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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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Getting down to the wire on ORV rulemaking

Thursday 24 September 2009 at 5:02 pm In a meeting with reporters this week, Cape Hatteras National Seashore Superintendent Mike Murray gave an update on the off-road vehicle rulemaking process.

“We’re reasonably on schedule, but we can’t dilly-dally around,” Murray said.

That is a bit of an understatement.

The National Park Service is under the gun to have a final ORV rule ready by the end of next year – just 15 months from now -- and have a new rule in place by April 1, 2011.

Those dates were set in a consent decree, signed by federal judge Terrence Boyle in April, 2008, that ended a lawsuit against the Park Service by environmental groups that challenged the seashore’s interim protected management plan, which was to protect nesting birds and turtles until there was a long-range ORV plan. Read More

Playing favorites - Why I love the boat parade and blessing of the fleet

Monday 21 September 2009 at 07:12 am It’s really hard to choose a favorite event among all of those occasions that are so special on Hatteras Island.  

It’s like choosing a favorite child or grandchild.

However, after the weekend, I am ready to go on the record.

My favorite event on Hatteras Island is the annual boat parade and blessing of the fleet that follows the Day at the Docks: A Celebration of Hatteras Island Watermen. Read More

Seasonal closures for village beaches end today – for some but not all villages

Wednesday 16 September 2009 at 6:00 pm Today some Cape Hatteras National Seashore beaches in the villages re-opened to ORVs.

Beaches in Rodanthe, Waves, Salvo, and Avon close each season from May 15 through Sept. 15 for the safety of the large number of visitors on the village beaches.

Today, they are open again until next May 15. Read More

Dare County postpones property revaluation – good for some but not for others

Friday 11 September 2009 at 4:33 pm

The good news for some of us is that the Dare County Board of Commissioners decided this week to postpone property revaluation for a year.

The bad news for some of us is that the Dare County Board of Commissioners decided this week to postpone property valuation for a year.

If you own property on the oceanfront, this was not the news you wanted to hear.

If you own property in subdivisions or other residential areas off the oceanfront, it is good news.

Read More

It was a no-name storm, but it got our attention

Tuesday 08 September 2009 at 2:37 pm The coastal low pressure that formed off the southeast coast over the Labor Day weekend took its own sweet time moving north and was not a tropical system.

Thus, it was not a named storm.  

However the rainfall totals ranked right up there with a tropical system, and the wind wasn’t that far from tropical storm status.

The storm pretty well ruined the Labor Day weekend for many visitors who were taking advantage of the last summer holiday.

Saturday was the best day of the weekend – mostly sunny.

Sunday was cloudy. and the rain hung right offshore all day, occasionally bringing in some sprinkles to Hatteras and Ocracoke beaches.

Monday was a total wash out. Read More

Celebrating two years of Island Free Press – the island’s only online newspaper with real news

Friday 04 September 2009 at 07:17 am Tomorrow, Sept. 5, is the second anniversary of the debut of The Island Free Press.

The Island Free Press was the first online newspaper to cover the news on Hatteras and Ocracoke islands.

And it is still the only publication with up-to-date news, coverage of issues that affect our lives, and wonderful photos and slide shows of the islands on which we live and their weather, wildlife, and wonder.

The newspaper is available online only, which is a bit unusual in the publishing business.  We have no print edition and don’t intend to have one, even though our readers sometimes request “copies” of our articles.

I spent 40 years as a journalist with printed newspapers, and I would never return to that medium.  Online publishing is so much more vital and informative, so much fun, so interactive, and it forges a much more personal relationship with readers.

The Island Free Press second anniversary is a time for us to pause and thank all of you --readers and advertisers -- who have supported our work. Read More

Ban on plastic bags is effective today – get your reusable cloth bags ready

Tuesday 01 September 2009 at 2:22 pm Several decades ago when plastic bags for groceries and other purchases started gaining popularity, store clerks would ask, “Paper or plastic?”

For a long time, I held out for paper, but eventually we all came to accept plastic.

But that ends on the Outer Banks today when a new law prohibiting the use of plastic bags in the largest stores and chain stores becomes effective.

Beginning today, it’s “Paper or reusable cloth bags?” Read More