September  2010 Letters to the Editor

New Letters to the Editor....09.24.2010 5:15 pm

Bike to the Light or Run for Fun --  all for a good cause

Some excellent events coming in October, but why does Kiwanis' Lobster Sale have to conflict with HICF Fun Run? Same as it did last year. But we should note the improvement as the Carey LeSieur Foundation’s Bucket Party, which isn’t the same day as the other two events as was the case in 2009.

This conflict mirrors what we had on Sept 18 when both Day at the Docks and Chicamacomico Banks VFD both scheduled events, and both seem to feel "it doesn’t matter." Well, it does. Maybe old-time locals won’t attend events in other villages (but maybe they might if they had they opportunity), but I can assure you that many of us recent transplants wish we could. We moved here in 2006 and that year we were able to attend both Day at the Docks and the chili cook-off. We loved both. We have subsequently had to make a choice that we would have preferred to avoid.

Come on, planners, get it together (which you obviously have done for your event) and work with other island event planners to make weekends a destination rather than a need to choose between two or three great times.

John Griffin


(Editor’s note:  I think most island organizations try to coordinate their events, but fall is a busy time for all local groups and their fundraisers.  I don’t know what exactly the hours were on the chili cook-off, since I did not get any information, but the Day at the Docks began at 10 a.m. and ended with the Blessing of the Fleet at 6 p.m.  It seems to me that folks could have visited both events over the course of the day.  It’s the same with the lobster sale and the Fun Run.  It seems you can run and pick up your lobster or pick up your lobster and join the Fun Run festivities in progress.)

The sixth annual Day at the Docks gets great weather and great crowds

Loved it -- every word and every photo.  Thanks especially to Lynne and Ernie Foster for originating a tradition anchoring our history, culture, and Hatteras Island past, but making it inclusive of everyone, residents and visitors alike.  I hope it will carry long into the future.

Liz Browning Fox

The schedule for Day at the Docks makes us realize just how much we miss Hatteras when we have to come back to Florida. We wish you good weather and lots of fun for everyone.

Roger and Nancy Marsh
Plantation, Fla.

Farewell to the Frisco Pier?

I feel like I lost an old friend -- and a couple fish, too.

Dick Lorenz
Chicago, Ill.

Golf carts are the way to go on Ocracoke and are catching on in Hatteras village

I have mixed feelings on this. I think it is a neat idea for Ocracoke and Hatteras village, but I also think that it will be abused by the tourists and we will end up with an accident next summer. I would have liked to see the carts allowed in residential areas, no matter the village.

Alexy Abdo

Ocracats hosts N.C. State vets at clinic to spay and neuter 97 feral cats

It made my heart so happy to read this article. I volunteer with a mobile clinic here on the Eastern Shore that also does feral cats as well as local Humane Societies and owners with limited income. It is wonderful to see the feral cats get this care. Kudos to the all the volunteers and people that helped Ocracats get the medical care to the kitties.! Addressing the problem of overpopulation and making an effort to control it in a positive way is near and dear to me.

Laura Kovatch
Hurlock, Md.

Kudos to all of you for your efforts.  I am proud to say we do the same thing here once a month.  The  organization Snip/Tuck does this. On Sept. 11, we managed to spay/neuter 99 cats, the most we've ever done in one day.  Our vets and techs were and are wonderful.  The volunteers are pretty good too!

Peggy Sanner
Cambridge, Md.

Plastic bag ban will expand to all businesses on the Outer Banks on Oct. 1

Is there any contact or further information for business to be part of the group getting bags from International Paper? Is there a date or any other information about when or where they are planning to distribute bags?


(Editor’s note:  For more information on buying bags, call the Outer Banks Chamber of Commerce at 252-441-8144.)

The old Hatteras in photographs

These pictures brought up so much emotion in me, especially the view from the lighthouse. I got teary-eyed just looking at it. I remember the first time I came down to Hatteras as a young girl in the very early ‘80s. The island was so sparse and beautiful. i miss that old feeling.

Emily Hornacek
Akron, Ohio

Love the old photos and would like to see more! I've been visiting the islands since 1966. So much has changed except the magic!

Vikki Heath
Richmond, Va.

White doves over Hatteras lift the spirit

Thank you Lynne, Irene, and Donna. The article was fantastic, and I'm loving the slide show, too.  Lynne, your photo of Lou releasing our guys near "Granddaddy's dock" (very significant for the two of us) is great!  It's hard to capture these guys on the wing.  Let me tell you it took us a lot of practice and luck.  Your timing was good the first time.  Thank you all so much.  Lynne, you were really "in our heads" with this one.

Liz Browning Fox

Having been the recipient of a release of these doves at my daughter's memorial service, I cannot begin to convey to you the beauty and spiritual blessing I felt as I released the dove symbolizing the return of her soul to her Heavenly Father. I will always be indebted to Liz and Lou for the gift of this ceremony and treasure the memory forever! Lynne's article was so full of information, and it is an inspiration for a wonderful new asset to our island business scene.

Cathy Burrus

Visiting Portsmouth Island is a trip back in time

We have visited Portsmouth several times in the past 20 years, and with every visited we love it more. We are coming to Ocracoke next week and plan on spending one day on Portsmouth. Thank you for keeping this island open to visitors

Rita Nickle
Dalton, Ohio

Both sides of my family came from this island and my grandmother, Dot Salter Willis, is the last living person who was born on this island.  She also wrote a book based on the written stories of her father, Benjamin Bowden Salter, and the book entitled "Portsmouth Island : Short Stories and History" is a wonderful read and takes you back in time to a simpler, more peaceful place.  This island is deeply loved by anyone who's been here, it just grabs a piece of you and won't let go.  Maybe it enjoys the company as much as we enjoy visiting!

Christy (Nelson) Daniel
Waldorf, Md.

A Mexican immigrant’s long journey to a new life on Ocracoke

Our family had the pleasure of meeting Margarita while visiting Ocracoke this summer ( as we have done for 40 years!), We went to have > supper with our granddaughter who was renting a house across the lane from  Margarita's casa. There was no place to park without blocking the roadway, and we were turning around to leave and park on the highway when  she came out and graciously invited us to park in her yard. Our son lives in Peru and speaks fluent Spanish, so they had quite a conversation. It was wonderful to read the story of her life. Immigrants add a richness to our culture that we should all appreciate. May God bless them all!

Elizabeth Poe
Salem, Va.

A thank you note to a member of our community

Thank you from the bottom of my heart to Joel Groetsch from Avon.  Joel went above the call of duty to help my family with the recent flooding from Hurricane Earl.  Joel stopped by our business to check out the flood damage.  Our friends that work for us (and also worked hard!) had explained to him that my husband was out of town.  Joel proceeded to stop by our home to make sure that our 4-year-old son and I were okay.  He then helped our family for the next several hours!

"I would want someone to help my wife if I was out of town," said Joel.

His professionalism, giving of his time, and unconditional help has renewed my faith in people and their willingness to help others in need.  He makes me proud to say that he is a member of our community.  I said to Joel that for him to be available on the Saturday of Labor Day weekend was unbelievable!  He said, "This is when our community needs us the most!"  I thank God that we have been blessed with such a wonderful friend!  My deepest and most heart-felt thank you goes to Joel Groetsch!

Kara, Bob, and Bobby Eakes, Jr.

New Letters to the Editor....09.09.2010 2:00 pm

Storms passing offshore will bring rough surf and rip current risk for much of the next week

My family and I love coming to the OBX every year, and I hate to see that Earl is coming so close to the islands.  I just hope and pray he passes by quickly and no damage will be done.  I also hope that folks who didn't evacuate in 2003  when Isabel came through remember how bad it was and will leave if they are told to this time.  My thoughts and prayers are with you all, and I hope to see you again soon.  Godspeed to all of you.

Lisa White
Morganton, N.C.

Farewell to the Frisco Pier?

Great pictures of the pier!

Joy Willis

How terribly, terribly sad to see such a wonderful place to fish and watch people be destroyed. My family and I spent many an enjoyable time on the pier and I will cherish my T-shirt that proudly displays the beautiful Frisco Pier.

So sad to see it go down like that, I only wished they could've done something long ago to preserve it.  We were down in June and I took several pictures of it. I guess they were the last.
Alexandria, Va.

Has the Park Service thrown in the towel on the Frisco Pier?  Does anyone know the status of the current concession holder?  The pier is a significant economic asset for Frisco, Buxton, and Hatteras. Allowing it to decay both reduces this much needed impact, makes it far more difficult to attract another private concession holder, and creates a health and liability hazard for Frisco beach.

Since the Park Service does not have the budget to rescue the pier, they must either create highly favorable terms to attract a private concession (And given the state of the pier, it may be too late.) or regrettably, tear it down.

Anybody have other solutions? 

Steve Wilson
Springfield, Va.

The photos in the slideshow are beautiful!  It is sad to see the pier fall after all these years.  The weather may be able to take away the pier, but it can't take away the years of memories created there.  Farewell to our fishing friend.

J.T. Tate
Columbus, Ohio

I remember spending some time on that pier back in the day -- watching sharkers waiting for Jaws, jigging for live bait in the pilings, and trying out the double-rod, live-bait rig with my Dad. Frisco will be missed.

By the way, the hotel we used to stay at in Hatteras met a similar fate with Isabel. We stayed at the Sea Gull for 10-plus years in a row.

Ethan McDowell
Indianapolis, Ind.

(Editor’s note:  The Sea Gull Motel has been rebuilt on a smaller scale in Hatteras village.)

What a shame. Too bad the pier could not have been rebuilt years ago. Maybe it would have stood the test of time and the storms. Hopefully, with the help of others, we can help get it back into shape and bring back the memories

James Taylor
Wakeforest, N.C.

I feel like I lost an old friend, and a couple fish too.

Dick Lorenz
Chicago, Ill.

Ferry leaving Ocracoke collides with yacht

Did they also test the people from the yacht, and, if not, why?

Houchens, Va.

It is interesting to me that no drug/alcohol testing was apparently performed on the crew of the 35-foot motor yacht that apparently caused the whole incident.  Darn shame!

Montrose, Pa.

Hurricane Earl Update:  The islands are open for business and the Frisco Pier is still standing  sort of

Thanks for the timely news and Don Bowers’ slide show! We are so glad all are safe and Highway 12 is set to re-open tomorrow.

Jim and Paula Brown
Baltimore, Md.

I am just thankful that Hatteras Village did not suffer any more damage than it did.  My family has been vacationing there for over 15 years, and the people who call it home have our unwavering respect.
I think Jim Cantore is an idiot. Good for Mr. Burrus to call him out!

Roswell, Ga.

As property owners in Frisco and Hatteras, it seems we dodged the worst bullets Earl had to offer. Your photos are most welcome. You're keeping us close to our beloved Hatteras.

Bette and I hope everyone is fine and well, and that your damage wasn't severe. Here's to a quick clean-up and a good rest of the summer!

Paul Payton
Chatham, N.J.

We were fortunate in dealing with Earl and then betrayed by our commissioners.  Another brilliantly poor decision to open the islands to all comers instead of letting residents and employees on first to prep for visitors.  Now our cleaners can't get here because of traffic, no boats were ready at ferry by the time people started lining up, and stores are not open or not staffed/stocked properly.

All they had to do was wait until 5 p.m., or at least 3 p.m. for heaven’s sake. Give us a chance.  Those guests could have been spending money up there while waiting for access.  Now everyone--guests and residents -- are frazzled and unhappy. Way to look out for us. Thanks a lot. 

Ann Glass

Thank you for all of your wonderful updates! You make not being able to be in our favorite place just a little more bearable. So glad "she held, though she creaked."

Kathleen Murtaugh
Newbury, Ohio

Thank you for your great coverage of Hurricane Earl. All the news agencies did a great job from Nags Head. You were the only source that let us know that Hatteras and Ocracoke are still there. One NBC station kept saying Hatteras, S.C. Thanks again for a great job. See you in October.

Keith and Eileen

Hurricane Earl’s path edges closer to Cape Hatteras

Are the Banker ponies in safe areas during the storms?  If not, are they ever moved?

Karen Troxel
Tampa, Fla.

(Editor’s note:  The Banker ponies have lived on the islands for hundreds of years and know how to stay safe in a storm. They are not moved.)

We are keeping everything crossed, from fingers to toes, for everyone. Earl has to die!

Lilburn, Ga.

Hurricane watch posted for North Carolina coast

Our thoughts and prayers go out to all in the OBX area. I live hours away but I feel as OBX is home. Take cover and hold on tight. I am actually reading “The Ash Wednesday Storm” by David Stick. That brings things home when we maybe seeing a storm hit again. God Bless and know you are in our prayers.

Terrie Hart
Walkertown, N.C.

My family comes to Hatteras every year for vacation. We love it! We will be praying for everyone on the island during Earl. 

Stan Covington
Gladstone, Va.

Dear Residents of Hatteras and Ocracoke:

As a Texas Gulf Coast resident, I want to implore you to leave your beloved islands for your own personal safety's sake.  You cannot safely stay at home and survive the tidal surge from a Category 4 or 5 hurricane.

For those of you who do not remember Hurricane Ike, which hit Galveston and Bolivar Islands south of Houston, Tex., in 2008, please be aware that as a result of Hurricane Ike in the United States, 112 people were killed, and 23 are still missing.  

Over the last two years, our Galveston Island County News has reported the actual names and ages of those who were killed or disappeared during the storm.  Among them was a mother and her two school-aged children. 

Can you imagine the terror these two kids felt as the 25-foot waves crashed over their home and they were swept out to sea?

It is simply crazy for adults, let alone children, to think they can survive the 50-foot waves, which the Weather Channel is now reporting you will experience.

Please, please evacuate as ordered by your local public safety officials.   Please do it in memory of the two kids from Galveston who unnecessarily died in the tidal surge in 2008.

Evangeline Shaw
Houston, Tex.

Access groups lose second effort to stop critical habitat for piping plovers

The article gets it right with Judge Boyle’s quote. What fun is power if you can't step on the little guy, keep him poor and miserable. If that were taken away they might just as well give away all their money and influence and live like the rest of us. Personally, I still have my recipes for squab and look forward to the opportunity to try them out.

Bert Smith
Richmond, Va.

We've been coming to Hatteras Village with a group of friends for 30 years. We enjoy surf fishing and love just driving out with all the kids, play, fish, and have fun. As a group, we have never abused the seashore. I just want -- like many hard-working, tax-paying, beach-loving humans want -- access to drive and nest with my kind on the beach.

Annette Barr
Petersburg, Va.

More on beach access issues

Well the folks at the University of North Carolina National Public Radio have finally provoked me into action.  Simply put, I will withdraw my financial support from the radio station until they air both sides of the issues concerning Hatteras Island and the National Park Service. I have asked them several times if they could do just that, and I now assume that I don't contribute enough to make an impression. It appears that they are more concerned to air the opinions of the National Park Service, SELC, Defenders of Wildlife, and the Audubon without a chance for others to express their opinions on the same issues. My contributions were modest, but regular, and the only way I can seem to get at the whole truth is to suspend them. I sincerely hope that others will follow my example and speak the only language that evidently gets heard by those responsible for the public airways, namely, withdraw your support until the whole story is told.

Lawrence D. Cullen

I recently returned from my annual vacation to Ocracoke and was quite disappointed this year because we could not drive to the South Point because a "couple" fledglings had not left their nest.  It seems crazy to me that miles of beach are block off for a "couple" birds.  The birds get the calm waters of the South Point and the humans get the rough waters of the ocean with the rip currents and undertow.  The birds get the best section of the beach for shelling and finding sand dollars.  It just isn't fair for so many miles of beachfront to be blocked off for a "couple" birds.  Maybe next year, I'll bring my kayaks so I can kayak around and shell without having to put my feet on the shore on the birds’ beach. 

Pat Breeden
Wilmington, N.C.

My father first brought me down to the OBX in the late ‘40s. After he died in 1945, I lost touch with Nags Head and Hatteras until the early ‘70s. I’ve visiting every year since. I have been retired 20 years as a Virginia State game warden, and your online paper has been invaluable in enabling me to keep in touch with the goings on in a place that goes back to my roots.

The reason I'm writing this time is an article in the August issue of the Southside Electric Co-Op magazine, "Cooperative Living." The article by Audrey T. Hingley is entitled "Political Correctness Run Amok." It is a full page article which discusses your situation with the attempted ban on off-road vehicles.

I’d like to send it but I can’t find your address.

It is a sign of our times I guess that people who have no direct knowledge of a situation try to dictate to those who have an intimate relationship with a place that has been calling them back for over 60 years.

Keep up the good fight.

Cameron Gray
Burkeville, Va.

(Editor’s note: You can reach Editor Irene Nolan at PO Box 414, Buxton, NC 27920 or [email protected].)

The old Hatteras in photographs

I have a picture taken in 1993 looking the same direction as the July, 1958 photo from the top of the Cape Hatteras light house. Would anyone be interested in the erosion difference during these eras? Who do I send it to? I gave my final "oath" of enlistment in the U.S. Coast Guard at the top of the light ouse; the reason for being up there then.

Steve Thompson
Ellsworth, Maine

(Editor’s note:  You and others with interesting older photos can send them to
[email protected].)

What amazing photos!  I wish I could have experienced Hatteras Island before it became so populated by summer homes and tourists.  The Outer Banks will always be a special and beautiful place, but I sure would have loved to see its "wild" side!

Leah Loar-Mays
Chester, W.Va.

East Carolina Health considering closing one of its Hatteras medical centers

As a frequent visitor to the island, we have always felt safer with two health care facilities on the island.  My husband and I have health concerns that cause us to sometimes be in immediate need of those services.  No matter which part of the island we are on, knowing that those services are usually within 15-30 minutes away is what keeps us returning year after year. We do not have to give up visiting there, based on the fact that there is no health care conveniently located. If there is any possible way to keep both facilities open, then by all means keep them open.  You will not only be providing the islanders with a great service but also all of the island's many visitors as well. 

J.T. Tate
Columbus, Ohio

I live half of the year on Hatteras Island and the other half in Greenville, N.C. I work on the ferry docks in Hatteras. I don't think it's a good idea to close down both health centers. That is our only way of getting medical help, other than traveling an hour to Outer Banks Hospital. I don't think it is right to take away something we need down here. I mean, if you need to save money, close down one of the places that has more than a couple doctors’ offices.  Everything that has been going on in Hatteras Island is pretty much telling everyone that they don’t want anyone to live here -- might as well take away the biggest thing that we need, which is medical care. I am so fed up with everyone's decisions when they don’t even live on the island. My mother lives on the island year round. She has diabetes. If there isn’t anyone to care for her down there when she needs someone, how am I suppose to feel safe about her being down there? We need a medical facility. That’s all there is to it.


More on Serendipity

We came down to the Outer Banks in September. We decided to take our friends down to see Serendipity and couldn't find it on the way to Hatteras and Ocracoke! On the way back, we started looking again, and it wasn't there. However, it was just after Hurricane Earl, and there was a ton of sand in piles along the road. We figured it was behind the newly laid dunes.
When we got to our vacation rental, we went on the Internet and, lo and behold, the house had been moved and sold to new owners. Read the newspaper article on Island Free Press and watched the video! Best of luck to the new owners and on the purchase of the house.
Last year we got to tour the house inside and out, and it was beautiful. We have many pictures of the inside and outside. Love that house. It's so wonderful.
Congratulations to the moving company on such a great job moving it to it's new location.
We will stop by next year and see how the house is shaping up!
Toni Senff
North Canton, Ohio

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

March 2010
February  2010

January 2010

Please see the Archives Pages for Previous Years

Archives 2009
Archives 2008
Archives 2007


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