Category Archives: Vandemere

‘Down by the Riverside’

Vandemere thanks participants & attendees


WATERFRONT PARK – Immediately after Saturday’s ribbon cutting for the town’s new park and boat ramp, the talented Pamlico Chorale performed a series of popular tunes. One in particular — a classic, down South gospel song — spurred Vandemere Mayor Judy Thaanum (far left) to jump up and join in. “I’ve just got to sing that one,” chuckled the lifelong resident, who leads a community that is determined to rebuild and restore after devastation brought by a double-whammy: The Great Recession, and Hurricane Irene in 2011.

Vandemere Waterfront Park Grand Opening & Celebration




Pamlico Sheriff, drug arrests made this week

Sheriff Chris Davis
Pamlico County

On Tuesday, August 2, 2016, Investigators from the Pamlico County Sheriff’s Office Vice/Narcotics Unit and the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation executed a search warrant at 206 Vandemere Rd., Bayboro, NC. During the service of the warrant three individuals were taken into custody and charged with various drug crimes related to the sale of heroin. One of the individuals was also discovered to be wanted as an absconder from the North Carolina Department of Public Safety out of New Hannover County. A quantity of packaged heroin, unpackaged heroin, cocaine, prescription medication, and drug paraphernalia to include scales, baggies, and other packaging materials were seized pursuant to the search warrant.

Investigators were led to the house after a week long investigation that began due to a spike in heroin overdoses with in Pamlico County. At least 5 overdoses were reported during the previous week.

George Fitzgerald FENDERSON, 48 of Wilmington NC was arrested and charged with PWISD Heroin, PWISD Cocaine, Conspiracy to Sell and Deliver Controlled Substances, and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. FENDERSON was placed into the Pamlico County Detention Center under a $250,000.00 secured bond and has a first appearance in Pamlico County District Court on Friday. HENDERSON was also a probation absconder from New Hanover County.

Jasmine JONES, 24 of Bayboro was arrested and charged with Maintaining a Dwelling for Keeping and Selling Controlled Substances. JONES was placed in to the Pamlico County Detention Center under a $10,000.00 secured bond and has a first appearance in Pamlico County District Court on Friday.

Markeith Fitzgerald MINOR, 27 of Bayboro was arrested and charged with PWISD Heroin, PWISD Cocaine, Conspiracy to Sell and Deliver Controlled Substances, Maintaining a Dwelling to Keep and Sell Controlled Substances, and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. MINOR was placed into the Pamlico County Detention Center under a $300,000.00 secured bond and has a first appearance in Pamlico County District Court on Friday.

Another arrest was made on Monday August 1, 2016, as a result of the investigation into the sharp rise in heroin related overdoses. Emari FORD was arrested after a traffic stop was conducted by the Vice/Narcotics Unit and Narcotics Detection K-9 BOLO alerted to the scent of narcotics inside her vehicle. A search of the vehicle resulted in the seizure of an amount of drug paraphernalia including scales and baggies, a further search of FORD resulted in the recovery of a quantity of heroin and prescription medication hidden inside her body. FORD was charged with PWISD Heroin, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. FORD was also served with a warrant issued from a previous operation for PWISD Heroin. FORD was placed into the Pamlico County Detention Center under a $15,000.00 secured bond.

Visit Vandemere soon! You’ll love this spot!



In a photo from late summer of 2015, the original boat ramp was not much to look at.


Forget the term ‘ramp.’ The site is now a gleaming ‘Boating Access Area!’

Forget the term ‘ramp.’ The site is now a gleaming ‘Boating Access Area!’

VANDEMERE — The new boat ramp here is beautiful. However, multiple state agencies involved would prefer that you call the completely transformed eight-acre site a Boating Access Area.

Better yet, according to Vandemere Mayor Judy Thaanum, Town Manager Tom Woodruff, and a host of the community’s elected officials and regular rank-and-file citizens, an even better moniker is Vandemere Waterfront Park.

No matter what the name, suffice it to say that this spot – at 86 Griffin Road — will undoubtedly become an economic blessing for a nook of Pamlico County, still reeling from the devastating effects of Hurricane Irene in August of 2011.

Woodruff knows well how many miracles — both small and large – that it took to pull this thing off. First of all, he credits Mrs. Catherine Pratt and her late husband Fred “for patiently working with the Town and offering financing options that made the grant opportunities, which came later, possible.”

The Pratts were prior owners of the site, which straddles Log Pond Creek – where boaters put in their craft to quickly reach vast stretches of Bay River, and ultimately Pamlico Sound.

Once the deal with the Pratts had been locked down, Thaanum and Woodruff made the rounds of almost every state agency involved with fishing, boating, marine-related development – you name it. Slowly, incrementally, piece-by-piece – with several significant setbacks along the way – a plan came together.

More than one tedious, time-consuming, meticulous application to the Division of Marine Fisheries eventually ‘hooked’ a grant, which is funded from fees paid by anglers to acquire their Coastal Recreational Fishing Licenses. Most of that money went to pay the Pratts, who had been more than patient!

Next, Woodruff was relentless in pushing the location “as just perfect” for the county’s fourth boating access area, to be developed and constructed by the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission. Who could turn him down? Woodruff was irrepressible – and he always showed up prepared when pitching his dream. Ultimately, the OK came in – but then the state’s budget cuts upset the apple cart.

Woodruff, not to be denied, bided his time. More than two years ago, his wait paid off!

“I can’t say enough about the folks at the Wildlife Resources Commission,” exclaimed Woodruff. “They have been a huge asset to Vandemere throughout the entire process. Without their unwavering support, this project would not have been funded or completed.”

But wait! There’s more. When you visit the park (and you surely will) the most stunning, eye-catching amenities are what locals affectionately call “Hog Slat docks” and slips for transient boaters – credit a sizable grant from the Coastal Area Management Agency for those wonderful additions.

“We are already seeing the benefits,” explained Woodruff. “We have more interest in real estate, both for personal use and rentals. A number of commercial interests have expressed an interest. And, we are already receiving calls about use of the transient boat slips.”

The parking lot includes 32 spaces for vehicles and trailers, and 15 spaces for single cars, including three ADA-compliant spaces.

Although boaters are already ‘putting in,’ much work remains to be done, including upgrades to existing water and electricity utilities, improvements to gazebos and restrooms, installation of picnic tables and benches, lighting, and landscaping.

Vandemere is mighty proud of this new park – and rightly so! It is a beauty – whatever the name!

New Boating Access Area Opening in Pamlico County This Week

The original boat ramp was not much to look at in this photo taken during late summer of 2015 before construction began.

The original boat ramp was not much to look at in this photo taken during late summer of 2015 before construction began.

VANDEMERE — The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission announces the opening of a new boating access area located at 86 Griffin Road in Vandemere in Pamlico County.

The Vandemere Boating Access Area will provide access to Log Pond Creek which connects to the Bay River. The BAA has two 15-foot wide boat ramps, a 60-foot floating dock, a wooden fixed courtesy dock, a bulkheaded and dredged canal and an asphalt parking lot. The parking lot includes 32 spaces for vehicles and trailers and 15 spaces for single cars, including three ADA-compliant spaces.

The Wildlife Commission funded construction of the project withf motorboat registration receipts and Sport Fish Restoration Program funds. Additionally, the Town of Vandemere renovated existing marina docks using funds from a CAMA grant and other sources.

The BAA is a partnership between the Commission and the Town of Vandemere, which owns the property and is providing the public access to the Commission through a Memorandum of Agreement.

“This new boating access area will give anglers some great fishing opportunities,” said Benjamin Ricks, the Wildlife Commission’s district fisheries biologist. “Boaters can expect to catch a wide variety of species including redfish, seatrout, flounder, croaker and spot.”

DOT ! Answer 11 questions.

By Jim Sherwood
Jim Sherwood

Jim Sherwood

VANDEMERE — I was away on a vacation out west for a couple of weeks and was appalled to see what had happened while I was gone. What I am talking about is the defoliation — by obviously very poisonous chemicals along the roadsides in Pamlico County. We must get to the bottom of this and find out what happened and, of course, the Who, What, When, Where, and Why.

I am guessing that many Pamlico County residents are also appalled by this. State officials should answer the following questions:

1.  What is the chemical that was sprayed?

2.  How much was sprayed (in gallons)?

3.  Why was it sprayed?

4.  Who authorized the spraying?

5.  Was there a review process used to make the decision to spray?

6.  Who was involved in that review process to spray (if there was one)?

7.  Was there any concern for the environmental effects of the spraying?

8.  Was a cost benefit analysis conducted?

9.  What are the potentially detrimental effects on algae, fish, shrimp, crabs, and oysters?

10. Were these potentially detrimental effects considered in the decision to spray?

11. Are the parties responsible for the spraying liable for defoliation that occurred on private property?

Pamlico County is a beautiful and healthy place for plant and animal wildlife as well as humans. It is something to be cherished and preserved for the future of the wildlife and for our children and grandchildren.

Editor’s note: This newspaper has submitted a formal request for answers to the questions posed by Vandemere resident Jim Sherwood, along with any related documents and studies. Brian Rick, Public Information Officer for Districts Two & Three in the North Carolina Department of Transportation, said Wednesday morning that his agency is working on full and complete answers, while apologizing that few, if any, responses would be submitted prior to the deadline of this newspaper.

Happy Times are (almost) here again!



VANDEMERE – A late June start-back for this faith-based camp seemed much closer to reality Wednesday, after a flurry of activity throughout the day.

Under the wistful / apprehensive gazes of Camp Vandemere board member Ken Hill and Camp Director Rick Price, crews and a massive crane began the careful positioning of nine 70-feet long modular units atop tall pilings on the banks of windy Bay River.

By the end of the day, the girls dorm and the boys dorm – each capable of accommodating up to 70 campers – were mostly in place, and the modular units that will form the Kitchen / Dining Hall were scheduled for placement Thursday.

Utilities, decks and steps, and A-frame roofs must still be tackled. However, for the first time in quite a while, the devastation wrought by Hurricane Irene in August 2011 had become more of a fuzzy memory.

Repeal of gun law triggers heat in Vandemere

Vandemere town commissioner Steve Lacy

Vandemere town commissioner Steve Lacy

VANDEMERE – Tempers flared Monday night over a vote two months ago, repealing a town law that had been on the books for decades.

The ordinance, originally adopted in 1980, was remarkably brief: That no firearms shall be discharged in the legal town limits of Vandemere, and signed by then Town Mayor Billy W. Harris.

Although brevity is the soul of wit, town laws intended to prohibit some type of otherwise legal activity are seldom meant to be funny, and are rarely brief, according to Vandemere town commissioner Steve Lacy, who is also a veteran attorney.

Lacy cited the law’s lack of exemptions — for say, self-defense, duck hunting, and law enforcement — as being a fatal flaw. In fact, Lacy noted such a law “needs to be specific enough to describe, but not so vague that it cannot be enforced.”

Translated that means more words for a new law, if town citizens really want to regulate wanton shooting.

And, according to Sherry Howlett – wife of town commissioner Dave Howlett – that is exactly what the town should be doing. During a contentious, but mostly cordial debate of the issue, she seemed to speak for many in the community.

“We are in a no man’s land right now, with no law in effect,” she said. “What are people supposed to do if somebody starts shooting birds off the phone line, and bullets are falling on my house?”

Dave Howlett, the only commissioner to oppose the law’s repeal in October, suggested that even a law with no teeth is better than no law at all.

“I do feel safer,” he said, “if we have this type of ordinance on the books. It represents a deterrent, regardless of whether it is enforceable or not.”

Lacy, charged by his colleagues on the board to oversee matters relating to ‘Regulations & Compliance,’ countered by saying “there are pages and pages of the town code that I want to repeal. This gun ordinance was enacted in 1980 but it has been prosecuted zero times.” He later added: “I’m supposed to be giving my advice to the board on that particular topic, but what I’ve shared has been completely misunderstood, misconstrued, and repeated in a form that is not correct.”

At the 40-minute mark, compromise reared its lovely head when Lacy suggested “we can make an enforceable ordinance.” And, in response to a question, Lacy said “it might cost a couple of thousand dollars.”

That quickly prompted a motion from Howlett, seconded by Commissioner Carolyn Jones, that the town should ask its for-hire attorney, Ben Hollowell of Bayboro, to present various options for some type of new law meant to prevent – with exemptions – the discharge of firearms inside the town limits.

After the town board approved Howlett’s measure by unanimous vote, Mayor Judy Thaanum put the issue to bed, at least for the interim:

“We’re doing the best we can,” she said, “but we don’t have much money.”

As is the case with all of the town commissioners, Lacy has been charged with management of a particular “department” of town governance. His expertise helps when tackling matters having to do with “Regulations and Compliance.”

Thomas Funn resigns as Vandemere commissioner

Thomas Funn, center, accepts a plaque of appreciation from Vandemere Mayor Judy Thaanum and his fellow commissioners during a brief ceremony earlier this month.

Thomas Funn, center, accepts a plaque of appreciation from Vandemere Mayor Judy Thaanum and his fellow commissioners during a brief ceremony earlier this month.

Special to the County Compass

VANDEMERE – When Thomas Funn and Corine Fisher got hitched way back in 1959, little did they know that 40 years later they would move from New Jersey to Vandemere, where Corine – daughter of Wealthy Fisher – had grown up!

Funn soon became involved in town affairs, agreeing in 1999 to fill a vacancy on the Vandemere town board. Unfortunately, Corine passed away in 2001, and the time has now come for Funn to resign his elected post and move on.

“This southern hospitality has been great,” said Funn in announcing his decision, “but the northern lights are calling me home.”

Mayor Judy Thaanum issued a statement praising Funn for his service, adding “he will be greatly missed by all in Vandemere.”

Wanna own a fire truck? How about a Visa card worth $1,000?


VANDEMERE – Firefighters in this community’s volunteer fire department – intent on boosting awareness and increasing membership – have launched two unique raffles, with a pair of lucky winners to be announced at the department’s Second Annual Open House, scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 2. In a brief interview, event organizer Dave DeSalvo pledged that whomever wins the 1974 Ford C750 Fire Truck “will be able to drive the truck out of our parking lot, and the pump on it works great too!” Proceeds from the two raffles have been earmarked for the purchase of Personal Protection Equipment – helmets, boots, jackets, gloves, and other regalia designed specifically for firefighter safety. To purchase raffle tickets, call DeSalvo at (215) 872-8736, or contact any member of the Vandemere Volunteer Fire Department.