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September 2011 Letters to the Editor

New Letters to the Editor....09.26.2011  12:30 pm

Post Hurricane Irene information and news travels slowly to islanders

I truly was not aware that the devastation was so great over your way. The damage in the section of Southern Shores where I live was inconsequential in comparison. I am grateful to the photographer and the Island Free Press for making this collection available. Those of us who were spared this kind of loss should be grateful indeed.  Only God knows when, or if, all of us will have to face "the big one," but what you have been through is close enough.  My prayers are with you and my heart goes out to those among you who have lost not only their homes but their livelihood as well.

Virginia Flynn
Williamsburg, Va.

BRIDGING THE GAPS:  DOT Highway 12 update

Videos posted on YouTube would bring instant success to your site. Your pictures are excellent as are your articles. Keep up the good work.

Jeff Dunn
Lexington, N.C.

Amazing progress!

Lori Dollar
Chesapeake, Va.

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

I voiced my opinion right after Hurricane Irene that a second bridge should be built at the S-curves area instead of trying to fill it in as has been tried many times in the past. This area has been designated a "hot spot" area for decades. I remember putting Christmas trees in the dunes in that area in the early 1990s, before the road was even moved. Wouldn't it make more sense, since we have FEMA funding, to go for the second bridge now, instead of wasting all this sand and money? Remember, we're not even in nor’easter season yet. I hope someone budgeted additional funding for Highway 12 road maintenance between Avon and the S-curves, due to the number of heavy dump trucks hauling sand (over 2,300 so far) on Highway 12. I believe this section was completely repaved two or three years ago. The volume and weight of these trucks has to be taking a toll on the road. Is it too late to consider a second bridge?

Mike Martin

Godspeed! I would love to come down at the end of October to spend some money and go fishing. God bless all!   

Thomas Herman
Hiddenite, N.C.

Under the circumstances, these workers are doing a great job.  Hats off to them.

Skaneateles, N.Y.

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

By opening up the island, the county has stopped the business interruption insurance that many businesses need to make up for the lack of income caused by Irene. Petty politics trump common sense once again.  The unemployment payments do not end in February, they end in March, but, nevertheless, without the employers, no one has a job. Anyone with half a brain can see the island is not ready for visitors. More harm than good will come of it. Good luck to all fellow islanders. God helps those who help others.

Ted Torok

The Chamber's stance in this regard is understandable if you look at where the majority of its business members are located (i.e., off Hatteras Island).  They stand to recover their own losses more quickly if visitors rebook on the northern beaches, and, in fact, Dare County has recommended to visitors that they do so.  We may all be Dare County citizens and businesses, but self-interest, once again, trumps the policy of a shared burden.  The chamber should be ashamed of itself, but, of course, it is not.  It represents all that is wrong with the U.S. these days.

Mike Fahey

CORRECTION: Visitors to southern Hatteras can still enter by ferry  -- and make reservations

We are sympathetic to Hatteras Island’s needs and want to cooperate. However, the number of Hatteras Island visitors has overwhelmed the available ferry capacity for Ocracoke, interrupting our staple and supply delivery, the mail service, our personal and semi-urgent off-island travel needs, as well as our visitors’ travels to the island.

Mr. Outten's delegation of visitor traffic control to the ferry system reservation office is Kafkaesque, not really a decision at all and very irresponsible of him. Of course people can't move through Ocracoke without a ferry reservation. That's the problem.

He should have heeded the council resolution of Sept. 15.

Fred Westervelt

Thank you for your coverage of this storm and the aftermath, as well as other events and news from the islands.  Your site is the only way I know of to get current information and updates. It is really appreciated here in central North Carolina.

Phillip Rives
Saxapahaw, N.C.

Are reservations mandatory for the free ferry from Ocracoke to Hatteras?

Nancy Barefoot
Alum Bank, Pa.

(Editor’s note:  No.)

I'd like to see a story on the impact on Ocracoke from the sound ferries being used to get to Hatteras.

Tom Cain
Plano, Texas

So what constitutes mandatory, and how do I know my reservations are "good"? I made reservations online a week ago to travel to and from Ocracoke in mid-October. Is the receipt considered a “mandatory” reservation?

It sounds like Dare County has been reading SELC's press releases for so long that they're starting to talk them, too.

Derek Scott

I would like to first express my sincerest concern for all who were affected by Hurricane Irene. 

I would also like to express that we would greatly appreciate a reconsideration of the ferry access determination.

Celeste A. Chafin
Newark, Ohio

Would you please advise me when Highway 12 is open?  We have ferry reservations; however, an update directly from you would be very helpful.

Connie Barefoot
New Paris, Pa.

(Editor’s note: You can be sure that when Highway 12 opens, you will read it first in the Island Free Press.  Stay tuned.)

Hurricane Irene Aftermath ferry updates

I heard a rumor today that, after getting onto Hatteras Island from Stumpy Point, you can't get back that way because they have road blocks on Highway 12 northbound, and only the full-time residents are allowed to pass. Is there any truth to this?  As a non-resident property owner, does this mean I have to leave Avon and go south, from Hatteras to Ocracoke and then from Ocracoke to Swan Quarter to get off the island?  This makes no sense to me!  I hope this is just a rumor.

Clarksboro, N.J.

(Editor’s note:  Yes, this is just a rumor.  It is not true.)

I took the Stumpy Point ferry at 6:30 p.m. yesterday, and there was space for three more cars. It was a pleasant ride with pleasant people. They told me that late afternoon is the best time to go from Stumpy Point—that the chance of delays is highest in the morning if you’re going to the island, and in the late afternoon if you’re leaving.

Accokeek, Md.

How can I get clothing and other needs to the people in Avon? My father was born and raised there.  Thanks.

Vickie Meekins Gray
Virginia Beach, Va.

(Editor’s note:  The best way is to work through Cape Hatteras United Methodist Men. Cash donations are welcome.  The address is P.O. Box 1591, Buxton, NC 27920.)

Many Ocracoke businesses are unhappy with Dare’s visitor re-entry decision

I also have to wonder how many of the folks who planned to visit Ocracoke now cannot, due to the overbooked ferries.  My parents had planned to head that way this week and camp at the Park Service campground.  They have some flexibility, since they don’t need to come and go over the weekend, but they don’t have a lot.  They were hoping to catch a Friday afternoon ferry to Ocracoke, but it was booked solid until Monday, which would have required them to leave on Wednesday evening or catch the 7 a.m. ferry on Thursday, rather than on traveling on Friday or Saturday.  Instead, they are planning to stay at Oregon Inlet, but they are leaving their options open and could end up elsewhere.

Bridgewater, Va.

We are some of the many people that will be coming through Ocracoke to vacation on Hatteras Island. Our family has been vacationing on the island for more than 20 years, and although this trip is going to be a little different as far as our journey to the island is concerned, we so look forward to still coming.

I do sympathize with the situation that the vendors and vacationers on Ocracoke are going through, but would they not welcome the income from the many visitors that are going to pass through the island? I know we always visit Ocracoke when we come down and everyone is always so nice. Which is why we keep coming back. But if we feel like we aren't welcome, which is kind of how this article has made me feel, then other people may feel the same way. So keep smiling, keep the faith, and everything will work out!

Melissa C. Mills
Salisbury, N.C.

It sounds like people on Ocracoke, such as the owners of the Back Porch and others, do not want our business, even though we have been giving it to them for over 35 years. Thank you.

Larry Collins
Cincinnati, Ohio

Seems like a guy with a boat could make a lot of money down there.  I not sure I understand the over-dependence on the ferry system. Get a boat and shuttle to the mainland.

Austin, Texas

Oceanfront house falls into ocean this morning at Mirlo Inlet

How's the Black Pearl doing?

Midlothian, Va.

(Editor’s note: The Black Pearl is still standing.)

Progress on repairing Highway 12 is going blazing fast

Thanks for Don Bowers’ great photos! I'm finally able to really see the damage Irene has caused.  The slide show is wonderful but sad, and serves a reminder that Mother Nature is always ultimately in charge! Hooray for the people who are working to put things back together, if only temporarily.  Those guys are obviously pros with plenty of experience.

My parents started coming to Buxton in the 1970s.  When a hurricane took out the Lighthouse View Motel, we moved north and our changing family has been renting houses in Avon since the mid- 1990s.  Our family week on the Outer Banks is a highlight of the year. 

When we hear about the terrible storms and loss of property, my first thoughts are of the people who live on Hatteras Island year round.  Then I start wondering if we'll be able to go back.  This could be the first year that we have to ferry from Swan Quarter or Cedar Island to Ocracoke, then ferry to Hatteras and drive up to Avon.  We're glad we got in right under the wire with ferry reservations! But maybe these guys will have the road back in shape, and the new, temporary steel bridge will be completed so that we can cancel those ferry reservations! I love the drive down Highway 12, but however we get to the island will be just fine.

Good luck to all you folks on the Outer Banks.  I hope we'll be enjoying your Hatteras-style clam chowder soon!

Lenora Rose

The rumor mill was overactive during the hurricane, sheriff’s office says

The SORT team was a tremendous asset to the people of Hatteras Island. My question is, who is on Hatteras Island’s Emergency Operations Committee (EOC)? 

Just Wondering

I am upset that you consider my returning to my home by personal means to be “sneaking.” I am upset that I was not permitted to return to my home on my own in a timely manner.  I am upset that the government is determining what I am able to do.  My home was safe and livable during and after the storm.  I do not need electricity to survive and had ample food and water for many days. I only left because of a medical emergency for my mother. Trust me, I will never leave again. The watermen in this community are able to navigate unmarked channels and debris.  You did not mention that you kept them from their jobs and prevented them from helping us return to our homes and get supplies on our own.  The people in this community are very independent and self-sufficient.  Don't put unnecessary government sanctions on them during the next storm.

Nancy Miller

Tropical storm and coastal low could have an impact on temporary power lines

Any news regarding services being returned to Salvo or estimates of when the highway to this area will be repaired? Many, many thanks.

Jimmy Coan
Creston, N.C.

I e-mailed the emergency staff of Dare County a week ago, requesting an explanation for the logic of visitor reopening.  In my email I mentioned the strong possibility of adverse weather conditions, as well as the ferry dilemma.  I sent a carbon copy to the governor’s office.

I never received an answer from Dare County, but I have been in contact with the governor’s office. 

Later this week I read that a big reason for the visitor re-entry was unemployment benefits and the economy. 

It’s pretty obvious where Dare County stands on public safety!

Hertford, N.C.

Permanent bulkheads and a permanent bridge should be built at “New New Inlet.” Yes, it's a more expensive solution, but it will be a better solution in the long run. Pea Island is an island once more. Leave it that way.

Carolyn Honeycutt

UPDATE: Ferry Division adds two runs to help visitors return to Hatteras

Are there plans to run additional Ocracoke to Hatteras ferries? With the additional Cedar Island and Swan Quarter ferries, the last Cedar Island ferry will arrive in Ocracoke at 8:15 p.m., and the last Swan Quarter ferry will arrive at 9:30 p.m. The last ferries to Hatteras are at 9 and 11 p.m. With the capacity differences, that could leave up to 40 vehicles stranded for the night. And that’s not including the residual backups that will accumulate during the day.

Michele Horrigan
Rockville, Md.

(Editor’s note:  There are no plans to run late ferries at Hatteras Inlet)

If you’re bringing a boat to Ocracoke, you might be out of luck. I booked two weeks ago and had to take what was left—from Swan Quarter to Ocracoke at 4:30 p.m. and from Ocracoke to Swan Quarter at 6:30 a.m.  I'm not complaining, but we loose half a day going there and half a day leaving. Just wanted to let other fisherman know not to wait to the last minute or you will not get a ferry. This reservation is for Oct. 8 through 15.

Keith Brown
Troutman, N.C.

Visitors can return to southern Hatteras villages on Thursday, Sept. 15

Who in their right mind decided to let vacationers back onto Hatteras?  There is no way the island and homes are ready to accept guests. 


You have to be kidding. While my thoughts and prayers go out to all those on Hatteras Island who have suffered at the hands of Mother Nature, my wrath is heaved upon the county and state governments of North Carolina.  My family and I are from New Jersey and were scheduled to arrive on Sept. 23 for a wonderful, weeklong vacation in Avon.  We now find out that all the ferries are booked, there will be limited services available, and even after securing insurance on our rental property we will not be reimbursed for a cancellation—nor will we be relocated to another rental property farther north.

If this is the end result of a long planned vacation, you can be sure that we will never set foot on the Outer Banks again.  It's kind of like getting a very bad meal in a restaurant—you can be sure that at least 100 other people will hear about it.

Peter Gawryluk
Scotch Plains, N.J.

Search is on for kiteboarder missing off Cape Hatteras

I'm a very good friend of Charles Jackson’s from Houston and would like to be informed when he is found.

Kathy Vandermolen
Bacliff, Texas

AJ was a good friend of mine. I’m sorry to hear about this. Yes, he was a very good kite surfer. I helped him many times with his kites. The kiting world is abuzz about him. I’m sure his passing hit a lot of people. He will be sorely missed at kiting fests around the world.
RIP my friend.

Glenn Pedro
Avenel, N.J.

Praying for a safe return for Mr. Jackson, and will keep his family in my prayers, also.  God bless those searching for him and keep them safe out there.

Lanore Lewis
Port Jervis, N.Y.

He is the most experienced kiter that I have ever met! Charles, come back to us.


I am one of AJ's many kiting friends from Canada. We are deeply saddened by the news of this tragedy. Do you have any new updates or news? We are all hoping and praying for a miracle, please send any updates.

Wayne Farrow
Kitchener, Ontario

Park Service is preparing to implement ORV rule

I have been going to your beaches seven to 10 times a year for 46 years, enjoying surf fishing and talking to locals and friends that I have met there over the years. I go even with all the costs of getting there, staying there, and buying bait and tackle, food, and other things. I don't mind paying for a beach-driving permit to use the beaches, but I hope they will think about all the money people already spend just to get there when they put a price on the permits.

Ernest Wheatley
Chesterfield, Va.

Please don't close the beaches.  My husband and I have been going to Hatteras Island for over 25 years and recently bought a second home in Buxton.  We love it and we hope to live there full time once I retire.  My husband retired last year due to health issues.  This past summer we had relatives visit us from Kentucky, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Indiana.  They loved the place.  Due to my husband's health issues (he needs a constant supply of oxygen), the only way he can enjoy the beach is by driving out there.  He would never be able to make the walk in his condition.  This summer we loaded his oxygen tank and were able to enjoy the beauty of the beach.  I can't wait until Christmas, when we can get back to the beach. And then we will go again for a week during the spring. And what I really look forward to each year is the three months we spend there in the summer.  Please don't close the beaches.  Thank you for reading this letter.

Joanne Valco

New Letters to the Editor....09.19.2011  11:10 am

Hurricane Irene:  The storm and the aftermath

Thanks. Your elegant website is always a pleasure to read and invaluable at a time like this.  We've had a house in Avon (not a rental but used by my children and grandchildren) since 1978, and I'll be back as soon as possible. Thanks again. 

Jean Nugent

I just wanted to let you know that you are doing an amazing job of keeping everyone informed about the facts on the ground on Hatteras Island.

Very impressive.

Richard Stanley
Manchester, Md.

I just want to thank you for your coverage of the island damage from Irene and the subsequent clean up. Your information is very helpful to those of us who love to visit, and I know you are providing a great service to your local residents. Thank you again.

Hugh Wilde
Ocean City, Md.

Hello Irene,
I just wanted to tell you that I think your web site is modern journalism at its best. I bought my new house (well, new to me anyway) in Buxton in July. I hadn’t even spent the night in it yet when the storm arrived. I have followed the progress in rebuilding and everything with great interest and gratitude that there is a source of information that is so good.

I am finally going to try to visit my house this coming week, bringing a camera etc., and if I have any newsworthy photos, I will send them. It is hard to imagine that you will, though, as the folks you have covering it are doing such an outstanding job.
Jim Rosenthal

I lived in Hatteras village from 1982 to 2005—the longest I have lived anywhere.  I dearly love that village and the island, and my heart will always be there.  When hurricane Irene hit, I was almost desperate for news, so I immediately went to your website and checked it regularly.  When the first pictures went up, they nearly brought me to tears.  I know only too well how dependent everyone there is on Highway 12, but I also know how resilient the local residents are. I knew that the road would be fixed quickly and life on that lovely strip of sand would go on, that everyone would pitch in and help in any possible way they could.
I have followed the progress daily and want to thank you personally for the great, complete coverage you have given and continue to give of the recovery process.  It is wonderful!  I still have a copy of The Island Breeze’s “Hurricane Isabel Special Report” and had re-read it recently.  That was a wonderful job of reporting as well.
So, thank you for all your good work, and may you be able to keep it up for a very long time!
Natalie Hastings
Lake Placid, Fla. 

Thanks for the great coverage of the storm and its aftermath.  I hope you'll consider covering the northern beaches, too, from time to time. There doesn't seem to be much on this area (in print or online) that I'm aware of right now, except on the message boards. 

Scott Wales

The combined efforts of everyone on Hatteras Island are impressive and heartwarming to see. We just bought a house in Buxton—so recently I haven't even spent the night there yet. I look forward to staying there and to seeing the Island come back to its lovely self.

And as to the unfortunate lady with snake phobia: the snakes are citizens there, too, and most of the time they don't bother anyone. Just don't step on one.

Jim Rosenthal
Annapolis, Md.

Thank you so much, Irene Nolan, for your news site. It has been the best source of information before, during, and now after the storm. This site is just the best!

Portsmouth, Va.

Today is Sept. 8. We are non-resident property owners at Hatteras Island and feel that it is time TODAY that we should be allowed access to our property there. We pay taxes to the state and the county, and we would like to protest the fact that, with full power restored, we still aren’t able to access our property. Our plans are to bring with us everything that we will need to sustain ourselves. Dare County should make our property available to us now and allow us to enter. All residents of Hatteras Island can come and go on the ferries. Services companies like tree removal, etc. have access, and yet property owners (major Dare County tax payers) are still waiting to access our properties? Really? Ocracoke can now accept visitors by ferry? Property owners should have rights to our properties effective today as far as I am concerned. The powers that be in Dare County should make this happen for us now. This is not adding up to me.

Karen W.
Louisburg, N.C.

Hatteras Island is our new favorite place. Our whole party from Pennsylvania loved it there. Great food, great drinks, and great people from all over.

Dave and Joan Gardner
Harleysville, Pa.

I appreciate the extraordinary efforts being made to restore access to Hatteras, but for all the herculean efforts, the most minor and much needed effort has not been made.  Nowhere on the Dare County or NCDOT website does the LOCATION of the stumpy point ferry appear.  In fact if you do a search on the ferry site, it does not come up.  It would be kind to us non-resident owners to tell us where to go

Marcy Canavan
Accokeek, Md.

We are planning to return to the island Sept. 24 as non-resident owners.  We always trailer our boat from Pennsylvania to North Carolina.  Do you know if there are restrictions on the ferry?  Is it just for vehicles or can be also have a boat and trailer?  Thanks.

Gloria Wolfe
Orangeville, Pa.

(Editor’s note:  You can have a boat and trailer.)

Progress on repairing Highway 12 is going blazing fast

Just a dump truck load of thanks to all of you for your continuing coverage. We are checking with The Island Free Press everyday for our updates. Our thoughts are with everyone affected up there, and we hope that the road will continue to make progress toward completion.

Debbie Wells

Kudos to the state, village leaders, construction companies, and, most of all, the residents of Hatteras Island. From the perspective of someone who has visited the island for 30-plus years, you have always dealt with situations like this quickly and catered to the tourists’ needs. For most of us, our backs can't help but our hearts are with you always.

R.M. Robinson
Chesterfield, Va.

Thanks for the photos, slideshows, and articles that help those of who have family on the island keep current on what's happening.

Tish Malys
Palm Bay, Fla.

I lived and worked on Hatteras Island for a year in 1992 to 1993, and I can see that the great spirit of the islanders is alive and well. This is a huge undertaking and is progressing so fast. Congratulations on your recovery and your invincible spirit. God bless you all.

Jean Thomas, RN
Houston, Texas

Man vs. Mother nature!  Barnhill has nice toys. Woof woof.

Robin Williams
Suffolk, Va.

Please submit the picture of the two red dump trunks to Time Magazine or the Associated Press, etc. I think it should win an award.

Okatie, S.C.

I have visited the Outer Banks many times and love its beauty. I have reservations again for next May. I have a concern for the restoration of the beach and road area that was heavily damaged. I wonder why a permanent, sustainable wall to protect that area can't be built. It seems like a waste to have to keep repairing that same area over and over again. All the waste of property, land, and houses should be the foremost concern in looking at the future of that area. Thank you.

Judith Tumino
Maple Heights, Ohio

You guys are doing a great job. We are coming down in October, a trip only made possible by your hard work. Thank you for all you have done to make our trip possible.

Diana Eberhart
Ashland, Ohio

God bless these workers. Keep up the wonderful work!

Wilton Manors, Fla.

Anne, spot on journalism here, with great detail.  Don, the next time you are there, it would be very helpful to everyone if you could take some shots of the first 25 to 30 oceanside properties and the beach erosion.  Thanks to you both and to The Island Free Press for your coverage.

Wayne Guyette
Gallatin, Tenn.

Re-entry for Hatteras non-resident owners begin Saturday, Sept. 10

In addition to the water, snacks, and bug spray on the “items to bring” list, I would add “a book”. It is easier to be patient with something interesting to read.

Roy Jared
Denver, Colo.

Irene, thank you so much for your tireless, timely, and unbiased reporting of this disaster. We are non-resident homeowners in Buxton and will be there as soon as permitted. We are in contact with neighbors to see if there is anything we can bring that may be in short supply on the island. Please keep up the good work! I am into my second week of having the Island Free Press as my laptop homepage. Thanks again.

Bowie and Kris Smith
Easton, Md.

I am scheduled in Avon on Sept. 18. This will be our fourth straight year. We love the Outer Banks. If possible, could you post a map or sketch of where they are filling in and where the bridge will be built? Is material for the bridge arriving? Thank you for your updates, as I know I can believe them as facts, and not rumors that someone is posting.

Bob Harrell
Shepherdsville, Ky.

We own a condo in Resort Rodanthe and have been starved for information.  Your paper has done a wonderful job of keeping everyone informed on Hurricane Irene's wrath.  You are now keeping us up to date on to the repairing of our beautiful island.  Don's informative pictures have fulfilled our visual need for information, which means so much. Our hearts go out to the people who lost so much.

Len and Kathy Ramirez
Quakertown, Pa.

Temporary fix for Highway 12 may open the road in a month

You are our sole source of Avon news. Thank you for your coverage. We still don't know the condition of our house yet.

Kevin Curran
Newport News, Va.

By all means, get it in place and operational as soon as humanly possible!  Those folks need access to their properties and tourists need access to boost the economy!  I, for one, will be on Hatteras Island as soon as I can cross that bridge!

Denise Barnes
Thomasville, N.C.

Highway 12 must be rebuilt. It would take five or more years to build the Audubon Society’s requested 17-mile bridge. The residents and homeowners are North Carolina taxpayers and deserve to be able to access their property. Otherwise, we're going to have a new Portsmouth Island. I suggest that the Audubon Society pay for the highway rebuild or the new bridge. They seem to want to dictate how everything else on Hatteras Island should be done!  I'd like to thank the NCDOT for their work on Highway 12 over the last 20 years. They have taken a patchwork island highway and made it into a great roadway!

Mt. Airy, N.C.

The RWS Community Center is the center of life in villages ravaged by Hurricane Irene

You can't keep some good folks down. Most of the people who live in the tri-villages have lived their whole life, or a good portion of it, on the island. Unfortunately, bad storms and hardship are nothing new, but an unavoidable part of life. Like the sand under their feet, they will be there until they too are washed out to sea. I had the privilege of living in Salvo for a number of years and look forward to the day when I will again. Love y'all!

Christopher "Gunslinger" Smith

I have had the privilege of coming down and visiting Hatteras Island for over half a century, have many islanders as close friends, and know of no finer group of people anywhere.  Coming from a family that has worked the waters of the Chesapeake Bay for almost 200 years, I have experienced more than a few hurricanes myself (I once completely lost my house) and have also felt the extraordinary resilience of the wonderful people who know and work the water and the remarkable way that they pull together to confront and resolve any problem.  In a nutshell, they are one tough, resilient "can do" group.  I have already called and made a contribution, and hope to be able to come down to personally help with the cleanup in the next week or so. 

My thoughts, prayers, and support go out to all of you.

Hang in there!

Win Winfree
Afton, Va.

Three days after Hurricane Irene makes a mess of Hatteras Island

Are the people who chose to live on the island surprised? Did they think that the island would never be in the path of a destructive storm? I am sorry they have suffered as they have but when you choose to live where natural disasters can happen, have happened before, and will happen again, you must expect to suffer the consequences of nature's fury.

Tupelo, Miss.

Oceanfront house falls into ocean this morning at Mirlo Inlet

Anne and Don,

Well done. A fabulous slide show with pictures. Thank you.

I miss seeing your lights on and the beautiful sign.

See you in early fall, I hope.

I was in Lynchburg, Virginia. A worth-while trip (but expensive). However, I could visit our grandson at Liberty Unin.

Elizabeth Koehring

This was the first house I stayed in, on my first Outer Banks trip.  Tailwinds, you will be missed...

Nick Shotwell
Marietta, Ohio

This just breaks my heart.  I go to the OBX at least twice a year by motorcycle, and this very spot is one I love more than any others.  Partly because of the movie location, and mostly because it is so beautiful! I can't imagine watching my house being destroyed and being unable to do anything about it! 

Kure Beach, N.C.

There have been six owners of this property since 2001. There is an outstanding property tax balance of $1,127.41 on this property and, like most investment properties, it is owned by an LLC. Once the owners collect their flood insurance and pay off whatever they owe on their mortgage, they'll deduct whatever loss they have and come out just fine.

Robbin Banx

I would like to know if there was a surge from Pamlico Sound after the storm, like we had in the Collington, Kitty Hawk, and Southern Shores areas.  I would like to see how the houses in Waves and Salvo came through.  I am worried about our friends and former neighbors. Thanks.

Sandy Slates
Southern Shores

On the ground at New New Inlet

I have been a property owner on our beautiful island for over 30 years. I can hardly believe how much damage has hit us and how hard the residents are working hard to get things back together. 

I read where the tourists will soon return, but nothing has been said about the property owners.  Where do we stand on returning to check our homes as some of us do not rent, but spent many of the summer months on the island.  Any idea?

Peace and prayers are offered to all that are working so hard to put Hatteras Island back together again.

Peg Goodyear
Front Royal, Va.

We own a home in Southern Shores and were very fortunate to have had no damage. We live in Rochester, New York and have not gotten any info about the severe damage experienced south of Oregon Inlet. Thank you for your coverage. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

Diana Pabrinkis
Rochester, N.Y.

An Island Free Press Reader Survey:  Hurricane Irene Response

I really appreciate the survey! Thanks for asking our opinions and giving us a chance to sing the praises to those who deserve it (CHEC, local cops, ferry service). Hopefully this will be shared with the county to make the next time a bit more bearable. Also I want to echo the above comment: Island Free Press had the best information and most accurate, timely reports of ANY news service, anywhere. Bite me, Weather Channel!

Thank you is not enough to express our appreciation from the on-set of Irene up until right now. We have family out there and are concerned for their welfare, and you kept us informed on the events unfolding, from finding assistance to reporting that there were no injuries or deaths, and you have—on a daily basis—provided pertinent information to us, especially since cell service was out for a few days.   Being a yearly vacationer on Hatteras Island, I have called and have e-mailed every official up to the governor trying to get an answer about when the island would re-open. I got no response—and found nothing on the DCEM website. But I knew that I could once again count on you to provide the most current, accurate information for visitor re-entry.  Understand, we would have sincerely accepted no visitors next week. We just wanted an answer from someone!  We love this positive news and want to express our deepest appreciation for your earnest efforts!  Keep up the professionalism and keep all readers informed on events, activities, etc., and especially ferry schedules, costs, and times. This is very beneficial when making travel arrangements.  Again, many thanks to you and Donna—you're the best!

Theresa Caldwell

UPDATE: Ferry Division adds two runs to help visitors return to Hatteras

Thank you so much for the very informative articles and pictures that you have in the Island Free Press.  I don't know why it has taken me so long to find it, but I will thank Dewey Parr of the Outer Banks Shells for putting the link on his article.  I know that I will be reading the Island Free Press from now on.
I have been going to the Outer Banks for many years.  My folks took us to Atlantic Beach for a lot of years, and I have been going to Avon with a group of ladies for five years. Again, thank you, so much.

Becky Oberman
Huntingdon, Pa.

We have a reservation on the Ferry departing Ocracoke on Sunday, September 25th at 9:30am. We are staying on Hatteras Island. We are concerned that even if we get to the ferry dock in Hatteras Sunday morning that there could be a chance that we will not get to the Ocracoke ferry by 9:30 am due to the volume of traffic. Will they be taking cars by the time of their departure or just randomly.

Dennis Milletic
Camp Hill, Pa.

(Editor’s note:  The ferry departs on the hour beginning at 5 a.m. at Hatteras.  That means you have a shot at the 5, 6, 7, and 8 a.m. ferries to make a 9:30 departure in the village.  I have no idea how long the line will be, but we suggest you arrive early.  If you have spare time, you can stop for breakfast on Ocracoke.)

It took nearly all day to make a reservation—five online attempts that ended in "error" messages (but which turned out to have gone through) and a couple of hours trying to call and speak to an actual person to straighten it all out!  Karen did a fantastic job at the end of the day! 

Goldsboro, N.C.

Not only are the Swan Quarter-Ocracoke ferries booked this weekend, they're pretty much booked for the 2 weekends after that as well.  Furthermore, it is IMPOSSIBLE to reach the ferry division via their 800 number.  One either gets a fast busy signal, or, if he is lucky enough to get through, he is put on hold for 12.5 and then disconnected.  I have tried for a solid day to get through w/o any luck.  For people with non-refundable reservations, this makes getting to and from Ocracoke very difficult, even when trying to make ferry reservations two-and-a-half weeks in advance.

Sam Bricker
Smithsburg, Md.

Did anyone from Dare County actually check with the vacation rental companies to get an estimate of how many potential visitors were booked for trips beginning September 15 and beyond? Adding just one more trip for both ferries seems much too little to do any good. The posts on my rental company's Facebook page are filled with travel woes for those who are now without a means to get to the island. Those of us due to arrive after September 23 are no longer eligible for the travel insurance refund so we had a few moments of hope when the announcement was made only to find out we still lose due to insufficient ferries. Perhaps the decision to let visitors on the island was just too premature to do anyone much good.

Sherri Swan
Ijamsville, Md.

UPDATE: Stumpy Point ferry running again for resident re-entry

I am a claims adjuster and I am trying to schedule inspections for Avon and Rodanthe for this Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Sept.16-18. We have a house to rent Thursday night, but I was told that you need to schedule a reservation to get on the ferry at stumpy point. Is this right? If so, how do I schedule a reservation? If we (I am coming with 2 other adjusters) can not get over to Rodanthe Thursday night, we are going to be dealing with a lot of unhappy people. Please let me know what we have to do to get on the ferry Thursday.

Dan Wells
Kill Devil Hills, N.C.

(Editor’s note:  Reservations are not accepted on Stumpy Point-Rodanthe ferry. Residents, non-resident property owners, supply trucks, vendors, and insurance adjusters can use the ferry with identification.)

“Yesterday, some of the residents in line when the ferry was closed down raced to Swan Quarter to catch the 4:30 p.m. ferry, the last one of the day to Ocracoke. Arrangements were then made for those folks to board a ferry at Hatteras Inlet to return to the island.”

Does that mean the Ocracoke-Hatteras ferry is now running? Did they fix Highway 12 in Ocracoke? Thanks.

Chip Walton
Ft Lauderdale, Fla./Salvo, N.C.

(Editor’s Note:  Yes, the Hatteras Inlet ferry is running.)

Visitors can return to Ocracoke after 5 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 7

I was planning a flying weekend to Ocracoke before Irene.  Is the airstrip in service?

Will Crook
Waynesville, N.C.

(Editor’s note:  Yes, the airstrip is in service.)

Why do I hear the theme from "Jaws" in my head? I read nothing in this article about Dare County officials considering safety—only preserving local jobs.  I keep seeing the Mayor of Amity Island standing on the beach over the July Fourth weekend, as swimmers are attacked and the blood flows.  All because he didn't want to lose the tourism money.

Midlothian, Va.

If the visitors can't be understanding, then they should reschedule.  One thing that I learned from vacationing on Hatteras Island is to slow down and relax while we are there.  Enjoy the peaceful time and beauty of the island. 

Sheri Orvis
Nelliston, N.Y.

As soon as they announced the Sept. 15 opening, I went right to the ferry site to make reservations, only to find they have long been reserved—all the way into October. So, I am still stuck for my vacation with no way to get there. I am afraid they are correct that, after 30 years, I will no longer come to my favorite place anymore.

Bob Maslak
JohnstowN, Pa.

I completely feel for the residents, their personal challenges due to the damage left behind by Irene and their professional challenges as well. My family and I have been coming to Hatteras Island for the past 18 years. We have added family members so that now we are up to four generations. Four generations include my parents who are nearing 70 and a brand new grandson who is only 6 weeks old. When we made our reservations in December of 2010, there was a road that allowed the ability to come and go as needed. Not a complicated ferry system that requires advance registration. How is this fair to the visitors that have paid? We work all year to pay for this one vacation. We cannot afford to lose our money, but I cannot see spending days of travel just for a few days of actual vacation. We were planning on splitting our two weeks next year to accommodate family members with school age children, but that is now dependent on how this situation is handled. 

Canton, Ohio

Post Hurricane Irene information and news travels slowly to islanders

Thank you so much. This is the first news that we have gotten in detail, too. Everything has been about Vermont after the storm passed you. You all have been in our prayers the whole time, and our hearts go out to each and every one.

Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands embody the saying “Pain passes but beauty remains.”

Take care and see you in October! Your spirit is always amazing.

Joyce E. Luff
West Lawn, Pa.

A relatively undamaged Ocracoke waits for visitors to return

I am very grateful to hear that residents and visitors will be allowed back on Ocracoke and that rebuilding is getting underway. It’s good to hear that the damage wasn't as heavy as expected.

However, a friend of mine was concerned about the "wild" horses in Irene's aftermath. I cannot find any info on how they fared anywhere in the news. Other Islands that have horses were mentioned, but not Ocracoke. My friend found out the Chincoteague horses did OK, so I am wondering if anyone can inform me or direct me to an article or news video that tells the fate of Ocracoke's wild horses? Thank you for your assistance.

Lora Elstad
Hollywood, Calif.

All Hatteras residents can return after noon on Monday

Everyone is singing praises for the Island Free Press coverage!  Good Job!  I personally have not had time until this morning to even take a look. Do you have a Stumpy Point ferry schedule posted on your site? I couldn't find one, so, just a suggestion. 

I am going up the beach off and on for the next three weeks to perform weddings that have relocated, mainly to Corolla.  It is amazing what less than 24 hours of weather (Irene) has done to our gorgeous end of summer, as the weather has been gorgeous since!

Bonnie Williams

(Editor’s note:  We have added a button on Hurricane Irene Aftermath Page for the latest ferry schedules.)

Would love to hear the reasoning behind that decision. I thought the staged re-entry was a pretty good way of handling the situation. This just sounds like a mass traffic jam. I hope I'm wrong, because we'll be in the middle of it.

Neil Swartz

BRIDGING THE GAPS:  DOT Highway 12 update

Some of the pix remind me of the old aircraft landing mats that used to make up the road between the villages. The mats were wide enough for one-way traffic with pull-offs every mile or so—if you happened to meet, someone had to back up—you didn't dare get off the mats (unless you had four-wheel drive), because the sand was very deep on either side.

Larry Deem
Belpre, Ohio

Keep up the good job. Thank you!

Jan Ralph Wolfe
Carlisle, Pa.

In the 20-plus years that I have been visiting the Outer Banks, I have never seen such destruction done by Mother Nature.

We, as an Outer Banks family, see this and it breaks my heart. I understand as a human race we try to make tiny little getaways to some of these islands but, building homes and hotels on sand dunes?
The more homes we build, the more the masses will flow in and out—just like the tide—and someone like me, who has driven these roads time and time again, will see our little slice of heaven washed away. The more space we waste by building million-dollar homes and hotels with all amenities included, the more we will destroy our God-given heaven.

In Nags Head you could see the water tower for miles. In my 20's that was the first thing I saw driving on Highway 158, then I would cut to the beach road, get out of my car say, "hello" to everyone I made eye contact with, and walk over the sand dune to see...well, you know.

In this day and age I see home after home, malls, and mini malls. Can you say Boey 9? I can. Most of you will not know what this means. I don't know where I'm going with this, but when you see a nice place to kick off your shoes and let out a huge sigh, try to keep it in your back pocket where no one can see it.

To those who work on the islands, trying to keep it together, kudos to all of you.  And while you’re out there, building roads so us visitors can admire a beautiful, scenic, Highway 12, don't forget to take off those work boots and gloves and be proud and let your feet feel the sand and ocean between tour toes. 

Josephine Mennicucci
Budd Lake, N.J.

Rodanthe feels like the second home for my wife and me. Hate to see the damage. We are praying for you guys.

Bob Adcock
Chesapeake, Va.

Wanted you to know how much my wife and I appreciate your in-depth comments and information regarding the status of repairs following Irene's devastating impact on the Outer Banks.  We had rented an oceanfront cottage in Avon for three weeks beginning today (Sept. 10) and wish we were with you. Not being on the island is nothing for us, compared with the problems the locals are facing and are living with. We wish nothing but the very best for you.  We only wish that some entities within the Outer Bank's tourism organization(s) would take it upon themselves to review current travel insurance companies and their support or non-support of cancellations due to disasters such as Irene. Our rental company is next to worthless in providing any useful insurance coverage information.  It seems to me that something is very wrong when people pay considerable money for rental time, pay additional money for insurance coverage, and then end up not having a clue whether they will get any money returned.  We believe it is morally wrong to take our money and keep it when we receive nothing in return.  We believe this would be a good subject for the Island Free Press to investigate and write a report on.  Thank you again for the wonderful coverage.

Ed Sponable
Falls Church, Va.

Keep up the good work! I know that you guys are working as hard as you can. Be careful and safe.

Smithfield, Va.

We love coming down there. Sorry that things are so bad. It’s such a beautiful place to visit. We are praying for the people who live there and for all the workers who are trying to get it put together again. God bless all.

Jo Ann Miles
Boykins, Va.

Now that is cool! Can't wait to see it up and working. If you haven't watched the video, it's very entertaining.

Jim Rosenthal
Annapolis, Md.

Very cool. Looks very similar to Baily Bridge US Army construction engineers.

James Foster
Latrobe, Pa.

We are so thankful and grateful for this coverage and pictures. We plan to come to Rodanthe Oct. 16 for two weeks. We have been coming there for approximately 20 years, and we feel lost back here not knowing what to do. Bless Don Bowers—great photos! And bless all of you down there.

Sondra Wolff
Bethel Park, Pa.

Damage to ramp at Stumpy Point halts ferry to Hatteras

A few thoughts on the out-of-state vehicle registration plates on vehicles waiting in line for the Hatteras ferry: I believe the official announcement required a driver's license with a Hatteras address, so the tags on the vehicle do not seem to control.  Many rental vehicles are registered in Florida, so that could explain the RV with Florida tags. As for the West Virginia tags, I can think of a few legitimate scenarios: you have a house in West Virginia and in Hatteras, but a Hatteras driver's license; you left Hatteras with a vehicle too small to trailer your boat; or perhaps you left Hatteras with someone else.  I would hope that the officials at the ferry terminal would have checked the people in line (even if only prescreening) well before they try to drive onto the ferry ramp. I am out-of-state, and it was easy for me to find the requirements for boarding the Hatteras ferry.

Manchester, Md.

Is it my understanding that out-of-state cars that were in line were being allowed on Hatteras Island. Why were they in line? This is so unfair. The residents need to be allowed to return to take care of their homes before tourists are allowed back.

Wanda Oneal

First day of resident re-entry by ferry was uneventful; second day not so good

Light Ferry? At 2 p.m., during the accident, we were number 82 in line, and there were plenty more behind us. Noon was when the restriction was lifted.

My goodness, 25 percent of the tags were far out-of-state. There was even an Ontario car with windsurfers. I’m sure you'll get the rest from us all later.  See the video and pictures and look at the tags.


Good weather is forecast for Highway 12 repair efforts

You are doing a great job on keeping everyone up to date on everything. One thing I have not seen or heard about, though, is when workers will be able to return to their jobs.

Pat Van Name
Staten Island, N.Y.

Everyone should read David Stick's 1958 book, The Outer Banks of North Carolina. The first chapter will explain what has and is happening here. Very interesting.

Sue D. Holster
Hertford, N.C.

Thank you for keeping those of us who live out of state but LOVE the Outer Banks apprised of the situation there.  Sending lots of energy for a permanent solution.

Susan Singer
Richmond, Va.

As a non-resident homeowner, I really appreciate all of the updates and pictures.  Thank you

Waynesburg, Pa.

I think the inlet at the S-Curves should be Loggerhead Too, which I think is the last inlet in that area (mid to late 1800s).  Goes along with New New Inlet for the one near the last New Inlet from the 1930s.  At least call it the S-Curve Inlet.  Of course “Mirlo” does remind me of what many of us said in the 1980's when houses started going up there along the beach:  "Dumb Idea."

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

Thanks so much for all the updates. Hoping to be in Salvo the first two weeks in October. See you then.

Diane Beverley
Miami, Fla.

Excellent pictures. I have been visiting the outer banks since 1989.  I love it there!

Morrow, Ohio

Thanks for the up-to-the-minute slideshows and information on the progress of reconnecting the island. You and your network of reporters are doing an excellent job of keeping all of us interested parties apprised and encouraged during this reconstruction period. Please keep up the good work; the photos are simply inspiring!

Sabra Kovalscik
Grassy Meadows, W.Va.

Nice to see the progress. I’m supposed to be there on the 18th. What's the chances?

Jeannette, Pa.

Keep on trucking.  It'll get there!

Andrea Ricks
Tulsa, Okla.

Thanks for all the amazing updates on an area that we love so much. So many prayers are being said for continued repairs to this wonderful area. Does anyone have any footage of the Avon area?

Gretna, Va.

Hatteras restaurants need donations to provide meals

I hope everyone that has had one memorable day at Hatteras can help those we cannot get to. Godspeed my friends. Stay safe, and I hope supplying a little towards food helps life there to keep on going.

Sue Hash
Earlysville, Va.

I am very proud of my daughter-in-law and my son! I think they are wonderful and generous! Love them both!

Lakeland, Fla.

How I Spent my Summer Evacuation

Joy, you are partially right.  It was, and still is, a cluster of outstanding proportions. And there is and always was a plan to deal with it.

We, as officers of your local fire departments, asked during a control group/EOC meeting that the loading and dock master jobs be placed in the hands of the National Guard. And if that had been the case, a 24-hour sked would have been in place, with the ferry command under the governor and the IDs and loading orderly and controlled under the guard. This call to arms story has the same tale but different people on all fronts and has never been truly straightened out.  It's a mess because we kept it local and did not allow the process to fall under those people trained to do the job right and do it all day long, even with shift change.

In defense of the ferry folks, their job is to ferry us only, and they are micromanaged to the hilt. Someone was doing the arrival/departure dance and those two ferries sitting were just sidelined in the program. It might have been because they were out of sequence.

We, as your emergency service providers, will strive to see to it that the Stumpy Point issue does not happen like this again. It's probably too late to fix this go-around.

Richard Marlin

Incredible story. The entire situation makes it so tough. Living on the coast is paradise most of the time, but one good hurricane like Irene can put a whole new spin on the coastal living concept. Hang in there! Better times will come!

Oxford, N.C.

It is easy for people to criticize the operation of the ferry and the people who run it. Many of the crewmembers that are running these ferries are residents of Hatteras Island and have the same problems as the returning residents. The only difference is that the ferry workers do not have the option of leaving. They are expected to stay and work up until the point that the conditions make it impossible to run the boats. When the storm has passed, they are expected to put their lives on hold and get relief supplies and equipment back to the island. At the Stumpy Point ferry terminal, crewmembers were threatened, bullied, and insulted by contractors, relief workers and residents while just trying to do their jobs. If boats were tied up for a period of time there was a reason for it. Maybe the next time people have a problem getting on an emergency ferry they should remember that they live on an island. Islands are surrounded by water and accessed by bridges and ferries. If you don't want to be stuck on or off an island maybe you should consider living somewhere not surrounded by water. To the few people who did stop and thank us for our efforts, thank you, it meant a lot.

Thomas Stagg
Nokesville, Va.

Excellent article! I laughed and cried. It really gave me an understanding of what it was like for family and friends just to try to get home. Thank you, Joy, for your perspective.

Lynn Peele

Joy, thanks, as always, for your hilarious and spot-on commentary.

I took my kids off the island the Wednesday before the storm, to their grandma's in Richmond—kind of an extended summer vacation for them. I came back to the island so I could work. (Realty companies need some of us to stay and help deal with the aftermath.) I did this last year for Earl as well, and it worked out splendidly. Not so much this year.

Fortunately my place in the woods was just fine, and though we were without power for days, I expected that and was prepared. What was awful was the fact that I couldn't tell my kids when I could come pick them up. Richmond lost power too, and of the 10 days they were there, eight were spent in the dark. That's not easy when you're five and seven. When the county finally announced the original resident re-entry schedule, I was thrilled to find myself slotted on the first Sunday morning ferry. I took the ferry off the island, drove to Richmond, turned around and we got to Stumpy Point about 11:45PM Saturday. The state trooper at the corner there told me I wasn't getting on until 6, the rules were the rules, and I was fine with that. We planned to sleep in the car, in line, rather than miss our boat. I had my ID checked twice, and then about 12:30 a.m. on Sunday, we, and the two cars ahead of us in line, got onto the empty ferry, and away we went. Hurray! Then, as I was driving home between Salvo and Avon, I got pulled over for breaking curfew, but the deputy was super nice and let us go on home at last.

Will I stay again next time? Absolutely. Getting back is just too uncertain.


Came down on the Stumpy Point ferry on Wednesday, Sept. 7, and it was much the same thing. No one seems to have any answers. We arrived at the ferry dock at 2 p.m. and boarded a ferry at 6:45 p.m. There was no signage, public announcements, explanations from state police or ferry personnel, line loading order, water, food, or bug spray. What would it take to have a lighted sign that informs you of the next ferry time, loading procedures, etc? You are pretty much on your own! Glad to be home, but will never leave again. They don't know how to manage crowds!

Jim Coffey

There is one thing I have always wondered about. When many other places have mandatory evacuations there are shelters for the residents to go to.  I know we don't want a repeat of the New Orleans Superdome fiasco after Katrina, but there are a lot of municipalities that set up shelters for the residents in National Guard armories, school gyms, etc.  I don't know how they can expect people to leave and have to bankrupt themselves paying for hotel rooms and meals out when they can't work for the time they are gone.  I always see things in the news demanding mandatory evacuation of Dare County residents and then saying Dare County does not have any shelters.  Well, why not?  Even if it would be considered too hazardous to put people up at someplace like Cape Hatteras elementary and high schools, isn't there somewhere up in the Nags Head area or on Roanoke Island that would be possible?  Mainland Dare County?  My husband once met two local ladies on the island who, when they found out we were from the Shenandoah Valley, said they were familiar with it because they had evacuated during a previous mandatory order and they kept driving and driving trying to find a place to stay and ended up in Charlottesville, Va., which is nearly 300 miles away!  This is a little ridiculous to expect people to do, and I am sure not everyone has relatives or friends off the islands they can stay with.  I think if there were shelters within reasonable distance, people might be more inclined to evacuate. 

Martha Moyers
Harrisonburg, Va.

I am glad that you and your honey and the sweet pets made it home. Here in northern Pennsylvania, things like that just don’t happen. We have a place rented in Avon the week of Oct. 8, and I am wondering if the locals want us there or not. I sure want to be respectful of their wishes.

Karyn Graham
Meadville, Pa.

Hi, Joy.  This is your mom, who is really glad you, Jon, and the pets finally made it back home safely. Dad and I were worried about you, but your story made us feel a whole lot better.  

Pat Crist
Wales, Mass.

Great article. I have followed the storm on Hatteras and its aftermath. I wish you the best and will look forward to another article. You must be a super person to look after pets so well.

Madison, Miss.

Hurricane Irene Wallops Hatteras Island, Cutting the Island and all communications

I have been a long-time follower of your website.  Our family has been visiting Avon for the past 14 years and left town just three weeks prior to the storm. Your stories and Mr. Bowers’ photographs have allowed us to see all of the damages.  Please keep posting more photographs and keep us up to date on everything that is happening.  I would love to know just how bad Avon is, but I haven’t seen too many photos other than those of the Askins Creek BP station.  I know in one of your articles you stated shoulder deep water at the post office and the house we stay at (Surfs Inn) is directly across from there.  Thanks and keep up the great work!  Stay Safe!

Walter Reamer Jr.
Pittsburgh, Pa.

Islanders get help from outside and each other in storms aftermath

Hi. I have vacationed in Rodanthe for the last three years. I can’t find the real lowdown on what the conditions are. I understand nobody wants to scare away the off-season renters, but it would be helpful to know if one should even attempt the trip (from Connecticut). Thank you in advance

Jim Ring
Glastonbury, Conn.

Local vet helps the pets of Hatteras Island after Hurricane Irene

Bless you, Dr. Hicks! You are an incredible person. Thanks for taking care of the critters and their people!

Sue Overton
Waynesboro, Va.

Hurray for Dr. Hicks and Coastal Animal Hospital.  It is wonderful to see that it is more important to care for the animals than the almighty dollar!


Dr. Hicks has been a lifesaver for me this summer. Living on Ocracoke, I cannot tell you how awesome it has been to be able to call Coastal and get in to see Dr. Hicks the same day, especially when I had a sick cat for Ocracats and when our beagle was hit by a golf cart. She has incredible patience and her love of animals really shows. Thanks for writing a story on such a great asset to the islands!

Melinda Sutton

Thanks to Anne Bowers for her heartwarming story about Dr. Christinia Ballance Hicks and her contribution of professional services to the animals and people of Hatteras Island.  Christinia was one of the most involved, energetic and award-winning students to ever graduate from Cape Hatteras Secondary School, and as one of her former teachers, I am very proud of her. 

Braxton Hall

Thanks, Christinia! I'm glad I was able to get to know you on my visits to Hatteras.  Hope you and everyone else at the Methodist church in Hatteras are OK.

Norma-Gene Cottrell
Rolla, Mo.

I was so happy to read about your commitment to the folks and pets on Hatteras. We live in Atlantic (just across the sound) and were more fortunate than those in your area. Want to thank you for your service to the pets in your area.

Anne Noyes
Atlantic, N.C.

I want to applaud Dr. Hicks for all that she is doing.  I also want to applaud The Island Free Press for their wonderful coverage of events of these last few weeks and the tireless efforts of the NCDOT and the island's residents.  My husband and I own a camper in Cape Woods Campground and hope to be able to move to Buxton in the near future. We have always felt welcomed and have come to love the little village that has rallied so well to aid others.  There's a feeling of community and of being there for each other that is lacking in so many other places.  Please know that those of us who are not permanent residents admire and treasure those of you who are experiencing extremely trying times and weathering them with great strength and determination.  Thank you for all you do for an area that is a true national treasure.  We only wish we could be there to lend a hand to your efforts, and we look forward to returning as soon as possible.  God bless you all. 

Laura Broaddus
Richmond, Va.

National Park Service extends public comment on ORV rule

I live in Lewisville, N.C., but have a second home on Hatteras Island. My husband is a surf fisherman. My family has enjoyed the National Park Recreational Area on Hatteras Island for over 30 years. But during that time, we have experienced a subtle change in what the park was created to be. Its primary purpose has been distorted and compromised by well-meaning environmental groups (and by some not-so-well-meaning groups as well), who want to turn the national park into a wildlife refuge. I hereby submit my opposition to it. I oppose limiting beach access to ORVs anywhere for any reason on a permanent basis. Please take into account and consider what this land was set aside to be—a national park. Please dismiss proposals by those who want it turned into a wildlife refuge. We already have one on Pea Island. What if we petitioned the courts to turn Pea Island into a national park? I am horrified by what is happening in the name of protecting birds and turtles (i.e., killing raccoons and foxes) on the beaches and on Pea Island. Will the seagulls be next? I applaud those who donated their time guarding the turtle eggs at night, but man cannot control Mother Nature. Hurricane Irene destroyed the turtle nests and probably killed birds and other marine life as well, especially if the black plastic landed in the water. (Hopefully, it was removed before Irene hit.) Stand up to the pressure groups, please. Let common sense prevail. I am for protecting what God has given us—which includes birds and turtles—but not at the expense of harming other animals in his kingdom. This includes harming humans by killing their livelihood (local businesses and commercial fishing). Keep beach access open!

Judy Davis
Lewisville, N.C.

I feel the beaches should not be so limited to ORVs during the summer months if they decide to implement a fee. I enjoy visiting Hatteras three or four times a year. However, during the summer months, a majority of the ramps are closed, and access is limited in many areas due to the nesting of birds and/or sea turtles. If a fee is implemented, it should be a 10-day permit, which would allow visitors enough time to fully get use of the beach during the time of their stay. If a fee is implemented for a permit, the permit should be available online for dates selected. This would limit the cost associated with personnel issuing the permits. It also would allow the visitor to purchase and print the permit prior to arriving. Some people come on a limited budget, and if a fee is implemented it needs to be very reasonable so that it does not inhibit visitors from coming and therefore decrease the amount of people that come to enjoy the beaches. If a fee is implemented, the money needs to stay at this area and not be used for anything else.

Josh Sprouse
Fairfax County, Va.

New Letters to the Editor....09.09.2011  1:10 pm

Hurricane Irene: Letters on the storm and the aftermath

We stayed in a cottage next to the Avon Pier in July. Which pier was destroyed in the pictures?

Chris Patterson
Mechanicsville, Va.

(Editor’s Note:  The photos were of the Cape Hatteras Fishing Pier in Frisco, which has been periodically destroyed in a series of storm.)

Glad to hear that most is well.  Thanks for keeping us all up to date!

Keith Bechly
Dallas, Texas

Very informative summary of preparations, evacuations, and details of plans on the eve of Irene.  Thanks for your attention to all of those details for residents, visitors, owners, and upcoming renters.  Very helpful! 

Scott Mills
Winston-Salem, N.C.

Godspeed to all of you.  I pray Irene moves east some more, but it's not looking good this morning.  We love the OBX and hope this is nowhere near like Isabel. Be safe and take care.

Lisa White
Morganton, N.C.

We've been praying for Hatteras since we first heard of the storm.  Glad there's not much damage and pray that continues.  The island is our family's favorite vacation spot, and we've come to love the people as well as the place.  So keep hanging on, and hopefully we'll see you in a few weeks!

Cyndi Ofslager
Midlothian, Va.

Thanks for the update. I was trying and trying to find out what was going on down there and it seemed no one other than you was posting updates about the island.

Thanks for the update. It's much appreciated!

Philadelphia, Pa.

I would love to hear more about how Brigands Bay is doing. We have a place there and suspect the worst.  Any info on the area is greatly appreciated!

Craig W.
Cary, N.C.

(Editor’s note: Brigands’ Bay had three feet or so of storm surge from the sound and tree branches down, but all is well.  I know of no damage.)

I am the owner of home in Rodanthe, waiting to see if my home is still there.

Henrietta Williams
Littleton, N.C.

Went to your site from last night’s Fox News broadcast at 3 o’clock in the morning. I was wondering how you were.

Jan Shaw
South Bend, Ind.

Watching faithfully to see how everyone and the island are. God bless.

Jana Ganoe

I visited Ocracoke for the first time ever on Tuesday, Aug. 23, last week.  The first sign I saw was an evacuation notice for the following morning displayed at the Visitor’s Center.  I enjoyed the brief visit.  I was doing some genealogy research.  With the help of some of your residents, I quickly located the final resting place of Michael Lawrence Piland (second cousin, three times removed) and the current places of employment for Jim and Mary Ellen Piland (not sure of our relationship yet). I spoke with Jim for a few minutes at the hardware store, but just missed Mary Ellen at the school. Hope to stay in touch. We (my family) were staying in Duck and were evacuated early Thursday.  I hope all things are staying together on the island and that the storm and storm surge do minimal damage.  It’s good to see that news updates are capable of being maintained during the storm. Keeping you folks in our thoughts and prayers.

Michael Piland
Mechanicsville, Md.

Thank you for the updates. I’ve been concerned about the folks on the islands.
Purcellville, Va.

We are watching the weather and praying all is safe. There is no place closer to heaven than Cape Hatteras.

Rita Nickles
Dalton, Ohio

Praying for you all!

Hertford, N.C.

Thank you for the updates.  You are all in my prayers.  Be safe.  See you soon.

Misty Gillikin

We hope you stay safe! My family was to come to the village today. Hope to be there by Monday!

Jeff Craddock
Springfield, Va.

We love vacationing on Hatteras Island and you are all in our prayers.  Hope everyone is safe and okay.

Limerick, Pa.

I just want to say thank you SO much for the info! I have sat here in Pennsylvania and listened to story after story about New Jersey, New York, Delaware, and Vermont and have heard nothing about how you all were making out on the Outer Banks. Ben and Rita Doerr and Brad Doerr are my family, and I couldn’t find anything out about them, their houses, their business, or about the well-being of other friends and acquaintances on the island! The only news we received was that Highway 12 was breached, with no news as to where. And they wonder why residents are stubborn to leave! The closest so-called “weather” channel I found was up in Kill Devil Hills, with someone standing like a fool out in the tide, with a satellite feed that kept going in and out! That was so helpful and reassuring—not! Anyway, Thank you for your work and Godspeed to everyone who has been affected!

Kimberely Doerr-Marti
Jersey Shore, Pa.

God bless all of you. Keep safe. I hope things are calm enough for at least a little sleep. I'm sure it's needed.

Mark Burton
Knoxville, Tenn.

Hang in there! We are praying for you up here!

Randal Santana
Arlington, Va.

We just left Avon on the 20th. Hope all is well down there. We are thinking of you. We will be back in June.

Kinsman, Ohio

We have been glued to the TV for updates on Hatteras.  It is our favorite vacation spot.  You are all in our thoughts and prayers.

Paula Pettis
Etna, Ohio

I own property down there and usually come ride-out hurricanes. Thanks for staying and posting. It is quite a bit of help.  God bless and keep you safe. Let us know about the surge from sound side.  The Weather Channel said earlier that the sound was dry. Is that true?

Boardman, Ohio

(Editor’s note:  Yes, an easterly wind blew water out of the sound and toward its western shore before the wind shifted as the hurricane passed by and sent all the water back, causing serious flooding some areas.)

Praying that things start to get better today, for you and everyone else on Hatteras. Thanks for working so hard to get information about the storm out to us.

Ben Arnold
Cedar Falls, Iowa

Thank you so much for keeping us updated on the conditions in Hatteras. Our hearts go out to everyone who has been affected by Irene.  God favored us by gentling the storm. We should give him the praise!

Orrville, Ohio

Thanks for the updates you were able to give. I have visited Ocracoke twice (in 2008 and 2009) and love the island. I hope to come back someday.  I hope you will continue to update whenever you can!

P. Sawyer
Belton, Texas

Irene, I saw you on Fox News and wanted to let you know that you are in our thoughts and prayers here in Greensboro. Stay strong and safe during the hurricane!

John Campbell
Greensboro, N.C.

I really thank you for your reporting of the storm damage on Hatteras Island. It seems like you are the only way we can find out about the island. The big guys only want to talk about the Northeast. So thanks again. It was very informative.

Clarence Jennette, Jr.
Beverly Hills, Fla.

Thanks for this excellent coverage and all the photos.  We currently are in the process of buying a home in Kinnakeet Shores in Avon and have been going to Avon for the past 23 years, sometimes twice a year.  Our next three-week trip is planned for Thanksgiving.  I know the island will come back and be as beautiful and peaceful as ever.

Jane Grimm
Annandale, Va.

Thank you so much for letting people know what is going on at the Outer Banks. The news talks mostly about the North. I want to know what is going on down there. Thank you for the updates. I will check in daily to hear what you have learned. Keep up the good work.

Joyce Peek
Asheville, N.C.

You guys have done great work keeping us informed.  My wife and I have been vacationing along the Outer Banks for 30-plus years. Now my kids and grandkids are keeping up the tradition.  It's great being kept up to speed on what's happening down there.  I'm saddened by all the pictures of the devastation caused by the hurricane.

George T. Roach
Bowie, Md.

God bless you all!

Steve Eisenman
Leeper, Pa.

Anne, thanks so much for your reporting on this awful situation. We are frequent visitors to Ocracoke and recognize many of the areas that have been hit so hard.  I will be looking forward to your reports as events unfold there.  Our thoughts and our prayers are with you and the wonderful people on Ocracoke and Hatteras Islands. Who needs Jim Cantore? We’ve got Anne Bowers!

Larry Harvey
West Columbia, S.C.

To all of my friends and family: May God lay his hands on your shoulders to not only guide you but also comfort you all in this time. I remember when Ike came through, and we all pulled together to overcome it. I will soon return to my friends, and we once again shall see the rainbow past the clouds that have dimmed our eyes in this time of despair! Also, I would like to give a shout-out to the Midgett family and fellow Rodanthe residents. God bless you. Thank you to the Island Free Press for the care and reports that are needed and respected.

Karl Meeks
Caddo Gap, Ark.

Just really wondering how the people of Ocracoke are doing. New York is flooding now, but I care about the people and the cats on Ocracoke. Any word would be appreciated.

Debra Wilson
Clarksburg, W.Va.

Great pictures. Thanks for posting. 

Marsha Melkonian
Warrenton, Va.

I am dying to know how Ocracoke and Harkers Island did and if people are OK. Does anybody need help with clean up?

Beverly Wood
King, N.C.

The local news in Greensboro and Winston-Salem reported more on what happened up North and only gave a slight mention to the islands, saying that they were a little wet but OK. I wish I knew how to send them this from your site. Maybe I'll try tonight! Thanks for doing a wonderful job!

Billy Payne
Sandy Ridge, N.C.

Our hearts go out to all who suffered losses during Hurricane Irene.  We have vacationed several times on Cape Hatteras, and were just recently in Avon during the first week of August.  The pictures are heart breaking, and the news of the flooding, etc. However, we are so grateful that it wasn't even worse. Again, our prayers are with you all, and we look forward to once again enjoying this wonderful area.

Stephanie Goldbranson
La Jara, Colo.

Thank you for the updates! So many of us who vacation on Hatteras Island consider it our home-away-from-home. I've read so many posts on Facebook regarding the inability to find updates on the status of Hatteras Island and its residents. The photos were amazing. It's amazing to see such quality photos on a news website. They are, by far, the most vivid, real, original and professional images regarding the impact of Hurricane Irene so far. Thank you for not posting the same 20 photos I can find on all other news sites. Thoughts and prayers are with all of those impacted and hoping for a safe and speedy rebuild.

Eileen Cox
Fredericksburg, Va.

You guys are so on top of it. And believe me, we appreciate everything you do. I realize there is damage, but as together as you all are down there, I know the island will be opened up in time for our fall vacation. Thanks for everything you do and God bless you all.

Grand Rapids, Mich.

Thank you so much for this post.  My heart goes out to the folks along our North Carolina coast and to you brave people who were there to try and protect it.  My heart tells me it will never be the same. God bless you all in your recovery efforts.

Diane Kennedy
Beulaville, N.C.

Thank you so much, Anne.  Bernard and I haven't been able to reach any of our wonderful friends on Hatteras Island. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you.  Belhaven was hit really hard. Pungo Creek looked like an ocean. Our power was restored yesterday at 11 a.m.  We had about three feet of water in our garage.  The water came in very, very fast and went out equally as quickly.  Our house was fine.  We feel that we were blessed, considering some people have water standing in their homes. Once again, thanks to you and Don for your report.

Bridgette & Bernard Midgett
Belhaven, N.C.

Great report and useful information. More information from villages, when you can get it, would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks again!

Herb Gaskill

Thanks. This is the only place Katie and I could get good information. Stay safe...and dry.

Bob Mackall

The damage from Irene was much more severe than I expected to see. We come to the island for our vacation every fall and look forward to a week of relaxation and beauty. Hopefully the island can rebound as quickly as possible to benefit form the last big weekend of summer. We are watching closely and checking with our rental company as to access availability. I hope the locals can get back in to clean up and resume their island lifestyle.  All who love Hatteras Island are in our thoughts and prayers. It is truly a special place and to lose access to it would be devastating. Best wishes for a speedy recovery!

Chuck English
Spout Spring, Va.

Thank you for your work. My heart goes out to all of you. I was supposed to vacation in Salvo Sept. 3, and if I could get there, I would volunteer to help. Best wishes to all.

Cristal Moore
Davis, W.Va.

Thanks so much for the updates and pictures.  My family and I visit Ocracoke twice a year and were concerned about the safety of our friends there. My family wishes all residents the best, and we are praying for them to recover from this disaster.

Mike Greene
Concord, N.C.

Thank you for this news update. You all hang in there and be safe.   

William Anderson
Annapolis, Md.

You all are in my thoughts. I can't even imagine what each of you is going through.

Chesapeake, Va

My husband and I very reluctantly evacuated to our daughter’s house in Fredericksburg, Va. Our neighbors stayed behind and have been through the whole situation. Our hearts go out to everyone on Hatteras. The pictures I've seen are so sad. We want to come home!

Carolyn Honeycutt

Our prayers are with all of you! 

Ben Harper
Richmond, Va.

Oh, no! We were just down in July for two weeks. Hope everyone is OK out there.

Philip Griffiths
Toronto, Ontario

Thanks for reporting.  And great photos, Don. 

Mark Augustson
Cary, N.C.

Thanks for your online report. I have had the Outer Banks on my mind since I first heard of Irene's trajectory.  My thoughts go out to all you wonderful people who make my vacations to Ocracoke so great. I will be back to see you as soon as possible.   

J. Baer
Dawsonville, Ga.

I have been a resident of Dare County and worked in the fishing industry here since the fall of 2000.  It blows my mind that each time we have a storm here, nobody from the national medai ever truly finishes the story.  I, as well as many others here, feel that, often, few people outside the region ever know the true aftermath on the Outer Banks. Without a doubt, there are many people in eastern North Carolina that have a long road ahead of them in the following weeks after this storm. We appreciate everything you do by continuing the rest of the story and not just covering the landfall.  My thoughts and prayers are with all the families affected by lrene. We have over come worse disasters before, and we will rise above this one also.

Matt Carter
Manteo, N.C.

Thank you for your reporting.  As long time visitors (since 1973) and homeowners (since 1987) in Buxton, we are always anxious to hear how Hatteras Island fared after each storm, so we appreciate going to The Island Free Press for up-to-date information and incredible photos that capture both the destruction and beauty of the event so well.

We wish the people of our cherished home-away-from-home a speedy and safe recovery from the storm.

Jane Hetzel
Springfield, Mass.

You are all in my prayers.  My heart is breaking at the damage done to Hwy 12, the BP in Avon, and what looks like the Frisco Pier.  We are cut off from family that live in Avon and Buxton.

Carol Midgette
Garner, N.C.

Anne and Don, greetings from Pittsburgh. Glad to hear that you both are safe. Thank you for information by way of The Island Free Press. We obviously have had little communication with friends on the island, but we have heard that there was no loss of life. Please stay safe

Kris Smith-Dufala
Sewickley, Pa.

Thank you for the information and insight. This is more helpful than the limited information provided by corporate media.

Jennifer Williams

Thanks Irene (Nolan), Anne, and Don for the update.  I am glad you are all okay and the storm weakened rather than intensified when it hit the Gulf Stream.  I feel for the people who sustained property damage.  Best wishes for a fast cleanup.  Thank you for the news and the great photos.  I am happy you're back online!  I'll be back as soon as the power returns and they allow access. Be well.

Dr. Rudy

I’m sorry to say that the rest of the world was more wrapped up in the least-devastated Washington to New York City area. Not much was shown of the Outer Banks. It took your photos and articles to bring it to my attention.  You should send them all to major broadcast networks. 

Chip, former Kill Devil Hills resident
Kinnelon, N.J.

I would love to see a side-by-side comparison of the two photos from Scott Boatyard. Wow! Can you publish something like that either on your website or Facebook? 

Jane Baker
St. Louis, Mo.

Thanks for posting updates and pictures. My family and I were vacationing in Avon and were evacuated Thursday.  Is there a place to find out where these photos were taken?

Hope everyone is OK. We love Outer Banks!

Westerlo, N.Y.

Great article and post-storm coverage.

John and Barrie Fyfe
Kenbridge, Va.

Do you have any information on Ocracoke?   I have spent many vacations on Ocracoke and am concerned. 

Brenda Gruff
Williamstown, N.J.

Our hearts go out to our friends on Hatteras Island, and we pray that there were no fatalities during or after Irene

Toni Boldt
Midlothian, Va.

Thanks for update. As usual, all the press from Nags Head is showing the same boats on land, over and over. Hope all our fall friends are safe. We are thinking about you. Let us know about Ocracoke as soon as you can. Be safe.

Keith and Eileen Brown
Troutman, N.C.

We own a house on the oceanside in the north part of Avon. Just want to express our gratitude for all the reports and cleanup work that folks are now involved in, and also for all the care being given to the wonderful world of Hatteras Island. Thank you!

Priscilla Wilson
Mission Hills, Kan.

Wow! Good luck to any that are still there. I hope things can return to some usability soon. Our group has four houses rented in the Brigands Bay area in mid-October.

The slideshow is excellent. The marinas that have no water are definitely the most striking thing. I see Frisco Pier is worse off now, but it was already not good as of last fall. When we stayed at one of our houses, I used to walk down to that Askins Creek BP to get coffee. I would love to see some sort of aerial view of that larger breach, like that highly distributed shot of the Isabel inlet.

Again, good luck to all trying to dig their way out of this mess!

Murray Hadley
Bridgeport, Pa.

Wow. Thank you for the most revealing story so far regarding Hatteras Island. Please keep us posted on the damage and the struggle to return to a livable life.


Thanks for giving us some news of my favorite place on earth.

The Columbus, Ohio, Dispatch carried an aerial photo of the S-curve breaches. Glad the Hatteras-Frisco rebuild held. Sounds like the aftermath of Alex, with so many cars lost. Thinking of you all.

Kay Kellum Puckett
Langsville, Ohio

Awesome pictures recording the damage from Irene, and a very interesting article. As usual, it makes us sad to see that type of devastation to such a beautiful and beloved area.

Lib Miller
Campobello, S.C.

This makes me cry. I love our diamond shoals.
Portsmouth, Va.

Thank you so much for keeping all of us informed. Not being able to reach our friends on the island is frightening and your information has been wonderful. Our house is in Brigands Bay, and that one sentence meant everything to us. Thank you again for your wonderful work!

Valerie Armstrong
Alexandria, Va.

For the sake of accuracy, the "Isabel inlet" was east of Hatteras village, west of Frisco.

Clayton Gaskill

Bless your hearts for getting this information out.  My mother owns property on the island and was frantic to know what had happened to her friends and neighbors.  Your article gave us enough information to know that no one was seriously injured and that, as most hurricanes go, there was some significant damage, but again, no loss of life, thank goodness.  For everyone that stayed, our family is thinking of you all. 

Angie (Sylvia Fuller’s daughter)
Ashburn, Va.

As someone whose family has kept property near Rodanthe for many years, it amazes me that the state and federal governments are always at odds over repairs to the island and its roads after a storm.  One avenue that they have never looked into is the world experts in land restoration and rebuilding, the Dutch.  They have the knowledge and equipment to do in weeks what the Army Corps of Engineers and others take months, even years, to do. They built the Palm Island in Dubai and add hundreds of acres to their own coastline every year.  Perhaps some forward thinking officials cold look into this?

Michael Koogler
Lutherville, Md.

Does anyone else remember why driving on the beach at Pea Island was banned? As I recall, it was claimed that vehicles made ruts in the sand which caused increased beach erosion.


Cameron Gray
Burkeville, Va.

I feel so bad for you guys. We were just down there the week before Irene hit, and we stayed in Rodanthe. It was beautiful. What a mess now.  We fished the Oregon Inlet and went over to Ocracoke Island. It was a blessing that this was not a category 3.  Be safe and I will pray for all you people.

Salem, Va.

Thank you for posting those pictures. We have a camper in Rodanthe at Midgett Campground, and we were able to spot our camper still standing. For now, that will have to do, which is good enough, as we thought perhaps our camper was like one of the ones from the North Beach Campground.

Our hearts and prayers are with all of the residents of Hatteras Island. I can't wait until we can come back and see you all and help you in any way we can.  Thanks again for the update. We appreciate your posts, and I hope things start turning around very fast for the residents there!

RoseAnn Wehr
Virginia Beach, Va.
Don, these pictures are so amazing and so sad at the same time.  And Anne’s article is extremely informative.  It has been hard to find good articles that give you real information on what has happened on the Outer Banks—other than the fact that it was bad.  My family has been going to the KOA in Rodanthe every summer for about 15 years.  It is so hard to see all of the damage. I also work with the sons of the gentleman who owns Jobob's Trading Post. The damage is devastating.

Sykesvlle, Md.

Thank you so much for all of your coverage and your photographs. Our hearts go out to all on the Outer Banks. It's hard to believe that this is not as bad as Isabel by the sounds and sites of it.

My family and I have been visiting Hatteras Island for over 25 years and love it down there. We were just there on vacation when the word of Irene came. We left the evening before the mandatory evacuation, thanks to the wise advice of a wonderful local business owner.

I admire your Outer Banks heartiness and know that you will come through this. If there are any local organizations that are accepting donations, it would be great if you could write about it. The Outer Banks and its people and wildlife have offered so much to so many, who I know would like to give something back, if they can.

Once again, thank you for your online newspaper. I can't remember how I found my way here, but I am very glad I did.

Rye, N.Y.

Thank you so much for the print and pictures.  Yours is a great service to those of us who live far away from the area. Thank you again!

Henrietta Williams
Littleton, N.C.

Thank you to Don Bowers for the pictures and to Anne Bowers for the accompanying article. We can read about chaos and devastation, and it breaks my heart to do so, but those pictures make an off-islander truly feel it.

Mt. Solon, Va.

Excellent coverage and photos! Any report or photos about Avon? When able, we intend to help on the island.

Dianne Babics
Leesburg, Va.

Thanks for the updates, Irene. My fiancée and are glad you're safe. We're still planning on heading to Ocracoke on our honeymoon in October.

Andre Rodriguez
Waynesville, N.C.

All eyes are on Hurricane Irene

It would be my opinion that this hurricane may take several paths.  As we know, whenever it gets closer to Cape Hatteras it becomes very unpredictable. Probably because of the Gulf Stream ends and the waters are cooler. It is just my opinion.  By the way you would not be kin any chance to. Mary Nolan? Interesting question and all, but do you want publish this?

Newport News, Va.

Looks likes you are really stirring up one out there!  Only kidding! 

I was thinking more along the line of yet another storm named after another of my family.  One of my great aunts had the wonderful name of Irene. 

Over the years there have been hurricanes named after my family, and if you knew my family you would understand why they picked the names! Hazel, my great-grandmother, Isabel, my grandmother; Gladys, my great-aunt, and now Irene, my great-aunt.  Now what is interesting is Hazel is Isabelle's, Gladys's, and Irene's mother.  All the same family group and all those hurricanes have had--and in Irene’s case, may have--an effect on North Carolina.  

So It seems Irene may be just trying to come home. I know I would be, it’s heaven on earth!

Jacque Gates
Fortville, Ind.

Irene, thank you so much for keeping us updated. I was so hoping that the damage wouldn't be as extensive as it is.  I have you all in my thoughts and prayers.

Nancy Hall
Martinsville, Va.

Thank you so much for the excellent coverage at such a difficult time. Our prayers are with everyone on Hatteras. We will be back as always next May to help the economy the best we can. I have every confidence you will bounce back. Until then, be safe.

Just wanted to also add how incredible your photos are.

Stephen Balena

The pictures and information about the devastation to this beautiful, serene and wonderful place is heart breaking.  To all of you who call this home, God bless you and yours. Our prayers are with you. I know that a lot of things can't and won't be replaced, but your strength will pull you all through, as it has done before. Our families will be coming down as soon as possible, when the "outsiders" are able to do so.  Take care and God bless you all. Sincerely.

Karen L. Gray
Halifax, Pa.

Our thoughts and prayers are with you all

Chad Neighbors
Fincastle, Va.

As a friend of the Outer Banks and a visitor since 1970, I hope things go well. I would like to know how to get my motor home to Waves, if it is even possible.

Ken Conner
Seaford, Del.

Our family has been visiting Hatteras Island for a number of years, and we just love it!  We intend to visit in October, if at all possible. Our best wishes for a speedy recovery from Irene's devastation.  Our hearts go out to all the local residents and businesses especially.

Stella Trammell
Lexington, Ky.

It is time for these enviro-whackos to shut up and sit down. Let’s cut off their roads to their homes and sue them when they try to cross!

Mark Carter
Charlotte, N.C.

As a frequent visitor to your beautiful island, I hope and pray that there will be a solution to the bridge replacement standstill. Reading the Island Free Press is always interesting and informative and keeps me abreast of the happenings at my favorite vacation destination. Thank you.

Beverly J. Talerico
Washington, Pa.

We vacation on the Hatteras Island. This year we booked in Salvo for the end of September. Our hearts are sad to see this, but it reminds us of what is really valuable in life. Not money, not things, but people. We are praying for the residents of the whole area and appreciating each other. May God bless and restore the people of the Outer Banks.

Greenville, S.C.

My family and I have been coming down to the Outer Banks for almost 20 years, mainly to the Avon and Buxton areas. Our first and main concern is the safety, health and well being of all the residents of the island. As a vacationer and fisherman, we always look forward to visiting the residents, walking the beaches, shopping at the stores, and enjoying the relaxing atmosphere our family receives. A void will be in our summer if we can't make it down this year, but we know the residents and the state of North Carolina will be doing all they can to repair the break in the island. Every time we come down, we learn more and more history of the state and the nation. You folks still have a lot of friends in Pennsylvania, and I hope we can still make it down this year. 

I just wanted to tell you that you do a great job with all the articles. I always check out what is going on at my favorite vacation spot.

We were scheduled to come to Frisco this weekend, but thanks to Irene it doesn't look like that will happen. Thanks again for all the updates, and keep up the good work.

Bob Fuss
Newtown Square, Pa.

I was supposed to come down this weekend, until Irene blew apart the Banks. If they would restore the power and line up ferries to bypass the road break, I would still come down. The military has portable bridges they use during wars that they may be able to help with. I am so disappointed and would love to see someone come up with a solution that would save the day. Imagine how much money will be lost this weekend if the place remains cut off.

Steve Lovewell
Marshall, Va.

It’s the same story as when Katrina hit New Orleans: politicians and environmentalists are playing with people’s lives, just so they can be right or "politically correct" for the sake of re-election.

I want Hwy 12 fixed as soon as possible. My vacation time and money are spent on the Outer Banks every year, and I vote on the issues.

No politician or environmental nut-job should decide if or how I get to the Outer Banks to do that.

John Brookie
Winston Salem, N.C.

I am really over the SELC, DOW, and the Audubon Society ruling what happens to Hatteras and Ocracoke. I certainly hope that assistance in getting access south of the Bonner Bridge does not end up going through the hoops of these cold-hearted people.

Carol Mowers
Kill Devil Hills

It broke our hearts to hear and see the damage to the Outer Banks.  We have been coming to Hatteras Island and north every year for the past 40 years.  We pray for those isolated on Hatteras and north.  God will see you through.

William J. Legge
Fredericksburg, Va.

I simply love the Outer Banks.  It is one of the few places I can go and truly unwind. I would love to live there.  I wish you guys the best and am sending prayers your way. 

Cheryl Maplesden
Goodlettsville, Tenn.

Our daughter and her family stayed for the hurricane at our family home in Avon. We  had no contact from Saturday evening until Monday evening, when we were able to contact them on the landline. We thank God that they are fine. We would not know what to do if anything had happened to them and our two granddaughters.  Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone.  The island is our second home and we thoroughly enjoy the peace and tranquility. Godspeed.  

Ellen & Don Bowker
Oaklyn, N.J.

Our thoughts and prayers are with you all at this troubled time, but you all are a bounce-back-quickly group. We know—from visiting this island for over 50 years.  God Bless!

Herb and June Craddock
Earlysville, Va.

Rebuild Hwy 12. The amount of tourist dollars and taxes collected is essential to the economy of North Carolina. 

Gahanna, Ohio

My thoughts and prayers are with all of you. It is truly amazing to see the power of Mother Nature and then to see the goodness and love in your fellow citizens. I am a regular tourist of the island and have spent as much time there as I can since my childhood.  

Becky Mccann
Dewitt, Va.

Just a quick email to say that everyone is totally amazing, and we cannot even begin to say how much we appreciate it. It is frustrating to be away, but you help relieve some of that frustration with your incredible descriptions and reporting.

From the bottom of our hearts we say thank you and God bless and take care of all of you.

Karen and Bernie Tetreault
Avon, N.C./Baltimore, Md./Philadelphia, Pa.

I’m a Hatteras native living in Panama, Republic of Panama. I just want to thank the good lord for looking after all of my family and friends on Hatteras. It is a special place, and I know in my heart that, just like all the times in the past, the people of the villages will come together and get things back to normal. I love you Cape Hatteras! Hang in there!

Capt. Ronnie Lee Jarvis

Thanks for the news from Hatteras Island!  We live in Alexandria, Va., and have a house in Avon. We very much appreciate the information you are reporting and the excellent photos from Don Bowers.

Marie Minton
Alexandria, Va.

My family and I are one of the many visitors who had to leave your beautiful island, which, in my heart, is my second home. As I sit here with tears rolling down my face viewing all the damage, my heart, thoughts, and prayers go out to all of you. Thank you for hanging in there and for your strength.

Pittsburgh, Pa.

I just wanted to say that I was there the week of the storm. We stayed at Winterobe and had to leave on Thursday, two days earlier than we wanted to, I was so upset that my vacation got cut short, as we come down there every year, but after seeing the devastating damage to Hatteras Island, I'm grateful that my family and I are safe and not enduring what the people of Hatteras Island are. I'm sure that you all will recover, and hopefully I will be able to return again next year. It is heart breaking to see all of the damage that Irene has caused. I feel like Hatteras Island is my second home and when I'm not there, I am missing it terribly. I wish all the people of Hatteras Island and the Outer Banks good luck and a speedy recovery, so that they can resume their normal lives.

Noelle Nuefeld
Pittsburgh, Pa.

It breaks my heart to see our beloved Outer Banks have to endure this awful mess. We have vacationed there in Salvo for the past five years, and I dearly love the area.  It is so sad to see all the destruction. It may take a while, but the people of the Outer Banks will recover.  My heart and prayers go out to each one.  I wish I could help some way.

Elizabeth Gore
Lincolnton, N.C.

You have the most up-to-date information about the island.  Many people want to get back, as you know. Thanks for the updates and pictures. You are doing a great job.

Dan Edwards
Wendell, N.C.

I'm devastated for all you folks and your wonderful island, and I hope things will improve day by day.  Our prayers go out to each and every person living on Hatteras Island.  I am upset that the national news does not give Hatteras Island more coverage, and it's heart breaking to look at the pictures of the devastation you all have suffered.  We will miss our vacation on your island this year, but hopefully will be able to return next year.  I've never seen a more beautiful place. It’s heaven on earth.  God Bless to all!

Marianne Johnson
Florence, Mass.

Thank God you are all right, and the situation there is beginning to improve.  We wish you Godspeed in getting back to normal.  We hope to visit in October.

Midlothian, Va.

Thank you for this coverage of the storm damage. I have been monitoring this story since before Irene arrived there. My husband and I spent our last 10 anniversaries on Hatteras Island, in late September and early October. My husband passed away in November of 2010, and I was looking forward to being there again Sept. 24. It is very saddening to see it this way. It was our favorite place on earth, our own piece of serenity. My prayers for God’s help with a speedy recovery and a return to her glory!

Patricia Atkisson
Fairfield, Ohio

Thank you, Don and Anne, for the informative article and great, but sad photos. 

Liz Browning Fox

My heart goes out to all in North Carolina. I love my trips to Ocracoke, driving down Highway 12, loving the sights from the airport to the village. My prayers and love to all of you, and I pray you will all recover as soon as possible. I love the Outer Banks! I have several friends on Ocracoke and to you all—my heart is with you.

Indianapolis, Ind.

Island Free Press, thank you so much for the coverage! We keep hearing about Vermont up here in Virginia, but I couldn't find anything on the Outer Banks, except the Atlantic Pier being washed out. Keep up the good work. And is there anything we can do up here to help?

Donnamarie Emmert
Abingdon, Va.

Excellent article, but I was in tears as I read it.  As a non-resident homeowner in Avon who does not rent our home there, we would so like to be there to help those in need.  Thank you for all you have done to keep us informed. 

Sharon Crislip
Fredericksburg, Va.

I am without words to express my feelings to the Outer Banks folks. Saying I understand is unacceptable, because if you don't live through something there is no way to understand it. I am a paramedic in Johnston County, and our little wind-blow was nothing compared to you folks. Is there any way we could come and assist our EMS buddies for a few days and give them a break? I wish someone could pass this along and let me know, and I'll see what I can do to gather some other paramedics and EMT's to come help.

Danny R. Altman
Fuquay-Varina, N.C.

I'm an adviser with NOAA in my area. I'm not saying the storm is headed for the Cape Hatters area, but I really think this storm will hit just south of the cape and north of Savannah. I’ve said, since the beginning of the year, that America is going to see a lot catastrophic weather on the eastern coast, and it is happening. I have never seen weather like this, and I do believe that we are going to see more and more of this type of weather. Irene is supreme in this fashion—she blows, and where she hits nobody knows.

Tim Parsons
Flatwoods, Ky.

We own a home in Waves and have been starved for some news. This is a great article, and we will look forward to more information.

Judy Phair
St. Marys, W.Va.

God bless you!!!

Leigh Ann Mann
Murfreesboro, N.C.

“Dia dhuit, Irene and The Island Free Press, from Ballydavid, Dingle, County, Kerry, Ireland—on the other side of the Atlantic.

I’m sorry I never heard of you until today on Fox News. "Fan ínnte" is the Irish for “stay with it” or “stick with it” and "Le cabhair dé" means “with God’s help you will all be safe.”

And your report will be the real report on Irene. 

Dia Libh (God be with you) 

T.P. O'Conchuir

Bravo, Irene. We are praying for everybody on Ocracoke and Hatteras, as well as all the coastline in the path of this storm. I love the Outer Banks. I lived in Elizabeth City for about five years, many years ago, so I was always going to the beach.  You all—whether native for generations or native by transplant—are a wonderful breed of folks. The best in the world. Hang in there, and may God keep you safe. And we hope cleanup and restoration goes quickly.

Eugenie Fein
Morganton, N.C.

We've been so incredibly worried about all of you in Hatteras! We've stayed at “Point II,” a house right next to Durant Station, for the past several years (including the year the water spout hit our house!) and would certainly have joined all of you in staying if we'd been there when Irene hit. We're due to return in a couple weeks, but I haven't heard if “Point II” survived, and I have major doubts whether Highway 12 will be up-and-running.  If I had to place a bet, though, I'd say it will be—in some way, shape or form. That's the Hatteras way!
Hopefully, we'll be able to meet you in person sometime and tell you how much we enjoy your wonderful news from "paradise." 
Please take care of yourselves and know that we are certainly remembering you in our prayers!

Beth Saylor
Staunton, Va.

Irene, I’m so glad to hear that you made it through another storm. Thankfully, no one was hurt on Hatteras Island, and possessions can be replaced.
Hang in there, and thank you for all you do.
Jim McGettigan
Lansdale, Pa.

Warm regards from Michigan. We love and cherish the Outer Banks. We were in Frisco in June, and are with you now in spirit. 

Jane Scarlet

Thanks so much. I don't do Facebook, and I appreciate all your news. I have reservations, as usual, Oct. 8-15 in Rodanthe, and I hope to see you all real soon. It’s been Marvelous seeing you on here. I have been praying constantly for everyone on Hatteras and Ocracoke.  Please take care, and God Bless you and keep you safe.

Joyce Luff

Aloha to our island cousins!  So sorry you have to deal with all the difficulties and loss.  Those of us who love the Outer Banks are with you in spirit and concern, and we look forward to returning once you are back on your feet and have transportation restored.  No way would we cancel our return trip to the Inn on Pamlico Sound this November!  Thanks for the news updates. You are not alone.

Tom & Mary Duddy
Honolulu, Hawaii

We are reading from California and are relieved that you and company are alright. Thank you for your Herculean effort to keep the Outer Banks and its admirers from afar informed. Take care!

Nancy Beddingfield

To all, thank you for the information and up-dates on the damage done by Hurricane Irene. I'm from Pennsylvania, but I have vacationed in Hatteras every year for the last 10 years. I was not there for Isabel and most likely will not be down this year either (though I was scheduled to be there in a few weeks). I love your web pages, and I hope all of you fared as well as could be expected during the hurricane. God bless you during this troublesome time.

James J. Granger Jr.

My husband and I visited the Outer Banks for the first time two years ago, after going to the Gulf for 35 years. We fell in love with the area, the people, the history, and the beaches. We tell everyone: “Go to the Outer Banks! You will love it.” We were so concerned with your safety when we watched the progress of Irene.  We are planning a trip next spring. Ready or not, we are coming. God Bless you all. 

Linda Ransdell

To the residents of Hatteras Island, I would like to say thank you for making my time there a very beautiful memory, and I hope that I can come back to see you. I cannot express enough my sorrow for your losses and the extreme conditions that you are enduring. I know that, working together, you will overcome your current situation. I wish I could do more than offer my prayers and thoughts daily. I do look forward to the time that I can again come and visit you. Hatteras Island is a place that makes me feel at home. Again, please know that my prayers and thoughts are with you all through these trying times.

I know you all can recover. God Bless you all.

Sharon Collins
Oakland, Md.

I lived in Virginia all my life, moving to Colorado just this April, and Rodanthe was my home-away-from-home. A huge lump sits in my throat, but after reading this and knowing the residents and the people of the Outer Banks, I am relieved to hear that they are coming together as a community to rebuild. Kudos to the military and Salvation Army, among other services there to help get the island and its people back on their feet and back to their livelihood. I will return next summer and I just know it will be just like "home" again. God Bless Hatteras Island.

Julia Farris
Thornton, Colo.

Our hearts ache for all of you.  Praying especially for those who have lost their homes and businesses. 

Tom and Kim Ray
York, Pa.

We can't even begin to imagine what the folks on Hatteras Island are going through.  Our thoughts and prayers are with you.  We have spent many, many weeks there over the years, and it has always been a very special place to us. 

Carol Beam
Northumberland, Pa.

Let's not forget Highway 12, folks. Yes they live in paradise most of the time. And yes this is the risk one takes to live the Outer Banks life, on that narrow strip of land.  These are folks that know God on a good day and still know him after Irene left them with little or nothing.  These are the people that America is built on—proud, hardworking, neighbor-helping-neighbor kind of folks. So while you put your babies to sleep tonight and you climb into your dry, clean-smelling bed, remember these folks that need your help. Mostly prayers! God bless them all. 

Mir Sumpter
North Myrtle Beach, S.C.

You guys are doing a great job at keeping everyone in the know!  Thoughts and prayers are with everyone on the Island!  I’m so thankful that there was no loss of life. Things, no matter how precious to us, can be replaced.

Valorie Tillett

I hope everyone is well. I cannot believe some of those pictures. We were Hatteras village the week before the storm. I just hate to see the devastation.  My family will be thinking of the Outer Banks, as we have been coming down since 1976. We hope for the best for all of you on the islands. Good luck and God bless. 

Thomas L. Kessler
Red Lion, Pa.

I live in Maryland, but I own property in Hatteras colony. We were on vacation there the week Irene hit, so we boarded up for the first time ever and left for home on Friday. You have been my link, and we thank you. Hatteras Realty just told us we did OK. And I give thanks for that. But I am feeling everyone else's pain and sorrow. I wish we could be there to help. We will survive. Always have always will.     

Cynthia Keese
Highland, Md.

We can't thank all of you at the Island Free Press enough for the Irene updates.  We spend summers in Hatteras at our little cabana.  Your updates kept me sane. I really lost it after Isabel, with the loss of our cabana and the damage to Hatteras village. My heart goes out to the northern villages, and I hope that everyone is able to rebuild as we did.

Roger and Nancy Marsh
Plantation, Fla.

Anne, what a lovely article. I work as a staff reporter for the Lincoln Times-News in Lincolnton, N.C. My family has been vacationing on Hatteras Island for over 30 years, and we will do so again the last week of September, Lord willing.  Could I publish your article in our local newspaper (giving you all credit, etc.)?  There are many people from our county who vacation on the Outer Banks, and I know they would love to read this.  Please let me know, either way.  God bless you all as you recover from this awful storm. 

Martha Seagle
Iron Station, N.C.

We love the residents of Hatteras and Ocracoke—best people you can find anywhere. And the people there have become part of the attraction for tourists who return year after year. 

I’m praying that the resources that often go to cities of the well-connected find their way to help the residents of Hatteras! 

Bob Myers
Doylestown, Pa.

Irene, Thanks for the Island Free Press' tireless reporting.  I've been relying on the site and your Facebook page to get Hatteras and Ocracoke Island news.  I've never met Don Bowers, but please tell him I found his pictures very helpful in gauging the depth of destruction. I've seen very few Ocracoke pictures or write-ups.  Does that mean damage was minimal on the island?  If so, that's downright incredible.

Ben Spain
Tarboro, N.C.

Although I sympathize with anyone who looses property, American citizens subsidize the constant repairs to these Outer Banks communities (and others as well) through taxes and increasing insurance rates. These are sand bars that should never have been built on as permanent residences.  Anyone who chooses to live in such high-risk areas, such as along the Mississippi and along the ocean front, needs to self-insure. I think then, one might take a more reasonable view of its practicality.

Scottsville, Va.

On rebuilding Highway12: Our family has been visiting Ocracoke via Highway 12 for the past 30 years. Our many photos document our great vacations including everything from our (then) toddler son petting Ollie the cat to our family reunion this past May. When hurricanes or storms come up the coast, we first check on our family and then try to find out how the Outer Banks are doing.  Please rebuild Highway 12 in whatever way you must. My thought is to charge an access fee—let’s say $20 for one day or $15 per day, per vehicle for multiple days—for visitors only. Pay one time at Whalebone Junction or from Cedar Island or Swan Quarter, and go anywhere in between during your stay.

I am a person of only moderate means, but visiting this beautiful place is well worth such a fee, which could be used to build and rebuild the road and bridges and ferry system. During the year, I expect to pay for museum entrance fees, toll roads, quilt show entrance fees, and any other type of entertainment. Why would a Highway 12 access fee be any different?  As to much of the area being a National Park, that is fine. If one can reach the area by boat, plane, or on foot, it is still free.  If one needs to use a vehicle traveling on Highway 12 to get there, then there would be an access fee. (Note: the park itself would still be free.) Pre-arrangements could even be made in advance, as we now do for motels or rental homes. Pack the car, have your access fee sticker or tag on the dash and you are ready to roll!

I’m looking forward to my next visit.  Until then, the Outer Banks, and especially Ocracoke, will be in our thoughts and prayers.

Anne Moore
Picture Rocks, Pa.

Congratulations on this excellent coverage of the situation. Your newspaper and the Midgett Realty website are the only good sources of information about the emergency. All the national news outlets are focusing on the hurricane's effects in Vermont. We have a cottage in Waves. Our hearts go out to the residents on Hatteras.

Mike Woods
Falls Church, Va.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the residents of Cape Hatteras as you clean up and recover. We have loved vacationing there for over 20 years, and we know that you will be back!

Williamsburg, Va.

Thank you, thank you, thank you, Island Free Press, for keeping us updated!  You are our only link to the island right now!  And you are doing an awesome job!

Sheila Matthews
Newport News, Va.

I spent two summers camping at the National Park Service campground in Frisco, and I do plan on going back next summer. The plans are already made. So get the road done, or I'll have to swim over! All the luck to you, and God Bless all of you on the Outer Banks.

Ken Edwards
Erwin, Tenn.

Thank you for your updates.

T.J. Meekins

Anne, we truly appreciate the descriptive pictures you paint with your words for those of us who are not on the Island. Hatteras is dear to our hearts, and although we're hundreds of miles on the other side of the state, we're here to help and to fight for you in anyway we can.  Please keep up the good work. Your paper and your writing are a treasure.

You're in our thoughts!
Wendy and Jeff Jones
Pisgah Forest, N.C.

Thank you so much for the updates and photos.  One of the many things we admire about Hatteras Island is the people. You are all strong and resilient. You are dealing with a major disaster, yet everyone is all smiles in the photos. What the photos cannot show are the smells, humidity, heat, and mosquitoes you are all enduring without complaint.  The people working so hard to ready the island for vacationers like me and my husband suffered personal losses in the storm, but they just keep placing one foot in front of the other, working hard to restore normalcy.  Everyone on Hatteras Island should take a moment to commend themselves on their hard work and optimism in the face of such adversity.  We visit twice a year and yearn for Hatteras Island in between vacations.  You folks are all part of the reason why Hatteras Island is so special; you make it that way.

Deb Jugan
East Pittsburgh, Pa.

Anne, thanks to you and Don for providing us with a link to our home-away-from-home.  We will visit when we can get back down to Buxton.  Our thoughts and prayers are with the Outer Banks.

Debby Williams
Charlotte, N.C.

So Sad! Our thoughts and prayers are with all the wonderful people of Hatteras.

Schuch Family
Avon, Ind.

What can I say? How horrible. I want to be there to help. Working on sending supplies through one of the churches here. Love you guys.

Carol Mowers
Kill Devil Hills

I have been able to get news on Hatteras and cities morth, but it seems there is nothing on Ocracoke. How are all the folks doing down there and was Highway 12 split for them also?

It sure appears as though it will be quite a while before one can take the ferry from Hatteras down, so are they limited to just the one ferry in Cedar Island? I’m assuming with the way Irene went through Pamlico Sound, Swan Quarter and Cedar Island could both be out of commission also?

Bill Pemberton
Blair, Neb.

Thanks for the more realistic appraisal of the overall conditions down there.  It is hard to find commentary other than what the rental agents provide, and they tend to be a bit rosier in their comments. We are booked for the second and third weeks of October, but that sounds progressively more doubtful with each passing day.  The whole situation is heart breaking.  Thoughts and prayers are with you all.  Hang in there and we will return.

Eric King
Elkton, Md.

As usual, great coverage. And the photographs are heart stopping. We are praying for you all on the great Outer Banks of North Carolina.

Hazel Zinn-Day
Woodville, Va.

Our hearts go out to all of you. We love your beautiful island. Best wishes for a speedy recovery.

Sara Stewart
Asheville, N.C.

Thank you so much for the coverage you provide in times like these.  We have friends that are permanent residents and friends with vacation homes, and these updates are very much appreciated.  Thank you!

Ellie Denton
Winston Salem, N.C.

As repeated visitors to Hatteras Island, we are so very sorry to hear about all of the destruction and grief caused by Irene. Would it be possible to list the names of the businesses will not be able to reopen, as we have so many places that we love. We would love to know if they are safe. Our prayers are will all of you. We appreciate everything you are doing to let us know what is happening there.

Melanie S. Burgoon
Cincinnati, Ohio

Thank you so much for the news and updates.  It is the best coverage of any outlet. It will be several days before I get to see my place in Avon.

Anne Andrews
Colerain, N.C.

There are no words to describe the feeling in my stomach over this. Thanks, Anne, for writing this and putting things in perspective.

Wes Lassiter

Do you need any clean up help? Thank you for all you are doing to keep us all updated. If you need anything just let us know. Thanks again.

Salisbury, N.C.

Bankers are made of strength and compassion! Be encouraged. There is much to do, but you all know what needs to be done, and you how to do it. The task is great, but you will succeed (again) with the prayers and support of those who know and love you. The visitors who keep returning year after year feel a strong bond with all of you, who make us feel so welcome each visit. Look how far you have come in just three days! "One step, one day at a time."  Donations are on the way; where should we send the checks?

Sabra Kovalscik
Grassy Meadows, W.Va.

So, would this be the one that would have taken Seredipity out?  My heart is heavy just thinking of the locals during this time.  May God bless them and help the healing begin.  Love to all my Outer Banks friends!

Terrie Har
Walkertown, N.C.

My heart and soul go out to you in this time, and I've been following all the pictures and news on Facebook of the devastation. I've only been there two times in my life, and this September would have been the third. I am in awe of your beautiful island. I will miss it so much, and I will look forward to visiting you again when you are back in business. I am, however, so happy that everyone is alive. Mother Nature is a scary lady at times. She might have taken your highway and homes, but never your hearts!

Dottie Fario
Langhorne, Pa.

Yes, it was an earthquake

I can always count on you for full color on what’s happening in the Outer Banks—the place where I'd rather be. 

Norma Robinson
Silver Spring, Md. 

We felt it here as well. It was a strange feeling. Our dogs acted strangely, too. It's like they knew it was coming.

Wilmington, Del.

Praying that minimal damage was done and that the storm will do no damage to the Island.

Wylie Williams
Villas, N.J.

Park Service is preparing to implement ORV rule

Congrats. Never let a good thing continue. My hat is off to yet another example of government interference, reduction in freedom, and the continued advance of tyranny in what used to be the greatest country on the face of the earth. Keep up the good work. You have created another reason for me to vacation and fish elsewhere.

Bill Young
Slippery Rock, Pa.

My family and I travel to Ocracoke Island three to four times annually and have been doing so for the last 10 years. We spend thousands of dollars there annually but will look elsewhere for vacations if this ORV rule becomes a reality. It sounds totally ridiculous. These rule makers need to give surf fishing a try. Maybe they would wake up!

Daris Hensley
Ravenswood, W.Va.

My husband and I have been bringing our family to the OBX to surf fish for 37 years.  Now that we are retired and living on Social Security our annual surf fishing trip is our only luxury.  You are pricing us out of that pleasure.  Please reconsider the cost burden you are imposing.  The restrictions were bad enough, but this is really going to be a burden which price us out of our vacation.

Janie Beitle
Pasadena, Md.


I do not have a problem with permits to drive, per se, but at least be smart about it.  The way it is being proposed, the costs of running this will be way too high and involve too much government.  Why not just have online permits granted on credit card access?  People are inherently honest but park rangers can check for permits as necessary. Please do not create something that will require a bunch of new jobs to cover and say you are going to charge only the projected expense for operating this.  Why not just require permits, sell them, and use the profits to help beach erosion or build and maintain ramps? It could generate revenue without the need to change the way things are now and the way they have been since wheels were invented.  In talking about building new parking areas, it is obvious to me that you want this to provide access to walk over to the beach as you phase out vehicles altogether.  Not a good idea or a good selling point.  Government intervention is not going to help the economy or conservation in that area.  Give the active wildlife groups in that area the chance to protect the environment themselves without unnecessary intervention.

George Birchette
Liberty, N.C.

There is no science behind prohibiting pedestrian access below the high-tide line. Pedestrian access to Cape Point is blocked off for all of June and most of July.  How does this help the environment or serve the well-being of nesting birds? 

There is no reason to turn Cape Point into an off-limits hatchery for birds and prohibit pedestrian access, but this is the misguided action that is being taken.

I view these rules and restrictions as an extreme over-reaction. It started with a desire to protect nesting birds, but it has become a grossly exaggerated and unnecessary attack on all people's enjoyment of this unique and beautiful coast. It's like an over-active immune system in a human body. When the immune system becomes over-active, the body attacks vital organs and begins to lose health.  The park service has become a hyperactive immune system that is attacking the people it should be seeking to serve. They are acting in a way that has no benefit to any creature, be it the birds, animals, or people. 

I have one question. When has a pedestrian walking below the tide line, or even six-to-10 feet above the high tide line, hurt or hindered a nesting bird? 

Yet, now, no people can enjoy Cape Point during its peak beauty and usefulness—for swimming, wading, and walking around.

I call for reasonable management, not exaggerated, hyperactive, over-reactions that serve absolutely no one.

Bob Myers
Doylestown, Pa.

Ocracoke bachelors go on the auction block for a good cause

Oh my! I am so disappointed I missed the auction. It sounds like real fun. I missed the festival this year, too. I am coming soon, though. Maybe just to relax and spend lots of money at my favorite vacation spot, helping it to recover some of what it lost during Irene. I am praying the great people in Ocracoke are alright. I am missing the salt water that got in my veins, the bike rides every morning to the end of the island, and even the bird who fought for the post on the dock (he won by the way). Wishing all the tough islanders the best. Love from the West Virginia mountain girl.

SunValley, W.Va.

Island Living: Learning to love thy beach neighbor

This article is so true. We just returned from a wonderful week in Hatteras. It was enlightening reading that islanders and visitors can both have "bad beach neighbors". We never really had this happen before but first, at the very crowded pull-off across from the Ocracoke pony pen, we parked mostly in the grass and politely asked the man sitting in his car next to ours if he was able to get out past us, at which point he snarled "lady, you gotta be kidding me" and almost ran me over hastily backing out, and then he angrily drove away. Really? It’s Ocracoke man, Chillax!  And then, while beaching nearly every day at the Ramp 55 beach access walkover, our drive-in beach neighbor, who was also there everyday in "her" spot, was annoyed that, while we were swimming, the current took us down the beach adjacent to her truck. She informed us in a nasty tone that we were swimming behind her vehicle and NOT our vehicle and that we were basically in her space. There were four of us, her, and maybe three or four others swimming in about a half-mile stretch at the time. First of all, we did not have a vehicle, and the last time I checked there weren't ropes or fences or barriers to restrict where in the ocean we could or could not swim--whether the current was carrying us or not. The next day, low and behold, a volleyball team had set up three nets in "her" spot which totally ticked her off. When they left, she sped her car back up and when someone else pulled near her she threw a tantrum and yelled at them for throwing a football on the beach (not even near her). They finally just left to get away from her. Really? What a miserable life this person must lead to be rude and nasty while everyone else is just trying to enjoy and relax in paradise.  I think she must just be one of those people that has issues with everyone no matter where she is. Maybe next year she'll go to Ocean City or Virginia Beach. I'll be back in Paradise!

Hatteras Lover
Mars, Pa.

As someone who knows a large number of Amish and grew up among them, I can tell you a number of them would roll on the floor laughing at this story. I know I did. My favorite retort from someone Amish who I shared this with was, "I wonder where they hitched the wagon down on the beach?” I've been coming to Hatteras since 1980, and this is the first time I've ever heard an Amish story! What a HOOT! You made my day!

Mount Airy, Md.

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse will host Civil War encampment

I am a direct descendant of Robert E. Lee on my father's side. I've been involved in lots of Civil War activities over the years. Unfortunately, I won't be there for this event. It's nice to read about it on Island Free Press. Thanks!

Mike Kennerly
Roanoke, Va.

The battles for Forts Clark and Hatteras gave the Union its first Civil War victory

I notice no mention of Confederate troops taken prisoner.  My great-grandfather, Thomas Latham, from Washington was taken prisoner when the Forts fell and was imprisoned at Fort Warren, Mass. for several months before being repatriated. Several other Beaufort County boys were also captured by the Union forces.

Jarvis Latham
Columbia, S.C.

Information for tourists

To the person who wanted information for tourists when they come, there is the Hatteras Island Green Map. It locates local attractions, has pictures, and even tells the history of some of the attractions. Everything from shops and restaurants to the Isabel breach are located on the map. In the future it can also be coordinated with your GPS. Visitors can also add to the map any of their favorite places. The URL is:

Everyone is free to list their favorite place to stargaze (we already have one place listed), eat, go swim, fish, or any other asset that we have on the island.

Licia Caldwell

UPDATE: Young victim and her parents share the story of shark attack on Ocracoke

Oh my gosh, I feel so bad for you. Thank God you survived. And you are only six! I hope you get to walk on your right leg again. I will put my prayers towards you.

Emmy and Emma
Los Angeles, Calif.

So sorry Lucy got hurt but she told it like it is—the shark didn't mean it. She Is a smart girl! Wow. We were at the same beach just the week before, and I never go out far in the water at all, just knee-deep, looking for shells. This was a learning time for me. The only scary thing we saw were all the nudists—didn't need to see that at all! I Wish Lucy and her family well and hope they go back to the beach with no anxiety.

Linda Mercer
Elverson, Pa.

The old Hatteras in photographs

What a joy to see these pics. My family has been coming to the Outer Banks since 1960--51 years! I have many pics that take me back in time. I can remember camping at Cape Point. You had to take a friend with you to the shower to pump it! I also saw the first man walk on the moon down there. Sadly, many of the people we used to go there with are gone, but I continue to make the trip every year.

Bonnie Fiorelli
Apalachin, N.Y.

Security screeners are at work at the ferry docks

I feel much safer now! I would have never recognized the difference between an oil tanker and a ferry without this information.

Only our ever-vigilant Homeland Security policies will make us all sleep well at night.


Southern Shores

Coast Guard rescues two Hatteras-based boaters off Oregon Inlet

Well done to everyone involved. A very good outcome.

Karyn Graham
Meadville, Pa.

God Bless the U.S. Coast Guard. They are all heroes in my eyes. An hour and a half from first call to rescue is a very impressive response time. Then informing the family shows how awesome the USCG is.

Paul Rudar
Midland, Pa.

Local weather office has updated radar

There used to be radar on the Outer Banks. It covered altitudes far lower that the Newport radar can. Could the new Newport radar have picked up the tornado that tore through Kitty Hawk a few years ago? Or the more recent one in Grandy and Duck?

Perry White
Nags Head

(Editor’s note:  We asked Hal Austin, meteorologist at the National Weather Service office in Newport, N.C., to answer this reader question.  Here is his response:

The radar that used to be at the old NWS observing station at Cape Hatteras scanned around the horizon only. If the radar operator wanted to tilt the dish and look up and down through a storm, he had to stop the rotation and turn a knob that would raise/lower the radar dish. Also, the old radars could not detect velocity (motion), unlike the current radars. They could only detect reflectivity. That radar was decommissioned in the early ‘90s when the Newport office was built. The current radar not only scans around the horizon, but can scan as many as 14 different higher elevations.
The height of the radar beam in the lowest elevation angle over Kitty Hawk from the Newport radar is around 10,600 feet. The same thing, but from the NWS Wakefield radar, is just over 10,800 feet. Tornadic circulations show up best in the lowest levels in the storm, which would be below either radar. However, the old radar at Cape Hatteras likely wouldn't have been any better, given the limitations I stated above.)

West Virginia readers appreciate Island Free Press

I have wanted to write you for a while now, to tell you thanks for the wonderful job you and your staff do with the Island Free Press. My wife and I started coming to the Outer Banks 16 years ago, with our three sons. After a couple of years, we just kept moving progressively south, until we landed in Avon!

We come down two or three times a year. This feels like our second home, and this paper keeps us up to date with all the local happenings, the issues Hatteras Island is dealing with, and such. We are grieved about the beach access issues, but I thank you for all the information you put out there for us to keep well informed with!

We will be back down in a few weeks, and of course we will go to Ocracoke, hang out on the beach with our Jeep (and no, we will never do anything to hurt the environment, unlike the environmentalists, who seem to be bent on destroying the access as well as the economy), and we will go have dinner at Howard’s Pub.

We will enjoy the fall trip, because much more is open in the way of beach access, and we can enjoy complete solitude, peace, and “island time”!

Thanks for the great paper.

Jim and Jemi Weisenberger
Clarksburg, W.Va.

New Letters to the Editor....09.07.2011  10:15 am

Hurricane Irene: Letters about the storm and the aftermath

From here in Chapel Hill, where I'm following the storm recovery on Hatteras several times a day, the Island Free Press is by far the most factual and timely news source. The writing, photography, professional tone, relevant stories are many times better than any other news source. The big name regional papers and TV stations don't have a clue as to what's going on out there.

You've walked the talk and deserve all the praise you are getting--very impressive performance all the way around.

Your readership will expand big-time after this event for sure.

What I really like is how you project the self-reliant and selfless/generous/cooperative common sense character of Hatteras people.

We need to get visitors back to start the cash flow going out there. Let visitors know at some point what's open for lodging, food, etc.

I know where I'll be doing Christmas shopping this year. I hope Anne's place (Indiantown Gallery) didn't get flooded.

Stay healthy and best wishes.

Mike Berry
Chapel Hill, N.C

Hi, all at Island Free Press. Thanks for all your great reporting during the past trying days.   It has provided a true sense of the situation to those of us who are not there but who have a serious interest. Thanks again!

Herb Gaskill

Just a quick note to let you know how much we enjoy your online Island Free Press.

My wife and I have been visiting the village since 1973 and have considered it our second home. Our son Jim lived there for about 10 years, working as a mate for many of the fishing boats. I was there whenever I could make the trip. We have visited about every year, sometimes twice a year. However, storms seem to be slowing things down a bit.

I could go on and on. However, I did promise this would be quick. I just found your paper today, while reading Frisco Rod and Gun fishing forums. I will surely promote your site here in western Pennsylvania.

Thank you for your great work.

Jim & Irene Crissman

As frequent visitors to the villages of Rodanthe, Waves, and Salvo, we thank you for the tremendous service that you do for the islanders and for those who love Hatteras Island and its people.  We were supposed to arrive tomorrow for our vacation and your news and updates have been the lifeline that has kept us informed. I know that life is very difficult there right now, but I just want you to know that the service you provide is gratefully appreciated far and wide.  Thanks from your faithful readers.    

Linda Conner
Seaford, Del.

I just wanted to let you know that you are doing an amazing job of keeping everyone informed about the facts on the ground on Hatteras Island. Very impressive.

Richard Stanley
Manchester, Md.

Bravo to Gov. Perdue, the Wildlife Refuge folks, and local entities that were no doubt involved, and NCDOT for your quick and proactive efforts!  Best of luck to the NCDOT and all contractors, locals, and others who undertake the repair and restoration project!

Dave Kane
Fernandina Beach, Fla.

We have watched the ocean over-wash in Rodanthe for many years, both as home owners and as lovers of Hatteras Island. It seems to me that is it obvious that there need to be small bridges built over these breaches rather than sink more money into road repairs. $10 million will go a long way in building several small bridges. It will also let Mother Nature go where she has been trying to go for many years. Please do not waste more money just pushing sand around only to have to repeat the process with the next nor'easter.

Bea Southworth
Elizabeth City, N.C.

Awesome. As a non-resident homeowner (who does not rent the home, but just wants to get back to the island), this is music to my ears.  Thank you for being so up to date with your reports. 

Fredericksburg, Va.

Great job of coverage. I hate to see the damage. I used to own a house in Avon.  We have a "bridge child". (Remember that from almost 21 years ago?) I Love Hatteras Island. Thanks for the information and photos!

Richmond, Va.

Like many here in the hills of West Virginia, I worried about the Outer Banks, the wonderful, hardy people, and "my" lighthouse, the Hatteras light. All I can do is pray for the best possible outcome and for a full recovery. Poor health has kept us away since the spring after Isabel, but my heart is with you, my prayers are for you, and if I had any money to spare it too would be for your recovery. Thank you for all our wonderful memories of many trips, of our stays in Buxton and the great meals at Fish House.

Sally Donaldson
Fairmont, W.Va.

Thank you for providing the news from Hatteras.  I'd seen the pictures, but I didn't know how the people there were coping with the aftermath of the hurricane. My heart goes out to everyone there.  I have many precious memories, from many visits with my family to the beautiful beaches there, over the past 40 or more years.  It's a very special place to us, as I know it is to those who live there.

My thoughts and prayers are with you.  If there's a disaster relief fund please let me know.

Janet Dressel
Charlottesville, Va.

I would just like to say how proud I am of all of the people on Hatteras Island, especially the volunteers, firefighters, police officers, EMTs, Richard Marlin, and Bob Helle. We live in a great place. The people (locals) volunteering in Salvo, Waves and Rodanthe area have been wonderful. We are truly one great BIG Family!


Anne and Don, we especially appreciate your excellent reports and photos of the Hatteras Island damage.  We lived in Waves (Wimble Shores) for 30 years.  We wish our friends and neighbors on Hatteras Island the best. 

Bob and Sandy Slates
Southern Shores

We vacationed in Hatteras village the second week of August and loved the area. Sorry to see the damage Irene caused there.

John Bracey
Levittown, Pa.

My heart goes out to all the residents of the Outer Banks, We have been vacationing in Hatteras for more than 30 years and hate to see such destruction.  Hoping all gets back to normal soon.

Baltimore, Md.

My family goes to Avon from time to time. The men fish and the women relax. We all love being on the Outer Banks. Sorry that you took such a hit from Irene. We are thinking about you and praying that you can put "humpty" back together again. Glad to hear Diamond Shoals Restaurant is up and running. It's one of our most favorite restaurants in the whole world. Hang in there. Where there is a will, there is a way! When all is said and done, it's just good to know you guys are alive!

Kitty Lambeth
Rocky Mount, Va.

We are keeping you in our thoughts and prayers, and wishing and hoping for your speedy recovery from Hurricane Irene. We cannot wait to get back for a wonderful vacation.

Anita Lawson
Morgantown, W.Va.

Thank you for your updates. The pictures are something to look at! This year would have been my family’s first trip to the Outer Banks. We were planning to stay in Avon. As we have never been there, when you post pictures, could you please put a description of where the pictures were taken? I haven't seen any pictures from Avon, as far as I know. Could you post them if you get them? Thanks.

Elm City, N.C.

This makes me so, so sad for the residents of this beautiful island.  You get such little news coverage when disaster strikes. No one knows the extent of the damage there.  Hatteras is my favorite place for fun and relaxation, and I come as often as possible.  Sorry I am not there to help.

Beezie Kearse
Martinsburg, W.Va.

It was with mixed emotions that my husband and I viewed the excellent, graphic photography that lent such a stark realism to the havoc that Hurricane Irene wreaked on Hatteras Island and the destruction that residents will have to contend with over the next few months.  We were saddened that Irene's short existence was long enough to cause this much damage to our favorite vacation spot, as well as other places on her path north.  But were truly relieved to see the men and women working so hard to get the public utility infrastructure up and running, so that the basics of simply existing in such chaos won't be so difficult.  If it were even remotely possible, we would be there with you, freely volunteering our time and services to the wonderful people who have been welcoming us to Hatteras Island since 1985.   Our hearts are with you.  Good Luck to all.

Connellsville, Pa.

We travel every year to Frisco. Thank you for keeping us updated on the recovery. We send all our thoughts and prayers your way and cannot wait to come back! We are (or were, maybe) scheduled to come on the 17th of this month. We are fully prepared to come and work if need be! The photos attached to this article are excellent!

Susan Tiffany
Barton, N.Y.

WOW. As a long-time vacationer in Avon and Buxton, I can only imagine some of the destruction not in the pictures. Stay safe everyone.

Ernest M. Steele
Lebanon, Pa.

Beloved Outer Banks, heal quickly.  We will be back.

Carol Taylor
Wheaton, Ill.

Really?! A Ferry? Please build that bridge ASAP.

Rick Pacicco
Tinton Falls, N.J.

Dear Mrs. Anne C. Bowers and Don Bowers,

Of all the people down on that island, you snapped a picture of my dear cousin at that back of that truck.  I have spoken to her several times but seeing is better, and I thank you for capturing her in this photo, as well as for the article.  You have no idea how valuable this photo is. Again, thank you so much for this.

Janelle James
Washington, N.C.

I am amazed at how strongly the Outer Banks residents face devastating hurricanes, wind, and high water. Their ancestors solid people, and it is clearly still the case. I am relieved to see all the help that they are experiencing.  I hope Highway 12 can be quickly repaired so fire and rescue personnel can get through, as well as the permanent residents who live there. God bless all of you. 

Glenda Blount
New Kent, Va.

One thing that has amazed me as I look at these pictures of people who have lost everything is that in spite of it all, everyone of them is wearing a smile! What an incredible testament to an amazing community of people. When there, we have witnessed the same attributes in the people we have met—generosity, kindness, sincerity, and integrity, things that are practically nonexistent in most people these days. I can certainly understand why you're proud to call Hatteras your home. We want to help in any way we can so please let us know how to go about meeting the needs there.

Canton, Ohio

Thanks for the update regarding Hatteras Island. We lived for a while in Indiantown Shores—across from Bowers. Your news is the best we have been able to get. Do you have you any news about Indiantown Shores and Brigands Bay? Good to hear Lou Browning is rehabing the birds. Say hello to him from the Bartletts. We miss Hatteras and Frisco, and our thoughts and prayers are with you all.

Joan and Jack Bartlett
Naples, N.Y.

Thanks, Don, for all your efforts. We know hardly anything from up here in Nags Head, and your pictures tell the story. I went to the ferry docks by boat yesterday only to be turned away. I could not even walk to my house which is only a 1/4 mile south of the ferry docks. It was very frustrating. I am sick of government!

Brian Brumfield
Nags Head

Thank you, Anne and Don, for your articles and photos!  Your efforts are greatly appreciated by those of us who hunger for news of the beautiful but battered Hatteras Island!

Rosellen McCrory
Raleigh, N.C.

What a wonderful and heartwarming story.  It made me teary-eyed when I read it.  My heart aches for the beautiful people and beautiful islands of the Outer Banks.  My family was looking forward to being there for our annual vacation the last week of September, but now, who knows what will happen. What I do know is that, although my home is in Cleveland, my heart is in Hatteras.

Jennifer Olive
Bay Village, Ohio

Please know that all of your work on keeping us updated is so unbelievably great. We are home owners in Hatteras village and our boat is there as well.

We are just going out of our minds trying to get back to the island.

Drew Kerekes
Wilmington, N.C.

I understand the "why" of the situation, but there is something inherently unfair about those who ignored the mandatory evacuation order being allowed to be on the island right now, having people doing everything they can to help them, while those who obeyed the order are kept out of their homes and are unable to do anything about the damage they have suffered.  From the Isabel experience, I know that you need to remove soaked carpet, drywall, etc. immediately to prevent further damage, like mold and mildew. Things that might have dried out and been saved will be lost.  I am most sorry for those who did the right thing and evacuated.  My heart goes out to you. 

Marcy Canavan
Accokeek, Md.

I felt first hand, during Hurricanes Agnes, Camille and Fran, no shortage of kindness or compassion. Even when weariness set in, people dug deep to help others. Everything else in the world took a back seat for a while, and old-fashioned handshakes and good old elbow grease took over. The basics of life—food, water, shelter, and clothing—were so appreciated. The same wonderful qualities I saw in people during those hurricanes have blossomed in people in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene. In extreme natural disasters, something beautiful comes out of people's hearts.

Roxboro, N.C.

Anne, thanks for writing the news and posting Don's photos. It has been the best source of info


Thank you. It is just too hard to see the pictures of Hatteras Island, knowing how it was before. We have visited Ocean Waves Campground the first week of October for some 10 or 12 years now. So during that week, we just like to call the tri-villages “home.” I have enjoyed getting the Island Free Press online. Thanks again, and I hope to see you all in October.    

Donnie Pressley
Monroe, N.C.

May God bless all of the islanders there on Hatteras Island.  We will be there to pump money back into the economy of that great place.  If you live in North Carolina, spend in North Carolina.

Tony O'Connor
Surf City, N.C.

Our hearts go out to everyone—those who stayed during the storm, those who left, and those of us who have rental property there and love the Island.  TV coverage for us was painful.  We are grateful that there was no loss of life, but the loss of a way of life will be felt for years to come.  Stay strong.  We can't wait to get back down there to see our favorite place in the world.  Thanks for the postings and all of the information.

Bill and Roberta Harlowe
Troy, Va.

Thank you for doing such a terrific job of keeping us all up to date.  We own a home in Waves and are so anxious for any news that we can get.  Prior to the hurricane, I looked forward to your newsletter and couldn't wait to get to our beach house, even if just for a short weekend.  Now, I hunger for any word (most of it coming from your newsletter) on the status of the island.  My heart goes out to all islanders, and I am saddened each time I see new pictures of the devastation.  I am heartened by the resiliency of the people of Hatteras Island, and I look forward to the time when I can get my boots on the ground and assess our property and pitch-in however I can.  Keep up the good work and stay safe.

Oakton, Va.

Oceanfront house falls into ocean this morning at Mirlo Inlet

We were to rent this house in one week and it is sad we will not have the chance.  We have watched with dismay over the last week the demise of this house.

Eugene Granger
Chapel Hill, N.C.

Our family has vacationed in this home for the past three years.  We made a lot of memories there and really enjoyed visiting Rodanthe.  It's said to see the house demolished.  We wish the best for all the residents of Rodanthe.   

Jamie Wilgus
Lynchburg, Va.

We appreciate all that you have done during Hurricane Irene with your stories, slide shows, and links.  Our hope is that everyone on the paper fared well during this difficult time.

Wayne Guyette
Gallatin, Tenn.

We had a lot of fun at Tailwinds every Martin Luther King, Jr. three-day weekend. It's so sad to see that wonderful cottage go away.

Tandy Farber
Mechanicsville, Va.

It is so sad to see this. Our family was the last to stay in this cottage. We had to leave Thursday, before Hurricane Irene hit. We had so many good times there over the last two years. We will miss this vacation home.  Tailwinds will stay in our memories forever. Thank You.

John Gray
Suffolk, Va.

How very sad.

Patricia Atkisson
Fairfield, Ohio

This just breaks my heart. Those gorgeous houses were the first things we saw, letting us know we were nearing our favorite destination in the world.

Sandie Perry
Delmar, Md.

Rest in peace Tailwinds.  You will be missed. Aloha and Mahalo. 

David Dunivan
Mechanicaville, Va.

Yet another well-written story! Thank you for telling the story of Irene in such visual terms.

Martha Seagle
Iron Station, N.C.

On the ground at New New Inlet

Was the snake in the picture a water moccasin?

Scott Richards
Sellersville, Pa.

(Editor’s note:  Yes, it is a water moccasin.  They are commonly found after flooding.)

Some captions on the photos would be very helpful for those of us who aren't familiar with the area. For instance, what is the building that has been so severely damaged?

Gary O'Brien
Charlotte, N.C.

(Editor’s note:  Sorry that we didn’t have time to include captions.  The building is what is called the old ranger station.  It was built in the 1960s as the headquarters for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, according to Mike Bryant, manager of Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge.)

As always, great pictures. The island will always change due to storms, but what will never change is its history and the nature of the people who call it home. It's good to see everyone come together as a community and rebuild this great place so it can still be enjoyed and preserved. Being from Ohio and a regular visitor to Hatteras, I always rely on the Island Free Press to keep me informed on what's going on, and you all do a great job. No matter what, Hatteras and the Outer Banks will always be my second home and a place where memories are made and the good times come. Mother Nature will continue to batter the island but she also finds a way to naturally build it back up. I think that's what makes the Outer Banks what it is—a place of nature and free spirits. There's good energy on the island, and that's what keeps it alive and thriving. Good luck with the clean up and the repairing of Highway 12. See you all next spring.

Kurt Maschmeier
Akron, Ohio

Hello and glad you are safe! I was just looking at the slide show from Sept. 1. You took incredible, haunting photos. I own a condo in Rodanthe, so I’m waiting to get in and see if there's any damage. Of course, full-time residents need to get back to their homes first! I was wondering what kind of snake that was that Donny took the photo of! Scary but beautiful! Is that native to this area? If you can, please let me know how Resort Rodanthe condos looked if you saw them. Thanks so much for your updates. It's such a help when you’re having to wait to see if there is damage to your condo or not. Thanks again and stay safe!

Patrice Duffy
Montague, N.J.

Hello. I've been following all the reports closely since the hurricane, and I am sorry for the damage that was caused. Thank you for providing these images and updates. One question I have is: does anyone know how the wildlife in and around Pea Island fared during the storm? I was just there about a week before the hurricane struck, and I always visit Pea Island to photograph all the herons, egrets, and other birds every time I visit the Outer Banks.

B.J. Kyle
Salisbury, Pa.

Great pictures, Don. That was some storm. I didn't think she'd ever get out of here. We didn't see anywhere near that kind of damage, thankfully. Hope you all get some semblance of order and normalcy again really soon.

Dave Taylor
Beaufort, N.C.

Thank God more people weren’t killed from Irene. Everything else can be replaced.

Matthew C Talaga
Monongahela, Pa.

Irene -- I haven't checked in on the Breeze/Free Press for a long time. Excellent, excellent, excellent coverage of everything. Don Bowers' photos are stunningly (sadly) beautiful.

Stumpzian Farber
Washington, N.C.

(Editor’s note:  Thank you for the message, and I want to take this opportunity to make it clear that the Island Breeze and the Island Free Press are not the same newspaper.  I once edited The Island Breeze until The Virginian-Pilot fired me four years ago – after 16 years as editor.  Then I started the Island Free Press.  I have absolutely nothing to do with The Island Breeze and no longer wish to be associated with it.  These days that association is embarrassing.)

Fantastic pics! Is the snake "Crotalus"?

Hawk Hawkins
Mechanicsville, Va.

Why in the world would you put a snake picture in this slideshow? You almost caused me to have a heart attack. I'm serious. I have severe snake phobia and certainly wasn't expecting to see that picture when looking at the damage photos. Not a wise or considerate move to insert that picture. I will think twice about looking at your website again. My health is too important.

Williamsburg, Va.

(Editor’s note: We are sorry that this photo disturbed you.  The snake is a water moccasin, and they are an unfortunate fact of life here after storm tides.  We all need to know how to identify them.)

Post Hurricane Irene information and news travels slowly to islanders

I'm sure the people who remained on the island were the last to get news about what was going on. The family members that evacuated also had no information as to whether their loved ones were safe. The total lack of information and communication has been atrocious! To be living in fear and dread, with only pictures of devastation to judge by, is agony. More should have been done to let the islanders use emergency lines to at least let family members know they were OK. I was deeply disturbed by the total lack of concern shown by officials. It seemed that the only worry they had was how to salvage the last of the tourist season. Shame on them!

Brenda Smith
Powhatan, Va.

Anne, My family and I have been following the aftermath of Hurricane Irene. Our hearts break for the mess left behind. Buxton has been my home-away-from-home for 34 years. We travel from Ohio, and Highway 12 is our favorite part of the journey. The feeling of peace and excitement as we drive along Highway 12 is overwhelming. The photographs you posted are amazing. Hopefully, all repairs will be made and lives will be put back together. All of Hatteras and Ocracoke are in our prayers.

Melanie Rykena
Parma Heights, Ohio

A relatively undamaged Ocracoke waits for visitors to return

Glad to know all are safe on the island.  Hope power is back and business gets a September surge. 

Great update. Thanks.

Robin Costenbader-Jacbson
Reading, Pa.

So happy to hear that our favorite place in the world to visit has survived so well through such a horrible storm. My family and I stayed near the TV, waiting to hear any news about Ocracoke during and after the storm. We were expecting this sweet little village to get hit very hard. We hoped and prayed God would protect it, and he did. We are very thankful to God for his protection of Ocracoke village, and we are looking forward to our annual visit in the summer of 2012. We have been coming for the last 29 years. It is our home away from home. We love Ocracoke and are so happy to know it has survived another storm. God bless you all.

Brenda Prevette
Roaring River, N.C.

Living in New Hampshire, we are more accustomed to snow, but we too had Hurricane Irene troubles. However, our hearts and thoughts were with our Outer Banks friends. We have spent countless years camping and lodging on the Outer Banks and love it. We plan to return in January 2012 to spend a month on Ocracoke Island, renting a home from B.J. Oelschlegel, and we are looking forward to helping your economy grow in that month.

Don Melander
Concord, N.H.

The Decker and Shaw families are happy to hear that Ocracoke has not been damaged too badly.  We have been going to the island since 1971, and we love it there so much. Love to Della Gaskill and family and to all our pals at the Ocracoke Harbor Inn. We have been praying for all of you for many days! 

Carol Decker
East Greenbush, N.Y.

I promise I shall return to Ocracoke, as I miss my friends there. People will come, lured by curiosity and by the lore of Ocracoke and the Outer Banks. Once, I called Davis home, now my heart and soul is in Ocracoke. Tell David Scott I'm coming soon.

John Jackson
Four Oaks, N.C.

Thank God things are not worse on dear Ocracoke.  We worried about you before, during, and after the storm, and we appreciate this report. It has given us some perspective on how you are all doing. Stay strong, O’cokers. You're made of good stuff and are to be admired for your hardiness.  We'll be there for a week in October and will support you in our small way.

Suzanne Boswell
Raleigh, N.C.

My husband and I visited the island and stayed at The Castle Aug. 7-10 for our anniversary.  We loved the island and had a wonderful time.  We were planning our return to your island as we traveled back home. We can't wait to come back!  Our prayers and thoughts are with the residents of Ocracoke and Hatteras! 

Cherylene Mann
Falling Waters, W.Va.

Comments From The Chairman

Do you have any idea when you might be able to say whether visitors will or won’t be able to enter on the 17th? With travel insurance, we need a definite date before we can try to find another rental.

Butler, Pa.

We are hoping and praying that we will be able to take our vacation, which is scheduled for Sept. 9-24. Do you see this happening? It will be our first family vacation back on the island in two years, and we are so looking forward to it. We have been vacationing there since 1999. It has become a family tradition. But, first and foremost, the residents of the island need to be able to have their lives back to normal.

Lucy's family
Grand Rapids, Mich.

Thank you, Warren Judge! It is nice to see some mention from an official source of the status of non-resident property owners like myself. DCEM's postings only mention residents and visitors. I believe that we, rightfully, fit into a category somewhere between the two. From DCEM's postings, it could easily be inferred that they make no distinction between non-resident property owners and visitors.  I evacuate during storms to avoid taxing scarce resources in the aftermath—a decision based on a reasonable expectation of timely access to the island to assess and repair my properties afterward. I am fortunate to have somewhere else to go.

While I entirely support an orderly, residents-first reentry plan, I do believe that some accommodation should be made for property owners. Given the current ferry-only access to the island, opening Hatteras to visitors will likely result in a mad rush which may restrict many owners from being able to access their homes in a timely fashion.

Dave Hallenbeck
Frederick, Md.

Thank you, Mr. Judge, for the outstanding leadership you have provided during this difficult time. The plan for reentry is outstanding. I appreciate your service to the people of Dare County.

Bob Keenan
Midlothian, Va.

Hurricane Irene Aftermath Events

My husband and I would love to come to Ocracoke and help in ANY way possible—either with the clean-up on Saturday or with anything else that is needed—if we were allowed to come on the island. We are scheduled for vacation Sept. 7, but would be there now to help support island revenue and recovery if we could. We vacation every year on Ocracoke only! It's our second home in our hearts. We were just married at the lighthouse in July and are now considering moving there. We are 48 years old and very serious about helping the people and the island however we can. The locals and the island itself always make you feel welcome as soon as you get off the ferry. Love and Prayers to the island families, and we hope to see you soon. 

Angela Tittel
Barboursville, W.Va.

Hurricane Irene Wallops Hatteras Island, Cutting the Island and all communications

Thank you so very much for your excellent updates. God bless all of you on the Outer Banks. Our family has been vacationing there for nearly 40 years, and now my sister and nephew reside there. My family is scheduled to visit Avon on Sept. 10, and I don't know if we will be able to access our rental home. I just hope and pray that the residents and businesses on the Outer Banks have a speedy recovery. You are all in my prayers.

Janet Clifton
Moundsville, W.Va.

We worked at Camp Hatteras for two summers, in 2002 and 2004, and I still keep in touch with friends in Waves.  I can't remember exactly where ferry dock is in Rodanthe. I have been following all the stories and finally heard from our friends last night. Can you take a pic or two of the dock at Rodanthe and the area around there? It looks pretty bad at Mirlo Beach, too. I have sent money to the Salvation Army and Red Cross to help with supplies.  The locals are such a hardy people and were so welcoming to us “seasonals.” We wish we could do more. Thanks for your good work.

Jeanie Haynes
Lago Vista, Texas

Our hearts are breaking, looking at our favorite place on this earth.  We send our prayers to all who live there and to those who, like us, hope to see things back to normal.  We look forward to a trip next year.  We were lucky we came down in June this year.  There's no vacation like a Hatteras vacation!
Hope to see you next year.  We'll be watching and cheering for your recovery.

Debbie Johnson
Johnstown, Ohio

The RWS Community Center is the center of life in villages ravaged by Hurricane Irene

The spirit of community that is evident on Hatteras Island is an inspiration to us all.  Our thoughts and prayers are with you all!

Toni Boldt
Midlothian, Va.

Rodanthe, Waves, and Salvo families: we miss you very much and our thoughts and prayers go out to you. I wish we were there to help.

Jim and Emily Landrum
Mableton, Ga.

Bonner Bridge and Hatteras lighthouse pass inspection after earthquake

Will this new development alter the plan for the replacement of the Bonner Bridge? Will its position need to be changed? Does anyone talk about this?

Sybil A. Skakle
Chapel Hill, N.C.

(Editor’s note:  There is no change in the plan for the replacement of the bridge after Hurricane Irene.)

Ocracoke bachelors go on the auction block for a good cause

Sounds like a blast!  Wish I had been there instead of recovering from surgery.  My husband, Ranger Bob, and I live in Ocracoke six months out of the year and love it.  Maybe I'll loan him out next year. I liked the fact that there were group things offered, and a couple made a bid.  Either way, I hope to join in the fun next year!

Brenda Kremser
Memphis, Tenn.

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