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ECPPS board changes chair, vice chair


The Elizabeth City-Pasquotank Board of Education has a new chairman and vice chairwoman.

Denauvo Robinson was elected Monday to replace Sharon Warden as the new chairman of the seven-member board overseeing the Elizabeth City-Pasquotank Public Schools. Warden was then elected to the board’s new vice chair.

At the outset of Monday’s school board meeting Warden announced: “I have decided that I will step aside as chair.”

Warden said she had enjoyed chairing the board the past several years.

Robinson was nominated to chair the board by member George Archuleta. Board member Sheila Williams made a motion to close the nominations and to name Robinson chairman. Williams’ motion passed unanimously.

Warden was then nominated for the vice chair’s role by board member Virginia Houston, who, at the time, had that role. 

Archuleta nominated Pam Pureza for vice chair but she declined, citing obligations at her job.

After moving to the chairman’s seat Robinson said he appreciated the time and effort Warden had put in. Warden led the board “through some tumultuous times,” Robinson said.

At Robinson’s behest the board gave Warden a standing ovation.

“It has been my pleasure and my honor,” Warden said after receiving the ovation.

Area boards of commissioners, meanwhile, voted Monday to keep their current leadership teams in place.

The Pasquotank Board of Commissioners voted to keep Jeff Dixon chairman and Lloyd Griffin vice chairman during the seven-member board’s organizational meeting.

The five-member Camden County Board of Commissioners, meanwhile, re-elected Tom White its chairman and Clayton Riggs its vice chairman at the board’s organizational meeting Monday.

“Thank you, I think,” White quipped after being re-elected. White then added that it has been a pleasure to work with the county staff.

Both White and Riggs were elected by acclamation.

In Currituck County, Bob White was re-elected chairman and Mike Payment was re-elected vice chairman of the seven-member board.

Dear Alchemy owner paints downtown mural

Business owner Sheri Casper says her customers should no longer have a problem finding her shop in Elizabeth City’s downtown.

That’s because her building, which is known locally as the “Lighthouse” building, now has a large lighthouse painted on its exterior wall.

“Now, I can say it’s the lighthouse building,” said Casper, owner of Albemarle Floral.

Residents have likely seen the new lighthouse mural painted on the wall at 505 E. Church Street. The artist who did the painting said although it was her first mural project, she hopes to do more painting downtown.

“That’s why we opened our business, to bring more color to the city,” said Jessa Trotman, owner of Dear Alchemy Collaboratory, at 100 E. Main Street. Her shop specializes in graphic design and screen printing.

The mural adorns the south-facing wall of the building, which likely got its nickname because upstairs is home to the Lighthouse Apartments. Downstairs is occupied by Albemarle Floral and Noble Brothers. The painting stands nearly 30 feet high and features a lighthouse with white and black stripes that towers over tall blue waves and is surrounded by giant red flowers.

Trotman began painting it about a month ago after speaking with Casper.

“She gave me a theme and told me to put my spin on it,” Trotman said, referring to her conversation with Casper.

Trotman is originally from Elizabeth City and recently moved back from Toledo, Ohio, where she’d been living with her family. She was inspired to paint murals because of the downtown art she’d seen in Toledo.

“They have art everywhere,” she said.

Using illustration software, Trotman created a scaled version of her mural and used it as a guide. She had to rent a portable cherry picker to lift her high enough to outline and paint the top portions of the mural. Trotman used basic latex paints and covered the mural in a clear coating to protect the paint and to make it easier to clean.

Casper said the building’s large parking lot needed the color that the mural provides.

“I was just going to paint a sunflower out there” until she spoke with Trotman, she said.

Trotman said additional plans call for more flowers to be painted on the front side of Albemarle Floral’s exterior wall.

Rivers to challenge Hunter in 5th House District

The president of the Pasquotank chapter of the NAACP will challenge state Rep. Howard Hunter, D-N.C., for his 5th House District seat in next spring’s Democratic primary.

Keith Rivers filed for the 5th House District seat on Monday, the first day of filing for the 2020 elections. Hunter, who has represented the 5th House District since 2014, also filed for re-election on Monday. The filing period continues through Dec. 20.

Elsewhere, a slew of incumbent state legislators, county commissioners, school board members and county registers of deeds also filed their candidacies on Monday.

First-day filers in Pasquotank included Register of Deeds Clementine White, Commissioner Lloyd Griffin, and Elizabeth City-Pasquotank Board of Education member Denauvo Robinson.

Also filing on Monday was Republican Bill Ward, one of several candidates expected to seek the at-large commissioner seat currently held by Democrat Jeff Dixon. Dixon has already announced he doesn’t plan to seek a fifth term next year.

In Camden County, incumbent GOP Commissioners Garry Meiggs, Randy Krainiak and Ross Munro filed for re-election on Monday, as did GOP Register of Deeds Tammie Krauss.

Also filing on Monday was Barbara Riggs, a Democrat who will be seeking the South Mills currently held by Meiggs.

In Currituck County, incumbent Commissioners Bob White, Mary Etheridge and Selina Jarvis filed for four-year terms, as did Register of Deeds Denise Hall. All four candidates are Republicans.

Jarvis is completing the four-year term of former Commissioner Bobby Hanig, who won a seat in the state Legislature in 2018. Hanig also filed in Currituck on Tuesday for re-election to his legislative seat. Also filing for the seat is Robert Edwin Rollason III, a Republican from Kill Devil Hills.

Also filing for second terms Monday were state Sen. Bob Steinburg, R-Chowan, and state Rep. Ed Goodwin, R-Chowan.

In Chowan County, Republican Alex Kehayes, a former county commissioner, filed for the District 2 seat on the Chowan Board of Commissioners now held by Patti Kersey. Kersey has said she does not plan to seek re-election.

Also in Chowan, Republicans Chris Evans and Michael Dean filed to run for the at-large seat now held by Commissioner Don Faircloth, a Democrat.

District 3 commission seat that is currently held by Democrat Greg Bonner is up for election too.

In Perquimans County, Democratic Commissioner Charles Woodard filed for re-election, as did Democratic Register of Deeds Jacqueline Frierson.

Clementine White, who was appointed Pasquotank register of deeds in June, was the first candidate in line at the county elections office when candidate filing opened at noon. White was appointed by the Pasquotank Board of Commissioners on June 3 to replace Joyce Pritchard, who retired at the end of May. The March 3 primary will be the first time White’s name will appear on an election ballot. If she’s elected, White will be the first African-American woman to serve as Camden’s register of deeds.

“I was told if I worked hard and learned everything that I could that I could be the first black elected register of deeds in Pasquotank County,” White said after filing. “To be able to go in and vote and see my name, wow, it is going to be exciting, very exciting. If someone runs against me, I just have to get out there and tell voters I am the best candidate. I have been doing it for 23 years and I know the ropes.’’

White has worked for the register of deeds office for 23 years, including 10 as the assistant register deeds, and said she is the most qualified person for the position because of her lengthy service to the county. The office handles vital records such as land transactions and plats, birth and death certificates, marriage licenses and military discharge records.

Ward, a retired Pasquotank sheriff’s department lieutenant who ran unsuccessfully for sheriff in the Republican primary in 2018, was the second in line to file Monday.

“As a man of faith, I have been in prayer about this,” Ward said. “I have also spoken with several advisers and decided this is the time to make a move and run for county commissioner.”

Ward said making sure that the county operates in a fiscally responsible manner will be one of his top priorities. He also said the county needs to do all it can to push for the proposed Interstate 87 in the region and continue support of the three institutions of higher learning in Elizabeth City.

“We are in a good position financially and we need to continue to keep the ship headed in that direction,” Ward said. “We also need to look at continuing to expand our commercial park area to bring new jobs in to take some of the tax burden off of the citizens. We need to push for the designation of I-87 because we are in a good position between two deep water ports in Norfolk and Morehead City. I think that is a key position for us to be in.’’

Ward said the experience of running a countywide campaign two years ago should be a plus in his run for a commissioner’s seat and that he intends to meet as many voters face to face as possible.

“I hope that helps with name recognition,” Ward said. “I still intend to shake hands and press the flesh and let the citizens of the county see what I stand for. This county is not that large where we can’t get out and meet our citizens, and I think that is a big plus.”

In Camden, Meiggs said he’s proud of the board’s accomplishments, including the recent completion of the county’s second sewage treatment facility. Other important projects are still in the works, including the building of a new school, he said. Meiggs is seeking a fourth term.

Krainiak, who is seeking a third term, said “it’s an honor to serve with the other commissioners.” He also believes communication with the Camden County Schools is good right now.

“I think we’re on the right track,” he said.

Riggs, 63, a driver’s ed teacher for The NC Driving School and a school bus driver for Camden County Schools, said the county can do better for the schools.

“I believe that the kids are the future and that we need better schools,” Riggs said. “If we want our kids to be able to do more then we need to do more. We can just do better.”

Hanig said in a statement that he was able to accomplish a lot during his first year in the legislature but says “there is still much more to do.” He noted that he’s already preparing legislation for next year’s session.

“Over the last two years, I have driven thousands of miles up and down the district, meeting wonderful folks who I have worked with to solve problems,” he said. “Making a difference for someone is really what I enjoy most about serving in the General Assembly, and I hope the people know they can turn to me for help and to be their consistent conservative voice in Raleigh.”

Hanig said he’s been a strong advocate for conservative and family issues, including tax cuts, hurricane assistance and Second Amendment rights. He noted he voted for the born alive bill and pay raises for teachers.

“I ran my first election on promises and I am running for re-election on accomplishments,” he said. “I have built strong relationships in the district and in Raleigh which will help me accomplish much more for northeastern North Carolina.”


Buttigieg turns to black pastor to discuss racism, poverty

Democratic presidential candidate Mayor Pete Buttigieg, right, listens to Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II speak about the Poor People’s Campaign before taking questions at Greenleaf Christian Church, Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019 in Goldsboro, N.C. (The News & Observer via AP)