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October 2011 Letters to the Editor

New Letters to the Editor....10.27.2011  9:45 am

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

I'm finding the road to Ramp 44 very difficult to navigate.  I have a Jeep and can get through the water, but it is difficult to see the road and holes next to the road.  There is a big hole as you turn onto Ramp 44.  I think draining the water would be a safety issue, and, secondly, this can't be doing the road any good.  If you are not going to protect the drivers, let’s protect the road!

Richard A Rubens
Wilmette, Ill.

Damaged Chicamacomico Life-Saving Station working to reopen soon

Could you add a contribution address to the article?

Mike Fahey

The article on the Chicamacomico Life-Saving Station was interesting, but I wish it had included an address to send the donations.

J. Kelsey
Fairfaix, Va.

(Editor’s note:  Thank you both for the suggestion.  We have added this to the article: For more information on Chicamacomico Life-Saving Station Historic Site, go to  To contribute to the repairs from Hurricane Irene damage, send checks to Chicamacomico Life-Saving Station, P.O. Box 5, Rodanthe, NC 27968.)

Hatteras Coast Guardsmen spent countless hours aiding hurricane victims

What a great story. Our men and women of the armed services are the best in the world! I hope the Coast Guard knows how outstanding their people are and see that they are rewarded in some way for all of their selfless work they performed. If only we had more people like them in our country nowadays.

Keith Houchens
Troy, Va.

I am so proud of these young men for their dedication to the community and fellow man in time of need. I am especially proud of my nephew, Steven Haughton, who is dedicated to helping those in need.

Gloucester, Va.

Eight Coasties helped clean my 81-year-old mother's storage area. We were in New Youk, but my husband took before and after photos of the area, and my Mom said she would of been completely depressed had she come home to the mess.  She and I are very thankful for all the hard work that was done at her house. Thank you, Coast Guard.  You made my Mom's day.
Frances Mcguire

Hatteras woman dies in dive accident off Wrightsville Beach

 A great person was lost. Amy was a helpful, caring friend to many. She will be missed by all.

Phil Jones
Damascus, Md.

Island Living: Getting by with a little help from our friends

Great article! It’s sound advice with truth resounding throughout.  We cannot wait to get back on the island.

Bunny and Tony Pierce
Macon, Ga.

WOW.  All I can say is that I am proud to have Hatteras blood flowing through me. This is awesome.

Cindy Ballance Fullerton
Virginia Beach, Va.

Mosquitoes getting under control; no more aerial spraying planned

I believe the mosquitoes in Wanchese are a hardier breed, but thanks anyway.

Louise Covan

NCDOT begins developing long-term solutions for Highway 12

I sense another SELC lawsuit in the making.

Hawk Hawkins
Mechanicsville, Va.

Outer Banks Angling: Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines

Dr. David Nunamaker with that tagged drum -- nice catch, Doc!

Kathy Freeborn
West Grove, Pa.

Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge is open for business

On my first trip to the Outer Banks, I visited Pea Island. I have to say I never seen so many waterbirds at once in the same place. Despite the high winds that day, we sat on the benches and watched them for the longest time. This was the third week of October. I saw white and brown pelicans. white ibis, great white egrets, little blue heron, double-crested cormorants, some smaller gulls I didn't identify, and a host of others I couldn't identify. What a beautiful place to bird watch.

I will be back next year if at all possible.

Uniontown, Ohio

Rodanthe man killed and three injured in crash on closed Highway 12

Sorry to hear about Gary Midgett. He was a great person. I hope his family is doing okay.

Mike Price
Concord, N.C.

The Expert Movers

This is an extremely interesting interview by Ms. Nolan. I am posting it on my blog: as a piece of industry news. Thank you!

Miss Mover
Dallas, Texas

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

Why doesn't the state buy the whole subdivision and use the eminent domain clause it can use by law? In this case it seems appropriate?

Wes Lassiter
Frisco, NC

Maybe we should firm up the houses and market the area similar to Venice in Italy.  Call it Venice Mirlo.  The Tourist Bureau could market gondola trips in Rodanthe. 

Out of the BOX thinking
Kitty  Hawk

The Nicholas Sparks book did not star Richard Gere and Diane Lane.  The movie did. (Bad movie.)  Watch your antecedent

John Zehmer
Newport News, Va.

(Editor’s note:  Thank you.  You are correct and we have corrected!)

Interesting, I was just through there last week, and, yes. the water impedes any progress getting to some of the homes. It is a real shame really, but with the high prices of rentals especially in season, did not the owners save some of that money for a future need? I would think you could set aside some money each week to prepare for hurricanes and overwash considering how close they are to the ocean and how frequently these events happen.

If they were my rental homes, I would be setting aside funds or investing in long-term CDs, or something rather than just spending it as I receive it.

That would make sense wouldn't it?

I know that flood insurance is very expensive, so an owner would have to find alternatives.

Uniontown, Ohio

Condemn all of them.  Tear all of them down.  Then prosecute the greedy real estate company that sold the Mirlo development to uninformed out-of-towners. Every local knew this was a true hot spot when it came to flooding, and it has been that way long before anything was built.

Balto, Md.

The old Hatteras in photographs

Thank you so much for publishing these old pictures.  I have Googled all over the Internet trying to figure out where my family stayed on our first visit to Hatteras Island in 1970.  It was the Cape Hatteras Court Motel!  That whole beach look is so familiar, even from childhood.  I loved that place.  Imagine my shock on my next visit in 2008!  Absolutely nothing looked familiar, except the lighthouse.  The beach was gone, and the remoteness gone.  We had heard in later years that the motel was destroyed.  But I am so glad to have known Hatteras Island over 40 years ago.  Thanks again!

Susan Howell
Madison Heights, Va.

UPDATED: Mystery of floating lights over the ocean off Avon is solved

My wife and I watched 31 of the lights rise over water in Avon that night. They were going awfully fast and high across the sky to be lanterns.

Eric Weiser
Wyomissing, Pa.

New Letters to the Editor....10.21.2011  11:00 am


Thanks for posting! I am the crazy nut with the camera out the window, filming. We were so excited.

Hurley, Va.

How much we appreciate the beauty of the Outer Banks. We’re on the third generation of love for all of it! You all are amazing in your efforts to restore the community for yourselves and those who find comfort and refreshment on the island. Our thanks to all of you for sharing your bounty with us. See you in 2012.

The Werner family
Rocky River, Ohio

Thanks for keeping us informed. See you 10/15.

Don Bowker
Oaklyn, N.J.

We are so happy to be back in touch with Hatteras.  We have already booked out two weeks for next year.

Kathleen Wicks
Reedsville, Pa.

Glad to see Highway 12 is open again. I think NCDOT should just put a permanent bridge in place!

Robert Bucks
Bainbridge, Pa.

Buxton culvert work causes confusion for motorists and headaches for businesses

Just wondering why it has taken (so far) seven days, at least 10 guys and three or four enormous pieces of machinery just to replace one culvert across narrow little Highway 12.

Barbara Midgette

They can reach the Old Gray House Gifts and Shells located on Light Plant Road also by approaching from the south.  We have appreciated our faithful customers that have taken the time to come to us regardless of the detour.

Dewey Parr

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

Just go look at some of the CAHA National Seashore dysfunction that surrounds us and question their authority. The leadership and all in headquarters thrive on their personal agendas and not what is good for the park. Call your elected representatives and make sure they know this story and all the others.


I can't help but believe the problem goes back to before Isabel.  We were camping at the Cape Point campground in July of 2003 and had lots of rain that week and the campground was very soggy the whole time.  As in our campsite was more like a marsh than a campsite for nearly half the week.

In years prior (mid-‘90s) I hiked around the campground and observed apparent drainage canals around the area, and an apparent "valve" for controlling something related to it.  Just pull up Google satellite maps and browse around and you will see them, although I guess some may be newer as noted in this article.  At any rate, a nearby camper was complaining about how the Park Service wasn't draining the area out like they once had done.  Seemed to make sense considering I had spent a week nearly every summer for 15-plus years at the same campground in the same week in July and had never seen standing water like that before.  The only exception was when we arrived immediately following hurricane Bertha back in the ‘90s, and that extreme amount of water went down very quickly in comparison.

We've been to the area nearly every year since then, but haven't made back in the summer time to stay at Cape Point since 2003.  Hoping to make it back this summer, and I'm hoping something is done about this so we can camp again at Cape Point.  The in-laws (Their first time camping on the OBX) still comment about "Lake Hatteras." Yes, it was that bad from time to time.

We drove back by the area when we were there this past summer. It was quite sad to see all the dead trees around.

Bridgewater, Va.

I feel the state of North Carolina and the people of Hatteras Island need to take back their land from the NPS.

Annette Barr
Petersburg, Va.

I been coming to the Banks for over 20 years and it is becoming pretty obvious to me that the NPS and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other eco-Nazi groups will not be happy until Hatteras is another Portsmouth Island.

D. DeVries
Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

Hatteras Coast Guardsmen spent countless hours aiding hurricane victims

Thank you, gentlemen, for all of your hard work. Words can’t express our thanks and gratitude for all the hard work you did. I think we need to have a banquet for all of you with some home-cooked food and desserts. If there are some of you who agree with me, let me know and let’s do it for  fire, rescue, Coast Guard, and law enforcement officers.

Charlotte Crumpton

I think The Coast Guard did a wonderful job! Now the Beachbabes from PA will enjoy coming back to the best place in the world! I hope the locals know how much we love coming to there homes and businesses! Thank you for making our lives a lot nicer!

Patty Radford
Pittsburgh, Pa.

Oh, that’s who those guys were who showed up when I was there with Team Depot and Operation Blessing. They were awesome!

Poplar Branch, N.C.

Our son, FN Michael Surch, is in the Coast Guard on Hatteras Island.  He told us of all the work that they did and how appreciative everyone was.  We are so proud of him and all of his Coast Guard family. 

Kevin and Jody Surch
Berrien Springs, Mich.

Hatteras woman dies in dive accident off Wrightsville Beach

Words cannot express the warmth and kind gentle nature of Amy Pieno. Anyone who knew her loved her, and I loved driving for hours to come dive with her and Johnny. Their operation, Outer Banks Diving, is top rate and the customer service is unbeatable. I will miss Amy, but I am grateful for the happy memories of her.

Terry Papavasilis
Lancaster, Pa.

Our thoughts are with you, Johhny. Sorry I can’t make the services.

David Wood
Southern Shores

Our hearts go out to the Pieno family. Be strong and know God is with you.

Suzie Scholten

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family of Amy at their time of great loss.  Amy Pieno will be truly missed by her family, friends, and the dive community. 

Rob Fortunto
Hampstead, N.C.

You were such a veteran diver. I am in such shock. I know you are smiling down on your family from the big blue ocean above. You will be missed by many. Rest in Peace, my friend...

Janille Turner
Ocracoke Island

A terrible tragedy. Amy brought happiness to many and will be terribly missed.

Elwood Overcash
Virginia Beach, Va.

Thoughts and prayers go out to the kids and family.

Colonial Heights, Va.

Johnny, our deepest sympathies go out to you and your family. A true tragedy.

Marc and Dina Engel
Port Saint Lucie, Fla.

I heard the sad news earlier today about Amy.  We dove and had drinks this summer with Amy and Johnny.  Amy was always a sweetheart and I enjoyed talking to her in the shop on my trips to Hatteras.
God Speed Amy. You will be missed.

Bob Novotny
Severn, Md.

Island Cooking: Hatteras Island Cancer Foundation has an updated edition of its popular cookbook

I am looking for a recipe for Hatteras-style clam chowder. I would appreciate some guidance for a cookbook title or the recipe. Thanks.

Glenn Maxwell
Salem, Va.

(Editor's note:  The Hatteras Island Cancer Foundation's Cookbook has a good recipe for Hatteras-syle clam chowder.  You can order the book at

Island Living: Getting back to normal -- whatever that is

I'm cheering with you from Pennsylvania for every sign that my beloved Hatteras Island is slowing recovering! My heart aches for all you have been going through. Prayers are going up for all of you down there. See you next September when I will be partaking of those fish dinners!

Esther Sides
Middletown, Pa.

It is true! You do feel good inside for that business that is reopening. And it may not even be a place you have ever patronized. But it is a sign of normalcy in an un-normal situation. Just as you feel sad for the businesses that you hear are never going to reopen. It hits you hard -- another part of the community, our family, is lost forever.

Jacque Gates
Fortville, Ind.

Ocracoke Real Estate:  Moving forward on travel trailers as residences

Thanks, B.J., for putting into words what all of us are feeling.

Tom Hranicka

Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge is open for business

Now we have a new inlet on Pea Island and a new bridge, let's name them after Etheridge, the Pea Island Life-Saving Station captain.

Perry White
Nags Head

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

I am so glad someone purchased this house and restored it to its full potential. The pictures are awesome. I am originally from Ocracoke, and several people I know where extras in the movie. I was wondering how the house fared in the recent storm Irene.

Edna McKelvey
Columbia, S.C.

(Editor’s Note: Serendipity was moved out of harm’s way in Mirlo Beach in January, 2010.  It did fine in the hurricane.)

The old Hatteras in photographs

These are some wonderful pictures.  I first came to Rodanthe in 1976.  I wish more people would share their collections with us. 

John Anderson
Spartanburg, S.C.

New Letters to the Editor....10.17.2011  11:50 am


I just want to thank you and all the members of your staff for keeping us abreast of all the situations that have arisen in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene. Many, many times I was able to find out information from The Island Free Press, in our evacuation spot in Pennsylvania as well as when we returned, before it was available from government officials! As a new local who is just learning the ropes, The Island Free Press has been a lifesaver! Thank you again!

Jim Coffey

Yes! I am so glad. Hats off to the workers. Now the island can start getting back to normal. See you soon Frank and Fran and Red Drum Tackle. Woohoo!

Tim Minetree
Colonial Heights, Va.

Thank you NCDOT, NC Ferry Division, and everybody who has helped sustain the island during this difficult time.

Phoenixville, Pa.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.  You islanders are really something.

Brenda and Steve

Great article and a big thank you to all who were involved in building the bridge for all your hard work!

Marti Jameson
Glenmoore, Pa.

A big thank you to all the workers for their hard work in building the bridge and repairing the road in order to get Highway 12 back in operation! We vacation there and it is my favorite place to go. Plus, I know how important it is to the residents. Thanks again!

Christina Wallbrown
Williamstown, W.Va.

Before I read this article, I'd been saying to my husband that the people that did this work should get a bonus, party, etc., because it is amazing what they have accomplished. I normally hate dump trucks, but these drivers have been the most courteous people on the road.

Thank you! I hope all these workers know how much they are appreciated. We are just ordinary citizens that live here. We have no business that needs the road to be open, but we are really grateful for everything you have done.

Vicki Hoover

All of us on the island, I am certain, will be glad to have Highway 12 open and to see life for everyone return to normal.  A very special thanks to everyone who has worked so hard on this, and to Pablo, our hero!


This is very exciting news!  I am amazed by the major accomplishments they achieved in just six weeks! Thank you for keeping us all informed!  You're the best!

Misty Gillikin

Wonderful! This is an engineering marvel and a tribute to the tenacity and creativeness of the inhabitants of the Outer Banks. I have been visiting and vacationing on Pea Island, and, in particular, staying in Buxton, for over 30 years. Your spirit and recovery is inspirational. I will return!

Harrison Woodruff
Doylestown, Pa.

Thank you very much to the construction crews of Carolina Bridge Company, Barnhill, and RPC Contracting for working so hard to restore access to the island so quickly.

Thank you to the ferry workers for picking up the pace with the extra loads.

Paul Kelley
Snellville, Ga.

Since I have almost been killed by impatient drivers who pass without consideration in the area from the Bonner Bridge south through the refuge, let's lower the speed limit along that section as well. You are on the island at that point, so slow down and enjoy the scenery!


My hat is off to those hard-working folks who are completing the new bridge.  Where else in this country could a bridge of this size be built in the time that this one will be? Yahoo!


God bless the NCDOT and the bridge crew. Many thanks to all.

Thomas Herman
Hiddenite, N.C.

Glad to see Highway 12 is open again. I think NCDOT should just put a permanent bridge in place!

Robert Bucks
Bainbridge, Pa.

Praise God that it is finally open!

Wylie Williams
Villas, N.J.

Thanks so much for keeping us all so well informed during and after the hurricane. You did a super job and were a great source of reassurance for those of us who were not able to be down there to check on our property.

Lynn Peters
Landenberg, Pa.

Hooray! An amazing feat!  We'll be coming down next week, and we can't wait to get there!

Toni Boldt
Midlothian, Va.

Thank you NCDOT and Governor Bev Perdue. Now maybe they can start planning a permanent solution for all the problem areas on Hatteras Island.

Gail Smith

Thanks for all the information and photos provided through this site. It helps keep us updated on what is happening at the place where we love to fish. Our thoughts and prayers have been with all the residents there.

Elizabeth City, N.C.

Thanks to your really great local newspaper, I've been able to watch the amazing restoration of  Highway 12.  Not only is your coverage of Hatteras affairs complete and timely, but the writing is always elegant.  Thank you.

Regina Nugent
Aberdeen, N.J.

Thank you, thank you!  What an amazing achievement. We all want to thank everyone who worked so hard to accomplish this feat in such a short amount of time.

Don Delwiche
Fairport, N.Y.

Hats off to NCDOT! Your hard work is truly appreciated. May this be the start of a new beginning for our beloved Hatteras Island.

K. Holmgreen
Raleigh, N.C.

Thank you all for working so hard to get this done. We so appreciate all your hard work and dedication. It’s so sad that the news did not cover it all! Thank you again.

Sterling, Va.

Yeah! We were there one month before Hurricane Irene struck. I am so happy for all of you down there, especially the locals. It must be wonderful to have some small sense of normalcy back in your daily lives! See you next year!

Renee Weber
Warren, Mich.


Aaron Aaron

Congratulations to all who made this possible. I can't wait to get down that way and try out the new bridge.

Martha Bawn
Johnstown, Ohio

Hooray! Cheers to the crews and the county for their great work and to the islanders for a very speedy recovery.

Lorraine Burgess
Stoney Creek, Ontario

Praise God! Thank you to all the men and women who made this happen so quickly!

Philadelphia, Pa.

I'm so happy and excited to see that the bridge is open today! It is truly a great day for Hatteras Island and it's loyal visitors. Now, the island folks can get back to their normal lives and the visitors can—and will—return! Thank you so much to all the hard-working men and women who worked endless hours to make this happen. I can't wait to return to your beautiful Island. God bless the people of Hatteras! We love you all!

Maryann Hooper
Wenonah, N.J.

I think the island should hold one big bash for both the folks from the electric company and the NCDOT and contractors. Both groups are absolutely fantastic and accomplish miracles on a regular basis, and we've never feted them as they deserve. And while we're at it, let's not forget the ferry workers as well. They also contributed many long hours to our welfare. 

Yep! I think a huge island party should be in the works. Thanks NCDOT, CHEC and NC Ferry Division. You guys are wonderful.


I will be down at the end of this month to fish. This is great news.

Thomas Herman
Hiddenite, N.C.

As I'm watching the video, I'm crying happy tears. Thank you NCDOT!

Margie Dimig
Highland, Md.

Congratulations, finally. We missed our vacation last week in Waves, but we were able to find another house in Corolla. It was not the same, and we can't wait to come back in the spring to enjoy all of the peace and quiet of the tri-villages. Thanks for all of the great coverage you guys have provided, and for all of the slideshows that have kept us informed of the week-to-week progress.

Kudos to all those who worked so diligently to make this happen, and to all of the homeowners and locals, I hope that you all recover quickly and find minimal damage. God made a piece of heaven in the OBX, and I am grateful that we can spend our little time on vacation there. God bless you all.

Michael Owen
West Deptford, N.J.

Capital Cities Four Wheelers tournament will be Oct. 15-16

Thanks for your update on our tournament.  We are looking forward to bringing some people down to the island to jump-start the economy, and make some donations to help out those in need.

Frank Overbey
Montpelier, Va.

Mosquitoes getting under control; no more aerial spraying planned

Congratulations on a job well done! I only wish that you were allowed to spray the federal lands, which are a big source of mosquitoes in south Nags Head. Hold off on the helicopter purchase for a while, Dare County, and do another aerial spray. They're not finished with us yet.


UPDATE: DOT responds to environmental groups lawsuit over bridge replacement

 I think that, whatever type of bridge is built, a toll should be placed on it to help pay for it.


New Letters to the Editor....10.12.2011  2:30 pm

NCDOT says Highway 12 will reopen no later than Oct. 11

We have a large group planning to stay in Buxton Oct. 14-16 for the surf-fishing tournament.  We really hope Highway 12 opens soon.  We visit twice a year.  We are keeping the Hatteras Island residents in our prayers.  God bless you.   

Karen Richards
King George, Va.

We spend a month each spring and fall at Ocean Waves Campground, and thoroughly enjoy the tri-village area, as well as Avon and Buxton.  We've seen no information on any of the three major campgrounds, the churches, or the individual businesses and homes. We've come to know and care about a lot of these folks.

By the way, your photo and interview coverage has been great.  And the construction of that temporary bridge is amazing!

Page Worthington
Ayden, N.C.

(Editor’s note:  We’re sorry there’s been no time to write about individual houses, businesses, campgrounds, etc.  We will try to do more on this in a few weeks.)

I just wanted to say thank you, Island Free Press, for doing such a good job keeping us up-to-date on the Highway 12 bridge work. All along this has been more informative than the news by far. I have sent this email to my family in Texas, so they can get a clue on what happened out here. Thanks for the info!

Marilyn Daniels

When Highway 12 reopens, travelers can expect delays for a few weeks

You all are doing an awesome job. A big thanks to all.

Lanore Lewis
Port Jervis, N.Y.

Aerial spraying for mosquitoes planned on Sept. 30

I am a licensed pesticide applicator, and I just read the MSDS sheet on the Dibrom that they are using. I just want to know why they can't use Sevin (carbaryl), which is a lot less harmful to the environment but still kills mosquitoes. I have never used Dibrom in any application, but just from reading the MSDS, it looks like some pretty harmful stuff.

Kill Devil Hills

It's nice to know that if you're staying on Ocracoke, Hyde County might spray tonight or tomorrow night or some other time if the weather's not right.  Thanks for the inexact info, Hyde County.  One thing that I have learned about Hyde County, by being forced to take the Swan Quarter ferry, is why Ocracoke wanted to secede.  I have traveled extensively across the U.S. in my 60 years, and I don't think I've ever come across another county seat that has less in it; there’s not even a place to eat.

Sam Bricker
Smithsburg, Md.

You should report on how the government is fooling the public into thinking this pesticide (Dibrom) is safe!  Do a simple Internet search on Dibrom, and you will see study after study showing that this is a carcinogen—causing liver damage, neurological damage, etc.  The public is soothed by hearing that it is not "toxic," but all that means is that the poison application itself will not immediately kill you.  It doesn't mean that people or pets are safe from harm!  Pets are especially affected, because they absorb pesticides through their paw pads when walking on the street and grass.  They also sniff very closely to the ground, inhaling the pesticides.  Pesticides are the number one reason why there is so much cancer in our dogs.  I can't believe people were "liking" your post about this on Facebook.  They are being led to believe this is safe.  I am extremely upset that I will be staying in Dare County for the next three days with my dogs—one of whom just had her fifth cancer surgery—before heading up to Corolla.  Disgusted.

Heather Pelletier
Colchester, Conn.

BRIDGING THE GAP:  Asphalt is underway and pilings completed for Highway 12 repair

VERY impressive work by NCDOT and the others involved. Thanks for the continual updates. You do a great job of keeping everyone informed.

Marcy Canavan
Accokeek, Md.

Thank you, Don, for the aerials.  They give us the slightest bit of hope that the road might actually open by the Oct. 9. The forecast is calling for good weather up through next Monday.  Let's hope it stays that way.  If only they could get the asphalt delivered around the clock…  

Elkton, Md.

Thank you so much. We appreciate these updates and all the information relating to our Oct. 8-16 stay in Rodanthe.

We’re thankful, for all of you, that good weather is helping. God bless and stay safe.

Joyce Luff
West Lawn, Pa.

We've been wondering why a bridge was built over the New New Inlet, but after Isabel, the Isabel Inlet was filled-in and the road was rebuilt.  We'd like to know the “why’s.” If anybody reading this knows we'd appreciate your sending us an email. Thanks!

Roger and Nancy Marsh
Plantation, Fla.

(Editor’s note:  The temporary bridge in the Highway 12 right-of-way was the most expedient way to deal with this inlet in the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge.)

Thank you for the roadwork being done. My wife and I spend two weeks on Roanoke Island every other year and we were there shortly after Irene. Our trip to Ocracoke and Portsmouth was postponed. Hopefully, we will go on our next visit.

John Stephenson
South Bend, Ind.

Great video!  Thanks for sharing!

Misty Gillikin

Many thanks to all who are working so hard to get things connected down there. It has been heartbreaking seeing these pictures over the past few weeks, but many, many thanks to Mr. Bowers for sharing them with all of us who live so far away. We have checked daily, here in Ohio, to see what has happened on the island. Thanks to the Island Press for being there, too. Our thoughts are with everyone. Is there an address where we can send donations for food?

M. Bawn
Johnstown, Ohio

We missed our vacation in Rodanthe (Sept. 23-Oct. 8) this year because of Hurricane Irene and damage to Highway 12.  Don Bowers should be nominated for a photojournalism award for the wonderful pictures he has provided for your articles on the aftermath of Hurricane Irene.  Thank you for all the information you have provided to keep us updated.  Looking forward to coming next year, "come hell or high water" (no pun intended)!

Susan Atkinson
Windsor, Wis.

Refuge manager sets the record straight on Highway 12 repairs on Pea Island

The actions of the refugee manager were interesting, but I was hoping to see a projected completion date and reopening of the highway, since this report is dated Sept. 27, 2011. Thanks.

Sylvester Berdux
Alexandria, Va.

BRIDGING THE GAPS: Mother Nature is not cooperating with repair efforts on Highway 12

I can't wait until the road is complete. We love Buxton and can't wait to come back for a fall visit. God bless all those working on the bridge and the road, and all those living on Hatteras, waiting on us (the tourists) to return.

Mary Edwards
Richmond, Va.

BRIDGING THE GAPS: Storms slow work a bit, but reinforcements arrive

So, this may have been covered before, but is the New New Inlet going to be left alone or will it be filled in by man? Is this going to be a temporary bridge until a permanent bridge can be constructed?

Ethan M
Indianapolis, Ind.

(Editor’s note:  The North Carolina Department of Transportation is working on a long-range plan for the “hot spots” on Highway 12 and expects to have it completed in fewer than five years.  The temporary bridge will be there for a while.)

County updates re-entry information for Rodanthe, Waves, and Salvo visitors

While I understand the economic pressure, the decision to open the southern villages to tourists before the road was ready has created havoc. It has to rank in the top ten stupidest decisions made by public officials.

Who is responsible for this?

John Boykin
Chesterfield, Va. 

Dare pushes back reopening tri-villages until after Oct. 10

Wow, I hope the rental companies are doing the right thing by the people that cannot make it to their rentals due to the lack of ferries. It sounds like the insurance companies are up to their regular tricks. 

James Jackson
Gore, Va.

I am a visitor with various ferry reservations both coming and going.  None are termed "mandatory" per the above letter.  Is there any chance I could get to the ferry and be turned away?

Doug Kon
Winston Salem, N.C.

(Editor’s note:  You won’t be turned away if you have reservations.)

The Outer Banks still remains the best-kept secret on the East Coast. So, folks may have to wait a little longer to visit, but it will definitely be worth their wait. I promise.

Greg O'Keef

I am saddened for the renters and owners.  This is a very hard time for you all, and my prayers are with you.  With what I can tell though, the NCDOT is doing extraordinary work in getting Highway 12 back open.  I salute the workers and their dedication.  God bless!

John Turner
Roanoke, Va.

I hope the bridge is completed and the road reopened by Oct. 14. We are supposed to come down for fishing tournament, but I don't want to ride the ferry for three or four hours.

Ginny Gunn
Prince George, Va.

The North Carolina Commissioner of Insurance, Wayne Goodwin, should force the companies that sell travel insurance to his state to refund vacationers who have reservations in ANY of the villages, whether reachable by ferry or not.  If these areas are filled to capacity and another storm or other emergency arises, nobody can get out.  It would be comparable to a Katrina situation.  We don't need another one.

Pamela S. Ivins
Rehoboth Beach, Del.

Does anyone know if the reopening of the road is dependent on the reopening of the tri-villages? In other words, if the state had been able to finish the road by the Oct. 8, but Dare County Emergency Management closed the tri-villages until Oct. 20, would NCDOT keep the road closed until the 20th as well?

Elkton, Md.

(Editor’s note:  The tri-villages will open when the highway does.)

Gov. Beverly Perdue visits Hatteras to talk with hurricane victims

My family lives on Hatteras, and we visited often, until Irene.  I am so proud of Don and Anne Bowers who kept us informed up here. They are an asset to your team and to all residents of Hatteras Island, as well as to those of us who cherish it.

Karen Malina Scroggin
Warrenton, Va.

Once again, another politician arriving at a disaster scene! I fail to understand why they cannot just stay in their offices and stay out of the way. Allow the folks whose jobs are to deal with disasters do their work. Politicians on disaster scenes merely divert resources away from the actual problem – not to mention the costs associated with their photo-ops. There are already funding issues much larger than Irene recovery, both on a state and national level. A helicopter and crew to bring someone who can't actually do anything to a disaster scene is a hugely wasteful expenditure. The least Bev Perdue could have done was use ground transportation.

Dave Hallenbeck
Frederick, Md./Buxton, N.C.

Did anyone tell Governor Perdue that the residents of Hatteras Island are used to and capable of coping with natural disasters, but the man-made disaster that is NPS's “Plan F” will be the straw that broke the camel's back?

Tim Sacksteder
Great Falls, Va.

I’m really happy to see the governor assessing the situation and helping out, but it doesn’t end there. I have been spending two or three weeks a year on Hatteras for over 20 years. And for 20 years, I have been purchasing the hurricane insurance. Like so many others, I am having big issues with the insurance and rental companies. Who’s looking into that and helping the tourists?

G. Arnold
Warwick, N.Y.

How I spent my summer evacuation

I love reading Joy's articles. It's just like being right there with her as she writes. We met her as a small child and she's been so special all her life! She's very good at what she does. Take care and keep on entertaining us.

Joy Hooks
Virginia Beach, Va.

Island Living: Attack of the Kinnakskeeters

Great article! Some do not understand the many residual effects of storms, which go far beyond the irreparable damage incurred; even the tiny mosquito can render clean-up efforts an unbearable task. As though picking up the pieces of your home, your life weren't bad enough, here comes that infernal “bzzzzzzz”. 

Marci Oden
Virginia Beach, Va.

This native Dare Countian appreciates the humor and grit of the folks back home, who have endured the hardships of Irene and can still make a joke.  I’ve been there, done that, and I miss my homeland more than I can convey.

Mary Jolliff Moore
Largo, Fla.

I just want to know who has the job of counting the “skeeters” in the traps?

Hermitage, Pa.

I thoroughly enjoyed your commentary on the sweet, loving, flying, man-eating, buzzards that you so described as the “kinnaskeeter”! I say we start taking orders for bats, praying mantises, and frogs to do the trick!

Karyn Wickens
Powells Point, N.C.

That was so funny!


Get a ThermaCell at Wal-Mart or some other store. You'll be glad you did.


Oh my, you are so funny.  I have never laughed so hard, and lord knows we need laughs right now! Feel free to come up to the free market in Waves; we would love to meet you, and you would sure liven the locals up!

Connie Meekins

Dramatic rescue of Hatteras waterman follows annual blessing of the fleet

I have chills after reading this incredible story about Van Druten's near death experience in his boat. How amazing that the accident happened so soon after the blessing of the fleet, and what a blessing that other fishermen were nearby to get help for Van Druten. I would say this fellow has certainly received a huge blessing. I hope Van Druten will have a speedy recovery. God must have important plans still on earth for this tall fisherman. Excellent reporting, Island Free Press.
Nancy B
Roxboro, N.C.

Glad you’re OK, Bill. 

Jim Curles

Many thanks to the young heroes who acted quickly and appropriately and saved our good friend.  They are truly heroes and we are all proud of them!


Park Service is preparing to implement ORV rule

An effort needs to be made to get the federal government out of the OBX and have the state of North Carolina take over the park!  Enough is enough!

Troy, Va.

Rodanthe man killed and three injured in crash on closed Highway 12

I’m so sorry to hear this news. My condolences go out to the families involved. Gary will be truly missed. Tia and Danielle, I hope you are better soon. Please let me know if there is anything I can do.

Pamela Trimmer
Chesterfield, Va.

We are so very sorry for the loss of Gary Midgett. We always enjoyed eating at the Hot Tuna when we were on the island. He was always a super nice guy and will be missed.

Our prayers and thoughts are with the Midgett family.

Ben and Debbie Huss
Newton, N.C.

So, so sad for all involved. Such a huge loss for the Midgett family!


I was very saddened to hear about Gary. I have known Gary for many years, as I had a trailer in Tuttle's Trailer Park for a while. He was a friend to everyone he met. Gary will be missed by many. I am so sorry he is not with us anymore. I miss him. He will watch over his friends and family on the Outer Banks. Goodbye, my friend.
Don Schultz
Mims, Fla.

UPDATE: DOT responds to environmental groups lawsuit over bridge replacement

Can we put people first, for onceDelays will only put us in further peril, since the Bonner Bridge is already way past its shelf life! What's it going to take for you tree huggers to wake up? Another bridge collapse like the one in Minneapolis?

Donna Rich

New Letters to the Editor....10.03.2011  9:30 am

Really, Really Free Market is aiding all islanders in need

First off, thank you for the service you and your Island Free Press team have provided to your readers during the post-Irene recovery effort.

Speaking for myself, I find your journalism top-notch and have been a reader for a number of years.

Your publication provides a valuable service not only to the residents of Dare County but also to folks like myself, who, over the years, have been fortunate to have cultivated a personal relationship with Hatteras Island and its residents.

We completely understand the impact Irene has had on the folks that call the island home.
Now, almost a month later, Irene is a distant memory and another forgotten headline to most.

But, to many island residents, it is a continuing struggle to survive and rebuild.

Though no one can be certain what outcome awaits, my respect and admiration remains unwavering as I read of the courage and resiliency exhibited by those whose lives have been turned upside down.

My wife and I own a home in Salvo and are among the many anxiously awaiting the completion of Highway 12.

Our last trip down was in mid-August. In a sense, not knowing what awaits us provides a certain discomfort, but your reporting has been instrumental in keeping us updated and informed.

Though current circumstances prevent me from providing in-person assistance, I would greatly appreciate your suggestions regarding what I could do to provide some support from afar.

Thanks for taking the time to read this and hopefully your busy schedule might provide an opportunity for a reply.

Michael Effron

I would like to send a donation to help with recovery from Irene’s aftermath. My husband and I have been visiting for the past six years and do not want to lose Hatteras. Can you provide me with an address where I can securely send a donation?

Michelle Coffey
Gloucester, Va.

Thanks, Irene for printing this very important story. From the information you provide, I'm sending a check and a USPS flat-rate priority box (if it fits it ships) full of needed items to the Really Really Free Market. Please give us updates. I would also like to ask all the Northern Virginia vacationers that visit the OBX each year to please send a box and check

Springfield, Va.

(Editor’s note:  Readers who want to help can go to for an article on The Really, Really Free Market in Waves.)

BRIDGING THE GAPS: Mother Nature is not cooperating with repair efforts on Highway 12

Awesome job. My hat is off to all the hard workers, and my heart is heavy for all the residents who have lost so much. My husband and I have donated money for aid.

Bon Air, Va.

BRIDGING THE GAPS: High seas from Katia suspended road work Thursday night

Thanks for the slide shows and the status updates. I love Hatteras and have been going there since I was born. Actually I was conceived there.  I don't own a house down there, but I do love the island and the people. Islanders, take care and God bless.

Faith Armstrong
Alexandria, Va.

BRIDGING THE GAPS: DOT update on Highway 12 repairs

I have a trip planned for Nov. 2-7 to Ocracoke Island.  Will Highway 12 be open so that I can drive down to the Hatteras-Ocracoke ferry?  I'm coming from Maryland.

Dave Robinson
Upperco, Md.

(Editor’s note: The North Carolina Department of Transportation has said that Highway 12 on Hatteras Island will open in early October. Island Free Press will continue to report on the progress of repairs.)

I am in the business of serving municipal and DOT customers, and I just have to say that the NCDOT group in charge of the Highway 12 efforts is the absolute best that I have encountered in 40 years. It is hard to beat the dedication of public works personnel, and the NCDOT group exemplifies the best of the best. Kudos to this hard working, dedicated team.

Al Adam
Blue Bell, Pa./Salvo

I would be very interested to see an aerial view of what they have accomplished.  It is so hard to get any perspective on just how much work they have actually completed. I hope someone throws a party for the contracting firms doing this work when it is done. I would contribute toward it, just as I will contribute to the recovery funds.

Elkton, Md.

I’m from Wilmington. I have been a visitor to the OB since 1958 and a Buxton property owner since 1960. I cannot believe that the Bonner Bridge wasn't replaced a decade ago—erected approximately where the present bridge is—and that a raised roadway down Hatteras Island, to the ferry landing, hasn't even been contemplated. How much money and concern would be spared if these two features were constructed right now?
Incidentally, why don't the local newspapers inform at length about the progress toward fixing, even if temporarily, the present bridge?

Chris Waters

(Editor’s note: The local papers have written extensively about the efforts to replace and repair the current Bonner Bridge for the past 20 years..  You can check out the Island Free Press Archives, which is towards the bottom of the front page, to see what has been reported in the past four years.)

Post Hurricane Irene information and news travels slowly to islanders

So sorry to see this. I have been coming to the OBX (staying in Avon) each summer for many years.  God bless.

Glen Alexander
Austin, Texas

FERRY UPDATE:  Ocracoke residents and vendors to have priority

I understand and agree that there is a need for priorities, but I have to wonder when it comes time to use my reservation on the Oct. 15, will I actually be able to get on the ferry?  And if not, how long does my family, including my 1-year-old, sit in the truck waiting? So long that there are no other ferries running that day? Do I then drive 400 miles home? I guess I get stuck with getting a room somewhere.

Jersey Dave
Newton, N.C.

How is this going to be handled for tourists who already have reservations?  I am very surprised that the article does not address that issue.

Alexandria, Va. 

People who are making reservations on ferries and then not showing up, so that the ferries are then crossing not full, should have to pay a $1,000 fee to the Hatteras Island relief fund. There is no penalty for making many reservations and preventing someone else from catching a ferry they need.

Carol Dawson

Does this mean visitors with reservations will be bumped for residents who don’t have them?  Shouldn't the NCDOT have war-gamed this scenario and been better and more consistently prepared? There sure does seem to be an awful lot of waffling and backtracking going on, and that’s not good for residents or visitors.

Sam Bricker
Smithsburg, Md.

What is not clear is, if you are a visitor with a reservation, could you be bumped?  It's sure implied, but it should be definitively stated.

Ted A. Hamilton (aka Salvo Jimmy)
Salvo/Hampton, Va.

(Editor’s note:  The Ferry Division will not be bumping travelers with reservations.)

Irene, you are doing a great job. Thank you.  I just wanted to chime in and say that the ferry workers told me that people who take the ferry for "fun trips"—to go shopping or "just to get off the island"—are taking the place of someone who really needs the space on the ferry. Please think before you go on an unnecessary ferry trip.

C. Corbett

Emergency medical team helped islanders for six days

Upon initially reading this article I was a little offended, but then realized that it was a perfect chance to help inform the folks on Hatteras exactly what it is that we do. By "we," I mean my co-workers at Dare County Emergency Medical Services (DCEMS) and I. The line, "given the magnitude of the long-term damage caused by Hurricane Irene, islanders would have lacked basic medical care without the wonderful and caring individuals who came to Hatteras during this time of need,” is what caught my attention.

While I am sure there was no malicious intent meant, let me take just a few minutes to explain what medical care was available to islanders during this time of need. On Friday, Aug. 26, at approximately 3 p.m., a team of five, two-person crews—two in Frisco, two in Avon, and one in Rodanthe—were put into place on "storm duty." When put into place on this duty, crews are told to come to work completely self-sufficient for a period of at least 72 hours, as we are never sure how long we will have to work before relief crews will be able to get to the island. All five of these crews contained at least one paramedic and one EMT or EMT-Intermediate.

These crews provided ambulance response to emergency calls until the winds reached 50-mph sustained speed, at which time county policy calls for the ambulances to stop responding until the winds fall below that level for the safety of the crews in them.

However, the fact that we were not able to put the ambulances on the road, that did not mean that we were not able to care for people if they could be brought to us or if we could gain access to them in some other manner. In fact, the crew in Rodanthe, who were bunkered in the RWS water plant for their safety, did continually care for at least two injured people throughout the night on Saturday, until they could be evacuated by a medical helicopter on Sunday morning. And this was without an ambulance, as it was flooded in the station at the Rodanthe fire department!

As soon as the conditions allowed for it on Sunday morning, the various crews went out in the areas where they were stationed and began to evaluate damages to their surroundings. Well before the SORT team was in place Sunday night, our crews provided everything from advanced life support to very basic first-aid for the islanders. There was never a lapse in medical coverage on the island, even without our resident physicians here. As a matter of fact, in the 14 1/2 years that I have worked for DCEMS there has never been a time when multiple crews have not been available during an emergency.

In the past, ambulances have been flooded and various pieces of equipment have been ruined in the process of providing medical care to those on the island during hurricanes and nor'easters.

During Irene, the initial crews stayed on duty until Sunday night, when the last patient was flown off the island at 9 p.m. and they could be relieved by four crews of fresh and rested replacements. Some of those initial crewmembers live north of the bridge and were unable to find any information on their own homes, while they listened to reports of the terrible flooding happening in their neighborhoods. The other members of those crews, who live here on the island, may have been able to go by and at least make sure their houses were still standing on Sunday morning.

As for myself, it was approximately 11 p.m. on Sunday before I was able to start doing anything to my house, including getting a generator going for my refrigerators and freezers and starting to clean up from the foot of water that flooded my garage and the storage area under the house. Emergency crews on Hatteras Island are now working 48-hour shifts, instead of our usual 24-hour ones, because of the difficulty of transporting new crews to the island every 24 hours. But we are glad to do what must be done to continue to provide the level of emergency care that the people of Hatteras Island are used to. I am proud to say that I work with some of the best and most well trained EMS providers in eastern North Carolina, if not in the whole state. So, as you can see, there was much more than just "basic medical care" available throughout the length of the storm. Not to take anything away from the SORT team—as we were very glad to see them in place and have enjoyed working alongside them. They were excellent and a huge asset to the island, and I certainly hope to see them return the next time they are needed.

Thank you for the excellent and timely coverage of the storm and the issues facing our community in the time that is now being spent recovering from this disaster.

Ken Randall

County updates re-entry information for Rodanthe, Waves, and Salvo visitors

I called the county emergency management phone number on Sept. 27, wondering if it would be possible catch the Stumpy Point ferry so that my wife and I could go to Rodanthe and then travel to Avon. I explained to the lady that my wife was a caregiver and that my mother-in-law and father-in-law had Alzheimer’s and dementia, and my brother-in-law, who is caring for them, had a lot on his plate. I told the lady I spoke with that my wife hasn't seen her mother in three weeks, and that caring for her is a burden on my brother-in-law’s wife, because she has two kids and two grandchildren to take care of as well.

I was not pleasant and neither was this lady. She said she lost her house and her two cars, plus she had to go to work. I told her that I have to work and my wife does as well.

I can understand a lot of things, and I can go along with certain situations, and I do agree that I am bull-headed at certain times. I understand that the woman I spoke with was under some stress, but I also feel that this transaction could have gone smoother, on her part as well as mine

Frank Saunders
Chesapeake, Va.

I would be lost with out you.

Clayton Krieger
Northumberland, Pa.

Chamber joins tourism board in urging county to revisit decision on visitors

For the past 15 years we have had the pleasure of vacationing on Hatteras Island in September. I deal with a tremendous amount of stress at my job, and those two weeks each year are heavenly. Each year, I have paid for the trip insurance, just in case something might happen, and fortunately, I have never needed to use it until this year. And now I have become aware that I may lose close to $2,000 because of decisions made by the county commissioners. I know it is nothing compared to the losses on Hatteras, but I work hard for my income, and I can’t just blow off that kind of money. No one is giving me answers—not the realtor, not the owner, and not the insurance company. North Carolina law may offer protection, but Pennsylvania law would look at this as a deceptive or fraudulent business practice. I just ask that the commissioners do the right thing for all involved.

Ron Heller
Altoona, Pa.

UPDATE: Emergency Stumpy Point-Rodanthe ferry resumes operations

My husband and I are among the residents who evacuated on Friday, Aug. 26, before the hurricane hit.  We were fortunate to be able to stay with our daughter in Fredericksburg, Va. I cannot believe the county commissioners found it necessary to keep us from our home for 11 days, but considered the foreign students who work at the local Food Lion to be "essential personnel" and allowed them to return after only four days. So, the commissioners believed cleaning up Food Lion, using the foreign students, was more important than allowing those of us whose homes needed immediate attention to return.

Carolyn Honeycut

Those left homeless on Hatteras are living a nomadic lifestyle

I have a two-bedroom, completely furnished mobile home in Frisco that will be empty from Nov. 1 until April 1.  I will be coming to Hatteras for three weeks on Oct. 5.  If anyone is interested in renting this from November to April, or at any point during that time period, they can contact me at 518-584-4737 or on my cell phone at 518-316-1424.  It has a washer and dryer and small dogs are welcome.  There is a pond on the lot, so small children would not be advisable.  Please contact me if you know of anyone that may be looking for a reasonable place to live. 

Judy Boyce
Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

God be with you all.

J.M. Rush
Hopewell, Va.

We have come to Hatteras for vacation for the last 10 years. We will be in Avon the week of Oct. 10.  If there is anything we can do to help while we are there, please let me know. I can swing a hammer.

Eugene Groce
Hamptonville, N.C.

Refuge manager sets the record straight on Highway 12 repairs on Pea Island

How far south on Highway 12 can people travel? Can we still go to the Bodie Island area and beaches? Many of us have had to change rental plans and only get updates from The Island Free Press. I hope the weather improves for everyone working under such difficult circumstances. God bless. Our prayers continue for all. Take care.

East Lawn, Pa.

(Editor’s note:  Highway 12 is open to the Bonner Bridge.  Yes, you can get to the Bodie Island area.)

"Bryant gave immediate verbal approval for NCDOT to do whatever work was necessary to repair the road within its existing highway right-of-way on Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge"

Heaven forbid they approve anything outside of the right-of-way for the sake of the island residents. 

Joan Berg

It's late in the game, and they are trying to save face in light of the fact they are the main reason for so many of the frustrations on the Outer Banks. Let's see Mike Bryant fighting to restore full access to ORVs, then he might gain some credibility.

Winston Salem, N.C.

My family and I have been going to the Outer Banks since 1964. It seems like the more the federal government gets involved with or has control of, the worse things get. Wow.

James R. Jackson
Gore, Va.

As always, great reporting.  And, while I understand and appreciate what this federal employee is saying, his tone is very much typical of a "king of the hill" bureaucrat.  After dealing with these types through a recent flood and tornado, I'm a bit fed up with their "kingdom of federalism" tones.  As the kids would say, "just saying..."

Wayne Guyette
Gallatin, Tenn.

Island Cooking: Dolphin Days

Awesome explanation about dolphin/mahi-mahi!  I love the recipes, and the photographs are amazing.  Makes me so hungry!

Rosemary Smith
Derwood, Md.

Search is on for kiteboarder missing off Cape Hatteras

Please keep the public informed on what happened to AJ. What could have caused such a loss, for his family as well as the Hatteras community? My husband has taken up kiteboarding, and I fear something like this happening every time he goes out.

Donna O'Neese
Mebane, N.C.

This article is vague. Was he kiteboarding alone? Who called for help? When he was on the shoals yelling for help, why did help not come? Why such a long delay? This is very sad.


My thoughts and prayers are with Jackson and his family. I pray for his safe return and for peace of mind for his family and friends.

Amanda VanDyke

2011 Previous Letters to the Editor


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