Story and Photo by Linda Cicoira
Today marks a milestone for the Eastern Shore Post and the world of publishing in Accomack and Northampton counties.
You are about to read the Post’s 1,000th edition, and the staff is as excited about it as those were who brought you the first edition on June 2, 1999. Actually, deadline day is always a thrill for us as the pages are combined into your favorite locally owned, free hometown newspaper.
Troy Justis, the Post’s advertising manager, has been with the Post since the start, or 19 years, and brought the milestone to the attention of all. Linda Cicoira has been writing a column and reporting politics, crime, and education and making photos for the paper for 12 years. Angie Huether Crutchley, the classifieds manager, who is an occasional writer and photographer, has also served as an on-the-road sales representative. She’s been at the Post for a decade.
The paper was started by two journalists, the late Candy Farlow, who was the publisher, and Cheryl Nowak, the editor. Both did the news writing and were columnists. Both already had plenty of experience in the business. They worked together for about 10 years until Farlow sold her shares to her partner.
Bill Sterling kicked off sports coverage for the Post in 2012. He and Nowak married and then two years ago they retired. The paper was purchased by business partners Ace Seybolt and Connie Morrison. Sterling now occasionally writes for the paper.
Since then, the new dynamic duo has continued the tradition of bringing comprehensive local news coverage to their readers. Morrison manages the enterprise and is the paper’s editor. She’s added food pages and the latest in theater to the mix. Seybolt contributes his knowledge from his many years as an entrepreneur.
More employees joined the staff. Kimberly Perry is the Post’s graphic designer, Krystle Bono does sports and related photos, Stefanie Jackson covers Northampton County, Sam Sellard sells ads, and novelist David Martin serves as copy editor. James Brown has been delivering the papers to your favorite businesses for about 14 years. Anthony Justis and Chris Lilliston also make deliveries. This summer the Post’s intern was Parks Nunnally.
For years, Justis and his wife, J.J., wrote a NASCAR column and J.J. kept the books for the newspaper. They were the recipients of the first stork visit to the Post when their daughter, Baylee Justis, arrived in December 2000. The second baby arrived when Darbee Justis was born in 2002. Troy has also been blessed with two grandchildren and a third is on the way since he started working at the Post. Troy’s late son, Taylor, and late mother, Sherri, also worked for the post. Farlow was his mother-in-law. And he and J.J. married while working for the paper.
The Post’s first edition was published around the time school was ending for the term in 1999. That inaugural edition featured then Sen. Chuck Rob on the cover. He visited Kiptopeke Elementary to offer congratulations on its designation as a National Blue Ribbon School. Former Chincoteague Police Chief Willis Dize and former Chincoteague Councilman Terry Howard were shown on the front page shaking hands.
During that first year of the Post, coverage included Hurricane Floyd, the devastating storm that damaged about 200 homes, including 20 on Tangier Island. The havoc was estimated, at one point, at more than $5 million and mostly occurred in Accomack County.
Believe it or not, Northampton officials were grappling with what to do about the poor conditions of county schools in 1999, an issue that continues to be debated by the school board, board of supervisors, and local parents today.
Also, in 1999, for the first time since 1951, rabies was discovered in a dog on the Eastern Shore. That happened near Hallwood. Another issue of the day was a commuter toll on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel that caused people to fear that Northampton would turn into a bedroom community for Hampton Roads. That possibility still crosses the minds of many who live on the Eastern Shore.
In December 1999, the old Accomack County administration building was demolished to make room for the new courthouse where general district and juvenile and domestic relations courts have resided ever since.
The Post was there to take you into the new millennium and plans to be around after your great, great, great, great-grandchildren turn 100 years old. We brought you the details when Walmart came, when the hospital moved, the saga of arson with Tonya Bundick and Charlie Smith, and when the huge rocket blew up at Wallops Island. We also brought you the first photo ever taken in Northampton Circuit Court, the one with the longest continuous court records in the country, in July 2017, when Cicoira made a picture of killer Winston “PeeWee” Leroy Burton.
In May 2006, Farlow wrote about the permit that was approved to allow a temporary 175-foot pier to be erected at an estate near Eastville with a promise to completely remove it by the end of August of that year. The more than $25,000 structure was for the wedding of NASCAR driver Kurt Busch.
Farlow also wrote about the future of the Onancock Carnival grounds in 2006 and about former Exmore Police Officer Mark Linton making it though the first round of voting in the Country Music Television’s Music City Madness Competition. The list of her stories and insights from her columns are endless.
The late Bill Massey, a former Post stockholder, was always about the Shore writing feature stories. For one, he told us about Mr. B of Accomac and his win of the Award of Merit at the prestigious Westminster Kennel Dog Show held at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Ron West also wrote for the Post for years covering Northampton and its towns and giving all the latest about the Coast Guard.
In June 2019, the Post will celebrate its 20-year anniversary. That’s when we give you even more Post history, and you will hear from each of us.