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August 2011 Letters to the Editor

New Letters to the Editor....08.15.2011  2:00 pm

Environmental groups sue to stop Bonner Bridge Replacement Project

The bridge is just another ploy to limit tourists, beach access, and stifle the island. I guess the beaches from Avon to Nags Head an Ocracoke to Cape Fear are not enough for the birds and turtles. People don't count or have a say.

Edward Hunter
Quarryville, Pa.

DOT awards $215.8 million contract to replace Bonner Bridge

Good news! I like the idea of using a part of the old structure as a fishing pier, from the north side, I suppose.

Sybil A. Skakle
Chapel Hill, N.C.

Park Service is preparing to implement ORV rule

Is this whole permit idea meant to create new jobs on the Island (additional staffing for this and that, educational outreach, infrastructure, etc.) or is it meant to be a deterrent from having people fish our national seashore?  Perhaps now is not the economic climate to even think about an endeavor requiring such expense.  People can hardly afford their vacations as it is, and you want to tax them for fishing the shores that were meant to be fished?  What really is the purpose?  The island has been just fine before the unwanted interference of these environmental groups.  What's in it for them?  Is it helping to line their coffers?  Most of these groups are just political organizations where conservation is not even their underlying motive.  Save Hatteras from this.

Patti Bruch
Springfield, Va.

The Outer Banks has been our vacation spot for over 25 years. When we were younger and couldn't afford an ORV, we would stay at the Durant Station. We would climb over the dune behind it and do our fishing. Then we finally could afford an ORV and were thrilled we could fish almost anywhere. Now "they" want to penalize us for it.

Sorry. It just sounds like another one of the current administration's plans to expand government and "create jobs" at the taxpayers’ expense.  "They" will eventually "tax", "fee", and "license" the average working person from being able to afford a week-long break from the daily grind.

Hampton, Va.

For over 20 years we have been coming to Hatteras to enjoy the pristine beaches. When you drive out on the sand you are transported to a wonderland. It is my strong belief that to add further restrictions to beach access will definitely cause extinction. Not of birds or turtles, but of the Hatteras natives and their businesses. This year in particular, I have noticed virtually empty shops and less crowded restaurants. I know that if we will not be able to drive out on the sand, we will not return. The very wealthy who own or can afford to rent beachfront houses might not realize that those of more modest means are content with a modest beach box rental from which they can head out to the vast stretches of beach. It is disingenuous to say birds and turtles are at more risk from drivers than predatory natural enemies such as foxes. After thinking about the politics of the situation I can not help but conclude that the powers who are willing to kow-tow to the environmentalist lobby. They know they can't troll for votes from a more conservative, humble area. Government restrictions might eliminate this little piece of heaven unless some with a brain can figure out what is going on and act sensibly. Those of us who love Hatteras protect the wildlife much more than heartless bureaucrats.

Mary Kay Downes
Centreville, Va.

Cape Point reopens to vehicles

I am from eastern North Carolina, but have resided outside Greensboro for many years. I have close ties to Hatteras Island and been fishing on the Point and Hatteras Inlet with my dad and friends since I was around 7 years old. I am now 58. In 1977, my dad moved to Buxton, and my two brothers and I fished more often than ever. We sport-fished spring through fall, along with friends, year after year. In 2002 my dad passed away on Cape Point doing what he loved best -- so that alone gives special meaning to the area.

After Dad passed, my brothers and I fixed dad’s place up very nice and family and friends visited often, especially through the summer. In 1988, while I has to work, my wife and her family went to Buxton to fish, etc. They were unable to do so because of closures. Since that time, none of her family has returned. Since then, my family and I or my wife and couples no longer go to Buxton/Hatteras because of the beach closures.

This is all because of a bird having more rights than human life. We now only go late August and again in October and that is it. It’s hardly enough to justify having a place there with upkeep, taxes, and so on. That said, I've about had it. As my dad use to say before he died on that very island, "This country will self destruct because of the stupidity of its own governing body.” I see that happening more and more. Our visits to the island are less and less. It takes no mathematician to see the dwindling number of people will soon kill a once popular recreational area. Respectfully, Judge Boyle, you have proven well that you haven't the brains to preside over nothing more than traffic court. When it comes to common sense rulings, you set the example of exactly what will destroy this country once known as America. Government for the people by the people is something you missed out on in law school.

Bill Palmer
Asheboro, N.C.

Security screeners are at work at the ferry docks

The security workers at the Hatteras Island ferry docks are perfectly polite and appropriately low key. But one can't help but wonder, isn't the concept of probable cause being chipped away? With all of the attention paid to the Constitution in the past couple of years, no one seems to mind when constitutional protections are eroded.

Williamsburg, Va.

Too bad the same government that requires these screenings does not enforce our southern border with Mexico. Are they really concerned about our safety? 

James Jackson
Gore, Va.

Soundside Shuttle offers an alternative to waiting in line for the ferries to and from Ocracoke

Brilliant! Just read this and will recommend. Soundside Shuttle needs a very simple website and rack cards. Good luck on your venture.

Gael Hawkins

Outer Banks Angling:  Spanish, Spanish, and more Spanish mackerel
A buddy and I want to try some surf fishing in the fall. What will be biting at that time of year?

Roanoke Rapids, N.C.

(Editor’s note:  Outer Banks Angling columnist Rob Alderman replies. He says, “Depending on weather and water temps, one could find red drum ranging from small pups up to citation size. Sea mullet, bluefish, spot, croaker, speckled trout and some false albacore may also be caught in a variety of sizes.”)

Employer recounts a rewarding experience with foreign students who travel to Ocracoke

Thank you so much for sharing B.J. Oelschlegel's positive experience with foreign student workers. A great program, great kids, and a super great employer! She is making a positive difference in the lives of so many. Cheers!

Billi Haug
Walnut Creek, Calif.

You do not mention how much you pay these students and how much they typically pay for rent. Also, are there any employment statistics for the area? How many locals look for summer jobs and do not get them because of these students? I am always suspicious of the claim that an employer cannot find help. If they offered a higher wage and perhaps some sort of job security or benefits, that help could possibly be found. Feel free to convince me otherwise. I am open minded.

Kris Davis
Julian, Pa.

The old Hatteras in photographs

I was grateful to see photos of our island during a wonderful era. Need much more of this before the island becomes "time forgotten." Call someplace paradise and kiss it goodbye.

Chris Midgett

Visitor has a question about listening to history

My family plans to visit again starting this weekend.  It would be great if there were audio CDs or podcasts that we can listen to as we tour each area at OBX -- telling us the history of each and overall history of the Outer Banks.  Does something like that exist?  If not, I would be happy to create one during my visit, so that future tourists can take advantage of being able to listen and have a greater context and appreciation of the sites and places they visit.

Edwin Quiambao
Waldorf, Md.

(Editor’s note:  I don’t know of anything like you describe.  If anyone does, send us information. Meanwhile, if you make your own CD, let us know.)

Commentary: A young Hatteras waterman weighs in on the absurdity of catch shares

While I sympathize with Mr Caton and the dozens who make their living on the water in Hatteras, I cant help but think they are sealing their own fate.

When the pictures surfaced this past winter of thousands of dead striped bass floating in the Atlantic just off of Hatteras, and the reasoning was by-catch from trawlers, the recreational masses  went berzerk!

Recreational fisherman far outweigh commercial fisherman, and the commercial community would do themselves a favor to keep their enemies close as opposed to continuously pushing them away. The Maryland Waterman’s Association hasn't learned that yet, and they continue to make things difficult for themselves as they alienate the recreational fishing community.

I don’t believe in catch shares, but I also don't believe in one user group being able to single handedly destroy a fishery that so many states economy depend on.

Chesapeake Beach, Md.

Hatteras village shipwreck appears and disappears with the shifting sands

Thanks for the slide show and story update of this wreckage. I enjoyed the article a lot. I hope to be able to see it for myself one day.  Maybe it will be more visible again. I would love to see more stories of this kind published. Thank you again!

Helen Cornett
Manchester, Ky.

Island Living: Learning to love thy beach neighbor

I enjoyed this article very much because my wife and I have had this happen so many times on our vacations down there. It does make one think that we all are there to enjoy and wind down. Now come on people and keep your distance

Harrisonburg, Va.

Fabulous seamless writing! Best I've read in a long time-and Funny! Loved it! Keep writing, girlfriend! 

New York, N.Y.

Ocracoke teaching center loses jobs and seminars

It's called "learn to deal with it" like all the rest of us have had to do .They are not the only ones who have had a 50 percent reduction in working capital.

Rick Caton

It's sad that thousands of teachers across North Carolina simply don't understand how much money donor Dare County used to generate into the state's budget each year. It’s money that helped paid their salaries. When our beaches close each spring because of huge non-science buffers, seasoned visitors and their money do not come here anymore. Everyone loses! 

Kevin Mc Cabe

New Letters to the Editor....08.03.2011  3:30 pm

Park Service is preparing to implement ORV rule

I feel sorry for the true Outer Banks locals who have been completely screwed over by their federal government and the NPS. They should have never allowed the National Seashore to have been created. Watching the federal government enact another policy that does nothing but create more overhead and more jobs for the bureaucracy so that the public can be "controlled," all in the name of the environment, is discouraging to say the least. RIP, Outer Banks. The good times have passed.

Thomas Blount
San Diego, Calif.

This new proposed program will end over 50 years of beach fishing on Ocracoke for me, and probably for most others I have talked with.  You added licenses and now access permits. That leaves the next obvious charge—money per fish (which you may or may not catch). I feel sorry for my grandchildren, who will never have the experience of unencumbered fishing on the Outer Banks.  It is just getting too pricey for this senior citizen.

Robert Wine
Jamestown, N.C.

Park Service publishes proposed ORV rule; public comment period is open

These regulations are monstrous. When one (or an agency) intends to regulate too much, not only is it difficult for the average citizen to read but also to understand.  While I agree generally with NPS's desire to implement some guidelines for ORVs, there needs to be a sense of reality imposed at the same time.  Limiting the use of ORV access (time constraints, the protection of bird habitats, egg laying turtles, etc.) makes sense.  I am open to those sensible regulations.  The implementation of fees also makes sense. However, the proposed fees are too high and will severely limit beach access to those who wish to enjoy the beauty of the seashore—those interested in fishing, etc.  Please reconsider them and lower the fee to a more reasonable level.

I have been a vacation homeowner in Frisco for almost 30 years, and I am aware of the need for some regulations.  But please, don't over-regulate and take away the opportunities I and others have enjoyed in the past—and hopefully will continue to enjoy for many years to come.

Rowland New
Germantown, Md.

UPDATE: Injured child in critical condition after a shark attack on Ocracoke

My congratulations, and a speedy recovery to a courageous little girl and her family.

Barney Halsal
Ontario, Canada

“From this point forward, we will not be releasing any additional information about her condition. Also, we will not be granting any media interviews. Thank you for respecting our privacy.” 

Three days later...

Allow me to interpret:  “We don't want no stinking interviews with the local media.  We are planning to make it big with the national news.”

Privacy? What privacy?

Turner Clarke
Disputanta, Va.

Wasn't the last shark attack also late in the afternoon? What was the tide at the time?

Mary Dickens
Florence, S.C.

(Editor’s note:  Yes, the 2001 shark attack off Avon occurred around 6 p.m.  Swimmers are advised to avoid early morning and evening hours when sharks are known to feed.)

I am going to be in that area in October, and I am bringing my Golden Retriever for a swim in the ocean. Does any one know if sharks are more prone to attack a large dog than they are to attack a human, or is it all the same to them?

Karyn Graham
Meadville, Pa.

So good to see the smile on this girl's face and know that she doing so well.

Louis Wengenroth IV
Middletown, N.Y.

UPDATE: NCDOT awards $215.8 million contract to replace Bonner Bridge

Thank God the NCDOT is moving forward with the new bridge.  It's pretty sad when people (National Wildlife Refuge Association, etc.) place more importance on wildlife than human life. I love turtles and birds, but I love my family more.

Randy Nowak

Bonfires temporarily banned on seashore beaches

Embers from beach fires can be carried by the wind towards the grasses on the dunes and around the homes beyond (which do indeed burn). The burn ban is in effect for all of Hatteras Island—by the state, not NPS.


Environmental groups sue to stop Bonner Bridge Replacement Project

Once again the environazis show their true colors. The folks who visit and reside on Hatteras Island do so because of the beauty and plentiful recreation that it provides. Granted, there are a few bad apples that spoil the bunch, but the majority of the visitors, including myself, would never do anything to deface this beautiful island. You watch your birds (and execute the predators you feel harm them) and let me and my family fish, swim, and simply enjoy the wonderful atmosphere of the island. LEAVE THE ISLAND ALONE!

Hunter Weikle
Salem, Va.

In His Own Words: An Ocracoke teacher’s story of his big win on Jeopardy!

Congratulations, Charles, on your exciting win!  Thanks for sharing the experience with us all.  Teachers rule.

Gloria Van Nostrand
Louisville, Ky.

Island History: The shipwrecks of Ocracoke Island

I am always interested in stories of shipwrecks. For the complete story of the 1750 event mentioned within this article, go to This soon-to-be-released book is going to put Ocracoke on the international map.

John Amrhein, Jr.
Kill Devil Hills

Ocracoke School graduates nine

Best Wishes for continued excellence in scholarly pursuits to all nine graduates—especially Mitchell Ibarra.

Ocracoke Island remains my favorite vacation getaway!

Dave Ondrovic
O'Fallon, Mo.

Looking for shipwreck information

I am looking for info on a shipwreck that occurred on December 24 or 25, 1909, in the Cape Hatteras area. 

The ship was the Maggie Hart, and it went down with a load of lumber during a hurricane. The captains were James Fountain and his father, Joseph Fountain. These are my great-grandfather and great-great grandfather, respectively.  Do your archives go back that far?  If not, can you tell me who would have that information? I appreciate any help!

Debra Lee
Windham, Maine

(Editor’s Note:  My main reference for shipwrecks is historian David Stick’s “Graveyard of the Atlantic,” which has lists of shipwrecks in the area by year and by name. There is no listing for the Maggie Hart.)

Reader is thankful for help from Hatteras islanders

After living on Hatteras Island for 20 years, I moved back to Richmond.  Twelve years have passed, so I wanted to take an "R & R" to my "real home."  After making it more than three-quarters of the trip, my car decided to take an "R&R" too—right on the Hatteras side of Whalebone Junction.  Now, being on the side of Highway 12 in the worst heat of the day was not my idea of beginning my retreat. Fortunately, I was able to get off the road so as not to be a problem to the hundreds of flying cars on their way the beach.  Right before the tow truck got to me, two young men did stop to help. Thanks to them—they showed some still have manners!

After towing my broken vehicle back to Buxton where it would be repaired, they took me to my motel in Hatteras village. The kindness continued as my suitcases were unloaded for me.  These are the kind of people that made Hatteras Island what it was when I lived there for 20. People cared for one another, and they would go that extra mile. 

Many thanks go to John Couch for the outstanding job he did getting me safely to my destination and making sure my car was fixed as soon as possible. You are very much appreciated! You are one of a kind! Nice to know there are still people like you in the world.

Yvonne Rudd
Richmond, Va.

Visitor is disappointed with law enforcement

Our family visits Hatteras Island every year (all 20 of us). This year we stayed in Castaway 2 in Salvo. On the way to our 50th wedding anniversary dinner at The Inn on Pamlico Sound, my son-in-law received a ticket for passing on the right of a vehicle that made a sudden stop without a signal. He received a ticket (a little fuzzy in my mind, but that's life). However, when the deputy crossed out the amount of  $150 and inserted $250, I was outraged. I am so disappointed!

Eileen Doyle
New Windsor, N.Y.

(Editor’s Note: This is the response from Chief Deputy Steve Hoggard of the Dare County Sheriff’s Office: “There have been recent changes in court costs and fines for certain offenses. Generally, when this occurs, deputies typically have to mark out the old amount that is printed on the back of the ticket and write in the new amount.”)

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