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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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Pussycat (The Things Left B…): Devil Dog, My numbers are correct. That is why you can’t dispel them and then try to deflect the trut…
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Bud (Examining Options…): Compensation for what? It was a wonderful week here while the evacuation order was in effect. Power w…
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Don't expect a final ORV rule from the Park Service this year

Wednesday 30 November 2011 at 1:19 pm

The National Park Service has pushed back its target date to implement a final special regulation for off-road vehicles on the Cape Hatteras National Seashore until Feb. 15.

The date has been pushed back numerous times as the Park Service, local governments, pro-access groups, islanders, and visitors try to come to terms with the contentious issue of regulating ORV use on the beaches.

The latest delay of the final rule barely caused a ripple on the Outer Banks, where folks are looking at increasingly limited use of the seashore beaches and the economic consequences that will follow.

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We are grateful

Wednesday 23 November 2011 at 10:07 am

If you eavesdrop on conversations among Hatteras and Ocracoke islanders, you will hear some variation of the question, “How did it get to be the holidays already?”

It seems as if one day we were in the homestretch of a hot, steamy summer, and now Thanksgiving is tomorrow with a plethora of holiday events just around the corner.

It’s been something of a time warp for islanders since Hurricane Irene on Aug. 27.

The storm’s aftermath so consumed our lives that it seems to many of us that we had no autumn.  September and October, for sure, were just a blur in our minds.

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Hurricane Irene survey, Part 4: Visitors were unhappy with Dare’s re-entry policy

Friday 18 November 2011 at 12:09 pm

The fourth part of our report on The Island Free Press Survey:  Hurricane Irene Response focuses on visitors to Hatteras and Ocracoke.

Some 623 of them took the time to fill out the survey and to send us their comments – 39 pages of their comments can be read by clicking on the link at the end of this report.

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Hurricane Irene survey, Part 3: Non-resident property owners respond to the storm’s aftermath

Tuesday 15 November 2011 at 5:48 pm

For the most part, non-resident property owners on Hatteras and Ocracoke are happier with the preparation for and response to Hurricane Irene than residents said they were.

The major points of contention with the non-resident owners were the length of time before they were allowed on the islands, especially Hatteras, to inspect their properties and the decision by Dare County to let visitors back to the southern villages before Highway 12 was repaired and opened.

The Island Free Press Survey: Hurricane Irene response was filled out by 415 non-resident owners of property on Hatteras and Ocracoke.

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Hurricane Irene survey, Part 2: Residents’ evaluation of official response to the storm

Wednesday 09 November 2011 at 5:31 pm

Hatteras Island residents took the Dare County Commissioners to the woodshed and beat them up a bit on their response to Hurricane Irene.

The residents were somewhat more kind to Dare County Emergency Management.

In addition, residents did not have much good to say about the National Park Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, though if you read the individual comments, it’s clear that the low marks had less to do with the storm and more to do with the fact that islanders don’t have any use for these two federal agencies.

Hatteras islanders heaped praise on the North Carolina Department of Transportation, and were positive about the response of the NCDOT Ferry Division.

And it seems that residents could not find enough good things to say about two Hatteras utilities – the Cape Hatteras Electric Cooperative and the Dare County Water Department.

The Dare County Sheriff’s Office and the N.C. Highway Patrol got good reviews, as did the U.S. Coast Guard.

Other groups, such as phone and cable companies, got mixed reviews from Hatteras islanders.

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Hurricane Irene survey, Part 1: Residents’ responses on evacuation and re-entry

Monday 07 November 2011 at 11:20 am

This is the first of the many reports that the Island Free Press will publish about the response to our reader survey on Hurricane Irene.

The survey was posted on our website on Sept. 12.  From then until we took it offline on Oct. 24, we had 2,211 responses from Hatteras and Ocracoke residents, non-resident property owners, and visitors.

The survey asked these folks to answer questions about the preparation for and response to the storm. The questions were tailored for residents who stayed on the island, residents who evacuated, non-resident property owners, and visitors.

Survey questions explored the attitude of the respondents to evacuation and preparation and asked them to rate government bodies, utilities, and other agencies involved in the response to the storm.

It is our hope that the responses to the survey will provide information useful to the community and federal, state, and county agencies and other groups involved with hurricane response.

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There's trash everywhere, and it's not all storm debris ¦WITH SLIDE SHOW

Thursday 03 November 2011 at 09:25 am

The final storm debris pickup on Hatteras is scheduled for next Tuesday, Nov. 8.

After that date, we all hope our highway will once again be a scenic byway  – except for the pesky litterbugs tossing out their beer cans and candy wrappers.

But even the old litter will be a better sight than what we and our visitors have had to look at for two months.

The debris that gets piled on the roadside after any storm is always heart-rending, and Hurricane Irene with its destructive storm surge was no exception.

At first, it may be yard debris or docks or the like, then comes furniture, then clothing and toys, then carpeting, then appliances.  And, finally, there is all the water-soaked flooring, cabinets, sheetrock, and insulation.

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