10/31/21: SOUTHERN SHORES TO ELECT A NEW MAYOR, TOWN COUNCIL MEMBER TUESDAY, POLLS OPEN 6:30 a.m. TO 7:30 p.m.; Plus the 5G Upgrade, COVID Vaccine Boosters, and Author Event at All Saints.

Rail-thin kayakers paddle the River Styx in Chicahauk. Happy Halloween, everyone!

Southern Shores voters will cast their ballots for a new mayor and at-large Town Council member this Tuesday, Nov. 2, at the Kitty Hawk Elementary School gymnasium. The polls will be open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Rod McCaughey, immediately past president of the Southern Shores Civic Assn., and current Mayor Pro Tem Elizabeth Morey are vying for the mayor’s seat. There are three candidates running for the other seat: Ann Sjoerdsma, John Carter, and Paula Sherlock.

There are no qualified write-in candidates.

Each elected office carries a four-year term.

In the event that Ms. Morey wins, her current Town Council seat would become vacant: She has two more years remaining on her term.

In conformance with North Carolina law, the new Town Council would appoint someone to serve out Ms. Morey’s unexpired term. There would not be a special election.

The Council is under no obligation to appoint the next-highest vote getter in the election or, indeed, one of the candidates who did not win.

The Beacon explored this eventuality, explaining the two methods of appointment—either by motion-and-vote or nomination-and-ballot—in detail in an Oct. 8 blog post. We refer you to that post, titled “You Have Two Choices on Election Day; The New Town Council Could Make a Third,” at www.southernshoresbeacon.com (Oct. 8).

The mayor would not participate in the appointment process.

Same-day voter registration is not available on Election Day, as it was during the early “one-stop” voting period that ended yesterday, so if you have not yet registered, you will be unable to vote.

Southern Shores has always had an informed and involved electorate. We look forward to a large voter turnout on Tuesday.

PLEASE NOTE: The Town Council’s first-Tuesday-of-the-month regular meeting will be held on Tues., Nov. 9, in the Pitts Center, at 5:30 p.m. (Update 11/1/21: The Town released today the agenda for the Nov. 9 meeting. See the home page of the Town website for a link to the agenda.)

This will be the last meeting of the current Town Council, unless a mid-month workshop session is belatedly scheduled. There is none on the calendar now.

The new Town Council members will be sworn into office and preside at the Tues., Dec. 7, regular meeting.

***

Because of the election, we have curtailed our reporting of late. We will provide just a brief news update now.

POLES FOR ‘SMALL WIRELESS FACILITIES’ TO BE INSTALLED

Residents have expressed concern to Town Manager Cliff Ogburn and The Beacon and through social media about “cell towers” being installed in the residential areas. These poles—one of which is planned for the Hickory Trail-Wax Myrtle Trail intersection and is to be 37 feet tall—will be installed in the Town’s right-of-ways and will have “small wireless facilities” attached to them that will enable an upgrade to 5G cell service.

5G is the fifth generation technology standard for broadband cellular networks. Cellular phone companies, such as Verizon, began deploying it in 2019. The greater bandwidth of 5G will enable higher download speeds.

Mr. Ogburn has explained the law and procedure behind this upgrade and the pole installations in the right-of-ways in the town newsletter, most recently in the Oct. 22 issue, which you may access through this link: https://www.southernshores-nc.gov/broadcast-news/.

Southern Shores Town Code section 36-175(i) enables service providers (Verizon) to obtain conditional use permits to collocate and use its small “wireless facilities” on poles in town. It sets forth the requirements a permit applicant must meet.  

As defined in Code section 36-175(a)(29), a “wireless facility” is “equipment at a fixed location that enables wireless communications between user equipment and a communications network.”

While we recall when it was evaluated/recommended by the Planning Board and enacted by the Town Council, we have not had an opportunity to study this ordinance.

We do note, however, that the ordinance authorizes Town to “engage an outside consultant for technical consultation and the review” of an application for a conditional use permit. The consultation fee is not to exceed $500 per application and is to be paid by the applicant.

We believe it would be helpful if the Town Manager reported upon the number of poles that will be installed and their locations. The more information disclosed to the public about the design here, the better.

According to the ordinance, new poles may not be erected in residential areas solely for the purpose of attaching the wireless facilities to them, unless the service provider demonstrates that it cannot reasonably provide service through other means.

(Update 11/1/21: Mr. Ogburn will address the cell towers in his Town Manager’s report at the Nov. 9 Town Council meeting, according to the meeting agenda that the Town released today.)

ALL VACCINE BOOSTERS AVAILABLE FOR PEOPLE AGE 65 OR OLDER

If you are age 65 or older and completed your Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine series more than six months ago or you received your Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine more than two months ago, you are eligible to receive a booster vaccine, regardless of the status of your health. You are qualified by age alone.

People who are at least 18 and also received their COVID-19 vaccines the requisite number of months ago are eligible if they:

*live or work in a nursing home or long-term care residential facility; OR

*have a medical condition that puts them at high risk for severe illness, such as obesity, asthma, heart disease, high blood pressure, or diabetes; OR

*work in a high-risk profession, such that they come in contact with a lot of people whose vaccination status they don’t know (for example, health care workers, first responders, teachers, retail and restaurant workers); OR

*live or work in a place where many people live together, such as a homeless shelter, correctional facility, dormitory or other group living setting in a college or university.

Eligible people may receive any brand of COVID-19 vaccine for their booster shot. There is no increased risk involved with mixing vaccine brands, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Dare County Dept. of Health and Human Services is offering Moderna booster vaccines. To obtain an appointment for one, you may call the DCDHHS Clinical Services team at (252) 475-5003 (selection option #2) or register online at www.darenc.com/register4vaccine.

Area pharmacies are offering booster doses of Moderna, Pfizer, and J&J.  

For further information, see https://www.darenc.com/Home/Components/News/News/7539/1483.

AUTHOR TALK, SIGNING ON WEDNESDAY AT ALL SAINTS CHURCH

Journalist Andrew Lawler will discuss his new book, “Under Jerusalem: The Buried History of the World’s Most Contested City,” and sign purchased copies, on Wednesday at 7 p.m. at All Saints Episcopal Church on Pintail Drive in Southern Shores.

The book, which is scheduled for release Tuesday by Doubleday, sells for $32.50.

According to advance press about “Under Jerusalem,” Mr. Lawler “takes us into the tombs, tunnels, and trenches of the Holy City—a saga of biblical treasures, intrepid explorers, and political upheaval—and brings to life the indelible characters who have investigated this subterranean landscape.”

Mr. Lawler is also the author of “The Secret Token: Myth, Obsession, and the Search for the Lost Colony of Roanoke” and “Why Did the Chicken Cross the World?: The Epic Saga of the Bird That Powers Civilization.”

For more information about the author, who specializes in science journalism, see www.kennethlawler.com.

The Beacon supports all author events, which once were commonly held at Outer Banks bookstores, and thanks All Saints Church for hosting this one.

That’s the news for now.

We wish everyone a Happy Halloween.

Judging from the skeletons, witches, spooks, wolfmen, and assorted ghouls on residents’ front yards, Southern Shores is definitely in the grip of the Halloween spirit. Have fun and stay safe.

Ann G. Sjoerdsma, 10/31/21

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