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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The Board of Elections should be ashamed

Friday 26 August 2016 at 5:10 pm

The three members of the Dare County Board of Elections should be ashamed of themselves.

At a meeting on Wednesday afternoon, they had another chance -- apparently a last chance -- to make things right with early voting opportunities -- and they refused. All three members of the board -- two Republicans and a Democrat -- refused to add any more hours or days to the schedule they had set the week before.

So the final schedule includes early morning hours at the board's Manteo office only, early evening hours -- until 6 p.m. -- on most days at the satellite offices of Southern Shores, Kill Devil Hills, and Buxton, and only one Saturday with four and a half hours of voting and only in Manteo.

The Dare County Board of Elections, by the way, includes three members, Chairman Donna Elms and secretary Carol Warnecki -- both Republicans -- and Democrat Lynda Midgett.

The county boards are appointed by the state Board of Elections, whose five members are appointed by the governor, who is currently a Republican, thus the county boards are Republican controlled. However, no more than two members of a board may belong to the same political party, thus there is a token Democrat.

Two non-partisan groups, the League of Women Voters and Democracy NC, and the Dare County Democratic Party had been asking the Board of Elections all summer to include early morning, evening, and Saturday and Sunday hours to this year's early voting schedule so that working people can have a chance to cast a ballot before Election Day, which this year is Tuesday, Nov. 8.

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Waterspouts and other wicked weather

Friday 19 August 2016 at 5:37 pm

Everybody is talking about the weather, so I thought I might as well go with the flow -- so to speak -- and write about it this week.

It's August, so it's supposed to be hot -- the "dog days" of summer and all that. However, if you think it's been hotter than normal on Hatteras and Ocracoke and that this hot spell of weather has been going on for a really long time, you are correct.

"It's been warm...definitely hotter than average," says meteorologist David Glenn of the National Weather Service in Newport/Morehead City.

The normal high temperature at Cape Hatteras in early to mid-August is abut 84 or 85, according to the Weather Service. Temperatures this month have been running in the upper 80s -- 88 or 89 routinely -- with a few days over 90.

A couple of record highs have been noted, although Glenn says NWS staff members are looking more closely at the automated equipment at Billy Mitchell airfield to further verify the records.

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The Reader Mailbag

Friday 12 August 2016 at 5:07 pm

The Island Free Press gets a good deal of mail from readers -- questions, comments, and suggestions. I try to answer or acknowledge all of it.

Sometimes, the questions or comments lead to an article, but often they don't -- even though they might be of interest to more of our readers.

Today, I thought I would try something new and devote my blog to mail from readers -- a sampling of comments and suggestions that all of you might like to read about.


Bill Barley of Buxton emailed me this week about the pedestrian crosswalk on Highway 12 between Frisco and Hatteras village at the Park Service's Sandy Bay parking area. The area provides parking for folks who want to use the soundside beach and, across Highway 12, there is a stairway over the dunes to the ocean beach.

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Hatteras Inlet Update: New name for Waterways Commission?

Friday 05 August 2016 at 4:58 pm

Last week I wrote -- once again -- about the continuing struggle to keep the sand-clogged channels in Hatteras Inlet open for the island's commercial, charter, and recreational boats to transit from the Hatteras village docks to and from the Atlantic Ocean.

I wrote about the steps that the county and the state have taken to solve what is a very difficult and complicated problem with a profound effect on the island's economy.

However, the boat captains are still unhappy with the status of the shoaled up inlet and have been vocal at meetings, including public comment during Board of Commissioner meetings, about their unhappiness.

I said that the captains are as tired of talking to the commissioners as the commissioners probably are of hearing them complain.

If you want more of the details of what got us to this point, you can read last week's blog -- and the interesting comments posted by readers.

At the end of the blog, I noted that there is not easy fix to the inlet issues, but that many who are involved think appearances and communications can count for a lot -- and that both could be improved.

The Dare Board of Commissioners must have been listening because, even though Hatteras Inlet was not on the agenda at last Monday's meeting, the inlet issues got a good deal of attention from both the board's chairman and the vice-chairman.

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