February 2010 Letters to the Editor

New Letters to the Editor....02.28.2010 5:15 pm

It was a girl, and then another girl!

Molly Rose is my third cousin, twice removed.  What a great story for our family tree!

Joel Rose
Buffalo, N.Y.

Hi, Irene, and all other readers.  A nurse-midwife is moving to the island in April/May. I have had a homebirth practice in the western part of North Carolina since 1991.  I am looking forward to being of help to families in the area.

Karen Benfield-Dea
Taylorsville, N.C.

Only on Hatteras!  Congratulations to parents and babies!  What a great story!

Donna Peele

We are so excited that our new baby cousin, Molly Rose, made it safely into the world, thanks to the quick thinking of everyone involved.  And, of course, we are so happy that Jane, John, Johnny and Molly are all doing well.  What a story to tell!  Congratulations to the other family as well. Love from New Jersey!

Lisa K.
Bayonne, N.J.

What an amazing experience for the parents, and what a story Molly Rose will be able to tell about the beginnings of her island life!

Hannah Williams Dunanavt
Chesapeake, Va.

La Fogata Is Coming To Hatteras Island

I am so excited for this. This is like a dream come true! See you super duper soon!

Chloe Dale

This is the BEST.  My husband and I have frequented La Fogata often and now will be able to enjoy it on the island.  We'll miss the Margaritas, but they are only an hour away.  Thanks.

Stella Vine
Kents Store, Va.

Park Service releases annual reports for protected species on the seashore

Any follow up info on the depth and success of the investigations of the violations or does the Park Service not differentiate on that data either? Do they just go out, take pictures, and enlarge the enclosures to punish one group,.regardless of who perpetrated the "violation"?

Hawk Hawkins
Mechanicsville, Va.

After reading this, it is clear that management of the park under the consent decree by the Audubon Society and their NPS lackeys has not resulted in any benefit to the wildlife.

Steve Coleman
Severna Park, Md.

Outer Banks fishermen are heading to Washington, D.C.

As a dedicated fisherman in the surf of Hatteras, I support the drive to keep the fishing access open on the beaches of the Outer Banks.

Joanne Love
Baltimore, Md.

Record of decision on Bonner Bridge replacement is delayed again

As a property owner on the Outer Banks, I find it hard to understand how public officials can take so long to make a decision that affects the safety of the citizens of North Carolina and visitors alike.  As a citizen, I am equally discouraged with the politics-as-usual that seems to afflict those who are supposed to have the interests of their constituencies above their own re-elections.

Jane Obernesser
Colorado Springs, Colo.

State Sen. Marc Basnight urges support of bill to overturn consent decree

Is there anything I can do to help this cause? This shouldn't be a political problem even though the governor is more polarized than ever. Sherrod Brown is my senator, and I would be glad to send him a letter if you think it would help. Thanks.  Free the beaches.

Bob Oliver
Newport, Ohio

My family has enjoyed the beauty and recreation of Hatteras for 35-plus years. We respect the wildlife there but also want to continue to have access to the beaches and support the residents of The Outer Banks. Without beach access, there will be no income for the folks there and that would be as horrific as losing the wildlife, if not worse. Please let the vacationers of Hatteras know what we can do to support the island and its residents.

Suzann A. Hash
Earlysville, Va.

More beach access issues

To me the answer is clear. Provide open access with minimal closures. We all know tons of those birds nest outside of park boundaries. But fishermen trade access for release only, baited circle hooks only, and tighter bag and size restrictions on fish inside the park. The birds are still protected. They win. Conservation wins. Hatteras wins. Fishermen win. Just do that, and crack down on speeders and reckless drivers on the beach, and we can coexist for generations like that.

Parker Yost
Pfafftown, N.C.

No beach access --  then I’m going to a state that will allow it.   Sorry North Carolina but you leave no choice.

Barry White
Tuckerton, N.J.

My family has lived and worked on Hatteras Island since the 1500s. If our beaches are closed, we along with 90 percent of the people here will lose their income, as without our beaches there will be no tourists. What is more important -- birds or people?  

Joan O’Neal

Once in a while some off-the-wall group of self-absorbed environmental protectionists focuses on the North Carolina Outer Banks to exercise their indignation towards how our beaches are managed. Twenty-five years ago, I attended a meeting where it was proposed that the beaches should be closed to protect the piping plover.
 I commented at the time that closing the beaches would not provide protection and that to prevent public access and return the beaches exclusively to the birds would defeat the whole concept of the national seashore as being a place where people could observe wildlife and enjoy the natural surroundings.
Once again, we are visited with so-called experts pretending concern over one of America's finest beaches and wildlife preserves. One has to wonder about the motive behind such concern. We did not see these people rush to protect our beaches when a recent storm blasted a 300-yard gap in Highway 12 on Hatteras Island -- or when storms overwash our beaches destroying natural and human habitation. So one is not surprised when it becomes evident that private development is behind this recent interest in our beach wildlife,
Back in the 1930s when the WPA created our dune system that widened and stabilized our beaches to prevent shoreline erosion, they also created a unique nesting area for countless species. In celebration of our rights as citizens, Woody Guthrie wrote "This land is your land. This land is my land" and now we have to consider that what he really meant was "This land is only to be available for the exclusively rich and powerful who are protected from 'We the People' by self- righteous protectionists and their in-pocket judges."
I wonder what would happen if "We the people" would form a human barrier to prevent the intrusion on our beaches by self-serving, profit-motivated groups intent privatizing the beaches and dunes provided and maintained by our taxes. It is time to set up the moral barriers to prevent the theft of our rights and our children's heritage.
Generations of Bankers, from the original settlers, through shipwreck, discovery and migration from all over America and the world, have chosen to make this area their home and to share equally with the local wildlife the joys of living at the beach. I know of no one who would seek to deliberately remove or destroy any wildlife habitat in this community, except those who would use the courts to preserve the Outer Banks exclusively for wealthy developers.
I, for one, am willing to place my overweight 73-year-old body in the way of such self-serving protectionist’s intent in converting the Outer Banks into some rich guy's private preserve. They have Montana, the Northwest, and Arizona. How much more do they want?
Terry S. Gannon,
Kill Devil Hills

Bodie Island and Ocracoke lights will be turned off for renovation work

Thank you for your hard work. We visit every year, sometimes three times a year. I look forward to seeing the beautiful sights again. Will the Bodie Light be available to climb once the renovations are complete? Thank you for making these places available to us.

Casey Noles
Iron Station, N.C.

(Editor’s Note:  Yes, the Bodie Island Lighthouse will be open to the public to climb in the future when the renovations are complete.)

50-foot sailboat is stranded in the Avon surf

I spent many wonderful hours sailing on this beautiful boat with the original owner who was an accomplished captain.  It is such a sad sight to see her in this vulnerable condition.  It spent many years in the British Virgin Islands Sag Harbor.  I just saw this story.  What happened?  Was she sold?

Geraldine Spinell
New York, N.Y.

(Go to to get an update on the Gypsy Dane.)

Giving thanks: A photo essay by Don Bowers

How special to be here in New York and view some of the many things that we have seen on our yearly visits to Waves. We so love the island and all the beauty we enjoy there.  Thanks so much for its availability to us as we look forward to next fall.

Marge Shaver
Skaneateles, N.Y.

A heart-felt thank you and appreciation

On Jan. 13, my husband, Jack M. Hebenstreit, passed away at Sentara Nursing Home in Barco, N.C.  He had been there for 14 days.  Prior to that, his health had been deteriorating at home for three months.  During those three months, Dare County Home Health & Hospice and also Dare County Social Services were of a big help to me.  They would come by twice a week to bathe him and keep him company for two hours.  In between a nurse would come by to check on him.  These people were so kind, compassionate, and caring.  I couldn’t have taken care of him without their help and at this time I wish to thank all of you for your dedicated service.  You were all so wonderful and I will never forget all that you did for him and me. 

I also wish to thank Hatteras Home Care in Avon.  They would come by to give me a break when I needed to be away for more than two hours.  Here again were compassionate, caring, and dedicated people.

Also I wish to thank all of my church family and friends as well for all of your phone calls, flowers, cards, and support during this very difficult time for me.  I am blessed to live on Hatteras Island in Dare County and to have so many wonderful friends giving me so much support.

Again, my heartfelt thanks to everyone.  I will never forget any of you.  I love you all.

Barbara Satterthwaite-Hebenstreit

Condolences to a family

My sincere condolences to Irma Lange's son, Skipper. I lived in one of Irma and Harry's cottages from September, 1974 until June, 1975 while I taught math at Cape Hatteras School.  Prior to that I used to get art supplies at the gift shop Irma ran in front of the cottages. Irma was a nice lady.  It is a few years since my last trip down and most of the people I taught with have moved away.  On my last trip, I ran into a few former students and that was a pleasure to be recognized and hear of their successes.

Lou Wengenroth, IV
Middletown, N.Y.

New Letters to the Editor....02.10.2010 2:20 pm

Saving Serendipity

Thank you so much for all the information you supply in your articles.  I own two homes in Salvo - Rainbow's End and Americana.  My deceased husband (Judge Rowland Barnes, murdered in the courthouse in Atlanta, Ga.) and I built the homes together. I'm sure he is looking down now with a better view of his favorite island.  Thanks for all you do for the citizens of the Outer Banks!

Claudia Barnes
Tyrone, Ga.

Glad she found a new home! I would like to know the person’s name handling the bookings for vacations, and the phone number. We are there two weeks a year would like to rent her for a week!

Lehighton, Pa.

(Serendipity is being managed by Vacation Traditions in Rodanthe.  You can get contact information from the company’s ad on The Real Estate and Business Page.)

Sad to see that icon go. We always felt as if we were approaching the "Emerald City" on seeing Serendipity heading south from Nags Head. Guess it is better this way than by a storm! Well, after all, maybe it will be beachfront once again. Hey to all our friends on the OBX.

Linda & Jim Jereb
Sebastian, Fla.

Long live Serendipity!

John  Paolino
Mansfield Depot, Conn.

Like millions of people, I was fascinated by this whimsical property when I saw the movie. I didn't know it was in such danger. How wonderful that some people stepped forward to purchase it and move it to safety, so that people can continue to enjoy vacationing in the house for many years to come. I hope they will receive a good return on their investment! Thanks for the interesting video.

Lynda Hendrell
Tucson, Ariz.

Awesome! I am so thankful it was saved. Love it.

Rhonda Oldland
Aynor, S.C.

Picking and singing on winter evenings keep Ocracoke’s music heritage alive

Another great article. Keep up the good work of making history come alive.   Thanks.

Swannanoa, N.C.

A welcome surprise for islanders: Bay scallop season is now open

The DMF should be applauded doing another assessment of the scallop stock. This is a very fine example of how common sense should be used in managing all fisheries.

Paul Rudar
Midland, Pa.


Patricia Peele
Hatteras, N.C.

Hatteras seafood dealer makes it to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro

Jeff, great job!  Well done.  What an interesting place to place your banner, at the top of the world.  Welcome back.

Ben Bunn
New Bern, N.C.

Way to go. We are so happy for you and the cause for which you stand.  Just one more thing the government needs to keep its nose out of and let the fisherman police themselves. Congratulations!

Ruth and Virgil Winslow
Hampton, Va.

Jeff, congratulations on your success!  Wow ! What a "bucket list" accomplishment!  

Cheryl Gresham (Tinky's friend)
Hampton, Va.

Hometown boy captures the attention of the surfing world in Hawaii event

Congratulations, Brett! You have made the entire Right Coast proud.

Jim Brown
Baltimore, Md.

Record of decision on Bonner Bridge replacement is delayed again

Viewed from the outside, this is becoming nothing more than a joke.

Allen Mizell
Stephens City, Va.

I would like for the residents of Manteo, Nags Head, and Kitty Hawk to imagine what it would be like to have a grandchild in their car, and need an exit strategy because they had to cross a bridge in the condition of Bonner? Why are the state and federal government spending tens of millions of dollars each year dredging Oregon Inlet? If the "do nothing policy" applies to Hatteras and Bonner Bridge, why doesn't it apply to dredging the inlet? What about the free ferries in North Carolina? Tens of millions every year! We are the only place along the Eastern Seaboard without beach nourishment in place. Do all the other states not have environmental concerns or are we just the lucky ones who house Derb Carter and Orin Pilkey?

Carol Dillon Dawson

We have been coming to the outer banks for over 20 years and have been increasingly concerned with bridge and do not understand the constant delays on the replacement.  We no longer feel that we are visitors since we are there every year for over a month at a time. Safety of the local people and the visitors should be of the utmost concern. We were there when this last storm happened and were lucky because we left on Tuesday before the road was impassable. We love the area and would like to see the safety of people being considered. Thank you.

William & Dolores Clay
New Springfield, Ohio

My/our interest in the Bonner Bridge replacement is obviously only as tourists -- those horrible beings who get in the way of locals in just about every activity from fishing in the surf to driving on Highway 12.We just don't know how to do it properly. However, like it or not, that's how your local economy has evolved and to try and change it, in my opinion, would be catastrophic to the local economy. I don't think $25 each way tolls would be conducive to increasing tourism. But, you know, reading about the stalling and procrastinating and the offering of this route or that route are snapshots of what seems to be happening in every part of the United States and Canada.

I think, just as children produce wish lists at Christmas, so varying interest groups have their wish lists. In many cases it is hard to argue with these diverging factions because who doesn't want to save a turtle or a plover or a species of fish? Extinction seems a terrible word but it’s been going on since the beginning of time. However, if we are all inflexible in our wishes, as you are seeing with the Bonner Bridge, nothing gets done to everyone's detriment.

The "Grand Schemes" need to be tempered with rationality and fiscal responsibility, and I think our elected representatives need to be reminded of that from time to time. Is it better to demonstrate a little flexibility and accomplish part of what you want, than to dig in you heels and accomplish none of what you want?

Dare County is not alone in this nor is North Carolina or the United States of America. This mindset is just as established in Canada, Europe, and much of the rest of the world. Dare County, this is your opportunity to serve as an example on how to get things done in an affordable, sensitive, sensible manner. Getting things done is all about building bridges not putting up road blocks. Please, all join hands and build a bridge.

John Piper
Ottawa, Ontario

Outer Banks Angling: No winter blues on the islands; instead it’s a winter blitz

Wish I were there instead of enjoying a huge snow storm.

J.D. Bartley
Mt. Airy, N.C.

U.S. Geological Survey coastal erosion study is coming to Cape Point

I have this sick feeling in my stomach that this study is not a good thing....I fear what ever data they capture will be spinned/used to shut the beaches down.  Hope I am wrong.

Scott Lambright
Virginia Beach, Va.


Is the beach erosion study at Cape Point going to result in the beach being closed to ORV traffic?

Nancy Hall
Martinsville, Va.

(Editor’s Note:  No, the beach will not be closed to ORVs.)

Three rod-and-reel combinations will cover most beach fishing situations

Exactly the information I needed to plan for our trip in May .Thanks!

Brooksville, Fla.

New Web site will focus on Outer Banks news

Although I don't reside on the Outer Banks, I love vacationing there a few times a year. I look forward to any local information I receive from e-mails from Island Free Press. This new site is going to be wonderful! Keep up the great work.

T. M.  Staples
Newton, N.J.

(The new site is The Outer Banks Voice,

Giving Thanks: A photo essay

How special to be here in New York and view some of the many things which we have seen on our yearly visits to Waves.  We so love the island and all the beauty we enjoy there. Thanks so much for its availability to us as we look forward to next fall.

Marge Shaver
Skaneateles, N.Y.

State Sen. Marc Basnight urges support of bill to overturn consent decree

If the beaches at Cape Point and Hatteras Inlet are shut down year round, it will cause an economic collapse of Hatteras Island.  We have already suffered greatly in the loss of our most popular beaches in the spring and summer. The very reason most of us live here is out of our love of these locations.  Cape Point in the summer is one of the most beautiful places on Earth.  The Gulf Stream and Labrador currents meet sending beautiful waves headlong into each other, creating a series of islands and rivers ever changing in shape but always majestic. 

The Point and Inlet are the reason many visitors come to the island and have now stopped due to the beach closures.  Cape Point being closed in the fall months will destroy our poor economy even more.  The bird people do not care how much they have hurt us and sacrifice nothing themselves.   People have lived on Hatteras Island year round for over 1,500 years, going back to the earliest Croatoan Indians.  Therefore, the presence of people on these beaches has been constant for that long, making people a part of the ecosystem.  People, raccoons, foxes, minks, otters, and geese have all been frequenting Cape Point for over a thousand years.  It is not just our home but our homeland.  Today, all of the indigenous animals I just listed are being systematically murdered by the Park Service with devices such as leg traps, poison gas, and shotguns, so that this non-indigenous bird has a better chance.  How can a bird that is neither endangered nor indigenous to the island be granted sole domain over such vast stretches of our most popular beaches by people who do not live here and are not affected by the decision?  How can they coldly sit back and ignore what they have done to the people of Hatteras and Ocracoke? 

The Audubon Society has done a good job of NEVER mentioning the killing of all the other animals on Hatteras and Ocracoke islands that has gone on as a result of their bird obsession.  They never mention how people were banned from even walking down the beach or how much it killed the island's economy.  Instead, they have spun it into a beach driving issue and will not even hold meetings on Hatteras or Ocracoke Islands anymore.  They don't want to look the people in the eyes whose lives they have crushed and certainly don't want to hear from us.
The basis for the closures is unscientific, not subject to peer review and highly inaccurate.  An executive order going back to President Nixon asked that the Park Service provide a plan for ORV traffic on the beaches, and in over 40 years the Park Service never did.  Because of this negligence on the behalf of the Park Service (which stole most of the land from private property owners with eminent domain in the first place) our beaches were shut down, our animals murdered, and our economy devastated until they came up with a plan, which they still haven't. 

Judges cannot create a law. They can only interpret the law.  It was only recently that this new and obscure interpretation of an executive order (which is not a law) by a judge, who has had many decisions overturned for being unconstitutional, brought on all the problems.  

A consent decree was drawn up to close the beaches and our county commissioners were intimidated into signing it under threat of having all the beaches  closed year round, which Audubon is now still pushing for.  Strong arming a government to do something against their will by tactics of fear is an act of terrorism and Audubon should be sent to Gitmo.  They could not have closed the beaches without a legislative body to sign onto it, and our commissioners dropped the ball and they know it.  The best thing they can do now is admit they were wrong to sign the decree and make it a 24/7 objective to rid our beaches of such organizations that seek to destroy our lives, kill our animals, and rob us of our liberties with their pseudoscience, lobbyist money, and complete disregard and disrespect of the people of the Outer Banks as well as those who frequent here. 

It is time for the county to step up and fight, to right what is wrong and what they unwittingly had a hand in.  Get the facts together, hire good lawyers, and fight back. As a historian, I do not want to be remembered as the apathetic generation that lost the beach and let these cowardly puppies swoop in and steal our liberty. 
If the county needs to know exactly how many foxes and otters were murdered as a result of the beach closure, I am sure the local newspapers can help dig that information up.  If you want to get good figures on how bad it hurt the economy, go talk to the local businesses.  Whatever it is that is needed to build a case to open the beaches, I am sure the public will help but we need leaders.  As representatives of the county, you are our community leaders.   I beg of you to work with the people, be leaders and do your jobs, for if we lose these beaches year round we have lost all.

It is time to get focused, come together, and fight back.  Signs and bumper stickers are fine but like a leaking canoe, they only go so far.  We need lawyers, we need the truth to come out, but most of all we need leaders and I am here today like so many others to tell you that if you lead we will follow. 

Scott Dawson

A call to all watermen:  Give us unity or give us death

If all the Watermen of Hatteras Island do not come together, there is one thing that is for sure, we will die together.   There are a lot of folks in the fishing community who hold a grudge for past misdeeds on both sides.  If these grudges cannot be put aside, my friends, we are going to lose it all. 

There has been a tactic of divide and conquer, which the environmentalists have been using for the past several years, and it’s working to perfection.  Commercial fishermen and recreational fishermen have been at each other throats for decades.  The Enviros picked up on this when they launched their attack on beach access, and they have been gaining ground ever since. 

Now you have N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries observers on commercial fishing boats that are funded by, of all people, The Turtle Conservatory Center.  These folks, by the way, are in bed with the Audubon Society, Southern Environmental Law Center, and several other groups.  These are the same folks that have been stopping the building of the Bonner Bridge for the past 20 years.

Ten years ago I started telling folks to get involved, get together, we can stop this thing.  I told folks that their beloved Cape Point was about to be closed. I was told I was crazy and I quote, “They will never close Cape Point.”

Well, folks they have. 

Five years ago I started telling folks about Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), vast areas of the ocean closed to access – no fishing, no diving, no boating, no nothing. Again I was looked at like I was crazy and told that that would never happen. 

Well, folks, here we are, and it’s happening at light speed.   People have just not put all the pieces of the puzzle together.  They see all these issues as separate issues, when they are all interwoven, and have all the same players, from all the same organizations.  

These people are not sportsmen or outdoorsmen. They are lawyers, out to make a quick buck at any cost.  They never go outside. They sit in air-conditioned offices, counting their money and laughing at us.  Why?  Because we play right into their hands with all the infighting amongst ourselves. We have made it easy for them.

If all of us could come together and put our differences aside, we could fend off all their attacks.  The bridge would be built, the beach would be open, there would be no talk of net bans, or MPAs. Life as we have known it would be good again. 

What everyone forgets is that the people who work for DMF and NOAA are paid by us, the taxpayers. We are paying to cut our own throats, and the lawyers are laughing all the way to the bank. 

The beach was the easiest cherry on the tree to pick. The groups that sued knew the commercial fishermen would not come to our aid because of past misdeeds, by some of the players on the recreational side. Once we are gone from the beach, they well go after the oceanfront homeowners, and all of a sudden special birds will be found right behind oceanfront homes, and those beaches s will be closed as well. 

The environmental groups have the beach about wrapped up and now they are focusing their attention on the ocean and the sounds. 

There is no reason to rebuild any bridge, if the intent is to close Hatteras Island to human access. 

In the world of government, in which I worked for 11 years, it is quite simple. The answer “no” requires no work.  Don’t worry. They will still get their paychecks. They will just have to do no work for it.    

Give us unity or give us death.

John  A. Mortensen,  aka “JAM”
The Roost Bait and Tackle
Teach’s Lair Marina

Negotiated rulemaking ends with no consensus

This may not be the correct forum to comment on the situation going on at a place I call heaven, but after reading everything I am forced to. Do all these people live down there? If not, they should not be in the meetings period.

I have been bringing my family down to the Outer Banks for over 25 years now. My family and I believe that it is the most beautiful place within the United States. I am an animal lover as well as a fisherman.  I drive on the beach as well as watch out for all the wildlife. I clean up after us and make certain that I clean up after others if they are stupid enough to leave something behind (on my beach).

I take my family to this place to see the wonders of nature and the beauty it beholds. I love North Carolina and the Outer Banks. I respect the wonder of it all, and the people who live there. However, without people like me who bring our families down there like others have done years before, all what you have now would be gone. If everyone that lives down there year round said "no more," then I would agree. If the citizens decided that they did not want tourists like me and my family and so many others to stop coming and stay away this would be fine. Because it was their choice!

However, I do not believe this is the case. People are trying to survive, raise kids, make a home, all the normal things -- just like me. They would have to move away from the place I am sure they love as much as I do if tourism were to stop. The schools and businesses that all the people own down there would close. 

I believe that we all should take this seriously and stiffly control growth so you do not have another Ocean City Md., Virginia Beach or some other place that is not even close to the beauty of the OBX. However, squeezing every one so tight is not the correct thing either. There has to be a happy medium. I think Dare County is doing a fine job balancing everything out to their best interest -- because it is theirs after all. When it come down to it, they are the ones who have to decide what is best for them.

I love turtles and birds. However they do not pay the mortgage or put food on the table for my kids. If everyone who lives down there has made enough money that they do not want my family to come back, which will hurt me deeply, just let me know.

Are these special interest groups from the OBX? If not, they should butt out -- period. It might be a federal park that belongs to all of us, but we do not live there. It is not our home -- period.

Put it to a vote for all who live down there either part-time (property owners) or full-time and let them decide what is best.

I am off my soap box now. Thanks for reading.

John Marshall
Nokesville, Va.

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