Wednesday, November 25, 2009
"It sucks," says Chester Ray Finch, 51, a window washer that has lived on 25th 1/2 Street in Virginia Beach since 1982. "I can't watch television, use my microwave, or anything while that dumb thing's going on. My daughter has to do her homework by candlelight in her winter coat."
The light show reroutes roughly 1.7 megawatts from over 2,000 Oceanfront residents - most of them between 9th and 29th St., between Pacific and Cypress Avenue. In an email, Dominion Electric spokesperson, Mel Dodd states, "We need power from somewhere. We can't just create it out of nothing - we're not magicians."
During late night and daylight hours, when the holiday lights aren't on, residents put up with weak power flow, sparks emitting from wall sockets, and barely enough hot water. 29-year-old pizza chef Scott Griggs lives in an apartment complex on 22nd Street and says that his complaints to the city have been ignored. "They always say how important it is for Oceanfront businesses and families and if I don't like it, I should move. I live paycheck to paycheck - where the hell am I supposed to go? Maybe if they compensated us a little it would be different, but I don't know what they do with all that money."
Tidewater Log discovered that holiday light show admissions go to improving the landscaping around the 31st Street Park and King Neptune Statue maintenance. "What a crock of crap," Scott mutters as he zips up his 2nd coat in the kitchen of his chilly apartment. Since there isn't enough power to turn the heat on, he burns crumpled up newspapers in the sink to keep warm. The smoke detector won't go off because he's using the battery for his alarm clock. "Even if this place burns down, I still gotta be at work at 6 in the morning."
Mr. Dodd continues in his email, "I don't understand why these people are complaining all of a sudden. It's been going on for years and, in addition to providing them 2 free vouchers to enjoy the event, we always hang notices on their doorknobs to remind them. Maybe the storm blew them off or something, but they should be used to it by now. Happy Thanksgiving."
Monday, November 16, 2009
Thursday, November 5, 2009
On Tuesday, voters in North Carolina's Currituck, Dare, Hyde, and Carteret Counties passed a referendum to officially change the name of the Outer Banks to OBX. Dawn Jakowski, chairwoman of "Outer Bankers for a New Name", said the old name has been bugging her since she moved to Duck from Pittsburgh 16 years ago. "It's so old fashioned," the 55-year-old says, "When my husband and I first came here we wondered what it meant. Were there supposed to be banks all over the place? We only saw a few...and the 'Outer' always made me think of a big, gross outie belly button." The new name, Dawn states, is "easier to say, less confusing, and more extreme". Next year, she hopes to convince residents to demolish the outdated, unnattractive Wright Brothers Memorial and put a Target Superstore in its place.
Even with its old name, OBX never needed help luring tourists, but a slight dip (-.013%) in combined hotel, restuarant, kite, and t-shirt revenues from the 2008 summer season frightened those that relax there all year long. Becky Weinstein, of Hatteras (since moving from Trenton, NJ a few years ago), says "It's 2009 - not colonial times anymore. The new name makes it clear that we're a world-class destination for surfing, sport fishing, hang gliding, as well as just lounging around getting drunk and tan on the beach - plus, it fits perfectly on a sticker."
The oval "OBX" sticker itself is proving to be OBX's chief export these days. Last year, 63 million stickers were sold to locals and tourists wanting everyone behind them on the highway to know they purchased a sticker in OBX and stuck it firmly on their vehicle. Proceeds from sticker sales go to various OBX causes such as "Put Advertisements on Cape Hatteras Lighthouse", "We Need a Boardwalk", and "Kate Gosselin Should Play Queen Elizabeth I in 'The Lost Colony' Next Year".
Tidewater Log located the only OBX resident opposed to the name change crabbing from the dock in his backyard on Colington Island. Darryl Moody Midgett Baum III, 72, risks a fine of up to $150 if he's overheard using the old name. "To hell with 'em. I'll still call it the Outer Banks...and I ain't buying one of those dumb stickers," he says, slowly pulling up a crab nibbling on a piece of soggy string tied chicken neck. "People can call it whatever they want. I don't give a damn. It's all gonna be underwater in a few years anyway."