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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…
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DOT is looking at two options for Highway 12 repairs

Friday 30 November 2012 at 4:21 pm

After Hurricane Sandy brushed by the Outer Banks in late October and damaged Highway 12, the North Carolina Department of Transportation said it planned to have the road repaired and open by Thanksgiving.

That didn’t happen because of a siege of northeast winds that kept the ocean washing over the highway at Mirlo Beach and the S-curves at each high tide for days and days.

Now folks are wondering if Highway 12 will be repaired and ready for all vehicles – not just four-wheel-drives – by Christmas.

It’s still possible but probably not a good bet at this point.  Christmas is just a little more than three weeks away.

Jerry Jennings, DOT District 1 engineer, said earlier this week that the department is now considering two options for the short-term repair of the road and is exploring them concurrently.

The first option is to repair the highway in its original location, which was the plan right after the storm.

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Looking down the road

Wednesday 21 November 2012 at 5:40 pm

Hurricane Sandy’s brush by the Outer Banks almost a month ago was much less dramatic than Hurricane Irene’s visit in August of last year.

Irene cut two new inlets and did millions of dollars in damage in the northern Hatteras Island villages.

Sandy, by contrast, blew by with high winds, heavy seas, ocean overwash, and soundside flooding.

The storm did do a good job of leveling dunes on Pea Island, piling sand on the road, and tearing up Highway 12, especially at the S-curves and Mirlo Beach in northern Rodanthe.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation had equipment on the highway cleaning up almost immediately and officials said they expected to have the highway repaired and open by Thanksgiving.

And that would have been that – except for one northeaster that kept the seas high the week after the storm and a second one that’s been hanging around offshore for more than a week now.

DOT has the Bonner Bridge and Highway 12 back in business, except for that S-curves area, where little or no repair work has been done while each high tide has brought more water rushing over the road.

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Guilty by association?

Friday 09 November 2012 at 4:46 pm

One non-profit organization that does a great deal of good in Dare County found itself mired in controversy early this week because of its association with a conservation group that is suing to stop the Bonner Bridge replacement project.

And another may be heading in that direction after hiring a new executive director who was formerly employed by an environmental group that sued the National Park Service over its lack of an off-road vehicle regulation on the Outer Banks.

Public outrage began building on the Outer Banks, especially Hatteras Island, last weekend when word began spreading that participants in the Wings Over Water events had received permission to travel over the closed Bonner Bridge and Highway 12 on Pea Island for a program at the wildlife refuge headquarters.

By Monday, a plea to contact the North Carolina Department of Transportation and Congressional offices had gone viral on social media and by mass e-mails.

The message that went forward was that either the road is closed to the public or it’s open to the public.  And if it’s open to the public, everyone should have access.

Adding fuel to the fire was the very thought that “birders” were getting special access to the bridge and highway. Birders, unfortunately, have a bad reputation on Hatteras Island because of the National Audubon Society’s involvement with a new ORV plan for the seashore that is much more restrictive than most people think it should be.

Of course, not all birders are members of Audubon, and not all Wings over Water events are about birding.  Wings Over Water was designed to be a “shoulder season” event to bring folks to the Outer Banks to explore nature and the area’s natural beauty.

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Thoughts on the races for Dare Board of Commissioners

Friday 02 November 2012 at 7:23 pm

All of our thoughts have been on Superstorm Sandy for more than a week now as we handle the impacts here on Hatteras and Ocracoke and watch with horror what happened to folks in the northeast.

We’re cleaning up after the storm surge, collecting information on Highway 12 and when it will reopen and the Bonner Bridge and when it will be repaired, dealing with transportation by ferry only again, and getting ready for fall visitors.

The Island Free Press has been covering Sandy and its impacts non-stop for more than a week.  You can read our stories and see the photos of the storm and damage to Highway 12, which remains closed north of Rodanthe, on the Local News Page.

And we will continue to write about the recovery from Sandy.

However, today we are taking a break from storm coverage to remind readers that there is a very important election next Tuesday.  

We will be electing a president and a governor. And here in Dare and Hyde counties we will elect commissioners, a state senator, and a state representative.

Early voting numbers indicate that our minds have not been on voting the past week.

Early voting started on Oct. 18.  So far, 6,556 of Dare’s more than 27,000 registered voters have cast their ballots.  In 2008, four days before the election, more than 9,425 had voted in the county.

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