Facebook Twitter More...
December 2011 Letters To The Editor

New Letters to the Editor....12.29.2011  12:10 pm

2011: The photos of the year

That's a terrific slide show, Don, and well worth watching.  You captured the year beautifully.

Liz Browning Fox

You are doing great work, Don. There is thoughtful composition in nearly all of your pictures. I look forward to every update on the website to see your photos of Hatteras.

Keep it up! You make me miss the beach!

Drew Wilson
New Bern, N.C.

Don,  gorgeous pictures as well as great narration. Thanks for keeping us in the loop. Even though we don't get to Hatteras as often as we would like, your pictures keep us there in thought. Best to you and Anne.

Dale and Colleen Hudson
Munroe Falls, Ohio

Those photos are absolutely stunning! Thank you so much for sharing them. Here's hoping 2012 is gentler to Hatteras Island.

Jessica Lee
Oil City, Pa.

Commentary: NPS refusal to drain stormwater is a point of contention for islanders and visitors

I was happy to see my complaint about the National Park Service and the stormwater problems published. And guess it did some good to actually write what I did because, guess what?  We drove over Ramp 45 at the Cape Point Campground last weekend, and you could see where the holes were filled in, and we did not have to back up and leave because of the high water. A big “thank you” to the NPS. I guess they are reading these Island Free Press comments.

Thank you, dear Lord, for The Island Free Press.  Where would we be without you? 

Carol Wallis

Wow, I didn't know NPS was so uncaring and unable to do their job right. I have heard this, but now I really have a better view. Thanks for the info.


Group narrows options for long-term Highway 12 repair

The picture (with the article) says it all.  Nature is trying to tell people that this part of the beach is going away soon.  Once we decided to bridge and fixate on points along the barrier islands, all we have done is to fight a constant battle against the winds and tides of the ocean.  It looks now as if the longer bridge option for the Bonner Bridge is making more sense as each year passes.

Richmond, Va.

Hatteras Village Christmas Parade is bigger than ever

Watching the 2011 Christmas Parade video, I see the candy being thrown to the bystanders. It reminds me of being on the beach watching the sanderlings on the beach dodging the waves.

Bill Ries
Laurel, Md.

High school students help save Christmas for hurricane victims

I think this was a wonderful and very caring thing that these girls thought of and followed through with.  They are the kind of future leaders our country needs -- caring and thoughtful.

Noreen Reasor

I was happy to read about the successful holiday event.  You should be very proud of your high school students who were so eager to help others.

Patricia Pearsall
Glen Burnie, Md.

Hyde County puts restrictions on travel trailers on Ocracoke

This article states that "County Manager Mazie Smith explained FEMA requires travel-trailers located in a flood zone to be ready at all times for evacuation. By not complying with FEMA rules, the county would be ineligible for funding in the event of another disaster."

From a county manager, that statement needs to be clarified or explained. It seems too vague. Does that mean FEMA has or will deny funding for Avon, Waves, Salvo, Hatteras, Nags Head, KDH, Kitty Hawk? They have hundreds upon hundreds of permanent travel trailers, many that are in plain sight from Highway 12.

What about Knott’s Island or even southern Virginia Beach that have "travel trailer parks?"

Mainland Hyde County has an ordinance that allows for the permit of a "travel trailer park." Is Ocracoke not part of Hyde County?

It seems odd the rest of the OBX and nation are able to use travel trailers as an alternative to a conventional home, but FEMA has a special rule for Ocracoke?

Richard K. LaVoy
Virginia Beach, Va.

Island Cooking: Crazy Johnny Conner’s beef brisket and other fall recipes

Love Conner’s brisket. Only change I make is smoke -- the first two hours with wet hickory or some other type of hardwood. Then wrap in foil and finish as low and slow as you can.  Also, if you are stuck inside try the original recipe from Mr. Brisket, a butcher shop in Cleveland. Check it out at It calls for Lipton onion soup mix, Heinz chili sauce and coke. My wife says it’s a little sweet, so sometimes we replace the coke with beer and the chili sauce with ripe tomatoes. I get hungry talking about it. Have fun.

Neil Fleitell

I am a Certified KCBS barbecue Judge. Johnny's Carolina pulled pork is a champion. The entire Conner family are champions. We have visited OBX twice a year for the past 25 years. We stay in Buxton and shop at Conner’s. These are the best people in the world, and I wish all a merry Christmas! See you all soon. They made our stay when we got stranded due to Hurricane Irene.

Bill Ries
Laurel, Md.

National Park Service extends public comment on ORV rule

My friends and I have been going to Hatteras to surf fish and enjoy fellowship for about 25 years. We rent a house for a week and spend considerable for supplies during our visit. One of the most enjoyable aspects is the ability to drive on the beach to good fishing areas. We stick to the assigned driving paths and have never run over any creatures. We are pretty much catch-and-release and never leave trash on the beach.  In fact most people leave no trash on the Hatteras beaches, a far cry from the northern beaches where they perform daily trash sweeping. I would hate to see severe limitations placed on beach access.  If we find our fish surfing experience to become increasingly frustrating, we will have to find other venues. I am sure the bulk of the other fishermen visiting Hatteras feel similarly. The associated financial impact to the Hatteras community would most likely be devastating.

Roger Snyder
Strasburg, Va.

Park Service is preparing to implement ORV rule

Will there be a discount for senior citizens and veterans?

Jim Molinaro
Sewell, N.J.

(Editor’s note: There is no mention of discounts in the proposed final rule.)

NPS releases Final Environmental Impact Statement on ORV plan

This is a travesty. This is our national park, a recreational area for all of us to recreate. Mike Murray is a familiar name in Cape Cod. I see Cape Hatteras being run just like Cape Cod. ORV access is limited in Cape Cod, with very little beach to access for fishing. I had a very unpleasant experience with a very unhappy park ranger this fall. He didn't like his job -- or people for that matter at all.  What has happened to kindness and compassion? What if we all experienced life in the other person's shoe? Might change some thoughts and attitudes.

Deb Mack
Brandon, Vt.

UPDATE: Beach nourishment off the table for long-term Highway 12 fix

Could DOT buy a couple of surplus Army bridges and  use them where  needed?

Bill Price
Morehead City, N.C.

The new proposal suggested by the Fish and Wildlife officials could be a winner and keep MOST people happy. Please take a long look at this idea and try working with each other to make this a reality.

Randy Nowak

I have been a math teacher for 35 years, and I have also disgraced a lot of other honorable professions in the construction world, and have learned to adhere to the premise, that even though a perfect solution is desired, it rarely materializes. So, I have learned that plan B is often the best initial option, which is: Any fix or job is better than no fix at all.

A fine and very workable fix (even though possibly temporary) was completed at Mirlo.
The above consideration, by the DOT, is worthy of consideration, but, due to the wrath of the storm makers, it is very probable that even that fix would not be permanent, since that breach and entire area north of Mirlo is as susceptible to breaching and re-breaching as the one that occurred in August.

The point that I'm getting at is that the powers-that-be should perhaps consider how many Mirlo-type breaches could be repaired for the coast of the permanent one that is being considered? Let us face the fact that the longer the bridge, the more money, time, and regulations exist that will have to be negotiated, and, the more likely that the beach area east of the construction is going to be permanently closed to all access, because, there is historically no guarantee that the state and federal agencies are going to fund the money for maintaining multiple accesses. The last thing that we want is for Hatteras Island to be lined with lookout areas (see, but don't touch areas) as are prevalent in our mountains.

Steve C. Sink
Linwood, N.C.

New Letters to the Editor....12.15.2011  4:30 pm

The Mess at Mirlo: Future is uncertain for Rodanthe beach houses

We are homeowners in Mirlo Beach, a family-oriented community on the Outer Banks of North Carolina located at the north end of the village of Rodanthe -- the gateway to Hatteras Island.  It is a beautiful place to live and vacation.  Right now, however, we are simply trying to survive!  We were devastated by Hurricane Irene and are at the center of the debate on beach nourishment versus a bridge at the Rodanthe hot spot on Hatteras Island.   On Thursday, Dec. 15, the Bonner Bridge Merger Team will decide which of four beach design options to retain for further study.  This is an important issue that is sneaking by the media and deserves more attention.  Your readers and viewers care about the Outer Banks and will be very interested in this issue.

Please check out our website to see why beach nourishment should be retained for further study and eventually chosen as the preferred solution. Go to or

Shelley and Jeff Weisberg

(Editor’s note:  The Island Free Press has covered the destruction at Mirlo Beach  and the problems there, and we have written extensively about the problems for Highway 12 and the possible solutions. You can find stories on the Local News Page and in the Archives.  The Merger Team will not make a recommendation on the options for Highway 12, including the north Rodanthe area, until after the public comment period closes on Jan. 20.)

Think again about open beach access stickers

I know this is a very touchy subject for everyone on Hatteras Island, but something needs to be said about the stickers and billboards with the prominent middle finger making an obscene gesture.  For those responsible for the billboards and the selling of car stickers, this is just a flat-out obscene way to publically display island views in front of young children, older generations, and newly arriving tourists. Defend the right to open beaches with strong legal action and meaningful protest, but, please, don’t show the finger to every motorist and passerby. I would think the churches, schools, real-estate companies, restaurants, and other local companies would have already encouraged the taking down of these signs because of their obscene nature.  If so, thank you. Bottom line: It’s bad for kids, bad for business, and insulting to a large segment of visitors. Please think about it.

G. Gus
Baltimore, Md.

Island Living: A Visitors Guide to life in the Real World

Joy, Joy, Joy.  You are apparently confused. The "Real World" is on Hatteras and the few places similar to it left. The "Fake World" is the one where the folks think they are too busy or too important to strike up a conversation or help a stranger. At least I wish that were the case.

Germantown, Md.

I loved reading this article.  We vacation on Hatteras Island for two to four weeks out of the year and love the friendliness of the people.  Since I'm a "talker" also, I can talk with anyone from Subway (the restaurant in Avon), to the waitress at Gidget’s (formerly Toppers), to the cashier in Food Lion.  In fact, by talking to this sweet young Polish girl a few years ago in Food Lion, we're now best friends, and we love her little daughter Lia.  Life is too short to not strike up a conversation with anyone you meet.  Just think, you may be the only person that spoke with them all day and made them feel human.  Not everyone is a chatterbox, but those of use that like to meet and greet people will make up for the others.  Merry Christmas to all of our friends on the island, and we hope to see you next year.

Jackie Clark
Canton, Ohio

 I love this story, especially the part about your friend trying to start up a conversation with the Wall Street man. It had me in tears laughing. I love to read your stories. What you are saying about the real world -- that everywhere you go they are throwing up another chain store, followed by a mega Walmart -- is so true. Believe me, I can live without Walmart. I love Hatteras Island for its island time and its wonderful laid-back folks. We all wish we could be islanders. God bless you all and may you have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Maryann Hooper
Wenonah, N.J.

Island Living: We are all people who are naked in our glass beach houses

Just a side note: Before driving to the post office and singing loudly (while pretending to know the lyrics) do not tuck the letters into the visor because when you stop at the light and glance over to check out the cute kiteboarders, the mail will fly out and hit you on the bridge of your nose. This totally ruins the cool singing vibe, and the tears only further the whole hysterical rumor. Mail also leaves an unattractive dent in your face. Next time we can talk about the dangers of wearing your PJs to drop the kids off at school...


Hi, Joy.  Glad you liked the “Joy” socks. Can't wait to see you at Christmas, when maybe there will be more socks.  Love, Mom.

Pat Crist
Wales, Mass.

 If I didn't love Joy before, I sure do now!

Cincinnati, Ohio

 I just love the laugh-out-loud articles. Not long after I moved here 11 years ago, I dubbed Hatteras to be "the island of misfit toys." This title fits well because it doesn't matter whether you're a drunk, lead choir, fisherman, or transplant, Hatteras accepts you for who and what you are. Regardless of your station in the community, you ARE a part of it, and are loved and taken care of because, well, you live here. We take care of our own. And we love our own. Seldom a day goes by that I don't pass someone on the road and get a call shortly after that says, "Hey! You doin' OK?"

Awhile back my family begged me to move back home, and my answer to them was, “I am home.” Come what may, Hatteras Island is not easily dismissed. And I wouldn't want my glass house to be anywhere else.

Amanda Dancks

Late summer and fall surfing on Hatteras

Great pictures!

Joanne Szmodis
Germanton, N.C.

Hatteras Village Christmas Parade is bigger than ever

You mentioned everyone but Hatteras Island Christian Fellowship. They were in the parade, too.  You did show the beginning of their group, but that was all. 

Newport News, Va.

On a sunny special Sunday, everyone was proud to be a part of celebrating the season of “good night, Irene” and welcome high spirts, hope, and a great fellowship.

Sonya Medlin
Portsmouth, Va.

Hatteras waterman and his family are thankful for his miraculous recovery

Though we have not seen or heard from each other for many, many years, Patricia and I hope you have a rapid recovery and can return to your passion of fishing.   We both know that it is what you were meant to do with your life.

Your cousin, Adrian Zuidervliet
Longwood, Fla.

Well written and good story. Tough spot. Glad he's on the mend.

Arlington, Texas

High school students help save Christmas for hurricane victims

I am really proud of these girls, and also a BIG thank you for all the support that was given to help this project.

Thanks to all those who provided food and love to those who lost so much.

Carol Cornelius

Hyde County puts restrictions on travel trailers on Ocracoke

Who will enforce the moving of travel trailers that are not in compliance? Where will all of the business employees live? And, lastly, what about all of the new "food concession" trailers? Will they have to meet compliance too?

Valerie Willis
Camden, S.C.

NPS employees finish hurricane debris clean-up on Ocracoke

Good. Now they can hustle on up to the top of Bodie Island Lighthouse and board the gallery windows up, since it's been open to the weather since Irene -- 90 days ago. Blah, team NPS.

Native Son

The story of one Kinnakeet family and the struggle to rebuild after Hurricane Irene

My family and I are coming down for a family wedding the week of May 20. I would like to bring anything I can to help out the residents of Hatteras Island. What kind of items are needed that I can donate? Do you need items, cash donations, or both? I have many used kitchen items in my attic -- cups, glasses, dishes, coffee maker, blender,  124 piece stainless steel flatware set, pots and pans set. Everything is in great shape, and I was saving it for a rainy day. Well it rained on Hatteras Island! My favorite place to be in the world and we love the Hatteras folks. With the amount of people coming down for this wedding, we can all bring down something new from each guest or family. What are your thoughts? We want to help.

Maryann Hooper
Wenonah, N.J.

(Editor’s note:  Many, many groups and individuals have come to the aid of hurricane victims.  I’m not sure they will need more household goods by May, but for some time to come, those who were economically hurt will need monetary support.  Anyone who is interested can send cash donations to the Cape Hatteras United Methodist men, P.O. Box 1591, Buxton, NC 27920.)

Award-winning Ocracoke ranger is known for his boundless energy and gregarious nature

Kenny is one of a kind -- perfect for Ocracoke. He will be a very hard act to follow. Because he is always so positive and up-beat, many of us don't realize the day-to-day difficulties he faces. Great job, Kenny!

Pinky Beach

Commentary: NPS refusal to drain stormwater is a point of contention for islanders and visitors

Well, my husband checked the water depth on the road to Ramp 43/44 on his way home from work in Buxton as we've not gone fishing or even driving through that area since before Hurricane Irene.  We've had our vehicles brakes redone and don't want to torment our vehicles with the saltwater in this area.  Anyway, we tried to drive over Ramp 45, and we got thru with no deep water issues and got to the top of the ramp, and lo and behold, there was an NPS ranger putting carsonite signs right to the edge of a GIANT pot hole. It was saltwater probably and looked deep, so we could not even skirt that big waterhole. We back up and left. Mind you, there is a giant sand and shell stockpile right at the base of Ramp 45, so if someone could have used a front-end loader to put some of that debris in the hole,  maybe we could have gone over to the beach. Come on NPS !  Who can I write or call and get access to that Ramp 45?  Thanks for letting me sound off ! 

Carol Wallis

Hatteras Island Ocean Center is a new project that would be a fishing pier -- and much more

The Cape Hatteras Fishing Pier (aka Frisco Pier) has an incredible history.  The pier will be 50 years old in 2012.  It has made thousands of fishermen happy. Also, over the years, it has been an educational opportunity for many school children and teachers. We have also, in conjunction with the Hatteras Island Cancer Foundation, helped sponsor a children’s fishing tournament for several years.  Those tournaments were supported by the community in a huge way.  In the past, the pier has been a source for NOAA concerning weather conditions.   In the past two years, the pier has been closed because of storm-related issues. We, as the owners, have been working diligently to get the pier back in operating condition.  The reason for writing this is to make the public aware concerning the future of the Frisco Pier. We are open to hearing comments and concerns from the public.  Please feel free to contact us via e-mail, [email protected] or [email protected]  Thank you very much in advance for responding to us.

Tod and Angie Gaskill

2011 Previous Letters to the Editor


Please see the Archives Pages for Previous Years
Archives 2010
Archives 2009
Archives 2008
Archives 2007


Comments are always welcomed!

     Name :  (required)

     Email :  (required, will not be published)

     City :   (required)    State :   (required)

     Your Comments:

May be posted on the Letters to the Editor page at the discretion of the editor.