Commentary

July 2010 Letters to the Editor

New Letters to the Editor....07.29.2010 2:15 pm

General Assembly approves rental tax increase

As and oceanfront motel owner on Hatteras Island, I am writing this letter taking serious exception to the notion that I should require my patrons to sponsor my competition on the upper beaches (mainly Nags Head) by adding another 1 percent  to my occupancy tax for the purpose of renourishing their beaches.   And all of that ignores whether I believe in beach renourishment or not.  The truth is I thought the county had put this to rest a few years back with the referendum vote, but  that was obviously not the case.

In the case of Hatteras Island businesses, each and every one of you should be up in arms over this tax whether you are in the hospitality business or not. Why, you ask?  Well, first off there comes a point when people will say enough is enough, and since we are now going to be subject to the maximum occupancy tax allowed by the state, we may be there.  Secondly, what happens to Hatteras Island if down the road we find an issue that requires us to raise needed monies for our own benefit?  We won’t then be allowed to pass it on to our patrons because we are already taxed to the max -- sponsoring the upper beaches.  And finally, in this economy, many of our businesses have been marginalized as is and unable to raise our own rates (especially in Hatteras village since Isabel).  Forget that now!

I have been told that Hatteras Island will get a percentage of these monies equal to our tax base (27 percent), but I think we all know where it will end up.  Does anybody logically think the Park Service is going to allow beach renourishment on our south beaches when we can’t even get to them because of a plover or a turtle nest? 

But the real kicker was this.  I was told that a fund was being set up to also help in the demolition of derelict properties.  In other words, if a cottage washes down on Hatteras Island or the upper beaches and is abandoned by the owner, monies from this fund will be used  in the demolition of the said property.  But wait a minute, what’s wrong with this picture?  The upper beaches will be renourishing in front of their properties, so that should not be a problem.  On the other hand, we on Hatteras Island are being taxed to help tear down our tax base.   That seems to run contrary to the stated  goal listed in the Federal Register, which says the purpose of the project is to restore the beach, replace sand lost during erosion, and to protect Dare’s property values and tax base.

Also in The Coastland Times on July 22, it states that public comment will be taken until the 26th  in the Federal Register -- or four short days.  It also states that after a satisfactory comment period, the permit can be issued and that the engineers are not anticipating any “decision changing comment.”  When I asked our local commissioner on July 23 when the Dare County Board of Commissioners was going to take public comment on this, he stated that they would not be meeting until August at the earliest.  In other words, they have taken a page out of the National Marine Fisheries Service that routinely enacts laws while they are still taking public comment.

The bottom line is this: Hatteras Island has enough issues of its own from our bridge replacement, our roads, our beach access, etc. without having to take care of our northern neighbors.   Since the northern beaches seem to be able to find millions to build a fishing pier and bike paths, they also ought to be able to find $20 million or more to protect their beach without knocking on my door.   If the county is not going to dedicate Hatteras Island’s share of this tax for Hatteras Island, then we’d be fools to support it -- not that it looks like we have much choice.

And people wonder why there is a tea party movement.

Jeff Oden
Hatteras



Legal action taken to block development on Audubon land

I opened my local newspaper, The Daily Times out of Salisbury, Md., this Sunday morning to a very interesting article in the regional news section.

Audubon Society sells Eastern Shore wildlife sanctuary

EASTON (AP)--The National Audubon Society has sold an Eastern Shore wildlife sanctuary to a former Anne Arundel County executive who plans to raise organic cattle and hay there.  The 950-acre waterfront estate near Bozman in Talbot County was once a hunting preserve for the DuPont family. Jean Ellen duPont Shehan donated it to Audubon 13 years ago to be a nature preserve.  The sale announced Friday to Robert Pascal came after the Audubon Society fell short on funds to maintain the estate and wanted to focus on other programs. The sale price wasn't disclosed. Assessments valued the land and six homes at $8.5 million.

Hmmm, could the "mighty" Audubon Society be crumbling?

Sandie Perry
Delmar, Md.




UPDATE: Hatteras-based Citation disqualified in Big Rock; local captains criticize decision

The rule said all must have a valid North Carolina fishing license. It didn't matter if you played checkers or chess! They broke rule.

The lawyer’s comment about federal/state waters is irrelevant.

The mate knew he was wrong, when he supposedly made call during fighting of fish. Previously said, he made call and got license on way in. Sad for all!  Bottom line, just man up and take it. You created the mess for everyone! Lawyers will probably end up with most of the winnings!

Wesley Deal
Greenville, N.C.




Speakers urge action on bridge, but another environmental study may be necessary

I agree that you guys need a new bridge.   I visit yearly down there and really think that a new bridge is much needed.

Susan  Moore
Salem, Va.


I don't understand why environmentalists value birds more than humans. I respect and value nature, but replacing the bridge has become a matter of safety for the thousands of people who cross it. These environmental groups are extreme in their views. The government should stand up to these groups, especially when public safety is at risk. Build the bridge before something catastrophic happens. How would you feel if you lived on Cape Hatteras? These barrier islands were developed because the government opened them up for tourism. Now the environmentalists challenge everything.

Replace the bridge now. It's the right thing to do.

Wanda Dennis
Hebron, Md.


The government decisions that the present Oregon Inlet bridge plan does not meet federal regulations makes it seem as if environmental groups can't kill the economy of Hatteras Island one way, they have found another way to do it. Bah, humbug, to all the environmental Scrooges.

Mary Hughes Becker
Winslow, Ind.


Public comment period is open on proposed public boating access at Hatteras


The area you have proposed for a boat ramp does not belong to bureaucrats. It belongs to the local people. It is a safe place for my great-grandson to swim. He tells everybody it is his private beach. Therefore, you cannot build a ramp on this piece of property.

Robert Scarborough
Hatteras



Jones introduces bill to end appalling misuse of NOAA fisheries law enforcement fund

This is another case of greed and graft by another group of people preying on the American taxpayer. Our government is quick to go after the wrong people (Border Patrol and governors trying to protect their citizens) and too slow to go after their own people who fail to pay taxes and then steal money from the law abiding people who do. I say let the firing, fines, and jail terms begin.

Tim Rohr
Sharpsburg, Md.



Historic shipwreck moves to Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum in Hatteras village


This is so exciting!  Thanks for the pictures, Donnie!  I'm so proud that the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum got the relic and we'll be able to see it soon!  Such an exciting and important discovery!

Nancy Lee Foster
Hatteras


What a coordinated effort by a lot of different people and agencies. I miss Hatteras Island and the wonderful people there. The history there on your island is truly amazing, as well as your dedication to preserve it!

Chief Boatswain's Mate Erik Watson, USCG
Bodega Bay, Calif.


Great article. Thank you. There is one clarification: Barnhill is moving the wreck from its present location to the road where it will be loaded on a flatbed truck.

The flatbed truck and drivers to transport the wreck to Hatteras are being provided by the National Park Service Cape Hatteras National Seashore. As you point out, this is very much a community effort and we are most grateful for all the help.

Joseph Schwarzer
Executive Director
Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum
Hatteras



Guest Column: Should the plastic-bag ban be extended to all Outer Banks businesses?

Although we are simply regular visitors to Hatteras Island and not residents, we would fully support the ban on the use of all plastic bags on the Outer Banks.

Jeff Zeller
Myerstown, Pa.


Coast Guard and good Samaritans rescue three fishermen from sinking boat off Ocracoke

Keep up the good work, BZ Hatteras/Ocracoke!

Erik Watson, BMC
Bodega Bay, Calif.



Cape Point re-opens to off-road vehicles

This is nice for the visitors and residents now, but the area was totally closed for the two weeks we were there. This was very discouraging for those of us who visit yearly -- only to face another closing to pedestrians. Our national seashore is open to birds but not the taxpayers who support it.

Melanie
Cincinnati, Ohio



Outdoor markets bring local food and crafts to Hatteras Island

I find it great that a local farmer can still have a market for his goods here on the island. On the other hand, it is utterly despicable that Dare County is still groveling to the fish markets here that know that if it were legal, people could just sell fish direct from their catches, rather than have to go through the fish markets and pay the mark up.

Alexy Abdo
Frisco



Checking up on Frisco Tackle

We have been coming to Outer Banks for the last 11 years, and we would stop at Frisco Tackle until it was closed. They were such nice people. We would just stop to chat with them. We are wondering if they were the same Jack and Lovie listed in your obituaries? We read your paper all the time and just love Frisco and Hatteras. We are coming this Sept. 25.

Linda Smith
Landisburg, Pa.

(Editor’s Note:  Yes, Jack and Lovie Leatherwood, owners of Frisco Tackle for many years, have passed away.  The store has new owners, Bobby and Beverly Cox.  You should stop in and welcome them.)




Serendipity:  Relocated, renovated, redecorated, and ready for the rest of its life

It looks fantastic! Good luck to the new owners.

Joanne Szmodis
Hellertown, Pa.



Visitor thinks Outer Banks needs emergency pet care


My family and I have been spending one week every summer in Avon for the last 12 years.  Every year, we look forward to our week on the Outer Banks.  This year we started off in high spirits.  However, after our experiences this year, I am not sure if we will feel up to returning. 

About noon on Saturday, July 10, while driving east on I-64 in Virginia, my fiancÚ and I were rear-ended.  The accident left minor damage to our truck and no apparent physical damage to either of us or our 2-year-old English bulldog, Farley.  We resumed our trip and made it to the farm stand in Grandy, where we stop each year to buy fresh produce.  Farley seemed a bit overheated, so we moved him so that he would be closer to the air-conditioning vents in the truck. 

A few miles into the remainder of our journey (which was more like half an hour due to the bumper to bumper traffic on U.S. 158 on Saturdays in the summer), Farley began to struggle to breath.  We used two different cell phones to try to contact a veterinarian who could help us.  We tried five different vets, and each one gave us a recording sending us to an emergency vet in Virginia – at least two hours away.  When we contacted the emergency vet, we asked if there was anybody closer who could help us since Farley’s breathing was getting weaker and weaker.  The person who answered the phone at the emergency vet said all we could do was get him there and then they could help us.  We asked if there was something we could do to help him in the meantime.  Again, we were told that they would try to help Farley when we got him there.  I cannot express how deeply frustrated and panicked we were at this time.

Out of desperation, we pulled into the Lower Currituck Volunteer Fire Department.  We knew that firefighters’ training and responsibilities are all focused on humans, but we hoped that there was something they could do.  I can only imagine what the two firemen who were at the station imagined when the saw a hysterical woman jumping from a barely stopped pick-up truck into pouring rain shouting, “Please help us!  My dog’s not breathing!”

 The firefighters did not hesitate.  One readied some equipment and the other felt for a pulse.  Unfortunately, it was too late to save Farley.  These firefighters were so kind.  They let us have some time with Farley and offered their condolences.   They helped us wrap him in a sheet and gave us advice as to what we should do next.  I regret that I do not know their names – they may have told us but we were too distraught to recall anything they may have told us. I would have liked to thank them.

In the meantime, a vet located in Kitty Hawk called us back saying that they would be open until about 5:30 or 6.  It was deeply troubling to find that this particular vet has a mobile unit that might have been dispatched to treat Farley off site.  We left Farley’s body at the vet’s in Kitty Hawk until we could figure out what to do with him.  After talking with our vet at home, we decided to have Farley cremated while on the Outer Banks so that we could bring his ashes home with us. 

The vet that was housing Farley’s body could not get his ashes back before Tuesday of the following week.  Since we would no longer be in Avon, the person we were talking to explained that Farley’s ashes would be mailed to us through the U.S. Postal Service.  This seemed a disrespectful way to treat a beloved family member.  We searched the Internet and found the Outer Banks Pet Funerals and Cremations.  Chris Stoessner was able to make arrangements for Farley to be cremated and returned to us within just a few days.  Chris offered compassion and kindness during a terribly sad time for us.  I recommend that visitors and residents alike use Chris’ services.

With the huge number of visitors to the Outer Banks each year, many with pets, I cannot imagine that situations similar to ours have not arisen in the past and will not occur in the future.  We suggest that there be a more efficient means to receiving emergency pet care while traveling to, traveling from, and during visits to the Outer Banks.  There is a need for a hotline that can connect pet owners with veterinarians in a timely manner.  It would be helpful if first aid advice could be given, just as it would be when a human being calls 911.

While we love the Outer Banks, losing Farley the way we did has changed the way we look at the area, and we are unsure we will be able to return.  It is likely that other visitors who experience something similar will also question whether or not to return to the area.

Michelle Vealey
Catonsville, Md.





New Letters to the Editor....07.14.2010 4:30
pm


SELC demands more night driving restrictions and local groups offer rewards in aftermath of sea turtle death

The people-haters are in no position to demand anything. I agree with others that they are the ones responsible for the death of an animal on the endangered species list, and if anyone is to be penalized, it should be them. I have spent many wonderful nights out on the shore, fishing and stargazing and have yet to see any evidence of people intentionally or accidentally hurting wildlife. Until the people-haters came along just about everyone respected the beaches and what lived there. Now, since all the controversy and restrictions, it has become politicized, and people are taking out their frustrations on the beaches and wildlife, which is deplorable, but well within human nature. I demand that the restrictions be eased or eliminated for the sake of the wildlife and the beaches. Return peace to the Outer Banks. Dump the people-haters and their judge.

Bert Smith
Richmond, Va.


Our family was very upset to read about the acts of vandalism near Rodanthe and the awful death of a nesting female loggerhead.  Not only is the turtle’s death an awful loss, but all her eggs were lost as well.  We totally agree that a lockdown of the beach for night driving would not keep those who intend to break the law from doing so.   We still adamantly support the beaches being open.  Why not implement a law where all beach drivers must purchase a license and use the monies to pay for more park rangers to uphold these laws or enlist volunteers to patrol the nesting areas?  I'm sure many visitors to Hatteras and Ocracoke would support that idea.  So many of us love these islands as a second home and vacation spot and love the wildlife and marine life as well that you could be sure we would pay to drive the beaches in the form of a beach driving license.

Chyerl Youtz
Lebanon, Pa.


Could someone direct me to a list of corporations that donate to the National Audubon Society?  I want to stop buying their products.  The National Audubon Society is belligerent in its actions (using the courts to enforce their will) and inconsistent.  They should be in Louisiana doing something about birds covered in oil or in California at Altamont Pass where the windmill power generators kill 10,000 birds a year, including breeds on the endangered species list. (www.usatoday.com/news/nation/environment/2009-09-21-wind-farms_N.htm).

They can't even prove that what they are doing in Hatteras has any benefit.  A certainty is that it is having a devastating impact on humans in the area.  What a terrible shame!

Also, it seems to be extremely unfair to all of the population to suffer larger buffer areas due to the act of a vandal.  We (the public) cannot control the actions of vandals, but we are punished for it.  For a judge to grant this seems incomprehensible!

David Jones
Ramsey, N.J.




Park Service seeking driver of ORV that crushed loggerhead on Ocracoke

I have been to the island several times and the people are wonderful. But when things happen like this, it really shows the (jerks) who live among us. It disturbs me that anyone would be that negligent and irresponsible to run over a turtle. What did it do? Run out in front of them like an animal on the roadside? Acts of this nature should be handled with severe punishment.


Rickey Bedsaul
Ennice, N.C.


Running over sea turtles?  I, too, want to see the beaches free and open. We have a rental property here.  But what has been happening lately is a real shame.  Does anyone realize that one of the main attractions in this part of the Outer Banks is the wildlife and the beautiful beaches?  Obviously not, since we always seem to be cleaning up plastic and glass and beer cans, etc.  We fish all the time and we clean up when we leave a spot. There have been quite a few times in recent years that we cleaned up after other "fishemen," and if you say anything to them, well, let’s just say that they aren't very nice.  This year we see the signs that say "save our economy” and “open the beaches." Look around you. Everyone's economy is really suffering, but it has nothing to do with the beaches being closed. It has to do with the state of the world. 

Not everyone drives on the beach or fishes.  They come here for the beauty and the quiet and the wildlife.  Whoever keeps destroying it will only make things worse, not better.  And the people who think that this is some type of government conspiracy to prove their point are as crazy as the people that are doing the vandalism.  Maybe everyone, including the people who live here, should work together to preserve the natural beauty that attracts people to this area.  Cater to the people that want peace and quiet, rather than the typical beachgoers.  There are tons of resort beaches but not tons of areas like here. 

Lisa Adams
Reading, Pa.


Audubon opening door for high-density project on northern Outer Banks

Audubon has really exposed itself as a true "sham" organization by seeking the sale of oceanfront land for development. Why is this 14-acre parcel in Corolla not as important to wildlife as is property on the lower Outer Banks? As with most environmental groups, the organization must be a "front" for something more disturbing than we can imagine. Actually, I can imagine. Quite frankly, I'm tired of these groups posing as "protectors" of wildlife!  


Clark Fortney
Stephenson, Va.


NOAA locates U.S. Navy ship sunk in World War II battle

This site is amazing. I have a fond interest in sunken warships. My grandfather, Alvin Scott Gentyzel, served in World War II. He died in 1995, and I found a black-and-white photo of a warship in his basement. I asked if I could have it to remember him. It was in the Guadalcanal and was taken in 1941 by a W.S. Jones. The story was that a ship beside the one in the picture had just sunk. There is some info the photographer wrote on the back of the paper frame that gave the location and type of ship remaining in the picture. Thanks for having such a cool website!


Melissa Tyler
Lock Haven, Pa.



Park Service reports a fourth deliberate violation of a resource closure

Does anyone know how to grab the attention of these violators?  It is obvious that they don't have the education or the class to read Island Free Press. Maybe we can start a suggestion page for finding and educating these folks in their language?

Nancy Johnson
Zebulon, N.C.


Park Service turns down SELC request for stricter night-driving regulations

I don't see Derb or any of his well-heeled cronies ponying up any reward money. Why would they want to fund their mandated decree?

Hawk Hawkins
Mechanicsville, Va.


The erroneous claim by the people haters that the Park Service is responsible for the death of the turtle is not only ridiculous, but intentionally deceptive. If anyone is tangentially responsible for the death, it is a combination of the people haters and their judge. If, as it had been in the past, the people using the beach at night were unrestricted, they probably would have had their lights on and, therefore, seen the turtle crawling across the sand. As it was, because of the restrictions caused by the people haters and their judge, the ORV driver was probably driving with no lights to avoid detection and didn't see the turtle. We have a clear case of cause and effect working here, and I find the people haters and their judge guilty as charged. The long history of ORV drivers on this beach is commendable due to their good sense and caution. They, for the most part, have done little or no harm to the animals in this recreation area, which is much more than I can say for those who have caused and participated in mass killings of resident predators living there, the people haters themselves.

Bert Smith
Richmond, Va.



Pedestrian access to Cape Point reopened; ORV access may come in two weeks


I think there are more plovers because it was the warmest and calmest spring since I have lived here. The weather was very calm from May through now.  We didn't get our usual northeaster in May, and it was one of the best springs ever. The waves were horrible, but that helps the birds because there is no overwash.

Speedy
Avon


There may also be a few more chicks this year at Cape Point because we didn't have a big spring storm with ocean overwash at the Point to flood nesting areas.

Carol Busbey
Buxton


Frisco Pier unlikely to open this year

What if the owners started a "sponsor" drive? Each board could have a sponsor at a certain set price. Maybe larger corporations could sponsor the pilings. I'm sure "vacationers" would LOVE to help get this wonderful spot open again!

Erin Gallagher
Louisa, Va.


Public comment period is open on proposed public boating access at Hatteras


The area you have proposed for a boat ramp does not belong to bureaucrats. It belongs to the local people. It is a safe place for my great-grandson to swim. He tells everybody it is his private beach. Therefore, you cannot build a ramp on this piece of property.

Robert Scarborough
Hatteras


Why are you  prohibited from using personal watercraft on the seashore? They cause much less impact on environment than boats.

Alexander
Milwaukee, Wis.


The Bird Man: Frisco’s Lou Browning has federal approval to minister to birds -- and reptiles

I took a young gannet found this morning on our beach  to Roanoke Island animal clinic. I hope you can rehab it. I left a $40 donation with the young lady at the desk. Thank you for all the good you do. Could you please let me know how it does?

Debra Cyphert
Morgantown, W.Va.


Third annual Carey Fest will be July15 in Rodanthe

Thank you so much for the address which you included to make donations. I am a spring and fall renter with Midgett Realty and enjoy your online newspaper. I am a R.N. from Presbyterian University of Pennsylvania Medical Center in Philadelphia and appreciate the article and pictures. God Bless.

Joyce E. Luff
West Lawn, Pa.


The great Gulf Stream kayak fishing adventure

Great story and great pics.

Dennis Hackler
Wytheville, Va.




2010 Previous Letters to the Editor
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010

March 2010
February  2010

January 2010


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