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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NPS taking well-deserved pounding over cutting lifeguards

Friday 28 March 2014 at 5:51 pm

Superintendent of the National Park Service Outer Banks Group, Barclay Trimble, announced last November that because of continuing cuts to the NPS budget, the seashore would see cuts in services to visitors this year and among them would be the elimination of lifeguarded beaches.

At the time, seashore officials noted that with the cuts proposed last November, the Outer Banks Group’s budget of about $9.5 million will have been cut a total of 8 percent since 2012.

So, the plan was to axe the $200,000 the park spends for lifeguards for about three months – from Memorial Day to Labor Day. The beaches are at Coquina Beach, Buxton, and Ocracoke Day Use Area.

There was some concern and grumbling back in November, then there was silence until the summer season drew closer.  As folks started thinking more about no longer having  lifeguards, the protests have grown louder, especially on Ocracoke where an online petition is circulating to reinstall lifeguarded beaches.

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Rx for an aging bridge: Frequent checkups

Friday 21 March 2014 at 4:29 pm

All eyes have been on the aging Herbert C. Bonner Bridge over Oregon Inlet for the better part of the past two decades as the North Carolina Department of Transportation and other federal and state agencies figured out how to replace it.

However, concerns about Hatteras Island’s only land link have soared since DOT closed the bridge for safety reasons for 12 days in December.  That came after a routine sonar test on the bridge’s bents – or piers – showed serious scouring of the sand around one particular area.

So when DOT announced a few weeks ago that the bridge would close for 30 minutes on Monday, March 10, for a routine scan of the bridge, it got the attention of many folks who worry about the span’s safety and their passage on and off the island by highway.

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Good morning, Hatteras Island!

Friday 14 March 2014 at 1:09 pm

In the pre-dawn darkness on a frigid Friday morning, a small group of people began gathering at a county-owned building in Buxton.

The folks were all board members and volunteers who have been working as hard as they possibly could for months now to bring us something really special for our community – Radio Hatteras.

Shortly before 6 a.m., Mary Helen Goodloe-Murphy, president of the Radio Hatteras Board of Directors, gathered everyone in the lobby of the red-brick building that was at one time the offices of the Cape Hatteras Water Association, located just under the water tower on Highway 12.

“It’s been an amazing journey,” she said, “and we did it because of you.”

Just a few seconds before 6 a.m., the familiar melody of the national anthem drifted loud and clear through the studio and offices and hallways as Radio Hatteras went live.

The “Star Spangled Banner” was followed quickly by the Everly Brothers with “Wake Up Little Susie” and the Beatles with “Good Day Sunshine.”

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Thoughts on a wintry day

Friday 07 March 2014 at 5:37 pm

The headline on this blog could just as well have been “Blah, blah, blah, and blah” because that’s the kind of winter we’ve been having.
Of course, everything is relative, and many of our readers to the north and west have had it much worse, but everything is relative. Most locals agree that the winter has been more relentless than any they can remember in recent times.

I’ve lived here 23 years, and I have witnessed cold spells with the sound frozen out as far as you could see – a week or so of freezing, pipe-busting weather.  

But this year has been different.  Since the first of the year, we’ve had consistently cold, cloudy, windy, rainy miserable days – with one or two nice ones thrown in to make us think maybe it was over.

Here we are at the end of the first week in March – just two weeks before the official start of spring, and the wind is blowing northeast 20 to 30 with gusts over 55 mph. The wind has shifted now to a more northerly direction, still gusting over 50, and the sound tide is beginning to rise on southern Hatteras Island.

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