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It's Sunday March 1, 2015 Dock Quote: “Ideas are like...

News From The Village Updated Almost Daily

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Seals Near Oriental?:

Far Outside Home Waters. The Story

Snow Fall in Oriental:

Change In Precip & The Landscape. The Story

Indoor Dragon Boat Race In Oriental:

First In US. The Story

Chinese New Year 2015 / 4713:

Year Of The Goat. Drawing The Town

Ice Encases Village:

A New Midwinter Look. The Story

18 FJ's Added To Bow To Stern Fleet:

It Takes Village Volunteers. The Story

Bika, Nordic Visitor:

The Suddenly Longer Sailboat. The Shipping News

Miss January 2015 - Tyra:

Pickers Dog. Pet Of The Month

Splash of the Silver Voyager:

Low Tech Launch for a High Tech Voyager. The Story

2015 Instead of Football Regatta:

Tradition Of Sailing In The New Year. The Story

Friends Of The Dragon 2015:

Help Out A Fellow With Fire Breath. The Story

Reindeer in Oriental:

Boat Yard Grazing. The Story

Pete Parham, 1925-2014:

A Grandson Remembers. The Story

Letters: Military Drones :

Noise Drones On & On. Letters To The Editor

2014 Guide To Giving Locally:

Help Out A Nearby Non-Profit. The Story

Blaze Sinks Lz Sea Dogs :

Sailboat Lost at Whittaker Pointe Marina . The Story

Spirit of Christmas 2014:

Friday Night Lights. The Story

Oriental's 2014 Spirit of Christmas Parade:

1 Dragon, 2 Pigs, 3 Horses, 11 Pipers and a Host of Reindeer. The Story

Spirit Of Christmas Schedule 2014:

Friday and Saturday events. The Story

Grandmother Kayak Voyager:

Slim Boat To Guatemala. The Shipping News

2014 Hurricane Season Ends:

Quietest Season Since 1997. The Story

Chicken With The Lady's Head Cut Off:

Oriental Grocery History. Drawing The Town

Letters:Why Didn't The Pamlico Commission Want Wetlands Law Enforced?:

Reax To Monday's Vote to Compromise. Letters To The Editor

Pamlico Commission Says No To Citizens Enforcement Action:

Majority Votes To "Dialogue" Over Draining Wetlands. The Story

Miss November 2014 - Betsy:

Exit the Puppy Mill. Pet Of The Month

Getting EPA To Do Its Job:

Waters and Wetlands At Stake. Guest Columnist

Election Results 2014:

We Have A New Sheriff. The Story

Jenny Kruger Illustration in NYT:

Oriental to The Times Via Nebraska. The Story

Letters: Burning Yard Waste:

Where There's No Smoke, There's Ire. Letters To The Editor

Chili Cookoff 2014:

A Taste Of the Old Theater's 7th Annual. The Story

2014 Sunfish Worlds:

Scenes From The Final Day Of Racing. The Story

Letters: Walking With Ghosts:

An Appreciation. Letters To The Editor

Venezuelan David Gonzalez Arria Wins 2014 Sunfish Youth Worlds:

The Adult Sunfish Worlds Start Today. The Story

Letters: Gill Netting In Oriental's Creeks:

Controversy Just Off Shore. Letters To The Editor

Mister October 2014 - Eisenhower :

Liking Ike. Pet Of The Month

Scenes From A Nautical Flea Market:

From One Boat To Another. The Story


Magic Cat. The Shipping News

High Water Comes, Again:

PIctorial: A Changed Low Lying Landscape. The Story

Letters: Sodium Content On Hodges:

Warning: Salt Water. Letters To The Editor

Letters: Thanks For Ol' Front Porch Music Fest Success:

Thanks... Letters To The Editor

barry beauchamp ben barnett bell
Last call for Barry Beauchamp. At a service at Pamlico Community College Saturday morning for the late volunteer firefighter and EMT, his friend, Ben Barnett rang a bell 20 times, as per tradition. The two had started Oriental’s first responder service in the late 1990’s and Barry helped with starting first responder units at other fire departments in the county. Barry Beauchamp died earlier this month. He was 73 and in recent years a volunteer with Florence-Whortonsville FD. Click here for another photo.

Sunday March 1, 2015

1:25p Are there seals near Oriental? More on the story, here.

6a Rain is in today’s Oriental Weather Forecast along with highs around mid-50’s. So you may be asking yourself, “On the 1st of March, what’s this wet but warmer forecast mean? Is this month coming in like a lion or a lamb?”

Maybe, Bunkster, we could avoid committing and think of March as a warm-blooded wet mammal.

That’s something on a few minds in the past day since reader Dawn Gainey asked if anyone else had spotted a seal or sea lion near China Grove. Among the readers to write in….

My husband and I have a place on the river near the China Grove house. I recently saw a mink, and we frequently see dolphins. In fact, this past summer, my adult son saw a dolphin pod going up river one morning. When they returned later in the afternoon, there was a small, pink dolphin with them. Newborn dolphins are pink, and we think it must have been born up the river that day.

We haven’t seen any seals though.

Attached is a photo I took of an otter who visited us one day this winter.

Pat Young
Dawson’s Creek

water mammal

One rule of thumb in telling the two apart is that otters have paws and seals have flippers. And otters have dense, dense fur while the seals’ skin looks more sleek.

Otters are native here, but while seals are not… they have in recent years been spotted in waters not to far from Oriental — at Oregon Inlet — and they have come ashore on NC terra firma.

Fort Macon State Park has reported seals on the beaches resting. Don’t know if one could have gone up the ICW to Oriental. I suppose it’s possible.

The following is from the NC Coastal Federation: Why are Arctic Seals Appearing on N.C. Beaches?

Sue LaPalme

You’ll find an interesting account at the Coastal Federation’s site. What may be new is having at an even lower latitude and even more in to the Sound.

My friend has a beach house out in Salvo. They found one on the beach that they thought was injured. They called Wildlife but a dog chased it into the water before wildlife people arrived.

Penny Larson

Saturday February 28, 2015

1:25p Here’s an animal kingdom query for you. We’ve seen sea otters and minks on or alongside the Neuse. Dolphins, too, of course, and the rare sightings of alligator and manatees.

Dawn Gainey writes in today asking about another mammal not known to frequent these waters.

My parents live on the river, close to the China Grove house. Yesterday my dad watched a seal or sea lion on the end of their dock. According to him he moved up and down the dock and relaxed in the sun until their dog noticed and ran him back into the river. My first question was to ask if he’d been drinking. He’s certain of what he saw, saying it reminded him of seeing the animals on the docks in San Francisco. I’m emailing to see if you are aware of any other sightings.

Your sightings welcomed. Photos even more so. Drop a line here at news@towndock.net

Perhaps our cold spell has thrown a seal’s GPS off from its usual Arctic bearings. But sea lions? That’d mean hitching a cross country ride… or managing the the locks on the Panama Canal…

5:02a Hey, Chowdah-head. Got a great recipe for chowder? You get a chance to show it off soon. The Oriental Woman’s Club’s holding its annual Chowder Cookoff in two weeks. Tomorrow — Sunday March 1 — is the deadline to enter… C’mon there, show us your best chowder….

We’re on the cusp of March this weekend. We need it. One more day of February and it’s not going to be very warm, says the Oriental Weather Forecast. But if you want some warm feelings.. take a gander at Wednesday’s weather and predicted high.. Woah!

Thursday February 26, 2015

Wet. Rain is wearing down the snow that remains from our Tuesday blast of winter. Above freezing today and next few days, the Oriental Weather Forecast puts our overnight lows in the upper 20’s for a couple of nights.

It’s looking like the balmy relief — by which we mean highs in the 50’s — isn’t here til Sunday.

Saturday morning, fellow volunteer firefighters and first responders are paying tribute to Barry Beauchamp who passed away earlier this month. Barry was 73 and in the late 1990’s, he and Ben Barnett became Oriental’s first first responders, responding to 911 calls in town before Pamlico Rescue’s ambulance crew could arrive.

The first responders were life-savers. And Barry was a calming presence. That first responder idea spread in the county and Barry Beauchamp did a lot training for volunteer firefighters and first responders at fire stations beyond Oriental.

He was most recently a member of the Florence-Whortonsville Station 25 and that’s where the cortege begins at 8:30 Saturday as two trucks head out from there – one carrying Barry’s ashes – down Straight Road to the Oriental Station 19 where two more trucks will join in and drive towards Pamlico Community College for a 10a memorial service.

Hope Cinic is looking for physicians and pharmacists for its service of offering health care to the uninsured. Can you help? More details, here.

Wednesday February 25, 2015

11:04a Our most recent tango with Mother Nature is affecting another. We just got word from the county manager’s office that tonight’s planned Pamlico County Public Information Meeting on Hurricane Irene Unmet Needs has been cancelled. It was to have been at the courthouse at 7p, but again, it i’n‘t happening cos of the snowy weather.

That there is a meeting 3-1/2 years after Irene provides some perspective about our occasional bouts of winter here. Snow melts relatively quickly. You don’t deal with its impact for anywhere as long as you do from a hurricane.

(Okay, Bunky, so if that thought doesn’t warm you, move a bit closer to the space heater. Just make sure it’s vented….)

6:31a No Bean this morning, the winter wimps hard-working baristas couldn’t get in to work. Brantley’s will be open at 7a.

Roads are icy/crunchy. It is OK if you drive slowwwwly. Got it Bunky? Slowly.

The only road in town that is cleared is Broad Street (Highway 55) – it being a state road. Everything else is going to have to wait for the sun.

We should get some clearing from warm(er) temps today… high 41. But more ice & snow are in tonight’s forecast.

Here are photos from a snowy day in Oriental…

Tuesday February 24, 2015

4:08p Add rain to that snow. Snow’s holding its own for now, but it’s sloggy and soggy going and cold to boot. Nonetheless, we can report that Nautical Wheelers is in fact, open. This just in from Bill Wheeler.

Just wanted to update you on our winter storm hours. We are open till 5:30, walks are clear and it’s a good night for an Italian red. Open until 5:30, 363 days a year.

And Chris and the crew aren’t letting a little snow/slush/sleet stop what’s become a Tuesday ritual — the BOGO pizza at the Silos. Yes, you can get pie tonight.

3:18p The view looking out on the Town Dock:

2:30p Be careful on those roads. The snow came down in big flakes for the better part of 4 hours. Accumulation was about one paw deep when it stopped snowing earlier this hour. Sleet’s in the outlook now.

The going can be slippery, so please take it easy — if you absolutely have to drive anywhere. Those cautionary comments made.. it sure looks beautiful around town right now. The many birds already in the area are showing up in great relief against this white backdrop.

We get word that Pamlico County government offices have closed for the day. Schools were already closed.

But snow is just one of those things to work thru if you recall the old Post Office pledge. Mark, the postmaster, says the Oriental PO is open til its regular closing time of 4:30p.

And in an update on today’s On The Cover photo, a crew did excavation work today to remove the underground storage tanks at Miss Ruth’s (the TnC)

11:39a That snow’s coming down and it is sticking. Big flakes. Harborcam will show you a white plank where the Town Dock on Hodges usually is. The rest of the harbor’s looking pretty magical, too, as the snow falls.

But maybe, Bunky, you’re looking for a somewhat warmer image. Don’t you move an inch. Well, maybe one inch… to click right here for lots of photos from Saturday’s Indoor Dragon Boat Race.

It was a first in the US, right here in Oriental. (Winnipeg, up in even colder Canada, lays claim to the first on this continent, but Oriental, it seems, can take the US braggin’ rights.) Check out the spectacle…

9:18a Heartworks says its 10a-noon open house for would-be volunteers is still a go. The youth services organization in Bayboro is looking for mentors to work with the kids to help them with reading, math or to teach a host of other interests. (Maybe the potential volunteers who venture in today could lead a session on coping with inclement weather….) For those less inclined to drive today, a second session is planned sometime in coming weeks.

6:56a Ready for February to be over? We’re in the homestretch. But wait..we’re not catching a break. Winter weather advisory in effect thru 10 tonight. We’re getting the winter sampler plate today, sez the Oriental Weather Forecast At various points in the day, snow, sleet, freezing rain. Only in the mid 30’s today. School’s cancelled in Pamlico County.

When’s it getting warmer, you ask? If, by warmer you mean temps in the 40’s, that’ll be Saturday. If you’re a bit more warm-blooded, Sunday’s high in the way upper 50’s may be more to your liking. And Monday next week? Mid-60’s. That murmur you hear is the collective countdown….

Sunday February 22, 2015

It’s warmer – temps in the 50’s – as we wake up than it’s been in a while. (It may have seemed like an Ice Age but it was only a week.) One upshot of this warmth is a serious fog and it’s weaving across the landscape this morning. Harborcam captures one angle.

Lots of splashing in the pool at the Village Club yesterday for what’s thought to be the first-ever-in-the-US indoor dragon boat festival. Competitors were all in the same boat, teams paddling against each other. More photos coming.

This afternoon, Oriental’s History Museum opens its Feathered Friends of Oriental exhibit. Many birders in the area have contributed photos of birds in the area. Stop on by for a chance to see the aviary — without having to stand out in the cold… Details are in What’s Happening.

Saturday February 21, 2015

It’s gonna be 50 degrees today… you can leave your long underwear in the drawer.

Friday February 20, 2015

7:08a Reports of intermittent power outages from Tideland customers around the county continue this morning. Tideland has been texting customers requesting they turn off their hot water heaters to conserve power. Power has been stable in Oriental (Duke Energy).

6:50a Eleven. The overnight low (so far) at 6:41a this morning. Hey, we’ve stayed in double digits.

Power was out overnight for many Tideland customers around the county… it went out about 4a and returned 5:30a~ish. It’s the heavy load from thousands of electric heaters. Power companies have been asking folks to use less power on the coldest days this week.

It won’t get above freezing today… high mid 20s… dry and sunny though. It gets warmer (and wetter) over the weekend.

Thursday February 19, 2015

Year of the Goat (or depending on how you translate it, the sheep or ram) is upon us with the start of the Asian New Year. But Oriental’s Chinese Dragon is not dancing in this new year as had been planned for today because even sheep and goats wouldn’t stand out in this weather. Well, not the smart ones, anyway.

The Chinese Dragon Run has been moved to Saturday so you can still see it then and take part and do so under balmier skies. (There is an end in sight for this Ice Age.)

Still happening today — inside the warmth of Marsha’s Cottage — is a trunk show. It’s to introduce two area artisans whose work will be for sale at Marsha’s. In addition to the central heating, Marsha will be serving wine and refreshments.. Stop on by and cure that cabin fever, Bunkarina…

If you’ve got some old blankets you may want to drape them over some of your yard shrubs. Temps dropping thru the floor tonight.. a low of 9 degrees. When you consider that last night it got to 21 and would set a dog’s teeth to chattering, 9 is, well, even more bloody cold. Details are in the Oriental Weather Forecast

Wednesday February 18, 2015

Chinese New Years is tomorrow… and there was a plan for our town. For the past few years on Chinese New Years (sometimes in January, sometimes in February, depending on the moon) the Chinese Dragon has run on Hodges Street. It was set for Thursday at 4p. But.

But then Mom Nature intervened. Tomorrow’s forecast high is just in the mid 20s, combined with winds expected around 20 mph. Not exactly ideal weather for an outdoor crowd to see a Hodges Strreet Dragon dancing. So, Thursday’s festivities are cancelled. But the Chinese Dragon still will do its dance… Saturday at noon to open the Indoor Dragon Boat Festival at Village Health & Fitness in Oriental.

Meanwhile, from the warmth of your perch, take in prior year’s Chinese New Years in Oriental:

Tuesday February 17, 2015

4:30p Staying warm? Tonight’s low of 25 is about to sound toasty. Wednesday night’s forecast low… 17. Thursday night’s low: 9. Nine. A single digit.

TownDock reader Bob Miller notes that heat pumps can get iced up. He writes in with this tip:

This afternoon I observed the protective grill on the top of my heat pump was iced up to the point there was very little air circulation. Gentle tapping with a mallet broke the ice off and now it runs fine.

6:57a No snow… but watch out for ice this morning. Overnight about 3/4” of rain, but that precipitation is now coming down mixed with ice. Road reports have been positive… good traction, including on the bridge.

That said, with ice coming down those conditions could change quickly. Drive carefully, and avoid driving if you can.