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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Happy New Year - we hope

Thursday 29 December 2011 at 5:16 pm

Island Free Press photographer Don Bowers did a great job of looking back on 2011 in his photos.  

You can find his essay and slide show, 2011: The photos of the year,” on the Features Page.

He is correct that 2011 will be defined by Hurricane Irene, which came ashore south of Hatteras and Ocracoke on Aug. 27, 2011 and beat up the islands for almost a full day.

Storm surge from the Pamlico Sound brought serious damage and destruction to the villages of Avon, Rodanthe, Waves, and Salvo. Many islanders lost their homes and possessions.

Two inlets cut by the hurricane, one in north Rodanthe and one on Pea Island, severed Highway 12.  For six weeks, residents were dependent on emergency ferries from Rodanthe to Stumpy Point.  And for the first few weeks that visitors were allowed on the island, they had to come from the mainland by ferry to Ocracoke and then take a ferry to Hatteras, where only the southern villages were open to tourists.

Many more islanders lost their jobs and incomes just before the important Labor Day holiday.  Many businesses were closed for weeks, and many others just did not reopen.  Some will reopen in the spring, but some probably will not.

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Merry Christmas from the Island Free Press

Thursday 22 December 2011 at 2:58 pm

Never a Christmas morning,
Never an old year ends,
But somebody thinks of someone;
Old days, old times, old friends
--Author Unknown

 This was one of my mother’s favorite Christmas sayings, and it was printed on several of our family Christmas cards when I was growing up.

It came back to me as I was contemplating the topic for my blog this week.

The blog I posted last week, “Come the new year, we will pay to drive on the beach,” has certainly gotten attention and many comments from readers.

Frankly, I am surprised by the number of folks out there who didn’t see paying for a permit to drive on the beach in our immediate future. I – and other local reporters – have been writing about it for quite a long time.

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Come the new year, we will pay to drive on the beach

Thursday 15 December 2011 at 12:01 pm

Anyone who has followed the National Park Service’s efforts to formulate an off-road vehicle plan for the Cape Hatteras National Seashore knows that far-reaching changes to the traditional use of our beaches are coming.

They are changes that will affect the culture and the economy of Hatteras and Ocracoke islands.

It’s also been apparent for at least the last decade that one of the biggest of those changes will be the requirement that we buy a permit to drive on the beach.

However, these changes have always been out there somewhere on the horizon, down the road, as the rulemaking effort proceeded in stops and starts and stalls along the way.

Now we are about to reach the end of the road, and the changes are just around the corner.

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Why we need the Hatteras Island Ocean Center

Tuesday 06 December 2011 at 4:40 pm

Several weeks ago, I wrote an article about a part-time Hatteras Island resident and his plan for a fishing pier and ocean center in Hatteras village.

Eric Kaplan of Charlottesville, Va., who also has a home in Frisco, is the man with the vision for the Hatteras Island Ocean Center.

Kaplan’s idea is that the Ocean Center will be an island-wide attraction, a place where locals and visitors can go not only for the fishing but also for other forms of recreation, education, dining, and shopping.

In his description of the project, Kaplan says the Hatteras Island Ocean Center would be “much more than a replacement for the Frisco Pier,” which is in poor condition and has not been open for several years.

It will be, he says, “a place for everybody to enjoy the ocean, play, learn, and have fun.”

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