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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Is the Emergency Ferry Route Ready for a Hurricane?

Saturday 30 June 2018 at 6:50 pm


Three times in the last seven years, the Rodanthe-Stumpy Point emergency ferry channel has provided the only access for people without boats or planes to go to and from Hatteras Island. But as the height of the hurricane season approaches, that emergency backup is not yet available.

A relatively minor shoaled area of channel at the Rodanthe side cannot be dredged until Dare County completes evaluation and repairs at the nearby material deposit area.

“We’re set to dredge it whenever they get the site prepared,” said Joen Petersen, U.S. Corps of Engineers Chief of Floating Plants.

Petersen said the estimated 150-foot section of channel has about five feet of water. Ferries need a minimum of 5.5 feet.

Ann Daisey, the new administrator of the Dare County Waterways Commission, said that an outfall pipe at the deposit site had been apparently damaged during Hurricane Matthew or another storm. After it is repaired, and the culvert inspected, an evaluation can be done on the capacity of the spoil site.

Daisey said that she is working with an engineer at Albemarle & Associates to determine an estimate for the work.

“My goal is to get it done this month,” she said.

If the deposit site lacks enough capacity for the dredge material, the county will have some older material removed to free up room. Since the spoil area is currently covered in invasive phragmites, Daisey said she would recommend that any removed material be carted off to the landfill.

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Revisiting Irene’s Guide to Beach Manners

Thursday 21 June 2018 at 5:58 pm


Our wonderful editor Irene Nolan had a relaxed tradition of sorts of posting an annual list of beach etiquette guidelines for both new visitors and locals alike. Initially launched when she was the editor of the now defunct Island Breeze, it was a smart and timely annual list of the dos and don’ts of exploring our islands.

Irene passed away in March 2017, but our paper has been a tribute to what she started more than 10 years ago ever since. Not a day goes by that we don’t ask ourselves “WWID?” - (aka, “What Would Irene Do?”) - and we always proceed based on the answer to this question.

So it seemed only appropriate that with the first day of summer at hand, we carry on this tradition of sharing Irene’s round-up of beach manners, laws, and etiquette practices. And when we started to review and potentially re-write this list, it dawned on us that no one could explain these guidelines better than Irene herself.

As such, we would like to share with you Irene’s original “Beach manners - a matter of etiquette and the law,” which was her last Beach Manners blog, and which was published on July 1, 2016.

(And on a personal note, I love going through our archives and reading Irene’s decade of blogs. It’s become a regular habit. Yes, it makes me miss her like crazy, but it also makes me remember her voice with perfect clarity, which always came through crystal clear in her writing. And for those of you who were lucky enough to know her, I think when you read this piece, you will feel the exact same way.)

So without further ado, here is Irene’s exceptional guide to better beach behavior…

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Rekindling the Affordable Housing Conversation

Friday 08 June 2018 at 7:42 pm


At the Dare County Board of Commissioners (BOC) meeting on June 4, Outer Banks Chamber of Commerce Board Chairman Bob Peele read a letter addressed to the BOC regarding the need for affordable housing.

“The housing crisis on the Outer Banks is real,” he said. “Help wanted signs are seen everywhere, and we hear from businesses daily about their inability to find workers.  This is not just a seasonal challenge - it has become a year-round one.”

“Professional jobs go unfilled at our hospital and in our healthcare system; people are hired but can’t find reasonably priced housing options so they leave.”

This is by no means a new rallying cry.

When the BOC commissioned a year-long Economic Development study that was conducted by outside consultants in 2016, finding ways to establish more affordable housing was certainly on the to-do list for long-term goals.

And as any island local or seasonal worker will tell you, finding an affordable place to live is the hardest aspect of living here.

But the presentation of the letter, and the ensuing ideas that the Chamber of Commerce came up with via a committee’s research, rekindled the conversation of affordable housing by starting with more small-scale solutions.

“Basically, the Chamber had a three-pronged approach,” said Donna Creef, Planning Director for Dare County in a later interview. “The chamber asked for zoning changes when it came to ADUs [accessory dwelling units], duplexes, and multi-family structures.”

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