Duck welcomes new police officer

Published 7:06 am Thursday, March 17, 2022

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A short agenda allowed ample time for public comments and department reports during Duck Town Council’s regular March 2 monthly meeting.

A highlight of the Wednesday meeting included an introduction and brief swearing in ceremony for Dylan Berry as Duck’s newest police officer.

According to Police Chief Jeff Ackerman, Berry is an Outer Banks native, a Manteo High School graduate, has considerable law enforcement experience as a Dare County deputy and is currently working toward a College of The Albemarle degree.

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During public comments, council heard an account of visitors in Duck participating in geocache hunts, a type of global treasure hunt where people use global positioning system satellites and basic navigation skills to find hidden containers, or geocaches, an announcement that the annual Duck Turkey Trot is being retired, comments on the Ukraine attack by Russia, the need for affordable housing in Duck and a League of Women Voters of Dare County presentation of local voter guides.

During her comments, former Duck Town Council member Nancy Caviness advised that although the annual Duck Turkey Trot is being retired, there is an endowment funded from the road-race event that remains active and lives on to provide support to several community activities even without the race.

Southern Shores resident Anastasiia Forlano, originally from Ukraine, spoke briefly about the attack on her home country by Russian troops. She advised that there is a GoFundMe being set up to provide money for medical supplies and food and that she is open to other fundraising options.

Later in the meeting, Mayor Don Kingston asked what Duck could do to provide some type of help. Town attorney Robert B. Hobbs Jr. advised that there are limitations on what can be done with public funds and town manager Drew Havens said he would look into the statutes to see what is allowed.

Ron Forlano Sr. was on hand to speak briefly, saying that money has been approved for Dare County to build affordable housing but that Duck also needs affordable housing.

“We have expensive housing in Duck,” said Forlano. “But many of the people that work in Duck cannot afford to live in Duck.”

He closed his comments with a request that council establish a committee to figure out how to solve the housing problem.

Also making a public comment was Judy Lotas, League of Women Voters of Dare County co-president, who advised that this is the 34th year the league has published a Local Guide and that 6,600 copies are being delivered to the community. The League of Women Voters of Dare County is a nonpartisan, grassroots organization working to educate and empower voters.

Moving to regular business items for the evening, a consent agenda with minutes from the January 19 and February 2 meetings, a $41,735 budget amendment using money from the Beach Fund account for the Environmental Protection Debt Service, and a second budget amendment for a $5,000 reduction to the Recreation and Special Events Contracted Services account for an amphitheater shade sail was approved.

With only a short discussion on the details involved, a public hearing on an ordinance amendment in the town’s Flood Damage Prevention Ordinance making violations a civil penalty was scheduled for the April 6 meeting.

With council member Tony Schiano unable to attend Wednesday’s meeting, consensus was to have further discussion when a full council can participate. Further discussion was then deferred until the April meeting.

During department reports Joe Heard, director of Community Development, advised that Duck Trail improvement work has now been completed. Ackerman explained that new radar speed limit signs are up and staff are reviewing the data. Fire Chief Donna Black said an insurance rating review will be coming in April and public information director Christain Legner said Duck’s 20th anniversary is coming up May 1 and several events are planned for the Sunday celebration, including a concert and cake cutting.

The meeting ended with a comment that unless there is a special called meeting later in March, the next scheduled meeting is April 6 at 6 p.m.