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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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What on Earth is Going on with the Frisco UFO?

Friday 23 June 2017 at 11:29 pm

Late last week Jim Bagwell, (owner of the property where the Frisco UFO has landed), and LeRoy Reynolds, (the UFO’s resident alien), approached a local building inspector to see if they could do some repairs and refurbishments to the iconic local structure.

Per Reynolds, they initially received the verbal OK to proceed, but were then contacted by the Dare County Planning Department and were told that the UFO could not be altered in any way, per an already established agreement from 2006.

And then social media got involved, the floodgates opened, and everyone started to wonder what on earth is happening with the Frisco UFO.

It’s not unusual for a somewhat controversial topic to garner a wave of interest, rumors, and story variations on Hatteras Island. One of my favorite lifelong locals once told me that “If you break wind in Rodanthe, by the time they hear about it in Hatteras, it’s a damn hurricane.”

But since this particular topic first landed on the Facebook social scene last weekend, it’s become a force of nature.

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Rip Currents, Misinformation, and the Proactive Heroes who are Addressing the Problem

Friday 16 June 2017 at 6:47 pm

There’s a photo from a story we did last summer on rip currents that shocked the heck out of me when it was happening, and which still lingers in my mind.

It was during a ride along with Chet Bailey, the captain of the Chicamacomico Banks Water Rescue team, who was pointing out rip currents along the local Rodanthe beaches, as well as the signs the team had set up near especially dangerous areas.

And just when he was saying something to the effect of “Unfortunately, people don’t always heed the signs,” someone walked right past the sign in question, and dived into the ocean for a swim.

I think I asked him at the time if that was staged, (and if so, it was pretty masterfully coordinated), but he said no, and that it was a common problem, simply because people who are new to the area are typically new to rip currents as well.

This is a common sentiment among the folks who patrol the beaches – the Chicamacomico Banks Water Rescue team, the Hatteras Rescue Squad, and the National Park Service – and rip current education is starting to become a prominent topic of conversation.

It’s why the Hatteras Rescue Squad is starting a fantastic new program that provides free info to visitors, (more on that in a moment), and why more and more news sources – including the Island Free Press – are utilizing the latest technology from the National Weather Service to get the word out. (More on that too.)

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Hurricanes: Our risk versus their risk - It’s complicated

Friday 09 June 2017 at 7:36 pm

By CATHERINE KOZAK

As I start my 23rd Atlantic hurricane season as a person who actually lives in hurricane territory, I’m more sensitive to talk that condemns coastal residents for living on, you know, the coast.

The attitude is if you want to risk living near the ocean, then you should not expect any government help after storms.

But this is also true if you live in places subject to other nasty, expensive natural disasters such as earthquakes, tsunamis, tornadoes, landslides, volcanoes , drought, heat waves, wildfires, blizzards, avalanches, deep freezes, and/or straight-line winds.

Yes, the National Flood Insurance Program that subsidizes much of our property insurance is costly and needs reform, but it is unfair to regard coastal property owners as irresponsible any more than it is to regard others who live in risky zones – which seem to be everywhere. Our taxes help you recover, your taxes help us recover. It deserves mention that many, many people live on our nation’s coasts and they pay a great deal in taxes. Many more people visit the coast, or own property on the coast, and they also contribute tons of tax revenue to government coffers.

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Cool Things Happening at the School

Friday 02 June 2017 at 10:33 pm

The school year at Cape Hatteras Secondary School (CHSS) may be winding down, with graduation and summer vacation just around the corner, but it’s ending with quite a bit of exciting news.

Let’s start with the story of Elizabeth Muller, who in recent days, has been better known as “Speller 185” at the national Scripps Spelling Bee.

In case you haven’t heard of it, (or it’s been years and years since you’ve actually thought about spelling bees), the Scripps event is the Superbowl of Spelling Bees, and roughly 11 million young wordsmiths from all around the world compete for a chance to get into the big game. It’s held in Washington, DC, and the finals are televised in the states on ESPN.

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