Duck honors Nancy Caviness for years of service

Published 1:50 pm Thursday, December 9, 2021

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After vacating a Duck Town Council seat she held for almost all of the past 19 years, Nancy Caviness spent most of the December 1 council meeting sitting in the audience as a private citizen.

An integral part of the Duck community, Caviness decided not to run for re-election this past November. As Wednesday’s regular session meeting began, she moved from a seat with other council members in the Paul F. Keller Meeting Hall to one in the audience where she watched quietly as Don Kingston, Monica Thibodeau, Sandy Whitman and Tony Schiano were sworn into office. Rob Mooney was unable to attend Wednesday’s meeting due to family commitments.

When asked after the meeting ended if she had trouble holding back any thoughts she had about some of the issues discussed, Caviness said that was less of a problem than holding back an urge to respond when Mayor Don Kingston called for voice votes.

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“It really wasn’t that it was all that hard as much as it was weird,” Caviness explained. “Because I’m so used to hearing Don say ‘all those in favor’ that I’m ready to vocalize my opinion. It’s not like I’ve never been there, but it was just a bit unusual.”

While a spectator for most of the meeting, Caviness did take time during public comments to advise that the annual Advice 5K Turkey Trot charity run on the streets of Duck celebrated its 25th anniversary Thanksgiving Day. Adding that there was an extraordinary fundraising goal of $25,000 – double of what is normally raised – by race day $11,000 had already been received in direct donations to the charity foundation. She then explained that through the efforts of residents, business owners, property owners, visitors, families and friends, the foundation is expected to grow to more than $33,500 with the potential to reach $35,000 by the end of the year.

Later in the meeting, council approved a resolution honoring and thanking Caviness for her many years of service to the Town of Duck.

The resolution recognized Caviness as a resident since 1995 who served on the Task Force for Municipal Incorporation (helping Duck become the newest Outer Banks municipality in 2002), was appointed to serve on the town’s first Town Council, was elected for three consecutive Town Council terms serving from December 2003 until December 2009 and then (after taking time off to care for a family member) served five more Council terms from December 2011 through December 2021. In addition to her municipal duties, Caviness worked on the CAMA Land Use Plan, has served as a firefighter in the Duck Volunteer Fire Department and helped organize and direct the annual Advice 5K Turkey Trot for the past 25 years.

In response to the resolution action Wednesday, Caviness took a couple of minutes to express her gratitude for an opportunity be a public servant.

In a conversation after the meeting, Caviness explained that she is not leaving the area, will remain involved in the community and in fact will begin a new career with a new full time job starting January 3.

“I’m thrilled about this new opportunity,” said Caviness. “And it was so sudden that I didn’t know even before the Turkey Trot.”

“We are certainly going to miss Nancy on the council,” advised Kingston in a phone call conversation after the meeting. “She has been a great contribution to the town.”

Similar comments were echoed by fellow council member Thibodeau who, just like Kingston, was first encouraged to run for council by Caviness.

“Nancy has been a driving force for Duck and an amazing contributor to the town,” said Thibodeau. “She has had some great ideas like hosting the Jazz Festival and the idea of developing a 10 year vision to help with the direction of Duck. She has helped keep a steady hand on Duck’s direction.”

Taking up the regular agenda items for the Wednesday night meeting, council members re-elected Kingston to a sixth consecutive term as mayor and Thibodeau was re-elected mayor pro tempore.

Other appointments included having Whitman continue as council liaison to the Duck Planning Board, Thibodeau continuing as the Duck representative on the Dare County Tourism Board, Mooney to continue as the Albemarle RPO Rural Transportation Advisory Committee representative and Schiano agreed to serve on the Government Access Channel Committee.

Council also approved a 2022 council meeting date schedule to include 6 p.m. regular sessions on January 5, February 2, March 2, April 6, May 4, June 1, July 6, August 3, September 7, October 5, November 2 and December 7. Mid-month meetings, if needed, will begin at 1 p.m. on January 19, March 16, October 19, November 16 and December 21. Other 2022 meeting dates include a winter celebration party on January 28 and a council retreat February 16 and 17.

Council also discussed establishing a seven member advisory committee to provide staff with direction and improvement ideas for town programs and facilities. Although in favor of the concept, concerns were raised on what might be too wide a focus for the group. Community development director Joe Heard was asked to look at what other areas are doing and revisit the idea in February.

A request to amend several sections of town code to allow indoor entertainment facilities as a permitted use in the Village Commercial zoning district also received close scrutiny. Although the proposal was fairly specific for both what would be allowed and what would be prohibited, several council members were leery of a request that had the potential for significant changes for Duck and passed with a narrow 3-2 favorable Planning Board vote.

After a lengthy discussion, council agreed to conduct a public opinion survey, send the request back to the Planning Board to analyze the survey results in January and hold a public hearing on the request in February.

Other business for the evening included Duck Police Chief Jeff Ackerman introducing Jeremy Hemilright, an officer with 19 years experience, as the newest member of the Duck Police force and Heard introducing Jim Gould as the town’s new community planner.

Also on hand was Lisa Murphy, with Johnson, Mizelle, Straub and Murphy, with a report that findings of the FY 2020-21 audit were favorable and the town was given the highest rating possible for its accounting records.

After voting to accept the audit report as presented, council also approved a consent agenda with October meeting minutes and authorization to convert Town Hall to a VOIP phone system.

Town manager Drew Havens also advised that beach nourishment permits are in place but a construction schedule has net been established.

The next Town Council meeting will be 6 p.m. on January 5, 2022.