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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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Year in Review: The stories that got our attention in 2016

Friday 23 December 2016 at 4:41 pm

For better and for worse, 2016 was a memorable year.

And before we get into the meat and potatoes of this blog entry – a review of the stories that the got the most attention from readers over the past 12 months – I want to start with a brief disclaimer. This is my first blog for the Island Free Press as a staff writer, and I fully recognize that I have big shoes to fill.

Anyone who knows our editor knows that she is vital to our local media. She is a genuine gift that somehow landed on Hatteras Island, and who has made our community – and our access to essential information -- infinitely better.

Irene led her staff to a Pulitzer Prize in 1989 when she was managing editor of the Louisville, Ky.-based Courier-Journal. Irene is also the person who ran the now defunct Island Breeze for a couple of decades, sculpting it into one of the initial legitimate news sources for our islands, years before the Internet was a “thing.”

And once the Internet was a “thing,” Irene broke new ground by starting the fabulous publication you are reading at this very moment – the Island Free Press – which, in my not-so-humble opinion, was a revolutionary move that single-handedly made our local media much better than it ever was before. Other online newspapers followed, to be sure, which is a great thing indeed, but Irene was the first.

And, as usual, she set the bar.

Read More

The tiny food pantry: If you build it, they will come

Friday 16 December 2016 at 3:52 pm

The congregation at St. John United Methodist Church in Avon village has a new take on helping those who need it.

You've seen or heard of the Little Free Libraries? There is one in Waves that I have written about several times.

The idea is that you take a book and replace it with another when you can.

The new pastor at St. John, the Rev. Gina Miller, had seen a social media posting about the concept of tiny free food pantries and she brought it to the congregation.

The concept is the same -- you can take food from the pantry if you need it and replace it when you can.

Miller said the congregation was really enthusiastic when she told them about it and two members set about to build the little "house" to store the items.

"We want to be neighborly," Miller said.  "When I was a child, I remember many trips to our neighbor to borrow a cup of sugar or a couple of eggs for my mother who would be fixing a meal and realize she was out of something.  We want to be neighborly to others."

The tiny food pantry, she says, is "for everyone who might need to borrow a 'cup of sugar.'"

Miller adds, "It is our hope that those who might need some extra assistance to meet their food insecurities  would visit our pantry for needed items. Our motto is 'Get want you need, donate what you can.' "

She said the food pantry was installed a few weeks ago and is already doing a brisk business, even though it's so small.  

Church and community members are putting in items such as cereal, soup, peanut butter, jelly, canned tuna, and pet food.

Miller said the items are leaving and new ones are appearing on a daily basis.

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A cool makeover for Dare County's website

Friday 09 December 2016 at 6:36 pm

If you haven't been on Dare County's website in a while -- or if you've never been there at all -- you will probably be pleasantly surprised at what you will find.

This year, the site has gotten a makeover -- a new design, along with upgrades and improvements -- but not so much that regular users will be confused by it.

"We are really excited," Dorothy Hester, the county's public information officer, told the Board of Commissioners at its Nov. 7 meeting.  "The Dare County website is the most effective tool we have for communicating."

Hester told the commissioners that the county has had a website since 1999 that has undergone many updates over the years.  

I've always thought that even before the most recent makeover, the site was pretty nifty for a county the size of Dare.

Hester said that over a year's time, the site has had 395,000 visits and 5 million page views. People who used the site spent at average of four minutes and looked at an average of six pages. The most used part of the county website is the tax records, which is probably no surprise.

Though the website had served the county well, it was getting to be time for some more upgrades -- it's hard to stay in front of technology.

If you haven't been on Dare County's website in a while -- or if you've never been there at all -- you will probably be pleasantly surprised at what you will find.

 

This year, the site has gotten a makeover -- a new design, along with upgrades and improvements -- but not so much that regular users will be confused by it.

 

"We are really excited," Dorothy Hester, the county's public information officer, told the Board of Commissioners at its Nov. 7 meeting. "The Dare County website is the most effective tool we have for communicating."

 

Hester told the commissioners that the county has had a website since 1999 that has undergone many updates over the years.

 

I've always thought that even before the most recent makeover, the site was pretty nifty for a county the size of Dare.

 

Hester said that over a year's time, the site has had 395,000 visits and 5 million page views. People who used the site spent at average of four minutes and looked at an average of six pages. The most used part of the county website is the tax records, which is probably no surprise.

 

Though the website had served the county well, it was getting to be time for some more upgrades -- it's hard to stay in front of technology.

Read More