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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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Salvo Jimmy (The Long And Tort…): I can see the point of the Mirlo owners, BUT, some of us who knew the topography and history of the …
Bud (The Long And Tort…): As a Rodanthe resident, I can assure you that the S-turns is still a hot spot for surfing. It is even…
Dave (Update on the Con…): An observation. Any effort is appreciated. A sidecaster dredge like the Merritt will provide littl…
diver531 (The Long And Tort…): Ok … I gotta say this …just because those people don’t live there doesn’t make them any different fro…
JimM (The Long And Tort…): Ask any sufer if the S-Turns is a hot spot to surf anymore. The answer is no because there is now a b…
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More than just a circle of stones, Part 2

Friday 31 January 2014 at 1:55 pm

Last June, I wrote a blog about the National Park Service’s decision to stop uncovering the circle of stones at the old Cape Hatteras Lighthouse site after storms.

The massive granite stones – weighing at least 3,000 pounds – were part of the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse foundation that were cut away during this historic move of the lighthouse in 1999 to save the iconic structure from the encroaching Atlantic Ocean.

After the lighthouse was moved to its new location, 2,900 feet to the southwest, the nonprofit Outer Banks Lighthouse Society paid almost $12,000 to have the stones engraved with the names of the 83 keepers of the light.

The stones were arranged in a circle that marked the original location of the 1870 lighthouse. The circle of stones was unveiled on May 1, 2001, during a reunion of the descendants of the lightkeepers, and the Park Service’s re-dedication of the Light Station.

Over the years, the circle has been a magnet for residents and visitors, and the site of many weddings, memorial services, and even some christenings.

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Islands under siege

Friday 24 January 2014 at 4:00 pm

If Hatteras and Ocracoke islanders are feeling under siege this winter, they have plenty of good reasons for it.

The winter weather has been relentless.  There have been too many days when the high temperature did not get to our normal low for late January of about 39 degrees. The wind has blown, and blown, and blown – from the northwest, from the southwest, and everywhere in between.

The Republican-controlled state government enacted new unemployment rules last year that have our island work force, which makes the economy hum in the tourist season, struggle to get by on reduced unemployment checks for a shorter amount of time.  Most of the islands’ work force is seasonally employed.

The outside environmental groups that are holding up a replacement for our aging Bonner Bridge over Oregon Inlet have been relentless in their efforts to stall the project in state and federal courts. And these groups could still take legal action to hold up two Department of Transportation projects to bridge breaches on Pea Island and north Rodanthe.

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A conversation with the seashore’s departing deputy superintendent

Friday 17 January 2014 at 11:19 am

Darrell Echols, deputy superintendent of the Outer Banks Group, which includes the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, has headed to the Park Service’s Southeast Regional Office in Atlanta.

He will be the Southeast Region’s chief of science and natural resources. His last day on the Outer Banks was last Friday.

For almost six years, he’s been the deputy here at Cape Hatteras – the guy in charge of the nuts-and-bolts operation of the park. He has managed the daily operations, staff, budget, and projects of the Group.

As with most positions that have a title such as “deputy” or “assistant,” he was not always the public face of the seashore – that job fell to his bosses, former superintendent Mike Murray and now Murray’s replacement, Barclay Trimble.

However, Echols had a calm demeanor and a “can-do” attitude that did win him respect among many islanders who have been at odds with the National Park Service over the new off-road vehicle plan and other issues.

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No good choices for bridging the breach in north Rodanthe

Friday 10 January 2014 at 5:37 pm

This week the Department of Transportation had open houses and hearings on the Outer Banks on its alternatives for bridging an unstable area on Highway 12 prone to overwash and breaches in north Rodanthe and the S-curves area, known as Phase IIb of the Bonner Bridge Project.

Last month, the DOT released an Environmental Assessment (EA), which documents the planning and environmental studies that went into its search for a long-term solution for this highway “hot spot,” where an inlet opened after Hurricane Irene in 2011 and ocean overwash is common even in northeasters.

Two alternatives were chosen to be studied in detail – a 2.5-mile bridge that would be built in the existing Highway 12 easement and a 3-mile bridge that would extend out into the Pamlico Sound from Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge and northern Rodanthe.

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Audubon’s CEO’s guest column leaves the local folks scratching their heads

Friday 03 January 2014 at 6:31 pm

On Dec. 27, the News & Observer in Raleigh – now apparently the mouthpiece for environmental groups in the state -- published an “other views” commentary by David Yarnold, President and CEO of the National Audubon Society.

In case you don’t remember, the National Audubon Society joined the Defenders of Wildlife in 2007 to sue the National Park Service over its lack of an off-road vehicle plan at the Cape Hatteras National.  The groups were represented by the Southern Environmental Law Center in Chapel Hill.

That lawsuit was settled in 2008 under a consent decree that may or may not have ended when the seashore did implement an ORV plan and final rule in February 2012.

National Audubon is not a party to two other lawsuits that affect the area.

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