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February 21, 2014

Oriental has put on a Croakerfest for many a July. The parade, the baking contest, the pagaents, the fireworks, the street dance and what had been, perhaps more so in the past, a way for non-profits to raise some funds. This year, some are talking about needing many more volunteers — or scaling back the event on that first Saturday of July. An organizing meeting has been set for Saturday March 8 at 9a at Brantley’s Restaurant. Some brainstorming has been happening already, as witnessed by a letter to the editor.

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January 29, 2014

F
olksinger Pete Seeger’s death on Monday at the age of 94 prompted Merritt reader Jim Root to share a memory of driving the musician.

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December 5, 2013

This summer and fall, three and then four boats took up much of the available anchoring space in Oriental’s small anchorage. That left visiting boats with the option of anchoring in shallow waters and less protected waters. There were repeated instances of such boaters opting not to stop in Oriental.

The presence of the homesteading boats in the anchorage prompted many in town to wonder why the Town couldn’t impose a time limit to give more boats a chance to visit. It was generally thought that the Town didn’t have jurisdiction. One Town Commissioner, Larry Summers has been urging his colleagues for months to pass a resolution asking the legislative delegation next May to pass a “local bill” giving that jurisdiction to the Town of Oriental. At at Town Board meeting December 3, Scott Davis, who is the Town’s Attorney, questioned whether the Town could gain such jurisdiction. (The New Bern based attorney also said that he’d only considered the matter while driving to Oriental for the meeting.)

The resurfacing of the jurisdiction issue prompted a Letter To The Editor.

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November 13, 2013

P
rimadonna, the sailboat that occupied a space in Oriental’s harbor for the past year, was towed to Morehead City on November 12. The towing boat was Martijn Dijkstra’s 50-foot steel sailboat, “Prinses Mia”. Martijn has visited Oriental often on his earlier boat, Rotop and after arriving last week and learning of the situation in the anchorage, he offered to help fix the engine on Primadonna (which its crew has long said was its reason for staying) or to tow the boat away. The Primadonna crew – Pascal Ott and Monique Christmann — told Martijn that they wanted to go to Morehead to have the engine fixed there. And so, for five hours Tuesday, Princes Mia pulled Primadonna to Morehead where it picked up a mooring. The Primadonna crew did not acknowledge the Prinses Mia crew as the tow line was slipped. While there was no ‘merci’ or thank you from Primadonna, others have been more forthcoming, with both thanks, and some thoughts about what’s next.

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November 2, 2013

Oriental’s Town Board voted 4-0 on November 1 to provide water service to Walmart’s planned Express store outside of town. Walmart will not be required to annex in to town upon completion of its 12,000 square foot building as the Town had stipulated earlier in October. Walmart balked at that and the Town Board acquiesced. Instead, Walmart’s grocery store will give the town a “donation” every year of the amount of money it would have been taxed if it were in town and subject to Oriental property tax. (If the property were assessed at 1 million dollars, the Mayor said, the tax would be $2,000.)

Members of the Board described it a win-win. Mayor Sage said a negotiating committee from the Town engaged in a conference call with three representatives of Walmart on Thursday because Walmart said it couldn’t meet face-to-face and had to meet this week.

While the Town required annexation for Ruth Ireland’s Town-n-Country grocery 27 years ago, and required annexation for three homeowners on White Farm Road in recent years when they sought town water, the Board did not require that of Walmart. That means that unlike businesses in town, Walmart need not comply with Oriental’s Growth Management Ordinance. With this intentional action, the Board sets a precedent; future, out-of-town landowners who want Town water could ask for what Walmart got — not having to annex and be held to the Town’s development standards.

The decision has sparked some letters.

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November 2, 2013

As reported on TownDock.net on Wednesday, October 9, local resident and Provision Company manager, Pat Stockwell has been helping the crew of the vessel, Primadonna, since it came to Oriental almost a year ago. Two weeks ago, Stockwell co-endorsed a check for $2,980.42 made out to Primadonna owner, Pascal Ott. The check bounced and Stockwell had to pay First Citizens Bank the $2,980.42 it had given to Ott. Stockwell says he’s asked Ott to pay him back but has received, two weeks on, nothing. That’s sparked several letters….

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October 30, 2013

Guest Columnist Alan Propst has pointed out that a 4,500 acre tract between the Florence-Whortonsville Road and Trent Road could be converted from wetlands to farmland. Some of the land has already been clear-cut and Propst raises concern that state and federal officials could approve the conversion of that land to agriculture. He estimates that 75 % of it is wetland, which under federal law, would prohibit its conversion to farmland. He wrote that if it remained wetland, it would serve to absorb pollutants as a sponge would, but that as farmland that would likely be sprayed with chemicals, those would quickly run-off in to ditches and then creeks that lead to the nurseries for fish and shrimp in the Bay and Neuse Rivers. He urged readers to contact the state and federal agencies the are supposed to enforce the environmental laws.

His column prompted a letter from Mindy Schmitz.

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October 29, 2013

A word of appreciation. Joe Bliss writes.

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October 23, 2013

O
riental’s Mayor has called a special meeting of Oriental’s Town Board on Friday October 25 at 3p. The subject, once again, is about the Town providing its water service to the Walmart store planned for just outside the town limits. Oriental’s Town Board on October 1 voted to provide the water if Walmart annexed in to Town after its building is completed. Mayor Bill Sage indicates that Walmart has now responded to the Town’s offer. He says the Board on Friday will consider a resolution before the board to not require the annexation. By avoiding annexation, Walmart woudl not have to pay Oriental property tax, which finances the police protection Walmart would enjoy as a courtesy as its store would be within one mile of the Town limits.

The possibility of the Town Board backing down on requiring annexation has prompted some letters.

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October 3, 2013

On Tuesday, October 1, Oriental’s Town Board voted 4-0 to let a proposed Walmart Express store outside the town limits tap on to the Town of Oriental’s water system, so long as Walmart agreed to be annexed in to town once its building is constructed. Opponents concerned about Walmart’s impact on in-town businesses wanted the Town to not provide the water. At the meeting, Commissioner Larry Summers said “this is a racial thing” and to decide “we don’t like Walmart is a grievous mistake and harkens back to the days of Jim Crow.” That drew looks of surprise in the audience and, after the meeting, letters to the Editor. Among the letter writers, Larry Summers, Bob Kruger, Penny Flaherty, Doug Sligh.

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September 28, 2013

Oriental’s Town Board could vote on Tuesday October 1 to let Walmart tap on to the Town’s water system for a planned store just outside the Town limits (where Walmart would pay no property tax and be subject to none of the Town’s zoning.) Some members of the Board say that providing Walmart with water is a chance to have another water customer (annual charge to Walmart would be $720-$840) But as reported, some of those opposed to the Walmart opening say the Town Board should think first about its own constituents — the in-town businesses who will likely be hurt financially if the retail giant opens just outside of town — and say no to providing Walmart with water.

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September 24, 2013

As reported on TownDock.net on Thursday August 22, Town Hall sent an email to Town Commissioners that day saying that the “Town of Oriental will be welcoming a Wal Mart Express” store. The email went on to say that the store — a smaller version and new business plan of the giant retailer — would be just outside the Town limits.

The prospect of Walmart coming to Oriental has prompted several reactions. Initially, some receive the words “Walmart in Oriental” as if it were a punchline to a joke. Others, though, say it will be like a punch to the Mom and Pop businesses here, and ask what can be done to keep WalMart from coming to (the edge of) town. Among the letter writers… Tony Tharp, Steve Kenney, Kathy Kellam, John Zeren, Nelda Coats, Carolyn Howell, Ben Giacchino, Joseph Kershner, Marlene Miller, R. Scott Williams, Walter Lane, Craig Strautin, Mike Page, Bruce Minor, Barbara Stockton, Darrell Jorgensen, Janet Chinea, Glenn & Beth Larsen, Linda Page, Susie Hiller, Martha Gail Good, Randy Durham, Scott Pickard, Bama Lutes Deal, Bob Miller, John Norris, Paula Valinoti,

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September 20, 2013
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September 19, 2013
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September 6, 2013
Letters have been coming following the story about the boat Primadonna.
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August 30, 2013
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August 13, 2013

A letter on the 2013 Dragon Boat Festival.

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July 8, 2013

The 33rd Annual Croakerfest had it all: parade, spectacular fireworks, a heavy turnout for the regatta. It prompted some thank you’s for chief organizer, Candy Bohmert.

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July 3, 2013

In May, a letter to the editor here at TownDock.net and a subsequent Guest Column sparked what has become a topic of much discussion in these pages and in Oriental. The subject: Oriental’s anchorage, just inside the breakwater. Traditionally, Oriental’s anchorage has been a place were visiting boats drop the hook for a day or two, maybe even a few weeks or a month. This winter-spring-and-now-summer, three boats have been seemingly permanently anchored. As some have suggested, this has put a crimp on others who want to anchor there. TownDock.net published a number of Letters to the Editor on the subject and the letters continue to come in. Many of the more recent letters offer potential courses of action the Town of Orientalmight take. TownDock.net is researching the issues raised in these letters in advance of a story on the options for the Town controlling the anchorage. In the meantime, here are the letters from readers — with both suggestions and opinions.

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June 5, 2013

Oriental’s approach to killing weeds is getting more attention this spring.
Several residents have complained about spraying in places and ways they thought should be off limits — such as near the water’s edge, before rains. In one instance, a Town crew sprayed a curbside garden that would be abloom with coreopsis and other flowers this time of year. Instead, it is dead. One question being asked is why the Town doesn’t give notice of herbicide sprayings as it does for mosquito spraying. Some of this may be addressed by the Tree Board — now that the Town Board has asked the Tree Board to weigh in on the Town’s herbicide and pesticide policy. Reader Pat Bullis writes about her concern over the type of herbicides – Atrazine and Roundup – that are being used:

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June 5, 2013

Oriental welcomes boaters to tie up to its Town Dock for free for up to 48 hours. The idea is that by providing that option, boaters will visit town and contribute to the local economy. The time limit gives other boaters a chance to do the same. Oriental’s anchorage, near the harbor entrance, has no time limit. Recently, a few boats have remained anchored there for months. That prompted a letter in mid-May from reader Gil Fontes, then a Guest Column from the visiting boater he mentioned, and then a flurry of letters from both area residents, boaters and cruisers:

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May 28, 2013

When the NC Senate voted along party lines to pass its version of the budget on May 23, the measure included a mandate to impose tolls on all ferries in NC. Pamlico County Senator Norman Sanderson voted with his party — the GOP — for the budget, despite the tolls it calls for. Sandersons’ aide says he did speak on the Senate floor against the tolling provision, but voted for the budget because “overall” it was a good one. That move sparked several letters, from Jim Barton, John Deal, and Al Privette.

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May 22, 2013

As reported on TownDock last week, Bob Maxbauer will be stepping down as Town Manager on June 30 and plans to run for a seat on the Town Board.

He is also pitching the current Town Board to give him a job running the Town’s water plant and overseeing repairs there in the new fiscal year starting July 1. Maxbauer claims it would be cheaper to use him and Public Works crews than to pay “$40-$50-$60 an hour” for outside labor. However, it would cost the town to pay for his plan; Maxbauer proposes that the Town Board raise the budget’s line item for Public Works salaries to $160,000, up from the $128,000 the Town Board had pencilled in for next year’s budget. He also proposes a water rate hike of around 10% for water customers.

That scenario brought in this letter from Gail Good.

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May 20, 2013

As reported on May 16, Oriental’s Town Manager has proposed that the Town Board levy a property tax hike of 3 cents per $100 valuation. to pay the Town’s legal fees in the Cox v. Oriental lawsuit. (The Town Board has since penciled in a 1 mil rate hike.) Resident Dave Cox has sued over the Town for giving up two waterfront rights of way in the Chris Fulcher land swap. (The gist of his case: that towns can’t give up rights of way held in public trust.) The prospect of the tax hike prompted Joe Mattea to write.

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May 16, 2013
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May 7, 2013

The NC Senate gave its final approval to SB58 which would raise boat registration fees across the state to finance dredging on some inlets near the ocean. That scenario caused an outcry. Pamlico Senator Norman Sanderson, who co-sponsored the bill, voted against its final passage.
Carolyn Howell wrote in..

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May 2, 2013

“On July 1, those taking the local commuter ferries will have to pay a toll – $4 on the Minnesott-Cherry Branch ferry and $10 per car and driver on the Bayview-Aurora ferry. That’s because of a budget bill passed two years ago — which local legislator Norman Sanderson voted for — which called for the tolls as a way to generate $5 million more per year. Last month, the NC DOT began installing the toll booths that will go in to use unless some alternative bills — one to do away with all tolls on all NC ferries, the other to apply tolls to all ferries, which could reduce the price of the Neuse and Pamlico River ferries. The toll booths caught the attention of one of those commuters, JM Smith who lives just outside Oriental…..”

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April 9, 2013

A cruising crew once in Oriental check in from a few thousand miles away.

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March 29, 2013

At the Oriental Town Board’s Thursday March 28 Agenda Meeting, several Commissioners raised concerns about the Town’s budget and an as-yet unreceived payment of $76,000 in Hurricane Irene FEMA money from the State. The Town Manager, Bob Maxbauer, wants funds shifted from the Town’s General Fund to make up for that. Commissioners Barbara Venturi, Warren Johnson and Michelle Bessette suggested some belt-tightening. Johnson said he’d heard rumors that Maxbauer wanted to hire a third police officer, which Johnson said should not happen given the hole in the budget. Maxbauer accused Johnson of “emoting” and making “rash statements.” When Johnson asked if it were true that 7 people were now working in the Public Works Department, Maxbauer said, “I don’t have the count.” This prompted Martha Gail Good to write in….

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March 27, 2013

State Senator Norman Sanderson of Arapahoe has co-sponsored Senate Bill 58 which would increase the fees for recreational boat registration by as much as 10 times over.(See TownDock.net story, here) Boats of 40 feet or longer would pay $150 per year. (Currently the flat rate for registration is $15 per year.) Under the proposal, documented boats would no longer be exempt from such fees.The funds raised would go toward the Shallow Draft Inlet Dredging Fund, though the bill does not state what inlets would benefit. The bill has drawn sharp criticism in Oriental – the Sailing Capital of NC – and beyond. Writing in, are Jim Barton, Tom Lathrop…

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March 27, 2013

Norman Sanderson represents Pamlico, Craven and Carteret counties in the NC Senate, after serving one term in the NC House. In his freshman year, 2011, Sanderson voted twice for a budget that imposed the ferry toll, which his constituents continue to try to fend off two years later. (As reported last year, Sanderson said that he couldn’t be ‘that kind of politician’ who would have asked his party’s leadership to stop the tolls for his district.) This year, Sanderson has co-sponsored Senate Bill 58 which would increase boat registration fees as much as 10 times over in order to finance a dredging fund that would not appear to pay for any projects in Pamlico County. The Senator’s actions have sparked some comment from Carolyn Howell, Charles C. Garrett…

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March 25, 2013

In January of 2012, a land swap on Oriental’s harbor and riverfront was first proposed between the Town of Oriental and Chris Fulcher, who owns the land surrounding the Town’s rights of way at Avenue A and the harbor front end of South Avenue. Chris Fulcher also owns the concrete block structure with an unfinished roof that has marked the mouth of the harbor for more than a decade, and it is that structure that prompted Marilyn Stern to write and pose a question.

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March 22, 2013

Travelers who want to cross the Neuse River on the Minnesott-Cherry Branch ferry could be paying $4 per car – and $1 per passenger – on July 1. (The other free commuter ferry in the area – between Aurora-Bayview – would charge $8 per car and $2 per passenger.) A grassroots effort in Pamlico County is challenging the tolls, and working to get the Legislature to rethink the issue. It prompted frequent visitor Tom Beaty to write…

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March 1, 2013

As reported on TownDock, Commissioner Warren Johnson has found almost $20,000 in costs associated with the Town Hall renovation that the Town Manager paid for through other departments’ budgets. That makes the Town Hall project appear to cost less than it did. Work continued on the building in February. Mayor Bill Sage wrote to Johnson’s fellow Commissioners saying it was up to the Town Manager to pay from other departments. That prompted a letter from former Town Commissioner, Candy Bohmert.

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February 27, 2013

Riders on the Minnesott-Cherry Branch could be paying to cross the Neuse River come this summer, unless Legislators in Raleigh change course. Larry Summers to write..

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February 11, 2013

Oriental currently bans the sale, serving and drinking of alcoholic beverages on land and property that the Town owns or controls. Now, the Town Board has before it a proposal to get rid of that outright ban and allow the Town Manager to grant exceptions. (Click here to read the proposed change.) The proposal would, among other things, contain the drinking in a designated public space to the hours of noon to 9p.

Town Commissioner Larry Summers writes a letter supporting the change. The idea has drawn other readers to write, including Paul Delamar, John Zeren, Michael Tigar, Candy Bohmert, Gil Fontes, Bama Lutes Deal, Marilyn Nevison…

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February 10, 2013

At its January 31 agenda meeting, Oriental’s Town Board voted to not consider lifting the ban on alcohol on public property. In a twist, the Board did vote to consider finetuning the wording of the ban on drinking in public places. That sparked a new round of letters. Among the writers: Mary Cancel, Steve Snyder, John Y. Jackson

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February 9, 2013

Oriental’s Town Hall, which flooded a few inches in Hurricane Irene in August 2011 has been renovated and is once again open for meetings and business. The renovation project was designed by the Town Manager, Bob Maxbauer who also served as the General Contractor. The Town Board allocated $289,000 for the project. The Town Manager in February sought another $10,000 as a line item to cover cost overruns and said it shouldn’t be held up to scrutiny. Final cost of the Town Hall renovation is as yet unclear as some outlays of money – for some labor, for example – came from other departments and were not recorded as being part of the Town Hall project.
The renovation sparked these words of praise from resident David Marchand.

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January 31, 2013

The trawler, Lady Barbara, owned by Ralph Taylor of Marshallberg in Carteret County, sank at the docks of Garland Fulcher Seafood on Oriental’s Harbor on January 15. The dock owner, Sherrill Styron says he tried for months to get the boat owner to remove his vessel. As the boat sank, fluids with a petroleum-based look and smell flowed on to the harbor’s waters, despite a boom that the dock owner put around the boat, while waiting for the boat’s owner to arrive. (He did, a day later.)

The pollution on the harbor prompted reader Bob Taylor to write.

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December 22, 2012

As reported on December 18, Pamlico Sheriff’s Office said it had solved the case of the broken water lines in the county — and was charging a Pamlico county woman who owned a water line repair company in the case. The Sheriff’s office charged her and a New Bern man with 6 counts of damaging a public water system and one count of obtaining property by false pretenses. Reader Patrick Del Rio took issue with the coverage…

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December 5, 2012

This week, a crew has been blasting the paint off of the trawler “Chaz’s Toy” at the far end of Oriental’s harbor, near the breakwater. There has been no visible containment for the blasting – no tent over the trawler, no booms in the water – and a film of that paint has floated down the harbor. In response to inquiries from TownDock.net readers, TownDock.net published the number for the National Response Center (1800-424-8820). That and the ongoing sandblasting prompted Walter Lane to write.

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November 26, 2012

Oriental’s Town Dock, on the Hodges Street side of the harbor, welcomes boats to tie up for 48-hours. Most visiting boats comply and leave after two days. Some may stay a day or two beyond that. Occasionally, though, a boat may stay for a week or more, they draw attention and questions such as the one that letter writer E.S. Mead poses.

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November 19, 2012

Oriental’s Town Board holds a public hearing on some proposed ordinance changes regarding adult entertainment, tattoo parlors and internet gambling. The hearing is coming up on December 4. It prompted Bill Hines to write.

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November 12, 2012
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October 30, 2012

At issue: the fire siren that has been on a pole behind Town Hall for almost 60 years. The Fire Department says it was given assurances that after renovations were done at Town Hall, the siren would return there. The Town Manager said he didn’t want the fire siren there because it would detract from the “aesthetic” of the building. Neighbors in another part of town opposed the Town Manager’s idea of moving it to their midst.

As this story played out, the fire fighters said they’d twice been promised by the Town Manager that the siren would stay at Town Hall, and twice watched as town officials backed away from that agreement. The Town Board voted November 6 to keep the siren at Town Hall.

The issue drew letters from Dan Foreman, Thomas Cleary, Ken King, Larry Jones, Cathy McWilliams, Irma Fay Bond Maxbauer, Ben Casey, Tom Lathrop, Carol Wright, Iris Nance, Bill and Maggie Arndt.

Martha Gail Good wrote, “Set aside the ‘how it looks’ but focus on the purpose of the siren. Then, turn to those who know best.. firemen.

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September 19, 2012
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August 3, 2012

What approach should Pamlico County take to attract jobs and people? One candidate for County Commission lays out some ideas — and questions.

Roger Bullis writes, “A plan without action is a wish. And wishes don’t attract new development opportunities.”

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July 20, 2012

Oriental’s Town Board voted on July 2 to give up Avenue A, which means it would become the property of Chris Fulcher. The Board held off on giving up South Avenue til at least its August meeting; it voted to have the properties in the land swap evaluated and appraised. That’s in keeping with a General Statute that calls for determining full and fair consideration of such properties in exchanges. The story of the Board’s vote is here.

It’s generated letters from Carol Small, John Zeren, Bob Kruger and Larry Summers….

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July 2, 2012

Oriental’s Town Board holds a public hearing on Tuesday July 3 regarding the proposed abandonment of South Avenue’s 7,000 square feet of harborfront and all of Avenue A’s 6,000 square feet. Giving up that land is key to a land swap contract between the Town and businessman and harbor front landowner Chris Fulcher. He’d give the town a 4,500 square foot lot with pilings that could become a dock and land where – unlike a right of way – public restrooms could be built.

In the days leading up to the hearing, Letters to the Editor from Joe Valinoti, Dave Cox….

Dave Cox writes “For the past six months I have hoped the Oriental Town Board would just DO right. No luck so far. It’s not right to sell or barter a right of way, which the town doesn’t own – it holds it in trust for the public…..”

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June 29, 2012

As reported, Oriental’s Town Manager says the Town should give up Avenue A in the land swap because otherwise it would have to pay $75,000 to restore a corner to private property. Former COmmissioner Dave Cox says the Town needn’t spend a cent because the road curved over the property for so many decades, it’s now the town’s right of way. Attorney Catherine Cooper writes, “Does Oriental have a Town Attorney? “

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June 21, 2012

Many local eyes have been on the state legislature this session, looking for the lawmakers to overturn last year’s decision to charge tolls on the local commuter ferries. Would it be done away with or merely delayed? As of June 21, it appears the Pamlico County peninsula gets a mixed bag. No toll for a year on the Minnesott ferry but tolls to start in two weeks at Aurora-Bayview route. Letters from Greg Piner, Larry Summers, and Jack Taylor who writes, “While I am pleased we have a “stay of execution” on the Minnesott Ferry toll, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see how this will play out if we do not stay diligent.”

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June 5, 2012

In recent days, some readers say they’ve observed some dangerous driving in Oriental and in a neighborhood on the other side of the bridge. Letters from Charlie Garrett, Carol Small.

Carol Small writes, “This is for those who speed in our village. Twice in the last 4 days 2 different cars have “come after me” as I walk my dog.”

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May 17, 2012

Oriental’s Town Board voted 4-1 on May 17 to approve the harbor area land swap with Chris Fulcher.

Before the Board voted, about a dozen members of the public spoke, none in favor. One concern raised: how much room visiting boats would have to maneuver. Another: whether the town negotiated strongly enough to get more harborfront land and more water rights.

The Town Board still has to hold a public hearing over giving up the rights of way in the deal. It’s slated for July 3. Meanwhile, the May 17 vote has elicited some letters from readers, such as Carol Small, George Sechrist, Larry Summers, Jackie Mahan, Jim Privette. Joe Valinoti.

George Sechrist writes: The town commissioners need to brush up on their math. It will be a two boat dock. Is that what Oriental has in mind?

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May 17, 2012

Oriental’s Town Board is poised to approve a land swap with harborfront property owner, Chris Fulcher. The Town would give up more more than 12,000 square feet of right-of-way at the harborfront end of South Avenue and all of Avenue A, as well as 80 feet of harborfront. It would get 4,500 square feet of property, 55 feet of harborfront and a dock. Town officials say restrooms could be built on the land.

The dock had been a selling point when Town officials first unveiled the deal, but in recent weeks they’ve been saying that the dock off the Fulcher property may have to be replaced – thus negating that savings.

Additionally, some sailors have questioned if the dock and water rights will allow enough maneuvering room for visiting boats. The Parks and Rec Board has drawn up questions about the deal as well.

Another question has been why the Town didn’t seek more land and water rights from Mr. Fulcher. Town Manager Bob Maxbauer and Commissioner Larry Summers say the town went in to the negotiations with the position that its rights-of-way — almost a third of an acre near the harbor and river front — were worth nothing.

Writing about the issue, Grace Evans, Jim Privette, Carol Wright..

Jim Privette shares a letter he sent to the Town Manager, Mayor and Commissioners: As stewards of the Town’s public assets, it would be a mistake to approve a swap with anyone on the terms that have been discussed to date. Chris Fulcher is not at fault here. The Town has failed to negotiate responsibly and thereby failed to receive terms that are fair and appropriate.

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May 10, 2012

In March, TownDock.net’s ‘Shipping News’ featured the ‘Nancy Ellen.’ David Smith had worked for years to convert the workboat and was making a maiden voyage on her when he and a friend stopped in Oriental.

Mark LeGwin wrote in to share a memory of the boat’s rebuild. I am one of a group of homeowners that live near where Mr. Smith performed most of his restoration on this vessel. Many mornings I enjoyed watching his progress and listening to his Blue Grass music playing while he worked….

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May 9, 2012

The contract for the Town of Oriental’s Land Swap with Chris Fulcher is on the table. The Town would abandon Avenue A (6,000 square feet) and the end of South Avenue (7,900 square feet) which has 80 feet of waterfront. In exchange, Fulcher would give the Town one parcel of 4,500 square feet (he’d add on 500 square feet he gets from the ROW) and one dock and two wooden buildings.

Town officials have said that because on that lot, the Town can build restrooms, though questions have arisen on how much of the lot was buildable. The dock as well may need repair or replacing, thus negating the savings that had been previously. (The deal, town officials had said, would save the Town the cost of building a dock from scratch in Town waters off of South Avenue.)

The contract also states that the Town gives up any claim it might have had to other rights of way – besides Avenue A and South Avenue — that maps or plats may show to be on Fulcher’s fish plant property.

That and other aspects of the contract have sparked some letters:

Doug Sligh writes: This land swap has always seemed like a bad deal for the town, but the details make it a much worse deal.

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May 7, 2012

May 8 is Primary Day — for all three parties — in NC. Democrats have their pick of several candidates wanting to run for Governor. Republicans will choose their favored candidates in the Presidential primary. Ditto, the Libertarians.

More locally, there are GOP primaries for the State House and State Senate seats. The State Senate primary has three candidates: current House Representative Norman Sanderson, Pine Knoll Shores Mayor Ken Jones and Jarrett Bay Boatworks owner, Randy Ramsey. Writing about the race are Dan Reitz, Larry Harkey, Howard Basnight and Tom Hesselink…

Boatbuilder Tom Hesselink writes: He is experienced at how government and private industry can work together with positive outcomes. And what he doesn’t know he will learn…quickly.

Howard Basnight writes: Regrettably, politics has become ugly and I have tried to stay out of the fray. However, with the continued attacks against Randy Ramsey, I cannot stay silent any longer. Yes, I work for Randy Ramsey at Jarrett Bay Yacht Sales and I want to make that clear up front.

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February 12, 2012

On the proposal to charge a toll on the Minnesott and Aurora ferries views from Larry Summers, Al Herlands, Gail Good, Dan Rubinstein, Sam Myers, Greg Piner, Jennifer Baker, Jack Taylor, Bruce Gammon, J.M.Smith, Ben Casey, Keith Sexton, Mary Cancel, Bill Chaplik, Bob Birch, Joe Mattea, Jeff Broughton, Robert Kruger …
From Bob Kruger ..A “free” lottery ticket would be issued with each voluntarily paid toll. Only those who wished to play the lottery would pay the toll.
From Ken Laser:… Regarding Pamlico’s State House Representative Norm Sanderson’s remark at the Ferry toll hearing: What exactly does “I can’t be that kind of politician” mean?

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February 10, 2012

Thoughts and views on the land trade at the harbor from Carol Small, Larry Summers, Don Mau, George Secrhist, Candy Bohmert, Doug Sligh, Ben Cox to name a few.
From Jim Privette: I suggest the Town Commission stick to the basic facts. The total amount of land and water frontage being offered are patently inadequate. It does not pass a basic sniff test.

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