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Hi, and welcome to my "Editor's Blog"! In this space I'll be attempting to keep our readers informed on fast-breaking news and issues affecting our islands. Visit often. There's a lot going on!

Enjoy the Island Free Press and, even more importantly, enjoy our wonderful barrier island!!!

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Salvo Jimmy (The Long And Tort…): I can see the point of the Mirlo owners, BUT, some of us who knew the topography and history of the …
Bud (The Long And Tort…): As a Rodanthe resident, I can assure you that the S-turns is still a hot spot for surfing. It is even…
Dave (Update on the Con…): An observation. Any effort is appreciated. A sidecaster dredge like the Merritt will provide littl…
diver531 (The Long And Tort…): Ok … I gotta say this …just because those people don’t live there doesn’t make them any different fro…
JimM (The Long And Tort…): Ask any sufer if the S-Turns is a hot spot to surf anymore. The answer is no because there is now a b…
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Economic suffering on the islands

Wednesday 29 April 2009 at 6:00 pm This letter to the editor, published this week,  is from my friend Helen Hudson, who is the librarian at the Dare County Library in Hatteras village:


“April showers were often said to bring May flowers. May, 2009, will be bringing Hatteras Island residents a 12.8 percent increase in electricity costs, as well as a 6.5 percent increase in homeowners' insurance. How can we cope in these hard economic times? I've never seen so many people out of work and using the food pantries. It breaks my heart to see so many businesses closed and/or for sale. Quite a few people are simply leaving the area. I spoke with a gifted teacher who may have to move because the cost of living is so high on the island.

We make every effort to support local businesses. However, we often end up paying resort prices all year long. I think there needs to be a task force addressing the specific needs on Hatteras Island. I'd love to hear others comment on dealing with these issues.”
Read More

Weekend report: Warm weather, heavy traffic, another closure, and Facebook

Monday 27 April 2009 at 1:23 pm Spring was finally in the air this weekend.

It was what most islanders thought was the longest winter they could remember – day after day of wind, cold, and gray skies.  There were precious few of the warmer, sunny intervals that usually punctuate the winter months here.

This weekend was the first this spring that was sunny and warm – in the 70s – even if the wind was somewhat gusty from the southwest.

Hatteras Island was crowded with people, and Highway 12 was busy with vehicles. Read More

Update on pedestrian access to Cape Point

Thursday 23 April 2009 at 2:00 pm The message today on pedestrian access to Cape Point by wading in the water around resource closure is, “Yes, you can.”

Yesterday, I wrote that the National Park Service would no longer allow pedestrians to wade in the water below the mean low tide line to reach the three-tenths of a mile of beach still open at Cape Point.

That was after a two-tenths of a mile closure was expanded to four-tenths of a mile.

I also wrote that the announcement would come in today’s beach access report from the Park Service.

Here is what was in today’s beach access report on this issue:

“On April 19, 2009:  The full beach closure (RESOURCE protection area) located 0.2 of a mile south of Ramp 44 was modified (extended) 300 meters to the south for observed AMOY breeding behavior.  This closure is now 0.4 of a mile in length and there is no ORV or pedestrian access within the resource protection area.”

This is not what I was told yesterday. Read More

A new look for the blog

Thursday 23 April 2009 at 09:59 am You will probably notice that my blog looks different today.

That’s because the software we started with was giving us fits.  So we have changed the software.

This will make our Web masters happier – and you, the readers, also.

You will still have to sign in to post comments.  However, if you have already done that, the Web folks at Hatteras Designs have transferred your information to this new format.

If you haven’t signed up, the system asks you to do so when you first post a comment. Read More

Cape Point closed to pedestrians

Wednesday 22 April 2009 at 3:09 pm National Park Service officials have closed pedestrian access to Cape Point.

The decision will be announced in tomorrow’s Park Service beach access report.

About two-tenths of a mile of beach just south of Ramp 44 was closed to ORVs on April 14 to protect American oystercatchers exhibiting breeding behavior.

At that time, park officials said that pedestrians could wade in the water below the mean low tide line to reach Cape Point, which is not closed.

Read More

Update on Cape Point access

Monday 20 April 2009 at 5:23 pm The closure at Cape Point for American oystercatchers exhibiting breeding behavior was expanded today – from two-tenths of a mile to four-tenths of a mile. That’s double the size it was last week at this time.

For now, folks can still wade below the mean low tide line to reach Cape Point, which is not closed. Or they can reach the Point by boat.

Park Service management is re-evaluating the situation and will make a decision in the next day or so whether continued access to Cape Point by walking in the ocean or by boat should be allowed.

The decision will most likely be based on safety concerns. Read More

What you need to know about beach access

Friday 17 April 2009 at 7:08 pm The first thing you need to know about this summer’s beach access on the seashore is that there will be beaches open to ORVs.

However, there will be some stretches of beach closed to both ORVs and pedestrians until the end of the nesting season – about August for birds and later in the fall for sea turtles.

The closed beaches may be your favorites, such as Cape Point or South Point on Ocracoke, but there will still be miles of beach open for walking and driving. Read More

Going To A (TEA) Party

Thursday 16 April 2009 at 2:45 pm Several dozen Hatteras islanders went to a party on Wednesday, April 15, at the new county office building in Frisco.

The lunchtime gathering was a TEA party – as in Taxed Enough Already. It was scheduled for April 15, also known as Tax Day, and was, of course, a symbolic reference to the historic Boston Tea Party.

The Boston Tea Party had a specific focus. American colonists protested taxation without representation by dumping taxed tea from England into the Boston Harbor.

The tea parties that happened all over the country on Wednesday – drawing anywhere from a few dozen to a few thousand people – were apparently an opportunity for partygoers to protest just about everything that is causing them angst these days.

They were billed by organizers as a grassroots effort to protest excessive government spending and historic deficits. Read More

Killing Fish for Fun Instead of Food

Wednesday 08 April 2009 at 8:35 pm I hope all of you will read Susan West’s article on the Fishing Page about the bill recently introduced into the North Carolina General Assembly to give coastal gamefish status to red drum and spotted sea trout, also known as speckled trout.

West writes:

Red drum and spotted sea trout would be off-limits to commercial harvest in North Carolina if a bill introduced March 31 becomes law…House Bill 918, Designation of Coastal Game Fish, would prohibit the sale and purchase of the species and prohibit the use of nets to catch the fish.

In other words, commercial fishermen working for a living would no longer be able to catch and sell these fish. They would become the private resource of recreational fishermen who fish for the fun of it.

It also means that unless you are a recreational fisherman with access to the resource, you will no longer be able to buy drum or speckled trout in a fish market or order it in a restaurant. Read More

Waitin' On A Woman

Friday 03 April 2009 at 3:58 pm The Academy of Country Music this week announced that its Video of the Year award has gone to country music superstar Brad Paisley for “Waitin’ on a Woman,” featuring the iconic actor Andy Griffith, 82, who is a superstar on the Outer Banks.

That news came just before the 44th annual Academy of Country Music awards, which will be broadcast on Sunday, April 5, at 8 p.m. on CBS.

The music video not only features Griffith, who lives on Roanoke Island, but was filmed on the Outer Banks – at the Tanger Outlet Center in Nags Head and on Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge. Read More

The Final Word On Reg-Neg?

Thursday 02 April 2009 at 3:19 pm The National Park Service has released the final report of the Negotiated Rulemaking Advisory Committee for Off-Road Vehicle Management for Cape Hatteras National Seashore.

The committee disbanded in late February without reaching its goal of consensus.

The report was compiled and prepared by the Reg-Neg committee facilitators – Patrick Field and Ona Ferguson of the Consensus Building Institute in Boston, Mass., and Robert Fisher of Fisher Collaborative Services in Alexandria, Va. – for the National Park Service. The report provides diverse stakeholder input on a full spectrum of ORV management issues for the seashore, according to the Park Service media release.

The bad news is that the report is 1,654 pages long. Read More

Crime And Punishment

Wednesday 01 April 2009 at 1:05 pm It’s fair to say that the consent decree is despised by almost everyone on Hatteras and Ocracoke, almost everyone on the Outer Banks, and most of the park’s regular visitors.

And nothing in the consent decree is more despised than the part that requires punitive action when resource closure areas are intentionally vandalized.

For anyone who has been under a rock for the past year, the consent decree was approved by a U.S. District Court Judge last April and was agreed to by parties to a lawsuit over ORV access to the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. Read More