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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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diver531 (A Primer on the B…): Poof ….just had to be the spoiler eh Tide…LOL Reality sucks , barrier islands move but people just…
Realityville (Is a return to “P…): PC, Apparently, you’ve missed the memo(s) out of your hands-on government, leaving you ill-informed …
Liz (Is a return to “P…): Let’s keep the ban on plastic bags, extend it to all of Dare County for fairness, and deal with the b…
hatrasfevr (A Primer on the B…): If turtle nests can be moved for the beach replenishment why can’t they be moved when in imminent dan…
Ray Midgett (Is a return to “P…): Pussycat, Pumpkinboy, Diver531, Denny in Dayton, Dave, The Real Dave, etc…Honestly, How can any self …
Tim Sacksteder (A Primer on the B…): Lets hope the beach nourishment doesn’t mess up fishing at the point like the Mirlo beach project did…

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The real story on the $1,000 fine for not evacuating

Wednesday 26 September 2012 at 4:54 pm

Despite what you may have read in news reports, there is no new law that would levy a fine if you do not heed a mandatory evacuation order in North Carolina.

An e-mail about a Sept. 6 report on the “new” law by a Norfolk television station went viral on Hatteras yesterday, causing mild concern, panic, or outrage.

The fact is that there has been a law authorizing criminal penalties for violating orders during a state of emergency, and it’s been on the books in the state since 1969, according to Norma Houston, a faculty member at the University of North Carolina School of Government.

Houston says it was originally called the Riots and Civil Disorders Act and was enacted during the Civil Rights struggles of the late ‘60s and early ‘70s.

She says there were some prosecutions for violating the statute in the early ‘70s, mostly for violating curfews during times of unrest.

What is new is that earlier this year, the General Assembly did a comprehensive update of the state’s emergency management statutes.

Under the current law, a violation of an emergency declaration made by the governor is a Class 2 misdemeanor, punishable by a $1,000 fine.  A violation of an emergency declaration made by a local government is a Class 3 misdemeanor, punishable by a $200 fine.

Beginning Monday, Oct. 1, all violations of emergency declarations are Class 2 misdemeanors, which come with the $1,000 fine.

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Lessons learned from Hurricane Irene

Friday 21 September 2012 at 4:25 pm

Dare County officials listened to the folks who contacted them directly after Hurricane Irene last year and to those who filled out The Island Free Press Hurricane Irene Response survey, and they have made some changes that they hope will improve communication after the next storm.

County manager Bobby Outten, Emergency Management director Sandy Sanderson, and public information director Dorothy Killingsworth talked about what’s new at the Hurricane Irene Town Hall meeting last week at the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum in Hatteras village.

The meeting was sponsored by the National Weather Service, Dare County, The Island Free Press, and North Carolina Sea Grant and was part of the 2012 Day at the Docks celebration.

About 50 people came to hear the presentations and ask questions.

Three meteorologists from the National Weather Service office in Newport gave presentations.  If you missed them, we’ve included links to their PowerPoint presentations at the end of this blog.

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Records and Rants

Thursday 13 September 2012 at 4:50 pm

The federal defendants in the Cape Hatteras Preservation Alliance’s lawsuit that seeks to overturn the National Park Service’s final off-road vehicle plan and rule at Cape Hatteras National Seashore have filed the administrative record of ORV rulemaking.

The record was filed on Thursday, Aug. 6, in U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia.

The record, as you might guess, is voluminous, consisting of about 3,500 documents.

At about 8 gigabytes it was too large for electronic filing, and the defendants were permitted to file it manually with the court – on two CDs.

The Outer Banks Preservation Association, one of the groups that comprise CHAPA, has received copies of the CDs from its attorneys at Van Ness Feldman in Washington, D.C., and posted the administrative record on its website at http://obpa-nc.org/joomla/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=440&Itemid=61.

Look at the top left on the website under “Administrative Record” for an index and instructions for using the index. Almost all of the documents are now posted, but there were some problems with the CDs that OBPA received. The rest of the documents will be posted soon.

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A fifth anniversary for The Island Free Press

Wednesday 05 September 2012 at 4:44 pm

Five years ago today, The Island Free Press published its first edition.

It was Hatteras and Ocracoke islands’ first and only online newspaper.

It was an experiment of sorts, since we didn’t know what we were in for or how the paper would be received.

Five years later, we can say that online publishing is terrific. 

You will notice some slight changes in the way the Island Free Press looks. Graphic designer and co-owner Donna Barnett has given the pages a new look – not really a facelift, more like a Botox treatment.

She has made some font changes in headers, made some adjustments to colors to brighten up the way we look, added color to some of the headline type, added a gray border to photos and softened the captions from a stark black to a medium gray.

However, you will notice we still have the same user-friendly format.

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