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It's Friday June 9, 2023 Dock Quote: “You can’t teach...

News From The Village Updated Almost Daily

Upcoming Events

More (Air) Space, Please:

Marines seeking room to maneuver. The Story

Mildred Pickle, Dragon:

A once-a-year appearance. The Story

Letters: My Friend Graham Byrnes:

Salute to a friendship. Letters To The Editor

Sailing for Parkinson's:

At 80 years old. The Story

Letters: Oriental's 23/24 Proposed Budget:

One Commissioner's View. Letters To The Editor

Cruisers Become Canvas Makers at Inner Banks:

Litzenbergers swallow the anchor in Oriental. The Story

2023 Hope Regala:

Two nights and over $200k raised for the Hope Clinic. The Story

Partisan Voting Bill Was Tabled; Now it's Back:

A Sneaky Second Attempt at Partisan School Board Elections. The Story

Kitsch, Curios, and Treasures:

The 2023 Town Wide Yard Sale. The Story

May Town Board Meeting 2023:

Sailcraft rezoning, dog bites, Airbnbs. The Story

Cycle NC Coastal Ride 2023:

1,300 cyclists come and go. The Story

SailPack 2023: The Year of the Capsize:

High wind chaos Saturday; Sunday smooth sailing. The Story

2023 Oriental In-Water Boat Show:

Sail, power, paddle - even painted fish-on-a-stick. The Story

SV Sarah G:

4 humans aboard 82 salvaged feet. The Shipping News

Pamela Ann Steiger, 1950 - 2023:

Mother, Grandmother, Caregiver, Companion. The Story

Unattended Dog Attacks:

Injuries sustained. The Story

Letters: The Butts of Oriental:

Pick 'em up. Letters To The Editor

Join Sailpack, and keep the Regattas In Oriental:

SailPack Coach Dana Magliola needs some help. Guest Columnist

Representative Kidwell Tells a Whopper:

'Unanimous vote' shuts out School Board & parents. The Story

2023 Ol' Front Porch Music Festival Lineup:

19 bands playing bluegrass, folk, gospel and more. The Story

April Town Board Meeting:

Rezoning public hearing set. The Story

A Cunning Use Of Line:

Mr Cunningham's contribution to sailing. Captain's Blog

Public Speaks Out Against Partisan School Board Elections:

Supporting Commissioners remain silent. The Story

Luminary Lantern Launch on the Neuse:

2nd Annual Shine a Light Fundraiser. The Story

The 4th Annual Dragon Burn:

Burning a mythical creature supports the arts. The Story

2023 PAWS Pet Parade:

212 paws step out. The Story

Robert (Bob) Jerome Parker Jr., 1958 - 2023:

Mentor, loving husband, gentle soul. The Story

SV Pepita:

A nomad's life aboard. The Shipping News

John Radtke, 1938- 2023:

Sailor, Instructor, Volunteer. The Story

Letters: Partisan School Board Elections:

Opposing County Commissioners' Recommendation. Letters To The Editor

March Town Board Meeting:

Boat lifts approved, Audit accepted. The Story

Mr. March 2023 - Tug:

92 sinkable pounds. Pet Of The Month

Letters: Help Dredge the Channel:

For better navigation. Letters To The Editor

S/V Surprise:

Wooden charter with a motley history. The Shipping News

Point Pride Seafood Fined:

Chris Fulcher's Seafood operation receives $21.5k penalty. The Story

Letters: Phone Scam Warning:

Don't send money. Letters To The Editor

Gangland Graphics:

Hull Grafitti?. Captain's Blog

Letters: Opposition to Boatyard in Whortonsville:

Concerns for Brown Creek. Letters To The Editor

February Town Board Meeting:

Five roads to get repairs, Officers awarded. The Story

SV Thunderstriker:

Young brothers begin an adventure. The Shipping News

Chinese New Year Parade 2023:

Dragons parade by the harbor. The Story

48 Hour Film Project:

Old Theater Hosts Small Town Filmakers. The Story

A January Jump in the Neuse:

Over $5,000 raised for Special Olympics. The Story

Dog Park Mauling:

Opened gate leads to attack. The Story

Mr. January 2023 - Peanut Butter:

A shift in perspective. Pet Of The Month

From Oriente to Oriental:

Unexpected Cuban roots. The Story

2023: Year of the Rabbit:

. Drawing The Town

Use Your Vang:

Better sail control, in light or heavy air. Captain's Blog

A pelican trio on the Oriental Harbor Marina docks. (Click for the full view)

Thursday June 8, 2023

1:03p Schedule back to normal on the ferry.

5:31a. The Cherry Branch / Minnesott Beach ferry is on a normal schedule early this morning, then switching to one boat starting at 7:45a:

We are switching to an amended schedule after our 7:45am departures, we will be on a one boat schedule.
Cherry Branch departures: 9a, 10a, 11a, 12 noon, 1:30p, 2:30p, 3:30p, 4:30p, 5:30p, 6:30p, 7:30p, 8:30p, 10p
Minnesott departures: 8:30a, 9:30a, 10:30a, 11:30a, 12:30a, 2p, 3p, 4p, 5p, 6p, 7p, 8p, 9p, 11p.
Wednesday June 7, 2023

4:10p Notice the haze out there today? You can see it in Oriental, but it’s even more obvious on the way to New Bern.

That haze is smoke, visiting all the way from Canada. Lightning strikes, low snowfall, a dry spring season and higher than normal temperatures created an ideal scenario for fires to run rampant in the eastern provinces of Canada.

There’s around 160 fires in Quebec, about the same number in Ontario, and still more burning in Nova Scotia. It’s really smoky in the northeast, and even down yonder here in river city.

This can all be best summarized as follows:

8:52a Pamlico County Fishes and Loaves Outreach (PCFLO) is looking ahead to summer, and helping feed the county’s children in need.

Ray Ruppert writes in:

Summer is here and school is almost over. Kids will be home, playing outdoors and working up appetites. Feeding young children is expensive. Help Pamlico County Fishes and Loaves Outreach (PCFLO), your local food pantry, by donating Peanut Better, Canned Chicken or Mac & Cheese.

Drop boxes are located at First Citizens Bank, Brantley’s Restaurant, and the PCFLO Building on 108 Straight Rd. Thank you.

PCFLO was once housed at St. Peter the Fisherman Catholic Church. In 2021, they moved to their own building on Straight Rd.

Slight chance of rain this afternoon. Winds from the west at 5-10 mph. Sunny and mid-80s today.

Tuesday June 6, 2023

3:44p It’s back after about a month & a half of downtime. Just in time for hurricane season fun… the much valued Oriental water level gauge:

11:47a At this morning’s meeting the Special Use Permit for SailCraft – to use their newly rezoned lot as part of the boatyard – was passed.

The Budget was also passed, 3-2 with Commissioners Frank Roe and Allen Price dissenting. A recommendation was made by Commissioner David White and seconded by Roe, that a future meeting be held to gather public input on how to fund roads going forward.

Story coming.

8:30a Commissioners are now meeting at Town Hall for two public hearings – one for a Special Use Permit (SUP) for SailCraft Services (who recently received approval for their rezoning request of a residential lot to industrial) and one for the budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

Over twenty residents are in attendance, and are now hearing public input for the SUP. Next, Commissioners will discuss the SailCraft SUP, choosing to either pass or decline the permit.

After that, Commissioners hear public comments on the upcoming budget.

Monday June 5, 2023

2:32p Thursday June 8, Public Works begins spraying the town for mosquitos. Spraying is twice a week, Tuesday and Thursday, from 4a – 6a.

If you’re outside walking your dog – or yourself – during those hours, you may want to delay until after 6a to avoid the spray trucks.

To get your residence on the No-Spray list, call or email town hall: 252-249-0555 or admin@townoforiental.com

Beth Obenshain was on the water this weekend in the Dragon’s Breath Regatta, an annual race sponsored by the Oriental Dinghy Club.

Beth and her crew sailed her Pearson 26 Sugar, taking second place in her division. She wrote in to share some photos:

In the basketball-obsessed Triangle region of NC, “DBR” means “Duke Basketball Report.” I hate Duke but when I lived in Chapel Hill, I used to gather intel from the DBR. It was like Will Blythe’s book title: To Hate Like This Is To Be Happy Forever.

In Oriental, there’s a different obsession and DBR means “Dragon’s Breath Regatta.” I like the Oriental version so much better!

I took my photos early in the day, when the sky was CAROLINA blue.
Click any pic for the bigger view

Winners of the 2023 Dragon’s Breath Regatta:

Jam Division
1st Bodacious, J34C, skipper Steve Peters
2nd Sugar, Pearson 26, skipper Beth Obenshain
3rd Duende, Catalina 30, skippery Don Munn

Spinnaker Division
1st HeartBeat, Etchells, skipper Bob Slook
2nd Oriental Express, Etchells, skipper Henry Frazer
3rd Badfish, J29, skipper Ed Doughty

9:27a The Red Cross is at St. Thomas Episcopal this morning, taking blood donations. This isn’t just any donation – it’s in honor of Cheryl Thompson. Cheryl (who is alive and well) spent many years as coordinator of the annual Croaker Festival. Sign up online by clicking here and entering zip code 28571.

Have kids or grandkids in need of something to do this summer? Registration for the Children’s Theater Summer Workshop is open. Students who have completed first through twelfth grades may participate. Classes taught by age.

Children work with a drama coach for two weeks learning the fundamentals of acting and storytelling. At the end, they put on a show demonstrating what they’ve learned. Find out more here or contact Children’s Theater Director Yolanda Cristiani at 1996ctw@gmail.com to register.

Tonight at 7p is the first of two monthly Pamlico County Commissioner meetings. They meet at the County Courthouse Annex in Bayboro. Tomorrow morning, Oriental’s Board of Commissioners have their monthly meeting at 8a at Oriental Town Hall. Oriental’s Commissioners will also have a public hearing for the annual budget.

Documents for both meetings are available in What’s Happening.

Sunday June 4, 2023

3:41p Water levels are up about 6 inches since morning. Monday’s calmer winds will see levels recede, then Monday night & Tuesday’s SW winds will further bring it all back to “normal”.

Meanwhile, water levels up to the cleats at the Hodges St seawall:

7:09a A Small Craft Advisory in effect until 4p today. It’s from 15 To 20 knot northeast winds (gusts to 25) on the Neuse.

Those brisk northeast winds have pushed water levels up a couple feet, now about level with the sidewalk by the harbor.

The thermometer says 64, but it feels cooler this morning. Temps just up to about 70 today, warming up to 80 Monday.

Oriental NC Forecast
Neuse River Marine Forecast
Pamlico Sound Marine Forecast
Weather Radar
TownDock streams NOAA Weather Radio Online

Saturday June 3, 2023

5:25p Storm Arlene has gone Post-Tropical. That’s meteorology speak for washed up. Right on schedule.

Florida will still get some rain.

Friday June 2, 2023

1:52p This weekend, you have choices to make. Go to Prom, pick up trash, check out the wildlife, or get out on the water. Or do it all.

The Cheesesteak Hustle (it’s a food truck, not a band) is at the Brewery today from 3-8p. Packhouse plays in the beer garden starting at 5:30p. Down the road at the Red Rooster, hear Ken Belangia at 7p.

Saturday, the Oriental Dinghy Club hosts the Dragon’s Breath Regatta – for sailing boats 20’ and over. In Whortonsville, join the Clean Sweep Extravaganza and win prizes for picking up the most trash. Event begins at 9a.

The Oriental History Museum opens their new exhibit: Oriental Wildlife. Check out their newest wildlife member and enter the contest to give it a name. Open 1-4p. Meet Village Gallery Artist of the Month Debanjana Battacharjee at the artist reception from 2-5p.

Saturday night, it’s the Children’s Theater Fundraiser: The Prom Do-Over at the Brewery from 6-9p. Tickets are $20. Dress in your prom best from any era. Drinks, dancing, and the DJ might play your favorite prom song. Tanja’s Hella Fat Food Truck serves outside the Brewery from 4-8p.

Sunday, swap plants and seeds at the Brewery’s Plant Swap, from 1-6p.

It’s all in What’s Happening.

1:30p It was forecast to stay wimpy. NOAA sent aircraft to investigate the storm, and found higher winds than expected. Tropical Depression Two is now Tropical Storm Arlene.

While packing 40 mph winds, Arlene still doesn’t have much of a future. The storm is forecast to go post-tropical this weekend. Still, we do have a named storm, on day two of the six month long hurricane season.

Tropical Storm Arlene Tracking Chart
Tropical Storm Arlene Forecaster’s Discussion & Computer Models
Tropical Storm Arlene Public Advisory

11:05a The Marines want more MOAs. What’s a MOA? It’s a Military Operational Area… where they get to fly. To find out what it all means, we talked with former Marine pilot John Rahm.

9:49a Historically day one of a new hurricane season kicks off with news blah-blah about the coming season, but not an actual tropical system. 2023 did it a bit different. Tropical Depression Two formed in the Gulf.

Tropical Depression Two isn’t forecast to strengthen enough to become a tropical storm and get a name. Ooops forecast. “Two” is expected to head south to Havana, have a cigar, then weakly maneuver east by Florida (raining) and then dissipate at sea.


Hurricane Center
Tropical Depression Two

Meanwhile, here in river city, the sun will show up this afternoon with highs near 80. The weekend looks like a weather charmer, Saturday sunny and low 80s, Sunday sunny with low 70s.

Oriental NC Forecast
Neuse River Marine Forecast
Pamlico Sound Marine Forecast

Thursday June 1, 2023

Welcome to June. Today is the first day of the Atlantic hurricane season, which will be with us until November 30. TownDock will track the storms of 2023, and report during a storm should one visit our town.

NOAA/NHC has predicted a “near-normal” hurricane season.


Normally (normally may have become an obsolete word re hurricane season) this is just the first official day. Nothing would be out there on the Atlantic.

However, there is a disturbance out there:


The disturbance marked in orange is likely to rain on the Gulf & maybe Florida this weekend.

The TownDock Hurricane Center keeps track of what is brewing in the Atlantic.

Here are the 2023 storm names and their pro-NUNC-eee-ayyy-SHUNS:

Arlene ar-LEEN, Lee lee, Bret bret, Margot MAR-go, Cindy SIN-dee, Don dahn, Emily EH-mih-lee, Franklin FRANK-lin, Gert gert, Harold HAIR-uld, Idalia ee-DAL-ya, Jose ho-Zay, Katia KAH-tya, Lee lee, Margo mar-goh, Nigel NY-juhl, Ophelia o-FEEL-ya, Philippe fee-LEEP, Rina REE-nuh, Sean shawn, Tammy TAM-ee, Vince vinss and Whitney WHIT-nee.


Oriental was fortunate not to get a significant storm visit in 2022 (or 2021 or 2020). The last hurricane to visit our town was Dorian in 2019. Here’s a high water view from Hurricane Dorian, Sept 6 at 7a:


Dorian delivered a 6ft 2 inch surge to Oriental. That’s a lot of water, but still 3 feet less than the waters from Hurricanes Florence (2018) and Irene (2011).

Wednesday May 31, 2023

11:01a Every Memorial Day, Mildred hangs out by the tennis and Pickleball courts. She’s made it a yearly tradition.

Meet Mildred Pickles, Dragon.

8:47a Pamlico County Arts Council’s Taming of the Shrew event, slated for this Saturday, has been postponed.

Saturday still has a few things going for it: Sailing vessels over 20’ compete in The Dragon’s Breath Regatta. The Clean Sweep Extravaganza – with cash prizes for most trash collected – is all day Saturday. Saturday night, The Children’s Theater hosts the Prom Do-Over at the Brewery (tickets required).

Find out more in What’s Happening.

Clouds are a little stormy looking this morning – but there’s only a slight chance of rain today. High today mid 70s, near 80 by the weekend.

Windy with north winds at 10-15 mph, and gusts up to 25 mph.

On the Neuse, north winds at 15-20 knots and gusts up to 25 knots.

Oriental NC Forecast
Neuse River Marine Forecast
Pamlico Sound Marine Forecast
Weather Radar

Tuesday May 30, 2023

1:12p Many sailors know firsthand what it’s like to weather stormy waters. Passengers on a cruise ship? Not so much.

Last weekend, several hundred Carnival Cruise passengers got to experience a key part of the sailing life. Take a look:

8:58a The national news has daily blah-blah-blah about the 2024 elections. Meanwhile, back in Otown, a key post has been filled.

Running on a platform of Make Oriental Parade Again (MOPA), Paul Fairbank has been unanimously elected (re-installed may be the better word) as the Croaker Festival Parade Master.

With decades of experience in this key role, TownDock is able to bring back a Paul classic:

The 2023 Croaker Festival is set for June 30 & July 1. You might look good in that parade.

Monday May 29, 2023

11:38a If you’re by Oriental Harbor Marina around noon, look up at Oriental Bridge.

Chris Mele will be there with her trumpet. She (sometimes with others, sometimes on her own) plays Taps from the center span in honor of Memorial Day.

If you miss the noon event, you have a second chance: Echo Taps will be played from the bridge & the marina at 3p.

9:01a Partly sunny and a high near 80… and rain unlikely. It’s a civilized day.

On the water, easy winds today and for the next few days. South winds 5-10 knots today, northeast 5-10 Tuesday.

5:05a It’s Memorial Day – a federal holiday. Many of you may have the day off.

If you’re one of the lucky ones heading to work this morning – and you take waterway commute – you may need to adjust your routine; they’re on a one-boat schedule. From the Minnesott Beach – Cherry Branch ferry:

ferry logoGood morning from Cherry Branch/Minnesott ferry operations! We are on a one boat schedule today.

From MB: 5:25a, 6:15, 7:15, 8:30, 9:30, 10:30, 11:30, 12:30, 2p, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11

From CB: 5a, 54:5, 64:5, 74:5, 9, 10, 11, noon, 1:30p, 2:30, 3:30, 4:30, 5:30, 6:30, 7:30, 8:30, 10
Sunday May 28, 2023

1:05p There’s no food truck at the Brewery tonight, but there might be music. Lili Bacon writes in:

No food truck today, but Songs from the Road band is in town and they are planning to come at 4pm and hang out. If it clears up, they will play- maybe on Front Porch? If not, they’ll hang out and have some beers. Playing it by ear …

In January, Tim Sussmann visited Oriental aboard SV Pepita. He was in town making repairs and readying his boat to travel to across the Atlantic, while doing handyman work for residents. He and his 1985 Reinke Taranga 33 were featured in the March Shipping News.

This morning, Pepita and crew arrived safely in Bermuda.

Revisit Tim and Pepita’s story – and goal to travel to Africa – here.

7:07a The Bean is open. The ferry is running.

Be brave… it’s safe to come outside.

6:34a Water levels are still high, but much lower than Saturday evening. Water is now just below the sidewalk by the harbor.

Winds are forecast to switch to southeast at or just before noon, which will further bring levels back to normal.

Saturday May 27, 2023

6:55p Winds reached 37mph earlier this afternoon in Oriental.. It’s likely that was the peak from this weather event’s visit.

4:18p High wind so far today 34mph at 2:46p. A Gale Warning is in effect until 10p tonight.

Water levels are up… with waters almost reaching the seafood shack on Hodges St. Tonight more 25 To 30 knot northeast winds forecast (water levels could rise a bit more), becoming east 15-20 late. Sunday water levels should head down, with southeast winds 10-15.

7:32a High waters have The Bean closed today. With a wind shift (and waters expected lower), The Bean should be back Sunday.

High waters & winds have the Cherry Branch ferry suspended this morning.

6:50a It’s breezy, but so far not quite as windy as forecast. From the Oriental Weather Station:

We’ve received 0.3 inches of rain since midnight. The rain forecast has lowered – now expected just to see 2-3 inches.

Oriental NC Forecast
Oriental Weather Station
Neuse River Marine Forecast
Pamlico Sound Marine Forecast
Weather Radar

The system almost looks tropical – Southeast Weather Radar shows we are the place to get wet:

click the radar image for the big animated view

Friday May 26, 2023

1:02p How high will water levels get this weekend? NOAA predicts 3-4 feet above normal (potentially another 1-2 feet higher than the high water levels now):

The rainfall prediction has trended down – we are now in a 3-4 inch zone:

The Neuse River forecast is for 25-30 knots tonight & Saturday (with gusts to 40) – all from the northeast. Northeast and east winds cause the most “wind tide” in and near Oriental.

Sunday promises southeast winds, then Monday west. Water levels should be back near normal sometime Sunday.

Oriental NC Forecast
Neuse River Marine Forecast
Pamlico Sound Marine Forecast
Weather Radar

11:25a Tom Lathrop writes in about his friend, Graham Byrnes.

9:16a Hodges Street is providing free salt baths for willing automobiles today:

7:07a Despite high waters on Hodges Street, The Bean is open… from Eric Kindle:

We are opening at seven and see how the day goes.
You can almost make it in without boots from the Village Gallery side. If it would go down, just a tiny bit more you would be good with just the walkway and no boots.

Pamlico Nikes are the appropriate fashion.

7:03a The ferry is on a one boat schedule today (as announced yesterday). That means the schedule is reduced 50%.

From Cherry Branch: 5a, 5:45, 6:45, 7:45, 9, 10, 11, noon, 1:30p, 2:30, 3:30, 4:30, 5:30, 6:30, 7:30, 8:30, 10.
From Minnesott Beach: 5:25a, 6:15, 7:15, 8:30, 9:30, 10:30,1 1:30, 12:30p, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6,7 , 8, 9, 11.
Thursday May 25, 2023

9:09a Mom Nature is bringing wind and rain this weekend. So much so that planned events are getting re-scheduled.

The guitar playing Red Rooster is disappointed: SilosPalooza has been rescheduled for August 12.

We are forecast to see up to 4-6 inches of rain:

And winds up to near 30mph:

The winds will be from the northeast. On the Neuse 20-25 knots Friday, 25-30 knots Friday night and Saturday. This will bring in high water levels in and near Oriental.

Oriental NC Forecast
Neuse River Marine Forecast
Pamlico Sound Marine Forecast
Weather Radar

The Oriental water level gauge is not operating, awaiting repairs.

8:40a If you take the Cherry Branch / Minnesott Beach Ferry, no worries – they’re on a regular schedule today. But Friday, you’ll need to plan accordingly: they will be on a one boat schedule.

ferry logo Tomorrow, Friday May 26, we will be on a one boat schedule due to Certificate Of Inspection check at shipyard. We will alert you when we resume operations. If you have any questions or for more information, please call 252-463-7000.

From Cherry Branch: 5a, 5:45, 6:45, 7:45, 9, 10, 11, noon, 1:30p, 2:30, 3:30, 4:30, 5:30, 6:30, 7:30, 8:30, 10.

From Minnesott Beach: 5:25a, 6:15, 7:15, 8:30, 9:30, 10:30,1 1:30, 12:30p, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6,7 , 8, 9, 11.