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 a return to “Paper or Plastic?” on the horizon?

Friday 10 March 2017 at 5:23 pm


 On March 7, Rep. Beverly Boswell (R-Dare) introduced a two-page bill in the NC House of Representatives that would repeal the ban on plastic bags in certain coastal areas, including Hatteras Island.

Citing that “this prohibition impacts North Carolina businesses large and small… and hinders their ability to create jobs,” the bill would bring plastic bags back to the grocery stores, and would essentially replace the ban with a “voluntary educational program informing citizens of the availability of recycling sites throughout the entire State.”

The original ban, which was the initiative of then Senate leader Marc Basnight of Dare County, was passed in 2009, and was truly one of the first of its kind. Since it went into effect, more than 125 areas across the country have generated similar bans on plastic bags.

The nuts and bolts of the original ban from 2009 is simple enough. Retail stores in Ocracoke, Hatteras, and the coastal Outer Banks are required to use recyclable brown paper bags instead of the traditional plastic bags, and customers who bring their own reusable bags to the store are eligible for a 5 cent credit per bag.

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In Honor of Irene

Sunday 05 March 2017 at 11:52 am


 This is the hardest thing I have ever had to write. And please bear with me because it won’t be enough.

On Friday, March 3, our beloved editor, mentor, and friend Irene Nolan passed away after a brief stay at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital.

I know that everyone reading this is sharing the heartbreak that all of us at Island Free Press – contributors, advertisers, and her 20-year collaborator, friend, and IFP co-founder Donna Barnett - are feeling right now.

And I wish I was a better writer and had the ability to convey how important Irene was to everyone on Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands.

But honestly, I can’t think of anyone who is talented enough to accurately emphasize what Irene meant to all of us, except maybe Irene herself – and she was always far too modest (and too busy) to toot her own horn.

So instead, we need to start the way Irene would want, which is by emphasizing that the Island Free Press will continue.

Irene was passionate about maintaining the IFP, continually providing the best news source possible for our islands, and ensuring that the tradition of creating an exceptional paper lived on.

She often talked about how important the Island Free Press was for Hatteras and Ocracoke – to me, and I think to everyone else, too.

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The Shrimping Petition and the Local Response

Saturday 25 February 2017 at 1:16 pm


On Thursday, February 16, the N.C. Marine Fisheries Commission voted to pursue a petition that would limit how, where and when shrimpers could operate. If adopted, the ensuing rules will limit shrimp trawling in most North Carolina waters, per a press release from the North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries (NCDMF).

The shrimping petition is an issue that’s been incredibly contentious for fishermen from all across coastal North Carolina since first coming to the surface in November, and this latest development has the potential to have severe state-wide impacts according to the many opponents of the regulations.

Here’s a break-down of what the petition entails, what comes next, and the strong concerns that local and state-wide fishermen have about the new regulations, as well as the process that led to the February 16 approval in the first place.

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