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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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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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C
ommissioner Martin Barrow is moving outside the town limits of Oriental, making him ineligible to serve on Oriental’s Board of Commissioners. There is no election to fill the vacancy; the remaining four Commissioners will choose who fills the vacancy until the November elections.

Readers have written in with their endorsements and some desired qualifications in a candidate.

Since the town board has an opening for a commissioner and the fact that soon it will be time for candidates to file for the fall elections, I would like to put some thoughts out to the villagers of Oriental.

Anyone wanting to be on the town board should learn as much as they can about what makes Oriental work. Please don’t run unless you have been to town meetings and ancillary board meetings to get a feel for what is happening here. Once you experience the time and effort put forth by dedicated towns people you might not even want to run for an office. Most of the town board members have taken the time to be on other boards such as tourism, planning and others to understand what will be required of them as a member of the board of commissioners.

Commissioner David White, myself and former commissioner Barrow all were members of the planning board for several years before running for a spot on the town board. The planning board is probably one of the best town ancillary boards to be associated with because of the multiple issues that arise in Oriental. Any prospective candidate would do well to attend these meetings. Commissioners Price and Simmons were and are deeply involved in events and organizations here in Oriental. This involvement comes with being in town for quite awhile and finding interests that fit your skills and commitment.

Also, any candidate should familiarize themselves with Oriental’s Long Range Vision. There is a copy of that vision on the Oriental website. There is even an introduction to the Long Range Vision that lets the reader know about how it came to be. The commissioners and townspeople worked together to put the vision together and anyone wanting to be a town commissioner should familiarize themselves with the vision.

Any candidate should be willing to let Diane MIller, our town manager, handle the day to day running of the town. She has a Masters degree in Public Administration and is well qualified to do her job. She takes guidance from the board as a whole and any one commissioner should not try to micro manage her or her staff. That only leads to confusion and slows down the day to day work.

I hope that I have been able to give some guidance to anyone wanting to run for a town board position and I would be glad to sit down with anyone to go over what it takes and what to expect.

Respectfully,

Charlie Overcash
Town Commissioner
Oriental, NC May 18, 2021

Editor’s Note: The appointment of a new commissioner is handled during a public, open session of the Board of Commissioners. TownDock.net spoke with Town Manager Diane Miller on the subject. She said the “issue is expected to be raised at the next Town Board meeting” on June 1. She also said Commissioners “are welcome to nominate anyone and appoint them.”

Additionally, there is no rush to appoint anyone. “They [Commissioners] don’t have to appoint anyone for some time.”

The last two times Commissioners vacated the Board before the end of their terms, former Commissioners were chosen to fill the vacancy until the next election. Commissioners are currently elected on a two year cycle. The next election is this year, November, 2021.

I understand an Oriental Town Commissioner slot is opening due to a current commissioner moving. I would hope that consideration is given to residents that have actually grown up and lived in Oriental all their life. Someone who is a true resident of Oriental proper brings a lot of knowledge of the community, what the past has seen, good and bad, and what the future can hold.

I recognize that newer residents bring new ideas to the table. I would hope that there be an even number of “old timers” and “new timers” to keep a good perspective of past and present new ideas.

I think our current Mayor has done and outstanding job and I would hope that we are able to maintain her in the future of Oriental.

I’d like to thank all the commissioners for giving of their time and all the individuals who have given of their time to help Oriental be the unique village it is now and hopefully will continue to be in the future.

Gail Good
Oriental, NC
May 18, 2021
Residents of Oriental,

I have the honor of being asked to become a new Town Commissioner. I would gladly serve and protect this community to the best of my ability.

I am a former Marine Force Reconnaissance team member and a twenty eight year law enforcement Veteran. My Vision for Oriental North Carolina is to protect and preserve our small town community way of life. This is the very reason my family relocated here. I have seen many horrific things in both my careers and would make every effort they never reach our community. I would also work with my fellow commissioners on solving problems and not just be a “rubber stamp” on issues which concern our community. I would also be available 24/7 to field complaints and other issues and will not be afraid to publicly post my contact information.

I promise to be a non biased servant and will represent ALL members of this community!

Sincerely,

John Ducas
Oriental, NC
May 17, 2021
Dear Editor,

A vacancy has been created on the Oriental Town Board by Martin Barrow’s pending move to outside the city limits of Oriental. The Town of Oriental has an opportunity to replace Martin with someone who owns & operates a business in Oriental. John Ducas is the new owner of the Cartwright House, a well-known Bed & Breakfast in Oriental.
John Ducas is a retired law enforcement officer who also served his country in the military. He has a proven record of service. John would become the only town board member who owns & operates a business in Oriental. John would provide insight in what Oriental can do to serve the Town’s needs in providing services that will be needed in the future.
Please ask your town commissioners to support John’s unselfish offer to serve as a Town Commissioner.

Thank you.

Regards,

Allen and Angie Propst
6207 Mainsail Point Road
Oriental, NC
May 10, 2021

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Letters: A Commissioner Resigns
Outside the limits
May 10, 2021

E
lected officials, Commissioners must live within the town limits of Oriental to qualify for service on the Board. Commissioner Barrow writes in to announce his move beyond the town’s borders and his resulting resignation.
Mr. Smith,

I am writing you as editor of Towndock.net to inform you and the residents of Oriental that I will be unable to complete my term as Town Commissioner. Belinda and I have purchased a home just outside the Town limits which will become our primary residence as of May 12, 2021. This move will preclude my ability to serve as Town Commissioner.

I have notified Mayor Belangia that I will be ineligible to serve after May 12, 2021 and have tendered my resignation as of that date.

I want to extend my appreciation to those residents that trusted me with their votes in the 2019 election. It was my goal to enhance transparency in the Town’s budget and business. I have tried to meet that goal and appreciate the other Commissioners that joined in the mission. I want to specifically mention Commissioners Allen Price and Dianne Simmons who helped me considerably and were always willing to help and discuss the issues as they arose. Commissioner White served as a good resource to provide historical reference on past Board actions and precedents.

Commissioner Price has been consistently a top vote getter and he deserves the confidence that demonstrates. I would encourage residents to continue to rely on ‘Allen’ to make sure they are heard. He often challenges the Board to consider all ramifications on the action it takes. Allen would make a great Mayor or Mayor Pro Tem and I sincerely hope he gets an opportunity to serve in either role.

The Board of Commissioners have the responsibility to fill the vacancy. I would encourage the Board to conduct an open and transparent selection process in which any Town resident may offer their services or make nominations.

I personally recommend Mr. John Ducas as a candidate to fill this vacancy. John has had a career in public service as a Marine and a law-enforcement officer. He and his wife Terri are operators of the Cartwright House on Freemason Street. As a resident and a business owner, John has a vested interest and will also represent and understand the needs of other business owners in the Town.

I regret I can no longer serve as I have enjoyed my time on both the Planning Board and the Board of Commissioners. In closing, I truly thank those folks that helped me participate in steering the Town’s course.

With regards,

Martin Barrow, Commissioner
Town of Oriental
May 10, 2021

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