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!!!




Latest Comments

Devildog (Protecting N.C. H…): Steve, Devildog, it is not a philosophy, but proven facts that Mr. Scott speaks of.. Negative. Dr…
John G (Year In Review – …): 100th Anniversary of the Mirlo Rescue.
Steve (Protecting N.C. H…): Devildog, it is not a philosophy, but proven facts that Mr. Scott speaks of..
Devildog (Protecting N.C. H…): Steve, I respectfully take issue with this statement: Overwash may be an inconvenience, but it is …
Steve (Protecting N.C. H…): Well said Michael Scott! More people need to realize that dune lines have been strangulating Hatteras…
Salvo Jimmy (Protecting N.C. H…): Michael Scott, Good analysis and I pretty much agree. Especially the dunes. Seemingly a long t…


Powered by PivotX - 2.3.11 
XML: RSS Feed 
XML: Atom Feed 

A conversation with the seashore superintendent

Friday 31 May 2013 at 5:50 pm

Cape Hatteras National Seashore Superintendent Barclay Trimble had his second media roundtable meeting with local reporters this week.

The first meeting with the media after his arrival just before Hurricane Sandy last October was in February.  The goal is to have one meeting each quarter.

This week’s two-plus hour meeting was chock full of interesting news and tidbits about the seashore.

Trimble seemed much more relaxed at this meeting than he had in February.   Since there are only three of us who regularly attend, he’s probably figured out that we really aren’t all that daunting.

We just ask a lot of questions, many of which are submitted ahead of time, so Trimble can prepare answers and bring appropriate staff members with him.  Of course, we are not prohibited from raising other issues at the meeting, and there are always many follow-up questions to Trimble’s answers.

This week Trimble brought along regulars Darrell Echols, deputy superintendent; Paul Stevens, chief law enforcement ranger, and Cyndy Holda, public affairs specialist. Also with them was Dean Mark, administrative officer, who has been with the Outer Banks Group about a year.

I am going to quickly highlight what I found to be the most interesting news from the seashore, and I and other Island Free Press writers will be following up in more depth on some of these issues in the next few weeks.

Read More

Bill to overturn ORV plan faces uphill battle in the Senate

Friday 24 May 2013 at 3:47 pm

Last week was an interesting one for companion bills in the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate that would overturn the National Park Service off-road vehicle plan for the Cape Hatteras National Seashore.

The bills were scheduled for back-to-back markups in House and Senate committees on Wednesday and Thursday.

On Wednesday, H.R. 819, introduced by U.S. Rep. Walter Jones, R-N.C., was reported out favorably by the House Natural Resources Committee.  It is headed to the House floor for a vote and has a good chance of passing.

Legislation with the exact wording as H.R. 819 passed the House last year.

On Thursday, S 486, was yanked from consideration at the last minute by the chairman of the Senate’s Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore.

The bill apparently became more “controversial” overnight and discussions on late Wednesday continued into Thursday morning were apparently quite heated.

The committee meeting was almost an hour late starting while senators discussed the fate of the legislation.

After the meeting finally started Wyden made comments on the bill and promised the sponsors of the bi-partisan legislation, Sens. Richard Burr, R-N.C., and Kay Hagan, D-N.C. – that the bill would be considered for markup at the next committee meeting, now scheduled for June 20.

Read More

Looking at the impact of Hatteras on Dare’s tourist economy

Friday 17 May 2013 at 3:38 pm

The Outer Banks Visitors Bureau hosted the first-ever OBX Tourism Summit earlier this month in Avon.

About 100 people attended the two-day event, which ended with a presentation of the preliminary results of a study on the economic impact of Hatteras Island on Dare County’s tourism economy.

Although various folks over the years have culled out nuggets about Hatteras Island’s economic value to the county, this may well be the first-ever formal study of the topic.

The study was commissioned by Dare County’s Tourism Board and carried out by Brent Lane, director of the Center for Competitive Economics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Lee Nettles, executive director of the Outer Banks Visitors Bureau explained that after Hurricane Irene, some county and community leaders pressed the tourism board to come to the aid of Hatteras Island whose tourism economy took a beating in the storm.

The Visitors Bureau allotted an additional $250,000 to advertise Hatteras Island.  However Nettles said that it quickly became apparent that Hatteras Island had not just an “Irene” issue or an “Irene and Sandy issue.”

“We have issues that are all access related,” Nettles said of Hatteras.  Those issues include Highway 12, inlet shoaling, and beach closures.

The final written study will be delivered to the Tourism Board, but Lane gave a presentation of some of the highlights at the Tourism Summit.

Read More

What happened last week on Ocracoke deserves another look

Friday 10 May 2013 at 4:43 pm

Ocracoke is still reeling from last week’s visitors to the island – not from the 400 or so anglers who were there for the 30th annual Ocracoke Village Surf Fishing Tournament but from the visit of two state troopers during the event.

The troopers arrived on Wednesday and left on Saturday morning. They were from Troop A, District 4, based in Washington, N.C.  

The tournament began Wednesday evening with fishing on Thursday and Friday and ended with a party and awards on Friday evening.

Over the troopers’ three-day stay, 59 citations were issued, including 32 for not wearing seat belts and five for driving while impaired, First Sgt. Brandon Craft told Island Free Press reporter Connie Leinbach on Monday.   Eighteen warnings were given, and only warnings were given for bicycle infractions, such as riding at night without a light.

The State Police spokesman was unapologetic in the interview by Leinbach.

“We knew there would be an influx of traffic that weekend, and when that happens, there’s the increased potential for violations,” Craft said about choosing last week to show up. “Our job is to reduce accidents, deter problems, and be proactive rather than reactive.  We arrested five drunk drivers who could have hit a child (or adult) on the road.”

People should respect the law, Craft continued.

Read More

A penny for your thoughts

Friday 03 May 2013 at 4:46 pm

Frankly, the editor needs a break from writing this blog.

And we could probably all use a break from more discussion of the challenges facing Hatteras and Ocracoke as we head into the summer season.

I want to say again that Highway 12 is open, the ferries to Ocracoke are running, and businesses are ready for visitors.

Some areas of the seashore beach are closed for resource protection, including perhaps some of your favorite spots such as Cape Point on Hatteras or South Point on Ocracoke, but you can still drive to the beach.  And there is plenty of pedestrian access.

I’m going to give you a very quick update on what’s happening out here on the edge, and then throw this blog open to you, our readers, for your opinions and questions.  

There is still no news on the Bonner Bridge replacement lawsuit. We can always hope that no news is good news.

Read More