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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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Talking Trash -- Again

Friday 25 March 2016 at 6:00 pm

My friend Kathy Kiddy called me this week to ask, "Am I the only one who is upset that we are greeting our Easter visitors with piles of trash along the highway?"

Kathy lives in Buxton and owns a business on Highway 12 in Frisco called Changing Tide, a place where you can find many neat "re-purposed" items.

She is outraged about the piles of trash along the highway in the village just as Hatteras Island gets ready to welcome back visitors -- Easter is considered the start of the season, a time when many businesses are reopening after a long winter's nap.

She even sent some photos.

Is this any way to greet our Easter visitors?

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Reflecting on the feds' reversal on offshore drilling policy

Friday 18 March 2016 at 2:38 pm

When Gov. Pat McCrory sat on a makeshift stage on the north end of Hatteras Island on a clear, spring-like  morning, March 8, celebrating the groundbreaking for the Bonner Bridge replacement, a small plane made maybe a dozen passes overhead, trailing a banner that said, "Oil drilling is bad for business. Not the answer NC.org."

The irony was not lost on many of the Outer Banks residents and officials in the crowd.

The governor has been one of the most vocal proponents of offshore  drilling since the Obama administration announced that it was opening up sections of the Atlantic off the southeast coast for oil and gas leases and then released a draft proposal in January 2015.

Many residents and government officials in Dare County have been among the most vocal opponents of the plan, and many of them were at the groundbreaking ceremony.

Dare and neighboring counties passed resolutions opposing offshore drilling, and local residents and others who love the beaches organized in groups, distributed yards signs, burned up the social media with messaging, sent thousands of comments to federal officials, and, yes, flew a banner over public events.

When a reporter asked McCrory after the event if he still favored oil and gas exploration off the coast, the governor declined to comment.

"I’m not going to divert the attention off this incredible accomplishment,” McCrory said after the groundbreaking, adding that he did not notice the banner being flown above the site.

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NPS director reprimanded for ethics violation -- Guess why he says he did it

Friday 11 March 2016 at 5:07 pm

There's been so much news on Hatteras and Ocracoke in the past weeks that it's been hard to keep up with the news from elsewhere.  Television, these days, is about nothing but the 2016 Presidential election, so I took some time this week to look around on other news sites.

And I found some curious and somewhat surprising news articles about Jonathan Jarvis, the director of the National Park Service.

According to published news stories and documents from the Department of the Interior, Jarvis was reprimanded late last month for an ethics violation. The reprimand came after a report from the inspector general for the department on a book that Jarvis wrote, which was  ironically about American values.

The book, "Guidebook to American Values and Our National Parks," was published last June by Eastern National, a private, non-profit that supports national parks by, among other things, publishing books and running bookstores for the Park Service.

On its website, Eastern National describes the book this way:

"As it prepares to celebrate its centennial in 2016, the National Park Service now manages more than 400 special places. This book, written by Jonathan B. Jarvis, the 18th director of the National Park Service, examines the evolution of the national park idea. What unites this increasingly diverse system of natural wonderlands and historic sites in an increasingly diverse nation, are the values we share in common.

"Director Jarvis lists more than 50 values—such as bravery, patriotism, honesty, sacrifice, and honor, and provides examples of parks that illuminate them. This book features dozens of color photographs of national parks and includes a preface written by Dayton Duncan."

I searched online for reviews of the book, but found only one rather unflattering review that attacked the book.  And I found a lot of articles about the ethics violation flap.

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Too much sand here, not enough sand there: Part II

Friday 04 March 2016 at 5:12 pm

Last week, in Part I of this blog, I introduced the topic of too much sand in our inlets and too little sand on our beaches with a quote from Hatteras charter boat captain Rom Whitaker.

He was speaking to the Dare Board of Commissioners at the town hall meeting in Buxton on Feb. 4, where the most discussed topic was the county's plan to nourish the beach in north Buxton to protect Highway 12 and who should pay for the project.

Whitaker also wanted to talk about the problems of shoaling in Hatteras Inlet, which he did.

"There is enough sand in Hatteras Inlet to fix all the problems we got," Whitaker said at the conclusion of his remarks to applause and laughter from the crowd of about 250 islanders who attended the meeting.

The irony of his statement was lost on no one that night.

The channels in Hatteras Inlet upon which we depend for ferries to and from Ocracoke and for access to and from the Atlantic Ocean for commercial and recreational fishing are so choked with sand that they are at times impassable and, at other times, downright dangerous.

Yet, our beaches are so starved for sand that Highway 12 is threatened in several areas, including north Buxton.

Dare County has a project planned to nourish the beach in north Buxton that is reaching a critical point on several fronts.

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