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January 30, 2018

T
he yards in some of Oriental’s older low-lying neighborhoods often have standing water after a rain or a Nor’easter. Because of poor drainage, parts of some roads also stay submerged long afterward. One of those trouble spots is at South Water & Main. Bill Reid writes that he has long been asking the Town to fix the persistent ponding:

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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
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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.

The storefront was painted black on January 20. Two weeks later, the proposal for a graffiti ordinance was formally on the agenda for the February 2 meeting, though the expectation going in to the meeting was that the cleaned-up graffiti meant that Oriental had dealt with the issue and no law was needed. Then, the Board voted 3-2 for a graffiti ordinance – Commissioners Charlie Overcash, Barb Venturi and Sandy Winfrey in favor and David White and Allen Price opposed. In a guest column, attorney Michael Tigar laid out shortcomings he sees in the ordinance, such as overreach and 1st Amendment concerns. That prompted letters from readers – some agreeing, some disagreeing – Carol Small, Susan Dilllard, Pat del Rio, Eric Dammeyer, and Michael Tigar and Jane Tigar :

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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
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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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M
arsha Paplham has been orchestrating the luminaria and The Spirit of Christmas for (she thinks) the last twelve years. She writes in to send out her thanks to everyone who helps make The Spirit of Christmas possible and includes an announcement about her plans going forward.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

It truly takes a village to put on an event like The Spirit of Christmas. As always, there are those who deserve special recognition.

• Jeannine Russo at the Pamlico News for her work on the program
• Larry Summers for his organization of the Lighted Kayak Parade – it was beautiful
• Paul & all the crew at Village Hardware for providing candles, lighters & support with the luminaries
• Tony Santore for his work organizing the Christmas Parade
• Tom at the Oriental Marina, Fire Station 19, and Chris from The Silos – you all contributed to the luminaries, their assembly, and clean-up
• TownDock, The County Compass, and Pamlico News who worked non-stop to get the word out
• Finally, Thank You to all you wonderful volunteers. Without your help none of this could take place. I thank you So Very Much!

I have enjoyed being a part of The Spirit of Christmas for many years. It has truly been my honor. Now I feel it’s time to ‘pass the torch’. I will be stepping down and look forward to working with the new person who takes it on. Thank you so much to all of you for your support over the years.

Marsha Paplham
Marsha’s Cottage
Oriental, NC

xx
Marsha Paplham on the porch of Marsha’s Cottage.

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Transparent Discussions and Decisions
Questions about Premium Pay
November 17, 2021

O
riental resident Bonnie Crosser writes in with concerns regarding Premium Pay at Town Hall:
During the October, 10/5/2021, Oriental Town Board Meeting, Commissioner Overcash addressed the Premium Pay for Oriental Town Workers during COVID.  Commissioner Overcash said that he and other Commissioners had spoken about it and agreed on a figure of $1,200 per worker.  I was present during the meeting and nothing was said regarding if the “figure” represented gross or net pay.  References to payments to employees are in the terms of gross pay (pay before taxes and deductions) as taxes and deductions differ by individual employee.  Additionally, throughout the budget and accounting process employee pay is always referred to in terms of gross pay.

It should be noted the America Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds are allocation by the Federal Government.  The Town of Oriental is allowed to use the funds for capital improvements to the Water Plant and Premium Pay for qualified Town Workers.  Oriental Town Hall was closed to the public for several months during the Pandemic and extensive cleaning protocols were initiated during the Pandemic.  Oriental employees were not required to wear masks during close contact with fellow employees and/or with the public throughout the Pandemic.

The October Premium Pay agreement for Oriental Town Workers was an equitable allocated across the eight employee whom qualified (based on salary) for the payment under ARPA.  During the November, 11/9/2021, Oriental Town Board Meeting, Commissioner White informed all present the Premium Pay for Oriental Town Workers will be in terms of net pay to the eight employees.  Not all Commissioners had the understanding the Premium Pay was based on net pay.  The change in terms will now account for an un-equitable allocation of gross pay across the eight employees.

The issue is the change to an Oriental Town Board agreement.  If the Oriental Town Board wanted to pay more why was the compensation amount not discussed and increased during the October meeting.  Those individuals present during the October meeting took the compensation amount of $9,600 as gross wages.  The change in terms increased the compensation amount to $12,944.17, representing an increase of $3,344.17, a 34% increase.  Why was the change made after the compensation amount was agreed upon?  My concern is the appearance of manipulating terms to yield desired results.  The citizens of Oriental deserve transparent discussions and decisions.  I ask our Oriental Commissioners to speak in consistent terms and honor prior Board decisions.

Bonnie Crosser
Oriental, NC
November 16, 2021

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