Round-up: Charter School and Turtles

NC Department of Transportation photo shows the plans for the new swing-span bridge’s plan.

A round-up of all things Perquimans County…

Charter School Executive Director Don McQueen said pending the approval of building permits for renovations needed to open the Elaine Riddick Charter School in a 22,500-square-foot facility at 1054 Harvey Point Road, the school will start classes Aug. 23. He said 150 students have registered to attend the tuition-free K-3 charter school this fall.

Though the charter school has already been approved by the N.C. Board of Education, in August of 2020 the board approved a one-year delay in opening the school. McQueen said because of complications arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, the school did not meet the metrics it needed to open.

The school will be managed by Torchlight Academy, a Raleigh-based charter school where McQueen works.

McQueen said longtime educator Dr. Derrick Allen will serve as the charter school’s principal. When McQueen was asked what had happened to Mary Felton, who was principal and chairperson of the school’s board of directors during the charter school’s early days, he praised her work on behalf of the school. School’s website lists as chairperson for the school’s Board of Directors as Diana Powell, CEO/Owner of Justice Served NC, Inc.

During a recent shooting at the American Legion Post 223 on May 30 in Elizabeth City, an African-American security guard was killed. ECPD is investigating; see the Daily Advance for more details about that homicide investigation.

Anyway, posted on the ECPD’s Facebook page is a comment saying Hertford Town Councilman Quinton Jackson is reported to have been the disk jockey during a party when the shots were fired.

LET ME BE CLEAR – this is not to suggest that Jackson had anything to do with all that.

I only mention Jackson because he is a talented DJ, probably one of the best in northeastern NC. I heard he did the music for an area prom. Think what you want about Jackson’s politics, but he knows music.

In other matters, I got a new kayak, so the turtles living near the old S-Bridge have been talking to me about the new bridge that is being built. They are worried that when the new bridge is complete, there will be less than a 50-foot passage and only one path instead of two, partly because pilings are in the wrong place. Turtles believe the Coast Guard is said to require at least a 50-foot passage.

Spurred by the turtles’ concerns, the Perquimans Weekly reached out to NC Department of Transportation to learn more.

“First, and most importantly, no pilings are in the wrong place. All piling shown below have been successfully driven with the exception of the pivot pier fender system piles. These are on hold until the existing pivot pier can be demolished,” said Tim Hass, communications officers for NC DOT Division One.

Hass said the replacement structure will have a 55’-0” wide channel as shown in the photo below. This is 10” narrower than the existing channel should be as per the 1928 plans. Although the swing span can be passed on both sides while open, the Coast Guard only required one marked channel given the anticipated vessel size and opening frequency, he said.

Turtles will be happy hearing that, though they are still complaining about government overreach and how eminent domain changed the scenery around their home forever.

Turtles asked what’s going to happen to the old S-Bridge, so the newspaper promised to find out more.

Holy Trinity Episcopal Church of Hertford needs an organist. If you’ve got what it takes, contact the parish’s senior warden William Rowell at 252 426-3663.

Perquimans Class of 1999 alumnus Andrea’ Moore has pledged to give back to the community where he grew up.

Moore of Charleston, SC, said he’ll buy Woodard Pharmacy’s famous ham and cheese sandwiches, chips and a medium soda for the first 150 people who want a good meal between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. July 2 (Charles Woodard’s birthday) at the popular pharmacy downtown on Church Street.

“I want to give back and what better way to do than to give back to my hometown,” said Moore, who served more than 20 years in the US Army. More on Moore will appear in a future edition of the Perquimans Weekly.

In other news, Frank Jaklic of Hertford penned a letter to the editor – see page A4 – about a condition he’d set for the demise of his town’s police department. Food for thought, so maybe read what Jaklic has to say.

Worth mentioning, although updated news stories about HPD show its trajectory, there’s this nugget – town council recently appointed Officer Dean Polumbo as the interim police chief. If memory serves me correct, Polumbo joined the force in late 2020, maybe November, but since then he’s made more than a few arrests and he is regarded as a top notch law enforcement officer.

In December, Officer Polumbo heard gunshots originating from the King and Stokes Street area. While heading to the scene, Officers received information a red vehicle was involved. He located the vehicle and along with HPD Sergeant Roman and Officer Palmer pursued the vehicle into Elizabeth City. Pasquotank County Sheriff’s Office and ECPD assisted and three juvenile suspects have been detained. At least one weapon has been recovered from the suspects. One victim on Stokes Street was identified with a non-life threatening injury.

Per Saturday’s Pirates’ commencement exercises, guest speaker Bruce Gemmill gave a great speech.

Gemmill’s speech was a breath of fresh air. Funny. Not canned, but real. Touching. To see a video of Gemmill’s speech, go to our Facebook page. I want to know more about the trench warfare class – Gemmill’s students still talk about that particular lesson.

Gemmill’s speech shared his enthusiasm for teaching, so I think he’s made a difference in the lives of his many students.

Visit downtown Hertford between 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. June 11 for the first of three Friday Night Strolls as hosted by Historic Hertford Incorporated. There will be live music by Chris and Mandy Whitehurst, games, popcorn, cotton candy, sno cones – even a moon pie eating contest. Looks like a good time all around. Mark your calendars for July 9 and August 13 too.

A few notes about the event:

  • The goal of the event is to have our community back to have some fun together and to help support our Downtown businesses. It’s free and we are looking forward to having a great time!
  • There will be live music, local art vendors, lawn games, snow cones, popcorn and cotton candy and ‘Bout Thyme and TNT will be open for dinner.
  • The Moon Pie Eating Contest will be held at 7 p.m. and will include a separate adult and children’s (7-17 year old) contest. First prize for the adults will be a $30 gift card from Barley and Vine. First place for children will be a trophy provided by Carolina Trophy and more Moon Pies. The Moon Pie Eating Contest will be based on how quickly the contestants can eat the required number of Moon Pies.
  • There will be a mural scavenger hunt where contestants will search to locate all of the portholes placed at various locations in Downtown, each featuring different artwork created by local artist Anna Michelle. Contestants completing the scavenger hunt will be entered into a drawing for the grand prize.

Per Candice Eley, Hertford Baptist Church is planning a community wide movie night with hotdogs, games, prizes and popcorn starting at 7 p.m. June 26. Church is planning to show the movie outside and will have to wait for semi-darkness. In case of rain, the church will show the movie inside the fellowship hall.

Snug Harbor Community Church’s Community Cook Out will be Saturday, June 26 at 4 p.m., on the church grounds. All invited.

Per Marjorie Rayburn, the Alzheimer/Dementia Support Group for caregivers and family members meets at 1 p.m. Monday, June 14 at Hertford United Methodist Church, 200 Dobbs Street, Hertford. All are welcome. For information, call Marjorie Rayburn at 252-333-7774 or 252-426-7167, or contact Lynne Raisor at 404-7090.

Miles Layton can be reached at