December  2010 Letters to the Editor

New Letters to the Editor....12.24.2010 3:20 pm

20 years ago a runaway dredge tore a hole in the Bonner Bridge, and islanders and visitors relied on temporary ferries for months

I will always remember that storm because we had a house rented for Thanksgiving. It would have been my first trip to the island. I checked with the rental agent before we left, and they assured us that generators were running and everything was fine, so come on down. My sister arrived at the ferry at about 5:30 p.m. on Friday. Lines were long, but we queued up. During the wait, we chatted with some islanders who begged us not to come down because the infrastructure was taxed and the extra population from tourists was taxing their transit and other resources. After about three hours, our line started to move to board the ferry. As we moved forward, my sister and I decided we shouldn't go and we pulled out of line and turned around. We spent the night in Nags Head and our agent found us a place we could stay there. The next time I tried to visit the island was with my wife in 2003 -- three weeks after Isabel. We got displaced then too, but not off the island. We have been back every year since and hope to continue to do so for a long time.

Eric King
Elkton, Md.

HealthEast will close Hatteras clinic on Dec. 30

It astounded me that the health care group has never paid rent. Does this mean that taxpayers have paid their rent in addition to the high cost of health care? That aside, it also astounds me that anyone would choose a rented facility versus a "free" one. This is very sad news for a lot of people who depend on this facility for necessary health care. Besides being disappointed because this was our regular doctor's office, we will miss the local business the staff brought to other businesses in the community.

Dawn Chitwood

What are opportunities for other health care companies to run your clinic(s)?

Please include whether purchase of the clinic would be required, and if so, the price.

Robert Carroll
West Hurley, N.Y.

Menhaden are the most important, though humble, fish in the sea

I too have watched the spotter planes take off from Reedville, Va. What a beautiful sight! Omega Protein is one of the largest employers and most important industries on the Northern Neck. Why do I care?  My family has lived on the Neck for over 350 years.  Menhaden fishing has always been a part of life there. In fact, Reedville was the richest town per capita in the U.S. at one time because of it. You should go see the beautiful Victorian houses on "Captains Row." Believe me, those who fish the waters of the Bay are very familiar with the importance of that fishery. How could a company that makes its money from the Bay be at the same time, its greatest enemy?  Do you not think said company would want the Bay to prosper?  The fact is that the proof is in the pudding. The menhaden fishery is doing great. Federal and state fisheries scientists have determined that the Atlantic menhaden resource is healthy and sustainably fished. The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, which manages the coastal menhaden fishery, is required by law to base management measures on the best scientific information available. As a major stakeholder in the health of the Chesapeake Bay, Omega Protein has a demonstrated commitment to clean water and ensuring a large and sustainably fished menhaden population.

Rich Kenner

Murray says Record of Decision on FEIS will be on signed Dec. 20

My guess is the next challenge by the environs will be regarding the environmental impact of new ramps and parking. 

I easily see the final rule species protections and ORV routes being put in place without the infrastructure to support them while the challenge runs its course over the next few years.

Salvo Jimmy
Salvo and Hampton, Va.

Another “status meeting!” Hope it's as in-depth and balanced as the last one. “Infrastructure” means fences and "No trespassing" signs on your land, my fellow American taxpayers. God help us all.

Hawk Hawkins
Mechanicsville, Va.

Record of Decision is signed on Bonner Bridge replacement project

How wonderful!  Finally, something will be done!  Accolades should go to Beth Midgett and the Bridge Moms.  They just kept at it until something was done. Way to go! 

Beth Saylor
Staunton, Va.

Great News!  But how long until Audubon or whoever sues the county, state, federal government?


Are any other celebrants besides me worried about this in the ROD? It’s conditional upon compliance with “terms and conditions” of the permit that USFWS issues.

Ted A. Hamilton (aka Salvo Jimmy)
Salvo and Hampton, Va.

I challenge you to put a siesmeter on the bridge. I stopped at the top of it last night at 2:30 a.m. on Dec.22, 2010 and could feel it move! There were no other cars and a very light wind. It could have been a hard tide or the long-term east swell, but it was spooky. When we were stopped on the top in waiting for the famous repair of the bridge two summers ago, I felt it move but that was due to the oncoming traffic passing with all that weight. I would also challenge why there is no weight limitation currently on the span. Better not waste another day, month, or even year of the endless waiting for the drawn out bidding, permits, or studies we've been bombarded with. Please investigate the true safety lapses as I know some Hatteras Island residents even take their seatbelts off and open their windows just in case. The bridge would be a horrific if it indeed did fail. I saw the Tampa Bay Skyway Bridge months after it had been struck by "its ship that hit the span" and pray we don t have that happen to our ever weakening avenue off Pea Island. Make the decision a reality soon!

Joe Wells

UPDATE: The fate of Ocracoke’s Island Inn is still unknown

That's a shame that it might not be the inn anymore. I remember the one time Matthew and I stayed there that we had a lot of fun. And it most certainly is haunted!

Kyle Cochrane
Chesapeake, Va.

I would hate to see this great historical site tore down for some investor to build expensive townhomes and something like that.  If I could, I would love to live in it and restore it for others to see.  Anyone want to let us have this lovely place?  I love Ocracoke and pray someday to live there.  It has to be one of God's favorite places he created!

Terrie Hart
Walkertown, N.C.

New Letters to the Editor....12.16.2010 3:40

Bob Spangler finishes his 50-mile run and raises money for island non-profits

I am Bob's nephew from West Virginia.  He is my dad's brother.  All I can say is that I am very proud of him and this achievement.  Bob, or "Uncle Chuck" as I call him, is one of the most interesting and unique people you will ever meet.  If you should ever have the great fortune to meet him, you can't walk away unimpressed!  Great job, Uncle Chuck!  I am very proud to be your nephew!

Matt Spangler
Charleston, W. Va.

Congratulations, Mr. Spangler. You are indeed one tough man. My check is going in the mail today. And thank you!

Paul Rudar
Midland, Pa.

Guest column:  Where is the truth on sea turtle nesting success?

Compromise?  I've seen nature shows that show environmentalists digging up and transplanting turtle eggs to another safer location. If so, instead of closing beach assess would it be possible to transplant the eggs from an ORV access location to Pea Island? The people whose business depends on fishermen I'm sure would be happy to contribute to a project such as this.

Cameron Gray
Burkeville, Va.

Guest Column: A search to find help for a women’s health issue no one wants to talk about

Thank you, Lynne, for being such a wonderful, courageous voice for women everywhere. Your candid account of this trying journey is going to be inspiring to so many!

Shawboro, N.C.

Hatteras Township voters approve liquor by the drink by a decisive margin

It's about time they jumped into the 21st century! I mean, come on, what reasoning is there for prohibition?

Neil Donovan
Newport, Del.

Finally! It is about time.

Beth Glaser
Charlottesville, Va.

While I do not have a problem either way with drinking liquor or not in a restaurant, I think the combination of the drinks and the new golf cart regulations might lead to some interesting "issues" this summer. We will see.

Alexy Abdo

If this vote does not go through, it once again shows just how backwards Hatteras Island truly has become.

Locals are driving around with bars in the trunks of their cars but yet you are against a legal process whereby residents can have cocktails monitored and legal processes implemented by established bars and restaurants.

You have got to be kidding me!  It is equal to protecting some birds from all the needs for tourism on our beaches.

Derek Dinkler
Kill Devil Hills

HealthEast will close Hatteras clinic on Dec. 30

It's a no brainer -- have Hatteras Island Family Medicine operate the Hatteras Clinic -- either full time or do Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and Tuesday and Thursday in Frisco. Dr. Hodges should be able to rotate between Avon and Hatteras.

Mike Martin

It would make a great senior center.  You know, like the Baum Center in Nags Head.


Beach Access Issues

Have the beach access groups contacted the national news (FOX?) to try and gain national and political support for this cause? Seems like people should know where their tax dollars are being wasted (defending lawsuits). If the bird people can shut down the Outer Banks, where will they go next? Cape Lookout? Assateague? Padre Island? Seems like all national seashores will be targets.

Jo Lyons
State College, Pa.

Menhaden are the most important, though humble, fish in the sea

Read “The Most Important Fish In the Sea” by H. Bruce Franklin. Best Information and history of the importance of menhaden. Greatest harm to eastern fisheries is Omega Protein of Reidville, Va. I have watched as the spotter planes led the mother ship to the Chesapeake Bay schools. Note to the Save the Bay organization -- - most harmful enemy of the bay is Omega Protein.

Cameron Gray
Burkeville, Va.

NPS pushes back its timeline for final rule at Boyle’s status conference

I thought justice used the symbol of scales to show fairness and equality to all in a court of law. As has been well demonstrated by Boyle, it surely doesn't apply in his court.

Wayne White
Fredericksburg, Va.

Romantic winter relationships on the islands: A survivors guide

You hit the nail pretty hard on this one. You might want to explore the art of calling the local restaurants to see if they will be open.

The "big trip" off the island to means coordinating with neighbors who need "something picked up while you are there." You end up stuffing your Suburban full of everything from hot tub pumps,150 pounds of processed pork, fishing tackle, crab pots, replacement parts from Manteo Furniture for a stove, screens for an Andersen window, and a replacement rod rack for a friend’s boat only to then realize you have no room for the stuff you actually were going for in the first place.

Alexy Abdo

UPDATE: The fate of Ocracoke’s Island Inn is still unknown

That's a shame that it might not be the Inn anymore. I remember the one time Matthew and I stayed there we had a lot of fun. And it most certainly is haunted!

Kyle Cochrane
Chesapeake, Va.

New Letters to the Editor....12.07.2010 7:30 am

NPS releases Final Environmental Impact Statement on ORV plan

Everyone needs to take the time and read the beach management plan presented by the National Park and decided if they want to waste the time responding.  My suggestion is if you respond, send it to the President and your congressperson for Our National Park System appears to be well-trained in the use of a circular file with shredder attached when it comes to responding to public comments.
The FEIS could have been summed up in a one-page document.  The Park Service went through the usual governmental gobbledy-gook and stretched it to 1,000 pages.  It is interesting to note, as you read the document, that it is nothing more than a back and forth waste of time and effort to compare the alternative plans labeled A-B-C-D-E to the Park Services preferred Plan F.  Supposedly, all these ideas were submitted or derived from the babblings of a defunct committee that was supposed to be representative of the public.  As you recall, from the beginning this committee was stacked with environmental groups, some being local residents, that had one agenda in mind – to close the beaches.  These were people who could care less about the effects on the economy or how many families, including children, would suffer as a result of beach closures.   
We need to erect a plaque on the island with the names of each and every one of those who participated in the bringing about the final changes that have removed open and free beaches as was promised by the government.  The plaque would be great for showing our children and grandchildren the names of those who were responsible for the hardships they and their parents had to endure as a result of beach closures.

One huge section of the document is devoted to trying to justify plan F rules and regulations by presenting pictures, graphs, and data.  As I read it, I thought why waste time with such gibberish?  They knew what they were going to do from the beginning. Why try to smooth it over by making it appear our beaches are overrun with ruthless ORV cowboys who are out to destroy wildlife?

As for graphic pictures, who knows whether they could have been staged -- like the one of the loggerhead turtle killed by an ORV.  I ask you, how many times have you seen a crushed turtle on our beaches?  It could be some Park Service vehicle ran over it.  They seem to be the only ones I have seen speeding on the beach.

I see few, if any, major changes in what we have been living under for the last three years.  It is basically the same in that beach closing will begin March 15, and all the favorite areas will be closed, along with any new ones that might be suspect for bird nesting.

Restrictions will remain on night driving beginning May 1.  Did I forget to mention that you will be paying to drive the beach?

There is no doubt in my mind that the next will be a limited number of vehicles allowed on the beach at a time. 
Additional closings will occur at any time, as deemed necessary by the Park Service. That would also include the winter months.  A lot of closing would depend on the discovery of scrapes in the sand that might have been made by piping plover considering nesting on Hatteras.  Wonder if they ever considered that even a piping plover might change its mind?

I found the portion interesting concerning closings when it comes to restricted areas around businesses or housing.  Definitely needs clarification.  Does this mean we who live in the villages are now under the jurisdiction of the Park Service?
“In addition, when scrape(s), nest(s), or chick(s) occur in the immediate vicinity of paved roads, parking lots, campground, buildings, and other facilities, such as within villages or at NPS developed sites, the NPS would retain the discretion to provide resource protection to the extent possible, while still allowing those facilities to remain operational.”
God forbid that a piping plover decides to nest or leave scrapes in your yard or in the front of your business. 
Dewey Parr

The following is an open letter to the residents of Hatteras and Ocracoke islands.

Regretfully, the Final Environmental Impact Statement has been released. My initial response was anger, then resignation. But, within a short time, I began to feel emotions of sadness and concern for you, the residents of Hatteras and Ocracoke islands. You are the people who will suffer the most from this government takeover. Your freedoms are much more at jeopardy than folks like me who spend quality vacation time on the Outer Banks but do not live there. Your livelihoods are at stake. The future of your children and grandchildren are threatened by this intimidating intervention of government, caused by the aggressive, shortsighted, and uncaring attitudes of special interest groups.

Over the past three years, your freedoms have been eroded and your economy dislocated. I find myself comparing this “takeover” by our government to the losses suffered by Native Americans. Your ancestors gave land (now known as Cape Hatteras National Seashore) to the U.S. government in exchange for explicit promises. At the time, the exchange was considered honorable and a “win-win” for all concerned. Now, the promises made to you have been taken away. In fact, the promises made to you have been ignored as if they never existed.

How is this any different from the plight suffered by Native Americans? You are now left to fend for yourselves. It has been suggested by special interest groups that a reasonable compromise has been reached where all parties gave some and received some. Such representations couldn’t be further from the truth.

Over the past 35 years, I have come to love the Outer Banks. Some years, I’ve been fortunate enough to spend as much as 30-plus days surf fishing and simply enjoying the beautiful seashore. I’ve spent many of these days leisurely roaming the beach between Ramps 23 and 34. I could spend my time regretting what appears to be the personal loss of my favorite fishing area. But my losses are so much less than yours that I feel such pondering is selfish and uncaring.

I was struck by one head line that stated “Initial response to FEIS muted.” I thought, “Muted? How can that be?” On reflection, I think I understand. When people are grieving it is time to be muted. Your way of life is facing serious threats. Indeed, one wonders if the culture of the Outer Banks can survive. I’m sure you feel hopeless at times like this. Perhaps it is time for you to grieve. 

You are a proud people. I’ve had the pleasure of knowing some of you personally. I treasure these relationships, distantly intimate as they are, as very special life experiences. I know, in time, you will not be muted. In time, you will speak again and you will act again. I do not know what the future will bring. What I do know, what I must believe, is that in time you, the people of the Outer Banks and the culture you so proudly live, will overcome these travesties.

May those who enjoy success at the expense and pain of others eventually find remorse in their shame.

Finally, know this. When it is time, let me know. Let us all know. We will be there for you.

Until then, Godspeed.

Jim Sloop
Clarksville, Tenn.

This is to Mike "The Moderate" Farrall (Letters for Nov. 18, 2010).  I'm not so sure about the "moderate" part there. You casually mention the environmentalists but obviously don't think too highly of us greedy, money-hungry, local redneck idiots.

Personally, I kind of wish the world was like it was 50-60 years ago, but what the hey?

Geez, Irene, can't believe you let this one slip through the cracks, and you can delete mine if you like. I just needed to rant a bit.


Economic uncertainty? Let me be clear. Two friends and I have been coming since 1982 and about 15 years ago met up with three fishermen from Richmond and have rented a home each year, sometimes for multiple weeks, and we are done. We spend a tidy sum each time and this is money Avon and the Outer Banks will never see again. Thanks for ruining my dream of taking my grandkids fishing. My son was already in the fold and the next generation was set. It is done. We are moving somewhere that appreciates fisherman.

Guy Critelli
Runnemede, N.J.

My family, which is very large, became familiar with the Outer Banks of North Carolina only in the last few years. As many visitors do, we fell in love with the Outer Banks and, especially, the sense of unbridled freedom and the wild nature.

Of course, we understand that one should not throw plastic bags on the beach or into the ocean. We agree that turtles should be protected, as should plovers, and that this requires some management and enforcement of rules and regulations.

Contact your representatives, and don't let them forget that they are your representatives. Make it sound like the Outer Banks is "Custer's Last Stand" as far as turtles and plovers are concerned.

There are many more breeding grounds along the East Coast of both North and South America, and, as a matter of fact, the Carolina coast represents rather a paltry portion when one compares it to the plover breeding grounds in Canada or turtle rookeries in India, the China Sea and Hawaii.

I am not advocating destruction and the ignoring of turtle and plover breeding grounds. However, a modicum of common sense should be applied. For instance, one should examine the number of breeding pairs of plovers before and after the Park Service intervention and find that really the program has been a disaster as there is very little evidence of any increases in the number of breeding pairs of plovers. But there can be no argument regards the negative economic impact on the citizenry of the Outer Banks and the negative impact on tourism.

When I read The Island Free Press, I get the sense that this is a game that certain factions play. Should we build a bridge or should we not? Should we close a few beaches or should we not?

Strangely, I hear very little concern for the folks who want to earn a living on the coast of North Carolina or those tourists who want to enable them to earn a living.

So, who is going to survive? The turtles and the plovers or the residents of the Outer Banks?

My vote says "let’s worry about the people first" and, as a byproduct, let's not forget the turtles and the plovers. Let's not do it the other way around.

I'm from Canada, but I can tell you this. You let your elected representatives know that if they can't get this squared away, you will not be voting for them and make it stick. Throw them out.

If it's too late for this time, throw them out the next time and put in the folks who do represent you. There is nothing that cannot be reversed.

I think I'm pretty typical of most tourists. If you can't get your house in order, we won't be back. There are other places.

John Piper
Ottawa, Ontario

With the federal government running a $1.3 trillion dollar deficit does anyone think the park will get the needed funds to implement this plan?  If not, what then?

Apex, N.C.

I'll be glad to comment, though I don't think most will like it.

With the release of the FEIS, it is more then obvious that the negotiated rulemaking and public comment process for the past few years was a total waist of time.

I see nothing in this document that caters to the ORVs and enjoyment of the public as a whole.

There are going to be some new ramps and interdunal roads that, by most accounts, will be useless. Not to mention that the villages of Hatteras and Frisco will now be open to ORVs only from Nov. 1- March 31.Why bother?

Allen Burrus said it best when he commented that Derb Carter personally wrote this years ago.

The National Park Service from D.C. to Manteo has totally ignored the public. And I am talking about the public that uses this park on a regular basis--not some guy writing a letter from North Dakota because the Audubon asked him too.

We can threaten lawsuits until we are blue in the face, but with the environmental groups controlling the NPS with an inside man like John Jarvis and its controlling most politicians with their funding and public opinion, all attempts to sue will be fruitless.

Our state and local politicians cry foul and express concern, but it seems all of that falls on deaf ears.

After looking at and reading the summary, I really don't know what to think about all of this--other than everything we are asked to comment on and participate in is nothing more then a dog-and-pony show.

Rob Alderman

So this is the new and improved one? When does this one take effect?  Or does it start right now?
And what is the deal with closing ramps and building new ramps a mile or so down the beach. Cutting through good solid dunes to build them. Are you kidding me? Let's weaken the dunes a little more here!   What was the deal with the other ramps?

I have to get a education permit to have a beach fire. Isn't that peachy? Now where do I get that?

You know, I have been dropping by the OBX every once in a while since I was 19 years old, and being over 50 now, I have seen a lot of changes there.  But this not finding a common ground on Hatteras Island just makes me sad.  I don't fish or surf, and I have only driven on the beach once ever.  I come there for the beauty and history.

I planned to drive the pickup down in December so that I could drive out past the Point, or south of Salvo and other areas, but with all of this I'm not going to suffer 14 hours in a rough ridding pickup if I can't travel out on the beach to the must beautiful areas of the OBX. I will just plan on bringing my hiking boots instead.

Things have changed, and we visitors will adjust.  I just hope that the changes do not cause any more heartache for the wonderful people who live in the OBX.

Fortville, Ind.

I have been visiting Cape Hatteras ever since 1954 when we were forced to evacuate due to Hurricane Hazel. In May of 1969, I caught my first bluefish at Cape Point. Not having a car, I had to walk out carrying all of my gear .There were no vehicles on the Point! The first blue was the biggest fish I had ever caught, and today remains my largest blue -- 21 pounds, weighed by Mr. Dillon at the Outer Banks Motel. The tale of my trek back from the Point to my car with pole, cooler, tackle box, and fish is epic! Let’s just say it was a struggle. Being senior citizen now, I could not go through that experience again. Allowing SUVs on the beach let’s me keep on fishing in my old age. My wish is to have some common sense regulations that will keep the beach open to both fishermen and SUVs.

Kenneth Sager
Chevy Chase, Md.

The statement has been made that Dare County occupancy and sales taxes were up this summer, including a record-setting July. How convenient to include all of Dare County in the “facts and figures.” I'd like to see a breakdown of north of the bridge and south of the bridge. Better yet, a breakdown of each of the villages on Hatteras Island, especially those most affected by the beach closures.

Carol Busbey

NPS pushes back its timeline for final rule at Boyle’s status conference

Fairly obvious that the intention of this hearing was to showcase the "facts" that Boyle wishes to use to make his decisions. Convenient that the only thing he heard, or was interested in hearing, was the dribble of meaningless and unscientific info from his fraternity brothers.

While advocates of beach closure are being paid to further their case by the government that they are suing, there is obviously no interest in hearing any adverse opinions. Watching this painful and corrupt process provides a snapshot of what has happened to a legal system run amuck.

I'm sure it is a point of amusement at the country club --- with citizens picking up the entire tab!

Al Adam

It is with some timidity that I jump into this discussion, amateur that I am. However, perhaps this will encourage other like-minded enthusiasts. And thanks to Dr. Lea for the report.

Mr. Carter's assertion that 15 plover chicks fledged on CHNS in 2010 failed to mention that all of these occurred at Cape Point, and that there were none, repeat none, at other locations (see Tables 16-22, pp. 210-217).

The biologic significance of this is exceeded only by the potential administrative impact and by Mr. Carter's biased and selective commentary.

Fred Westervelt

Little one sided on the "status," isn't it? Old Boyle and Derb must be cousins. They seem mighty tight.

Hawk Hawkins
Mechanicsville, Va.

Is there a "means" as to "appealing" the decision of Judge Boyle?

Given the political changes that will occur at the federal and state level next year, are there opportunities to overturn Judge Boyle's decision by legislation?

Wayne Clark
Ocracoke Island

Judge Boyle and Derb Carter seem to think they own all the beaches on Hatteras Island and that their opinion is all that matters.

Paul Rudar
Midland, Pa.

Why was no one else allowed to speak, such as Dr. Berry, whose scientific knowledge differs so greatly from Mr. Carter?

F. Holstein

The judge noted that the consent decree will likely remain in force for the entire 2011 breeding season.  It could remain in force beyond that if for any reason the Park Service’s final management plan proves to be “unenforceable.” I find the second sentence of this quote to be curious. Is the judge anticipating a lawsuit as soon as the management plan is finalized, thus keeping the forced decree in place for what I assume will be years as this slowly gets litigated?

Jersey Dave
Newton, N.C.

Well, that about does it for Hatteras. Next, they will lower the vehicles capacities, then they will raise the permit fees, lower the duration of the permits, raise the education requirements. Where do you want me to stop? They have shown that their goal is to remove us from the beach. As for me? They won!  I don't go to Hatteras anymore. Good luck

Matt Chilton
China Grove, N.C.

Good fellowship, good food, and good shopping at annual craft bazaar

Would love to purchase some locally made jams and jellies as sold at the bazaar. Could someone please help?

Elsie George
Williamsburg, Va.

Being an ex-patriot of Hatteras, I recognize some of the faces, but my memory isn't working to capacity. But that's okay. I enjoy seeing the pictures, which bring back a lot of good memories and good folk.

Stew Kellum
Kernersville, N.C.

HealthEast will close Hatteras clinic on Dec. 30

I must be dense. I don't understand the economics of this. They (UHS) aren't going to lay off any workers and instead of keeping a free facility, they are choosing to pay $125,000 per year rent? How do they plan on saving money? Fewer paper clips? Either UHS doesn't understand business or they are just looking for an excuse to bail out.

Lou Browning

What is the total size of the Dare County budget?  I find it hard to believe that the county commissioners could not find $200,000 in an overall budget of nearly $100,000,000 to keep this facility from closing.  Also, I'm sure some of the folks who utilized this health care center were Hyde County residents.  Was any joint funding mechanism between Dare and Hyde counties looked at or considered?  That would possibly make Dare County's contribution significantly less than $200,000.  How the elected officials can let 50 percent of their major health care facilities close needs to be explained to me.  I personally work in local government in Pennsylvania and know that out of our relatively "meager" $15,000,000 budget, our elected officials would have found a way to provide that $200,000, a small percentage of their operating budget, to fund a service of such major need and importance to the local residents and visitors. 

On another front, since tourism is the major industry there, I do not understand why the commissioners would want to make the area less appealing to visitors and those thinking about relocating there, by not having some sort of significant health care facility available. 

In closing, I find this lack of support for the Hatteras Health Care facility both sad and short sighted.  I think it is very anti business and growth for an Island's economy that could sure use it.

Ed O'Brien Jr.
Gilbertsville, Pa.

Here come catch shares: How NOAA and the Environmental Defense Fund plan to destroy North Carolina’s working watermen

It's all about the money. Why am I not surprised? Wall Street buying and selling catch shares. That is so sad. We will have global investors owning our local fishing. It's certainly not about conservation. I will contact my representatives about this. Thank you for an excellent article. 

Edward Partridge
Concord, N.C.

I support Ernie and all the commercial fishermen.

Charlie Gardner
Asheville, N.C.

Catch shares is one more example of government getting in something they should not.  Health care has been completely torn apart.  Where does it stop?

Kenneth Rogers
Holly Springs, N.C.

It is with alarming passion that I post my comment to reach out to as many commercial fishing folks as possible.

Our community is small in comparison to the amount of people we should be feeding.

Historically and, in some sense, biblically connected, our fishing community is being compromised by the shortcomings of NMFS and EDF.

I am experiencing first hand the economic genocide of the consolidating plan of sector allocation at the hands of NMFS in New England.

I am the president of Rhode Island's largest fisheries organization, the Rhode Island Fishermen's Alliance.

Say no to sectors and encourage your lawmakers to support you.

Our future depends on it.

Richard Fuka
East Greenwich, R.I.
Rhode Island Fishermen's Alliance

Vote no to catch shares.

Andrew Riggleman
Nordina, N.C.

Highlight of the season will be Nights in Rodanthe holiday open house at Serendipity  and a chance to spend a week there

I am a cancer survivor (ovarian cancer, stage 3c , 2005) and also a licensed clinical social worker very much wanting to use my mental health background to work with cancer patients, survivors, families.  I know there is a great need for someone to work with people going through cancer and even after they've battled cancer. I'm licensed in both Virginia and North Carolina, and would love to move from my current setting to working exclusively with cancer patients .  If you could pass my name and contact information to your organization head or anyone else in the community seeking someone like me, please contact me through Island Free Press – [email protected].

Rebecca Young, LCSW, CAC
Norfolk, Va.

I wish we could be there for the open house. Thanks to the new owners for saving the house, and thanks to the people of the Outer Banks for sharing it with us.

Dana Simmons
Rockingham, N.C.

Hyde property owners are likely to see a property tax increase in 2012

Given the current circumstances at the state, federal and county levels as to budget constraints, voter education as to revenue and expenses at the county level is a "must."  This needs to be done to educate the voting populace relative to "how additional revenue can be generated" and "what services/expenses can be reduced."  An example on Ocracoke is providing waste collection, EMS, and law enforcement in a direct proportion to the "seasonal needs" of the community.  If the voting populace wants services beyond what is basic, they need to understand they must be paid for; either by raising taxes/fees or curtailing expenses in other areas.  This is a "basic premise" of government but one that in my view needs additional means of conveyance and emphasis, especially in these tough economic times.

H. Wayne Clark
Ocracoke Island

UPDATE:  Hyde County’s liquor business is about to break even

I'm not one of those anti-governemt tea party types, but it sure seems stupid for the state of North Carolina to continue to be in the liquor business. Any business that can't make money selling booze is mismanaged or being ripped off.  Dumb , really dumb.  Privatize this one.

Ocracoker but not O'cocker

Thanks to Pop’s Raw Bar for beach access fundraiser

Hatteras Island neighbors and visitors packed Pop’s Raw Bar, Sunday, Nov. 21 to support beach access. It was a beautiful fall day for a fundraiser with warm temperatures and a light northeast breeze.

The beach access fundraiser was arranged and organized by Buxton business owners, Ollie Jarvis of Dillon’s Corner, Kevin Morris of Quality Pools, and Jack Quidley of Pop’s Raw Bar.
The business community donated items for the auction and door prizes. David Owens of Assateague Mobile Sportsmen Association did a professional job of auctioning the fundraiser items. Local musicians, Jack Quidley Jr., Leo Jennette, and Michael Hooper of the band “Jones Potion” entertained the crowd all afternoon.

Special recognition goes to Pop’s Raw Bar manager Heather Brushwood and her staff and legion of volunteers. They did a masterful job of orchestrating this event. It should be noted that many of her staff donated their tips back to the fundraiser.

The fundraiser reflects public concerns for protection of island traditions, culture, and a historical way of life. More than $6,300 was raised for the Outer Banks Preservation Association’s legal efforts for beach access. Be sure to stop by Pop’s, Quality Pools, and Dillon’s Corner to express your appreciation for their support.

John B. Couch
President, Outer Banks Preservation Association


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