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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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The last hurrah for the Frisco Pier

Friday 17 June 2016 at 5:07 pm

It's been a long time in coming, but it now appears certain that this summer will be the last hurrah for the Cape Hatteras Fishing Pier in Frisco, aka the Frisco Pier, a beloved community landmark since it was built in 1962.

Fans of the historic old wooden structure can still enjoy hanging around what's left of the pier through the summer and into the early fall, but come later this year, man will finally accomplish something Mother Nature has been unable to do -- take it down.

With every northeaster or hurricane passing close by Hatteras -- or even way offshore -- a little more of the Frisco Pier has fallen into the ocean, and pilings and planks have been washed up on shore, sometimes over the dunes and right onto Highway 12.

Although no one wanted it to end this way, the National Park Service, which has owned the pier since 2013, will finally demolish it, probably beginning in late fall.

John Kowlok, chief of maintenance for the Cape  Hatteras National Seashore, says that the demolition has been funded and that the job will be put out for bids this summer.

'We plan to start the contract late this fall to minimize the impacts to both the fall beach visitors and the wildlife," Kowlok said this week.

The seashore has already completed an underwater dive survey of the pier, which revealed that there are a total of 263 pilings that need to come out, including 139 that are underwater.  The contractor will be required to take down the pilings, planking, and the pier house.

"The contract will have a period of performance of 120 days," Kowlok said, "but we do not expect the actual project to take that long. The period of performance allows the contractor time to schedule, obtain whatever materials and/or equipment are needed, and mobilize on the site."

He said seashore officials estimate that the demolition will be completed in 30 to 60 days.

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Record rainfall leaves areas of the seashore soggy again

Friday 10 June 2016 at 5:14 pm

Back-to-back tropical systems have left all of Hatteras and Ocracoke soggy, but few places on the islands have seen the amount of flooding that is once again causing access issues in the areas of Buxton and Frisco in the Cape Hatteras National Seashore.

The first of the two systems -- Bonnie -- dropped up to a foot of rain in the Frisco area between Memorial Day Monday, May 30, and Thursday, June 2. Then, just four days later -- on Monday afternoon into Tuesday, June 6-7 -- Colin dropped another three inches or so on the same area.

The formation of Colin, by the way, marked the earliest that three tropical systems have formed in the Atlantic since record keeping began in 1887.

Low-lying areas of Highway 12 flooded by the rainfall have mostly dried out by now and, though some lawns in the Frisco area still look like lakes, most yards have improved to the point that they are just squishy.

Not so with ramps and some other areas of the seashore in Buxton and Frisco, where seashore officials are just having to wait for the stormwater to drain and/or dry up.

The most recent record rainfall was just plain bad luck for seashore officials who have been trying their best to deal with stormwater issues since another epic rainfall just last fall caused really serious flooding in the same areas -- on Lighthouse Road, at Cape Point Campground, and at Ramps 43 and 44 in Buxton and at Ramp 49 in Frisco.

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Budget, Buxton beach, and ballots

Friday 03 June 2016 at 4:48 pm

Let this blog serve as a reminder that some important dates are coming up the first of next week.

We've all been busy on Hatteras and Ocracoke with the influx of Memorial Day visitors and the unwelcome arrival of tropical cyclone Bonnie, which managed to hang around the better part of the week with heavy rainfall that flooded the islands' roads.

Meanwhile, those of us on Hatteras -- and especially any of us who own property on or near the Buxton oceanfront -- need to pay attention to the Dare County commissioners who are meeting Monday, June 6, for a public hearing on the 2017 budget and perhaps a vote on establishing a special service district in Buxton to help pay for next year's beach nourishment project.

And those of us on both Hatteras and Ocracoke need to remember to vote in a second primary election on Tuesday, June 7.

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