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Willow Oak Cut Down In Lou Mac Park:

1929-2016. The Story

Walmart Closes Express Store in Oriental:

The Timeline: Two Weeks and... Gone. The Story

Oak At Lou Mac Park To Be Cut:

Spread of Rot A Safety Concern. The Story

Letters: A Town Shopping For A Grocery:

Post-Walmart, Post-T&C Oriental. Letters To The Editor

Oriental WalMart Closing: Renee Smith Interview:

Town-n-Country Manager Calls Move "Pitiful". The Story

Letters: On Oriental WalMart Closing:

Experiment Over, Now What?. Letters To The Editor

50+ Boats in New Years Day Sailing in Oriental:

23rd Instead of Football Regatta. The Story

Letters: Covering Up Graffiti:

How To Get There . Letters To The Editor

Town Board Tables Graffiti Law:

January Board Meeting. The Story

Letters: Thanks For New Years in Oriental:

One To Remember. Letters To The Editor

Dragon Run, Croaker Drop In To 2016:

Half Century of No Rain on This Parade. The Story

Abby Normal:

Positive Flotation: Boat Easier Than Apartment. The Shipping News

Friends Of The Dragon 2016:

Even A Dragon Needs A Home. The Story

First Annual Reindeer Run 5K :

100 Runners, Walkers Help Hope Clinic Raise $1700. The Story

More Cord Cutting:

Rabbit Ears For A Digital World. The Village Geek

Letters: Spirit of Christmas Thanks:

Lighted Flotilla Takes A Village. Letters To The Editor

Spirit of Christmas Parade 2015:

Merry Dinghy Christmas. The Story

The Bear Is Back:

He's a birdseed eatin' machine. The Story

Heads Up!:

You Can March Right In. Drawing The Town

2015 Spirit of Christmas Schedule:

Friday & Saturday December 11-12. The Story

Green Christmas Dinghy:

Boats need Christmas too. Drawing The Town

2015 Chuck Fondeaux Century Ride:

100 Miles - Some More, Some Less. The Story

11 Months Out, Candidates File For County Commission Race:

Candy Bohmert, Angie Propst Seeking Seats. The Story

Moths: Flying Over The Water:

Practice at Minnesott Before Bermuda Regatta. The Story

High School Sailors in Raleigh Regatta:

First Season Includes A Race in Oriental. The Story

Robert Miller Still in Hospital:

2 Months Since Shooting: Update. The Story

Mister November 2015 - Gus:

Gus knows his place at Arlington Place. Pet Of The Month

Boat Break-in & Missing Porsche:

Police Looking for Transient Boater From Florida. The Story

Letter: Thank You From the Dragon Boaters:

. Letters To The Editor

Thanks Silos For Helping The Hope Clinic:

Rock n Roast Thank You. Letters To The Editor

2015 Spirit Of Christmas Parade Theme Entries:

Readers Send Ideas. The Story

Letters: Reminder of Burning Ordinance:

Where There's Smoke, There's Ire. Letters To The Editor

Sail Magazine ICW Rally In Oriental:

1st time visit to Oriental for many new cruisers. The Shipping News

Election Results 2015:

Oriental Elects A New Board & Mayor. The Story

Letters: On Graffiti At Town-n-Country:

Mess or Message. Letters To The Editor

Registering To Vote Still Possible:

Early Voting in Oriental Elections. The Story

Cord-Cutting 101:

Spend Less Money, Get More TV. The Village Geek

2015 Chili Cook-off :

Record Attendance - Record Revenue. The Story

2015 Candidates Respond To Questions :

Seven Board Candidates And One For Mayor. The Story

1st Annual Oriental Classic Car Show:

Over 200 Wheels By The Neuse. The Story

Newport NC Weather Radar shows the cold & wet upon us. Today rain… a chance of freezing rain and sleet. Highs won’t get beyond the mid 30s. The real cold comes Saturday night with a low down to 16.

Friday February 12, 2016

2:37p That unofficial post office credo fits more than just mail. “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds”

Buddy and his tough team are braving the cold today… Garland Fulcher Fish market is open on Hodges St.

12:53p A happy Lincoln’s birthday to you. Today’s Dockquote from ol’ Abe might be especially good advice to heed with today’s weather. Do watch your footing. And your driving.

We’re getting that icky mix – sleet, and other precip – and to make it really fun, temps are hovering at and around freezing.

On the bright side, you can put today to use and store up memories so you can tap in to them in , say, August when it’s 89 with humidity at 110%. And worry not – there is some relief in sight. The Oriental Weather Forecast gives us a bit more warmth tomorrow and on Monday into the 50’s.

Sunday, though, no getting around it, Sunday is gonna be one cold, cold Valentines Day. (Insert your best baby-done-you-wrong lyrics here.)

Thursday February 11, 2016

We may have to develop different shade-seeking strategies at Lou-Mac Park this summer. Stroll by there today and you’ll get a better sense of how far-reaching the spread of the 86+-year old willow oak had been. The tree had suffered from decay and lost more than 40% of its strength and that made it a liability for the Town. Photos of yesterday’s takedown are here.

This morning, from whatever direction one came, Lou Mac was a strange sight – no filtered shade from 40 feet up, just a raked patch of dirt where the tree had stood.

Though not as big, there are other trees in the park, and they will provide us shade in the summer. (You may see more people clustered beneath the waterside Live Oak) And by then, another tree, a 20-ft Live Oak will have been planted in the willow oak’s patch of dirt.

In meantime, there are chunks of the tree that you can take home. They’re at curbside just across from the park on South Ave.

So Elmie, is that you we hear grumbling about ‘these kids today’ not knowing what you think they should know? You can do something to change that. Today’s your lucky day. Heartworks, which provides after school support for Pamlico County students, is holding an open house for prospective volunteers. It starts at 1p. Among other things, Heartworks needs mentors. So, c’mon. Share what you know. Help a Pamlico kid out. Pay it forward. (or pay back) Grumble less.

Wednesday February 10, 2016

10:45a The willow oak in Lou Mac Park is coming down right now. For the past two hours, a tree crew hired by the Town has been cutting the far-reaching limbs of the 9 decade old tree.

As reported a few weeks ago, decay in the tree’s open-air trunk had reduced its strength. The Town, having identified that liability and concerned a falling limb could harm people in the park, ordered the tree cutting.

The crew has set side some cross cuts of limbs – 10-14 inches in diameter which you can take for a souvenir. There’s also a small stack of firewood for the taking.

9:32a Jack Frost nipping at your nose yet? Highs only in the low, low 40’s today and tomorrow. And just to make things interesting, the Oriental Weather Forecast has some precepity bits – rain and snow – falling on Friday afternoon.

Tuesday February 9, 2016

Fat Tuesday has some fat clouds rolling on Oriental’s horizon today but no rain in that Oriental Weather Forecast, not for a week. But hang on….before you celebrate this needed dry spell, take a closer look at that forecast — temps are on a downward slide.

Check out the forecast for Valentine’‘s Day. 29. For the high. That’ll freeze your Whitman Sampler.

There area some things to celebrate and gather for even before Sunday. St Thomas Episcopal Church serves up a pancake supper this evening to mark the start of Lent. The Coast Guard auxiliary starts its 2016 Seamanship Course tonight, too. Details are in What’s Happening.

Hey, hey, we’re … wishing you a Happy Asian Lunar New Year. We are now in the Year of the Monkey.

Oriental’s Chinese Dragon and its dance troupe didn’t parade yesterday as in other years. Instead, dragon and team will be a part of the festivities at the 2nd Annual Oriental Indoor Dragon Boat Race at the Village Club pool on February 20 – a week from Saturday.

Monday February 8, 2016

onc water levelsSnap. Just like that. West winds overnight have the water levels back to normal.

It’s safe to come out now. No more sideways rain. The winds have died down and water’s receeded from Hodges St. You can get your coffee and not wade in for it.

We do get a chance to dry out. Check out that string of suns in the Oriental Weather Forecast. Sharp eyes will see descending temps from today’s high in the 50’s. With the coming gelid temps we may see the wet ground freeze rather than evaporate.

Sunday February 7, 2016

Lashing rain and wind in the air this afternoon and water up past your ankles – mid-shin on parts of Hodges and those low lying areas near the Duck Pond. The Oriental Weather Forecast has this storm tapering off after midnight,

Saturday February 6, 2016

Condolences go out to Assistant Town Manager Heidi Artley. Heidi’s husband John, passed away Wednesday at CarolinaEast with his family at his side. A private service is planned. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be sent to PAWS or the Oriental Rotary’s Car Show.

Today’s the day to be outside. Not because a high around 50 is short-sleeve weather but because it will be warmer and drier than Sunday’s sop-fest. Your Oriental Weather Forecast is here.

In What’s Happening today, Village Gallery has a reception for February’s guest artist, Norm Robins. Nautical Wheelers has a wine and chocolate tasting – no, Bunkster they’re not serving up 10-point Yoo-Hoo – it means you can sample some locally handmade chocolates and some good wine.

Oriental’s History Museum drew a big crowd last week for the opening of the Pre-GPS Navigation exhibit. You can see the exhibit still – its coordinates haven’t changed. 35° 1’ 49.5372’‘ N 76° 41’ 34.2528’‘ W on your GPS or, if you navigate by chart and local knowledge, 802 Broad Street at a diagonal from the Post Office.

Friday February 5, 2016

11:43a Public Radio East came to Oriental earlier this week for a story about what the community’s doing since Walmart closed. Oriental Food Initiative as well as the efforts of volunteer drivers are among the subjects to air at noon on the show, Down East Journal. You can listen live….or later on.

7:34a Now Elmer, Valentines Day is coming up. Soon. It’s your annual opportunity to improve your reputation. Could alcohol & sugar could help dampen the memory of any recent faux pas? Nautical Wheelers has a wine & chocolate tasting Saturday afternoon.

7:06a While the rain seems endless… it should actually end this morning. By 9a, partly cloudy/sunny & dry skies should appear… and then be with us at least through Saturday.

Over 3 inches (3.21 on the exactometer) of rain yesterday & overnight. It’s tedious. The partly sunny day today & Saturday will raise our spirits.

Breezy today on the water (NW up to 25 knots), but calming Saturday to friendly boating weather – 5 to 10 knots.

Wednesday February 3, 2016

We’ve got one of those full-of-life spring mornings right here in the dead-of-winter. Sunny and 66 already at mid-morn and the Oriental Weather Forecast has a high in the 70’s — but also, some chance o’rain by mid-afternoon sez the Oriental Weather Forecast Still, a beautiful morning.

Readers here have been asking what’s up with the empty WalMart Express store that closed last week. Town Manager Diane Miller says she posed that question to WalMart yesterday. Miller quotes a Walmart spokeswoman saying that she “‘would expect clarity by the end of the month.’”

A bit of background: when we left off last Wednesday night, at the public meeting, two local store owners, Billy Flockhart of the Grantsboro Piggly Wiggly and Frank Zeidan of the mini-mart on Broad Street both said they wanted to buy the building but Walmart had been saying it wanted to sell those stores in blocks of 20 or 30.

A member of the Oriental Food Initiative went home from that meeting and immediately emailed Walmart and made the mutually beneficial case – for Walmart’s image and Oriental’s well-being – to let the Oriental store be sold separately. Walmart came back and said, ‘okay’ and then gave both local men 24 hours to put in bids. They did.

Billy Flockhart’s announcement of wanting to set up a store in Oriental had drawn widespread applause at last week’s meeting. (Some in town are already referring to it as The Piglet.) But a confidentiality agreement he signed makes it tough for the resst of us to suss out where things stand in his talks with the big retailer.

A word of explanation. TownDock late last week held off on reporting that such a CA had even been signed. TownDock staffers here have to eat, too, and want a grocery in town, so didn’t want to muck up the chances of Walmart selling that building sooner rather than later. Since then however, other media learned of the CA and reported it. TownDock will update as news emerges on the potential grocery store in town.

Thumbnail from last night’s Town Board meeting: the rezoning request in the 900 block of First Ave – from R1 to R2 – was denied. The owners wanted to be able to rent it out by the week, and R1 allows it only by the month or more.

Talking leaves and tree: A property owner last night called on the Town Board to hold off on cutting down the willow oak in LouMac Park and see if the tree leafed out in spring and to get a second opinion on the matter. The Town Board stood by the Tree Board’s recommendation and the expertise of its chairman, retired urban forestry professor Bob Miller. Commissioner Charlie Overcash says the NC Extension Service ran it by NC State which concurred with Bob Miller.

As reported here last week, the concern was that the extensive decay in the tree could lead to boughs falling on people who use the park.

As Miller had noted in that story, even if leaves sprouted, the tree had lost 43% of its strength and so, poses a threat. Last night at least one speaker noted that 43% level doesn’t dictate immediate removal asked why the Town doesn’t wait for 50% strength loss. To that, Miller said the 43% figure did not take in the decay in the tree’s crown, nor in all of its interior.

Town Manager Diane Miller (no relation) says once the Town determined the tree to be a threat, it posed a greater liability to Town. Making plans to remove that tree, about a week from now, she said Wednesday morning, reduces the Town’s liability.

Monday February 1, 2016

1:03p Today’s gorgeous warming weather comes at the right time. We all needed this breather and balm of temps in the mid 70’s.

The past two weeks have been turbulent with the announcement and then closing of Walmart’s experiment in small-box retail, the Express stores – in particular, the one Walmart knew as #7207, the one just outside Oriental’s town limits.

TownDock’s been covering developments and updates in that story here on the home page for two weeks. We’ve now compiled all those reports. You can take it from the top – January 15 – right here.

7:30a Happy February. We’re moving in to the new month in style – high today bumping 70. Enjoy and soak it up today – rain on the way midweek and in to the 40’s later in the week. The
Oriental Weather Forecast tells all…

Sunday January 31, 2016

There was a time when saying, “GPS” meant you were referring to The Gap’s stock market symbol. Or German Potato Salad.

In those days – before the development of the Global Positioning System – you’d use Loran’s lines on a chart, the signal of an AM radio station, the stars in the sky or a sextant to suss out where you and your boat were.

Quaint, huh? Well Loran’s out, but the other systems still do work, along with paper charts. You can see them at Oriental’s History Museum’s new exhibit of those pre-GPS tools of navigation. It opens today with a 2p talk about celestial nav.

Still more national coverage about Walmart’s curtailed short dance with Oriental. On your radio yesterday morning, you could hear Oriental Mayor Sally Belangia talking with NPR’s Scott Simon. If you missed it – perhaps you were busy seeking that smoked tofu* – you can hear and or read it, here.

This morning’s News and Observer meanwhile reports on the differing experiences of the several small towns in NC where Walmart Express stores opened (and now closed).