Thumbs Up: Elizabeth City’s police chief is walking the talk about focusing on crime prevention, especially property crimes. More accurately, he has police officers doing the walking to perform security checks on area businesses. Chief Eddie Buffaloe launched a similar program as chief of Enfield and decided to implement it here. The officers check businesses for unlocked doors and other security issues and leave a notice with the date and time of their inspection. Business owners expressed great appreciation for the increased vigilance and visibility of the officers. The program encourages business owners to establish a relationship with the officers and contact them if they see signs of trouble. The program can also send a positive message to prospective businesses about the safety of the city’s business districts.
Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down: Some folks have a hard time letting things go. Thankfully, Russ Haddad made the right decision to withdraw his simple assault complaint against Rep. Bob Steinburg (R-Chowan). Haddad, former campaign manager for Steinburg’s opponent, Bill Luton, said dropping the complaint was “the most productive solution to the situation.” He also admitted that he made a mistake in not diffusing the situation between Steinburg and Luton and especially in deciding to film their conversation. In dropping the complaint, Haddad “did the right thing,” Steinburg said. Unfortunately, Rep. Steinburg didn’t follow suit with an apology, even privately, to Haddad for his role in the incident. A simple mea culpa would help resolve any lingering animosity and show Steinburg, too, can accept responsibility for his role in the situation.
Thumbs Up: Those who have been involved in a construction project might have raised their eyebrows at the “leftover funds” that Currituck County plans to use to help pay for the first phase of a new outdoor recreational complex. The county has earmarked $1.8 million in unspent construction funds that were budgeted for other projects, including the YMCA/recreational facility, the Moyock Library and the College of The Ablemarle’s Aviation and Technical Training Center. The YMCA facility came in under its original budgeted price, and the contractor for the COA center has guaranteed a fixed price for construction. Bringing construction projects in under budget is uncommon, so Currituck County deserves a round of applause for managing these projects so well.
Thumbs Up: Congratulations to Rhonda Twiddy on her selection to lead Arts of the Albemarle as permanent executive director. Twiddy has not only provided steady leadership of AoA for a year as interim director, she has extensive experience in the local non-profit community. She served as president of the Elizabeth City Chamber of Commerce and chair of the Port Discover Board of Directors. Her financial acumen and community ties should continue to serve AoA well.
Thumbs Up: We also want to congratulate the Northeastern North Carolina SPCA and TowneBank of Currituck on their recognition by the Elizabeth City Area Chamber of Commerce as 2012 Non-profit of the Year and Business of the Year, respectively. The NENC SPCA and TowneBank were honored at the chamber’s annual dinner on Feb. 7. Kudos to the chamber for another successful event.
Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down: A single case of bacterial meningitis may not rise to the level of a health emergency, yet the potential severity of the disease and risk of contagion warrants a public warning. When a recent middle school teacher fell ill with suspected meningitis, the school superintendent advised parents, but laws protecting patient confidentiality precluded Albemarle Regional Health Services from publicly confirming the diagnosis without a signed waiver by the patient, which they did not seek. We certainly understand the need to protect patients’ privacy but public health officials need a method of letting people know about a highly contagious disease before it becomes an epidemic, or if a false alarm, before people panic.
Thumbs Down: The thorny issue of allowing hunting dogs to roam on private property without the landowner’s permission appears to be headed for an impasse. A recent meeting among hunters, property owner Doug Lane and members of the Special Projects Committee of the Pasquotank Board of Commissioners ended where it began: Lane looking for an ordinance to protect landowners and the hunters rejecting the need for it. It’s time for the county’s Projects Committee to fashion a compromise and not make it a standoff between Lane and the hunters. The issue is one of property rights and affects all property owners.