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New Letters to the Editor....06.23.2011  3:30 pm

Dockside Hatteras is open for business after fire destroys warehouse

I’m so sad to hear of the fire. My wife and I furnished our cottage over the years through Joe and Meg and we saw our first Hatteras movie there.  Meg and Joe are wonderful folks. Please pass our condolences along if you could.

Tim Hetzel
Keyport, N.J.

Irene, I'm surprised you haven't had an article (and pictures too?) on the Dockside Hatteras fire. I only saw a brief comment on one of the boards, nothing on the "best little news page in the world."

Thank you for being our eyes and ears while we're not on the island.  We look forward, everyday, to seeing what's new on the IFP.  You are the greatest.

Milltown, N.J./Hatteras

(Editor’s Note:  Thank you for the compliment.  You will find an update on Dockside Hatteras on the Local News Page.  Warehouse burned but the store is open and doing business – and could probably use some support from locals and visitors.)

Still loving Hatteras Island

This is my 36th year coming to Hatteras Island, and I'm never disappointed. Some merchants actually call me by my first name, especially at Teach’s Lair Marina.

Thanks to all the local people. We always enjoy your village very much. Thanks again for a wonderful vacation, see you all in October!

Dick Dehoff
Hanover, Pa.

A classic Hatteras wedding with a surprise guest

Love this article. The photographer did a fantastic job, also!

Sharon Brodisch
Newport, Pa.

The pictures are absolutely beautiful.  It looks like such a fun wedding, and the couple, family and friends all look so happy.  The deer just made it all the more perfect. May God bless you with a long and happy life.

Brenda Outlaw

What a unique wedding!  Best wishes to the happy couple.

Judy Latham
Raleigh, N.C.

Irene, Thanks so much for the wonderful story on Way & Cena!  It was great!

Wayland and Dee

What an incredibly beautiful wedding! And the photographs are fantastic.

Woodville, Va.

I hope he got some cake!  So neat.

Terry Saunders
Elizabeth City, N.C

Irene, this is a fantastic story.  Send to AP and UPI immediately!

Kathleen Brehony

Congratulations Cena and Wayland! Great picture of Doug in a suit, to boot! But watch out—some enviro-nut is about to make the front porch a closure area.  

Hank Howarth

Affordable teacher housing comes to Hatteras in time for upcoming school year

Good job on the quick fix. I know in this economy the reality that a pay level consummate with what a teacher should be paid is not going to happen, but it is a good effort to try and retain quality teachers for our children.


Cape Hatteras Wounded Warrior Project welcomes its first visitors

What a great story!

Steve Bell
Vinton, V.a.

This is a heartwarming example of how two people can change the world.  Great jobs all around!  And thanks to Danny for his service and to the entire Ruck family for their sacrifices. 

Blubbering in my Cheerios…

Judy Latham
Raleigh, N.C.

This was such a wonderful story about the Wounded Warriors Project at Cape Hatteras!  I am Megan Ruck's grandmother.  We are all very proud of our Marine, Danny!  This vacation was just what they needed, and it was great to see the photos of all the fun they had while there.  Thanks to all who made this vacation possible and their time there so special.  I'm sure they will be forever grateful for your kindnesses.  Thank you!

Mary Anne Pangburn
Georgetown, Ohio

My husband is a disabled veteran, USMC, retired 21 years. He is in a power chair now due to ALS. It is not easy to find places on the beach for handicapped persons. What you are doing is wonderful.

Selma Wrightson
Greensboro, N.C.

What a wonderful thing for folks to do for the wounded men and women who have given so much to let us live the lives we live in the USA.  Bless them!

Diane Z. Potter
Cincinnati, Ohio

I just wanted to say thank you very much to all those who donated to the Wounded Warrior Hatteras Vacation Fund. Our first family had an absolutely wonderful time on Hatteras Island and is already planning to come back. Most of all, I would like to thank them for fighting for my freedom. Sometimes when we all get wrapped up in our everyday affairs, we forget what is really important. This project has certainly taken off in the right direction. Let's keeping it going until it's no longer needed. Hatteras Island rocks...Thanks again!!

Kevin McCabe

Cape Point closes to off-road vehicles

We have been going to the Outer Banks for many years, and it is disgusting that you would block off the beach for the stupid birds. I'm not sure if we'll be going back to the Outer Banks or not. And another thing—if the bridge is bad, fix it!

Janet Buzard
Lisbon, Ohio

Coast Guard prepares to put former base housing in Buxton on the market

The land should be given to the NPS. The buildings should be removed by the U.S. Coast Guard. End of mess, end of story.

Baltimore, Md.

Here come catch shares: How NOAA and the Environmental Defense Fund plan to destroy North Carolinas working watermen

NOAA, in its pursuit of catch shares and fishery closures not supported by any valid data analysis, is ignoring the will of the people and legislation passed by Congress.

They also practice intimidation with unjust and excessive fines to enforce their ill-conceived regulations.  I know of no other government action over the last 55 years that should concern its citizens more than NOAA's actions of the last two years.  They must be stopped.

Mark Hughes
St. Augustine, Fla.

Island Living: Learning to love thy beach neighbor

Lovely. Just completely lovely.

I hold and teach that all conflict is internal. A colleague sent me here with that reminder. It is a wonderful illustration.

Christopher Avery
Comfort, Tex.

I absolutely LOVED this story!  I recently visited Ocracoke Island for the first time in my 52 years, and I fell in love with it...all the way through the Outer Banks to the island!  Thank you for the chuckles and words of wisdom.  Great story and well told! 

Jenny Wells
Frankfort, Ky.

No fireworks for Hatteras or Ocracoke, but there will be July 4 celebrations

We are always on the island for the 4th. We certainly understand the reason for not having fireworks and fully agree with the decision not to have them, although we will miss them. The venue sounds fine and we will be looking forward to the planned activities. How about having a fish fry or pig picking?

John Haddad
The Villages, Fla.

We will be spending a week in Buxton July 2 – July 9, 2011. Where will the closest fireworks display be?

Laurie Elson
Gasport, N.Y.

(Editor’s Note:  There will be fireworks displays in Nags Head and Manteo.)

Ocracoke School graduates nine

This news is wonderful and thanks to all of you for letting us share in your celebration. You will go far. Keep up the great work. We first went to Ocracoke in the early ‘60s and our hearts have been there ever since. So many friends over so many years. Travel safe and may God Bless you.

Joyce E. Luff
West Lawn, Pa.

Congratulations to the Ocracoke class of 2011!  An outstanding achievement, and look at those scholarships! 

Norfolk, Va.

Wildfire on the mainland sends thick smoke over Hatteras Island

We are experiencing smoke and haze here in Ringle Heights, Georgetown, S.C.  We are about 45 miles south of the city of Conway, S.C. I believe it is coming from the Hatteras area fire. How about an update on the forecast?

Eddie Wrenn
Georgetown, S.C.

Check out local veterinarians before you take your pet on vacation

It has been two years since my husband and I and our two beloved golden retrievers, Hodges and Seaver, were on our annual vacation to Hatteras Island in Avon. We had been going to the Outer Banks together for the past four years, off-roading on Avon, Hatteras, and, most of all, Ocracoke Island beaches.  We spent our days fishing, swimming, and relaxing on the beautiful beaches of the Outer Banks.  What a wonderful place to spend time with our two beautiful goldens!  We all truly loved it there!

On Tuesday, June 30, 2009, our 6-year-old golden retriever, Seaver, woke us in our rental house at 11:30 p.m., crying over her 9-year-old sister Golden Retriever, Hodges, who was in distress.  Within 30 minutes, our beloved Hodges began having grand mal seizures, which continued for four straight hours.  As we were on vacation and did not know a veterinarian in the area, my husband used the Yellow Pages and called the vet listed, only to be told by the answering service that a veterinarian would return his call. Almost 30 minutes later, the answering service called to inform us that the veterinarian on call WOULD NOT see us and that we should take our Hodges to the animal hospital in Chesapeake, Va., almost 3 hours away!  Our Hodges did not have that kind of time to wait, as she continued to violently seize.  Not knowing what else to do, my husband lifted our Hodges into the back of our truck with me and, with our Seaver in the front seat, we began driving to Chesapeake.

We drove for almost two hours off Hatteras Island, thinking we were heading toward Chesapeake but getting lost on the way. Hodges was getting worse, and we knew she would not make it three hours to Virginia.  In desperation, we drove to the Outer Banks Hospital, hoping someone, anyone, would help us.  My husband went into the Emergency Room and explained that we had a very sick dog that had been seizing now for over 2 hours.  The girl at the desk and a local policeman there were very helpful, the girl telling us that her vet was on call 24 hours and was only 15 minutes away.  She gave us their phone number. We called them and they agreed to meet us at the Roanoke Island Animal Clinic in Manteo within 15 minutes. 

We frantically drove to the clinic, and, true to their word, Dr. Mary Burkart and her husband, Dr. Mark Grossman, arrived within 15 minutes.  Dr. Grossman jumped out of his car to lift Hodges out of our truck, not even stopping to turn off his car’s engine or close his front door.  Mary and Mark immediately began treating Hodges, trying to stop her seizures and doing various tests to diagnose the cause.  They worked on Hodges for over 1 hours, testing her, administering medications, comforting her and helping her through the seizures.  They even offered to take Hodges to their own home with her IV and keep her in the bathtub to cool her down for the rest of the night.  We could not, however, let our girl go somewhere without us.  Ultimately, they informed us that there was nothing else they could do and we made the dreadful but humane decision to let our Hodges be at peace.  After Hodges passed, Dr. Burkart took the time to make sure that  Seaver, who witnessed everything in the Emergency Room, got to be next to Hodges to understand that Hodges was gone.  She explained that it was a necessary closure for Seaver.  We were amazed at her insight. 

Mary and Mark’s compassion, caring, and concern were overwhelming.  They did not know us – we were not their clients, we were vacationers, strangers in the middle of the night who brought a gravely ill golden retriever to them.  They treated her as if they had known her (and us) all of her life.  They treated her as if she were one of their own.  They were gentle, caring, loving, and so very professional both with our dogs and with us in this very difficult time.  They didn’t have to see us.  They didn’t refuse to see us as the on-call veterinarian had.  After Hodges passed, Mary gave us a clip of her hair and made a paw print for us to take with us.  We drove back to our vacation house at 5:30 that morning with Seaver, not knowing what to do or where to go.  Seaver was in shock as were we.

I write this letter for many reasons.  First, so that other vacationers don’t make the same mistake we did in not being prepared for an animal emergency while on vacation.  Unfortunately, we did not check out who or where the local veterinarian was before arriving on Hatteras.  Because of that, precious time was lost in waiting for an “on-call” vet to see us – which, ultimately, he refused to do.  (We later were informed that we were the fourth emergency that night that that particular “on-call” vet refused to treat!  What is the point of being “on-call” if you refuse to treat patients?)  Had we made preparations ahead of our arrival, we may have been able to contact a veterinarian sooner.  It wouldn’t have saved our Hodges, but it certainly would have made the ordeal a little less painful.

Second, if there IS an animal emergency, don’t be afraid to call 911.  We did not call 911 because we thought it was “only an animal emergency” and didn’t want to take time from a dispatcher who might be helping someone really in need.  Well, we too were really in need.  We were later informed that if we had called 911 and told them we had an animal emergency, they would have been able to help direct us where to go or whom to call.

Third, to the veterinarian who was on call in the wee hours of the morning of Wednesday, July 1, 2009 – the day our beloved Hodges died -- you missed an opportunity to care for and treat a beautiful, wonderful family member of ours who so desperately needed your help on that horrible night. You told us, who were vacationers and unfamiliar to the area, to drive almost three hours away to an animal hospital in Virginia when you could have seen us right there in the Hatteras area.  Why were you on-call if you wouldn’t see patients?  We were the fourth patients you refused to see that night!  You delayed our treatment and put our dog through unnecessary pain because of your refusal.  Shame on you.  You allowed a wonderful member of our family to suffer much more than she should have. She deserved much better than that.  She deserved to be treated with dignity.  And she finally got it from Dr. Burkart and Dr. Grossman.  You should take a lesson from them!

Finally, to Dr. Mary Burkhart and Dr. Mark Grossman from the Roanoke Island Animal Clinic—words cannot express the gratitude we feel for the way you treated Hodges—and us—on that horrible night.  You cared for her as if she were your own.  When she needed an IV throughout the night, you offered to take her to your own home and keep her in your bathtub so she could be cooled from the seizures because we couldn’t bring her back to our rental with an IV.  You took care of Seaver, who was scared and confused about what was happening to her sister. You made sure Seaver knew that Hodges was gone but that it would be all right.  You gave us a clip of Hodges’ hair and her paw print.  You talked to us about your own family dogs.  You grieved with us.  You did everything you could.  You loved her for the few hours you knew her.  You helped Hodges, Seaver, and us through one of the most difficult days of our lives, and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.  We will always remember your kindness and caring.  

When we returned from the Outer Banks that July, 2009, our Seaver was as depressed as we were about Hodges’ passing.  We had many discussions about getting a companion for Seaver to help ease her grief.   On January 20, 2010  my husband surprised me for my January 23rd birthday with an 8-week old golden retriever puppy named Grote  (Yes, we are New York Met fans…Gil Hodges, Tom Seaver, now Jerry Grote).  She’s wonderful, and Seaver just loved her!  Seaver was a great big sister, teaching Grote so many things in a few short weeks.  But, sadly, 6 weeks later on Sunday, March 7, 2010 our 6-year-old Seaver fell and dropped dead in our great room as she ran from the kitchen to get a toy.  The emergency vet thinks she had a blood clot and died with no pain.  We miss Seaver so very much.  It’s so very difficult to realize she is gone like our Hodges.  They were truly two peas in a pod and loved each other very much. They were inseparable.  We lost both of our girls in eight months.  Where once there were four of us, there were now three. Our hearts and souls were gone. But then there’s our new puppy who brings everything full circle.  Life is very unpredictable.  We thought we had it all that June in 2009 on the Outer Banks.  Life has a funny way of reeling it all in.

As this summer begins with all of its hope and promise for fun, relaxation, and family time, I beg you to take caution as you plan and make your preparations for your vacation with your family and your beloved family pet—no matter where you go.  Please check out the local veterinarian before you go on vacation- find out the name of the veterinarian in the area, the animal hospital, who is on call, and where they are located.  It’s the one thing we didn’t put on our list of preparations.  I hope our beloved Hodges can forgive us for that.  We miss her and Seaver and love them very much.  And Grote, too!

Lorrie Riley
Slate Hill, N.Y.    

New Letters to the Editor....06.10.2011  2:40 pm

No fireworks for Hatteras or Ocracoke, but there will be July 4 celebrations

To those who were anticipating or hoping for fireworks on Ocracoke this year, and perhaps a bit more so to those who made this a condition of coming to visit us, I confirm that our efforts to have a display were unsuccessful. We tried—oh, how we tried! The thought began last October, the effort in January, and we abandoned hope when our last entreaty was rejected in early May.

Sparing the reader most of the details, I shall simply amplify Connie Leinbach's June 1 IFP article in one respect, one which will come as no surprise to many readers -- the attitude of the administration of the National Park Service. Several direct requests to NPS for a Ramp 70 beach permit were rejected. (Recall that in 2007 we were granted a beach launch at this site.) This was followed by unsuccessful, although heroic, negotiations by our state senator, who was given no reason for the rejection. Moving on to the U.S. Congress, our several advocates were definitively rebuffed, this time with the defense that, 1.) it would disturb nesting birds, and 2.) there is a 10 p.m. beach access curfew. The fact that the first defense is incorrect (this section is open to ORVs all year), and the second could easily have been observed, apparently seemed irrelevant.
Bloody but unbowed, we're beginning planning afresh for next year and will welcome suggestions for any strategies that might help us succeed. Meanwhile, come see us anyway—we'll have a fun time!
Fred Westervelt

Avon water rescues call attention to rip current threat to ocean swimmers

I am a great swimmer and have been swimming in the ocean all my life.  On Memorial Day, I was swept out by a rip current in Avon, north of Ramp 34.  It was so scary!  My son helped to get me out of the water.  This had never happened to me, and I got caught in the waves by the sandbar!

I am having young visitors this summer, and I plan to use the lifeguarded beach in Buxton. 


The video is an excellent way for visitors in cottages and motels to learn about rip currents. The video is available at the offices of the companies and should be in each cottage or motel room. When I go to the beach, the first thing I do (especially at outgoing tide) is look for rip currents and tell or show the visitors around me what it looks like. I was caught once in Virginia Beach, years ago, and luckily was rescued by a surfing educator. Respect for Mother Ocean is the key.

Mike Martin

Hatteras-based Citation disinvited to Big Rock Tournament, still appealing last years decision

This has got to one the most ridiculous things I have had the displeasure of reading concerning Hatteras Island in my 45 years of visiting the island! Forget the money, isn't this about fishing? After all, we are not talking about a Pete Rose bet or a Don King fight fix. It's fishing for heaven’s sake...let them fish! I have cancelled next month’s trip to the island because I do not want my young, first-time angler to witness such adolescent behavior. That’s too bad, because he has never been saltwater fishing, and we planned to spend quite a bit of money on the island (lodging, food, gas, bait, etc.).

My advice: take a step back and remember how you got to where you are now.

Thank you very little...

Roy Munson
Ocean City, Md.

State Senate pushing for ferry toll at Hatteras Inlet

I can't begin to imagine the scope of our state's budget problem.  I applaud the many hours our elected officials have spent in attempting to correct this massive problem, and on most issues, I agree with them...the state must reduce spending and increase revenues.  But on the Hatteras/Ocracoke ferry toll issue, I must disagree. Our island is water-locked, and we have no choice but to pay whatever amount is required to travel on the Ocracoke/Hatteras ferry. Ocracoke citizens are not wealthy people—our median income is below the state's average. Most of us serve the tourism industry, and we only have seasonal income. In the off season, unemployment is around 90 per cent.
Ocracoke Island is described as "The Pearl of the Outer Banks."  Visitors to our unique island come from all over America and the four corners of the world to relax and enjoy themselves.  It’s unfortunate that most of our elected officials have never been here, or even know where our island is located, yet they are taking profound actions that will destroy us.
Tolling our public highway—the Hatteras Inlet ferry—will devastate the economy of Ocracoke.  Yes, the revenues will increase, briefly, but with the plan to double the toll fee next year, our unique village, a world class tourist destination as it is known today, will be destroyed. North Carolina and the world will be poorer because of such actions.  And all for less than one-half of one per cent of the state’s budget.  Sleep well tonight.
Rufus Keel

My family has been vacationing on Hatteras Island for 20 years, and we always take at least one (if not more) ferry trip to Ocracoke. It has always been surprising to us that there is not a toll! It's nice, of course, but if there was some kind of charge, it would not deter us from taking the ferry—at all! Of course, the toll could not be unreasonable, but let's face it, tourists are there, and most of them are spending money on all kinds of things (tons on rentals alone). Do you really think that a charge for the ferry would really keep folks from going to Ocracoke? I don't! How about $5 per car? The only way the toll would deter people is if it lengthened the wait. There would have to be a quick and efficient way of collecting the tolls. The waiting is bad enough in the summer as it is.

If a toll keeps the ferries running more often, then I think most tourists would go along with it.

As for the residents, they should be exempt altogether. I guess they have a sticker or something, now, showing they are residents, right? I don't believe they should ever pay a toll. That would be totally unfair!

As for increases on the other ferries, I guess everything goes up. But, as always, folks can't handle too large of an increase at one time. And as mentioned before, residents should be exempt.

Isn't there a way for this to work for all? If they do nothing, then we all may suffer with limited service. If they go too far, it will ruin it for everyone in the long run.

Common sense and compromise seems to be the way to go.

Vienna, Va.

UPDATE: Ocracokers win another round in keeping tolls off Hatteras Inlet ferry

We were so glad to read that there are not going to be tolls on the Ocracoke/Hatteras ferry. We have been coming to the OBX for 27 years, and this was going to be our last trip. Thank you.

Rita Nickles
Dalton, Ohio

I believe that true Ocracokers should have free passes, but everyone else should pay. We as vacationers do not mind the price. In large metropolitan areas, workers must ride and pay for toll roads and metro service, but that is not reasonable in this small environment.

Jill Gardner
Keyser, W.Va.

Is Bodie Island spit owned by the Park Service or not

I have been visiting the Outer Banks for almost 30 years. It is (or was) my favorite place to spend my free time—walking on the beach, fishing, and just enjoying the people.  I have seen changes by the government (National Park Service) that have caused the Outer Banks to become a less and less desirable place to visit.  They have closed access to beaches and ramps.  Now, how dumb is a bird that would nest within 250 feet of the surf line?  Where they have a fence, you are not even allowed to walk along the surf line, according to a government official that I spoke to on my last visit in May, 2011.  Also the license fee to fish in the ocean is ridiculous, as the government does nothing for the ocean.  In the week I spent on the Outer Banks, I had my cooler and my fishing license checked several times.  It seems that the government is trying to discourage people from coming to the Outer Banks.  In addition, they are killing the local businesses and the way of life of the people that live on the Outer Banks.  I have many friends who also make the Outer Banks their vacation spot, and they are also becoming disgusted with the direction the government is taking regarding the Outer Banks.        

NOAA and partners continue the search for ships lost in World War II off Cape Hatteras

In a letter from my father, he told of his ship being hit by a U-boat and sunk off Hatteras. The Coast Guard in the village of Hatteras responded, and he and four others were the only men to survive. He was on a tanker convoy heading to Europe. One more reason I love the village and its people.

Annette Barr
Petersburg, Va.

Dr. Beach says Cape Hatteras is No. 5 for 2011

Maybe Dr. Beach did his survey on a day when the beach was filled with ruts from SUVs.  I'm not necessarily against fishermen using SUVs, but the ruts ARE quite ugly, including the ones left by the National Park Service.

Richmond, Va.

No. 5 is positive!  When looking toward the future, it is better to be able to say that you are one of America's Top 10 Beaches (for several years) than that you were RETIRED as No. 1. I'd rather appear ON the list than be gone forever!

Linda Conner
Seaford, Del.

Ocracoke’s Charles Temple will compete in first Jeopardy! Teachers Tournament

Twenty years down the road:

Contestant: I’ll take the category, “Far From the Maddening Crowd,” Alex.

Alex:  This is the island where prize-winning teacher Charles Temple taught.

Peter Vankevich
Ocracoke, N.C/Washington, D.C.

Hey Charlie, I waited for the smoke to clear from your win on Jeopardy! I am a descendant of the Massachusetts Temple family, via Leofric Temple and Lady Godiva Temple. I emailed your brother, Robert, the boat captain, a few months ago. He said that you were the family historian. Please reply!

Ed Williams Temple
Clermont, Fla.

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

The attempt to control small business, fishing or otherwise, is one aimed not at conservation, ecology, or the economy—it is aimed at personal control of individuals who would operate small businesses. These people are the backbone of our economy and our nation. They are hard-working, independently-thinking citizens, not what our government desires. The ability to drive business to large corporations with the potential of securing organized labor voting is too much for this Washington, D.C., group to pass up.

This catch shares nonsense brings cap-and-trade to mind—legalized extortion for the benefit of a few at the expense of many. This is world-government thinking and has nothing at all to do with fish or fishing.

Al Adam
Salvo, N.C/Blue Bell, Pa.

Locals and visitors strut their stuff for feral cats

I hope the NPS doesn't trap these kittens or cats in their inhumane traps.

Lancaster, Pa.

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

My wife and I have been recycling for about 25 years. We live in Harbinger, and I was wondering where we can take our packaging peanuts to recycle.  I hate just throwing them away.  I try to re-use as many as I can for packaging, but I usually end up with more than I know what to do with.  Any advice would be appreciated.  Thanks, and God bless.

DJ Fincham
Harbinger, N.C.

Island Living: Learning to love thy beach neighbor

Excellent article!!

Montrose, Pa.

Ah, Joy, too funny!

Phoenixville, Pa.

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