Shooting The Breeze


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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Devildog (Protecting N.C. H…): Steve, Devildog, it is not a philosophy, but proven facts that Mr. Scott speaks of.. Negative. Dr…
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A closer look at final decisions on beach access and replacing the bridge

Thursday 30 December 2010 at 5:57 pm

I continue to be amazed and astounded that two projects that will have enormous impacts on the future of Hatteras and Ocracoke and have been mired down in discussion, negotiation, bureaucratic wrangling, and even a lawsuit took a big step forward on the same day last week.

On Monday, Dec. 20, the National Park Service issued a Record of Decision on its final draft of an environmental study that will be the basis for off-road vehicle regulation, which is expected to be in place sometime in the fall of 2011.

The park has been required to have an ORV regulation since the 1970s.  One was prepared in 1978 and sent to Washington, D.C., but, for reasons that remain unknown, it never was approved, published, or implemented – though the park has been operating more or less under those rules ever since.

Also on Monday, Dec. 20, the Federal Highway Administration signed a Record of Decision on the Bonner Bridge replacement project.  

Planning for that project began in about 1990 and has been bogged down by an outlandish number of environmental studies that mostly concerned the impact of the bridge and road improvements to Highway 12 through the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge.

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Friends at Fox¦.WITH VIDEO

Monday 20 December 2010 at 9:10 pm

The effort to restore reasonable access to the Cape Hatteras National Seashore beaches got some national attention today -- at long last.

“Fox and Friends,” the early morning news show on the Fox News cable network, featured a segment on beach access this morning.

The segment was part of Fox’s “It’s Your Land” series of articles and was titled, “Environmentalists’ Crusade.”

John Couch, president of the Outer Banks Preservation Association, appeared live in the show’s studio in Washington, D.C., to talk about the extensive beach closures under the 2008 consent decree that settled a lawsuit against the National Park Service by Defenders of Wildlife and the National Audubon Society over what the environmental groups say were inadequate protections for nesting birds and sea turtles on seashore beaches.

Couch was interviewed by Brian Kilmeade, one of the hosts of the show.

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Christmas at Serendipity√ʬĬ¶.WITH A SLIDE SHOW

Tuesday 14 December 2010 at 5:34 pm

On a cold and windy Sunday afternoon earlier this month, I leaned over the second floor balcony at the beach house known as Serendipity and watched a steady stream of excited visitors come through the door for a house tour.

They were wide-eyed and full of anticipation.  Many carried cameras, ready to capture the moment, their first glimpse inside the cottage that competes only with the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse for the title of the most beloved landmark on the island.

The occasion this weekend was the Hatteras Island Cancer Foundation’s holiday house tour.

The tour was the first time the public had an opportunity to see the inside of the house they had so admired from the outside.

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Looking forward to another summer under consent decree

Tuesday 07 December 2010 at 08:39 am

Who would have thought that we would look forward to another summer under the consent decree?

When the consent decree was signed off on by all the parties to a lawsuit against the National Park Service, beach access advocates were not happy.

The National Audubon Society and Defenders of Wildlife, represented by the Southern Environmental Law Center, had sued the Park Service in October, 2007.  The suit claimed that the park’s Interim Species Management Plan did not go far enough to protect nesting birds and turtles at the Cape Hatteras National Seashore.

Eventually Dare and Hyde counties and the Cape Hatteras Access Preservation Alliance were allowed to join the lawsuit as defendant-intervenors on the side of the Park Service.

The groups reached an agreement in the spring of 2008 to manage the seashore until the Park Service had a final rule on off-road vehicle use, which it had been required to do since the 1970s but never finished.

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The time has come for liquor by the drink on Hatteras

Friday 03 December 2010 at 09:58 am

Registered voters in the southern Hatteras Island villages of Buxton, Frisco, and Hatteras will go to their polling places on Tuesday, Dec. 7, to cast a ballot in a referendum on the sale of liquor by the drink in restaurants and some other venues.

If the measure passes, mixed drinks would be allowed only in those three villages.

Just as I was about to write an article on Wednesday that all had been pretty quiet on the upcoming vote, an oversized postcard arrived in my mailbox in Buxton. It was addressed to “postal patron.”

On the front of the card was a collage of color photos of families on the beach, a person sipping a drink, and a wrecked car.

“VOTE NO” was the message.

On the back of the card were a half dozen or so reasons to vote “no.”

However, nowhere on the postcard was there any information about what group or individuals, obviously opposed to mixed drinks, was sponsoring the message.

This is a violation of state election law, according to Melva Garrison, director of the Dare County Board of Elections.

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