Monday, March 29, 2010

Virginia 2009-2010 Ghost Pot Program Results

Commercial watermen pulled up more than 9,000 derelict so-called “ghost pots” from the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries this winter, and scoured shallow waters in the second year of Virginia’s landmark Marine Debris Removal Program.

The program, funded by the Virginia Marine Resources Commission and implemented by the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, paid the watermen to use side-imaging sonar units to detect and retrieve abandoned crab pots and other marine debris that litter the water bottoms. This targeted retrieval method minimizes disturbance to the bottom.

66 watermen participants were paid $300 a day, and were compensated for their fuel costs. Many were equipped for the first time to search shallow waters, which proved to be a successful expansion of the program.

source: VMRC press release

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Easter Decoy & Art Festival on Chincoteague Island

The Easter Decoy & Art Festival will be held on April 2nd & 3rd at Chincoteague High School. The event will feature local carvers, artwork and lunch featuring Jonithan’s “Up the Bay” clam chowder, pulled pork/ chicken salad sandwiches,and more. The show will include the Chincoteague Island Family YMCA, kicking off their collectible art brick fundraiser.

In 2009 the Chincoteague Family YMCA was donated some of the original bricks from the Historical Chincoteague Elementary School formally located on Church St. From 1922-1958 this building was the first Chincoteague High School, later to become Chincoteague Elementary School 1958-1998.

To commemorate this rich Chincoteague history the YMCA is offering two unique collectible brick designs. The first is a laser etched design on a plaque permanently mounted to an original brick for a treasured collectible in your collection. The laser etching contains an original picture of the building and dates of it’s’ use.

The second collectible design being offered is hand painting by Gary Lee Taylor. There will be multiple designs available reflecting Chincoteague culture and they will all be signed pieces on original school bricks.

Laser etched bricks will be sold for $28 while hand-painted bricks by Gary Lee Taylor will be sold for $38. Supplies are limited. All profit proceeds from food sales and art bricks will benefit the local Chincoteague Island Family YMCA.

The bricks will also be on display at the local branch beyond the festival weekend located at 6446 Maddox Blvd. Bricks can be special ordered with a deposit or for more information call (757) 336-6266.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Gull Hummock Celebrates Virginia Wine Week

In celebration of the First Annual Virginia Wine Week, Jon Wehner from Chatham Vineyards will be showcasing his award winning wines at the Gull Hummock Gourmet Market Wine Tasting on Friday, 3/26  from 4-6 pm.

Congratulations to Bill and Laurel Savage of Pungo Creek Mills in Painter, VA for winning the "2010 Best New Product" at the Virginia Food Expo held in Richmond yesterday.  Pungo Creek Mills grows, harvests, and stone grinds heirloom Indian corn into a wonderful flavored cornmeal product. Their cornmeal can be purchased at Gull Hummock.

Gull Hummock Gourmet Market is located at:
213 Mason Ave
Cape Charles, VA

Monday, March 22, 2010

Chincoteague Island Farmer's Market

The Chincoteague Island Farmer's Market 2010 season is about to begin. Their opening day will be Easter Saturday, April 3, from 8:00 a.m. - noon at their same location behind Don's Seafood Restaurant and next to the Robert Reed Downtown Park.

This will be the sixth year for the market at this same location. Visit on opening day and pick up not only plants and produce but also fresh clams, live lobsters and so much more!

The market will continue on Saturdays through September and will also open on Wednesdays as soon as products are available.

Any interested participants may contact Cathy at 757-336-2610 for additional information.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Chincoteague Island Bluegrass Festival

On April 17, 2010 the Island Bluegrass Alliance will host a one day event at the Chincoteague Center.

The doors will open at 10 am to allow vendors and craftsmen to get a table to set up shop. Also the featured band members will be having  workshops for guitar, banjo, mandolin and bass for anyone interested. Jamming groups will be encouraged to play at will around the center hall or outside weather permitting.

At 7:30 the "Roadside Cafe" from northern Virginia will perform on stage with a 2 hour show. There will be an opening band at 7pm.

The concession will be serving chili dogs, pork barbecue, snacks and drinks all day and night. Price at the door is $5.00 and covers everything, even the workshops and vender's tables.Children 12 and under are free. There will be no advance reservations but vender's tables can be reserved by contacting  The Center, but you must show up by 10 am or your table will be given to someone else.

Call the Center at 757 336-0614 or Bill Chrisman at 336-3030 for more information, or visit the IBA's website:

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Encore Performance of A Love to Call My Own at Hampton University

Back by popular demand, the Hampton University Players proudly present an encore performance of “A Love to Call My Own,” the sequel to the nationally toured “Mama Dee’s Girls.”

This unforgettable drama will be held March 26-28 and April 2-4 in Armstrong Hall’s Little Theater; with Friday and Saturday performances at 8 p.m.; Sunday matinees at 3 p.m. Tickets are $12 for general admission; $8 for senior citizens, children and students; and admission for HU students is free.

For ticket information, please contact the HU Box Office at (757) 727-5236 or (757) 727-5402.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Tidewater MSA Ranked #8 for Well-Being

Among the nation's 52 largest metropolitan areas that Gallup surveyed in 2009, the Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) was ranked #8 for well-being in the nation. The regions are based on the Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) as defined by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget. In many cases, more than one city is included in the same MSA.

The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index score measures for each city an average of six sub-indexes, which individually examine life evaluation, emotional health, work environment, physical health, healthy behaviors, and access to basic necessities. The overall composite score and each of the six sub-indexes' scores are calculated on a scale from 0 to 100, where 100 represents fully realized well-being. Gallup and Healthways initiated the Well-Being Index in January 2008.

Hampton University Announces Presidential Visit for Commencement

Hampton University has announced that President Barack Obama will serve as the University's 140th commencement speaker on May 9, 2010.

"We are honored that President Obama has accepted Hampton's invitation to speak to our 2010 graduates during our commencement exercises," said HU President William R. Harvey.

"His commitment to leadership, education and service is parallel to Hampton's mission from our beginning in 1868. He is an inspiration for our students to make the world a better place by becoming the very best leaders, educators, doctors, lawyers, financial analysts and scientists that they can be."

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Things To Do on Virginia Fishing Piers

Spring is a good time to begin scouting out Virginia fishing piers. Fishing piers are excellent places to try your luck at saltwater fishing and Virginia has an excellent selection of piers to visit.

Depending on season and location, Virginia pier fishermen may catch croakers, spot, sea trout, speckled trout, striped bass, pigfish, white perch, pompano, sheepshead, porgy, bluefish, Spanish mackerel, king mackerel, cobia, spadefish, sharks, red drum, black drum or other fish on Virginia fishing piers.

Fishing is only one of many activities that are popular on Virginia's public and private piers. Other activities include exercise, sunbathing, kite flying, crabbing, photography, painting, siteseeing and more.

Friday, March 12, 2010

New Virginia Flounder and Weakfish Regulations for 2010

The VMRC has voted on flounder size regulations for the 2010 season.  The new regulations set the flounder size limit at 18.5 inches, with a creel limit decreased to four fish per day, with no mid-season closure.

VMRC also voted to reduce the daily limit of six weakfish to one fish a day for recreational anglers, and to reduce the commercial harvest to 100 pounds per day or trip, whichever is longer.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Legislation Creates State Angler Identification System

The General Assembly has passed Senator Northam’s SB668 to exempt Virginia anglers from having to pay the $25 fee associated with the Federally-mandated National Saltwater Angler Registry. 

SB668 has been amended to create a state-level angler identification system, similar to the Hunter Identification Program run by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.

This solution will allow Virginia to maintain the recreational boat license, as well as the license exemptions for piers, rental boats, senior citizens, and private shoreline. The state program will be administered through the Virginia Marine Resources Commission, and will be paid for through increases of up to $5 on individual licenses, and up to $10 on boat  licenses.

Instead of paying the Federal government to register, anglers with a Virginia license will be registered automatically, and anglers exempted from Virginia licensing requirements will only have to call in and obtain an identification number free of charge. 

“As is the norm with compromises, this one is not perfect,” said Northam. “However, it does accomplish the goals of exempting Virginians from Federal fees and fines, and also allows us to keep the boat license, as well as all existing license exemptions.”

The legislation was introduced in response to a VMRC study that provided options on how Virginia could comply with the Federal mandate. The bill was reported from a conference committee and passed the Senate and House of Delegates. It will now go to Governor McDonnell for his signature.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Lake Smith and Lake Lawson near Virginia Beach

The Lake Smith and Lake Lawson natural area is a network of three wooded waterfront peninsulas that will serve as Virginia Beach’s newest designated Natural Resource Area. The city recently acquired the area through its Open Space Acquisition Program.

The city is developing a master plan with citizen input to provide recreational programming, development and management of Parks and Recreation properties at Lake Smith and Lake Lawson. Improvements are to include a boat ramp, parking facilities, and trails with construction taking place in the next 12 to 18 months.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Chincoteague Island Coast Guard to Host Open House for Mariners

The Coast Guard base on Chincoteague Island is scheduled to host an event for mariners to come and meet locally based federal and state law enforcement officers March 10 at 6:30 p.m.

The event will provide an opportunity for mariners to meet some of their local enforcement officers, ask questions and learn about new and existing regulations.

Regardless of whether mariners operate a commercial, charter, or recreational vessel; subject matter experts will be on hand to answer questions about recreational and commercial fishing, or questions about laws pertaining to safety gear.

Boaters without specific questions are invited to come and listen to the discussion or pick up information on Boating Safety, Commercial Fishing Vessel Safety, Fishing Regulations, or to come and schedule a Courtesy Marine Examination.

The following are participating agencies and agency departments:

* U.S. Coast Guard Station Chincoteague

* U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

* U.S. Park Service (NWR)

* Virginia Marine Resources Commission

* National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

* U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Boating Safety Instructors and Courtesy Marine Examiners

* U.S. Coast Guard Sector Hampton Roads Commercial Fishing Safety Examiners

The session will be held at Tarr Hall, in the Galley Facility, located on the base.

source: USCG press release

Friday, March 5, 2010

Chincoteague and Assateague Islands to be Featured on the Today Show

The Eastern Shore of Virginia Tourism Commission has announced that the Today Show is scheduled to present a travel segment on family friendly vacations that will spotlight Chincoteague and Assateague Islands.

Currently scheduled to air Monday, March 8, 2010. The anticipated coverage of Chincoteague is estimated to be seen by nearly 5 million people and has an advertising value of approximately $ 225,194 according to Virginia Tourism Corporation’s 2009 data. 

The Eastern Shore Tourism Commission recently teamed up with the Virginia Tourism Corporation’s Public Relations Director Richard Lewis, to provide the show video, still shots and information on the islands.

“We so often pitch ESVA stories and I would surely not have the necessary knowledge without the efforts of the Eastern Shore Tourism Director, “said Lewis. “In fact my most recent pitch to a freelancer writing for Southern Living included story ideas in Cape Charles, Onancock and Assateague Island.”

 source: Eastern Shore Tourism Commission press release

The Best of Bobby Swain - a Retrospective

"The Best of Bobby Swain - a Retrospective” is a tribute to the artwork of a highly respected Eastern Shore artist.

Premier-Fri. March 26, 6-9 pm reception with hors d'eouvres/drinks, silent auction, raffle- tickets $50.Location: town of Onancock's Onancock School Community Center. Exhibit continues Saturday, 3/27, 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM.

Don't miss this rare chance to see a collection of Swain's extraordinary works, a man who redefined - the confines of physical handicaps to sell his creative wares in NY City stores and elsewhere, and who's work was displayed at the White House.

Premier ticket info: Lynn Badger, 757-787-1335 or Proceeds benefit Onancock School Community Center

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

2010 Seafood Festival on Chincoteague Island

The Eastern Shore of Virginia Chamber of Commerce will host the 42nd Annual Seafood Festival on May 5, 2010 from 12-4 p.m.

The Seafood Festival will be held at Tom's Cove Campground on Chincoteague Island, Va. Food will include steamed clams, clams and oysters on the half shell, single-fried oysters, oyster fritters, clam fritters, clam chowder, clam strips, grilled chicken tenders, French-fried sweet potatoes, boardwalk fries, hush puppies, spoon bread, bottled water, soda and more.

The ticket price is $40 and tickets can be purchased at or by calling (757) 787-2460.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Coast Guard Responds to Tugboat Oil Spill near Norfolk Virginia

Coast Guard investigators from Sector Hampton Roads in Portsmouth, Va., are monitoring the response to a diesel spill from a tug boat that capsized in Lyons Shipyard east of Harbor Park in Norfolk Monday.

The National Response Center notified Sector Hampton Roads watchstanders at 5:54 a.m. that the tug Susan Anne had capsized while moored at the shipyard, resulting in a spill of up to 1,000 gallons of fuel.

Norfolk Fire Department personnel arrived on scene first and deployed absorbent pads to mitigate the spill while waiting for IMS Environmental Services and Coast Guard personnel to arrive.

Accurate Marine Environmental has contained the spill and is recovering the fuel, and the tug owner is working to re-float the vessel.

The Coast Guard investigators are working to determine the cause.

"The Coast Guard will actively monitor this situation over the next few days to make sure the oil is not only contained, but recovered," said Capt. John Little, deputy commander of Sector Hampton Roads.

source: USCG press release