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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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Why Hatteras and Ocracoke Island is the Perfect Destination for Memorial Day – Especially in 2017

Saturday 27 May 2017 at 01:11 am

By JOY CRIST

Chock it up to spending too much time at the office and not enough time on the beach, but it slipped my mind that it was the start of Memorial Day weekend until I ventured out onto N.C. Highway 12. The steady line of southbound cars is already pouring into the island, the number of American flags flying over beach houses has gone up, and the familiar hallmarks of the holiday – like the annual Friends of Felines Yard Sale in Avon – can be spotted throughout the villages. Yes, the main reason why Memorial Day is such a busy time on the islands – and is the unofficial kick-off to summer – is because of the beach. For most folks, it marks the first weekend of the year where we brave the ocean waters sans wetsuits, and when we can load up our coolers, our fishing racks, and our trucks, and head out to the sand for a well-deserved day off. But if you think about it, outside of the enticing and always-calling local beaches, Hatteras and Ocracoke islands are actually the ideal place for this holiday, which was created to honor the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. After all, our region has surprisingly deep ties to major American wars and conflicts throughout the centuries, and has been the breeding ground of heroes for generations.

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A Look at The New Tethering Ordinance for Dogs

Friday 19 May 2017 at 8:38 pm

By JOY CRIST

In an effort to safeguard humane treatment for animals, Commissioners approved an ordinance that establishes regulations for the tethering of dogs in the unincorporated areas of Dare County at the recent Board of Commissioners (BOC) meeting on May 15.

The ordinance, which was presented to the BOC by Commissioner Ross, essentially makes it unlawful for a dog to be restrained or tethered for more than three hours in a 24-hour period.

“This ordinance came out of a citizen complaint about an animal that was on a short tether and that appeared to be un-kept,” said County Manager Bobby Outten at the meeting. “The SPCA has been on top of it, and Commissioner Ross has taken an interest because I think that the citizen contacted him directly, and so this is what we brought before you to consider and to discuss.”

“A concerned citizen did approach me about a situation where a dog appeared to be in a distressed or a less-than-adequate situation,” said Commissioner Ross. “I pursued it and followed up with County Manager Outten, and he has been extremely instrumental, as has Donna Creef [Planning Director], in drafting this ordinance as an attempt to remedy a situation with appropriate ordinance and enforcement capabilities…”

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The Concerns About the Coastal Fisheries Conservation and Economic Development Act

Friday 12 May 2017 at 11:34 pm

It’s that time of year again, when the outcome of legislation that affects our lives on the Outer Banks lies in the hands of lawmakers in Raleigh, who are rushing to pass bills so they can go home. Most of us don’t pay much attention to the legislative process. Even if we do, we wait until the churning stops, and see what we gained, and what we lost.  

Right now, the Coastal Fisheries Conservation and Economic Development Act is sitting in the legislative version of a dark corner, maybe waiting to die. It’s not dead yet, but it’s a good bet that commercial fishermen hope it’s doomed.  

“There is no one that I know of who’s read it who are not worried about it,” says Jeff Oden, a commercial long-liner from Hatteras.

House Bill 867, which is sponsored by Rep. Larry Yarborough, R-Person; Rep. John Bell IV, Wayne; Rep. Ted Davis Jr., R-New Hanover and Rep. Jay Adams, R-Catawba, would switch the focus of fisheries management from sustainability to conservation. But, according to Outer Banks Catch, it would take away watermen’s input into fisheries issues by eliminating the advisory committees required under the 1997 Fisheries Reform Act.  It would also allow the state Marine Fisheries Commission to alone make changes to fisheries management plans.

The bill has the support of the North Carolina Wildlife Federation, the North Carolina Chamber of Commerce and NC Sound Economy, a nonprofit group that describes itself as “an expanding coalition of fishermen, business leaders and concerned citizens who seek to end the unproductive fights over a shrinking publicly owned economic resource.” 

That sounds familiar.

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