Thumbs Up: We’d like to give a shout-out to state Rep. Bob Steinburg (R-Chowan) and state Sen. Bill Cook (R-Beaufort) for their commitment to making the Mid-Currituck Bridge a priority for funding. Our newly elected representatives recognize the economic and public safety benefits of the bridge and are picking up the ball from their predecessors, Rep. Bill Owens (D-Pasquotank) and Sen. Stan White (D-Dare).
Thumbs Up: Thank you to the Elizabeth City Chamber of Commerce education committee, specifically staff member Holly Staples, for organizing the annual Job Shadow Day. Also deserving kudos are the businesses — Albemarle Hospital, Arts of the Albemarle, City of Elizabeth City, DRS Technologies, Elizabeth City State University, Hall Honda, Hampton Inn, Museum of the Albemarle, U.S. Cost Guard fire station — that volunteered to host the eighth-graders and demonstrated a commitment to giving our future workforce an inside look at possible careers. The program is one tool in the job training toolbox.
Thumbs up: Elizabeth City-Pasquotank School District and Superintendent Linwood Williams are to be applauded for putting together a variety of support to build the Pasquotank County High School press box. Volunteer labor from school maintenance staff, students, contractors and community members have cut the cost of the $52,000 project nearly in half. The estimated $26,000 press box project — about half of that amount has been raised by boosters and parents — had been on hold for several years, due to several issues from American Disabilities Act concerns to budgetary considerations. Nevertheless, parents, community leaders, boosters and school officials have found a way to make the facility happen.
Thumbs Up: Congratulations to the organizers of First Friday Art Walk on celebrating the second anniversary of the downtown Elizabeth City event. The monthly walking tour of galleries and shops that host local artists celebrates our growing creative economy and infuses the downtown with energy.
Thumbs Down: Exceptions to any rule can be a slippery slope and especially in the case of public ordinances. Currituck County Commissioners decision to allow a half-dozen businesses to erect up to 64-square-foot signs on Carotoke Highway, while not permitting businesses that might locate on the Currituck Sound or Intracoastal Waterway the same opportunity, seems to give the lucky six an unfair business advantage. Yes, “grandfathering” is a common practice when ordinances are enacted or revised, but in this case, the exception is a disservice and could still lead to unattractive signs clustered on Highway 168.
Thumbs Up: Three sets of sibling athletes have set the bar high for athletic prowess and familial role modeling – and all three are at Northeastern High School. Brothers Aaron and Trey Carver are helping the Eagles lead the Northeastern Coastal Conference, and swimming siblings Charles and Caroline Jarvis and Elizabeth and Delves Breaux qualified for the 1A/2A East Region swim meet individually and on relay teams.
Thumbs Up: Three churches have collaborated on a program to offer homeless families a place to stay and help get back on their feet. Called Room in the Inn, the program exemplifies what the faith community can accomplish in cooperation. First Baptist Church, First United Methodist Church and Christ Episcopal Church deserve our thanks for helping those in need in our community.
Thumbs up/Thumbs Down: The shooting death of two men on Shepherd Street cost Elizabeth City $10,000 in overtime for the police department. We salute the officers, especially those who are salaried and do not receive overtime, for responding quickly and aggressively to the crime. But the cost of investigating the incidents shows the need for community policing and strong neighborhood watch groups who can assist the police with providing details about criminal or suspicious activity. Other recent shootings reinforce the need.
Thumbs Up: Congratulations to the soybean farmers on a bumper crop last year. Though they received a big assist from the weather and the exploding Chinese market, the farmers put in the hard work to plant and harvest their crops, producing record high yields per acre.