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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!

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Trimble will be leaving his job as superintendent after fewer than two years

Friday 30 May 2014 at 5:26 pm

Barclay Trimble will be leaving his job as superintendent of the Outer Banks Group of the National Park Service, which includes Cape Hatteras National Seashore, after fewer than two years on the job.

Stan Austin, NPS Southeast Regional Director, made the announcement in a news release on May 27, that Trimble had been selected as a deputy regional director in the Southeast Regional Office in Atlanta. He will begin his new job in August.

Trimble, a 23-year veteran of the Park Service, will oversee the Southeast Region park planning and compliance program, land resources program center, and equal opportunity and diversity programs.  He will also be responsible for the Appalachian-Piedmont Cluster, which encompasses national park units in Kentucky and Tennessee, as well as portions of Alabama, North Carolina, and South Carolina.

"Barclay recognizes the value of strong business sense in the management of national parks and has a strong history of accomplishing great things through collaboration across the federal government and with a wide range of partners," Austin said in the media release.

Trimble graduated from the University of Texas at San Antonio in business administration and is a certified public accountant. He has served in financial management positions in the Washington, D.C., office and was deputy superintendent of Grand Canyon National Park for five years before becoming superintendent of the Outer Banks Group.

Trimble was selected to succeed Mike Murray as superintendent here in August 2012.  His first day on the job was in late October as Hurricane Sandy was passing offshore of the Outer Banks.

Murray, who retired from the Park Service at the end of July, had been superintendent since December 2005.

He guided the seashore through the failed negotiated rulemaking exercise to devise an off-road vehicle plan and rule and then led the staff through formulating what became the plan and final rule in February 2012.

His years as the park's leader was a contentious almost seven years of conflict among islanders, supporters of more reasonable beach access, environmental groups, and Park Service staff members.

Trimble arrived at the end of the first year of the ORV plan and the new ORV permit system.

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Waterfall Park: Hatteras Island’s worst eyesore? WITH SLIDE SHOW

Friday 23 May 2014 at 5:44 pm

In its heyday in the 1980s and ‘90s, Waterfall Park in Rodanthe was one of the busiest and happiest of places.  It was filled with families enjoying all of the water-themed attractions, such as waterslides, go-carts, a free-fall tower, and swimming pool.

It was built by the Merjos family of Virginia Beach.  The parents – George and Ritsa – lived in a very large house on the soundside of the property.  He died several years ago and she lives in Virginia Beach.  Most of the park’s business is conducted by their son Steve, who also lives in Virginia Beach.

Waterfall Park started its downward spiral when the bottom fell out of the U.S. economy in 2007.  It fell on hard times, business fell off, land values plummeted.

The park had not been in operation for several years by the time Hurricane Irene hit in August of 2011 and it had begun looking rundown.

However, the epic storm surge off the Pamlico Sound with Irene did an incredible amount to damage to homes and businesses in the tri-villages, including Waterfall Park. While before, the park was rundown, it was now wrecked.

In the almost three years since the hurricane, the owners have not moved forward with either tearing down the park or selling it.

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A cautionary tale

Friday 09 May 2014 at 5:16 pm

This is a cautionary tale about the value of zoning to protect our property, our investment, and our lifestyle.

On Hatteras Island, only three villages have zoning as most of us think of it -- that is zoning that sets requirements for the use of parcels of land, such as residential, commercial, or industrial. They are Avon, Buxton, and Hatteras.

Rodanthe, Waves, Salvo, and Frisco are zoned S-1, which is considered the least restrictive zoning in the county. It’s a dimensional zoning that sets lots sizes, setbacks, height of building, and other requirements, but allows all uses of the property.

I have written about at least two attempts to get use-specific zoning in Frisco.  In the end, few people wanted it and nothing ever happened. Folks on the island, it seems, don’t want the government telling them how they can use their property.

There apparently has been no interest in the tri-villages for use-specific zoning.

The attitude of the commissioners about zoning has been that they will not force it on a community, but if the community asks for it, they will hire consultants to bring folks together and try to help them reach a consensus.

I explain this because the North Carolina Department of Transportation is in the process of building a new bridge over Pea Island Inlet and will eventually be building a bridge of some description over the S-curves and north Rodanthe area.

To do this, they need concrete, and they have certain requirements for concrete that is used on the bridge, especially the 5-foot thick footings and caps, but not on the bridge deck.

The concrete must be delivered at 75 degrees, which is a challenge on our warm and humid island, especially in the summer. So they need a concrete plant very close to the sites of the two bridges.

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Why you need to vote in the primary on Tuesday, May 6

Friday 02 May 2014 at 3:55 pm

You can’t have missed them – all those candidate signs stuck in the ground in every village up and down Highway 12.

But are you going to go to the polls on Tuesday, May 6, to vote?

Probably not. But you should.

This year’s North Carolina primaries on Tuesday and the general election on Tuesday, Nov. 4, are what we call the mid-term or off-year elections. They happen two years after the Presidential elections.

Most of us do vote in Presidential election years.

North Carolina gets impressive voter turnout those years – more than 4.3 million or 70 percent of registered voters in 2008 and 4.5 million or 68 percent of voters in 2012.

However, it’s obvious some folks vote for President every four years and then think their job is done.

In the mid-term election of 2010, only 2.7 million North Carolinians voted, which is 44 percent.

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