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It's Thursday November 23, 2017

News From The Village Updated Almost Daily




November 9, 2017

N
ovember 23rd is just 2 weeks away. In the run-up to Thanksgiving, some TownDock readers have been getting an early start at giving thanks via Letters to the Editor. For starters, Liza Wieland, John Bloom and Jayne Stasser…


Editor,

Oriental is a wonderful town. People here are inspired to donate their time to trees along our streets and other public places. We were introduced to Ken King, a member on the Oriental Tree Board. He helped us determine our needs and then 2 months later, volunteers with trees and shovels showed up. The result can be seen in this picture.

tree board
Newly planted fringe trees on 1st Street.

Tree huggers with spare energy are one of the things that make Oriental such a great place.

Thank you, Oriental Tree Board.

John Bloom
Jayne Stasser
Oriental
11/9/17

To the Editor:

Most of us don’t need more reasons to feel lucky to live in or near Oriental, and we know how friendly and welcoming people here can be. But I can’t resist shining a light on this one.

Last night, my own negligence (and my eagerness for pizza and beer) caused me to get pretty badly stuck in the mud behind The Silos. I thought I would have to call AAA. Chris Daniels happened to come outside for a break and worked to free the car, using cardboard and 2×4s and a lot of patience. He was friendly and very forgiving. I’m so grateful to him for his help last night and grateful for The Silos as an Oriental gathering place, especially every Tuesday.

Liza Wieland
Arapahoe
11/8/17

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October 11, 2017

O
riental’s Planning Board spent the past several months drawing up recommended changes to the Growth Management Ordinance. This was sparked by concerns raised in the past year when a controversial trawler-painting operation was planned on Oriental’s harbor, upwind of town. By proposed new definitions, industries in town would have to contain pollutants on their property, if not in a building. Amid the Planning Board’s recommendations for setting standards is one that would loosen zoning regs in Oriental’s R1 residential neighborhoods to allow institutions – church buildings, schools as well as “similar uses.” Letter writer Richard Knapp lives in one of the R1 areas of town and opposes making that change to the GMO.

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August 1, 2017
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July 12, 2017


To The Editor,

I am writing because I want to encourage public comment on issues currently being considered on Mr. Fulcher’s Special Use Permit application, in which you commented July 11th.

Even though Town Dock and several persons from the Town were present at the last meeting in June and all of us who were there heard the extensive discussion as to the status of Fulcher’s project, it seems it might help the public to review some of what was said.

Once an application for a Special Use Permit is received, it can be modified before final approval by the Commissioners, so long as the modifications are “in compliance” with the GMO. It either is or is not. This change to the application, adding the “retractable roof,” occurred after the Planning Board initially approved the application. We initially approved it because that is our job: to determine whether or not the application conforms to the GMO. If it does conform, we are obligated to approve it and pass it on to the Town Board. On the initial reviews of this application, not one person appeared for the public comments which were heard over a series of months. No one opposed the initial application.

However, at the Planning Board meeting in June, public discussion was extensive, primarily revolving around the “retractable roof” issue. The Planning Board members heard many people speak on this and there seemed to be consensus that this issue needs further review and questions need to be answered. This issue is still open.

It would be a mistake to assume that this will not come up again July 12th. We always provide a public comment time and it is a serous concern in Town. I urge everyone to attend both the Planning Board meetings and the Town Board meetings, regularly, until the issue is finally resolved. It currently is NOT finally resolved.

I believe it will come up on the 12th, whether it is on the agenda or not.

As to the quorum issue you raised yesterday, we also need to review what was discussed at the June meeting: the need to move up the July meeting in order to have as many members as possible to get some good work done on an “open spaces” ordinance.

We do not move or change meeting dates in order to deceive anyone, to confuse or to avoid public comment or participation. We change dates to maximize the schedules of those people, who are all volunteers, on the board. The date of July 12th for this meeting was set at the June meeting, in public.
Maybe we all need to remember the saying, “Laws are made by those who show up.”

Eric Dammeyer
Chair, Oriental Planning Board
7/12/17

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July 3, 2017
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May 5, 2017

F
or the 3rd time in a decade, Oriental hosted Cycle NC’s Springtime Coastal Ride. In this, the 2017 event, some 1400 cyclists came to town, April 27-30 and used it as base camp for rides – some as long as 100 miles a day – around Pamlico County. It appeared to run smoothly considering the visitors more than doubled the town’s population. Hotel and inn rooms were full, and most visitors camped in tents on lawns near the river. Those who stayed in private homes helped raise funds for Hope Clinic.

Some letters of appreciation.

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April 11, 2017
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March 20, 2017

O
riental. A fishing town? Check. A sailing town? Check. An R&D town? Improbable as it may sound, Check. In recent years, four researchers, working out of a metal building at the edge of Oriental, developed what could one day mean a more comfortable way for women to get breast cancer screenings. (Think: no more flattening.) But at the end of March, Optosonics’ Oriental phase will draw to a close. Dan Reinecke is one of the partners:

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December 16, 2016

O
n the streets of Oriental, people walk, cycle or jog more than you see in most places in NC. While we also arguably have less vehicular traffic than your average riverside metropolis, there are times here when the two worlds meet, especially on the many streets without sidewalks. Reader Mark DeCain wrote in to reinforce some safety tips.

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December 14, 2016
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December 6, 2016

T
his has been a year of some tough lessons for Oriental. In late 2015, the independent grocery, Town-n-Country, ended its 40+ year run after losing so many customers to the newly opened Walmart Express a few hundred yards away. Then this past January, Walmart closed its store with just 2 weeks notice. That move by the giant retailer left Oriental without a full service grocer for the first time in memory. Many in Oriental and the surrounding communities bemoaned having to drive more than a dozen miles to the closest supermarket. So when the owner of the Piggly Wiggly in Grantsboro floated the idea of putting a smaller Pig in the Walmart building, the reaction was enthusiastic. More than 700 filled out a survey and Billy Flockhart worked to put what they said they wanted on the shelves. Now, 4 and a half months since the Piglet’s opening, letter writer Ken Laser wonders if the lessons of the past year are fading from memory.


To the Editor,

I assume that everyone in the Oriental area who lived through Walmart’s bailing on us is familiar with the term “food desert”. Not having a grocery store in town was not a happy experience. The entire community rejoiced when “the Piglet” arrived.

Lately, I have been hearing rumors that the store is not doing as much business as Billy Flockhart had expected. I’ve heard various explanations for that being bandied about. My suspicion is that many of the people who were ecstatic when the store opened are now not doing the bulk of their grocery shopping there. If you think you know why, please enter the discussion.

It’s a small store but Billy has gone to great lengths to accommodate different folks’ product requests. If we don’t patronize his store and his business is not successful, how long do you think he will stay in business? If you must have something that he doesn’t carry then, of course, buy it elsewhere, but go to our Piggly Wiggly first to buy the other items on your grocery list.

Our community needs to support this store or suffer the fate of being a food desert once more.

Ken Laser
Oriental
12/6/16

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November 1, 2016
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October 4, 2016

A
public hearing takes place Tuesday Oct 4 regarding a proposed boat was facility on Oriental’s harbor. Bernard Deneke, P.E., writes in;
To the Editor,

Something smells fishey! Bob Arrington’s article on TownDock is spot on.

Every day I view the Harbor Cam and when I visit Oriental, I am reminded of the eye sore of what is Fulcher Point LLC – the dilapidated facility, half built, not appearing to meet building code requirements.

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August 19, 2016

I
n recent years, residents inside the town limits of Oriental have been able to dispose of green waste at a site here in Town. It is a convenience that reader Lynn DeChessser wants to remain. As she writes, she is concerned about the way it is being used;
To the Editor:

Those of us who use the “green waste” dumpster located near the water treatment plant are very thankful to Town officials for this wonderful gift. It saves many miles of travel to the Pamlico landfill in Grantsboro and it is free of charge.

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July 26, 2016

O
riental is ready for the Piglet’s grand openin, July 27. Billy Flockhart, who owns and runs the Piggly Wiggly in Grantsboro has worked for 6 months to open a Pig in Oriental, in the building the Walmart EXpress vacated in January. That closing, on the heels of the Town-n-Country closing had left Oriental without a supermarket for the first time in most people’s memories.

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July 26, 2016

T
he other day, TownDock.net published a Shipping News about Andrez Short buying a boat – sight-unseen – here in Oriental, a boat he is now sailing home to the Falkland Islands. With a population around 3,000 and no one for another 300 miles (on the South American mainland) the Falklands can be accurately described as remote. Perhaps not to the same degree of remoteness (And with more boats than sheep) Oriental is also off the beaten path.

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July 6, 2016

This in from Paul Fairbank, our town’s long serving Parade Master.


10 years. 20 parades. It’s not a lifetime but it’s long enough.

It’s with a bit, but not a big bit, of regret that I resign my position as Parade Master.

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July 1, 2016
M
any a boat comes to Oriental’s Town Docks, tying up for free for a few days. One crew visiting this week came away with an appreciation for some folks in town as well . Terry and Donna Hoy sent in this letter under the heading, There are still good people in this world. Here’s what led them to say that:... read more »»



June 7, 2016
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May 25, 2016

A
new federal policy puts the word, “Oriental” off-limits as a way to describe a person’s ethnicity. That change – to Asian or Asian-American – was in a bill that got unanimous approval in Congress and was signed by President Obama late last week. TownDock.net considered what this might mean for the Town of Oriental. We noted that the town took its name from an 1862 shipwreck, (the steamer Oriental, which took its name from a Cuban port, thus giving Oriental Spanish rather than Asian roots.) A poll is underway, asking whether the town’s name should remain the same or change to “Shipwreck” or “Smiths Creek.” (The latter had been the community’s name before it was named “Oriental.”)
Some readers had additional thoughts on the subject.

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March 20, 2016

Five college sailing teams competed in NCSU’s Sailpack Invitational Regatta on March 12. This was the second annual running of the regatta in the Neuse waters off of Oriental. Sailpack Coach Dana Magliola sends a letter of thanks:

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February 29, 2016

O
riental’s Town Board holds a public hearing on March 1 on 7 proposed changes to the GMO. One would require that anyone outside the town limits who seeks to get on the Town of Oriental’s water system must also apply for annexation in to Oriental. The current disconnect became apparent in the fall of 2013 when the Town Board let Walmart get Town water even as the retailer refused to be annexed in to town where Oriental’s development standards and property taxes would apply. One rationale for the Town Board action was that the water plant needed customers.

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February 26, 2016

O
riental’s Town Board on February 2 approved a graffiti ordinance, the passage of which took many by surprise. Just a month earlier, at its January meeting, the Board tabled a proposed graffiti ordinance after hearing that the anti-Walmart message spray-painted on the shuttered Town-n-Country grocery at Halloween would be painted over by month’s end, as per the building’s owner. The Town Board’s consensus at that January meeting was that if Oriental’s only graffiti in recent memory were cleaned up – to become only a memory – then there was no need to create a new law.

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January 22, 2016
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January 15, 2016

T
he WalMart Express just on the edge of Oriental is shutting down on January 28, as are the 101 other WalMart Express stores that the giant retailer opened in recent years in a “pilot” project. Walmart announced today that it was ending the “pilot” and closing its Express stores. That news came in a release from Walmart HQs, titled “Walmart Continues Sharpened Focus on Portfolio Management.”

In Oriental, where the experiment known as store #7207 was conducted for 20 months, the news stunned many. But not all.

Some had welcomed the big retailer and its small grocery store, while others tried to stop it from coming, citing concern for independent businesses. Oriental’s WalMart Express Store (#7207) opened in May 2014 and less than a year and a half later Oriental’s only one-stop independent grocer threw in the towel, overwhelmed by the competition. With #7207’s closing, Oriental will be without a one-stop grocery and will be without a pharmacy as well.

This turn of events prompted Carol Small, Doug Sligh, Chris Kiricoples, Walter Vick, Rick Smith, Ben Casey, Tom Lathrop, Greg and Kathi Gonya, Walter Lane, Iris Cooper and Mark Clardy, Jim Privette, Ken Laser, Allen and Leigh Price and others to write.

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January 7, 2016

Oriental’s Town Board on Tuesday night put off action on a proposed graffiti ordinance that had been prompted by the two-and-a-half month old grafitti on the front of the Town-n-Country building. The Board voted 5-0 to table the proposal. Instead, the Board is waiting for Ruth Ireland to have the graffiti painted over by the end of January. The Board’s stance led John Cassillo to write. His letter brought in an alternative view:

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January 6, 2016
A
visiting boat crew from Texas took part – and played a big part — in Oriental’s New Years Eve festivities last week. James Woodring and Rachel Lay had sailed their Westsail 32, Mona to the Town Dock a few days earlier, and were asked if the Croaker Dropping team could use their boat (and in particular, the mast) for the finale of ringing in the new year. They agreed – James even played a couple of rounds of Auld Lang Syne on an accordion he bought while in town. He followed that up with this letter.... read more »»



December 16, 2015

T
he 2015 Spirit of Christmas celebration got off to a glowing start Friday night (Dec 11). For this Friday Night Lights, luminaries lined the streets, the Oriental Star was switched on, and 20 kayaks and other paddled boats brought their lights to the harbor. Along the Oriental shoreline, from the bridge to Whittaker Creek, a flotilla of larger lighted boats paraded past. Joe Valinoti organized the flotilla and has these words of thanks.

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November 17, 2015

A
thank you from the Oriental Dragon Boat Club.

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November 12, 2015
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November 9, 2015
W
ith autumn, leaves fall and we humans rake them up. Many load them up and take them – along with branches and limbs – to the yard waste drop-off at the Oriental water plant. That’s the the dumpster that as of a year ago, the Town of Oriental started providing to its residents. Not everyone takes that route to Gilgo Road, though. Some still light their yard waste — and more — afire in their yards. The smoke and smell and particulates rising from the fire do not remain in the burner’s yard. Which got reader Steve Polk to write in, with a request….... read more »»



November 3, 2015

It’s no longer just a boarded-up storefront that you see on entering Oriental. Plywood boards were nailed in place late last week as the Town-n-Country grocery shut down after 4 decades in business. In the last 18 months, the independent grocery had faced insurmountable competition after the WalMart Express opened, a few hundred yards away. That saga appeared to have inspired the graffiti that appeared on the storefront’s boards on Sunday morning. Spraypainted across the front – “Welcome to Oriental.” and “Thanks, WalMart” – while on the side entrances, more blunt messaaging.

Some readers wrote in to say they didn’t like it.

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October 19, 2015
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September 27, 2015
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September 27, 2015
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September 18, 2015

D
riving in Pamlico County these days you may think that a very early fall has come. A very site-specific autumn, judging by the long bands of roadside trees no longer green. But those trees and underbrush and grasses have not merely changed color to that coppery, homogenous brown. They are dead – after being sprayed with herbicide a few weeks ago. TownDock has received queries from readers asking about the spraying and its impact beyond the roadside. Oriental resident and Creekkeeper Bill Hines writes about his concerns in this Letter to the Editor. Marge Dales. Carol Small and Kim Yearick write as well.

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September 5, 2015

O
riental’s Town Board, at its September 1 meeting put off a decision on whether to accept the arrangement – 5 acres off of North Street – offered by the Camp Creek Partnership. In a July letter to the town, the partnership said it would give the Town five of the ten acres it bought a decade ago. The partners initially gave the town 45 days to make up its mind, but amid questions of costs and liability – the site on low-lying land has a house in ill-repair – they now say the Town can take the time it needs until the end of the year. The Board says it will hear from the public at its early October meeting. A Letter to the Editor from Jim Barton suggests the Town use the time to consider the nature of the offer and earlier commitments by the partners to provide the public more than just the unimproved acreage. Also writing is Commissioner Larry Summers, and Bob Miller who favor the offer.

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July 16, 2015

Many letters have been coming in over Oriental and Pamlico County losing the paramedic services of Eric Kindle. Just after midnight on July 5, when he was off-duty, he heard a radioed 911 call of an inebriated person struggling in water. He walked to the site, on Oriental’s harbor, and later, when asked to move the ambulance 50 feet, he got behind the wheel and hit and damaged the side view mirror of a pickup truck. Questioned by police on the scene, he blew 0.11 on a Breathalyzer and was charged with DUI. A few days later he opted to resign from his paramedic job, which leaves open the possibility of reapplying for the job once the court case is over, which could take well in to next year.
Gwinn Hedrick, Teri Reid, Spencer Bliss, Brian Middlebrook, Bob Maxbauer, Grace Evans, Bill Creswell, Lynn DeChesser, Rich Halvarson, Lynn and Dan O’Neill, Catherine Baxley, Caroline Bliss among others, share their views on the case in their letters to the editor.

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July 15, 2015

Two big thank-yous – one from Oriental’s Town Hall, the other from Croakerfest’s chief organizer to credit the crew of volunteers who worked on this year’s Croakerfest.

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July 7, 2015

A
t Croakerfests over the years, Garbology teams have mainly worked behind the scenes — and sometimes out in the open with artful forklift work — to keep things clean. This year, the Garbology team was bigger than ever and made a point of encouraging attendees to recycle both at the festival and at home. Croakerfest Garbology Coordinator Jayne Stasser sent an appreciation.

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June 25, 2015
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March 17, 2015
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December 22, 2014

N
oise is an issue that resounds now and again in Oriental. At the moment, the unwelcome sound in question comes from the skies above, but it’s not the big fighter jets or cargo planes in and out of Cherry Point. Rather, it’s the much smaller military drones that prompt area resident Brad Cecil to write.

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November 19, 2014
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October 25, 2014

Oriental’s Town Hall has arranged for a dumpster to be set up near the water plant at Gilgo and Windward, as a place where Oriental residents can drop off their yard waste. Having the dumpster available for free drop offs of yard waste saves residents the trip to the county dump in Grantsboro, where one pays by the pound.

This pilot program has another aspect – a ban on outdoor burning. Because the Town is offering residents a place to dispose of their leaves and branches, it has the option of banning outdoor burning of that waste. That’s what the Town Board voted to do recently – make outdoor burning off limits while this pilot program is in place. Some welcome the prospect of a smokeless autumn on their respiratory systems, but the arrangement has one reader criticizing the burning ban.

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October 18, 2014
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October 8, 2014
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September 19, 2014

W
e’ve seen high water on Hodges Street again this week – not so much from the rain the other day but more because of the north wind. It blows Pamlico Sound waters down in to the harbor and then over the street. Those waters are brackish or briny which means that while it’s not as high on the salinity scale as ocean water, it’s not fresh water by any means. That fact is something that letter writer Gary Ramsey hopes drivers will take with more than a grain of salt.

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September 17, 2014
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September 15, 2014
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September 9, 2014

In early August, Oriental’s Town Board voted 5-0 on a docking ordinance that has the effect of keeping commercial fishing trawlers from tying up at the Town Docks. That vote came after 3 summer weekends during which trawlers used the newest Town Dock. When the pilings for that dock were acquired in the 2012 Chris Fulcher land swap, the future dock was represented as being for recreational vessels. That appeared to inform the Board’s vote to rule out trawlers at the public docks. Then in late August, at the Board’s Agenda meeting, former Mayor Sherrill Styron, who owns one of the seafood plants on the harbor, called on the Board to reverse its early August vote. He wants commercial trawlers to be able to tie up at the Town Docks if they want to. The issue has prompted some letters from readers, including Larry Summers and Jean White.

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September 8, 2014

O
riental has become known as a place where people move after having their careers and after raising their families. But not everyone who moves here fits that description. There are parents who move to Oriental to bring up their children. Having just reached a milestone in that path, Mary Beth Thorn sends in what she calls her Love Letter To Oriental.

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September 5, 2014

T
his summer has had it cool moments. And some heat. We’ve had periods of rain and heat and resulting steaminess — sometimes all in the same day. Or even the same hour. On one occasion, the TownDock staff muttered that we wished autumn would just get here already. Reader Russ Boltz took issue. In a Letter to the Editor, he comes to the defense of our Eastern NC summers, making the “grass is greener” argument. Literally.

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August 27, 2014

A
year ago – August 22, 2013 – the public in Oriental first got word that WalMart planned a store 255 feet outside the town limits. That would put it just a few hundred feet from the independently-owned in-town grocery store, Town & Country, which Ruth Ireland first opened in 1973. Some welcomed the prospect of a WalMart to our small town, others opposed it, largely out of concern of what impact the world’s largest retailer would have on Oriental’s smaller stores. WalMart opened in May and, as predicted, business at the indy grocer has been down. Oriental resident Jean White asks in a letter that others join her in still shopping at “Ruth’s.”

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August 27, 2014

Ashley Erwin writes in with an alert for local fishermen. Vibrio Vulnificus is a waterborne bacteria that can be in our waters during the summer months:

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August 11, 2014

The Ukulele Hoalohas Of Oriental have been gathering weekly for the past year or two to practice and along the way introduce more people to the ukulele. This spring they wanted to make ukuleles available to children in Fred Anderson Elementary School. That meant raising money. Their fundraiser was a success, as UHOO’s Susan Banks writes.

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August 4, 2014

O
riental opened its new Town Dock this spring. It’s near the harbor end of South Avenue and was acquired by the Town in a still controversial 2012 land swap with seafood businessman Chris Fulcher (who got 13,000 square feet of Town right of way in exchange for 5,000 feet of land and pilings for a dock.) This new Town Dock was touted as a place where more visiting boats — cruisers, day sailors, small craft, basically — could tie up for free so their crews to spend time — and money — in town to the benefit of businesses here. It was repeatedly stated then that giving up the rights of way – and a bigger docking area there – and taking the smaller dock space would let all the pleasure craft be at one end of the harbor. But in the past few weeks large fishing trawlers have periodically tied up at that new Town Dock. That’s kept sailboats and power boats — the long-anticipated users of Oriental’s new free Town Dock — from being able to use the space. The most recent incident was this past weekend, when the Gulf Stream III tied up in order to have repair work done from Chris Fulcher’s adjacent yard. Dock lines from the big trawler stretched across the Town Dock obstructing passage for pedestrians. It was tied up there Saturday, and again Sunday evening for more repairs. On Monday and Tuesday the Gulf Stream III was blocking any entrance in to the dock’s south side
This prompts a letter from Oriental resident Steve Snyder, which sparked others.

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July 30, 2014

Efforts have been underway for a few years to build a bike path that would link the main part of Oriental with the White Farm Road part of town. By going thru the woods and headwaters of Whittaker Creek, it would provide a way for pedestrians and cyclists to travel from one part of town to the other without encountering the traffic on Hwy 55 and Straight Road.

Liz Lathrop remembers her friend, Margaret Madgwick, who died last month and who in the 1990’s was a force in putting in place the bike lanes that Oriental does have.

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July 22, 2014

Hope Clinic has some words of thanks.

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July 10, 2014

The 34th Annual Croaker Festival prompted some letters of appreciation…

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June 25, 2014

Two years ago, a grassroots effort kept the NC Legislature’s mandated toll on local ferries from kicking in. Last year, the Legislature wrote language that, on the surface kept the tolls away, but put the onus on regional transportation boards to find ways to finance new ferries. In contrast to that, there also arose a new idea: get rid of all the ferry tolls and bring in more tourism dollars as a result.

Fast forward to this session of the Legislature, where the lines are drawn not between the parties, but between the House and the Senate. Greg Piner of Oriental played a big role in the grassroots campaign to prevent the tolls from being charged on our local Minnesott Neuse River ferry. In this Letter to the Editor, he says now is the time to call and email lawmakers if you want to keep the ferries free.

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June 13, 2014
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May 15, 2014
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May 14, 2014

A few years ago, the Town of Oriental allowed Pamlico County government to place recycling bins in the parking lot of Oriental’s recreational field on Straight Road. That was mainly done as a courtesy to residents outside of town – those who live in Oriental have their recyclables picked up at curbside a few times a month. A letter writer suggests the demand for a place to recycle is great.

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