamlico Community College that use it and that is funded through EDTAP – elderly and disabled transportation money.
They provide transportation on a regular basis for those special needs students that go to the community college in a program once called COMPED.
“That’s how the community college uses those funds,” said Green. “We split this grant money between the Senior Services Center and the community college. The community college uses it to get CARTS to transport that population of students. The fees in Pamlico County are set at $2 each.”
There presently is no fixed route in Pamlico County. There is a route that takes handicapped students to the community college, but there is no route by the Senior Services that takes older individuals to places such as Oriental or to the Walmart in Grantsboro.
Said Green, “You can’t call CARTS at the last minute. You need to allow a 72-hour window. CARTS has to try and coordinate trips. They have tried to do routes in the past but often it ends up being just one rider. And you see, this grant only pays $2 but the trip may cost $20. The difference is paid by a state grant.”
Green said it depends on what pot of money they fall under. If riders want to be taken to the Walmart, it falls under the Rural General Public.
If they need a ride to work, it would fall under Employment.
If they are elderly or disabled and that was verified through the DSS and they needed to go to the doctor, it would cost nothing. Under that particular section of the grant, that is completely covered.
“There probably are people who would be covered who do not take advantage of the transit system. The problem with riding on the transit system is if one person’s appointment is at 10 o’clock and the other person’s appointment isn’t until 11 a.m., you might get stuck waiting,” said Green. “If you are elderly and don’t feel well on top of that, sitting at the doctor’s office for who knows how many hours might just not be a good thing. The program really needs people to call and ask them for rides so they can assess the need for CARTS.”
BAYBORO – Pamlico County High School plans its 50th class reunion on Nov. 15th at 6 p.m. at the Flame in New Bern.
Ask Linda Lewis Caroon about the differences in the class of 1964 at Pamlico County High School and the classes today and the answers come quickly.
She has grandchildren in school these days.
The differences range from the way they were taught, the way they played and how they viewed the world.
“We weren’t afraid when we were going to school. I think there was some bullying, but it didn’t seem to be as bad back then,” said the current-day Oriental resident, who grew up in Lowland. “We didn’t worry about things.”
“In 1964, we had no computers, no teachers’ assistants and they don’t have recesses the way we did,” she added. “We used to go out and play games like Tag or marbles. We had books for every subject and now they don’t always use books any more. Now there are so many children on medications. We didn’t have that. We didn’t even have a school nurse.”
Caroon went to Hobucken School until she was in 9th grade and then transferred to Pamlico High School.
Caroon also remembers the in-county sports.
“We had basketball. Oriental, Stonewall, Arapahoe, Alliance and Hobucken – and we played each other,” she said. “Then in 9th grade at the high school, we branched out and played other counties.”
There was no such thing as school shootings.
“We didn’t worry about things like that,” she said. “And everybody rode the school bus. There might have been a few that drove if they had a ballgame after school or something like that, but just because we turned 16 didn’t mean we were going to get a car.”
Sarah Lee Koos said she grew up on Dawson’s Creek.
“There wasn’t one fast food restaurant in Pamlico County until long after Bill and I were married and moved to Raleigh,” recalled the 1964 graduate. “We did have a drive-in theatre in Pamlico County and there used to be one between Prescott Road and the next one or two curves before you get to Reelsboro on the left. There was a walk-in theatre in Bayboro and there was one in Oriental.”
She said fast food meant a trip to James City and the drive-in restaurant,Wiggly Pig.
“Right across from that was the Tip Top and people would circle one place and then the other,” she said of teenage fun. “There was a radio station or DJ up on top of the Tip Top. There was a grill in Bridgeton. You had to come to town if you were going to find anything like that. Downtown was New Bern. There was a Kress and a McClellan’s.”
Koos said when she went to college at East Carolina, it was also a different era.
Shorts for girls were not allowed.
“You would go to a dance class or gym class, you had to wear a trench coat over your Bermuda shorts,” she said.
“As I look through my annuals, I see the signatures and messages,” she said. “It was a big deal to have everyone sign your yearbook. What I realize is how much better kids used to be at spelling and punctuation. Nowadays, they’ve been texting so much, they can’t spell any more. Somehow, some way they’ve gotten so dumbed down now, it’s unbelievable. Grammar got thrown out a good while ago and they just don’t get it. I see them coming out of college with an English degree and not being able to speak it.”
Koos said when she came through high school, there were still five elementary schools in the county.
“When you drove around the county, you knew who lived where,” she remembered. “Everybody knew everybody or they knew the family name. That is absolutely not true anymore. None of us had a lot of money, but everybody was in the same boat. We had to make our own fun a lot of times. You just did it. We were fortunate.”
She said it was a more sheltered time. The first time she ever heard about marijuana from a student who had moved from another state.
“It was not something kids had to worry about or had to say no to,” she said. “Probably some of the boys had a beer occasionally, but the girls didn’t. The worst thing we did was smoke a cigarette.”
Billy Parsons said he used to know everybody that lived on his road and most of the ones that lived from Arapahoe to Minnesott Beach.
“I couldn’t tell you who lives there now,” he said. “I used to live right next door to where I live now. A lot of folks used to farm or did enough farming to raise a family on it. Now there’s only two or three folks that farm.”
Parsons talked about the stores that used to be in Arapahoe.
“There were be two good-sized grocery stores in Arapahoe, one little hardware store, there was a kind of a little convenience store,” he said.
Minnesott Beach has also changed.
“The pavilion is gone. There isn’t even a public boat ramp in Minnesott now,” he said.
Parsons said when he got out of high school, he went to college for a few years and then joined the Navy. He returned home and went to work at Cherry Point.
“Fifty years ago we didn’t have anything to be afraid of,” he said. “I think the big problem today is the parents don’t have enough time to raise their kids. They are in such a tizzy to keep up with the modern world and the modern technology with the social interactions plays a big part in it.”
When he was growing up, every adult in the neighborhood disciplined every kid in the neighborhood.
“That doesn’t happen now,” he said. “The kids in the neighborhood now sit in the house and play their video games. The parents sit in the house and watch them play their video games. They don’t discipline like I was disciplined. They don’t discipline in schools like they used to. Used to be, if I got a whipping at school, I got another one when I got home. Today teachers aren’t allowed to do corporeal punishment.”
Roland Humphrey, who said he grew up in a house that was never locked, said God had been taken out of the schools and schools were spending more money and getting less for their nickel.
“The government took everything out of the schools – discipline and all that,” he said. “There were no sheriff’s deputies in the school system in 1964.”
Marilyn Ragan said they knew everybody then.
“That’s a big difference,” she said. “Used to, the teachers knew the children; now they’re moving in and out of the county – we’re more of a transient population.”
Ragan said everybody in her class went to a community school until the 9th grade.
“In high school, we got to meet a whole new group of people and form some meaningful relationships,” she said. “I think in some ways the children of today are probably exposed more and have more advantages. I have two ways of thinking about it. Sometimes they’re exposed too much. We did have a sense of innocence back then. It’s not as innocent a world now.”
Week of October 22, 2014
Early Voting Underway, Straight Party Ticket Out
By Martha L. Hall
Pamlico News Staff
BAYBORO - Pamlico County early voters will see state-wide rule changes when early One Stop voting for the 2014 elections begin Thursday.
The early voting continues through Nov. 1.
Local races include sheriff, a county commissioner seat, state House and state Senate. There are also the other mid-term national votes for offices such as U.S. House and Senate, along with nonpartisan seats for state Supreme Court and Court of Appeals.
The North Carolina General Assembly made changes to voting rules last year and those changes have been the subject of several recent court decisions which eventually left them as the Legislature wanted.
Lisa Bennett, the Pamlico County Elections director said voters should be aware of the changes since the past election.
One change that might catch some voters by surprise is there is no longer straight party voting.
“That is not an option anymore, so they will need to go through each contest and vote,” said Bennett.
Voters can change their address at the One Stop, as long as they were already registered.
Another change is that same day registration is no longer allowed. That was among the rules overturned by an appellant court, but reinstated by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Also, out-of-precinct voting is not allowed.
“They (voters) need to know the schedule, because it is a little different than it has been,” Bennett said.
One of the adjustments involves the election’s office at the county courthouse being open later (8 p.m.) on Monday, Oct. 27 through Thursday, Oct. 30.
“If they need to vote after 5 p.m., we will be here,” she said. “They do not need to show a photo ID for this election. They will be asked if they do have an appropriate form of photo ID that they can use in 2016.”
The other voting times are Thursday and Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and the same times on Oct. 31, with voting ending at 1 p.m. on Nov. 1.
Since January, there have been 382 new voters register in Pamlico County, with the county total more than 9,500.
Bennett said the new voters come from many segments - coming-of-age voters, new residents, or former residents who have returned to the county.
At the last mid-term election in 2012, the county had 9,179 registered voters, with an eventual general election turnout of 4,735. That included 1,899 One Stop voters. On the November 2012 election day, there were another 2,645 voters, with 90 absentee by mail, 13 provisional ballots and 88 people who voted curbside. It equated to a 51.59 percent turnout.
The county’s registered voter count is currently 9,520. It includes 4,371 Democrats, 2,793 Republicans, 18 Libertarians, and 2,338 unaffiliated voters.
The local candidates include Democrat Sheriff Billy Sawyer Jr. facing Republican Chris Davis and Democrat John Buck going against Republican Ed Riggs Jr. for the District 3 county commissioner seat.
On the state level, incumbent state Sen. Norman Sanderson, a Republican and Arapahoe resident, faces Carr Ipock, the Democrat challenger from New Bern in District 2.
In the state House race, two Craven County residents seek the District 3 seat, which includes Pamlico County. They are incumbent Republican Michael Speciale and Whit Whitley.
For information, call the elections office at 745-4821.
ORIENTAL - The 7th annual Chili Cookoff to benefit the Old Theater was a successful event with 275 people attending and also a historic event.
For the first time, there was a sweep of the top two awards.
From 13 entries, the People’s Choice and Judges’ Choice were both won by first-time entry Seacoast Marine Electronics, with chefs Dan Albert, his wife Betsy Bailey, and company owner Pete Waterson.
Ellyn Speciale, the co-coordinator of the event with Nelda Coats, said the event would hopefully bring in about $2,000 for the Old Theater.
Bailey said the key ingredient for Seacoast’s winning recipe was the use of real dried chilies, made into a puree sauce for the base.
“A lot of people said the heat was just about right,” she said. “It wasn’t too hot, but it wasn’t too mild. It was kind of a medium.”
The Judge’s award was decided by an impartial panel - Larry Summers, Barb Venturi and Bob Miller - based on a blind taste test.
The “People's Choice Award” was the result of voting by ticket-holders.
Per Erichsen served as the emcee and the disc jockey was Cheryl Thompson.
The 13 teams included defending People’s Choice champ Axelson Chiropractic and Judge’s winner Toucan Grill.
Other participating teams were West Marine, Healthy Habits, First Citizens Bank, Water Street Grill, Nautical Wheelers, Arlington Place, Inland Waterway Provision Company, Sailcraft Services and the Cartwright House.
A unique entry was Rigor & Mortis - aka Rick Smith and Ralf Heit, with chili and the most bizarre costumes of the day.
This was a first-time experience for Smith and Heit, who made Resurrection Chili. It was a no-bean, pulled-pork chili.
“We won ‘best presentation’ for looking like two fools,” said Smith. He said he didn’t count cups, but rather judged the popularity of their chili by the number of paper towels used 2 and a half rolls.
He said the two are already considering next year’s competition.
“We might do Zombie Chili,” he said. “We’ll have to smoke some zombies before then.”
Amron Eggers and Elle Dimond were the servers for the Inland Waterway Provision Company.
The duo wore alternate dresses - red and black with dragon aprons.
“We called ourselves the Hometown Hotties because we were both born here,” said Eggers. “We’re as hometown as you can get.”
They used cut-up steak rather than the traditional ground beef and it won the ‘Best Mild Flavored Chili.
“Next year, I’ll add a whole bottle of ghost peppers or a whole bottle of cayenne. I’m going to kick it up a notch,” she said.
Sally Belangia and Kaitlain Sobrack were the First Citizens Bank team, with chicken chili and navy beans.
“It definitely wasn’t red chili,” said Belangia, who said they had empty pots by the end of the day.
“Next year, if I’m in it I’ll make another crock pot full.”
Former, current islanders celebrate Goose Creek heritage
Pamlico News Staff
HOBUCKEN - Hundreds of people converged on Goose Creek Island last Thursday through Sunday for the 39th annual Homecoming celebration.
It began with three nights of “Ducks Galore and More,” this year’s rendition of the yearly home-produced comedy production at the Goose Creek Island Community Center.
It culminated Sunday, with a community-wise worship service, also at the community center, followed by an old-fashion reunion-style cover-dish luncheon.
There were five guest ministers, special music, emceed by Lottie Caroon.
As is the tradition, a different minister gives the main address each year. This year it was Rev. John Carawan of Warden’s Grove Original Free Will Baptist Church.
The other ministers included Rev. Howard Waters of Lowland Church of Christ; Rev. Aubrey Spear of Lowland Pentecostal Holiness Church; Rev. Ray Bonner of New Vision church in Hobucken; and Elder Gene Lupton from the Goose Creek Island Primitive Baptist Church.
Rev. Lewis came from Friendship Pentecostal Holiness Church near Aurora and provided a message and led the special music with James Rice, and Kathy and Lynn Lewis accompanied on piano by Sharon Rice.
Rev. Roy Rodgers gave the opening prayer.
Rev. Lewis was born in Portsmouth, Va., lived in South Creek in Beaufort County, returned to Portsmouth and later moved to the island and remained here many years.
“We moved back down here (Lowland) when I was 16 in 1966 and that was the greatest thing that ever happened to me,” he said during lunch.
He scoffed at the notion there wasn’t much activity on the island for a 16-year-old.
“I was happy and then stayed here for 27 years until the Lord called me to preach and then I moved. That was over 30 years ago,” he added. “We had plenty to do around here at 16-years-old - hunting, fishing, mowing grass, whatever we wanted to do. Young people just congregated and had a good time and good fun together.”
There were lots of familiar names at the homecoming, such as Watson.
Bertie Watson Dougherty, a Lowland native, came from her home in Asheville with her husband Ronald. They attend every year and did so this year along with a number of brothers and sisters.
Dougherty, the ninth of 10 children, was joined by her sisters Ruby Allsbrook of Beauliville and Marjorie Eggleston of Virginia, as well as the youngster child, Kelly Jr., who now lives in New Bern.
The mother of five and a school teacher, she said her memories of growing up on the island were fond ones.
“There was a lot of freedom - going fishing, going out on the boats,” she recalled. “On the Fourth of July, we would get all of the crowd about our age and we had several boat that would go out. We would go swimming and have a picnic. It was wholesome freedom.”
Her father had a crab house and a farm, and the children also learned a strong work ethic.
She and her husband, whom she met at Milligan College in Tennessee, have been married since 1958. They bought the “home place” and it provides a reunion and vacation site for the family.
Another native on hand was Capt. Arthur Kirk of Lowland, who was born there in 1931, the son of Sam and Nannie Kirk. They fished and farmed.
He said most everyone did those jobs, had pigs and cows and a mule. He also recalled that while growing up, there were four stores on the island.
He married his wife Edith, born in Lowland and then spent his career in Savannah, Ga. as the deck pilot, directing ships in and out of the major port.
He moved back three years ago, after retiring at the age of 79. He had left when he was 22.
“It was home,” he said of his reason for returning.
Like others at the reunion, he had good memories of growing up here.
“If your barn fell down, your neighbors helped put it back up,” he recalled. “It was all a family and everybody knew everybody.”
Week of October 15, 2014
Candidates Presents Views at Forum
Pamlico News Staff
ARAPAHOE – A field of seven candidates for offices ranging from Pamlico County sheriff to state offices in the Legislature and one Congressional candidate presented their views and answered questions about issues ranging from education and the environment, to fisheries regulations and changes in state tax laws last week at a public forum.
The two hour session, moderated by retired Pamlico County Judge Jim Ragan, drew several hundred people to Pamlico Community College.
The forum was sponsored by The Pamlico News and TownDock.net.
The only Pamlico County race with candidates was that for sheriff, featuring incumbent Democrat Billy Sawyer Jr. and his challenger, former deputy and current Martin County investigator Chris Davis, who lives in Bayboro.
The state Senate race feathered incumbent Republican Norman Sanderson of Arapahoe and his opponent, Carr Ipock, the longtime chairman of the Craven County School Board.
Craven County residents Michael Speciale, the incumbent state Representative and challenger Whit Whitley, a New Bern attorney were on hand.
Marshall Adame, the Democrat challenger to incumbent Republican Third Congressional District Representative Walter Jones, came from Onslow County to speak. Organizers said Jones’ office said he could not attend.
Sawyer and Davis agreed that drugs are the major problem in Pamlico County.
Sawyer, a 25-year veteran lawman in the county and a native of Hobucken, said drugs will not be eliminated from local society. But, he said his office was successful in the battle, having sent more than 15 major drug dealers to federal prison.
Davis proposed new programs such as a county Community Watch, more interaction between citizens and law enforcement and more security and drug prevention programs in the local schools.
The candidates fielded a variety of issue-oriented questions, which for the most part brought predictable answers along party lines.
One of the more interesting questions was what each candidate finds admirable about their opponent, and what makes them the better man for the job.
Sawyer noted that he gave Davis his first job eight years ago.
“I wish I could tell you he is dumb as a brick, but he is not,” said the sheriff. “He is a smart, aggressive, young law enforcement officer.”
Sawyer again pointed to his experience level as his edge.
Davis said he was appreciative of Sawyer giving him his first job.
“What I believe makes me a better candidate is that there is nobody in this room, nobody in this county that is going to work harder than I will as your sheriff or as a law enforcement officer,” he said.
Sanderson praised Ipock for his many years in the public arena as a school board member and chairman.
He conceded they have different ideas on how to make the state better.
“My idea is to reduce as much as possible the part government plays in your life as citizens and to get our hands out of your pocket,” Sanderson said.
Ipock noted that he and Sanderson had worked together on educational issues, had an open door policy and that they shared a cordial relationship.
He said both sides of the political parties need to sit down and work together, which he offers.
Whitley said he respected Speciale, especially his military service as a Marine.
“When he (Speciale) says something, he believes it,” he added. “The biggest difference of why I believe I am a better candidate goes back to my view that you are electing a representative to represent Pamlico County and Eastern North Carolina – not to pursue any agenda from the urban lawmakers in Raleigh and Charlotte, who outnumber us.”
Speciale said he respected Whitley and thanked him for a clean campaign.
“My opinion counts for one vote,” he said of his legislative work. “He and I have two completely different views on government. He would take us back to the spend, spend, spend mentality. As for the urban area of me voting for these bills, the leadership up there is not happy with me for a lot of the things I voted against.”
He said that of the 77 House Republicans, he had cast no votes on more Republican bills than any other lawmaker.
Adame said he was sure that Walter Jones is a good husband and a good father, but added, “He (Jones) has not represented this district fully. It is not the job of a United States Congressman to go to Washington and shut down the government. It is not the job of a United States Congressman to spend all his time trying to impeach a president.”
He said the goal should not be a smaller or larger government, but rather a good government.
Voter Changes Challenged, Current Rules Apply for Now
By Martha L. Hall
Pamlico News Staff
BAYBORO – The U. S. Supreme Court issued a ruling last week that means voters in North Carolina’s upcoming will follow the changes in the election rules enacted by the 2013 General Assembly.
But, a lawsuit will keep the issue alive well into next year.
The high court ruling came after an appellant court panel voted 2-1 to strike down some of the revamped election laws.
With the ruling, the procedures return to what the Legislature enacted.
Voters will not be able to vote out of their precinct and will not be able to register to vote and cast a ballot on the same day.
The ruling blocked the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision made on Oct. 1.
The Supreme Court voted 7-2 for an emergency stay of the circuit court’s opinion.
“The groups that are trying to keep the law from going into effect are the Department of Justice, the NAACP, the League of Women Voters and a younger group that we call the Duke Interveners,” said Josh Lawson, Information Officer for the N. C. State Board of Elections.
He said the issue may surface again after this year’s election.
“A petition was submitted to the Supreme Court for an emergency stay,” he said. “That passed but it not the end of it. It will go before U.S. District Judge Thomas Schroeder. He has set a trial for July 2015 to hear arguments for and against constitutional questions raised by the challengers.”
Lawson said the NAACP and others who have sued the state asking for the 2013 election overhaul to be declared unconstitutional had hoped the laws would govern the general election in November, while their lawsuits make their way through the courts. Challengers contend the changes made in 2013 discriminate against African-Americans, Latinos and voters younger than 25.
“It won’t be any different than it was in May in the Primary,” said Lisa Bennett, director of the Pamlico County Elections office. “We’ll be using our voting machines. We have to replace the voting equipment by Jan. 1, 2018. That was part of the new voting laws as well. The electronic machine produces a paper record; by 2018, all voting machines must produce a paper ballot. When the legislators made the new laws, they struck the word ‘record’ from the General Statute and called it a ballot. When they did that they made the electronic machine obsolete.”
Bennett said the electronic machine would be decertified. She also said the Election Board would include the cost in their budget every year until 2018.
She estimated the cost of replacing the system at $350,000. Bennett said the county could probably get a trade-in on the electronic equipment. Bennett also said they also didn’t have paper ballot booths which are bigger than the electronic machines.
“We also have to find a place to store the machines since they are larger than the electronic machines,” Bennett said.
Early voting begins Oct. 23 at the Elections Board office in the county courthouse in Bayboro.
It ends Saturday, Nov. 1 at 1 p.m. Thursday and Friday, Oct. 23 and 24, it is 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The next week – Monday through Thursday - it is 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
On Oct. 31, it is 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Nov. 1, it is 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
In the continuing effort to expand educational options for Pamlico Community College students, college officials have just broken new ground to create a broader range of opportunities for PCC graduates.
Dr. Cleve H. Cox, president, and Dr. María Fraser-Molina, vice president and chief academic officer, along with other college faculty and staff members visited Barton College in Wilson, NC on September 23 to execute a partnership with Barton College to establish three new articulation agreements. These articulation agreements will promote a seamless pathway for qualified transfer students from Pamlico Community College to pursue a bachelor's degree at Barton.
Dr. Cox observed, “This agreement creates one of those highly desirous situations where everybody wins, most importantly the students and eastern North Carolina, where these graduates will help meet the changing needs of our population. We are proud to partner with Barton College on this endeavor and look forward to other agreements in the future.
Echoing Dr. Cox, “D. Norval C. Kneten, Barton’s president, noted, "Barton welcomes the opportunity to partner with Pamlico Community College through these new articulation agreements. This collaboration will open doors to provide an multitude of educational opportunities for students regionally as they complete their associate's degree at PCC and continue their academic journey, enrolling at Barton to complete baccalaureate and graduate degrees. It is exciting to witness the energy and enthusiasm of the faculty members from both institutions as they realize these transfer students we both serve will be the beneficiaries of this significant partnership.
Both presidents affirmed that their respective schools were committed to their communities and to the region at large. They emphasized that this new partnership will only strengthen their institutions' educational commitment to Eastern North Carolina.
The first articulation agreement focuses on Pamlico Community College students who have completed their Associate in Arts degree or Associate in Science degree with a 2.0 GPA or higher. Having met all standard admission requirements, these Pamlico Community College graduates may transfer to Barton College at the junior level with all baccalaureate general college core requirements satisfied, with the exception of the junior level general education capstone course (GEN 301) that will be completed during the Barton Experience.
Barton and Pamlico have also signed two bilateral agreements simplifying the process for students who successfully complete the Human Services Technology Associate in Applied Science degree at PCC to easily transfer to the Gerontology or Social Work programs at Barton College in order to complete a Bachelor of Science degree in either of these disciplines.
There is another special advantage for PCC graduates. If they enroll full time in Barton College’s day program under these agreements, they will qualify for an additional tuition scholarship.
Dr. Fraser-Molina added emphasis to the significance of these agreements between institutions with common goals. "The fact that both Barton College and Pamlico Community College are student-centered institutions fully dedicated to academic excellence and student success makes this a natural and meaningful partnership."
Officials at Barton noted that this collaboration between the two colleges supports both institutions' commitment to academically prepare students to be successful and productive leaders in their chosen professional fields.
Noting that both institutions have common goals, "Dr. Gary Daynes, provost/vice president for academic affairs, and interim vice president for external relations at Barton, said, “Pamlico Community College and Barton College both have deep commitments to their communities. We share a desire to improve the quality-of-life in our region. And we understand that the best way to do that is through education. These articulation agreements allow us to work side-by-side to help students achieve their educational goals. And, when they achieve their educational goals, the lives of their families and our communities will be better as well."
After a federal judge struck down the state's gay marriage ban late Friday, same-sex couples began converging on register of deeds offices in the 100 counties.
Pamlico County was included, with its first same-sex marriage Monday morning.
On Thursday, a female couple phoned Lynn Lewis, register of deeds, to ask about marriage.
Two men filed for a marriage certificate on Monday morning. It was a first for Pamlico County. They were married later in the morning.
For same-sex married couples who married out of state and now live in North Carolina, it was a welcomed ruling.
Pamlico County residents Aaron Thrasher and her wife, Mary Thrasher, got married a year ago in Maryland. Now their union will be recognized by the state of North Carolina.
“At the time, it was the closest place that recognized same-sex marriages,” said Mary said of Maryland. “Also, Aaron has family up there.”
Mary works in at the First Flight Credit Union in New Bern and Aaron is the supervisor for Walmart Express in Oriental. She is also part-time postmaster relief in Merritt.
“It was nice,” said Mary. “We went camping this weekend and on Friday came word that the law had passed days from our first wedding anniversary. It takes away a lot of worry for us. We didn’t have all the legal rights before and we worried about one of us going into the hospital or something. Now I will have the legal rights of a spouse in North Carolina.”
She said couples wanted to know what documentation they needed to bring.
“We told them we require their driver’s license and a social security card,” Lewis said. “If they don’t have a social security card, they may bring a recent tax return or a recent W-2 form. If they are under 21, we require a birth certificate. If they have been married before, we require a copy of the divorce judgment or a copy of the death certificate.”
The cost of the license is $60.
Lewis said $35 of that money goes to the state -- $30 goes to Domestic Violence funding and $5 goes to the Children’s Abuse Fund. The county retains $25.
“The license is good for 60 days and a person can purchase a license in one county and get married anywhere else in the state,” Lewis said. “The license goes back to the county where it was issued.
She said it was a new process for all involved.
“Twenty years from now, you’ll have to remember where you got your license,” Lewis said.
For it to be a legal ceremony, the marriage must be performed by a magistrate, an ordained minister of any religious denomination, a minister authorized by a church or if they are part of a federally or state-recognized Indian tribe in accordance with any mode of solemnization by any religious denomination involved.”
Lewis said Pamlico County had three magistrates -- Grant Becker, Larry Langson and Pamela Spain – who have an office in the Sheriff’s Department at 200 Main St. The number has recently changed to (252) 745-6619.
Marriages at the magistrates’ office requires a fee of $20. Marriages are conducted on week days from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Appointments must be made. You will need two witnesses.
Several ministers were contacted to add to this story. There was only one response. That minister said he hoped no one asked him to officiate a same-sex marriage and not to use his name.
He said his church had not established any ground rules on gay marriage.
“I just want to stay out of the spotlight,” he said, adding “because I have a problem with it.”
Week of October 8, 2014
Put on Your Dancing Shoes for the
First Ever Jukebox Jam
Oriental’s History Museum is inviting the public to celebrate the town’s history with its feet at Jukebox Jam, the museum’s first annual Street Dance on Saturday October 11 from 4-7p. The event, taking place in front of the museum will feature the museum’s Wurlitzer jukebox, which was recently restored.
Courtesy of Darrel Sadler, also known as Dr. Dee, here’s a bit of local history to get you in the mood.
Oriental, North Carolina is located approximately 25 miles east of New Bern on Highway 55. In the Forties, Fifties and Sixties, Oriental was a fishing town. In later years it has become the sailing capitol of North Carolina.
There never was an Oriental “Beach.” There was no pavilion in Oriental. In the Forties and Fifties there was a large dance hall. Dances were held usually on Saturday nights…mostly country music was played there.
In 1945 Red Lee’s Grill was opened in Oriental and instantly became the hangout for the teenagers. Red contracted with Andy Purifoy Music, New Bern, NC to supply a jukebox and provide records for it. Later – about 1940 or 1950 – Red contracted with Earl’s Music, Washington, NC for the same service. Local teenagers were not happy with the music supplied. They wanted “Race” and R & B as it was later called.
Red bought his own jukebox about that time and bought his own records as suggested by the local teenagers. The jukebox was a 1947 Wurlitzer 1300 model. It played 24 (78 rpm) records on one side only.
In early July 1958, Red converted this 78 rpm jukebox to 45 rpm. Red told me the change-over kit cost less than $10. I bought the 24 (78 rpm) records on the jukebox from Red for $5. I remember the date because July 6, 1958 I left Oriental to enlist in the U.S. Coast Guard. I still have many of these 78s.
About 1960 with the arrival of stereo, Red traded his 1947 Wurlitzer for a 1953 Wurlitzer 1650A. This was not a stereo model, but did play 48 records vs. 24 on the previous model. (Red said he traded the old jukebox plus $50 cash. When he opened the newer jukebox he found over fifty dollars in the drawer).
Red stayed in business for over 50 years. He never charged more than 25 cents for a hamburger or accepted Medifast coupons. He went out of business in 1997.
Kids from Oriental and Pamlico County learned to dance to these three jukeboxes. We called the dance the ‘Bop’ or ‘Minnesott Beach Bop.’
Minnesott Beach is located about ten miles up the Neuse River from Oriental. It’s almost directly across from the Marine Corp Air Station, Cherry Point.
Sometime in the Thirties or early Forties, a pavilion was built over the Neuse River. Dances were held on Saturday nights during the spring, summer and fall. I don’t remember dances in the winter due to heating problems.
The pavilion was divided into three areas: Dance Hall, Patio/Bar and Cozy Corner. There was a jukebox in the dance hall. Most of the music in the dance hall was pop music and some country. From time to time you could find an R & B record.
In the Cozy Corner you cold find the good stuff: “Sixty Minute Man,” “Toy Bell,” “Rocket 88,” “Lawdy Miss Clawdy,” “The Fat man,” Ain’t That a Shame,” “Money Honey,” “Honey Hush,” “Big Ten Inch Record,” and Baby Let Me Bang Your Box.” In the Fifties, these were considered risqué to say the least. I don’t know who supplied these records. I just knew that this was one of the few places I could hear them.
A fellow named Garven Hardison owned the Pavilion, along with a restaurant, small motel, and a 10-pin bowling alley. I think there was a jukebox in the bowling alley that played mainly country music.
During the hurricanes of the Fifties, the Pavilion was washed/moved across the street. It remained open until the late Sixties when it was destroyed by fire.
Another hangout for the teens in Pamlico County was the Ebb Tide Café. Located in Bayboro, NC and run by a fellow named “Tink” Wilkerson. Tink was very well-liked by the teens in the Fifties. He had a jukebox and stocked basically the same records as Red Lee. I don’t know who supplied the records. I do remember this being a very popular spot in the Fifties and early Sixties.
I listened to basically two radio stations as a teenager. WMBL 740 AM, Morehead City, NC and WMBA, Beaufort, NC. These were 1000 watt stations.
A girl named Bobbie Dennis was the afternoon DJ at WMBL. She was bold enough to play records by the Drifters, Clyde McPhatter, and Big Joe Turner to name a few. This was one of only two local stations to play R & B music. The other was WMBA, 1400 AM in Beaufort, NC. A girl named Mel Sheppard and later another girl named Sandy Pate had afternoon shows and played the same R & B music. Believe me, this was very bold for this area at that period of time.
In the early Sixties, Bob-A-Lou (Bob Pate – the current morning man at Sunny Beach FM) was a DJ at WMBL. I was in the U.S. Coast Guard, stationed at Morehead City from 1961-1965, and Bob was just beginning his work in radio. (Bob Pate is not related to Sandy Pate).
At night I listened to WLAC in Nashville, TN and WKBW in Buffalo, NY. I liked WLAC better because they played more R & B. My favorite show was Randy’s Record Hi-Lite Show. From time to time I ordered a package set of five 78 rpm R & B records from that show. I later sold them to Red Lee for his jukebox.
During the late Fifties I went to the Pavilion at Atlantic Beach, NC. In 1961 I was stationed in Morehead City and went over to Atlantic Beach often. The music on the jukebox was mainly Beach and R & B as I remember. I’m sure that someone from that area is far more familiar with the Pavilion at Atlantic Beach than I am.
It was fun growing up in the Fifties and dancing at Red’s and the Pavilion at Minnesott Beach. The “Beach Bop” was the in-thing in this area. It was very much like the Shag. (I enclose a list of the records that I remember playing on those jukeboxes).
Fun Filled 10th Annual Pamlico County Heritage Day
By Deborah Dickinson
Pamlico News Staff
Crowds of all ages gathered at the Pamlico County Heritage Center in Grantsboro on the first Saturday of October to celebrate the Tenth Annual Pamlico County Heritage Day. The fun-filled event was kicked off with an opening welcome ceremony including a Pledge to the US Flag, and the National Anthem performed live by Macy Watts. There was entertainment and fun for all who attended including live music, pony rides, farm demonstrations, exhibits, vendors, and plenty of homemade food and drink.
The day included live demonstrations of earlier life in Pamlico County including blacksmithing, corn shelling, tobacco rolling, cow milking and historical games and activities. The lineup of local talent included live performances by Ed Terry and Band, Harbour Sounds, Ken Belangia, Jeff Green and a special appearance by UHOO (Ukuleles of Oriental).
The Heritage Museum, featuring over thirty displays and exhibits, was open throughout the day. There was an antique tractor and car show with a raffle drawing for a 1950 Farmall Super A Tractor and a fifty-fifty drawing sponsored by the ROTC of Pamlico County Schools. Young adventurers and explorers sifted through sand in search of sharks teeth at a fossil dig exhibit set up by Potash Corp, while others enjoyed pony rides and partook in faces painting. A one-room school house was open for class and featured a turn of the century teacher with educational activities for children. The old blacksmith shop was open for business as locals, Dillon Sawyer, Steve Phillips and Wesley Croon wowed the crowd with their impressive metal working skills.
The Pamlico County Historical Association was organized and chartered with the State of North Carolina in 1968. The intent of the Heritage Center was to develop a heritage village that embraces Pamlico County's rich heritage of farming, fishing, and forestry that will become a regional education center and visitor attraction. Their goal was to create a heritage center where the rich history of Pamlico County can be restored and yet come alive for students residents, tourists, and newcomers to the county. The heritage center will ensure the preservation of some of the rich history of people whose lives were molded by rich soils, abundant forests and the numerous waterways of our coast. In 2008-2009, thanks to generous benefactors and a grant from the USDA we were able to construct a museum and begin adding buildings to the planned heritage village. The museum was officially opened on August 28th 2009.
ORIENTAL – Everywhere one turned on Sunday afternoon at St. Thomas Episcopal Church on Freemason Street, there were dogs.
They were amazingly calm for being in a crowd of their fellows. The two cats that attended were definitely nervous.
It was the Blessing of the Animals and a celebration of the life of St. Francis of Assisi. Stories abound, particularly in Catholic literature, of how St. Francis could communicate with animals and felt at one with all creation.
One of those stories tells of St. Francis giving a sermon while a flock of noisy birds chattered away to the point that his sermon couldn’t be heard by his parishioners. St. Francis spoke to the birds, asking them to be quiet, and they stopped the chatter and remained silent for the duration of the sermon.
Sunday’s event drew both local and out-of-towners.
Sharon and John Southall were probably the farthest from home. They live in Virginia Beach and discovered Oriental when they found their third dog, Prince, on the Internet. It was a rescue dog trained by the prisoners at the Pamlico Corrections facility in Bayboro. They came down, met the dog and came back the next week to take him home.
“We had this one from the beginning,” she said, pointing to Chloe who she said, rules the roost.
“We were out walking and Prince found this one in a bush at 6:30 in the morning. Somebody dumped her. She had a chip but the phone number had been disconnected” pointing to a Cookie, ball of fur behind Chloe in the baby carriage. Chloe may be some Westy and maybe some Scotty, we’re not real sure.”
Maggie, another rescue dog, belonged to Dan and Caroline Collins of Minnesott Beach.
“When you get a rescue dog, you never know what you’re getting,” said Caroline. “But Maggie is just perfect.”
Ray Orndorff, of Mesic, had his dog, Marley, a Labrador, on a leash.
“She adopted me,” he said. “She was Albert Taylor McKinney’s dog. He passed away in April or May. I used to walk by their house all the time and would speak to the dog. Mrs. McKinney went to Indiana for a while after his death. Marley was running around the neighborhood. I fed her and when Mrs. McKinney came back, I adopted her.”
Al and Judy Prevatte had puppies, so many they had to enlist their friends to help carry them. They discovered a dog lying by the side of the road and rescued her. The dog was pregnant and birthed the puppies that were brought to the Blessing of the Animals to find a home.
Rev. Jeremiah Day led the people in a song, accompanied by his guitar.
Day explained that usually the priest anointed both parishioners and animals with an instrument called an aspergillum. Day used an ivy cutting, dipping it in the water and sprinkling away, blessing both animals and keepers.
Asked about the heavy turn-out of dogs, Day said in the past he had blessed horses, llamas, alpacas, iguanas, crabs and snails.
“The fewer kids we have here, the less exotic the animals,” he said. There was one child present.
Refreshments were provided by Pet Adoption and Welfare Society. Christine Garman explained that the “people crackers” were for the dogs.
“I’ve been with PAWS for years,” she said as she handed out refreshments. “I’ve had other jobs with PAWS, but now I’m only responsible for raising money.”
John Southall stood at the refreshment table with his rescue dog, Prince.
“They (PAWS) were kind of hesitant when we called because they always do a home visit and we live in Virginia Beach,” Southall said. “We had a home visit with another agency that didn’t have a dog and PAWS called them and accepted that. We were just so pleased with Prince, I can’t tell you.”
BAYBORO - A U.S. Supreme Court ruling could come soon on a 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals 2-1 ruling last week that reinstated same-day registration and out-of-precinct voting for the upcoming election.
The ruling reversed those two provisions in an overhaul of state election law enacted by the Legislature in 2013.
That prompted suit by the Justice Department, the state NAACP and other groups including the League of Women Voters, and a college students’ group.
N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper asked for the high court ruling, with early voting beginning in Pamlico County and across the state on Oct. 23.
Lisa Bennett, the Pamlico County Elections Director, said the ruling leaves her office and others in the state with uncertainty.
“We just have to wait and see what happens,” she said. “I was afraid the court of appeals was going to reverse some of the other new voting laws like the week off from One Stop (early voting), because we have One Stop scheduled to start on the (Oct) 23rd. If we went back to old voting laws, we would have had to start on the 16th.”
That provision was not changed by the appeals court.
“Now, I just wait on direction from the state board,” she continued.
Josh Lawson, the public information officer for the state board of elections, said keeping the new laws from going into effect would create problems.
With the state lawmakers banning same-day registration, software for the 2014 election did not include the registration function.
“One of the problems is that turning on same-day registration could involve a manual process instead of an automated one, which is what it used to be,” he said. “That could be difficult for the counties, depending on how it gets implemented.”
He added that the state elections board has no opinion on the matter.
“We are the enforcement agency,” he said. “We are non-partisan and will enforce whatever is the law.”
Local Democrat and Republican leaders reacted along expected party lines.
“I was very disappointed to hear the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision,” said Dave Wickersham, chairman of the Pamlico County Republican Party. “This is why on the conservative side we make such a big deal about judges not legislating from the bench. And, this to me is a perfect example of that kind of activity.”
He said that the people of the state were supportive of the election law changes.
“The law has been debated extensively. I know the Democrats claim it is voter disenfranchisement. I don’t share that view,” he said. “I think there are plenty of opportunities to vote with absentee ballots and early voting before election day.”
He added that same-day registration opens doors for abuse of the voting system.
“They vote and it gets counted,” he said, adding it did not allow time to verify voter eligibility or even county residence.
“That can’t be verified until several weeks later, and in the meantime, that vote has been counted,” he added.
David Cox, chairman of the Pamlico County Democrat Party, said he “stayed up late the night the (appeals court) opinion was published.
He had hoped for an overturning of more provisions in the Republican-backed election law changes.
“I thought the agreement was sound,” he said of the objections in the suit against the new law. “It was based on the law, the issue of what are the criteria for section 2 of the voting rights act.”
He said the appeals court ruling and subsequent appeal to the Supreme Court had created an uncertain election situation.
“My opinion is there is great turmoil here,” he said. “The state asked for that. The state legislature asked for that by passing this very comprehensive change of a lot of provisions that affect the participation of minority voters.”
Week of October 1, 2014
Candidate Forum Slated for October 9 at Delamar Center
By Martha L. Hall
Pamlico News Staff
GRANTSBORO - Pamlico County voters will have a chance to hear from candidates in the upcoming November elections during an Oct. 9 forum at Pamlico Community College, hosted by the Pamlico News and TownDock.net.
Candidates are expected in local races for the District 3 county commissioner’s race between John Buck and Edward Riggs Jr.; incumbent Sheriff Billy Sawyer, Jr. and former Pamlico deputy Chris Davis; Norman Sanderson, the incumbent District 2 state Senator and challenger Carr Ipock; and House District 3 candidates from Craven County – incumbent Michael Speciale and challenger Whit Whitley.
Also, Marshall Adame, the Democratic candidate for the U.S. Congress, 3rd District, is expected
Sawyer, Buck, Ipock and Whitley are Democrats, facing Republicans Davis, Riggs, Sanderson and Speciale.
The forum is at 7 p.m. in the Delamar Center at the community college, located on N.C. 306 between Grantsboro and Arapahoe.
County planning board member John Buck said his local background compelled him to seek the commissioner seat being vacated by longtime Commissioner Jimmy Spain.
“You can’t complain sitting on the sidelines,” he said of county decision-making.
“I have a grandparent that’s still alive. I’ve got a retired mother and a retired father-in-law.
I have a lot of family in Pamlico County,” he added. “I have children in the school system. I want my children to stay here. I think it’s my responsibility if I can keep things in check. I’m not the only one here who has family here and retired parents. My biggest thing is to do what is right. I think it’s my responsibility; I should do that.”
Edward Lee Riggs, who is mayor of Alliance and the head of a water system in Craven County, as well as a Bay River Metro Sewer board member, said that water and sewer are key elements in Pamlico’s growth and that he has the expertise.
“Pamlico County is growing in the middle and everything needs to be managed and we need to manage growth,” he said. “As growth comes in, we need to make sure that the water and the sewer system is the best it can be. I can’t take all the credit; there have been a lot of good board members, but we have turned that sewer system around. I was there when things weren’t that good. If it weren’t for sewer, things in Grantsboro wouldn’t be happening. I think providing needed services in a cost effective way is important.”
Billy Sawyer, Jr., the Pamlico sheriff for the past dozen years, fended off a May primary opponent and said he remains steady and confident behind his record.
“I have way more experience than my competitor,” he said. “I would like to keep drugs out of Pamlico County. I want to keep leasing the jail beds and keep tax rates down and keep the crime rate down.”
Sawyer’s challenger Chris Davis said running for the office in Pamlico County has been a long-time goal.
“I think there’s change needed in Pamlico County and I think we bring a lot of new ideas to the county,” he said. “I left Pamlico County and went to Martin County and we’ve accomplished a lot in Martin County by using new technologies and cooperating with our communities.”
Davis and his family live in Bayboro.
Speciale said his state House race is not about criticizing his opponent, rather standing on his one-term record.
“I would never say I’m better than my opponent,” he said. “What makes me a good candidate is the fact I am doing it. I honored my campaign promises and I have done what I said I would do. I’ve been very effective up there and that’s the bottom line. I have done what I said I’d do. I have done what the counties have requested.”
Whitley, a New Bern attorney of 19 years, is a newcomer to politics.
“I feel compelled to serve this district and promote legislation that will benefit this district and Eastern North Carolina,” he said. “I am running as a centrist and plan on working across the aisle in order to effectively represent this area.”
He said his work in the legal arena has prepared him for a public job in the legislature.
“I have spent my professional life solving problems and representing people and families with real-life issues such as loss of jobs, loss of health insurance and finding employment,” he said.
Sanderson, who previously served in the state House, said he has continued to represent values of local citizens as a Senator.
“I am commitment to a conservative approach to government based on the principles of lower taxes, less government and more individual liberty, which I believe is shared by a large majority of the hard-working people of this area,” he said. “I believe, as our constitution states, that power should lie with the people and that government should never be a hindrance to the rights of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” guaranteed by our Creator.”
Ipock said he is running for the Senate legislative seat as a continuation of his public service, which includes 22 years on the Craven school board, 20 years as chairman, along with being a member of the state school board and as treasurer of the North Carolina School Board Association Board of Directors.
“In both of those roles at the state level, I have been very involved in the work of lobbying on behalf of teachers and public schools at the legislature,” he said, adding that he was encouraged to seek state office by educators.
“We feel very strongly that the direction we (legislature) are taking in terms of public education is wrong and we have met, we have talked and we have done all the things we can do try to educate the help the legislature understand what these changing are doing and what the impact is.”
ARAPAHOE – John Farmer took the job as camp director at Camp Don Lee in 1977, thinking he would only be there for one or two years. Thirty-seven years later he is retiring from his position as camp director in February.
“They said they needed someone to go in and try to help with more year-round programming,” Farmer said. “I guess I can’t count, or maybe they can’t count, but the ‘couple of years’ turned into 37 years.”
Farmer was a Methodist minister when he went to work for Camp Don Lee in 1977. He was the only year-round staff.
Today, Camp Don Lee has a full-time staff of 12 people, a seasonal staff of 107 – not all at the same time, and a school program staff of seven employees and in the Spring, probably a dozen workers.
“In 1948, the property was given by Don Lee, for whom the camp is named,” said Farmer. “There was a lot of camp development in the 1940s.”
The Methodist Church gradually dissociated from the camp and it became a 501-C3, affiliated by faith but not by a business association.
There are many programs on-going at the camp today. There is the Sunday dinner from December to March. People come from Pamlico County and New Bern to eat at the camp from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sundays.
“The folks that come to Sunday dinner are usually older couples,” said Farmer. “We don’t do anything to target that age crowd, but about any Sunday we serve 90 to 150 people. We also host a lot of things on weekends – this coming weekend we are holding ‘Camp Whole Heart,’ children with heart problems with a staff from U.N.C. – Chapel Hill. We also hold environmental seminars and fossil digs for the younger children. The school staff stays through Thanksgiving. In December, we have a promotion to sign up for camp the following summer.”
Farmer says he will surely miss Camp Don Lee.
“You can’t do anything for 37 years and not miss it,” he said. “Right now, I don’t anticipate finding other things to do. Pamlico County is certainly a place to find something to do.”
Farmer says he has done some sailing and he might fill in at a church for a while. He says he would be agreeable to responding to questions about Camp Don Lee if anyone chooses to ask. The next camp director has not been selected yet.
“It has been great to hear from people who were campers and are now sending their children to camp here,” he said. “It has been a great gift to look back and reflect. AARP calls retirement ‘reimaging yourself.’ I’ll be 67 in February. I may have 15 or 20 more years. How does that work? How do you recreate a life that is so attached to an identity?”
According to Farmer, many things are coming to fruition – the pastoral retreat center, the sailing center which has been completed and the new environmental center which has not been completed but all the funding is in place.
And, if he can’t find a church to pastor or an erosion problem to deal with, he has two daughters who live in Pamlico County. They are both married and one has presented Farmer with a 4-year-old granddaughter. He can always babysit.
BAYBORO – How long does it take a derelict boat to be judged as abandoned? That’s some of the information Pamlico County Manager Tim Buck is looking into this week.
An off-the-cuff conversation with Oriental Commissioner Larry Summers about boats and other flotsam and jetsam of a fishing community – old docks, sunken engines and discarded fishing nets – gathered some renewed interest when Buck received news of a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration grant for removing marine debris.
Summers is involved with kayaking in Pamlico County and a kayak makes a good platform for reaching shallow waters in some of the Pamlico County creeks.
“What we’re trying to do now is get some interest in the program,” said Buck. “I’m not a boat guy so I don’t really have a scope of the problem. It’s a NOAA grant so it’s to improve the estuary. The application is due by Nov. 17. I am sure we’d have to tell them a date when we would be completed.”
Buck said the more exposure the county can get, the more information they would be able to retrieve.
“We’ll have to define what kind of debris we have, whether or not we engage environmental groups.” Buck said. “Some of the old wrecks are almost iconic. Part of the grant does require you to find out who the owner is so it can be remediated.”
Summers said there were maybe a dozen boats in Pamlico County blown way up the creeks by storms.
“We are going to try to get GPS coordinates on them,” he said. “Many of them can be reached by kayak which is why Tim asked me to try to compile a list of debris.”
Anyone who knows of any marine debris can call Summers at 675-0467 or at LARSUM@aol.com.
The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services has confirmed enterovirus D68, or EV-D68 in six patients from North Carolina based on testing results from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.
Information about where the children are from, or the location of the hospital, was not released due to patient confidentiality.
“We, at the Department of Health and Human Services, have been monitoring the situation very closely,” said Dr. Zack Moore, a pediatrician and epidemiologist with the Division of Public Health in Raleigh. “Confirmed cases were located in different parts of the state. It’s important for everyone to take necessary actions to protect themselves from EV-D68 and other respiratory viruses. There are no vaccines and no specific treatment. Prevention is the best treatment.”
More than 100 types of enteroviruses and 10-15 million infections make their way across the United States each year. Enteroviruses are common, causing a range of symptoms including runny nose, coughing, mouth sores, fever and body aches. Some patients may develop wheezing and breathing difficulty. Most enterovirus infections in the United States occur seasonally during the summer and fall.
“EV-D68 is one of many enteroviruses that can cause illness,” Dr. Moore said. “It is generally not life threatening but can sometimes be severe, especially in children with asthma or other respiratory conditions. If you or your child develop cold-like symptoms and difficulty breathing, contact your physician right away.”
Enteroviruses are transmitted through close contact with an infected person or by touching objects or surfaces that are contaminated with the virus and then touching the mouth, nose or eyes. Follow these actions to protect yourself from infection with EV-D68 and other respiratory illnesses:
1.Wash hands vigorously and often with soap and water for 20 seconds, especially after changing diapers.
2.Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
3.Avoid kissing hugging and sharing cups or eating utensils with people who are sick.
4.Frequently disinfect touched surfaces, such as toys and doorknobs, especially if someone is sick.
5.Stay home when sick.
Since people with asthma are higher risk for respiratory illnesses, health officials are reminding everyone with asthma to take their medications as prescribed and make sure their asthma is under good control. Health officials are also recommending getting a flu vaccine as soon as possible to help prevent another important cause of respiratory illness that could be going around at the same time.
Celebrate History with Your Feet at Oriental’s History Museum Jukebox Jam Street Dance
Oriental’s History Museum is inviting the public to celebrate the town’s history with its feet at Jukebox Jam, the museum’s first annual Street Dance on Saturday October 11 from 4-7p. The event, taking place in front of the museum will feature the museum’s Wurlitzer jukebox, which was recently restored. Cheryl Thompson will also be DJing and the Ukulele Hoalohas (UHOOs) of Oriental will perform as well.
The Museum’s Street Dance follows a tradition that stretches back decades in Oriental. Bands would play on porches and in parks in Oriental and people danced in the street in front of them. It’s also fitting that the Street Dance happens in front of the museum. Decades earlier the building had been the Town and Country grocery and dances took place in its parking lot. With all that history in mind, says the museum’s Sharon Breitling, the museum board has wanted for some time to revive the tradition.
Oriental’s History Museum is hoping it will become a tradition itself. This first year is being called Jukebox Jam to celebrate the restoration of the Wurlitzer that used to play at Red Lee’s Grill. It had last played in the late 1990’s and was eventually given to the museum by Red’s daughter Georgie Lee Powell. There the jukebox drew a lot of attention, but was silent until museum board member Lou Ostendorff and his brother, Eric, an engineer with Mattel Toys, brought it back to life a few months ago. Lou is still fine-tuning it for October 11, when he aims to have it play for the public for the first time in more than 15 years.
The Jukebox Jam afternoon of music and dancing is a fundraiser for Oriental’s History Museum, which turns 10 next year. In another nod to Red Lee’s Grill, there’ll be hot dog meals for sale. Additionally, the public’s invited to get a jump on holiday gift shopping at a silent auction of items such as custom made pottery, gift baskets, local restaurant gift certificates, works by local artists, including jewelry, photography and painting and a finely crafted Asian-styled jewelry box. All proceeds go to the operation of the museum, which relies entirely upon membership and donations and volunteers to keep its doors open.
The celebration of Oriental’s street dance tradition coincides with the opening of a new exhibit called Good Eats in Oriental: 100 Years of Oriental Restaurants.
The Oriental History Museum is at 802 Broad Street and open Fridays 11a – 3p, Saturday 1 – 4pm and Sunday 1 – 4pm.
The second annual Jail-N-Bail was held on Friday, September 19th in the old Blacksmith shop behind the Pamlico County Museum and Heritage Center located at Highway 55 in Grantsboro. Participants were put behind bars until they were able to raise enough bail money for their release. Proceeds from the event are to benefit the Pamlico County Chamber of Commerce.
The “jailbirds” donned the traditional government issued striped uniforms. Jamie Gibbs, Vice President of Student Services at Pamlico County Community College had the right idea and raised enough funds for release by getting pledges in advance. Others awaiting bail included: Dr. Wanda Dawson, Superintendent of Pamlico Schools: Sheriff, Billy Sawyer; Lisa Jackson, Principal, PCHS; Jeremy Johnson, Principal PCES; Barbara Miller, Principal, PCMS; Kimberly Potter, Pamlico Primary School Principal; Kim Potter, Principal, PCPS; Ed Mitchell, River Dunes; Nelda Coats, Nelda Coats Agency; Joe Mattea of Oriental; and Paul Olson, President of the Rotary Club Of Oriental.
Those who are raising funds or have donated include: Chris Davis, Candidate for Sheriff; Brian Ellenberg, Farm Bureau; Senator Norman Sanderson and Sandy Johnson-Clark.
Pamlico County Chamber Of Commerce Executive Director, Joyce Swimm, said there were eighteen inmates awaiting bail. Swimm said their goal this year was to raise $4,000 compared to last year’s first year event which was a huge success and raised over $7,000 in funds that were used to support the Chamber. Each inmate was challenged to raise $300 in bail money in order to be released. “Many are repeat offenders,” said Swimm, referring to the return of such as Superintendent of Pamlico Schools, Wanda Dawson and Whit Whitley, Attorney at Whitley Law Firm and candidate for House District III. The funds that we raise go to help support our local business and pay for the day to day operations of the Chamber.
According to Swimm, the Chamber has not collected all the monies yet, as much of it was raised through pledges. But, Swimm and the Pamlico Chamber of Commerce would like to thank all those who participated and/or donated funds for this event as well as those who volunteered to organize it with a special thanks to the Pamlico County Sheriff's Department.
The Chamber serves members in Pamlico County as well as members whose businesses are in nearby counties but who provide services and products to residents and businesses in Pamlico County. All communities in Pamlico County are represented by the Chamber: Alliance, Arapahoe, Bayboro, Florence, Grantsboro, Hobucken, Lowland, Merritt, Mesic, Minnesott Beach, Olympia, Oriental, Pamlico, Reelsboro, Stonewall, Vandemere and Whortonsville.
The Chamber was organized for the purpose of advancing the economic, industrial, professional, cultural and civic welfare of the Pamlico County area. As an organization, the Chamber encourages the growth of existing businesses and industries while giving assistance to any new firms or individual seeking to locate in the County.
Pamlico County’s 10th Annual Heritage Day will be held Saturday, October 4th from 10am to 3pm at the Museum and Heritage Center. The event will feature a tractor raffle, vendors and exhibits, games for children by 4-H, and music and entertainment.
ORIENTAL – Read the history of Silverbrook Cemetery and you read the history of Oriental – the long lives of some, the accidents and illnesses that caused the short lives of others.
A barbecue fundraiser will be held by the Oriental Woman’s Club on Oct. 3 to raise money to keep the cemetery looking good and the grass mowed. Take-out plates from Moore’s Barbecue are $6 each. The plates will be ready from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. at the Woman’s Club on Gilgo Road.
The Oriental History Museum on Broad Street contains a special display about Silverbrook Cemetery.
Gay Jordan, of Charlotte and Oriental, has researched and written a narrative of the Silverbrook Cemetery, uncovering some of the personalities that are buried there.
The Oriental Woman’s Club assumed responsibility for upkeep in the cemetery in 1922. The oldest tombstone in the cemetery is that of 2-year-old Ada Irene Pickles who died in 1896. Her 8-year-old sister, Alice, lies beside her, her death dated 1899.
Jordan said there are two parts of the Silverbrook Cemetery.
“There’s the old part that I concentrated my narrative on, and there’s the new part where people are still being buried,” she said. “That cemetery will just expand back into the woods, I predict. There are probably 200 graves there. It’s divided by a road. The old part is on the right hand side and the later burials are on the left.”
Jordan’s narrative said the first dues were requested from lot owners in 1931 – fifty cents per year for out of town owners and one dollar from Oriental owners. By 1950, lots were being sold on the left side of Silverbrook Road and dues were increased to $5 a year.
At one time, a “perpetual care” option was initiated that established a one-time payment which would create interest income from a special cemetery account. That worked pretty well until 2008 when there was a recession. Jordan said maintenance costs have increased so that in 2014, bare bones mowing and trimming is nearly $400 per month.
“This has all come about because we need to have some money to get the grass mowed,” said Jordan. “There’s a debate about the ‘perpetual care’ and just how perpetual that care is going to be. I found when I would contact people for information to cobble together history, the people didn’t understand why the Woman’s Club was asking for donations. They thought the money already paid was enough.”
Silverbrook Cemetery evolved from a tiny cemetery know as Tranquil Cemetery on the right of Silverbrook Road. To visit the cemetery, head northwest on N.C. 55, turn left on North Street, then right onto Silverbrook Road.
Sally Belangia has issued an invite to another fundraiser on Oct. 25 at the Oriental Woman’s Club. It’s a Halloween party, BYOB, with a ghost hayride to Silverbrook Cemetery. There will be ghastly foods and a disc jockey. Admission price is $5.
Week of September 17, 2014
Ol’ Front Porch – Another Tribute to Oriental
By Martha L. Hall
Pamlico News Staff
ORIENTAL -- On Saturday a first-time musical event morphed into a keeper. It was the first Ol’ Front Porch Music Festival and a good time was had by crowds all along Broad and Hodges streets.
How clever it was to refer to the Ol’ Front Porch in memory of Lucille and Billy Truitt’s now non-existent front porch, but one the folks of Oriental certainly remembered.
It brings back memories of rocking chairs and music played on a hot afternoon. That was Leslie Kellenberger’s idea. She and Dottie Osmun put this festival together. Dawn Hoyle was the one who kept up with the musicians and their time on “stage.” She also delivered the programs in a wheelbarrow to each event.
The sounds of bluegrass, country, sea chanteys, classical jazz, gospel, roll and roll, Middle Eastern music and Dixieland were just a smattering of the music echoing up and down Broad Street and Hodges Street.
On the porch of the Old Hotel, the children of Lucille and Billy told stories about them.
“I have no idea how many people were in town,” said Osmun, “but they had a people jam on Hodges Street. We had to get the police to clear a place for cars to go through. The weather (forecast) looked gruesome but it didn’t rain until about 3:45 p.m.”
Osmun said they would review any problems and ideas at their next meeting. She said the money raised from the jars at each site was about $1,500. The banner across Broad Street, Osmun said, cost $475 which would come out of that $1,500. The dates on that can be changed and it will be used for next year.
“If they had a sound system, they had to keep it down,” said Osmun. “Another glitch, we had a musician put a tip jar out. By the time I heard about it, he was gone. The event was donated. People were wonderful to rally. There were lots of volunteers and the musicians volunteered their time. The program and the flyer were done by several volunteers.”
Osmun said everyone loved the porches.
All of the artisans were on the Pamlico News lot with their wares, along with “porch” music.
At the Old Central Hotel, the Green Creek Blues Band played. This band consisted of players who originally played on Lucille and Billy’s porch. Ken Belangia was Lucille and Billy’s son-in-law, and includes Dr. Ernest Dunn and Becky Ackiss. Performing with them was Steve Belangia of Burlington. That band, formed in the 1980s performed on the Ol’ Front Porch and the Bluegrass Association in Kinston and many other areas in the county.
Jim Austin and Bentley Smith live on a catamaran. They think of themselves as wandering minstrels – guitar, 5-string banjo, harmonica and concertina. They are only in Oriental for 3 weeks. Then they sail to Florida and the Bahamas.
“We are going to sing at Cat Island, at Fernando’s Bay resort, then Elutheria where the people are wonderful,” said Austin. “One more person who made this wonderful was Marsha Paplham. She had a jam session going on her porch and she let us play afterwards.”
Austin said there was one more person who played with Salty Paws.
“His name was Dave and he was aboard the Dyad,” said Austin. “He was the second guitarist.”
Simon Spalding played on Broad Street. A musical historian, Spalding is a versatile musician knowledable about traditional English, Scottish, Scandinavian, Russian and American folk music. Spalding plays more than 50 instruments.
“I was only going to take three instruments but I took four,” he said. A good thing, since his group Casablanca couldn’t show up.
Others playing were Sandra Baldree played and sang at the Sing-A-Long Porch on Broad Street; Craven Brass under the direction of Dan Jones performed at Coldwell Banker Realty porch; The Del Rios played the Pamlico News porch; Green Creek Bluegrass were at the Old Central Hotel porch; Harbor Sounds were on the Town Hall porch; Bob Jones played acoustic guitar on the Village Art Gallery porch; Bob Laverty entertained with county rock to maritime, tropical and jazz; Mac McWilliams performed on Nautical Wheeler’s porch; the Moseley Family Singers performed a tight blend of harmony from bluegrass to folk rock; Salty Paws sang sea chanties and nautical songs on Board Street and then went to Marsha’s Cottage to play with the pick-up musicians; Simon Spalding played the 507 Broad Street porch with his usual versatile arrangements; Ed Terry, well known in Pamlico County as the owner and lead act at the County Opry, put on a show; Travelin’ Jones, a music duo, performed on the porch at 500 Hodges Street, singing bluegrass and blues, jazz and Western swing; the UHOOS, the Ukulele Hoalohas of Oriental got together to strum their instruments at the 507 Broad Street porch; and the New Sensational Messenger performed, spreading the word of God from the 500 Hodges Street porch. Thanks are also extended to the Oriental History Museum who added exhibits from Lucille and Billy Truitt’s life to the stage at the Old Central Hotel.
Caroline James (L) and Emmie James (R) of Oriental will lead harvesting operations
for the Operation Veggie Box – Bethany Christian Church Garden this fall.
By David K. Bailey
Operation Veggie Box
ARAPAHOE – Two 5-Star recruits from Oriental have made verbal commitments to lead the harvesting operations of the Operation Veggie Box – Bethany Christian Church Garden this fall. The two volunteer leaders are sisters Caroline and Emmie James. Caroline will quarterback the harvesting activities and her sister Emmie will be taking handoffs and running downfield to pick and pack lettuce, cabbage, squash, and other veggies!
Last week their mother Courtney James called Operation Veggie Box (OVB) and wanted to know if they could help with our efforts this fall. A couple of days later they were helping OVB plant romaine and green leafy lettuce. This was not the first time that they have helped OVB. This past summer both sisters participated in OVB’s Corn JAM! and the Veggie JAM! For the Corn JAM! they went out into a sweet corn field and picked corn that was later delivered to hungry people across eastern North Carolina. They also helped box up over 1,000 boxes with vegetables and spiritual messages as a part of the Veggie JAM! event. The sisters were actually participating in Camp Seafarer’s summer program at the time which has an element of community service within its curriculum. Camp Seafarer (CSF) and Sarah Rhymer, who is the Director of Community Programs at CSF, have been tremendous supporters of OVB and we thank them for their many contributions and volunteers to our ministry.
Now the James sisters want to do more to help people in their community. Both are home schooled by their mother and all three are fantastic people! After we had finished planting I asked if they wanted to help more and they both said “Yes!” They are sincere, energetic, intelligent people who are growing and developing in their leadership roles. If they ask you in a couple of months to help them harvest please consider giving them a hand. I can assure you that you will be blessed by them as I was this past Friday. While planting the lettuce they were smiling all of the time, as you can tell by the pictures, and were eager and sincere in all of their efforts. I thought that I was just going to get some free labor for the day but I was actually blessed by their attitude, values, and willingness to do more.
The gardening duo will also be checking in on the garden on a weekly basis to inspect the plants, perform field maintenance, and water, if necessary. We would welcome help from other volunteers in the community.
If you, or your youth group, want to get involved with Operation Veggie Box this fall feel free to contact David Bailey @ 252.229.6228 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Operation Veggie Box is a Pamlico County based Christian Ministry that was launched at Bethany Christian Church in August 2013. Volunteers from other churches in Pamlico County are involved in the growth of this ministry including Oriental United Methodist Church, Silver Hill Christian Church, Anointed Remnant Church of Christ, Disciple of Christ, Arapahoe Free Will Baptist Church, and others. Other organizations and individuals providing financial support, expertise, and resources include Don Lee Farms, Neuse River Turf Farm, Zeb James, Camp Seafarer, Potash Corp. – Aurora, Flatland Ag, the Society of St. Andrews, the Pamlico District Union Disciples of Christ, the Pamlico District CMF Disciples of Christ, and Walmart – Grantsboro location.
Lt. Governor Reportedly Behind NO Ferry Tolls Movement
By Martha L. Hall
Pamlico News Staff
In a meeting reviewing the legislative session with Henri and Joe McClees, lobbyists for Pamlico County, in Raleigh this past week, Lt. Governor Dan J. Forest reportedly expressed a long-standing opposition to seeking tolls for ferries.
Henri McClees said the Lt. Governor observed that ferries are like roads, highways and bridges, which has long been the expressed view of many Pamlico County anti-toll supporters.
Forest is a member of the State Board of Economic Development. This makes him aware of all aspects of economic development and he is very aware of coastal North Carolina’s lack of growth and low employment figures, according to McClees.
This could be a “no news item” except for one thing. The Lt. Governor casts a tie-breaking vote as President of the Senate.
Pamlico County Commissioner Chairman Paul Delamar III said he had one thought when he heard about the Lt. Governor’s reaction.
“I thought ‘Good.’ I’m glad for anyone who is against it,” he said. “I’ve always felt that our job was to keep the tolls from being put on the ferries and we do have some allies. Since we employed Joe and Henri McClees as lobbyists, I feel we will know if the Department of Transportation or anyone else in the legislature tries to add on a law or change something about the ferries without our knowing about it.”
The legislature, after wrangling over the issue, put the matter in the hands of local Rural Planning Organizations to ask for tolls to fund new ferry vessels. The overseeing DOT cannot raise or add new tolls without those requests.
Commissioner Chris Mele of Oriental and Minnesott Beach Mayor Josh Potter are the two appointees in Pamlico County to attend the Rural Planning Organization who have been made responsible for the ferries.
“We haven’t done anything with the ferries for about two months. At that time, we drafted a resolution requesting that all tolls be eliminated,” said Mele. “Our RPO includes Pamlico, Craven, Jones, Onslow and Carteret counties. Onslow County has not attended a solitary meeting. Josh and I have attended 100 percent.”
Greg Piner, one of the leaders of the Don’t Tax Our Highway group, said the news of Forest’s stand came as a pleasant surprise.
“He was never on my radar as far as any of my previous dealings with him,” said Piner, a dedicated proponent of the No Ferry Tolls. “I do know that there was some hope that the executive side of the government would start getting involved a little bit and there were hopes that Gov. McCrory would put some emphasis on it next session. I guess the more people understand that the tolling issue is not raising any substantial amount of net revenue and it’s not good for eastern North Carolina, the better it is.”
Piner said that the more people, especially those in power, who become aware that tolls are bad for Eastern North Carolina, the better.
Larry Summers, another anti-toll organizers, who went to Raleigh and waved signs and has sent letters to the legislators concerning No Ferry Tolls, said he didn’t think the Governor or the Lt. Governor had a lot to do with it.
“I think we have the House behind us, and I think it’s the Senate. I firmly believe this is Step One in lowering taxes and raising fees. I honestly think Rep. John Torbett from Gaston County is a superstar in the making. I think he’s the one that can make it go. He wants to get new money into North Carolina. I think he has the right idea. We just need to get some others into the legislature who think the same way.”
The terms Renaissance and unique are forming a unique partnership at Pamlico Community College.
Renaissance grammarians note that nothing is somewhat unique or very unique. It’s either unique or not unique. According to Simon Spalding, The 2nd Annual Medieval and Renaissance Festival at PCC, this Saturday, September 20, is unique east of Rocky Mount in North Carolina’s Coastal Plain.
Spalding, who is coordinating the event as a part of Cultural/Life Enrichment programs at the college, said,“Until now, Renaissance Festivals have never occurred this close to the central coast.
This year’s festival features abundantly more entertainment than last year’s program. Though definitely not a three-ring circus, there will be three stages of ongoing activities compared to two stages last year.
Spalding reported, “Craven Consort and Tuppence are returning to this year’s festival, and we have quite a few groups coming this year for the first time. I am thrilled beyond belief to put this together for area residents. The variety of entertainment and demonstrations will be educational, and yet also delight people of all ages.”
New groups this year include:
Thursday Morn, a string group, including violin and hammered dulcimer along with other stringed instruments, has performed at They group will perform in the Atrium outside the Delamar Center Auditorium at both 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
Pamlico Brass, a local brass ensemble will perform Renaissance and early Baroque music on instruments of the trumpet family. Trumpets and sackbutts, predecessors of the trombone, were used extensively in Medieval and Renaissance music. This group will perform in the Delamar Center Auditorium at 1 and 2:30 p.m.
The Heritage Troubadours, directed by Cheryl Kite, sing madrigals and other Renaissance vocal music. They will perform in the Delamar Center Auditorium at Noon and 1:30 p.m.
Coastal Winds, a quintet of woodwind instruments, will play a variety of Early Music on the Auditorium Stage at 12:30 p.m. and 2 p.m.
Stage magician Gary Shelton will perform on the "Bear Garden Stage" at 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Spalding commented, “I have seen him perform several times, and I know he will be an excellent addition to our event.”
Groups returning to the festival from last year include Craven Consort and Tuppence.
Craven Consort has performed Early Music in and around Craven County since 1973. Under the direction of Roger Bennett, the consort has performed at the NC Renaissance Festival in Raleigh and in numerous other venues. The group performs on a mix of recorders and flutes, as well as plucked and bowed stringed instruments. Craven Consort will perform in the Delamar Atrium at 12:30 and 2 p.m.
Tuppence is the duo of Simon and Sara Spalding. They have performed ballads, dance tunes, and other traditional music on violin, guitar, the bodhran, an Irish drum, and other instruments for audiences as far-flung as Louisiana, California, and Scotland. Tuppence performs in the atrium at Noon.
Other attractions are:
Simon Spalding will teach English Country Dances that were familiar in the court of Queen Elizabeth for young and old in the Delamar Atrium at 2:30 p.m. This is for everybody!
A Combat Arena outdoors will feature Medieval and Renaissance martial arts in the. These include demonstrations of Archery by Crispin of the Shire of Cathenar at Noon and 1:30 p.m. The Triangle Sword Guild will stage an exhibition of sword fighting by at 12:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. Christophe, also of the Shire of Cathenar, will stage exhibitions of rapier fencing at 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.
Food, jewelry, and other wares will be offered for sale but it is most likely the food will be contemporary in flavor, not from the Middle Ages. Street characters will include a Town Crier as well as Grace O’Malley, an Irish Pirate Queen on her way to meet with Queen Elizabeth.
Leigh Russell, the college librarian, coordinates PCC’s cultural events with assistance from Denise Meyerson. “For those who missed last year’s festival, this is surely an event not to miss this year. No one will come away disappointed. This is a real treat for Pamlico County and the surrounding area,” she said.
Hagan-Tillis U.S. Senate Race Important on Pamlico November Ballot
By Martha L. Hall
Pamlico News Staff
Political party leaders will tell you all election races are important.
On any local level such as Pamlico County, the battles for local offices usually gain the most attention of the voters.
However, a pivotal U.S. Senate race for November is among the offices on this year’s ballot, along with sheriff, county commissioner and state legislative seats.
The race between North Carolina Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan and GOP challenger Thom Tillis is considered a major race for control of the U.S. Senate.
According to a variety of polls, they are neck-to-neck.
According to the web site Real Clear Politics, the range was 1 to 5 percent difference.
It cited polls by CBS/New York Times, USA Today, Rasmussen Reports and Public Policy Polling in Raleigh.
The recent Tillis-Hagan Debate drew national interest and will be followed by an Oct. 7 debate, monitored by George Stephanopoulis of ABC news on Oct. 7, and a third debate before the Nov. 4 general election.
The race has been expensive, as much as $29 million so far according to some political observers.
Republicans must add six states to their existing numbers to gain Senate majority. The areas under watch include North Carolina, Arkansas, Michigan, South Dakota, Louisiana, Colorado, Georgia, Kentucky, Alaska, Oregon, Iowa, Kansas and New Hampshire.
In Pamlico County, Democrat and Republican Party leaders each hope for a U.S. Senate victory on the local level.
It is an interesting situation for both parties.
Pamlico County is a majority Democrat county by party count - 4,350 registered Democrats, 2,765 registered Republicans. The county also has 2,310 unaffiliated voters.
In 2008, Hagan won the election over Elizabeth Dole, but did not carry Pamlico County. Dole had close victory locally, 3,042 to 3,058. Hagan was the first Democrat to win the seat since 1972.
David Cox, chairman of local Democrats and Dave Wickersham, Pamlico County Republican Party chairman, both said the U.S. Senate race is important for their parties.
“I have fairly high hopes that Kay Hagan will retain her seat,” said Cox. “But it’s going to be an expensive proposition. You ain’t seen nothing yet.”
Wickersham said volunteers will be calling people on the voter registration list.
“We want to get across the importance of voting in an off-year,” he said. “I think we’ll see half or more of registered voters turn out this year. In past years, there have been as many as 70 percent of registered voters show up at the polls.”
He acknowledged that Pamlico County is heavily Democrats.
“The Republicans have been picking up and I believe that’s because we have an active party structure and we work hard,” he said. “We got a bunch of people who are committed and work hard to support Croakerfest, and the turkey dinner and the Lincoln Day Dinner and things like that.”
Cox said that promoting statewide races is a challenge, in part to the fact that candidates for offices sometimes never make it to a small county like Pamlico.
He noted that Hagan had been at a waterfront rally in Morehead City, attended by Pamlico County residents.
Tillis has made appearances in Craven County.
“As a party, we try to do our best to support all the candidates, no matter what the office,” he said.
While most local candidates are familiar to the population, Pamlico has many new residents, not from the area.
He used Senate Democrat candidate Carr Ipock of New Bern as an example.
Ipock is the longtime school board chairman in Craven County, which does not equate to visibility in Pamlico County. He is running against county resident and incumbent Sen. Norman Sanderson.
“Many of our new arrivals may not know who he is,” Cox said.
Wickersham said the local GOP has large numbers of active “seasoned citizens,” who are well aware of national politics and the issues that affect their lives.
“The national picture interests them a lot because of a variety of reasons - retirement, pensions, health care, etc,” he said. “When we get together as a group, we tend to gravitate toward discussing those issues, because they are important in their lives.”
He said the consensus among those GOP members is “they want to see Kay Hagan gone, primarily because of her support of President Obama (Democrat).”
He said again that getting the party vote out is a key.
Wickersham said that it is not just getting Republicans out, but relaying his party’s message to Democrats and unaffiliated voters alike.
“It goes back to that old saying, ‘Are you better off than you were four years ago?’ If you are looking at what is going on nationally, not locally in the county, and you want to see some changes or see some changes, we would like to ask you to cast your vote for the Republican candidate.”
Getting candidates such as Tillis or Hagan to personally attend a local candidate forum is nearly non-existent. Thus, no public “face time.”
“It is unlikely to get statewide candidates here, because we are small and not a media center,” Cox said. “It is hard enough sometimes to get our state representatives.”
Cox said his personal view was that too many voters think only presidential elections are important.
“When you are voting for anyone, your school board representative, county commissioner or sheriff, you want people who will actually represent you,” he added.
He agreed with Wickersham that getting voters out to the polls are important from a party standpoint.
Some changes in North Carolina voting practices overall may be a factor. A year ago, it was OK for non-registered voters to register and vote on a polling day. No longer.
Last year, if for some reason you were confused and went to the wrong polling place, you could cast a provisional vote from that polling place. No longer.
There were many places to register – Job Link at Pamlico Community College and the Department of Social Services in Alliance if you are there for other services. There are also opportunities at the party headquarters, both located near the county courthouse on N.C. 55 in Bayboro and the local library.
There is also the county elections office at the county courthouse.
The last date to register is Oct. 10. One Stop begins Oct. 23 and ends Saturday, Nov. 1 at 1 p.m.
One Stop will be open Oct. 23 and 24 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The following week One Stop will be open Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. On Halloween, One Stop will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
ORIENTAL—The Habitat home off White Farm Road and Harbor Way is moving right along. It is the first project house for the Pamlico Habitat in several years, the first in the Oriental area.
This week, the roof will be shingled. The electrical and the HVAC is scheduled to be done in the next two weeks.
The plumbing is complete.
Flo Daniels, Habitat board member, said after that laying the floors, the trim, insulation and drywall and painting will be the only things left.
The doors are there, front and back, according to Ariadne Sylvester whose family is working on and will live in the house.
She goes to visit the site almost every day to see what work has been done.
“I helped frame the house and I’ve done other jobs,” she said. “I’ve had a few days off from the site because they were doing the plumbing. As soon as the drywall is done, I’ll be able to paint.”
Sylvester said her children, 10-year-old Victoria and 14-year-old Alden are excited about the house.
“Now that it’s looking like a house, they are excited,” she said. “Victoria knows which window goes with her room and she keeps looking at it.”
Sylvester has picked out her color scheme and can’t wait to start painting the house.
“It’s going to be our home,” she said. “It’s nice to have some say.”
Her husband John is going to help put in the kitchen.
Daniels said they didn’t need volunteers until the painting. They are farming out the drywall and the insulation to trades.
“Because of our construction manager, we have progressed really well and we have gone faster than we have in any of the other houses,” she said. “We have two construction guys and one of them has worked on our houses before. Between the two of them they have done a good job in getting everything done in a speedy manner and hopefully we’ll get them in by Christmas.”
Daniels said the Pamlico Habitat is not as fortunate as the one Craven County in terms of resources, including having some churches heavily involved.
“Our churches are not that well off,” she said. “Our churches and businesses are asked for everything. They can give a little, not a lot.”
Any family interested in a Habitat house should apply.
“It’s based on family size and income,” she said. “We take the median range of income in the county and base it on that. There is a form that comes out from HUD and that’s what we go by. Every county has a median income. Basically we’re making great progress. As long as we don’t have a hurricane or anything.”
Lightning, Storm Cut Short Bike MS Tour of Pamlico
Pamlico Bike MS riders included (l-r) Chuck Forest, Neil Hammond,
Kenny Heath and Carol Beliveau dodged the storms Saturday.
Pamlico News Staff
For more than half of a sunny Sunday, most of the 1,900 riders in the area’s largest fundraising cycling event got an up-close look at the beauty of rural Pamlico County.
It included an elaborate lunch stop at River Dunes, with food and even live music, by the Crystal Coast Band of New Bern.
But, a severe storm with lightning cut short the rides along the main and back roads of the county on the 14th annual Bike MS: Historic New Bern Ride.
After a sun-splashed morning in which riders made stops in Reelsboro, River Dunes and Oriental, the storm moved in and at 1:38 p.m., organizers in New Bern closed the routes.
“We went to our crisis plan,” said event coordinator Mandy Wellons about 4 p.m., as most of the riders had been transported back to New Bern and begun making leaving for the trip back to their homes.
“We pulled about 700 riders off the routes,” she said.
They were transported by support vehicles and buses, which are kept on standby in the event of a major weather situation. There was an identical situation two years ago.
In the end, she said no cyclists suffered any injuries due to the storm and termed the weekend a success.
There were some hearty souls who completed their rides, and naturally, that included some Pamlico County riders in the event, such as Chuck Forest, Neil Hammond, Kenny Heath and Carol Beliveau.
“Chuck, Carol and I took on the challenge of riding 100 miles each day for a combined 600 miles,” said Heath. “We wanted to finish our ride. Neil is a fairly new rider and rode 50 miles each day.”
The group raised $4,000 for Multiple Sclerosis research.
The ride on Sunday culminated another successful weekend two-day ride for the New Bern-based event, which has rides from 30 to 100 miles. On Saturday, riders were mostly in Craven and Beaufort counties.
Sunday’s ride was majority Pamlico, along with the start and ending points at New Bern’s Union Point Park on the Neuse River.
“Pamlico supports the MS ride along with many more riders and volunteers from all over our great county,” Heath said.
Another local rider was Julia Tingle, who said she lives “in Oriental and Raleigh.”
Like many of the riders with a connection to MS, she had a name other than her own on the back of her rider ID vest.
“I’m riding for Mary,” she said of her friend with Multiple Sclerosis. She planned the 75-miler each day.
“This is my 10th year,” she said. “It is a great week, a great ride, well organized and fun.”
As for the Sunday ride, she added, “I’m proud to show off Pamlico County.”
Visitors such as Marti Rivadeneira of Pittsboro and her friend Barb Lavergne of Clayton have ridden before and said they are always happy to ride in Pamlico.
“They are very supporting people, beeping and waving,” said Lavergne.
While the cyclists were taken back to New Bern, their bikes remained behind, but the two-wheelers were picked up by equipment trucks. They were returned to the owners via a tag number system for such emergencies.
The event raised $1.3 million of a $1.865 million goal for this year by the end of the weekend. Donations will be taken through Oct. 7, so Wellons said that the MS organization was confident the goal would be reached.
Week of September 3, 2014
Longtime Market Reaching Out to Community
By Martha L. Hall
Pamlico News Staff
ORIENTAL – Forty-one years ago, Ruth Ireland says the town of Oriental had to annex the land before she was able to build her store.
Now that Walmart has come to Pamlico County with a small store just outside Oriental and a larger one in Grantsboro, Ireland says she is feeling the pinch and may have to close her store.
“We have had three generations operating the store,” she said. “Walmart gets the same benefits I got and I had to be annexed in before I could build. They don’t give money to local charities like the golf tournament at Minnesott Beach or the Croakerfest; they give to Make a Wish, or whatever; they don’t have to pay ABC taxes, they don’t have to pay for water, they don’t hire lawyers from the community, they don’t hire builders from the community, they don’t even bank in the community. They don’t cut meat. Their meat comes in in cardboard boxes from Argentina or somewhere else.”
Ireland said there is still strong support for her local business. Just look at the heart signs posted at the store.
“I’ve had some very loyal people,” she said. “You can look at the ‘hearts’ in my store. People don’t want us to go anywhere. I’m going to see how Labor Day (weekend) goes. It’s going to be completely up to the people of Oriental as to whether we stay or go. There’s nothing more I can do,” she said. “We special order, we do all our gourmet foods and we do the organics, we do all we can and we can’t keep doing it. You know, we work on volume. We thought we’d be all right until the big one (Walmart) opened in Grantsboro. It’s ridiculous. We’ve had three businesses close in this town since Walmart opened – the Emporium, Croakertown and Denton’s (pharmacy).”
Ireland said she was proud of her produce meat departments.
“My produce department has improved so much. And we have the best meats in the county.
Walmart people came in the store with legal pads, writing down prices and taking pictures with their phones. My manager asked them to leave.”
Ireland said the only thing that would help was a money machine.
“I can’t keep dumping money in there to keep a few people happy,” she said. “We were having a hard time before Walmart. There are so many homes for sale in Oriental. The population has dropped. The fishing industry is about gone. The hurricanes have not helped Oriental either. Oriental will never be the same and neither will Pamlico County.”
Grace Evans said she shops at Town and Country only.
“I don’t even darken the door of Walmart,” said the longtime Oriental resident. “I find what I need at Ruth’s and don’t even want to think that I would have to go to Grantsboro to get my milk and orange juice and bread. I feel very strongly about supporting Ruth. It’s traumatizing.”
Delcine Gibbs admitted that sometimes she shops at Walmart but only when she can’t find an item at Town and Country.
“Town and Country has better meat choices than Walmart,” said Gibbs. “That’s why I go there. Ruth has gotten specialty items for me. I would go to Dollar General before Walmart.”
Jean White said she wrote two letters to local media to support Town and Country.
“I didn’t mention the Walmart,” she said. “I tried to be very positive toward Ruth. The intent of my letter was to encourage people to shop at Town and Country. I have read the other letters that followed and the dialogue evolved in other directions. My emphasis was on supporting Ruth. Kind of what brought me to that was a friend saw me coming out of the store on a Wednesday and she said something about me shopping on Senior Day (Wednesday). I said ‘No, I shop here every day.’”
White was the instigator of the hearts in the window of Town and Country.
“I used my husband’s printer and ran hearts off saying ‘I love Town and Country.’”
I just think we need to do all we can to support local businesses. We’re very blessed to have a store like Town and Country – their produce and meats are wonderful and Ruth carries so many special items.”
Several thousand bicyclists will tour the scenic roads of Pamlico County during this weekend’s annual Bike MS: Historic New Bern Ride.
Most will be touring Pamlico County on Sunday.
The two-day event raised $1.8 million a year ago for research on Multiple Sclerosis. It includes rides of 30, 50, 75 and 100 miles on Saturday and Sunday.
The rides begin at 8 a.m. each morning at Union Point Park on the Neuse River in New Bern.
The Saturday rides will venture into Beaufort County, including Aurora.
The Sunday rides include venues in Oriental and River Dunes, where cyclists will have lunch.
The riders will enter Pamlico County on N.C. 55 East, with the 50-mile bikers departing to country roads near Reelsboro to Arapahoe and then return.
The 75 and 100-mile routes contine on N.C. 55 through Bayboro and Stonewall, then veer onto Trent, Pamlico and Orchard Creek Roads to River Dunes. Bikers continue via Straight Road to Oriental, then across the Bob Scott Bridge and the country route to Arapahoe along the Neuse River
The pre-event pledges are more than half-way to this year’s $1.85 million goal. Organizers explained that pledges and donations continue to come in throughout the year.
The Carolinas Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society teams with the city of New Bern on its largest annual bike event.
Rider registration was at 2,000 before the Labor Day Weekend and projected to reach 2,200 by race day.
There is a 12-year-old rider age minimum and rider fundraising minimum of $300.
There are rest stops along the route every 10 to 15 miles, SAG support and gear vehicles available, along with meals, and activities at New Bern’s Union Point Park and Riverfront Convention Center.
Rest stops in Pamlico County include Bayboro, River Dunes, Oriental, Arapahoe and Reelsboro.
Registration is $55 through the Saturday morning start. Early packet pickups are today (Wednesday) at Annabelle’s in New Bern Mall, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Event ceremonies begin at 7:45 a.m. each day, with a staggered start by race distances at 8 a.m.
Those riding 25 miles begin at 8:30 a.m. The open course is through Craven and Beaufort counties the first day, traveling as far as Aurora.
A Mini Bike MS for children is at Union Point Park is from 9:30 a.m. to noon, followed by interactive games.
The races again begin at 8 a.m. Sunday, with the 30-mile trek going East on U.S. 70, including Carolina Colours in Craven County.
Oriental Man Plans Radio-Controlled Model Airplanes Club
By Martha L. Hall
Pamlico News Staff
ORIENTAL – When Jamie King was a child of 14, he developed an interest in model airplanes. But, it had its interruptions.
What began as a teen, was stopped by college. He went to Cornell University in New York.
That was ended by the Korean Conflict. King enlisted in the Marine Corps and became a pilot.
He was in for eight years.
After the war was over, he finished his degree at N.C. State University in Raleigh.
Years later, he lives in Oriental and has revived his childhood passion for model planes. His interest is so keen, he wants to start a local club.
Right now, King says he has eight people on his list to start a club.
He is also inviting people to come out and join. The first meeting will be Sept. 17 the Village Restaurant at 1 p.m. in Oriental.
Behind his house, King has a workshop, full of airplanes hanging from the ceiling and scattered around the room.
“Most of these have been flown,” he said. “And some have been flown and crashed many times.”
King’s planes are powered with electric motors, not gasoline. He has different size motors for different size planes. His planes are shaped from Styrofoam, urethane foam and polypropylene foam. Some foam he buys at the hardware store. Some come from shipping containers. Some of his planes come from books, some from his imagination.
“This one has a sea plane body and it’s supposed to balance right there,” he says as he adjusts the wings.
“It’s a little bit tail heavy, I think,” he said. “I haven’t flown it yet.”
Asked when he was going to test it, he said “When I get around to it. Living in Oriental is like having two full dance cards.”
A meet in September, in New Bern, will be the first trip up for the plane.
“A friend of mine who has a lot of experience is going to fly it the first go because I don’t want to crash it,” he said.
King thinks a model airplane club will fit well into the culture in Oriental.
“One of the first things we’re going to do is decide what the club is supposed to do and acquire a piece of land as a flying field,” he said.
Asked if it was an expensive hobby, King said “No. You can spend money on it if you wish. I guess I’ve spent $200 in a year. That’s not bad.”
The hardest thing about flying model airplanes is to “put your head in the plane.”
“You’ve got to change minds. Things happen fast and you don’t have the time to stop and think.”
Asked what his college major was, he queried “Which time? I have three.”
He’s a mechanical engineer, a biological science and an education major.
“I taught physiology, which deals with an organism or a body part and its function.”
King’s degrees are from Cornell University, N.C. State University and Harvard.
He has a doctorate in physiology.
“When I got out of the Marine Corps in 1962, I was at Cherry Point,” he said. “I came down here and taught at Craven Community College, East Carolina and I taught at N.C. State for 11 years. I wanted to stay in Eastern North Carolina after the Marine Corps. I had a boat and I liked the water and the area, so I decided that I would have to find a way to stay here.”
King says the first time he came to Oriental was in 1958
He and his wife, Susan, moved here permanently in 2002. They live in a charming house that had belonged to Susan’s father. When her father died in 2001, Susan inherited the house.
“I had retired, I have a physical disability and I can’t do a lots of things I used to do,” he said. His physical disability is a nerve condition – the same disease that his father had – a progressive loss of nerve conductivity.
He now walks with a cane and says eventually he will have to use a wheel chair.
But, he will keep flying.
Week of August 27, 2014
Summer's Over! Schools Gear Up for New Year!
By Martha L. Hall
Pamlico News Staff
BAYBORO – Last Wednesday was a banner day in the lives of some Pamlico school children. It was the first day they ventured out of the nest and into the unknowns of school. It was an open house hosted at the Pamlico Primary School.
Thee elementary school was geared so the children could meet and get a hug from their teachers and principal and see the environs in which they will learn.
To some children it was just another day, but to a few others, it was separation anxiety in waiting. To some children, grade 1 and above, it was old hat. They had experience. Find out which hall contained which grades and which door offered the proper list of names. Piece of cake.
Principal Kim Potter at the Primary School greeted children and many of the parents by name.
“I try to know every child in the school,” she said. Potter said she had been in education for 19 years and she never got tired of the first day of school.
Kindergarten is beginning on an abbreviated schedule for the first week to ease children into the school system. By next week, they will be acclimated and will attend the entire week.
Harry Brooks and Marla Morrow, transportation manager, signed families up for school buses, checking to see if their children were on the same route as last year.
Trenez Phillips, cafeteria manager, got a share of the hugs going around. She mentioned a federal grant called the Community Eligibility Provision that would offer healthy breakfasts and lunches to the students at no cost for the 2014-2015 school year.
Down the Kindergarten Hall, Teacher Assistant Debbie Wright was speaking to students and parents along with her teacher, Marie Smith.
Smith said she had taught 5th and 2nd grades for 6 years, reading for 2 years and Kindergarten for 6 years.
“I love teaching Kindergarten,” she said. “These students just bloom.”
Tri-County Food Offerings Benefit Children on Weekends
By Martha L. Hall
Pamlico News Staff
NEW BERN – A non-profit formed in 2012 is going one step beyond the free lunches and free breakfasts this year for children of Craven, Pamlico and Jones counties.
The Backpack Blessings sends food home with the children on weekends, some of whom would not receive a meal between Friday lunch and Monday breakfast.
Ruth Powers is the only paid employee. The rest are volunteers.
Pamlico County Board of Commissioners Paul Delamar III is on the board for this charity.
Powers was once the Academically Gifted teacher in the Craven County Schools and she is a member of Garber United Methodist Church, which began this program in two elementary schools.
It seems that a group of Certified Public Accountants got involved and had a vision that they should provide all the hungry children in Craven County with an adequate amount of weekend food.
“What we found out was there were lots of little churches sponsoring the same type of program,” said Powers. “The first thing we did was contact those churches and ask them to partner with us. Now we have about 20 churches in the three counties (this year) who work with us.”
Powers said they have doubled the numbers. There were 350 children last year. This year there are 775.
“We asked for $1,500 commitment from our churches, then all the money we are able to match,” Powers said. “We had a generous grant from the Harold Bate Foundation, then Carolina East Health systems and then we got a grant from the Carolina East Foundation. We are no longer able to match dollar for dollar but we can match quite a bit of it. Now we have a partnership through the N.C. Food Bank and we get food at a very discounted rate. Anything they have in stock with individual servings for kids we can get for $.18 a pound which pays for the cost of shipping. We partner through them through the Food Lion.”
Powers said there were 4 packing events a year. One at CarolinaEast Medical Center was held this past weekend, utilized 100 volunteers – mostly hospital employees.
On Sept. 26 and 27, Garber United Methodist Church will hold a packing event with 300 to 400 volunteers at three packing sessions – one Friday night, one Saturday morning and one Saturday afternoon.
“Each church has a coordinator and the coordinator will let me know how many are coming and when,” said Powers. “Those are the only times during the year we pack stuff. And that is why we can’t use the perishables from the Food Bank or the Food Lion. We pack two meals that are individually wrapped – macaroni and cheese, Spaghettios, Beanie Weenies, cereal, fruit cups, oatmeal, pudding, crackers and granola bars. Ten items go in a bag, 15 bags per bin. Oriental United Methodist Church is our only partner in Pamlico County right now.”
Powers says they get names from counselors, teachers and bus drivers at school.
“We never know who gets the food. Every child who gets free lunches and breakfasts are not always hungry on weekends,” said Powers. “In the cafeteria, they know who comes to school on Monday starving. But it’s very confidential. We don’t get names. When the children are gone to Physical Education, art or music, the guidance counselor may go put the food in their backpack. Most of the churches are paired with an elementary school and the food is delivered to the school.”
Powers said the children aren’t starving to death like in Haiti or some other country, but they have food insecurity.
“This is not my reality,” Powers said. “But we hear it enough from guidance counselors and others, that we know there is a hunger problem in our counties. Our goal would be to pair a school with a church.”
You can find this program on Facebook at backpackblessings.com.
Before students returned to local schools on Monday, supporters of their educational pursuits were touring local public and private schools - offering prayers for the new school year.
On Saturday morning a group of parishioners from the Arapahoe Free Will Baptist Church met at the Arapahoe Charter School.
Prayers were said for the Charter School and everyone involved in its operation, from the students, their teachers and staff, to bus drivers and the janitors. Gary Collier, minister of the Arapahoe Free Will Baptist Church gave the first prayer.
These prayers were continued by parishioners in Bayboro at the Central Office, the Primary School, Fred A. Anderson Elementary School, Pamlico Middle School and Pamlico County High School.
Also on the touring prayer list was Pamlico Christian and Gateway Christian Academy. Home-schooled students were also prayed for.
There were members of different churches in the group. The Christian Motorcyclists Association was also represented. All you needed were good wishes for the students and teachers.
Parents and grandparents who had children at these schools or teachers and staff who worked there were positioned in the middle of a prayer circle and special prayers were said for them as well.
Willie Tyndall, a teacher now, went to school at Pamlico Middle School when the grades were 5 through 9thgrades.
Heather Spears, president of the PTO at Fred A. Anderson, gave the prayer there. Carl Yaeger, president of the Christian Motorcyclists Association, gave the prayer at one of the schools. Sarah Winfrey gave the prayer for the home schooled classes and prayed for Pamlico Christian Academy.
Winfrey, member of the Arapahoe Free Will Baptist Church, said this prayer event would become an annual occurrence, meeting next year on the Saturday morning before school started to offer prayers for the school year.
Week of August 20, 2014
Sanderson and Speciale Looks at Short Session Results
By Martha L. Hall
Pamlico News Staff
State Sen. Norman Sanderson of Pamlico County said he could go on for hours about the Legislative short session and the bills that passed or failed to pass.
“It’s been interesting,” he said. “There are five Senators who represent coastal North Carolina. Five of them. Wake and Mecklenburg counties have five Senators just for their county. You see where the power is, it’s where the population is. You have to do a lot of lobbying inside your own caucus to get stuff done. It’s a constant daily battle.”
Sanderson said one of the important bills he tried to get passed this year was the no toll ferry bill. That bill did not pass, maintaining fees for longer ferry trips. The issue of tolling will return in 2015.
Under legislation Sanderson favors, income for the ferry would come from naming rights, advertising, merchandising and snacks sales. Income would also be garnered in the profit recognized by the tourist industry along the coast, Sanderson said.
“I guess if you look at where we are now, we’ve got leadership on the House side squarely in our camp, and he felt we were moving forward. There are just a couple of senators entrenched in how they feel about tolling,” said Sanderson..
There was legislation about Marine Fisheries that gives the Marine Fisheries here in North Carolina the ability to enter with the federal government on joint law enforcement of federal fishery rules and Marine Fisheries.
“It was promised that it was not going to be in the budget,” Sanderson said. “It was not in the budget when it was sent to the House but somehow in the last day or two, it was back in the budget and we couldn’t offer an amendment or change anything so it passed.”
Commercial fishermen opposed it, saying it was an expansion of federal power in the state.
“I feel we should be moving away from federal alliances instead of moving into them,” he said. “On one hand we went against the federal joint thing with Common Core, an educational law that offers a series of guidelines showing what children should know about math and English from kindergarten to graduation, and then on this we couldn’t do anything about it.”
Sanderson said that he, along with several other Senators have written a letter asking that the Marine Fishers director hold off on entering into that agreement until the General Assembly comes back in January.
Sanderson said lawmakers got money for Tryon Palace in the budget.
“That was good for the city of New Bern,” he said.
There was the issue with teacher salaries. Sanderson said he believed that most of the teachers will be temporarily satisfied with their pay increases; some, he said, would not.
The teacher assistant issue is long and complicated.
“Teacher assistants have been funded and the superintendents have been taking that money and spending it elsewhere. If I am not mistaken it was $127 million that it cost to fund teacher assistants this past year; $90 million of it was being spent in other places,” he said.
Sanderson said several years ago with the Bail-Out program, a lot of teachers were hired.
“That was temporary money and when that money ran out, they began to take money from other places to keep those teachers on staff,” he said. “A lot of that teacher assistant money went there. They still have that flexibility. We funded the teacher assistants, but what they do with that money is their decision. I think we have spent every year in the last few years more and more money on the K-12 educations.”
Sanderson said what would like to do is compensate the best teachers.
“That’s what we want to do. Like any other job in our state, the ones who do the best job gets the higher money. In 2011 and 2012, we laid the base work to try and put a system in place to judge teaching ability. It met a lot of resistance but that’s where we’re going”
Another bill which the senator hope would get movement but didn’t was a property insurance clarification bill that would help the people on the coast about property insurance.
“We have long been accused by people in other parts of the state about having to supplement our property insurance when we actually have been supplementing them,” Sanderson said.” It would have made the insurance companies break it down and demonstrate how much we are actually paying for hail insurance, fire damage and the exact amount we are paying for wind damage. Right now they’re combined and you have no idea what you are paying for. We will put that bill through again.”
Rep. Michael Speciale of Craven County, who represents Pamlico County, predicted a wide-open session next year.
“Those of us who have been through a term or two, have a better idea about what’s happening,” he said. “We kept HB 1224 from coming to the floor on Friday. The Speaker wanted to put it on the calendar on Friday and we voted it down. That’s an unusual occurrence. The bill allowed a half-cent sales tax for the counties which they could implement in quarter-cent denominations. Then there are the corporate incentive programs. I can’t support something like that. I will likely be battling that out on Monday and Tuesday.”
Speciale said his agenda for next year is to get rid of the ferry tolls on all of the ferries.
“The Transportation chairman and everyone seems to be behind it,” he said. “That’s our goal.”
Speciale said there were a lot of things that were not brought up in the House because it was a short session.
“We were going to take care of the budget, take care of some minor things and get out of there.
ARAPAHOE - Beside the Post Office in Arapahoe, praise and enterprise are going on. Praise, because the small congregation is trying to restore their church and enterprise because Shirley Hackney and her husband, Robert, are vital to the church and have given their time to Operation Veggie Box. Now they are receiving help as a branch of Operation Veggie Box, the Unified Christian Network, a new Christian outreach in Pamlico County, is attempting to aid the parishioners in restoring their church.
The church is named the Anointed Remnant Church of Christ, Disciple of Christ and the congregation’s home is formerly the site of the Arapahoe United Methodist Church which moved a couple of miles down Highway 306 after a storm.
The minister, Henry Williams, said this is his first church.
“I’ve only been there a year and a half and this is my first pastoral position,” he said. “At the present time, we have six in the congregation. After Hurricane Irene, they closed the church. The Goldsboro-Raleigh Assembly asked for a preacher and I accepted. I am praying that the congregation will increase.”
David Bailey and the Unified Christian Network are soliciting funds in the area and are attempting to help out with the building fund and some of the repairs.
The building was first a wood structure and in 1923, it was rebuilt. The building hold a congregation of about 150.
“We bought the church in 1991,” said Elder Shirley Hackney, secretary. “When it started out, we had church at a parishioner’s house in the garage.”
Though the congregation is small, Williams said they are prayerful and hoping others will come to join our congregation.
“We are having a meeting and David Bailey has asked us to help with Operation Veggie Box in the spring and summer garden whenever we are available and we can. It’s not like a return favor but they are soliciting donations to help us out. We have to work together to make things work. They (OVB) have called in people to help. We’re trying to get people to adopt certain areas and to work no more than a half a day at a time. It’s more or less volunteer labor but then the materials we need have to be bought. That’s why we’re trying to raise money. We’ve got a few dollars this far but we’re planning within about a month that the donations will be coming in pretty good. People is willing to help but they wants to know when to and where to. A lot of people who used to go to church there when it was the Methodist Church are interested in the reconstruction of that building. “
Hackney said they have 15 members on the roll but they haven’t all started back yet.
“We were closed down for a while and last year we had enough money to go back in.” Hackney said. “My husband, Robert, has already fixed the railing going up the steps. We have the windows and the doors. We’re going to have to do some roofing because with all that rain it started leaking so we’ll have to have a new roof. David was going to talk to somebody and said it was going to be about $6,000. We need to do the roof first then we can do the inside. Part of the ceiling in the Sanctuary needs to be replaced and the walls need to be repainted. Both of the bathrooms – the one in the front and the one in the back – need to be worked on. The front bathroom is not complete because we had to tear the whole thing out. We had a nice door to the church but when we went to the church the glass in the door was busted out. For right now, the biggest problem is the roof.”
Hackney said she knows God has a plan.
“I’m going to do what He tells me to do. Eventually the congregation will come back. I’m just going to keep praying.”
Bailey said he thought $15,000 would fix things but that he wasn’t a general contractor.
“What we want to do is create awareness in our community that this church needs some help with some building and renovation work,” Bailey said. “I think if some of the churches in New Bern, as well as, in Pamlico County, knew about this that some would come forward with some expertise, funds, and labor to help this church resolve this situation.”
Anointed Remnant Church of Christ, Disciple of Christ
Address: 7728 Kershaw Rd.
P.O. Box 204
Arapahoe, N.C. 285106
Here is a list of repairs that are needed:
1. Front doors need to be replaced and the window over the door needs to be fixed.
2. The windows need to be fixed or replaced.
3. The roofing needs to be repaired or a new roof.
4. The railing going up the steps need to be fixed or replaced.
5. The outside of the church building need painting.
6. Need to replace the storm door in the back of the church.
7. The front bathroom need wall panel, commodes, sink and a door.
8. The sanctuary needs part of the ceiling and the walls need to be fixed and painted.
9. The ceiling in the hallway and the pastor’s room need painting.
10. The bathroom in the back needs commode, sink and tiles.
11. We need offering table and tables and chairs for the kitchen.
Pamlico County Farmers Say Crops are Mostly Average
By Martha L. Hall
Pamlico News Staff
Rain – there has been plenty of it since June 2. And while most of us put on our raincoats and slosh through the puddles, it can be a success or failure vote for the farmers.
Clifton Paul knows about the rain. He has corn and soybeans planted.
He and other farmers say the crops are fairly struggling to average this year.
“The early soybeans looked pretty good,” Paul said. “The later crop got some wet on them in July and looked not so good. We will start at the first of October harvesting soybeans and hope to be done by Thanksgiving. I think we got a decent crop of corn. The earlier planted corn suffered through some wet, cold weather and didn’t establish as good a stand as we wanted. But that same wet, cold weather delayed a lot of corn and the later planted corn has been pretty decent. I’d say we had an average corn crop countywide. I grow more acres of soybeans (1,000 acres) then corn (750 acres), so they’re almost even.
The market, he says, will determine the value.
“Corn has gotten awfully cheap compared to what its value has been the last two or three years,” he said. “It depends on the size of that mid-western crop. Most of the time, low corn prices help stimulate the livestock industry so we’ll just have to wait and see. Almost exclusively, the corn in Pamlico County goes to livestock feed.”
Maurice Benton of Stonewell thought he had what looks like a good corn and wheat crop, adding that soybeans have had a rough yearf.
“The soybeans are off to a poor start, especially down in Vandemere and Whortonsville. There was just too much water,” he said. “Some beans I’ve planted three times. There was a good crop of corn. They’ve been getting some good yields. Wheat was combined in June and we had a pretty decent crop. It was a little bit hard to get the wheat out because of the rain. And it was hard to get beans in. We were probably two weeks late getting it out. It’s as dry now as it has been. The rain started pretty strong around June 2 and it’s been bad since then. It was worst on the eastern end of the county.”
Benton said he would probably start harvesting corn in the next two weeks.
“It’ll be a below average income this year because of having to replant,” he said.
Asked what would make a perfect year, Benton said “retirement.”
“Actually it would be a lot of sunshine and normal rainfall. It takes a lot of sunshine to develop these crops. It can’t be wet all the time. Soybeans especially don’t like ‘wet feet.’ It’s sort of a toss-up.
I was born on a farm. I went in the service and then worked the telephone company for 8 or 9 years. I started out with $1,200 of my own money and I haven’t seen it since.”
Al Spruill, who lives near Oriental and plants in the southern side of the county, said the corn is going to go cheap this year.
“I’ve put most of my land in corn, soybeans and wheat. The market is low on wheat,” he said.
He added that another crop - turf business - “is not going very well.”
Owen Peele, who farms lands between Bayboro and Beaufort County, said his crops were doing well.
“The early soybeans looked fantastic,” he said. “The later ones we had some spot or water damage. Where the water stood in the fields, the plants were stunted. At Vandemere, we had a hail storm so we may have lost a few plants. Some folks had some greensnap in their corn. The plant breaks off from the wind and the tassel can’t be reached to fertilize the plant. My corn is OK, it should be a good crop.”
Week of August 13, 2014
Fisheries Groups Fight Sea Turtle Issue in Court
By Martha L. Hall
Pamlico News Staff
Commercial fishermen, who agreed to double their license fees to help protect seat turtles are now fighting the matter in court.
Litigation was filed last week alleging that several state and federal agencies and their representatives have failed to abide by the Endangered Species Act, in the protection of sea turtles.
Jerry Schill, president of the North Carolina Fisheries Association, said it is a political agenda matter.
“We contend the ESA is not just to protect sea turtles,” he said. “It’s an agenda to get shrimp trawls out of the water and gill nets out of the water. It’s an agenda to get rid of commercial fishermen.”
The suit was filed in Raleigh by two commercial fishing organizations, the North Carolina Fisheries Association, and the Carteret County Fisherman's Association. They are both non-profit trade associations of commercial fishermen, seafood dealers and processors.
The listed defendants are Penny Pritzker, Secretary of the US Department of Commerce; Sally Jewell, Secretary of the US Department of the Interior; Dr. Kathleen Sullivan, Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; Daniel Ashe, Director of the US Fish & Wildlife Service; John Skvarla, Secretary of the NC Department of Environment & Natural Resources; Dr. Louis Daniel, Executive Director of the NC Division of Marine Fisheries; and Gordon Myers, Executive Director of the NC Wildlife Resources Commission.
The complaint requests that the court rule that the defendants have violated and continue to violate Section 9 of the ESA and have allowed the recreational hook and line fishery to “operate in a manner that has caused and is continuing to cause the illegal take of endangered Kemp's Ridley sea turtles and the unauthorized take of threatened loggerhead, green and leatherback sea turtles.”
They also seek the defendants to implement regulations in the recreational hook and line fishery until they receive an incidental take permit, and further, for the federal agencies to conduct abundance surveys and nesting population surveys.
Schill said every week there has been one or another thing that the commercial fishermen have to comply with.
This most recent issue is to protect sea turtles.
“All of these things come from the federal Endangered Species Act,” he said. “That same EPA requires other people to protect sea turtles but it has not been enforced. That includes recreational fisherman. That is the reason for our complaint.”
He said sea turtles had been an issue since he began work with commercial fisheries in 1987.
“Shortly after I started, we got involved with the sea turtle issue and shrimp trawl fishing which resulted in what we’re dealing with now. That was turtle extruder devices,” he said.
Schill said they finally got the government to understand that if they allowed fishermen to come with a way to reduce sea turtles mortalities, it was better than the government doing it.
“The fishermen came up with the extruder device and now the compliance is very good,” he said. “The long line fisheries, the guys that target swordfish, tuna and sharks, introduced circle hooks to reduce turtle mortality, and now the most recent is the large mesh gill fish fisheries. They can take turtles if they do certain things. Those things include observers on the boats who have to be paid. We volunteered to help out by paying half the fees at the request of the legislature.”
Schill said some fishermen got together in the past year and came to the Carteret County Fisherman’s Association and then to the Ocracoke Working Waterman’s Association and came up with doubling the license fees from $200 to $400.
“Now we have some oversight in this matter,” said Schill. “We had a meeting with the commercial fishermen and it was very spirited, but we ended up with the doubling the fee.”
Schill said as of last week, there has been an enforcement effort with the U.S. Coast Guard, the National Marine Fisheries Service Law Enforcement branch and the N.C. Marine Fisheries Marine Patrol boarding boats in Pamlico and Core sounds to see how shrimp boats were abiding by the TED (turtle extruder device) regulations.
“I am happy to report that the compliance rate has worked extremely well,” said Schill. “It’s the law. We understand. We know we have to comply. But it’s the Popeye thing. It’s getting relentless. Meanwhile the EPA has a law that it not illegal to kill a sea turtle. It is unlawful to ‘interact’ with one.”
But, he said it continues to affect commercial workmen.
“Since March, there has been several more instances where we have had to change regulations or put out new regulations. Where does it end? This is not to enact retribution against recreational fisherman, it’s to get an end game,” he said. “We don’t have the political clout to get the federal agencies to do stock assets on these sea turtles. When can we have victory party? It’s like bald eagles. They’re recovered. Now we’re seeing bald eagles all the time. Fishermen are seeing sea turtles all the time. When can we celebrate? What we want is a stock assessment to say when can we say we succeeded?”
According to a Fisheries Association release, “The complaint states that the defendants have long realized that the recreational hook and line fishery has been in violation of the ESA, yet have failed to take any action to prevent the illegal take of sea turtles in the fishery. On the other hand, commercial fishermen have been required to adhere to a number of measures in efforts to protect sea turtles, including shrimping, large mesh gillnets and the longline fishery.”
BAYBORO – The matter of duck impoundments appears to be out of local authority.
Twenty people – a mix of impoundment owners/hunters and residents of Goose Creek Island attended the Aug. 4 Pamlico County Commissioners meeting to offer pro and con statements on duck impoundments during a brief Comment Time.
In late June, a petition from residents of Goose Creek Island, requested Pamlico County Commissioners not to allow duck ponds in the Hobucken Community.
Commissioner Paul Delamar III said that petition was sent to the Planning Board. The response from the Planning Board was they did not have any legal redress when it came to duck impoundments. The planning board suggested residents take the matter up with commissioners again.
“We (the Commissioners) were essentially told (legally) we did not have jurisdiction and that we were preempted by state and federal laws,” said Delamar. “I don’t know who led the people to believe it would be replaced on the agenda, but that isn’t how it works. We just won’t take it up again.”
Delamar said there was no reason to discuss something that already been discussed and that the attorney had confirmed.
“I think there was a feeling that it would come back up,” said Delamar. “It wasn’t on the agenda and it wasn’t something we could act on and unless we get contrary advice from some legal authority, I don’t think we will.”
Delamar said the communities needed to take up the issue with the state and federal lawmakers.
“Unless we had county-wide zoning, it’s possible that we could prohibit some activities, but we don’t have that kind of (any) zoning and as far as I can tell, the people don’t want it,” he said. “The only other thing we could do is create an ordinance, but we don’t have the authority specifically related to duck impoundments.”
A speaker for the hunters was Tom Bland, who said he was concerned for the safety of the community.
His point was if hunters behaved responsibly, they could successfully hunt in duck impoundments in various communities.
Another speaker was Kyle Highsmith, of Raleigh, who had purchased 26 acres of land around Hobucken and now has a 13-acre impoundment. He said he had no intention to be a bad neighbor.
County Manager Tim Buck said Highsmith spoke with him and said he was concerned.
“He didn’t want people to think just because he owned a duck impoundment he was a bad person,” said Buck. “He was willing to listen and work with his neighbors, but he had no intent of being irresponsible with his hunting practices.”
Dustin Turnage, a local impoundment owner, said the State of North Carolina issues hunting licenses and gave hunters the privilege to hunt. He added should a problem arise, it would be mediated by North Carolina Wildlife Resources. He also said that his intent was to be a good neighbor.
Buck said he had sent a letter to Sheriff Billy Sawyer to ask for a number on the complaints filed regarding fire arm discharge in communities.
“That was just for our knowledge,” Buck said. “It had nothing to do with duck impoundments.”
Ila Leary and Freddie Lewis were the only residents to speak in the 3-minute time slot about how the duck impoundments affected their lives.
Leary said she wasn’t against duck hunting. Her family has hunted all their lives.
“I was against duck impoundments in the middle of the community,” she said. “I don’t have a problem with them putting one beside a creek somewhere but not in the middle of the community. We think they’re planning to put one behind a house on the main road in Hobucken. That’s too close to houses and people.”
Lewis stressed safety. He was concerned about the community and its children.
“I covered things like the distance from the houses,” said Lewis. “On the Hobucken School Road, there’s a family with four children. I don’t think that impound is more than 100 yards away from them. Now they’re trying to build a pond behind the playground (next to the community center).”
Oriental Prohibits Commercial Vessels at Town Dock
By Deborah Dickinson
Pamlico News Staff
The Oriental Town Board Meeting, held August 5, hosted a lively public comment period when numerous residents expressed concern over commercial fishing vessels use of the town dock in recent weeks. In response the board agreed to an amendment, proposed by Commissioner David White, to the town dock ordinance which states that commercial vessels are not authorized to use the town docks with a few exceptions for recreational charter fishing vessels, recreational boat rentals, recreational charter sailing groups and tow boats.
The board also instituted a new Harbor Waterfronts Advisory Committee. Its mission is to preserve, protect, enhance and improve the water ways. The Board then voted on andappointed five residents to the newly initiated Committee, but it turns out that when the Commissioners voted on their paper ballots, they did not have the names of all the volunteer applicants before them. The Town Of Oriental’s Web Site posted the following “Due to an unfortunate administrative oversight, the vote taken on Tuesday, August 5th, on appointments to the newly formed Harbor/Waterfronts Committee, several candidates were left off of the ballot issued to the Commissioners for voting. That vote will be nullified and a Special Meeting of the Oriental Town Commissioners to re-vote on the entire slate of candidates for five positions will be held on Tuesday, Aug 12, 2014, at 5:15 PM in Town Hall.”The five Oriental residents who were elected in the now nullified vote were: Art Tierney, Ed Bliss, Lisa Thompson, Bill Hines and Gerry Crowley. They remain on the ballot along with, Dave Brookman, Elizabeth Buckman, Bob Dillard, Jim Edwards, Steve Leech and Pat Stockwell. See next week’s issue for the results.
Other concerns expressed by residents during the Public Comment Period were the condition of the public tennis courts, the Town of Oriental’s outsourcing of its billing and the enhancement of the recently installed electric boards constructed on South Avenue near Lou Mac Park. The electric panels were used by vendors during the Croaker Festival, enabling the town to utilize “best asset, the waterfront” according to 2014 Croaker Festival Chairperson, Cheryl Thompson. The Board proposed that the Tourism, Parks and Recreation, Tree and the newly created Harbor/Waterfront Committees come together to come up with a plan to make these electric boards more useful and attractive so that they can remain in place for use during future events.
One such event that could take advantage of the newly installed electric panels is the “Old Front Porch Music Festival.” Resident Dick Osmond briefly described the multi-day festival he has been organizing currently slated for September 13th. The event would include live music by both local and out of town performers. Osmond is enthusiastic about the prospect of such an event brining people to the town of Oriental to support local businesses.
On a positive note, Sam Meyers of the Rotary Club expressed his gratitude for the change of venue for the 2014 boat show which grossed $34,700 this year. “It was quite a worthy effort, it is all about bringing new revenue to our existing businesses,” Meyers stated. Cheryl Thompson, Croaker Festival Chairperson was also recognized for her contributions to this year’s Croaker Festival. “Labor of love and the vision was to make it the best it could possibly be.”
Donald Guthrie of Habitat gave an update on the status of the home currently under construction on White Farm Road for a local needy family. “Habitat is a faith-based, Christian not-for-profit that exists because of community volunteers. Volunteers, both skilled and unskilled are still needed,” Guthrie stated. Anyone interested in volunteering either to help with the construction of the home or at their Habitat Restore store front located in Bayboro can inquire at the Habitat Restore located in Grantsboro.
The Manager’s Report was also presented by Town Manager, Diane Miller. According to Miller a total of $2,694.58 was spent during Hurricane Arthur. Most of the expenses incurred were for labor as the hurricane hit over the Fourth of July Holiday. Miller also stated that both the pump out and the restroom grants for the town docking facilities were received. The new signage for the town dock has been installed and the all-terrain “gator” vehicle which will be used by public works and the police department is in.
Oriental Police Chief, Dwaine Moore summarized the activity for the month of July. There were a total of two hundred and thirty one incidents resulting in two arrests. Out of the two hundred and thirty one incidents, one hundred and five of them were for business security checks and another one hundred and one for residence checks. The number of incidents were down from June.
ARAPAHOE – A Beulaville couple is over the moon. Warren and Maria Contrell, along with their daughters, Sara 14, and Faith 12, were told over the weekend that they were selected as the Military Missions in Action family selected to receive a 2,000 square foot home.
“We told them they were still in the running for the house and invited them to come take a look at it while the Marines worked on the structure,” said Michael Dorman, head of the nonprofit organization Military Missions in Action.
When retired mechanical contraction Russ Richard and his wife, Karen, retired to Pamlico County two years ago, they built a home and later purchased a 23-lot subdivision, Nature’s Run on Dawson Creek.
Richard wanted to do something for a wounded member of the military so he and his wife gave a lot to a returning disabled veteran and contacted Dorman to find a likely candidate.
On Saturday, Richard and his wife were the ones to tell the family that they were the candidates for the house.
“Warren has traumatic brain injury and posttraumatic stress disorder,” said his wife Maria. “He has severe headaches and throws up sometimes three or four times a day. It’s terrible for him. We live in a 900-square foot house with the girls sharing a bedroom and one bath. With this new house, he can get away from all that.”
Warren’s medical condition occurred in Iraq. He was a truck driver in the Marine Corps, but got an injury at Camp Blue Diamond in Iraq when he was bounced off a wall by a mortar. It was after that that he began having headaches and bouts of nausea.
Warren, from New Jersey, and Maria, from Lexington, met at Myrtle Beach when they were younger.
“I saw him and told my girlfriend, ‘He’s cute,’ and I jumped out of the car and introduced myself,” she said. “When I tracked him down later on, he called me his ‘little stalker.’”
Maria said they were all so excited about the house, they hadn’t stopped talking about on Sunday.
“They are already packing up to move,” she said. “We are moving from a 900-square foot home to a 2,000-square foot home. There are 2-1/2 bathrooms; right now we have one. The kitchen has a bay window. The girls have their own bedroom. And most importantly, Warren has a place to go and be away from the stress of home life.”
Warren said he was completely dumbfounded by the fact that they will have a new home.
“It’s something we’ve been dreaming about for a long time,” he said. “This is going to change our whole lives.”
The lot, located at the entrance to subdivision off Kershaw Road, is about an acre in size.
The house will have a garage, screened porch, three bedrooms and two baths.
The Fuquay-Varina-based nonprofit operates solely on private donations.
“We don’t get any government assistance or grants,” Dorman said.
The house has been constructed by volunteers.
Dorman is retired from the Coast Guard, with duty time at Emerald Isle and Fort Macon. He has a group of core volunteers who have assisted on past rehabilitation projects for vets, along with volunteers, such as the 23 Cherry Point Marines who were there on Saturday working.
Richard is a Navy vet from the early 1970s, who worked in the boiler rooms. From there, he transitioned into commercial and industrial work.
He and his wife retired here from north New Jersey two years ago and built a home in Merritt.
“We built a relationship with our builder, David Sawyer,” he said.
Sawyer originally started the waterfront subdivision, with 10 lots on Dawson Creek permitted for docks and 12 inner lots permitted for slips.
The infrastructure was established, including streets, utilities and a walking trail. Sawyer is now the builder for the subdivision and has volunteered toward the building of the Hero’s Home.
Military Missions in Action has provided more than $2 million in services through various programs — Operation Building Hope, Homes For Healing, Military Child Access Assistance Program, Fill The Footlocker and Operation Warrior Golf.
Projects have reached west to Kannapolis and east to Wilmington and other points along the North Carolina coast.
For information, call Military Missions in Action at 919-552-1603 in Fuquay-Varina or 910-603-5999 in Southern Pines. Richard can be reached at 497-6925.
“Come Fly With Me” Exhibit at Oriental’s History Museum
By Deborah Dickinson
Pamlico News Staff
Pamlico County Resident Richard H. Verdier has been a photographer for sixty years. His aerial photography of Oriental and the surrounding areas, both past and present, is currently on display at the Oriental History museum. The exhibit show cases a large 1990 view of the town of Oriental and is part of the Museum’s permanent collection which will be on exhibit through the summer. Owner and principal photographer for Professional Project Photographer Ltd., Verdier has always had a love for landscapes and features them in his work. He is also a pilot and frequently shoots from his Cessna Cardinal Aircraft. He is an engineering graduate of Lehigh University and has had a long career in the international engineering and construction industry. He is currently working on a book of aerial photos of the North Carolina Coast.
Oriental’s History Museum located at 802 Broad Street, features a variety of artifacts and memorabilia new and old from the town and surrounding areas. Included in its permanent collection are artifacts and fossils, World War II memorabilia, Croaker Festival Parade Awards, Relics from the steamship of Oriental, preserved items of the Oriental Fire Company, schools, Old Theater and so much more. Also included are items and mementos from local merchants preserved and on display. One such item is a 1954 Wurlitzer Juke Box which was once housed in Red Lee’s Restaurant which featured twenty five cent burgers for fifty years.
The goal of the museum is to preserve the Town of Oriental’s history and present it to the public through exhibits, educational programs and publications. Visitors can now take advantage of historical walking tours through the streets of Oriental offered through the museum. Historical buffs can get an up close and insightful account of Oriental, its architecture, stories of times past and its unique place in history.
Bond Remains $250,000 for Suspects in
Arapahoe Meth Lab
Pamlico News Staff
BAYBORO - Two suspects in a “shake and bake” methamphetamine operation in Arapahoe had their first Pamlico County District Court appearance last Friday and now have new court dates.
Bond remains at $250,000 for Gregory Allen Price, Jr., 42, of Grantsboro and Kayla Nicole Bass, 21, of New Bern. They remain in the Pamlico County Detention Center in Bayboro.
Each faces felony charges of the manufacture of methamphetamine and maintaining a dwelling for the production of controlled substances.
The manufacturing charge is a Class C felony, with a maximum jail time of about 19 years, with the maintaining dwelling or vehicle charge carrying a two-year term.
Bass waived a court-appointed attorney, and is scheduled to return to district court on Friday.
Price asked for a court-appointed attorney and was assigned to Oriental lawyer Paul Delamar III.
Bass and Price were arrested on July 24, just two days after rescue personnel responded to a call of a man on the floor at a mobile home on Griffin Lane off N.C. 306.
They and Pamlico County Sheriff’s deputies found Christopher Michael Griffin, 29, who was transported to CarolinaEast Medical Center in New Bern. He was reported in critical condition the day after the call, but died the following Saturday. No cause of death has been released.
Pamlico County Sheriff’s deputies got a search warrant the night of the emergency call, saying they suspecting marijuana on the premises. But, after finding evidence of a suspected meth lab, they obtained a second warrant.
A sheriff’s department spokesman described the “shake and bake” meth operation
as using liter bottles that are quicker than other methods of producing meth, but very dangerous, with a potential for explosions.
The North Carolina Bureau of Investigation mobile crime unit investigated.
According to court records, both suspects have past histories in the local law enforcement community and courts.
Bass has upcoming October trails for misdemeanor charges that include simple possession of marijuana and for larceny. Those charges are scheduled to be heard Oct. 31 at the county courthouse. Also that day, she faces felony charges for obtaining property under false pretense; forgery; and uttering a forged endorsement.
Price has had many charges dismissed in the past 24 years, such as obstruction of a public officer; possession of drug paraphernalia; felony cocaine possession and alcohol and traffic offenses.
He has been found guilty of a number of charges involving traffic, alcohol and fisheries rules, involving the commercial harvest of crabs.
Week of July 30, 2014
Emergency Calls Ends with Death,
Two Arrested on Drug Charges
By Martha L. Hall
Pamlico News Staff
ARAPAHOE – What began as an emergency medical call July 22 evolved into the death of a local man, discovery of a suspected methamphetamine lab and the arrest of a Pamlico man and New Bern woman on drug charges.
A call came into the Pamlico County EMS concerning a man lying on the floor at 176 Griffin Lane, which is off N.C. 306. Pamlico County Sheriff’s Deputies responded along with the EMTs and found the man in a mobile home at that address.
Christopher Michael Griffin, 29, was transported to CarolinaEast Medical Center in critical condition. He died on Saturday night.
The cause of death has not been released.
“While on the scene and assisting, officers observed some drug paraphernalia,” said Capt. James Mitchell of the Pamlico County Sheriff’s Department.
Mitchell said the sheriff’s department obtained a search warrant for the mobile home, suspecting marijuana. When they found evidence of meth, they shut the search down and waited for another warrant.
The deputies uncovered a “shake and bake” meth operation. The term refers to the manufacture in a liter bottle. The method is dangerous. If any oxygen gets into the bottle, it can explode.
The State Bureau of Investigation’s mobile crime unit was utilized as well as the Sheriff’s Department in the examination of the scene.
On Thursday night, Gregory Allen Price Jr., 42, of Grantsboro, and Kayla Nicole Bass, 21, of New Bern, were both charged with manufacture of methamphetamine and maintaining a dwelling for the production of controlled substances.
Price has been a resident at 176 Griffin Lane and Bass was a frequent “stayer” with Price, according to the sheriff’s department.
Mitchell said at the time of their arrest the pair was purchasing materials for the production of meth.
Both are being held in the Pamlico Detention Center under a $250,000 bond. Their first court appearance is Friday at the Pamlico County Courthouse.
ORIENTAL – The Ghosts and Legends Tour began to haunt the streets of Oriental this past weekend and will do so again on Saturday nights in August and September, along with three of four in October.
Dale Morehouse is the one-man host of the tour, dressed in 19th century period costume.
He got the idea for a local tour after having attended a Ghost Walk in Delaware and having an interest in things ghostly.
“I knew a guy who published a magazine called ‘Séance.’ The magazine was all about talking to the dead,” he said.” I got all the old copies of the magazine and my wife took me on a Ghost Walk. I thought I could do better than this. I quit my real job and semi-retired in Oriental. I started asking people about ghosts and ghost stories. Nobody wanted to tell me anything. I finally met two ladies who said their mother told ghost stories.”
He is now in his second year of the Ghosts and Legends Tour.
“It has been enjoyable and strange,” he said. “Last year was my first year and I did it in October on Fridays and Saturdays.”
This year, he continues the show, along with an appearance on Oct. 25, when he will take part in the Oriental Woman’s Club Fall Festival.
One of those ladies who gave him some stories asked him to help the Woman’s Club event.
“They are going to do a hayride, a dance and scary music and I am doing Spirit Theatre in a building behind the Woman’s Club,” he said. “I am going to take people in there, tell them a scary story and hopefully, scare the daylights out of them.”
To join the Ghost Walk, you need $10 cash a person, an open mind, and meet at the Dinghy Dock at 8:30 p.m. on the tour nights. Tours are Aug. 30, Sept. 20 and all the nights in Oct. except for the Woman’s Club Fall Festival. Tours for private parties can be scheduled for groups of four or more.
Morehouse said all of his stories are real and he has done research on them.
“I try to use little psychological illusions to enhance the stories,” he said, “because people are very suggestible. The oddest thing is, although most people don’t believe in ghosts and are often skeptical, that there is often some truth in the most outrageous story.”
Morehouse said one such story was the “Booms of Vandemere.”
“In researching a ghost story, this came out of a newspaper article about Pamlico County,” Morehouse said. “They described it as old wives’ tales,” he said, “The residents of Vandemere would hear the booms and run down to the shore to collect the fish that were floating on the surface.”
Last year in Oriental, the big booms happened, associated with earthquakes.
A couple of his ghost stories are from Kentucky where Morehouse grew up in an old haunted farmhouse.
“At first I had stories from Pamlico County but now I’ve got more stories than I’ve got time to tell,” he said. “Some came from newspapers, some came from ‘my Grandmother told me this story when I was six years old.’ Sometimes I get spooked myself.”
The Oriental Train Depot story is one he doesn’t tell anymore because it got “kind of crazy.
“The train depot in Oriental is where the Trawl Door Restaurant used to be. I think they moved it in 2000,” he said. “When they picked it up and moved it, the ladies who lived on Midgette Street and some of the ladies who worked at the bank, would hear the train whistle come down Midgette Street which is where the train tracks used to be. They said the train was looking for the depot. I’ve heard it twice from my home on Midgette Street. The first time, I just wrote it off to being someone playing a practical joke. The second time, I ran out into the street and I didn’t see a car, a person, bicycle traffic, no one. So I quit telling that story.”
Morehouse has been told he laughs too much to tell ghost stories.
“I admit to having a twisted sense of humor,” he said. “But I try not to make my stories too dark.”
There is, he says, a denouement – a final revelation or outcome.
“Some of the stories build towards the end,” he says. “It’s almost a 1, 2 punch, shock. I often wonder if I would have done something different.”
Morehouse says he dresses in an early 1900’s costume.
“It’s kind of hot in the summertime,” he said. “At least it keeps the mosquitoes from biting.”
He traces his current passion to his past.
“I have always been interested in unusual things,” he said. “I had worked as a paramedic in Louisville, Ky., when I was younger so I was involved in lot of stuff for 6-1/2 years – drama, violence, unusual things, murders, people sick, the whole thing.”
He returned to college and got what he called “a real job.”
“My wife and I took our sailboat and went on vacation in Wilmington,” he recalled. “I was sitting aboard the boat trying to learn how to play the fiddle and these two panhandlers were singing and asking for money, right up the street from where we were docked. They talked me into playing the fiddle with them and we made a grand total of $2. I thought ‘Wouldn’t this be great if I could do some kind of street performance?’”
Morehouse said he never got to the point that he could play the fiddle well enough. But he said he was good at doing presentations.
He tries to carry that over into the world of the unusual and strange.
GRANTSBORO – Ripe, red watermelons took center stage from artifacts Monday night at the annual Pamlico County Historical Association Watermelon Social.
It is an event that began more than a dozen years ago as a way for the historical group to invite the community to gather, socialize and soak up some history.
This year’s event was held at the pavilion behind the Pamlico County Museum and Heritage Center.
In past years, the event has been held in some waterfront locations - historic Kennel’s Beach and also at the Neuse River home of Jack and Gladys Lee.
Association President Brent Stowe recalled one year they were going to have it at Lou-Mac Park in Oriental but it rained and was cancelled.
“When we’ve had it on the river, we did it on a Sunday,” said Stowe. “We had it at Kennel’s Beach those two times, which was nice because Robbie and Jennie (Kennel) opened up the house.”
Robbie Kennel told of the heritage of Kennel’s Beach during those Sunday afternoons on the water.
His father was the one who watched out for the children swimming off Kennel’s Beach in the early days. The water at that time was full of alligators and Robbie Kennel’s father was a menace to the alligators.
“He cleaned out the creeks of alligators,” said Stowe. “He would sit on the porch, and watch. When one was spotted, he would jump in his boat, row out and shoot the beast with his shotgun. He skinned it and tanned it.”
Monday night’s event had no alligators, just plenty of watermelons, fresh from the field of former Pamlico County Commissioner Roy Brinson. Brinson is known for his watermelon-growing talents.
On Monday night, a table with a red cover sported a number of his 40-pound melons, grown in a field behind Brinson’s home in Reelsboro.
The next major event for the historical association is its annual Heritage Day on Oct. 4.
For information on the association or the museum, call 745-2239 or email email@example.com
The museum is open Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and weekends by appointment.
For information online, the association web site is www.pamlicocountyhistorymuseum.com
Week of July 23, 2014
Ferry Tolls Appear Headed Toward 2015 Decisions
Pamlico News Staff
RALEIGH - A coastal effort to abolish tolls on all of the ferry routes appears headed for another year in the North Carolina General Assembly.
Pamlico County’s lobbyists in Raleigh report that the battle over a state budget is winding down in a short legislative session that is already past its deadline.
“The 2014 NC General Assembly will adjourn within a few days,” lobbyist Henri McClees said. “The transportation portion of the budget appears to have been settled. Although the House pressed for a final resolution of the ferry toll issue, Senate conferees refused to discuss the issue. Thus, adjournment finds no new ferry taxes, but leaves our issue dangling for the 2015 legislative session.”
Larry Summers of Oriental, who has remained active in the anti-tolls effort since it became an issue in 2011, said no decisions by legislators did come as a surprise.
“It really is what I expected,” he said.
Although bills against tolls were introduced in the House and the Senate, it was language in the House version of its budget that was the hope to abolish tolls through compromise.
“It would have been huge victory and it seems like smart thing to do, but not everyone wants to do smart thing,” he said.
Summers, who visited the Legislature a number of times to privately lobby against tolls, said the lawmakers had major issues to confront and apparently no time to take on the ferry tolls.
“I think the main issues they are working on are big pieces,” he said of issues such as teacher pay and Medicare. “As our (issue) didn’t cause any immediate problems, they put it off until next year. It is probably a fight they are not willing to go heavily on.”
Summers and McClees said the issue will be front and center on their radar screens with next year’s resumption of the “battle,” as Summers calls.
The ferry issue came up when the state budget in 2011 called for the Department of Transportation to increase existing tolls and create new ones on ferry routes such as the Cherry Branch-Minnesott ferry that crosses the Neuse River, and the Aurora-Bayview route over the Pamlico River.
A one-year moratorium via an executive order by then Gov. Beverly Perdue was followed by the Legislature taking the matter up again in 2012.
By last year, a compromise of sorts ordered DOT not to impose tolls without a direct request from regional Rural Planning Organizations in the ferry areas.
The Down East RPO, which includes Pamlico members Christine Mele, a county commissioner and Minnesott Beach Mayor Josh Potter, voted unanimously not to request tolls.
The toll money would go toward ferry replacement and if no tolls come forth, counties will be left battling with each other for highway funding.
State Sen. Norman Sanderson of Pamlico County was a co-sponsored on a bill early in the short session that would have done away with all tolls on the seven coastal ferry routes. Similar legislation was proposed in the House.
Those bills promoted the idea of funding ferry replacement with revenue generated from advertising, selling naming rights to the vessels and other revenue-generating projects.
Duck Impounds Raise Questions, Few Regulations
By Martha L. Hall
Pamlico News Staff
Duck impoundments are part of North Carolina history. Baseball legend Babe Ruth frequented coastal impoundments, including Goose Creek Island and others in the area. Business tycoon J.P. Morgan was a member at the Currituck Gun Club as was Andrew Carnegie. President Dwight W. Eisenhower and boxer Jack Dempsey were reportedly members of ducking hunting clubs.
The sport continues today and has been a visible part of Pamlico County for decades. The most non-productive piece of land can fetch millions of dollars because of its suitability as a duck impoundment.
A petition that the Pamlico County Commissioners received two weeks ago from the Hobucken residents asked that the seven-member board stop the building of any more duck impoundments.
The commissioners turned the matter over to the planning board to see if the county has any enforcement powers or if this is state and federal matters.
The planners will get a legal opinion. Legal research on the matter hopefully will provide answers to questions that remain unclear as to the ultimate authority over impoundments and responsibility for injury or property damage suffered by residents in the immediate areas of the impoundments.
The planning board does not meet this month, but may do so the last Tuesday in August.
Skip Lee, supervisor of Pamlico County building inspections, said his office does not permit impoundments.
He said impounds of more than one acre go through the state Division of Water Quality for a land disturbance permit if owners are building berms and the land is more than an acre.
“A duck impoundment is when they build a berm around a piece of land. The berms may be 2-feet; they may be 6-feet tall,” he said. “If you go down to Lowland, you can see them. One was over my head on the outside of it. The intent is to make a pond of it. Most of the time it’s in a field that had corn in it or something like that.”
Lee said often it was on property that is not suitable to build on for septic or load-bearing reasons.
“They still have to go through the process based on land activity with Division of Water Quality,” he said. “In some cases they have to go through the (U.S. Army) Corps of Engineers. Often they get a contractor to build the berms and then they dig a well to pump water into it. They have to get a well permit from the Health Department. Then they just fill it up.”
He said a permit from the county (health department) is needed because of the electrical component on the well.
Daniel Kennedy, game warden, for the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, says he is the one who polices the duck impoundments. He looks for things like taking too many ducks, for which he imposes a fine and often issues a cease and desist order that prevents the offender from hunting for 2 years or more.
If they take more than an acre to build a duck impoundment, the owners have to apply with the Division of Land Quality because it is considered mining. The county does have an ordinance for that.
There are now dozens of impoundments in the Hobucken and Lowland areas, according to Kennedy.
Tracey Davis, of the state Division of Land Quality, says there are two potential permits that owners of duck impoundments must have and that involves an erosion and sedimentation review. The permit costs $65 per “disturbed acre.” There are 30 days to review the process.
William Wescott of the Corps of Engineers said if it’s in an existing agricultural field his agency is not involved.
“I’m not sure who’s going to regulate that type of thing,” he said. “If it is being built in a forested area or wetlands, it would be our problem.”
Among the Hobucken residents’ complaints was that shotgun pellets had struck roofs, windows and even people.
Billy Sawyer, sheriff of Pamlico County, said intentional shootings are a crime.
“When you shoot up in the air, shotgun pellets fall down. If it hits you in the eye, I guess it could hurt you. There’s no crime there,” he said. “I’ve got one (impoundment) directly” across from my house and it (gunfire) wakes me up on Saturday mornings when it’s duck season. Shot rains down on my house, too, but I’m not in any kind of danger.”
Kennedy said if someone owns a duck impoundment on private property, the owners are the primary policing parties.
“That place (Hobucken and Lowland) is prime for duck hunting,” he said. “That’s a lot of revenue for Pamlico County. As long as they have the proper permits, they can do whatever they want to do. If there was a hunting accident, we would investigate.”
He said people are shot more often turkey hunting or deer hunting.
He said most of the accidents associated with duck hunting are drownings or hypothermia.
On a safety theme, there is a law in Carteret and Craven counties that a duck blind can’t be within 500 yards of another duck blind.
Kennedy said shotgun pellets go about 40 yards and then they lose velocity very quickly.
There are state-maintained duck impoundments on Pamlico Point, Campbell’s Creek.
“We keep them up, we plant them, we regulate them and we make sure everyone has permits,” Kennedy said. “That’s my job. We have state-maintained impoundments in Beaufort County and all up and down the coast. I don’t know how many there are, but I know we have a lot. We only allow so many people in there per day to keep it safe. There is a certain time they have to be out to let the birds have the ability to come in and feed and nest.”
He said his agency makes sure the proper species are being hunted, the bag limit is observed and that legal shells are used.
“We use kayaks and go around and check, using binoculars,” he said. “That’s one of the big things we do. It’s a big job, especially during duck season.
He said the hunters pay a fee of $5 to be able to hunt ducks on state impoundments.
“For the general population who can’t afford their own impoundment, this is what we do,” he said. “We create the environment, we have these impoundments. We manage them. We try to keep them in a state where they have water fowl in them. The hunters come from all over the East coast.”
He said his agency is involved only after impoundments are built.
“We don’t go in and regulate whether they can or cannot build,” he said. “We use aircraft to fly around and make sure they’re not baiting the impoundments. We don’t have the kind of manpower to police every impoundment in the county.”
Second Pamlico County Walmart Opens in Grantsboro
Grantsboro Mayor Alfred Cahoon, center,
prepares to cut the ribbon on the new Walmart
with store manager Aljeana Staples.
Pamlico News Staff
GRANTSBORO - Pamlico County’s second Walmart store opened last Wednesday, marking the second such outlet opened in the county this year by the nation’s largest retailer.
An early morning ribbon-cutting by Grantsboro Mayor Alfred Cahoon and store manager Aljeana Staples, was preceded by an opening ceremony attended by several hundred eager shoppers and many town and county leaders.
The new store employees nearly 150 people, which County Commissioner Chairman Paul Delamar III told the crowd was a welcomed economic boost in Pamlico County.
“I’m glad you are here,” he told the crowd. “I’m glad that Walmart is here. I hope that Walmart and Pamlico County can co-exist this way for many, many years.”
The store provides an outlet for regular Walmart shoppers, who in the past traveled to New Bern or Havelock for a full-size store.
“I hope that all my friends and neighbors continue to get the opportunities that brings,” he said. “You don’t necessarily have to go to New Bern or Havelock to get those benefits.”
The new store, along with the 12,000-square-foot Walmart Express near Oriental, will also bring new sales tax revenue to the county and in the case of the 69,000-square-foot Grantsboro store, add sales tax to the town treasury.
“We can keep the sales tax and the job opportunities here, and that is what we are aiming for,” he added.
Grantsboro Mayor Cahoon was one of the original commissioners when the town was incorporated in 1997 and has viewed all of its progress - the five-lanes of N.C. 55 and the addition of a number of retail and fast-food restaurants within the town.
“It is an exciting day for Grantsboro and Pamlico County,” he said.
However, he admitted that the addition of a major store such as Walmart had not been in his sights.
“Who would have believed that Grantsboro would ever have a store like this,” he told the crowd. “I had always said over and over, you will never see a Wal-Mart in Pamlico County because we are too small. But, we not only have one, we have two.”
Pamlico County Chamber of Commerce President Beth Buckshott noted that Walmart founder Sam Walton started as a small business owner. She said his success provides incentive to other small businesses, even in rural Pamlico County.
“The American Dream is alive and well in Pamlico County,” she said. “Walmart started with a man who had a dream in his heart, went off to war, came back and wanted to start a small business. He decided he wanted to grow that and he did so by having good prices and good customer service. It is a formula which still works today.
The Grantsboro store is open seven days, and includes a gasoline service station and convenience store at its entrance from N.C. 55.
The opening included the announcement of Wal-Mart giving $4,000 in grants to some local charities and organizations.
grant funding to local groups and charities.
Those include Grantsboro Silver Hill fire department, Marine Corps League chapter in Oriental, Pamlico Community College, Bethany Christian Church Food Bank and Communities in Schools N.C.
The new store’s items include fresh produce, groceries, organic and natural selections, meats, fresh-baked bread and desserts.
It also has general merchandise and electronics.
A pharmacy provides medicines, products and services.
Week of July 16, 2014
Walmart Opens Its Doors in Grantsboro
By Martha L. Hall
Pamlico News Staff
GRANTSBORO – The new 69,000-square-foot Grantsboro Walmart was scheduled to open this morning at 7:30 a.m. It included a brief ceremony, awarding of grants to local charities and organizations and a ribbon cutting. On Saturday, there will be “A Big Family Welcome” from noon to 3 p.m. to give customers the opportunity to meet Aljeana Staples, the store manager, enjoy family activities and free food samples.
The store has a gas station and convenience store on the property and will be open 7 days a week, 24 just hours a day for the convenience of the customers.
The store is located across from the Food Lion and behind the State Employees Credit Union on NC 55.
It is the second store to come to Pamlico County. A 12,000-square-foot Walmart Express opened in Oriental this spring, just outside the town limits.
Staples says the new Walmart will offer a full line of groceries, including organic and natural selections, a wide variety of meats, fresh baked bread and desserts. It will also offer electronics and general merchandise.
The Grantsboro Walmart is considered a Superstore, smaller than the Supercenters in Havelock and New Bern.
Staples said this is her first job as a store manager and she is excited. Her previous jobs with Walmart began in 2002 when she was hired as an associate on the service desk. Her work has taken her to South Carolina, Ohio and to the Havelock and New Bern Walmart Supercenters where she worked as a shift manager for 4 years. She lives in Craven County.
Staples said many of the 100-150 full and part-time employees live in the county.
“We had a hiring center at the Grantsboro Town Hall,” she said. “Joyce Swimm, director of the Chamber of Commerce was a lot of help. We also got help from the Small Business Center and Job Links at Pamlico Community College. They helped during the hiring process and interviews.”
The check presentations include $4,800 to community groups such as the Grantsboro Silver Hill fire department, the Marine Corps League in Oriental, Pamlico Community College, Bethany Christian Church Food Bank and Communities in Schools N.C.
“I’m very excited to be here and be part of the community,” Staples said. “Everyone is excited for us to be here and we want to take care of our customers.”
Newest Pamlico Habitat Family Overcomes Multiple Hardships for New Start
By Martha L. Hall
Pamlico News Staff
ORIENTAL - Habitat for Humanity of Pamlico County broke ground for its fourth house in the county last Saturday on White Farm Road.
It is a new location for Habitat, which had built its previous homes just outside Bayboro.
The home site is in a flood plain, but the construction plans call for it to be an elevated structure.
The family of John and Ariadne Sylvester, along with their two children, will help in the construction of the home, done by volunteers. The family will then assume a mortgage in the property.
“We are excited,” Ariadne said Saturday. “We just got back from clearing brush.”
The Sylvesters hail from New Hampshire.
The family moved to North Carolina about seven years ago and lived in Wilmington and then near Asheville and settled in New Bern for a time. Hurricane Irene forced them out of their New Bern home and since they had enrolled their children at the Arapahoe Charter School, they found a rental in Oriental.
Times are improving for the family, which has had more than its share of distress and heartache. It began with cancer and included a flooded home in New Hampshire and having to move from the rental in New Bern because of black mold following Hurricane Irene in 2011.
John, who had worked for a national home supply corporation, now is the manager for Bojangles in Grantsboro.
Ariadne worked at the Food Emporium in Oriental before it recently closed. Now, she said she is focusing on the house project and her children, 14-year-old Alden and Victoria, age 10.
The family was relatively happy and looking to a move from New Hampshire to Texas nine years ago when the cancer news came.
“Our whole world turned upside down,” Ariadne said. “I was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer.
It was during that period the family went to Florida for a hospital stay.
“I can happily say I have been cancer-free for seven and a half years,” she beamed. “I a mastectomy, and went through chemo for two and a half years. I did not have one sick day.”
She credits some of that to closely watching her diet.
She said it was a family effort.
“We said we are going to tackle it, and we did,” she said.
The family then decided they needed to get away from the harsh New England winters and get a fresh start, so they moved South.
But, in the meantime, medical care and treatment, along with drugs did not come cheap.
“We put every penny into it. It literally broke us financially,” she said. “Even though we had really good insurance, we still had to pay out $100,000.”
The family has endured.
“Last year, my son said, you know mom, we are a really strong family,” she said. “He said a lot of families have more money, but they are not strong, not united like we are.”
She said the family does come first.
“It doesn’t matter where we live, even if it is in a tent,” she said.
The family will in fact have a three-bedroom home, with two full baths and a floor plan of just under 1,300 square feet.
“We are just overwhelmed,” she said. “It is hard to believe this is really happening. The kids are so excited to say, we are finally home.”
Habitat needs volunteer workers and hopes the home will be ready for the Sylvesters to move in time for Christmas.
“We really like North Carolina,” she said. “This is a great community. We are amazed at how many people have come forward to help. It is really, really something.”
Hobucken Residents Complain,
Express Fear of Duck Hunting
By Martha L. Hall
Pamlico News Staff
HOBUCKEN – Residents in this outlying rural community are bracing for another season of duck hunting in the fall - a sport that has caused the residents to seek relief.
A petition with nearly 60 names was recently given to the Pamlico County Commissioners, asking that the board ban the future building of duck impoundments - land that is planted in crops and flooded.
The commissioners, unsure if they have jurisdiction on the hunting lands, sent the matter to the county planning board to sort out.
A spokesman at the county inspection department said no county permits are needed for the duck hunting lands. State officials pointed to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as the governing body.
William Wescott, division coordinator for the Corps of Engineers and regulatory field agent for Pamlico County said if the duck impoundment was in a field, all the owners had to do was put a dyke around it and plant it in duck food.
“We’re not involved in that,” he said. “When the area is forested or otherwise vegetated, something other than an ag field, we have to go in and take a look at that kind of activity. If it’s an agricultural field and they’re going to flood it in the wintertime and go in and shoot ducks, we are not involved.”
Wescott said he wasn’t sure who would regulate that type of activity.
“The impoundment owner does not have to pay a fee to the Corps,” he said. “We only get involved when it involves wetlands.”
Sheriff Billy Sawyer said the Sheriff’s Department didn’t have any responsibility for the shot coming from the duck impoundments.
“I have one right across the road from me,” Sawyer said. “They wake me up on Saturday mornings and shot rains down on my house, but I’m not in danger in any kind of way.”
Attempts to reach the Wildlife Warden for Pamlico County were unsuccessful.
The planning board will seek legal opinion on the county’s rights and powers before working on any sort of ordinance.
Meanwhile, residents such as petition-promoter Malcolm Flowers says the citizens’ complaints are prompted by a distressing past history.
He and other residents talk of in-season gunshot noise near houses from before sunrise to after sunset and shotgun pellets striking roofs, yards and people.
“There were nine people in Hobucken I couldn’t get a hold of,” Flowers said. “There were two that refused to sign it and seven people were out of town. I took the petition around house-to-house. It took two days.”
He said there are plans to put another duck impoundment on School House Road, across from his house.
“There are already two on this road,” he said. “I’d say they are ¼ mile straight through the woods. They just put these two in so they’ll be hunting there this fall. They plant corn on the land so they don’t have to pay no taxes. Then they use the corn to attract the wild ducks.”
He charged that the duck hunters are not good neighbors.
“They shoot all the ducks – the wild ones and the tame ones,” said Flowers. “If the Commissioners and the Planning Board don’t do anything, I don’t what I’ll do,” he said.
Tales of being hit by shotgun pellets and being waked from a sound sleep when the guns began firing 30 minutes before sunrise and being “nervous” until it stopped 30 minutes past sunset are common during the season.
Shotgun pellets literally “raining on a metal roof” is another complaint. People also say they are afraid of letting their children play outside during duck hunting season.
Impoundments abound in Pamlico County.
Nelson Lee said he talked to the commissioners about five years ago about regulating the duck impounds from being built too close to people’s houses.
The matter did go before the commissioners, but no action was taken.
“That kind of ended that. I tried to talk the people in Hobucken and Lowland into incorporating,” he said. “They were all scared and didn’t want to do it. I told Gene Lupton (Goose Creek Island community leader) that the Declaration of Independence could never have been written on Goose Creek Island. The people are too hard-headed.”
He said his first-hand experiences and those of his community neighbors were disturbing.
“They shoot us. I go out to get the newspaper and shot falls all over me,” he said.
He alluded to a neighbor who put boards on his windows.
He said another resident had a house with a tin roof. He said the woman said the gunshots “sound like it’s raining.”
He said he literally feels hunting around his home.
“The concussion from the guns hits me when I’m walking up the walkway at my house,” he said. “It sounds like cannons. They’re using 10-gauge shotguns and 3-1/2 inch shells with steel shot. It’s unbelievable.”
He said calls to local law enforcement and state agencies had not brought any relief.
“A 1st grader can point his finger at you and say bang,” Lee said. “They’ll expel him from school. I want someone to ask Homeland Security or someone how they can shoot you and get away with it.”
Lee said that by his count, there were 17 duck impoundments about 3 years ago and now there are 25 to 30.
Abby Leary of Hobucken, says she can hear the gunshots from “across the bay” during duck-hunting season.
“And now they want to put one a short distance from my house, right in the middle of the community,” she said. “And there are children; I think there’s as many children as I’ve ever seen here.”
Leary said there was an impoundment a mile from the Hobucken Marina and several near the island community center.
“I like to see people have a good time, as long as they don’t get hurt,” she said. “But to do something that’s a disadvantage to somebody else is not right.”
Week of July 9, 2014
Gentleman Arthur Barely Grazes County
By Martha L. Hall
Pamlico News Staff
Arthur, the Category 2 hurricane that made landfall between Beaufort and Cape Lookout in nearby Carteret County last Thursday would have normally have created major wind and flooding problems in Pamlico County.
But, it turned out to be basically a non-event locally.
According to Tim Buck, Pamlico County Manager, the storm was moving quickly enough that there was no damage sustained other than a couple of fallen trees and a power outage.
“It could have been much worse if it had been a slower storm,” said Buck. “Things could have been different. We’re very fortunate we didn’t have any more damage with this storm.”
Buck said the county did have a full response planned.
“We had a team of people answering the phones in the Emergency Operations Center and we had all nine fire departments and law enforcement out and about,” he said. “The fire departments were canvassing the county looking for damage. The (Pamlico Community College) shelter had Department of Social Services personnel manning the shelter.”
Buck said the county prepared for Arthur like any other storm. In the past 15 years the county has been pummeled by Hurricanes Dennis, Floyd, Ophelia and Irene.
“We were monitoring that storm when it was just a low off our coast,” he said. “It went south and came back. We were really concerned about its path, being just west of the eye wall. We’re still learning how to interpret the forecast. We learned something from this event. And we were lucky not to have any more damage than we’ve seen.”
Buck added that hurricanes are very unpredictable.
“The experts had not predicted that it would escalate to a Cat 2,” said Buck. “That happened just before landfall. We’re very fortunate we didn’t sustain any more damage with this storm. We still are in an area that is susceptible to hurricanes and we’ve got to be prepared. Don’t take it lightly.”
Paul Delamar III, chairman of the county commissioners said he reluctantly opened the county shelter at the college, but did so out of caution for public safety.
About 45 people came to the shelter.
Delamar did not order a curfew, as did the town of Oriental.
Chris Murray, the county EMS director, said his staff worked all through the storm and had minimal incidents.
“We had around 50 people show up at the shelter. I don’t know whether they stayed throughout the night. The shelter is pet-friendly. We had 10 pets.”
Murray said the county escaped unharmed except for a power outage which was quickly restored on July 4.
“In Hyde County -- they got tore up over around Ocracoke,” Murray said. “I think they got the power back around late Saturday or early Sunday. The way it was it didn’t stay here. It blew right on through.”
Preparation for an event means there are control group meetings usually starting 48 hours before the storm. Conference calls go out throughout the event to the fire stations, to law enforcement and to the shelter. Everything was cleared up by 9 or 9:30 a.m. on Friday.
“It was good for us,” said Murray. “The storm was so fast moving, it kinda just blew through here. It didn’t sit here like Hurricane Irene. Hurricanes are pretty much unpredictable. You’ve got to follow each storm. Each one is its own animal.”
Diane Miller, Town Manager for the town of Oriental, said the riverside village also fared very well.
“We have only seen evidence of two trees coming down,” she said. “There were little branches - nothing that couldn’t be handled. Water didn’t come over Hodges Street. It came right up to the edge and then went right back out.”
Miller said she was afraid the next time the weather forecasters say Category 2, the people won’t pay as much attention.
But she said she was pleasantly surprised and gratified by their response this time.
“People really did do exactly what they were supposed to do,” she said. “They took all the outside stuff in. The boaters pulled their boats. All day Thursday that was what we saw – boats going up and down the street. There were people tying things to big trees and all kinds of stuff. In the meantime, we were getting ready for Croaker Fest so we had two directions with everything going on at the same time.
Nothing ruffles these people. This is normal procedure. This is the way it’s going to go. And the minute the sun came up on Friday everybody was out helping to get ready for the Croaker Fest.”
Kudos went out to the town hall crew.
“My crew was amazing,” she said. “Two of them put off vacation. Everybody came in and cleaned up the mess, everything went seamlessly.”
According to the Weather Channel web site, Arthur first became a tropical depression on June 30 at 11a.m. off the east coast of Florida.
A day later it was the first named storm of the season, as a tropical storm, reaching hurricane strength on July 3 off the coast of South Carolina.
It moved north and made landfall as a Category 2 hurricane, packing 100 mph winds, at 11:15 p.m. on July 3 at Shackleford Banks in Carteret County.
At Atlantic Beach, observers said the storm surge did not reach the dune line and did not cause erosion.
Arthur made landfall earlier in the year than any hurricane in North Carolina history.
According to the Weather Channel web site, “after spending some time over Pamlico Sound and brushing mainland parts of Dare and Hyde counties, the center of Arthur then crossed over the northern Outer Banks of North Carolina near Nags Head around 4:30 a.m. on July 4.
The peak reported land gust were 101 mph at Cape Lookout.
Arthur continued north in the Atlantic on July 4, with its center of circulation moving within 75 miles of Nantucket and Cape Cod, Mass.
As much as 8 inches of rain fell in portions of Massachusetts.
Arthur weakened into a tropical storm in early morning on July 5 and then into a post-tropical cyclone the same day as the storm continued to head northeast into Canada. According to the Canadian Hurricane Centre, Arthur made landfall in Canada near Port Maitland, Nova Scotia, as a strong post-tropical storm with sustained winds of 70 mph.
Week of July 2, 2014
Pamlico Volunteers Help Feed Hungry in 10 Counties
By Martha L. Hall
Pamlico News Staff
ARAPAHOE – Last Saturday, Operation Veggie Box volunteers packed 1,100 boxes with fresh vegetables, grown by volunteers and local agricultural businesses to distribute to 10 Eastern North Carolina counties.
Volunteers from the community, along with youngsters from Camp Seafarer were on hand working production style Saturday to pack the boxes.
Onions, corn and potatoes were the vegetables distributed to groups such as Loaves and Fishes in Pamlico and Religious Community Services in New Bern.
Martha Newman, a special needs teacher at the Arapahoe Charter School helped grow vegetables at the school with her students. She said she was contacted by a friend at the Charter School.
“I was in charge of the garden at the school, I jumped at the chance,” she said. “We’re going to increase the garden next year and challenge other classes.”
She said it became a family project.
“My son, Cody, has volunteered many hours to Operation Veggie Box. When they can’t find a delivery person to move the vegetables from Brantley’s walk-in cooler to Fishes and Loaves, they call Cody,” she said. “He’s the quiet volunteer. I couldn’t have done the garden without him. My husband Pete has been a big help, too. He delivered corn the other day to some people and said it really made him feel good.”
The project included seven local gardens and volunteer donations from other organizations.
There were 7,000 pounds of potatoes from Raleigh’s United Methodist mission, Society of Saint Andrew. The potatoes were brought to New Bern by the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina, with Pamlico County’s Don Lee Farms bringing them to Arapahoe.
There were also 3,500 pounds of onions, grown and donated by Flatland Ag of Aurora.
The corn was grown in the Arapahoe community though Don Lee Farms and Neuse River Turf Farm grew the corn.
The boxes also contained a printed message that read “Growing food for Jesus sake. Please remember God loves you and we do too. May the blessings of Jesus be upon your life.”
David Bailey, one of the organizers behind Operation Veggie Box said the project is part of a ministry.
“It is all about trying to strike that match in people’s minds and hearts,” he said. “It’s a ministry of the Holy Spirit and what we try to do with it is make people aware that the Holy Spirit is here to help you. For the people who are suffering and hurting and are really bad off, Operation Veggie Box is an attempt to introduce them to Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Even though there is food involved in this activity, this is to introduce them to the Holy Spirit.”
He said there are future strategic initiatives. The first is the “million pound garden.”
“We want gardens growing in every county in North Carolina. We are going to start it in the Christian churches within the next four to five years,” he said.
He said the Saturday completion of the 2014 spring project was a success.
“We had Methodists, Baptists, Church of Christ, Episcopals and children from Camp Sea Gull,” he said of the event which began at 7 a.m. “At noon I drove to Edgecombe County, from there I went to Halifax County and dropped some food there, to Horry County, S. C. and dropped some food there and then to Tyrrell County to make a delivery and I got home by 11 p.m.”
With other volunteers delivering food, the day’s total was 1,070 boxes in 10 counties.
Volunteers Dave DeSalvo and his wife, Kay attended a forum on hunger and felt this was a worthwhile organization.
“She orchestrated a 100 x 50 foot garden,” he said after the several hours of packing at Bethany Christian Church in Arapahoe. “Once you get organized and moving, it wasn’t too bad. We helped harvest the corn. Kay has been distributing food from our garden to about 10 different families on this end of the county.”
The couple moved here a little more than two years ago, unaware of the needs of many local residents.
“What we didn't know about the area is how great the need is,” he said. “Kay has been trying to establish some kind of food pantry on this side of the county.”
The group has a Facebook page “Operation Veggie Box,"
Other area church organizations that have donated money, facilities and labor include the Disciples of Christ Pamlico District Union; Disciples of Christ Pamlico District Christian Men’s Fellowship; Silver Hill Christian Church; and Bethany Christian Church.
John and Ariadne Sylvester, along with their children, Victoria and Alden, will put a lot of work into building their own home, along with the help of volunteers and Habitat. The couple is no stranger to hard work. When her children were just 5-years-old and 15-months, Ariadne found out she had Stage 4 Breast Cancer. Rather than simply give up and accept the medical facts they were given, the family decided to fight. Fighting for her life took a toll on their savings, with the couple having to pay more than $100,000 in medical bills. And, that was with insurance. Ariadne is now cancer-free, but it took everything the family had to help save her life. The family was nominated by a friend for the help and just found out they were chosen. "We are still overwhelmed," said Ariadne. "It's more than we could ever imagine."
Work will begin on the house soon and folks from Habitat will announce their choice during the Croaker Festival this week. The Sylvesters say they are ready to put in the work for their home, and are honored to have been chosen.
Week of June 25, 2014
EPA Shuts Down Atlas Tract
By Martha L. Hall
Pamlico News Staff
ARAPAHOE – The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency has ordered a cease and desists on controversial ditching on the 4,600-acre property known as Atlas Tract off Florence Road.
The project was by out-of-state investors from Illinois, Spring Creek Farms, LLC. And, after trying to get up with an agent who has been deceased since September, 2009, the EPA representatives went to the tract in December 2013 and did an onsite visit, finding that the hydrology in several areas had been changed.
Spring Creek Farms, LLC, the association which owned the acreage has been “administratively dissolved” since the beginning of June for failing to file an annual report, and failure to notify the North Carolina Secretary of State that its registered agent or registered office had been changed, its registered agent resigned or discontinued.
“The gist of it is the EPA did send a letter in April to the registered agent of the Spring Creek Farms LLC,” said Allen Propst, a Realtor who has been an advocate against the ditching. “When the EPA went out there in December and did an onsite visit, they determined that they were converting wetlands to uplands, which cannot be done under any circumstances. The EPA checked the soils and checked the hydrology and they said that they weren’t doing what would be considered exempt forestry best management practices.”
Propst said the investigation is still ongoing, but the LLC was issued a cease and desist letter saying they couldn’t do any more ditching or land alterations until the investigation was finished.
“Since then, the local farmer who farms next to the area has taken pictures where they have gone in and done additional ditching,” Propst said. “Those pictures were sent to Todd Miller of the Coastal Federation and the EPA.”
The EPA had sent a registered letter in April from the visit in December to the registered agent who lived in Clinton. According to Propst, the man had died in 2009, so the EPA was trying to get up with a man who had been dead for five years.
He said Miller called the EPA and informed them that the N.C. Secretary of State did not recognize the LLC as being valid, that they have no registration and it is a shell corporation.
The Pamlico County Commissioners have sent letters to the U.S. Corps of Engineers seeking answers in recent months.
Pamlico County Commission Chairman Paul Delamar said he hadn’t seen any evidence of the involvement by the EPA, even though he and Commissioner Anne Holton sent letters last November to U.S. Rep. Walter Jones, U. S. Senators Richard Burr and Kay Hagan, the Army Corp of Engineers and the EPA.
“I’ve heard about it,” said Delamar. “I went into the (Pamlico County Commissioners) meeting last Monday and they told me there was something on the news. Todd Miller, Coastal Federation, and I have exchanged some emails on it, but otherwise I haven’t heard anything about it. It’s a good thing if they’re looking into it. We never asked them to prejudge this. We just asked that they evaluate the complaints that had been put to us about what was going on here and the laxity of the enforcement rules.”
Delamar said he only wanted the corporation to follow the same rules as everybody else.
“Not a big sort of unreasonable thing, but if you have a big enough piece of property and you start in the center of it, the only way anyone could know was by airplane until it was too late,” he said. “They’ve already ditched it so it’s too late, they’ll beat you every time like that. If there are procedures they supposed to follow and there are rules being broken, I’m glad they’re doing something.”
Delamar said he understood that the land was to be used for agricultural; otherwise the corporation wouldn’t have paid as much as they did for the land.
“Considering they’ve done a lot of the conversion without ever getting any of the pre-certification, there’s got to be something going on,” Delamar said. “If you know what you’re doing is legal, you don’t hide and you don’t divert attention. You do it the way everybody else does it, which is to do it the way that the rules deal with. I’m glad the Environmental Protect Agency is waking up on this thing and they’re going to do their job. I believe they should restore those lands that they ditched.”
PCC Introduces Innovative Summer Program
Summer typically conjures up thoughts of fun in the sun. On the other hand, the words “skills academy” typically have little relation to fun. But the Summer Skills Academy at Pamlico Community College beginning July 7 is designed to make learning fun.
The Academy is an opportunity for recent high school graduates planning to enter any college this fall who wish to hone their academic skills before embarking on a more rigorous course of study. The Academy also invites students currently working to earn their High School Equivalency Diploma to enroll. The Academy will make the learning process for them more fun than simply sitting in a classroom taking notes from an instructor.
A primary goal of the Academy is to create a refreshing approach to learning. The instructors will employ methods created to develop inquisitive minds with an appreciation for discovery.
Elaine Creel and Jim Privette are the lead instructors of the academy. Creel will focus on language arts while Privette will guide students in math and science studies.
Creel noted, “In language arts, we will address the challenge of making reading more interesting, trying to help students read for enjoyment and learning, not just because it is something assigned for them to do. We want students to develop a desire to read.”
She added, “The students will create a PowerPoint documentary which will include using expository writing skills as well as photography and visual arts for illustrative purposes.”
According to Privette, “If we can make learning exciting, learning will become a lifetime habit for these students. I plan to explain the use of common, ordinary devices such a cell phones or cameras to explain applied mathematics, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
“Many students have a phobia about algebra, but we can diminish that fear. Every time someone computes the price of an item at the grocer story that is 3 for 99 cents, they have solved an algebraic equation. We can make students more comfortable learning in a more structured way what they already know intuitively.”
The instructors also note that field trips to area sites will offer eyes-on, hands-on opportunities to see how what they are leaning has been applied in practical uses in the world around them. In addition to these excursions, resource speakers from a variety of occupations will present programs illustrating how learning the subject matter in classrooms impacts one’s growth as an employee in any career. Students will learn from professionals in the workforce how improving one’s level of education makes a dramatic difference in an individual’s lifestyle and standard of living.
Creel exclaimed, “Just think, this is a learning experience that is a fun-filled adventure and it’s all free.”
Marti Hunter, Chair of Basic skills at the college has coordinated the program. She observes, “It is quite probable that many prospective students who will benefit from the Summer Skills Academy might not read this story in the newspaper. But many who do read newspapers have children, relatives, or friends for whom this program is designed. We surely hope they will spread the word and encourage students to enroll who can benefit from the Academy.”
The Academy will operate Monday – Thursday, 9 a.m. – 2 p.m., July 7 – 31. Students will need to bring a bag lunch but there is the possibility that the Academy will have one or two thematic lunches.
Learn more about the Academy which Elaine Creel tagged as a fun-filled adventure. Contact Marti Hunter, mhunter@pamlicocc, 252-249-1851 x 3082.
Town Board Backs Sage During Probe
By Martha L. Hall
Pamlico News Staff
ORIENTAL - Oriental Mayor Bill Sage says he plans to remain as the town’s top elected official during an investigation into his law practice by the North Carolina State Bar.
The Oriental town commissioners back his decision and voiced support for the four-term mayor Monday.
Sage agreed to cooperate with an injunction issued in Wake County Superior Court on April 24.
The injunction language includes, “The State Bar has received information indicating Sage mishandled entrusted funds.”
Sage said last week he could not comment due to it being “an active investigation process in which I am cooperating.
Sage has not been charged with any crimes and the investigation itself would not constitute him resigning his elected position.
“I believe that I can continue to function as mayor during this trying process,” he said in a statement he released through town hall. “If at any time I determine that my situation becomes such that I cannot give the town my best efforts in this capacity, I will notify you all of my decision and submit my resignation.”
His support was evident among commissioners contacted Monday.
“I believe him to be innocent until proven guilty,” said first-term Commissioner Charlie Overcash. “He has attended meetings and has been able to fulfill his duties as mayor and I hope that continues.”
Commissioner Larry Summers said “Bill Sage has always proved reliable and trustworthy to the town of Oriental and until something is proven to me otherwise, I will still feel that way. I don’t always agree with him but I like him and I trust him.”
Barb Venturi is the mayor pro tem and also voiced her support.
“I think Bill has done a good job as mayor and I hope it continues,” she said. “He is attending meetings and performing his mayoral duties. Actually, any of us might be suspect if looked at closely enough. He and (Sage’s wife) Dee have been an asset to this community.”
David White, another new commissioner elected last November, called Sage “a good mayor” and wished him well.
“I hope he can get beyond this and continue his practice,” White said, noting, “He hasn’t been accused of anything. The state board is looking into it.”
The three-page injunction reveals no specifics on the investigation. A spokesman for the State Bar said that by statue, that group’s investigations were not public record.
“The order effectively ‘freezes’ my attorney trust account in order to maintain the status quo pending an investigative audit by the Bar,” Sage said in his statement. “This does not mean that I may not practice law, but that I may not accept client funds in trust pending further orders of the Wake County Superior Court.”
Sage has voluntarily relinquished one of his mayoral duties.
“While none of the matter with the Bar has anything to do with my service as mayor, I have asked that I be removed as a signatory on Town of Oriental checks,” he said.
Sage also said in his statement that he was appreciative of local support.
“Thank you for the support and encouragement that many of you have expressed to me,” Sage said.
Sage was re-elected to a fourth term as mayor last November. He won over former commissioner Lori Wagoner. Sage collected 59 percent of the vote.
Week of June 18, 2014
108 Pamlico High Senior Receive Diplomas
During Graduation Ceremony
A post-graduation hug includes Chelsea Sawyer,
left, and Justine Ollison
Pamlico News Staff
BAYBORO - Pamlico County High honored 108 seniors Friday night during graduation ceremonies.
There was a packed house at A. H. Hatsell Auditorium for the one-hour ceremony.
The Class of 2014’s top two honor students - salutatorian Megan Ehmke and valedictorian Nicole Edwards - addressed the audience.
Edwards, who does volunteer work and is active in athletic will attend Columbia University, majoring in international relations.
She told the graduates “we could not have done it alone” and thanked the faculty and staff.
Ehmke was also an athlete and scholar, musician and community volunteer. She plans to attend N.C. State University and pursue a degree in biomedical engineering.
She thanked her family, teachers and coaches, adding, “Most importantly, I want to thank God for proving all things are possible.” Those comments drew a round of applause.
She also offered some advice to her fellow graduates.
“Follow your passion, stay true to yourself and never follow someone else’s path,” she said.
Tertiary scholar Ashley Hollowell, who was third in the class, was also recognized.
The class had 43 honor students, which also included North Carolina scholars and National Technical Honor Society members.
Pamlico High School principal Lisa Jackson said it was an outstanding class, with a diverse student population and interests - “athletes, musicians, actors, honor students, comedians and some of the best-dressed teenagers I know.”
She offered her thoughts on the evening.
“Most people in this room can remember the exact night they were where you are,” she said. “This night is full of excitement; it is full of anticipation, a little sadness and a lot of hope. A few of you thought you might not be able to do it, but here you are.”
The graduates congregated in the parking lot for good-byes and well-wishes from family and friends.
Local Angler Lands Biggest Purse at
Big Rock Tourney
Pamlico News Staff Report
A Pamlico County angler reeled in the biggest purse of this year’s 56th Big Rock Tournament despite a third place finish.
Inspiration, a Morehead City boat, won the tourney with a 754.3 pound blue marlin reeled in early in the week. It was the third largest blue marlin in Big Rock history and biggest this century
Eye Catcher, a Wrightsville Beach-based boat finished in second place with a 606.9-pounder.
But the biggest cash prize went to the Ava D, captained by Jerry Jackson, Havelock, who finished third with a 491.4-pound blue marlin reeled in by Gray Hardison of Bayboro.
Two changes to third place during the fourth day of fishing provided plenty of excitement at the weigh station Thursday as the 56th annual Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament sequenced toward the final days of competition.
Chainlink out of Morehead City edged Carnivore’s catch (410.7 pounds) out of third place with a 412.7-pound blue marlin. But Chainlink – winner of the 2006 Big Rock – remained on the leader board less than three hours when the Ava D showed up with Hardison’s catch aboard.
Ava D missed winning the Fabulous Fisherman’s prize of $306,000 by 8.6 pounds. This prize is awarded to the first boat entered in Level VII to catch and weigh a blue marlin that was a minimum of 500 pounds.
While Jackson was disappointed his fish didn’t reach the 500-pound plateau, he was very pleased with the teamwork and the catch that puts his boat in position to win $345,405.
“There’s no question we had a great team today,” Jackson said. “There’s so much luck involved in this … you have to work together the whole time. That fish hit (the shotgun rod) and almost dumped the reel. It was getting close before we could get the rod down. We had to back up before we could pass the rod down … but after we did that we just took our time. Teamwork was the key.”
Hardison was so sore after the battle he struggled to sign the required paperwork at the weigh station.
Since no boat won the $306,000 Level VII prize, all of those entry fees will be returned to the fishing teams that entered that level of the competition. Ava D was the only boat on the leader board that entered Level VII, but it missed winning the Fabulous Fisherman’s prize (for being first to catch and weigh in a blue marlin that weighs a minimum of 500 pounds) by 8.6 pounds.
Inspiration did not enter Levels IV and VII and will receive $306,137 from the 56th Big Rock’s $1,395,825 purse. Eye Catcher, entered in Levels I, II, V and VI, and receives $52,457.
Ava D entered all levels and even though it finished in third place receives the most money of all: $345, 405. Chainlink finished third in the Level III division and receives $84,150.
“Gray has experience catching blue marlins for this team and it’s nice to know that when you get a bite he can handle the heat,” said Teddy Guthrie, Harkers Island, the mate of the Ava D. “That fish probably ran 500 yards, jumped a few times and put on a little show. We knew it was a close fish when we measured. Everything worked out … except the 500 pounds.”
House, Senate Remain Divided Over Ferry Toll Issue
By Martha L. Hall
Pamlico News Staff
The ferry toll issue is caught in a divided state General Assembly, with any hope of tolls being abolished lingering with conference committees that hammer out budget details this week.
The state House budget included abolishing all tolls, while the Senate version leaves things as they are - Rural Planning Organizations facing the possibility of asking for tolls to pay for new vessels.
Conference committees are expected to work this week and possibly into next week on a compromise state budget. The budget by law is supposed to be enacted by July 1. If not, the Legislature will have to pass a resolution to maintain basic state operations until one is approved.
Pamlico County lobbyist Henri McClees said “The House is strong on the ferries. Their version of the budget has no ferry tolls for any ferry in the state.”
She said everyone was looking at the legislative deadlines.
“The Senate has filed a resolution to be finished by June 27,” she said. “If the Senate goes home, what we have is the budget as it exists now. If the Senate were to go home, it would mean there would be no changes. The status quo would remain and the whole process would start again in January.”
Pamlico lobbyist Joe McClees noted that this is the first time the House has passed a budget that has removed all tolls.
The N.C. system is the second largest ferry system in the United State.
“This thing is not going to go away,” he said. “The hero of this thing is Rep. John Torbett. He is forward thinking. He has said ‘why should we discriminate against this area of North Carolina because they are poor and they have a lot of rivers?’”
Sen. Norman Sanderson of Pamlico County, in the Senate minority for no-tolls, said he was pleased with the House budget, which included the same provisions he and Sen. Bill Cook introduced as a Senate bill.
“The House budget basically mirrors the exact bill that was filed in the Senate a couple of weeks ago which would do away with all the tolls and would set up in the General Fund the money that would be needed to be put in a special reserve fund for ferry replacement,” he said. “That’s totally a 180-degree turn from the budget that came out of the Senate because the budget from the Senate didn’t change anything from what it was last year. That was to give the decision to the Rural Planning Organizations. The operational funds are not included.”
Presently some ferries are tolled and others are free, such as the Minnesott Beach-Cherry Branch route and the Aurora-Bayview route in Beaufort County.
Sanderson said his fears are that if tolling goes into effect for all ferries, it will hurt working coastal residents who use the ferry to commute to work and have a negative affect on tourism.
Another issue he said was that tolling all ferries could be an opening toward tolling bridges and roads throughout the state.
He and others have contended that the $5 million in ferry toll revenue can be made up through selling naming rights to boats, concessions and allowing advertisements on boats and at ferry stations. Too, he said free ferries would increase tourism and the private sector economy.
Toll opponent Larry Summers of Oriental has gone to Raleigh many times on the issue.
“One former Transportation Department Official walked up to me in the hallway and called me the ‘the scourge of the ferry tolls.’” Summers said.” Our effort in Pamlico County has been most effective. A number of people asked me for "No Ferry Tax" stickers. We have kept the tolls at bay now for almost three years.”
Summers said he is sure that legislators have gotten the message from the toll opponents.
“Our effectiveness was demonstrated last year when one of our callers reported that when they called a legislative office staff answered the phone with something like ‘I suppose you are calling about the Ferry Tolls’” he said. “That was simply because of the 252 area code displayed on the phone. We may need that kind of effort again as we approach Joint Conference Committee time.”
Week of June 11, 2014
Award-Winning River Dunes Raises $140,000 for Leukemia Research
The fundraising regatta ceremony included, left to right: Ken and Carol Small of Oriental, first place; Heather Sanger of the N.C. Leukemia and Lymphoma Society; Bill Scott of River Dunes, second place; and Rich Beliveau of River Dunes, third place.
Pamlico News Staff
It was a star-studded weekend for the River Dunes community, with the annual Leukemia Cup Regatta raising more than $140,000 and the development receiving a top award from a major business web site.
On Saturday and Sunday, there were 40 sailboats which raced for a cure for blood cancers and raised money. The regatta was out of River Dunes, topping the three previous year’s totals.
This is the fourth year for the event that raises funds for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of North Carolina, with a four year total of more than $465,000 raised for research for a cure for blood cancers and treatment and support services for patients and families.
In spite of a thunderstorm that popped up unexpectedly and moved the festivities indoors, Thursday’s Business After Hours at River Dunes drew a good crowd of local business owners and residents.
The event was co-sponsored by the Pamlico Chamber of Commerce, Beasley Broadcasting and River Dunes.
A raffle and silent auction held during the event benefitted the Pamlico County Historical Association.
Highlight of the evening was the presentation of the 2014 “Best Boating Community” Award to River Dunes by Margie Casey of RealEstateScorecard.com.
River Dunes owners and staff were on hand to accept the award, which is based largely on input from property owners.
Casey gave River Dunes owners high praise for their community outreach and involvement in a variety of causes including Bike MS, the Leukemia Cup Regatta and Girls on the Run in Pamlico County.
During the weekend regatta, sailing vessels of all sizes participated in two races held at the mouth of the Neuse River on Saturday and one on Sunday. The boats raced in five divisions on the race course.
The Oriental Dinghy Club functioned as the official race committee. The awards ceremony was held at the River Dunes Harbor Club on Sunday afternoon.
“Once again, we are honored to host the Leukemia Cup Regatta at River Dunes,” said Ed Mitchell of River Dunes. “This is an opportunity for the entire Oriental community to support the great work of the LLS, helping people live better and longer lives.”
The top three fund-raising teams combined for a total of more than $35,000.
Top fund-raisers were “Miranda,” Captain Ken Small of Oriental; “Marvana Dawn,” Captain Bill Scott of River Dunes; and Captain Rich Beliveau of River Dunes.
These three captains also qualified for a Fantasy Sail with America’s Cup winner Gary Jobson in Savannah, Ga., in November.
Race winners in each category were:
Spinnaker A – “Oriental Express” - Henry Frazer of Oriental;
Spinnaker B – “Deuces Wild” - Captain Margaret Alexander of Pittsboro;
Jib and Main A – “Bodacious” - Captain Dyk Luben of Raleigh;
Jin and Main B – “Wiii” - Captain Mike Afflerbach of New Bern; and
Pursuit – “Aquila”, - Captain John Jackson of New Bern.
Captains and guests enjoyed a Captains’ Reception on Friday evening, sponsored by Watermark Homes of North Carolina and The Red Rickshaw.
Following the racing on Saturday evening, a Shoreside Celebration was held that included dinner by the Chelsea, dancing to The Black and Blue Experience, dark n’ stormy and rum punch cocktails, and live and silent auctions.
The auctions raised more than $20,000 and featured a variety of items including vacation get-aways, an autographed Nicolas Sparks book, original artwork, golf outings, decorative accessories, kayak outings, wine baskets, and gift certificates for dining and spa services.
“We want to thank River Dunes for hosting another wonderful Regatta, and our sponsors and captains for helping us raise more than $465,000 in the fight against blood cancer since 2011. Together we are sailing for cures,” said Heather Sanger, Campaign Manager of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s N.C. Chapter serves patients battling leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma in all 100 North Carolina counties.
The Triangle-based chapter raises money for research leading to a cure for blood cancers and to enhance the quality of life for local patients through services such as family support groups, peer counseling, educational programs and financial assistance. For more information about The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, visit www.lls.org or call the chapter office at (919)-367-4100.
For information about River Dunes, visit www.riverdunes.com or call the Harbor Club at 1-800-348-7618.
Fracking Comes to N.C., but not to Pamlico County
By Martha L. Hall
Pamlico News Staff
Like many energy-producing issues with environmental implications, the term fracking has created a stir in recent years – including Pamlico County.
A fast-track legislative bill in the General Assembly short session in Raleigh has made fracking in North Carolina possible.
It is not likely to come to Pamlico County, according to county officials.
It is basically a hydraulic process of extracting natural gas from within layers of shale rock, deep beneath the surface.
Three dimensional imaging can help determine very precise drilling sites.
In April of 2013, the Pamlico County Commissioners passed a resolution expressing their fear that the county could become a site for the disposal of waste water from fracking.
The resolution was backed up by work against the disposal in coastal counties by the county’s legislative lobbyists, Joe and Henri McClees.
Henri McClees said that before the eventual bill reached committee, the disposal portion had been eliminated.
The Pamlico objection was “the protection of Pamlico County’s source of future drinking water supplies” by oil and gas exploration that would have lifted an existing statue governing subsurface fluid injections.
“My understanding at the time was, with waste disposal, they inject it back into the aquifer,” said County Manager Tim Buck.
He said fracking itself is not likely in the county.
“Fracking wouldn’t happen here because there are no deposits that we know of because of our geology,” he said. “I don’t think it was ever a concern that a company would come to Pamlico County and start fracking. The issue that came up was that the folks who do frack need a place to inject the fluid back down into the ground.”
He said the concern was that potential deep well injection “could get into the drinking water.”
However, for other areas along a strip of counties in the Fayetteville area of the state, the official declaration of Senate Bill 786 – the Energy Modernization Act – by Gov. Pat McCrory makes it a reality.
Drilling permits can now be issued 60 days after the state Mining and Energy Commission completes its rules for fracking.
Fracking has opposition around the state and the country.
“The governor should be ashamed to sign a bill that is the inverse of our State’s motto ‘Esse Quam Videri’,” said North Carolina Democratic Chairman Randy Voller in a statement. “Pushing the petrochemical industry down the throats of the citizens of North Carolina indicates to me that the governor is waving a white flag and surrendering our mountains, beaches, rivers, streams, lakes and farmland to a rapacious and secretive industry.
He accused the industry of being secret about the chemicals in fracking fluids.
Ferry Tolling Issue Awaits House Budget
By Martha L. Hall
Pamlico News Staff
RALEIGH – The issue of tolling for North Carolina’s coastal ferries, including routes in Pamlico and Beaufort counties, remains unchanged pending the finalization of the N.C. House budget proposal during the current short session.
New and increased tolls were ordered by the legislature in 2011 to produce $5 million in extra revenue for the ferry division of the state Department of Transportation.
Free ferry routes exist at Minnesott Beach to Cherry Branch, a 20-minute ride both way across the Neuse River and the Bayview Ferry route in Beaufort County. It is a 30-minute ride across the Pamlico River to and from Aurora and Bayview.
To date, no changes have been made, amid legislative wrangling and numerous anti-toll protests and public meetings.
Two bills have been introduced that would make all of the seven ferry routes toll-free. One bill was in the Senate co-sponsored by Sen. Norman Sanderson of Minnesott Beach and another in the House. Both bills face committee challenges, but no committee hearing in either house has been held as of Monday involving tolls.
Henri McClees, who is the Pamlico County legislative lobbyist with her husband Joe, said Monday that the best chance for the ferry issue was likely to come in the overall state budget.
The Senate’s budget contained no language about ferry tolls.
“It doesn’t have a thing (ferries) in it,” she said. “It does nothing new, which is not good.”
The House budget is being worked on this week, with a possible vote by the end of the week.
“The House version will look nothing like the Senate version,” she predicted. “The House version will be much friendly to us on the coast.”
She said there was speculation the House budget could include the no tolls on any ferries.
That will be followed by the setup next week of a conference committee to hammer out negotiations and potential trade-off items among lawmakers from the House and Senate.
If no ferry decisions are made in the final budget, it will maintain the status quo – with ramifications.
The 2013 legislature agreed to fund ferry operations, but put the tolling matter in the hands of local groups such as the Down East Rural Planning Organization. It gives those regional board the chance to ask for tolls to fund the purchase of new ferries.
The Down East group voted earlier this year not to ask for tolls.
The downside of that, according to McClees, is that those counties face the potential loss of funding for other highway projects of DOT deems it needs replacement vessels.
“What is in place doesn’t really solve the problem long-term,” she said. “The RPOs are still going to have pressure from the Department of Transportation because DOT is still being cut by the legislature and this whole thing is going to be repeated next year. There is going to be tremendous pressure on the RPOs every year. They (DOT) can say ‘you can’t have this road project or you can’t have that bridge because we have to buy a ferry. It pits us against each other, which is not a good long-term solution.”
McClees said she was encouraged by many of the House members, who she said had long-range views opposed to instant
$5 million gratification for the state.
“We have some visionaries in the House who are looking at transportation,” she said.
Sen. Sanderson has contended in the past that no ferry tolls would bring more tourism to the coast, with the economic private section boost more than making up for what tolls would bring in.
“We have to have a coordinated effort in marketing the coast,” McClees said. “We could rejuvenate Eastern North Carolina. That is the kind of thing we have in the House. We’ve got people looking 15 or 20 years down the road and saying what can we do to have an economic generator. Ferries are part of that.”
Week of June 4, 2011
The Felix Sets Sail
Revelers gathered on Thursday to celebrate the launch of the “Felix”, the thirty seven foot “A Cat” sail boat and the brain child of Art Halpern. The launch of this one of a kind custom craft took place at Sailcraft Marina in Oriental, where Art spent the last two years creating his masterpiece. Halpern and his wife, Terry, chose to retire in Oriental a little over three years ago after spending thirty five years in the Virgin Islands. As a new retiree, Art found that he had too much time on his hands and decided to fulfill his dream of building his own boat. Terry calls Art’s creation a labor of love and a family effort, explaining that their son, after getting out of the marines, assisted with the project.
Originating in the early 1900s, as workboats of Barnegat Bay, “Cat” boats are generally wide, low, and stable. The unique construction of this work of art consists of a composite construction, mahogany and a pure epoxy west system. The vessel draws 1 ½ feet of water, has a fourteen foot beam and the sixty one foot mast is made of pure carbon fiber. A diesel generator runs a hydraulic pump and an elevator driven by hydraulics lifts the propeller. According to Halpern, the “Felix” will cruise at about five knots which is the basic cruising speed for a vessel this size.
While helping to build boats for others, Art was inspired to make his child hood dream a reality. He was drawn to the aesthetics and shape of the Cat boat and believes the “Felix” is the largest on the East Coast. When asked how the name “Felix” came to be, Art replied “Felix was appropriate for a silly Cat Boat.”
“The boat is done and is not a dream anymore,” says Lance Burgo, the Master of Ceremonies for the event, who has known Art for over thirty years after meeting him while sailing in the Virgin Islands. Art credits the staff at Sailcraft Marina for their efforts where all the custom stainless steel fittings and plates for the “Felix” were fabricated. He thanked John of Sailcraft specifically, “Without him it could not have happened,” Art said. As for what the future holds for Felix … “We are looking forward to sailing it on the Nuese. It is perfect for these waters,” Terry said. “In Oriental its proven that dreams can come true.”
Pamlico County Saves $134,000 by Changing
Health Insurance Carrier
Pamlico News Staff
BAYBORO - The Pamlico County Commissioners voted Monday night to save S134,000 in the coming year by changing its health insurance carrier for 150 county employees.
The board voted unanimously to switch to Cigna Insurance after using FirstCarolinaCare of Pinehurst for several years.
County Manager Tim Buck said the county got bids from four companies, including Aetna and Blue Cross-Blue Shield.
The final choice came down to Cigna and Aetna, with the Cigna bid being $18,000 lower.
The county opted for a plan that includes dental, life, supplemental and vision.
The county will spend $1.1 million in the coming year on its health insurance.
It was one of the final moves for preparing the new budget for 2014-15.
The board voted to hold a public hearing on the proposed $16.6 million budget on June 16. The budget is available for public view and is on the county website - pamlicocounty.org.
The budget includes no tax hike, holding the current tax at 62.5 cents per $100 valuation on property tax.
In his “Citizens Budget Guide” he does each year, Buck said the budget achieved four main goals:
* Retained current service levels;
* Does not increase taxes;
* Allocates minimally from the county fund balance; and
* Includes a cost of living increase for county employees.
The budget highlights, according to Buck, include a 2 percent cost of living increase in pay for county employees; provides $26,000 overall for merit raises; decreases the insurance costs; and keeps public school funding at current levels.
The projected tax revenues for the coming year are $9.7 million, including collections for prior years.
The county’s estimated ad valorem tax value, excluding motor vehicles, is $1.48 billion.
A major source of revenue in recent years has been the money from leased jail beds at the 108-bed facility in Bayboro.
The income for next year is budgeted at $850,000. In the past two years, that amount has exceeded $1 million. But, Buck said that “recent confinement trends dictate a conservative estimate.”
The majority of that funding comes from housing federal inmates.
Buck reported that leased bed spaces are currently averaging 50 inmates per day, which if sustained for a year would produce revenue of $960,000.
Buck also reported that the county’s sales tax revenues are projected to increase 3 to 5 percent. It is budgeted at $1.8 million or 11 percent of all revenue.
In a closed session, the board discussed a current lawsuit by the developers of the now defunct Cutter Bay subdivision in Stonewall, seeking reimbursement of back taxes.
The county will ask for an extension of its time to file a response and also ask that the matter be moved from state to federal court.
The July 16 meeting will allow public comment on the budget, which must be passed by the end of the month according to state statute.
The meeting is at 7 p.m. on the second floor of the county courthouse.
Week of May 28, 2014
American Heroes Home Build On Track for
By Martha L. Hall
Pamlico News Staff
ARAPAHOE - The American Heroes Home Build at the Nature’s Run subdivision is back on track for a September welcome for a wounded veteran and family.
The house is being built by Military Missions in Action, builders and volunteers. The land was donated by Russ Richard, owner of Nature’s Run Subdivision who has spent a lot of time working on the project.
Originally, the house was planned as a Christmas gift for a still-to-be determined wounded veteran.
But, Richard said that slow fundraising and weather had hands in putting the project into 2014.
Richard was at the home site Monday morning with visiting workers from Fuquay Marina, along with Jim Abernathy of Military Missions, brother of the group’s founder Mike Dorman.
While the half-dozen workers installed flooring, Richard said that a call had been put out for volunteers a “barn-raising” style event Friday through Sunday.
Anyone who wants to help should come to the subdivision on Kershaw Road a mile and a half east of Arapahoe, at 8 a.m. any of those days. Volunteers can bring basic tools.
Abernathy said there had been commitments already from the local Oriental Marine group, Marines from Cherry Point Air Station and Coast Guard members from the Hobucken station.
“We will have this crew here through Sunday and on the weekend we are hoping for all hands on deck,” said Abernathy. “We are hoping for a massive showing.”
Richard said that three Marine families are still in consideration to move into the home.
“We want to get it done by September because the three families we are considering all have school-age children,” he said.
Abernathy said the goal is to have the floors, walls, windows and doors in by the end of Sunday.
“Then comes the roof and it will be ready for shingles,” he said.
He said the foundation was installed in early spring by the Smith Brothers construction crew from Washington.
“They did it for about one-fourth of what it would cost,” Abernathy said. “They are good Christian fellows who understood what we are trying to do here.”
There will be 1,850 square-feet of heated space. With the porches and garage, it will fill 2,400 square feet.
If you wish to either donate money or your time to Military Missions in Action, you may call Mike Dorman at his office, 919-552-1603, or on his cell, 919-868-0054.
Cook, Sanderson Bill Would End Ferry Toll Issue
Pamlico News Staff
RALEIGH - Eastern North Carolina state Senators Bill Cook of Chocowinity and Norman Sanderson of Minnesott Beach introduced a ferry bill in the legislature’s short session last week that would in essence make all of the seven coastal routes toll-free.
It would end existing tolls and prohibit establishing new ones.
Cook sponsored the bill and it was co-sponsored by Sanderson, the fourth ferry-related bill the two have introduced in the past two years.
In 2011 the General Assembly mandated the state Department of Transportation to increase existing tolls and begins new ones. The new fees included the Bayview route at Aurora and the Minnesott Beach-Cherry Branch route across the Neuse River.
The matter has been the subject of legislative debate and public hearings ever since. Last year, the lawmakers agreed to fund ferry operations and put the matter of paying for new vessels in the hands of local Rural Planning Organizations. They were allowed to request tolls. Locally, the Down East RPO which includes Pamlico County Commissioner Christine Mele and Minnesott Beach Mayor Josh Potter voted earlier this year not to request tolls and asked the legislature to take another look at the issue.
The bill faces challenges to get to a Senate floor vote. It must first survive hearings in the transportation and appropriations committees.
Cook and Sanderson said they are cautiously optimistic about those hurdles and both look ahead to the final state budget as an alternate means of getting the legislation through.
“We want to keep the pressure there to make sure that everybody knows that this has not gone away and that it is still tremendously important to Eastern North Carolina,” Sanderson said. “It is also going to give some leverage when we get into the final negotiations in the budget. I really feel that is where it is going to be settled once and for all.”
He said last year’s decision to involve the local RPOs had its own issues.
“The agreement we reached last time, we feel there are still some problems with it,” Sanderson said. “It gave us some breathing room, but we still think there are problems with it. If we don’t address those problems, we’re back at square one with it.”
Sanderson said one main problem was that while giving the RPOs a say in the issue, it was a double-edged sword in that if they do not request tolls, then the needed funding would become a competitive issue among the counties for other highway tax dollars.
“It is county against county,” he said. “In our district, you have counties like Onslow which doesn’t have any ferries, but they have a lot of highway needs.”
Sanderson said he was also bothered by the fact that once an RPO does request even a small toll, it loses control over the amount, which could escalate.
“Ninety days later, DOT could come back and say we are not on schedule to raise enough revenues, so we’re going to double or triple the fees,” he said.
He said there are also no assurances that any toll money raised at a certain RPO district level will stay in that area.
“If we toll the people at Minnesott, at any time they (DOT) can take that ferry and move it anywhere else in the system,” he said.
Cook and Sanderson both favor alternative funding options, such as selling naming right to ferry vessels and allowing advertising on the boats and at boarding sites.
Cook also said it was unfair to toll ferries and not have tolls on bridges throughout the state.
His district includes five of the seven ferry routes. Sanderson’s district includes the Cherry Branch-Minnesott and Cedar Island to Ocracoke routes.
May 21, 2014
Relay for Life Passes, Cancer Concerns Do Not
By Martha L. Hall
Pamlico News Staff
Earlier this month, the Pamlico County Relay for Life was one of many such events in Eastern North Carolina to raise money and awareness about cancer and research.
The Relay has come and gone as a once-a-year event.
Cancer remains a daily threat and reality for millions nationwide, including potentially thousands of people in Pamlico County.
Birdie Potter from Hobucken knows about cancer.
She has had it twice – once a sarcoma in 1995 and then again, uterine cancer in 2008.
She has also lost family to the disease. Her mother died in 2003 after complications of a double mastectomy. She never left the hospital after surgery.
Go down the list. Her 71-year-old brother has bladder cancer; he has had surgery. Her niece has cancer of the eye; another niece has been fighting breast cancer since she was in her 30s. She is now 57.
And on the day of the Relay for Life in Pamlico County, Birdie’s daughter was diagnosed with breast cancer.
Potter was among the survivors that night at Pamlico County High School making the Survivor Lap - walking the 400-plus meter circular track with the aid of her walker.
“Mirabelle Hollowell got me involved with Relay for Life in 1995,” Potter said. “She was a survivor.”
After 2011’s Hurricane Irene, the local Relay event has declined and was not even held in 2012. It is now making a comeback of sort - nothing new for cancer survivors.
“We had 14 teams this time. Erin Bright, who works for the American Cancer Society, and I thought we would go and talk to businesses, clubs and churches before the next one,” she said of plans for next year.
The 1995 sarcoma was found when she went to the doctor for a kidney stone. It was one of those “by the way, would you take a look at this” moments.
“I had been seeing a lump in my leg, about the size of an egg, I thought. I didn’t go to the doctor with it until I went for my kidney stone,” Potter said. “He forgot all about my kidney stone.”
Potter was advised to have radiation treatment after that but canceled the appointment.
“That was 19 years ago,” she said. “I felt like the Lord had taken care of that.”
Potter says after her cancer in 2008 she maintains a normal check-up, once a year.
Potter was a team captain for Relay for Life – a 36-person team from Hobucken who prepared ribeye steak sandwiches for the Relay – 241 of them. The team raised more than $4,000 for the Relay.
Her recommendation for women is to get their check-ups every year.
“That’s the main thing,” she said.
Ferry Issue Tops List as Short Session Kicks Off
By Martha L. Hall
Pamlico News Staff
Pamlico County’s two Republican state legislators differ on whether the ferry toll controversy will or should come up again in the General Assembly’s short session, which convened in Raleigh last week.
“It is my own opinion, but I don’t think the ferry will come up and I hope it doesn’t,” said state Rep. Michael Speciale of Craven County. “It is hard to tell, because it is in the budget.”
Pamlico County-based state Sen. Norman Sanderson thinks otherwise.
“Of course, we are hoping to finalize this thing with the ferry operations,” said Sanderson of Minnesott Beach. “I just want to take care of this issue once and for all.”
The ferry issue has raged since 2011 when the state legislature order the Department of Transportation to implement new and increased ferry tolls to increase revenues. New tolls would include the Minnesott Beach-Cherry Branch route across the Neuse River and the Bayview Ferry in neighboring Beaufort County across the Pamlico River.
After battles between then Gov. Beverly Perdue and the lawmakers, the issue has nestled into a situation of the General Assembly funding ferry operations, but putting the burden on replacement vessel costs on local Rural Planning Organizations to request tolls to pay for them. The downside is that without the requests, the DOT could use money that would otherwise go toward road and bridge projects in Eastern North Carolina counties.
The Down East RPO - Pamlico, Craven, Carteret, Jones and Onslow counties - has unanimously voted not to seek any tolls and asked the General Assembly to revisit the issue during this short session. That vote was minus members from Onslow and Jones counties. Pamlico’s representatives are County Commissioner Christine Mele and Minnesott Beach Mayor Josh Potter.
Speciale said he didn’t see the ferry issue becoming major in the short session because of time and a busy schedule of issues.
“There is so much more that needs to be discussed, and everybody does want a short session,” he said. “We (lawmakers) are supposed to be part time and I’d like to see it stay part-time - get the budget and get out. But we do have particular issues that have to be addressed.”
Sanderson said opponents of the ferry tolls were “working on some things.”
“Maybe we can put some things in the budget that will help the decision that our RPO will have to make, be an easier decision,” he said. “I know now that with a new ferry director, I have had some good conversations with him. We wanted the local organizations to have some input on this thing instead of us trying to convince 140 legislators of the importance of what this means to us.”
He said some finalization would likely come from the House.
“That is where we have the most support for doing something with these tolls and trying to eliminate them,” he said.
Sanderson predicted the state Senate would have a budget ready in a few weeks and send it to the House side of the General Assembly.
“My prayer and hope is they will put some things in that will deal with the tolls,” he said, adding he expects the results to come from conference meetings, where compromises are normally reached.
Sanderson said support among legislators has continued to increase.
“I’ve gotten some good feedback and we’ve got some people that really want to help us with this,” he said. “It is some of the people that are in transportation in the House and appropriations.”
He said a part of the current plan where the local RPO can seek a toll that bothers him is that it is not a final decision, rather a request.
He offered a scenario in which the RPO would ask for a minimal toll, only to have the Department of Transportation institute higher ones.
“It is totally a decision from transportation and that is not right,” he said.
He also questions a promise that any tolls from a particular site will go exclusively to replace ferry vessels at that route, such as the Minnesott-Cherry Branch route.
“But, as we know, they transfer these ferries from site-to-site wherever they need them,” he said. “So, don’t tell us we are buying a ferry for our own private use and then it ends up on the Outer Banks or somewhere because they need it. That is not what we were told.”
He said any bills during the short session had to do with appropriations.
Sanderson said the implementation of DOT’s new funding formula was under watch, which has to do with roads and other transportation needs.
“We have to keep our eyes open and make sure that the rural counties such as Pamlico don’t get shortchanged,” he said. “We know there is a huge demand for transportation money in the metropolitan areas.”
He noted that in this area, U.S. 70 got high marks under the formula.
He said that another issue under continued scrutiny is the establishment of “prosperity zones” around the state for economic development funds through the Department of Commerce.
“I think that is a good thing, but still, we have to make sure that the counties with 12 or 13,000 people like Pamlico don’t get left out of the mix and that we get the help we need to create jobs,” he said.
He also said a bill on property insurance issues to make that more transparent came through the House and hopefully would make its way onto the Senate radar.
Some tourism issues - private and public partnerships to get the private more involved - could come up, he said. “That would affect Pamlico County.”
He said the goal was to take the state tourism division to a higher point of effort and results.
“A lot of the states surrounding us are investing a lot of money in tourism and we are getting left in the dust,” he said. “We have to really find a way to put what we have to offer out there. If we stop developing it and promoting it, people will stop coming.”
Sanderson also said teachers and state employees pay was on the issue burner.
He predicted that a recent judge’s ruling striking down state legislative plans to end public school teacher tenure would make its way to the state Supreme Court.
“It doesn’t make sense to me that you can have a protected situation,” he said of the current and longstanding teacher status tied to time on the job.
Speciale listed other topics he expects to surface being the Dan River coal ash controversy with Duke Energy and teacher pay.
“We all want to see teachers get paid, but there are so many ideas out there about how it should be done,” said Speciale. “They will get something; we just don’t know what the total will be.”
Local Residents Want Oriental to Remain Sailing Capital
By Martha L. Hall
Pamlico News Staff
ORIENTAL - Joe Mattea and others want to make sure Oriental continues to live up to its motto - the “Sailing Capital of North Carolina.”
They are promoting sailing event in the waters around the village and nearby areas.
He and some other men and women in Oriental have made a start – this past weekend the Southeast Lightning District Class group had their 2014 Regatta in Oriental. There were 12 boats and 36 racers. They would like to make Oriental an annual stop.
In two weeks, the U.S. Sunfish Masters will be held off Blackwell Point Loop Road. This event is a national race for Sunfish racers 40 years old or older.
Mattea says he would like to see a regatta come to Oriental once a month.
The people involved in this venture are a loosely based group. They meet at Brantley’s when they have something to discuss.
“The group doesn’t have a formal name,” Mattea said. “I call it Friends of the Sailing Capital of North Carolina.”
Gordon Kellogg and Mattea worked with the Lightning class organizers.
“Gordon used to sail Lightnings. Gordon took care of the on-water issues and I handled the shore side stuff,” he said. “The Oriental Dinghy Club members helped with race committee personnel. We obtained permission from Raleigh and the N.C. Wildlife Resources Department to allow overnight parking at the Wildlife ramp.”
Mattea says there are some ulterior motives to having the regattas.
“You’re not going to get rich; it’s more pocket change,” he said. “But you get exposure for Oriental and perhaps some more business for the shops in town.”
For the next regatta, Mattea is working with Jim Edwards at Bow to Stern Marine Center and George Secrist. Once again, the Oriental Dinghy Club is helping out with a lot of the “water stuff” and Mattea is in charge of housing, meals, parking and camping.
“One of the things we have to provide are race officials,” Mattea said.
Winners this past weekend were (1st place) Henry McCray from Charleston, S.C.; (2nd place) Will Tyner from Charleston, S.C. and (3rd place) Will Sloger from Mt. Pleasant, N.C.
Mattea said he wants to “double-down” on the sailing image.
“There are people who used to come here to sail from Raleigh, Durham and Winston-Salem and from out of state,” he said. “I would like for them to come back.”
Waterfront Park Plans Underway
By Deborah Dickinson
Pamlico New Staff
ORIENTAL - Oriental’s Planning Board is busy making plans for a possible town park along the waterfront. The board met Monday to discuss the designation of the 5,002 square foot property located at South Avenue adjacent to the Oriental Marina obtained in a land agreement with Chris Fulcher.
The parcel contains an existing structure built in the 1950s which originally housed an office for Garland Fulcher’s Fish Business. The Board is proposing that the building be moved closer to the property line, rehabbed and possibly turned into public restrooms. Charlie Overcash, town commissioner and liaison to the Planning Board, stated that volunteers have come forward and offered to move the existing structure free of charge as well as make necessary repairs. Also on the drawing board is converting the building into a welcome center. The height of both structures is to remain consistent with nearby properties. The town is awaiting a signed CAMA Grant from which funds, along with monies collected over the years from the Town’s Occupancy tax will be used for the proposed construction.
The Planning Board was asked to amend the existing Growth Management Ordinance to include language defining “parkland” and to ask for an allowance of zero setbacks in order to utilize the entire lot to its maximum usage potential. The allowance of zero setbacks would be conditional upon the agreement of the property’s adjacent land owners. As a park, the property is considered public and would be governed by the same rules as other public property.
Although the parcel is the subject of an ongoing lawsuit now in the North Carolina Court of Appeals, Commissioner Barbara Venturi, assured members of the board that the pending law suit does not effect this project to move forward. She did state, however, that “the existing law suit is taking up an inordinate amount of money effecting other projects.”
Week of May 14, 2014
Democrat Local Races Pull Heavy Voter Turnout for Primary
By Martha L. Hall
Pamlico News Staff
Two Democrat primary elections and a four-way school board non-partisan contest are credited with producing a high May 6 voter turnout in Pamlico County, with nearly 30 percent of the more than 9,000 registered voters casting ballots.
An early One Stop voter turnout of 8.85 percent or more than 800 ballots set the tone for what ended with 2,788 Pamlico registered voters taking part in the primary.
The turnout was driven by Democrat primaries that included incumbent Sheriff Billy Sawyer Jr. going against David Spruill and a Democrat county commissioner race in District 3 between newcomers John Buck and Derek Potter. Sawyer and Buck emerged as the winners.
The Democrat primary effect was reflected in the part turnout, with 1,178 Democrats voting along with 974 Republicans.
“It is obvious that it was the Democrat sheriffs’ primary and the Democrat District 3 commissioners primary that brought most of the turnout,” said Lisa Bennett, the county elections director.
The top individual vote-getters were in the non-partisan school board race for two at-large seats, where Paul Delamar Jr. and Judy Humphries unseated incumbents Reginald Hawkins and Garry Cooper.
The sheriff’s race generated 1,665 votes, with Sawyer getting 1,008.
“I was very excited, not just as a board member,” said Elections Board Chairman Jennifer Roe. “We had the sheriff’s race and also the school board. Between those two races is what we felt brought the voter out.”
She said a large turnout was anticipated when a sheriff’s race first developed and that grew when the school board race increased to four candidates.
“But, I still didn’t don’t’ think I anticipated the turnout we had. From where I see it, I think it is wonderful,” she said. “Of course, I would love to see 100 percent turnout.”
She said that historically, the county voters do take part in the process.
“Pamlico County in general elections generally has a good turnout,” she said. “We are usually higher than the state average.”
Roe said the turnout for elections speaks well of the concern local citizens have about their county, state and country.
“Our voters get out and get to the polls,” she said. “Local races get people concerned and they get out when there are contested races. It says our voters are very involved in the election process and what is going on in their community.”
In the 2012 presidential election year, there was a 72 percent Pamlico turnout.
“For the election coming up in November, I think we are going to have another large turnout,” she said. “We still have two people running for sheriff and I think that will probably bring the people back out to the polls because it affects them locally.”
David Wickersham, the county Republican Party chairman, agreed about the local races bringing out the vote, albeit mainly Democrat races.
“There was a very intense race for sheriff and the board of education,” he said. “On the Republican side, we did not have a highly-contested local primary.”
The Republicans will have candidates in the general election, with GOP Ed Riggs going against Buck for a seat on the county commissioners and Chris David tackling Sawyer for the job as the county’s top lawman.
Wickersham said state races did not affect the interest as much as the local races themselves.
He noted that the Republicans had a rather quiet spring election season, with their major candidates awaiting the primary results for their November bids.
“We were not engaged in a lot of local turnout, but I think the candidates themselves generated a lot of interest,” he said. “
He again pointed to the sheriff’s race between Sawyer and Spruill.
“They were out talking at various functions and I think they were primarily responsible for the turnout,” he said.
The precinct totals were dominated by the two largest areas - 594 in Oriental and 545 in Arapahoe.
The smallest turnouts included 89 in Hobucken, 78 in Mesic and 68 in Vandemere.
Other precinct totals included s443 in Bayboro, 149 in Stonewall, 325 in Reelsboro, 263 in Grantsboro and 164 in Alliance.
The election totals were scheduled to be finalized yesterday at the post-election canvas.
Art on Neuse Brings Crowds to Oriental Waterfront
Pamlico News Staff
ORIENTAL - For the annual Art on the Neuse, the 11th year was a charm.
In 2013, the 10th anniversary event was going fine until the weather came down hard in the afternoon with a storm that included high winds.
“I was here last year and the storm lifted my pottery off the table,” said Kathy Cagiati of Vicious Circle Studios in New Bern.
This year, the sun was bright and the only noticeable weather factor was heat.
But, there was plenty of shade at the deck of the host Oriental Inn and Marina, which featured music and poetry readings by local talent.
The venue included Hodges Street along the Town Dock and those entering the festival on the boardwalk quickly found refreshments.
Youngsters Emmie and Caroline James, along with Vivian Reed of Oriental had a lemonade stand and snacks.
Along with local and out-of-town artists, several non-profits used the event to promote their causes, such as the Pamlico Animal Welfare Society.
Along with giving information and accepting donations, the volunteers had raffle tickets for a July 5 drawing which will offer a $500 first prize and $100 second prize. The tickets are $1. Online, there is more information at www.pamlicopaws.com.
The festival began as a totally local event, but its success has brought in visiting artists and craftsmen from around Eastern North Carolina.
Bill Tyndall of Greenville said he and his wife, whose artwork is “Glass by Becky” have been regulars for the past five years, along with appearances at the New Bern Farmers Market.
Lauri Arntsen of Wake Forest had her “Encaustic” collection of mixed-media art.
“I came last year to visit and was just so impressed with the marina, the location and the people,” she said. “So I came this year to be a participant.”
The show has been sponsored by the Pamlico County Arts Council since 2012. It was inaugurated in 2003 by local artists who wanted to showcase their work and to celebrate Oriental’s unique character.
The founding artists include Toni Leavitt and Jeff Troeltzsch, along with painters Marlene Miller and Susan Cheatham, jeweler Jenny Nash and sculptor Gary Gresko.
Leavitt said the show was originally held at Lou Mac Park in the waterfront. But, weather, especially wind, was problematic and the event moved to the more weather-secure Oriental Marina Inn Courtyard.
Per Erichsen, president of the all-volunteer Arts Council, welcomed guests at the group’s tent on Hodges Street.
He said the show and the weather were both great, with nearly 40 artists and craftsmen from as far away as Boone and Nags Head.
“It just has a great vibe,” Erichsen said. “The setting is near perfect and the live music really spices things up.”
Before Saturday’s successful event, he noted that the festival is about providing art, not making money.
“We just about break even,” he said.
Hardison Dealt Stiff Sentence
By Deborah Dickinson
Pamlico News Staff
NEW BERN - A Pamlico County woman will spent 10 to 14 years behind bars for purposely damaging Pamlico County water pipes and threatening the water supply.
Superior Court Judge Kenneth F. Crow handed down the sentence to Judy Hardison, 52, of Alliance Tuesday in Craven County. Hardison, former owner of the now defunct Triple H Construction Co. that was under contract with Pamlico County to repair broken water lines, was also ordered to pay $40,000 in restitution to cover court costs and attorney fees with the remainder earmarked for the county and will serve 12-months of supervised release.
Hardison’s attorney Kirby Smith request that the charges to be dismissed was denied.
“This was not an act of terrorism, but an act of fraud,” Smith told the court prior to sentencing.
“It is a stiff punishment for this type of offense but it is meant to discourage tampering with the water supply,” Judge Crowe said in handing down the sentence. “This is a case where Pamlico County has been victimized.”
A jury found Hardison guilty of intentionally damaging water pipes only to be contracted to do the repair work April 30. Damage to the water lines was carried out on weekends and holidays causing interruption of service when the rates for emergency repair were much higher.
“She (Hardison) took advantage of a position of trust with the county,” Assistant District Attorney Laura Bell said. “I’m delighted to have the trial completed and pleased with the verdict and judgement.”
Rodney Brame, a New Bern resident and employee of Triple H Construction in 2012 plead guilty to six felony charges of obtaining property by false pretenses. In a plea deal he testified against Hardison stating that she hired him to break the pipes between November 8, 2012 and December 14, 2012. Brame was sentenced to four 6- to 17-month consecutive terms Monday in Pamlico County. He will serve a minimum of two years followed by probation.
Hundreds of Pamlico Water customers were affected by the 2012 interruption in service and contamination of water supply. Because of pre-trial publicity, Hardison's trial was moved to Craven County. During the trial District Attorney Lara Bell presented taped conversations between Hardison and Brame which implicated the two in the scheme. Hardison’s attorney, Kirby H. Smith, maintains that the prosecution did not provide sufficient evidence against his client and that there was a rush to judgment during the investigation.
Week of May 7, 2014
Sawyer, Buck, Delamar-Humphries Team Win
Pamlico News Staff
Incumbent Pamlico County Sheriff Billy Sawyer Jr. got 62 percent of the vote in Tuesday’s Democrat primary against former EMS director and fire marshal David Spruill to move on to face Republican challenger Chris Davis in the November general election.
Sawyer, a three-term head lawman in Pamlico County, received 1,088 votes in the unofficial tally of 10 precincts, pending next Tuesday's official canvas.
Spruill, also a former county deputy and overseas defense contract worker in the Middle East in recent years, got 38 percent of the vote, with 657.
Sawyer said he was relieved and pleased after the primary.
“I want to thank everybody that supported me,” he said afterwards. “I want to salute my opponent. He was a class act. He never made it ugly. He is just a perfect gentleman.”
Sawyer, who has been sheriff for the past 12 years after being a deputy for a dozen years, said he felt voters looked at his body of work.
“I’ve been in law enforcement in this county for over 24 years,” he said. “I’ve made it my career serving the people of Pamlico County. I love the people of Pamlico County and I’ve helped a lot of people.”
He said that on election night his thoughts had not yet moved on to the challenge in November.
“Not tonight,” he said.
Davis is a former deputy here who is now an investigator with the Martin County Sheriff’s Department, where he commutes from his home in Bayboro.
“I started my career in Pamlico County and I enjoy what I do,” Sawyer said earlier. “I’ve enjoyed serving the people of Pamlico County and I want to continue. This is where I want to finish my career.”
Sawyer began his career in law enforcement on June 18, 1989 as a reserve deputy and went full time in December of 1990.
“I started as a patrol deputy and I have more experience than the other candidates,” he said. “I have dedicated my whole life to the people of Pamlico County and I know the people of Pamlico County better than the other candidates.”
Sawyer, 47, is from Hobucken. He now lives in Mesic. He graduated from Pamlico County High School in 1985 and attended Methodist College in Fayetteville. He finished his law enforcement training at Craven Community College. He is married and has an 18-year-old son.
He and Spruill did not differ on what both called the major crime issue in the county – drugs.
Sawyer said it is the major problems of sheriffs throughout the state.
He noted earlier that his department had arrested 16 major drug dealers in the county in recent years – mostly cocaine dealers.
He said drugs remain an uphill battle for law enforcement, since cocaine and heroin are not of U.S. origin.
He also said that prescription drugs, sold by people who have legal prescriptions, are the most difficult to control.
Spruill, 55, lives in his home town of Merritt. He was a 1978 graduate of Pamlico County High School and attended Pamlico Community College for certification as a certified fire fighter II and fire instructor II with specialties in Hazard Materials and Live Fire. He attended Craven Community College in 2002 for Basic Law Enforcement. He obtained state certification as an Arson Investigator and is a law enforcement instructor with a specialty in Hazard Materials. Spruill was fire marshal and EMS director for the county before going to work in Afghanistan for the past two years.
He is married and has two daughters and five grandchildren.
He had called for “new leadership and professionalism” at the top of the local department.
Buck Edges Potter In District 3 County Commissioner Primary
Pamlico News Staff
John Buck of Stonewall won a narrow victory over Derek Potter Tuesday for the District 3 Pamlico County Commissioner Democrat nomination to face Republican challenger Ed Riggs in the November election.
Buck, a member of the county planning board and past chairman, got 53 percent of the vote in the five precincts that include all or parts of Stonewall, Bayboro, Alliance and Grantsboro – a total of 221.
Potter, a county native, local farmer and civic leader who has lived in Alliance for the past 14 years, received 47 percent of the vote – a total of 198. He is a Pamlico Soil and Water Conservation District board member and past chairman.
The District 3 seat has been held for years by Jimmy Spain of Stonewall, who is retiring from his work as county commissioner.
Buck, who cast his ballot in One-Stop voting last Thursday, was in Virginia election day, working on engines of scallop boats.
“Naturally, I’m excited,” said Buck, who added that he was not aware of his victory until he was called by the newspaper.
“I appreciate the confidence people have shown in me and I hope it carries on to the general election and that they will get behind me and let me show what I can do.”
Buck said the difference was likely his “age and experience.”
“He’s (Potter) a good guy, but that’s probably what it is,” Buck said. “I’ve had experience on the planning board and I’ve brought a lot to the table to help the county at that level, as well as well as when the town of Stonewall appointed me to the sewer board.”
Buck said his experiences on those boards added to his belief in fairness.
“I am by the rules and I try to help people,” he said. “It has got to be the same for everybody. I don’t want somebody to come in and because they are a wealthy individual or a big corporation and they get a little preferential treatment. I don’t think that is right. We are all the same. That is the biggest thing I bring to the table. That is how I operate.”
Buck said that public service called for dedication.
“If you are serving this county as a commissioner, you’re serving the county,” he said. “They (public) are not serving you. Because you are elected from this district (3), you still have to look out for the welfare and well-being and finances of the whole county.”
Buck, who owns Hurricanes Boat Yard and repairs marine engines, said he will continue to point to his business experience going into the general election.
“The good Lord has let us succeed,” he said. “That applies to the county level, as well. We have collect money, do it fairly and make it work.”
Talking two hours after the Pamlico polls closed from a Hampton, Va., motel.
“I have a lot of customers in Pamlico County who are commercial fishermen,” he said. “The scallop season is their busiest time of the year and I’ve got to be there to look after them. They look out for me and give me a way to make a living for my family.”
Arrest Made in Mobile Meth Lab Case
A routine traffic stop on Highway 306 in Arapahoe at approximately 3 a.m. Tuesday morning, May 6, led to the arrest of Wesley Sykes. He is a suspect for possessing a mobile meth lab. Scott Houston, Narcotics Investigator with the Pamlico County Sheriff’s Office, told the Pamlico News that when the car was stopped, the passenger jumped from the vehicle and attempted to leave the scene, allegedly dropping a plastic water bottle in a nearby driveway that was cooking methamphetamine. Houston described the bottle as a one-pot cooker using the shake and bake method. He reported that the suspect was captured a short distance away and it was discovered that there were several outstanding warrants for him for cooking meth in another county. Later Tuesday morning, members of the Sheriff’s department were waiting for the State Bureau of Investigation Clandestine Crime Lab to arrive and properly disuse of the bottle which still appeared to be an active environmental threat. Houston emphasized that passerby’s to the scene should understand that the crime scene on 306 in Arapahoe did not involve any of the nearby residencies.
Hardison Guilty, Sentencing Set
NEW BERN - A two-week trial and two-hour jury deliberation is over for Judy Hardison but “the price” is yet to be determined.
The owner of the defunct Triple H Plumbing Co., Hardison will face sentencing Tuesday after being convicted of six counts of contaminating a public water system, a class C felony, and one count of obtaining property by false pretenses, a class H felony April 30.
Hardison, 52, was found guilty on all charges and could possibly face up to 50 years in prison for the crimes. Currently Hardison is in Craven County jail.
Facing multiple counts of contaminating Pamlico County’s water system that affected thousands of residents and costing the county $80,000, Hardison opted to have her day in court after turning down a plea deal. Rodney Brame, 44, whom Hardison was convicted of paying to break at least six water lines testified against her.
Brame admitted to purposely damaging water pipes pleading guilty to six felony counts involving Hardison’s firm under contract with Pamlico County Water Department to do the emergency repairs.
In accepting the plea, Brame, 44, gave up his right to a jury trial and agreed to serve four consecutive 6-17 month terms followed by probation in lieu of serving two additional consecutive 6-17 terms. That translates to a total prison sentence of 24-68 months. Brame’s sentencing is scheduled for Monday.
Court records indicate that on six separate occasions Brame used a metal probe which he would position it directly over an underground water pipe, hit it repeatedly with a sledgehammer, and wait for water to start gushing out of the ground. Both the metal bar and hammer were found in Brame’s vehicle.
Pamlico County Sheriff’s deputies took notice after the third water pipe break prompting the investigation which led to Brame being identified as the perpetrator.
The damage which took place during November and December, 2012 affected several hundred to a thousand customers in Arapahoe, Minnesott Beach, Messic, and Maribel.
Commercial Fishermen Request Closure
After State Fails to Monitor Drum Catches
By Maureen Donald
The Pamlico News
The apparent successful rebuilding of Red Drum stocks and a lack of timely monitoring by the state has prompted commercial fishermen to call for a closure that could result in less flounder on North Carolina tables this year.
The action is in response to a press release from the North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries (NCDMF) announcing that preliminary calculations of commercial red drum landings between Sept. 1 and Nov. 23 totaled 260,866 pounds, exceeding the annual harvest limit by 10,866 pounds. As a result, the state announced the 2014 Spring/Summer Red Drum would not open due to late monitoring by the state.
At a meeting called by the North Carolina Fisheries Association (NCFA) Monday in New Bern, commercial fishermen decided that while it is legal to set a large mesh gillnet to catch flounder, one of the favorite fish for restaurants and seafood markets, the current commercial closure on drum would result in waste of the resource.
“What some fail to realize or acknowledge is that commercial fishermen are the best stewards of the resource,” said Brent Fulcher, NCFA Board Chairman. “We have to be - our living depends on it. This recommendation is an example of the solidarity of this industry and our focus on preserving the resource for all.”
The motion passed unanimously calls for a complete closure of all internal waters to the use of large mesh gillnets May1-31 and a limited opening June 1-July 31 with a four (4) red drum bycatch provision in specific locations. On August 1, the restrictions do not apply and the bycatch allowance would be increased to seven (7) red drum per day. The measure also calls for weekly dealer reporting of red drum, as opposed to the currently monthly requirement. (See page 6A for complete motion).
“This situation should never have happened,” said Jerry Schill, President of the NCFA. “Given that, the commercial industry has stepped up yet again to protect the resource for both the consumer and the fishermen who make their living by helping to assure a healthy fishery.”
The state’s Red Drum plan splits the state’s commercial red drum harvest into two seasons. A Sept. 1- April 30 season is allocated 150,000 pounds of the annual harvest limit, and a May 1-Aug. 31 season is allocated 100,000 pounds.
The division closed the 2013 fall/winter season Nov. 23 after calculations just from electronically-submitted trip tickets showed fishermen had caught 144,258 pounds of the 150,000-pound harvest limit. Later calculations included landings reported on paper trip tickets and showed the fall fishery had exceeded the entire annual harvest limit.
Pamlico Commissioners Cut Deficit by $250,000
Pamlico News Staff
BAYBORO - Pamlico County Commissioners trimmed about $250,000 from a $700,000 budget shortfall Monday during a special budget work session.
The majority of the slice comes in reducing a Pamlico County Schools request for capital expense from about $367,000 to $150,000. That funding would be $50,000 less than the schools received for capital this current fiscal year.
County Manager Tim Buck said Monday that the commissioners entered Monday’s meeting with a $716,000 deficit, based on projected revenues for the coming year of $16.3 million against expenses and requests totaling $17 million.
The county budget, which must be balanced and passed by the end of June, began last month with a $1.5 million deficit, based on $15.9 million in revenue and $17.4 in expenses.
The schools presented its budget to the commissioners on April 21, seeking a small increase of 2.9 percent in current expenses, but an 85.5 percent hike in money for capital projects. Categories for capital include building and grounds; furniture and equipment; and vehicles.
Buck noted that commissioners do not earmark where money can be spent by the schools as to individual projects.
Among the large items the school said it needed was $65,000 to upholster the seats in the county high school auditorium; $36,000 for new bleacher seats on the visitors’ side at the Pamlico High gym and $60,000 for four new light poles for the high school baseball field.
The schools local request for the operations of four schools under the Pamlico County Board of Education was $2.6 million, a $34,000 increase.
The commissioners on Monday agreed to fund $50,000 more in operational expenses than this year. But, that is $39,000 less than the requested $89,000 increase.
The schools also make local operations budget requests for the Arapahoe Charter School, a public school with its own board. The charter school request was $567,000, an increase of $55,000.
The commissioners also were in consensus to reduce the Pamlico Community College preliminary capital request by about $40,000. That is the cost of a parking lot paving project and an electronic sign, each about $20,000.
The board agreed to maintain the current expense request submitted by the college.
The college will make its official presentation to the commissioners on May 5. It is the last major agency outside of county departments to make a budget presentation.
Another cut was about $8,000 from the request from the county division of the forestry service.
The board also looked at two new positions requested by the Department of Social Services, which would add about $30,000 in increased debt. Buck said the positions are needed for an increased work load, much related to the Affordable Care Act. One position is 50 percent reimbursable for the county from state and federal sources and the other is 75 percent reimbursable.
Buck said the remaining shortfall on the budget will now include returning to county department heads for any additional cuts, as well as looking again at slicing some county capital projects.
He said at least one more special session by commissioners is likely. The final budget workshop typically comes in May.
Sheriff’s Race Pits Sawyer Vs Spruill
By Martha L. Hall
Pamlico News Staff
The May 6 Pamlico County Democrat Primary for sheriff will determine whether incumbent Billy Sawyer or challenger David Spruill, former Emergency Management director and fire marshal -- will run against Republican Chris Davis, a Martin County sheriff’s detective from Bayboro, in November.
Spruill and Sawyer are both from Pamlico County and spoke of directing their best efforts toward law and order in Pamlico County.
Sawyer pointed to his 24 years in service to Pamlico County as sheriff.
“I started my career in Pamlico County and I enjoy what I do,” he said. “I’ve enjoyed serving the people of Pamlico County and I want to continue. This is where I want to finish my career.”
Sawyer began his career in law enforcement on June 18, 1989 as a reserve deputy and went full time in December of 1990.
“I started as a patrol deputy and I have more experience than the other candidates,” he said. “I have dedicated my whole life to the people of Pamlico County and I know the people of Pamlico County better than the other candidates.”
He went to Basic Law Enforcement Training and in 1993 was promoted to investigator. He made captain in 1997 and held that position until he won the sheriff’s election.
Sawyer, 47, is from Hobucken. He now lives in Mesic. He graduated from Pamlico County High School in 1985 and attended Methodist College in Fayetteville. He finished his law enforcement training at Craven Community College. He is married and has an 18-year-old son.
“Law enforcement is different every day,” he said. “Drugs are always a problem. Every sheriff in the state is going to have opposition and that is what their opponents are going to harp on. We’ve been involved in the war on drugs, but from day to day this job changes.”
Sawyer said his department has arrested 16 major drug dealers in the county in recent years – mostly cocaine dealers.
“I wish I could change the drug situation,” he said. “Cocaine and heroin are not manufactured in the United States. That comes from overseas. The Federal government can’t stop it because the resources are unlimited. There’s not a sheriff in the state that can stop drugs from being in their counties.”
Spruill says prescription drugs are the most difficult to control since those in possession are legal if the drug as prescribed for them.
Spruill, 55, lives in his home community of Merritt. He was a 1978 graduate of Pamlico County High School and attended Pamlico Community College for certification as a certified fire fighter II and fire instructor II with specialties in Hazard Materials and Live Fire. He attended Craven Community College in 2002 for Basic Law Enforcement. He obtained state certification as an Arson Investigator and is a law enforcement instructor with a specialty in Hazard Materials. Spruill was fire marshal and EMS director for the county before going to work in Afghanistan for the past two years.
He is married and has two daughters and five grandchildren.
“When elected Sheriff I look forward to serving the citizens of Pamlico County and will be a Sheriff for the citizens who will be visible and approachable,” he said. “I plan to bring new leadership and professionalism to the Department. I will reach out to the public for support and begin a public tip line to help combat our ever growing drug problem as well as increase training among all employees.”
Spruill said he also wanted to see a drug prevention program back in the school system.
“There are both state and federal grant programs available for combatting crime,” Spruill said.
“There are also community watch programs in several communities such as Reelsboro which are excellent. We need more. I believe the Sheriff’s Department and the citizens of Pamlico County working together can only better our county.”
During a forum earlier this spring, Spruill said he was running for sheriff because it was another part of his career of public service and helping the people of Pamlico County.
He said he wanted to bring a higher level of professionalism to the sheriff’s department leadership and get more training for deputies. He said that could be accomplished through a variety of avenues, including grants.
Pet Parade Is Annual Chance for Dogs, Owners to ‘Dress Up’
Pamlico News Staff
ORIENTAL - Residents here flock to outdoor events, especially ones where there is a chance to go in costume.
The ninth annual Pamlico Animal Welfare Society Pet Parade is a double chance to “dress up” - dogs and owners.
The themes are totally from the minds of those who show up and enter.
The event has a panel of judges. This year’s group included Skip Waters, head meteorologist at TV-12 in New Bern; Maureen Donald, editor of the Pamlico News; and Cat Clowers, head librarian at the Pamlico County Library.
The winners included:
Best Behaved - Raven, owned by Jaden Wong.
Funniest - Clarence, owned by Ed Braun.
Best Candidate from New Leash on Life Award - Daisy, owned by Ed Duer.
Most Lookalike - Bella, owned by Jessica Brown.
Best Theme - Lilly, owned by Scott and Wendy Cole.
Cutest - Wilder, owned by Emerson McMillan.
Most Unusual - Petey & Shiloh, owned by Sherri Hicks.
Best Costume - Ella Fitzgerald, owned by Nancy Walker.
Judge-Opt - Tank, owned by Ashley Hardison.
Run Away with Judges’ Attention - Buck, owned by Lacey Ragan.
Best in Show - ‘Gangster Bert,’ owned by Marguerite Garrett.
Bow Bow Good Dog Award - Page, owned by Ben Bruno.
A fourth judge is always roaming the grounds - for a good cause.
That’s because it is the “Bribing Judge,” this year performed with passion by Nancy Hiller. She wore a black robe and English white wig. She carried a purse with a flip-up mirror and asked competitors to look at themselves in the mirror and dare say they could not donate.
The winner of the bribe award was Rockey, owned by Isabelle Wilkinson.
Many of the animals in the parade are rescue dogs, such as Ella Fitzgerald, a beagle; Skipper, a rescue beagle-Jack Russell Terrier owned by Liz Lathrop; and Bell, a mix-breed rescue dog owned by Grace Evans. Bell was first rescued by FEMA in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene in 2011.
Saturday’s event had special guests from Home Place in New Bern, which had residents as old as 101. They were given front row seats across the street from Lou Mac Park and got personal visits by many of the parading canines.
PAWS’ next event is Saturday night when the Pamlico group is the invited guests to the sixth annual Fur Ball at the New Bern Riverfront Convention Center. It is a major fundraising effort for area animal rescue groups.
Proceeds from Saturday’s parade go toward low-cost/no-cost spay and neuter assistance, pet food pantry and New Leash on Life programs.
PAWS primary mission is assisting with the cost of spaying and neutering to reduce the number of animals euthanized in shelters. It is also dedicated to “Helping the Helpless” by educating the community about humane and responsible pet ownership, helping needy pets by providing dog and cat food from its Pet Pantry, giving money toward veterinary care, and helping find good homes for animals needing adoption.
PAWS relies solely on fundraising activities and tax-deductible contributions.
More information about PAWS: http://www.pamlicopaws.com
Local Races Expected to Draw Heavy Early Voting
Pamlico News Staff
BAYBORO - One-Stop Voting in Pamlico County, which begins Thursday, could bring a heavy turnout with three contested local races on the May 6 Primary ballot.
During 2010, the last time there were contested local county elections, 277 voters cast ballots. That was from 9,128 who were eligible.
One-Stop voting begins Thursday and continues through May 3. It is a shorter early voting period than in the past.
The Pamlico County Elections office plans to have five voting machines ready for voters at the One-Stop site, the elections office in the county courthouse, 202 Main St. in Bayboro.
The voting times are weekdays only, except for the final day. The voting hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday through April 30.
On May 1 and 2, the hours will extend to 8 p.m. and voting concludes on May 3, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The races are for sheriff, a county commissioner seat and two places on the county school board.
Incumbent Sheriff Billy Sawyer Jr. is being challenged in the Democrat primary by former EMS Director/Fire Marshall David Spruill. The winner will meet Republican Bayboro resident and Martin County detective Chris Davis in November.
With the retirement of Jimmy Spain, the Pamlico County Board of Commissioners District 3 seat is open, with John Buck and Derek Potter meeting in the Democrat primary. The winner faces Republican Ed Riggs in the fall.
Incumbent at-large school board members Reginald Hawkins and Garry Cooper are being challenged for their seats by retired educators Judy Humphries and Paul Delamar Jr.
Incumbent state Sen. Norman Sanderson of Minnesott Beach will await the winner of a three-person Democrat primary. The candidates are Dorthea E. White of New Bern, Carroll “Carr” Ipock II of New Bern and Fernie Hymon of Beafort.
Incumbent Democrat at-large Pamlico Commissioners Paul Delamar III and Ann Holton, along with District 4 Commissioner Carl Ollison are unopposed this year.
Incumbent Pamlico school board member Beatrice Miller Mays is unopposed in District 4.
Also unopposed this year is Pamlico Clerk of Court Steven E. Hollowell, a Democrat.
Schools Seek Huge Increase in Capital Projects; Little Else
Pamlico News Staff
BAYBORO - The Pamlico County Schools budget request to the county commissioners Monday night included a small increase of 2.9 percent in current expenses, but an 85.5 percent hike in money for capital projects. Categories for capital include building and grounds; furniture and equipment; and vehicles.
The commissioners will likely get serious with their intentions for the requests when they hold another of a series of budget workshops on Monday. The school’s budget presentation is part of the commissioners’ ongoing work on a new county budget for 2014-15, which goes into effect July 1.
The schools are seeking $3,163,478 in county money for local current expenses, an $89,340 increase from the current fiscal year.
The county gave the schools $200,000 this year for capital and the new request is $371,000. It is weighted by $221,000 for furniture and equipment. That category, in turn, included $65,000 to upholster the Pamlico County High School Auditorium’s 762 seats.
Steve Curtis, the schools’ finance director, told the commissioners and a crowd of about 70 school staff, supporters and school board candidates that the auditorium is used heavily by the community. He called the current seating “an eyesore.”
“It would be huge for the community,” he said. “It is used more by the community than by the high school.”
The furniture and equipment grouping also includes the technology request, which totals $101,600, an increase of $34,000.
Some other high-dollar capital requests included $36,000 for new bleacher seats on the visitors’ side at the Pamlico High gym and $60,000 for four new light poles for the high school baseball field.
The schools made no requests for new vehicles.
During commissioners questioning, Ann Holton noted that she did not see anything for increasing teacher supplements, which are currently $1,500.
She pointed out that it had been years since teachers got a pay hike from the state. She mentioned the figure $100 while talking about increasing the supplement.
“I know $100 is not a lot, but it is a thank you,” she said.
Curtis said the last local supplement increase came in the 2007-08 year, when teachers got an extra $100 to the current level.
As for another increase, Curtis agreed that teachers “deserve it absolutely,” but said the schools were “not comfortable asking.”
Commissioners Chairman Paul Delamar III was straight-forward in his rebuke of that answer, saying it “doesn’t hold water when you look at the capital request.”
Curtis noted that the school’s capital allocation declined the past two years from a high of $400,000 in consecutive years.
He added that state funding by the legislature had taken a heavy toll, decreasing $1.7 million in the past five years.
The schools local request for the operations of four schools under the Pamlico County Board of Education is $2.6 million, a $34,000 increase.
The schools also make local operations budget requests for the Arapahoe Charter School, which is a public school with its own board. Charter schools are not allocated capital government funding.
The charter school request is $567,000, an increase of $55,000.
Curtis supplied numbers on the average daily membership for the four schools in Bayboro and the charter school.
It showed 1,272 students for 2013-14 in the four county schools and 254 for the charter school. Estimates for 2014-15 show an anticipated decrease for the county schools of 12 students and an increase of 21 at the charter school, which will add the 10th grade.
The commissioners’ public budget workshop Monday begins at 9 a.m. on the second floor of the county courthouse in Bayboro.
Cancer Survivor Proudly Leading the Fight
By Martha L. Hall
Pamlico News Staff
ARAPAHOE – Vanessa Gaskins, a Pamlico County employee with Environmental Health, is a team leader for the county’s Relay for Life on May 2. She will walk the Survivor’s Walk as a breast cancer survivor with her mother and two aunts; this has been a family disease and it has taken a toll. One of her aunts died in 2012.
Gaskins had just graduated from Pamlico County High School in 2002 when she discovered her mother had cancer. Two of the aunts had cancer before Gaskins’ mother. One aunt discovered her cancer in 2011 – the same year as Vanessa.
“She discovered hers in June,” said Gaskins. “That was really what made me go. I had just had a baby. That was when I really felt the lump in my breast. They were treating it like a milk duct. It was still there. It hadn’t moved or gotten smaller. I just felt like I should really call somebody.”
She called a nurse, Kelly Matthews, who was working at the Pamlico County Health Department at the time.
Matthews said she needed a second opinion and made an appointment for Gaskins at the East Carolina Women’s Center in New Bern. She was operated on in November, 2011.
“I hate to have that 5-year survival rate hanging over my head,” said Gaskins, “but I am glad I’m still here. My mother has been a survivor for 12 years.”
In three weeks, Gaskins goes for a consultation about a hysterectomy. Doctors have told her she can’t have more children because of her family history. She hasn’t come to grips with that yet. Her child Is 3 years old.
“I have been having so many issues,” she said. “My port had to be taken out. I went into the hospital twice with blood clots, one behind the port and one in my arm.”
Gaskins goes to the hospital every six months for a blood test to check for metastasis.
“I am tired,” she said. “Right now I’m trying to get back into shape because I was always into sports – volleyball, basketball, softball. For me not to be doing much now is hard on me. Right now, we’ve started a women’s volleyball league at Pamlico Middle School two days a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays and that’s been wonderful.”
She said precaution is the best advice she can offer to any woman, along with an upfront attitude.
“I would say the best advice I could give them is to keep an eye on it and get checked,” she said. “Unless you tell the doctor what is going on they won’t check. Particularly, talk to your doctor if you have a family history.”
She mother and her attended Relay for Life at Pamlico County High School before she was ever diagnosed.
“The nurse saw my mom walking the Survivor Walk and asked why she was walking. I told her about my mom being a survivor and about my aunts and she said ‘We should get you checked,’” Gaskins recalled.
It was a wise decision.
Simpson Takes Interim Head Job at Cooperative Extension
By Martha L. Hall
Pamlico News Staff
ALLIANCE – Daniel Simpson, agent for horticultural and environmental education, has accepted the interim job of Cooperative Extension director for Pamlico County, beginning May 1.
“Our director since Bill Ellers retired has been Tom Glascow, the director from Craven County,” said Simpson. “We don’t know exactly what’s going to happen because we’re going through extension restructuring. It will go on until late spring.”
Simpson is a native of Pamlico County. His father is the minister at the Oriental Free Will Baptist Church; the elder Simpson, a plumber, also teaches the plumbing course at the prison. His mother teaches at Fred Anderson Elementary School.
“I was raised in Alliance,” said Simpson. “That’s where I’ve been for the past 15 years.”
He graduated from Pamlico County High School in 2003.
As a cooperative extension agent, one would assume that Simpson attended N.C. State University. He did, but it was two years after going to West Point and discovering that military life was not his cup of tea.
So where did his interest in agriculture come from?
“The only true farm work I did was to help bale hay for Denard Potter, the career technical teacher at the high school. That was between West Point and N.C. State,” he said. “I also helped my daddy and granddaddy with his garden. When I came home from college in the summer, I came home and only had one summer in between N.C. State and I worked for Camp Seafarer. That was one summer job. The other one was scouting cotton. Scouts go out in the field and look for bugs and disease and let the farmers know their recommendations.”
Simpson said most of the growers had gotten out of cotton because it is so labor-intensive to grow.
“Two weeks after I graduated, I went to work for Pamlico County Cooperative Extension,” said Simpson. “I’ve been there for six years.”
Asked what he would need to become the permanent head of the cooperative extension, Simpson said a very involved resume and application and his Master’s Degree.
He will achieve the degree the end of this month in Agriculture and Extension Education. He would also have to achieve associate level. That is where the involved application comes in; he is now an assistant agent.
“Essentially I am assuming administrative responsibilities for the office,” he said. “I can always call Tom Glascow if I need to know something. Basically, I am still doing my job.”
Simpson said he was looking forward to doing the best job he could in terms of administrative roles.
“We’re here to offer advice to the citizens of Pamlico County,” Simpson said. “Whether that advice falls in beekeeping, growing fruits and vegetables or to help the farmers and just to help folks be healthier – that’s what we’re here for.”
Motorcycle Wreck Fatal for Well-Known
Pamlico County Pastor
By Martha L. Hall
Pamlico News Staff
A Pamlico County minister, well-known for his charitable work within the community, was killed Saturday during a benefit motorcycle ride.
Richard C. Baldwin died Saturday in Craven County when his motorcycle crashed during a charity ride. Baldwin, 68, of Oriental, was the pastor of Amnity Christian Church in Grantsboro; the former pastor of Stonewall/Bayboro United Methodist Church; a man who played Santa Claus and one who worked tirelessly for Pamlico Partnership for Children as well as other charities.
According to the North Carolina Highway Patrol, Baldwin was operating a 2013 Harley Davidson motorcycle in the Journey of Hope Cancer Support Center ride, which began at the New Bern Cancer Care.
At 10:40 a.m., while traveling. on Aurora Road near the Beaufort County line, he tried to pass some of the other riders, lost control and went off the left side of the road in a curve, striking a railroad tie on the shoulder of the roadway. He then hit a ditch bank and rolled over into a water-filled ditch.
According to investigators, speed was a factor in the crash.
“It was just a shock,” said Dixie Gatlin, a member of Stonewall/Bayboro United Methodist Church. “We had him for nine years. He went ahead and got some courses to become a Christian church minister and he was at the Amnity Christian Church in Grantsboro for two years. He got the churches together and did a lot for Fishes and Loaves. Richard just left an impression on everyone – to do more, to use our hands and feet more to serve others.”
The Rev. Ray Lewis, pastor at Rock of Zion Free Will Baptist Church in Grantsboro, rode with Baldwin as part of the Christian Motorcyclist Association.
“I knew Richard very well,” said Lewis. “We had breakfast together every Thursday morning and we were together when he had his accident. It was a difficult time, that’s for sure. It happened in a curve and it looks like he just ran off the road.”
Lewis said he had known Baldwin for five years.
The Rev. Penny Dollar Farmer, a friend of Baldwin’s, said he was an incredibly giving and creative man.
“If he knew there was a problem with somebody – if they needed a home or shelter – he would be after it just like a dog with a bone,” she said. “But he never took credit for anything. He just was tenacious. He was always cheerful but he was so compassionate and sympathetic that he would cry. He wanted to push for justice for everybody. It was just the bare bones of wanting people to have the physical help they needed. He would bend over backwards to help. He was always volunteering, always helping. He was always a true friend.”
A celebration of Baldwin’s life will be held on Thursday, April 17, at 3 p.m. at the Broad Creek Christian Church, 45 Olympia Road.
It will be officiated by the Rev. Farmer, the Rev. Lewis, and the Rev. Grady Burroughs. Visitation with the family will be at 2 p.m.
Stop Hunger Now Packs Meals in Pamlico County
By Martha L. Hall
Pamlico News Staff
ORIENTAL – On Saturday, 45 volunteers met at the Oriental United Methodist Church to pack 10,000 meals costing 25 cents each for the national Stop Hunger Now program.
“It was wonderful,” enthused Joan Lilley, in charge of the Missions Team that planned and carried out the packing of foodstuffs – mainly soy and rice – for delivery within the next two years to countries needing assistance from storms, volcanoes, bad weather and disasters. “The young people didn’t show this time. They had all kinds of outings – trips to Washington, D.C. But this turned out to be a community event, not just for folks in our church. We did have some visitors come and pitch in. Now, everyone wants to know if we’re going to do it again. They had a good time.”
For two hours or more, the volunteers weighed, measured and sealed the packages for storage and transport.
“We placed them in boxes and each box has a two-year date on it,” said Lilley. “These boxes go into storage. Most of the boxes from this part of the country go to central and South America. They go to schools, orphanages and to areas hit by the Tsunami that hit the Philippines or earthquakes. We bought shares. We figured that if we had 100 people that would buy a share for $25, the cost would be covered.”
Lilley said she was still getting donations coming in.
“It has really created a lot of synergism – when energy seeps off energy,” Lilley said.
Lilley said they would not do it again this year.
“We’re going to have a missions committee meeting tomorrow to discuss it,” she said. “We do take care of the needs in our county through Fishes and Loaves. We participate in the knapsack project where we send food home for children for the weekend. We do a lot in the county but we also do outreach.”
Lilley said the Stop Hunger Now ministry was begun in 1998 by a Methodist pastor.
“It’s nationwide,” she said. “We had a cousin who did it in Pittsburgh. She is 87 years old – a real ‘energizer bunny.’ She does it through her church.”
Lilley said she brought up the idea when she attended a Methodist Conference in Greensboro last year.
“They wanted people at the conference to help when they weren’t going to meetings,” she said. “It took us about two hours yesterday. We were there at 8:30 and were done by noon. The church was cleaned up by 12:30 p.m. The people from Raleigh brought in the equipment to pack the meals – scales, funnels, plastic tubs and plastic bags. Then they had the sealing machines and the boxes that had to be set up to hold the food.”
According to Lilley, it was a great project.
“We used ‘runners’ – 7 and 8 year olds to run the bags of food to the next table,” she said. “There was something for all ages.”
Boat show’s new venue brings steady crowds for weekend
Pamlico News Staff
ORIENTAL - The new venue for the sixth annual Oriental In-Water Boat Show accomplished some goals this past weekend.
It provided an expanded venue setting on the Oriental waterfront, allowed visitors easy walking-distance access to most downtown businesses and it brought new faces to town - where tourism is in the forefront.
The event is a fundraiser for the Oriental Rotary Club and its community projects.
Event organizer Sam Myers said Monday morning that the total attendance was more than 1,500 people over three days, a 5 percent increase from 2013. Saturday’s crowd of more than 960 was about equal to the 2013 record-breaking Saturday visitors.
Myers said that numbers were still being collected for food, a raffle and T-shirt sales, but it appeared the show cleared about $25,000 - a record and about 10 percent more than in 2013.
There were visitors from as far away as the North Carolina Mountains.
As with many events such as this, it fulfilled a local goal of bringing in first-time and returning visitors.
Brian McGlynn, a Duke University professor, hydrologist and fresh water scientist, is relatively new to North Carolina, moving to the state less than two years ago from Montana.
He took advantage of the suddenly-spring weather to come “looking and exploring” with his three children, Isla, Marin and Eoin.
“We’ve never been here,” he said, guiding the children along the docks. “I like this area.”
He grew up in the Great Lakes area and wants his children to experience the sailing he enjoyed growing up.
“In the short term, we’ll look for something to help them learn,” he said. His “dream boat” is a 40-foot-plus oceans vessel.
A boat show attracts those with a background in sailing such as Richard and Penny Flaherty, who now live in Oriental.
They first discovered oriental in the mid-1980s when their Lexington, Ky., sailing club took a “five-day weekend” to the North Carolina coast. They chartered a boat from Whitakers Creek for a trip to Ocracoke.
In 2005 they bought property and bought a house in 2011.
“We lived in Florida for 18 years and never had a hurricane,” he said. “We came here and within a week and had a hurricane - our first. Hopefully, it’s our last.”
They had already made plans to go cruising for the next two years on their 40-foot Manta Catamaran. They left in January 2012.
They returned and have proudly called Oriental home since last year.
“There is nothing not to love here,” said Penny.
They had the 40-footer for sale Saturday at the show.
Another local couple who were “just looking” and enjoying the weather was Bob and Lisa Bernett, New Jersey transplants who have lived in the Dawson Creek area for nine years, come August.
They own two power boats and lived on the water in New Jersey, as well.
She found their Pamlico County home online and they contacted Mariner Realty. The acre and a half with a 200-foot bulkhead area was a quick sale.
“We went to Marina and got the key. I got half-way down the road and said there is nothing else to look at,” said Bob. “It is beautiful. We really got lucky.”
Brokers and boat company owners such as Sonny Conover of Cape Lookout Yachts in downtown Oriental were having a good time, too.
Conover, a businessman here for 11 years, brought three boats to the show. They were among 36 which were docked for visitors to visit.
“I think the new location is the way to go,” he said. “By incorporating the town, it is helping local businesses It is helping the town more than the other side of the bridge.”
The show had been a Pecan Grove Marina, located across the Robert Scott high-rise bridge, with eyesight of town. Pecan Grove’s success and the growth of the boat show prompted a moved to the Oriental waterfront this year.
“It’s amazing what a bridge does,” Conover said. “People come into town. They go over the bridge to get to the boat show. They leave the boat show and fly over (the bridge) and they don’t get a chance to meander into the town like they are now.”
Conover said that from a worst year (2008) during the economic downtown, the boating industry has rebounded.
“We’re all feeling it, but I think it’s getting stronger each year,” he said. “It’s not back where it really should be, yet.”
A sign of the upswing was the increased number of boats and vendors, including large companies such as Bennett Brother Yachts of Wilmington.
The 28-year-old company, with a 75-slip marina dockage and repair facilities for power, sail and trawlers, gets business from this area as far as north as the Chesapeake Bay, according to broker Peter Kurki.
The company decided it needed to visit.
“It’s a new area for us,” he said. “We’ve had clients sail and steam down from Oriental. The work in the region (here) is good. They just can’t get in. There is a little bit of an up-kick in the economy and people want to get their boats done quickly.”
The show offered opportunity for out-of-town nonprofits to get exposure, such as the Hope Floats NC kayak group, which raises money and awareness for cancer research. They ended a long trip down the Neuse River at the show, and had a booth.
The Military Missions in Action of Fuquay-Varina and Southern Pines was on hand, with leader Mike Doorman, whose group is currently raising funds and seeking volunteers for continued work on an American Heroes Home Build at the Nature’s Run subdivision near Arapahoe. The new home will be given to a disabled American veteran.
Pamlico County nonprofits such as Habitat for Humanity and Girls on the run benefitted by operating parking lots to raise money for their work.
One of the attractions was a boat-building demonstration by Carteret County master-builder Heber Guthrie and his crew.
Henry Campen, an attorney from Raleigh, won the Heber Guthrie skiff.
“As hoped Mr. Guthrie’s skiff proved a nice new attraction,” said Myers.
Community Forum Brings Out Most Pamlico Candidates
Pamlico News Staff
BAYBORO - Most of the Pamlico County candidates who will be either seeking office or a chance at a place on the November general election ballot came to a nonprofit-sponsored public forum last week at the county courthouse.
There are contested Democrat primary races for sheriff and a county commissioner seat on May 6. The school board has two seats open, with four candidates. The primary is the general election for those offices.
The Pamlico County Board of Education race is for two at-large seats, currently held by Chairman Reginald Hawkins, along with Garry Cooper. They are being challenged in the May Primary non-partisan school board general election by former educators Judy Humphries and Paul Delamar, Jr. All but Delamar appeared at the forum, sponsored by the 3-year-old nonprofit Citizens Involved in Government.
In two Democrat primary races for sheriff and county commissioner incumbent Sheriff Billy Sawyer sent a written statement, as did John Buck, who is seeking the District 3 county commissioner seat, vacated by the retirement of Jimmy Spain of Stonewall.
Sawyer’s primary opponent, David Spruill, was on hand for the forum. The winner faces Republican Chris Davis in November.
Democrat Derek Potter, who goes against Buck in May for the chance to meet Republican Ed Riggs in the fall, was also at the forum, which attracted a crowd of about 50 people. Buck also sent a written statement, which was read by the organizers.
Others who appeared at the two-hour forum were Congressional District Republican candidate Al Novinec and Democrat state Senate hopeful Fernie Hymon. Hymon is one of three Democrats in the primary and will face incumbent Sen. Norman Sanderson from Pamlico County in November.
Spruill, a former Pamlico Emergency Management director and fire marshal, said he wanted to bring improved standards to the department, along with a better line of communication between law enforcement and the public.
“What I want to bring to the office is more professionalism,” he said. “The guys over there are good. But in my opinion, I think we need new leadership, more leadership, a different leadership.”
He noted that there are successful Community Watch programs in the county, pointing specifically to one in Reelsboro. He said those programs are vital to help the sheriff’s department in its battle against the county’s top crime issue - drugs.
“If we hired 100 deputies, we can’t do this by ourselves,” he said. “The community groups are one way. Tips lead to arrests.”
He cited his experience in Emergency Management and ability to work with state and federal agencies. He pointed to grant opportunities at the state and national level to assist with funding training and equipment.
Humphries and Delamar, Jr. previously announced they were running as a team to gain the two school board positions.
Humphries gave the audience an overview of her background, which includes 36 years in public education in Wake and Pamlico counties.
When she retired in 2007 after 25 of those years in Pamlico County, she was the system’s director of technology. She told the audience that the local schools are “ready for the 21st century.” She noted that when she was hired in the early 1980s by then Superintendent George Brinson, the county had two Apple computers.
She promised to carry her approach as an educator into the board seat. She said, “Before we can oversee effectively, we must understand and examine all the issues.”
Humphries also expressed concerns that progress needed to be made in the way of local student performance results on state test scores.
She told the audience that she brought personal caring to the job, noting that she once gathered the information and wrote the grant to get heating and air conditioning units at Fred Anderson Elementary School.
“That did not have to do with technology,” she said. “That was because I care.”
Hawkins and Cooper both told the crowd that the current board of education is a solid, dedicated and detail-oriented group.
They also pointed to vastly improved graduation rates at the high school in recent years.
Each of the incumbents also echoed Humphries’ note of caring for the children.
Hawkins said his involvement with the schools includes daily visits and his work with programs dates to “Helping Hands” when he moved here.
“That is going into the schools, reading and doing anything that needs to be done,” he said. Hawkins was the school volunteer of the year in the state in 2005.
“We’ve got some very good teachers and I don’t know any other job where you can work six years and not get a raise,” he said. “That’s not from Pamlico County. It’s because of the state. I think our students do well and our teachers do a good job. And, it all works together.”
Hawkins and Cooper both said retaining teachers was a key issue, especially in light of the state plan to eliminate teacher tenure.
“We work hard to make sure that every kid in Pamlico County gets a fair shake and the best education that can be afforded for them,” he added.
Cooper, another local candidate who is a county native, has been in the public eye since his days as a star basketball player in the mid-1970s, through his tenure as county recreation director the past 20 years, along with adding the title of county public works director.
Cooper, who has served two different terms on the school board, pointed to his record of service and involvement in the county, especially with young people.
“My door is open. My phone line is open for anyone,” he said. “I don’t have a very elaborate speech, because I am who I am. People who know me - I am who I am. I’m a worker. I get in the trenches and that is what I do.”
He said his approach in recreation and education has always included all children of the county.
“I’m going to fight for you and I’m going to fight for your child and also, as long as I am on the school board, I’m going to fight for the teachers,” he said.
Potter called his bid for county commissioner his personal goal to give back to a county he said had been good to him.
He is a native, an N.C. State chemical engineering degree graduate who returned to Pamlico to farm.
“I’ve been farming ever since, a job I love, probably the largest industry in Pamlico County,” he said. “I want to give back and hopefully lead it into the future so far as strategically planning and long term goals. Along with those, there are short-term goals that have to be met.”
He used the ongoing repairs at the county courthouse as an example.
“We know the courthouse needs fixing. It has a crack in the wall back here,” he said. “We’ve known that, the building is going to deteriorate at some point. There should have been a plan in place to have that done already, not get to that and have to put a band-aid on it.”
He also called for the county to “become a leader.”
“We are rural. We always have been and always will be,” he said. “But we have some of the smartest minds and some of the best people on this earth. The salt of the earth live here in Pamlico County. They can be used and generate ideas so that we are the leader. Money helps, but money is not everything.”
He called for “wise use of our money” without waste. He also vowed support for the county’s 150 employees and those working for the public schools.
Pamlico Relay for Life In Need of Volunteers
By Martha L. Hall
BAYBORO - The Pamlico County Relay for Life was once an all-night event that attracted hundreds and its support in raising money for cancer research was award-winning for the size of the county.
But, that has dwindled since 2011’s Hurricane Irene devastated the county.
People who normally would volunteer and support the fundraiser were busy putting their lives back together.
Again this year, the need for volunteers is dire with the Relay scheduled at the Pamlico County High School Track on the evening of May 2.
There are currently 14 teams and according to the Cancer Society, the goal is 15 teams.
Erin Bright, based in Wilmington is the event coordinator and said that about $10,000 had been pledged to this point.
The Pamlico event has scaled back in recent years and is from 6 p.m. to midnight on May 2.
The Relay opens on the track at Pamlico County High School at 6 p.m., with opening ceremonies.
A luminaria ceremony, with the lighted tributes around the track, is slated for 9:30 p.m. The public can purchase these until about an hour before the ceremony.
The white bag luminaria are $10. Gold bag with stars are $25. Tribute Torches are $50.
With teams set up in the infield of the track, there should also be entertainment, although a band is still being lined up.
“We’ve got Zumba planned,” Bright added. “We will also have a womanless beauty pageant.
Some of the teams will be offering food, ranging from hot dogs to steak plates.
Bright said this year’s event needs volunteers. Even the night of the event could help in future Relays, she said.
“If anyone is interested, please call me,” Bright said. “If anyone is interested in helping just with the day-of activities, that’s fine. Or, if they want to volunteer to help on the committee, that would be wonderful. Any way we can get help, I will take it.”
Her telephone number is 252-559-0026.
At this point, Bright said she had only one Pamlico County committee member. Runnell King is the event co-chair, who lives in Bayboro.
She is excited about some of the team leaders, such as Vanessa Gaskins, a breast cancer survivor. She has three aunts and her mother who are also survivors.
“I am really excited that she is involved this year,” Bright said. “Hopefully, she will be able to pull a younger crowd in to get excited about it.”
Week of April 2, 2014
County Tackles $1.5 Million Deficit
Pamlico News Staff
BAYBORO - When Pamlico County Commissioners received a 380-plus-page preliminary budget packet prior to Monday’s special work session, they quickly saw their work - cut a $1.5 million deficit.
Many of the board members went no further than pages 5 through 7, which contained $533,000 in county departmental requests under the heading Capital/Major Projects/Supplies Request.
By the end of the hour-and-a-half morning session, they had identified nearly $300,000 in items that could be cut, adjusted or deferred to the future.
County Manager Tim Buck presented a budget with nearly $16 million in expected revenues, countered by requested expenses of $17.2 million.
Among the requests for increases were those of the Pamlico public schools, with $256,000 in increased spending requests for current expense ($89,340) and capital ($167,096.) The commissioners did not address the schools, pending an April 21 formal presentation.
Buck told the board that one possible adjustment was to increase the projected jail lease beds revenue from its conservative budget amount of $700,000 upward toward what the past two year’s rentals have produced - $1 million-plus.
That adjustment could be put to use to address jail and sheriff’s department requests later in the new fiscal year when “trends” show the potential bed lease income for next year.
The new fiscal year 2014-15 begins July 1.
The budget calls for about $210,000 for county employees to receeive a 2 percent cost of living hike totaling $100,000 and the cost of health insurance premiums, about $110,000.
Candidate Forum Set for Tuesday
By Martha L. Hall
Pamlico News Staff
BAYBORO – A public forum is scheduled next week for all Pamlico County candidates in the 2014 elections, which includes some races in the May primary and others in the November general election.
The forum is being sponsored by The Citizens Involved in Government, or CIG.
The April 8 forum will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Pamlico County Court House.
According to GIG Vice President Darryl Gibbs, producing the forum will aid people in making their own decisions for whom to vote. It will be accomplished by allowing the audience to ask questions of the candidates.
“Mainly it’s because there are a lot of senior citizens and there are a lot of citizens who don’t know the candidates,” said Gibbs. “Also some people will need ID cards by 2016.”
The Citizens Involved in Government (CIG) states their objective as identifying and resolving problems “within the community that can be solved through the political process and other means.”
Gibbs said CIG has been in existence for almost 3 years. There is a board of 15 members, who must go before the board to be admitted. Gibbs is the vice president; Monica Gibbs (no relation) is the president; Sandra Hawkins is the secretary.
“The reason for this forum is to let the people know what the candidates are saying,” said Gibbs. ”A time for each speaker can not be determined until we know how many we have, but we can say we’ll give them around 15-20 minutes,” said Gibbs. “All the candidates are welcome.”
Gibbs said each candidate will introduce themselves and let the public know what they are offering to the community. The audience will have a chance to question candidates about issues they have and ask candidates how they can resolve them.
The forum comes five weeks in advance of the May 6 primary, which will decide the fields for several November races, as well as serve as the general election for the school board.
Wet, Cold Weather Deals Blow to Local Farmers
By Martha L. Hall
Pamlico News Staff
The weather is always in the farmer’s eye, especially this time of year.
Coming off a cold, wet winter, early spring has not been much kinder.
The forces of nature affect a major segment of the local economy.
The total value for crops in Pamlico County in 2012, according to the state Department of Agriculture web state, was $23 million. That value ranked 49th among the state’s 100 counties.
Farmers are at a time now when wheat is still in the ground and they are preparing to plant corn.
“I don’t know that wheat has been affected much,” said Daniel Simpson, agriculture and horticulture agent for the NC Cooperative Extension. “Corn is a little late right now and they’ve had some problems with potatoes. It just depends on when they get it planted.”
He said corn was usually planted by mid-April.
I think a lot of folks were hoping to plant by this week but they’ve got to wait for the soil to warm up and it a little bit drier to get out there,” he said. “Other than the wheat, there’s nothing in the fields. It’s just a matter of waiting for it to warm up and dry up enough for them to plant corn. The only two crops I see out there field-crop-wise now are the wheat and rapeseed.”
Soybeans are a crop that doesn’t usually get planted until May.
“There’s probably a good chance they will be fine,” he said.
Al Spruill, who farms off N.C. 55 near Oriental, plants 900 acres of winter wheat, 1,300 acres of corn, 100 acres of soybeans and 100 acres of sorghum. And, because the wheat is a winter crop, the weather conditions are not worrying him so much.
Spruill looked over his wheat crop Friday and spoke from long experience.
“Weather doesn’t affect winter wheat as much as other crops,” he said. “It will fare pretty good. It has had enough rain, so it is time for it to start doing its thing. It’s ready for some dry weather. It is going to delay it, but I can’t say how much damage I think has happened to it.”
The corn crop is straddling the fence.
“We would like to be planting corn now, but we’re not late,” he said. “But neither the weather or the (soggy) field conditions are right at this time. We won’t plant any corn this week. Normally we start planting corner the last week of March until the 10th of April. We’re not late, but the weather and the field conditions have got a lot of changes to do before we can get started.”
Spruill has farmed his entire life, just like his father and grandfather did. He received a degree in agriculture from N.C. State.
The land has become a family tradition. He has two sons who help on the farm.
His 21-year-old daughter is a senior at State and plans to get her graduate degree in animal sciences; his 18-year-old son will be attending State next fall and will major in accounting/agricultural business. Spruill said his 16-year-old son had not made a decision yet.
Jim Holton, who grows strawberries in the Olympia community, said the weather has “slowed” the natural process.
The cool weather slows the growing.
He produces an acre of strawberries for self-picking. They are put in the ground in early October, with a normal harvest the third week of April.
“Hopefully it will survive this cold,” he said. “It depends on how warm it gets. If the weather straightens up, we might have some the latter part of April.”
He has covered some of the plants and has sprayed water on the rest of them in the hopes that the forming ice on the plants to protect the leaves. He said an acre will produce five or six tons of berries.
For more information on crops on the web: www.ncagr.gov/stats