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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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How Has Our Island Changed? A Look at Decades of Data

Friday 25 August 2017 at 11:04 pm

By JOY CRIST

Earlier in 2017, the National Park Service created a series of maps to determine how erosion has affected regions of Hatteras Island in the past 150 years or so.

Per David Hallac, Cape Hatteras National Seashore Superintendent, the creation of the maps stemmed from a conversation with local property owners in Avon, after an especially brutal winter, erosion-wise.

Lifelong locals will attest that the island shifts and moves on a regular basis. A beach that was nice and wide in the summer months can narrow to just a sliver in the winter, and then return to its wide summertime status once again the following year.

But examining the timeline of where the shoreline was 150, 50, or even just 10 years ago really puts the longer-term changes in perspective.

This is one of those cases where a picture really is worth a thousand words. You can see the map of the long-term changes in the Avon and Buxton shorelines by clicking here.

“We should have known how much the beach has changed,” said David Hallac. “But having us plot the data for ourselves, when it really sunk in, it was very surprising.”

Let’s start by taking a closer look at the map. The individual lines represent where the shoreline was at a given time period, beginning with the 1852 survey and continuing all the way to 2016 / 2017.

There are two areas in particular that immediately jump out to casual viewers.

The first region is the area in between Buxton and Avon – an area that is currently undergoing an extensive summer-long beach nourishment project. In 1852, this area was roughly three times as wide as it is now, with most of the former land mass and shoreline disappearing before 1980.

The other Area is southern Avon, which is examined in closer detail in the call-out box.

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Examining Options for Compensation after the Power Outage

Saturday 12 August 2017 at 01:08 am

By CATHERINE KOZAK

Even as people are still taking stock of losses related to the recent power outage on Hatteras and Ocracoke islands, at least six class-action lawsuits have been filed to collect damages for those who decide to join.

In addition, a patchwork of travel insurance and rental companies’ deposit reimbursement policies may or may not provide compensation for vacationers and the governor’s emergency declaration may or may not matter in collecting it.

What about business or wage and tip losses? Or potential decreases in tourism, the islands’ lifeblood? What about related costs from spoiled food or health issues created by lack of air conditioning?

Dare County plans to hold a community meeting next week on August 16 at 6:30 p.m. at the Fessenden Center to shed light on the confusing range of options available to residents, tourists, property owners and businesses affected by the week-long blackout.

“We’re going to provide all the information that we have to try to help people access the information to do whatever they need to do,” said county manager Bobby Outten, adding that legal advice will not be given. “I think people are concerned and upset that they lost the revenue that they did. Our goal at that meeting is to begin gathering information and answer any questions we can answer.”

PCL Construction, the contractor currently building the new Bonner Bridge, has taken responsibility for accidently cutting power cables on the south side of the bridge project on the early morning of July 27, leaving the islands with no electricity other than spotty coverage from emergency generators. Thousands of tourists had to be evacuated, and the islands were closed to visitors until Aug. 4.

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Searching for the Rare Bright Spots in the Power Outage

Friday 04 August 2017 at 12:17 am

By JOY CRIST

“If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans” – Woody Allen

So a little more than a week ago, I was working on a blog entry about erosion.

Then I went to bed on Wednesday night, July 26, and woke up the next morning - along with everyone else on Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands - to a dark and warmer-than-normal bedroom.

It was several hours later that the phrase “be prepared for an extended outage” popped up, and we all started to realize we may have a bigger than expected problem on our hands.

Then came Friday night, July 28. I was working on a blog entry geared towards visitors about conserving power when they came down the next day for their vacation. It was a tough piece to write – one that no one will ever read – because you are essentially asking people as nicely as possible not to use pools, or air conditioners… In July. In North Carolina.

And just as I was finishing up the spellcheck and shooting it to our publisher, we learned about the mandatory evacuation for visitors.

So this blog is literally “Take Three.”

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