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December 19, 2011

Hatteras Island Quilters donate for Anglers Club scholarship

At the Cape Hatteras Anglers Club December monthly dinner meeting, Claire Schaaf from the Hatteras Island Quilters presented a check in the amount of $2,000 to President Larry Hardham.  The quilters use the club for their meetings on Mondays.  Every year they have made a quilt, and that quilt is raffled off in November and the proceeds go to the club.  The club, in turn, gives this money back to the community in the way of a scholarship in honor of the quilters.

December 2, 2011

Friends of Felines gets grant to help with island cats
Friends of Felines - Cape Hatteras Island was awarded a $2,500 grant by the Outer Banks Community Foundation to continue the trap, neuter, vaccinate, and return program with the homeless and feral cats on Hatteras.  Monies will also be used to assist the low-income families on the island that shelter and feed numerous cats but cannot afford the medical expense to spay or neuter them. 
The grant will be paid from the Milton A. Jewell Grant Fund that was created from a bequest made by his granddaughter, Ruth Medgyes. Medgyes, an Outer Banks resident several years ago, gave to various organizations to help animals during her lifetime and this grant helps to continue her legacy.
Friends of Felines estimates that 28 cats will benefit from the Milton A. Jewell Grant Fund.

Hatteras Island artifacts on display at library

Now on display at the Hatteras Library in Hatteras village are artifacts and information on loan from Hatteras Histories and Mysteries Museum and the Croatoan Archaeological Society.

Hatteras Histories and Mysteries was small museum in Avon that was flooded during Hurricane Irene in August and is now closed.

 The Croatoan Archaeological Society is a local group dedicated to preserving, promoting, and protecting Hatteras Island’s heritage.  It was founded in 2009 by native islander Scott Dawson, whose genealogical roots to Croatoan go deeper than any shovel could ever reach, and his wife, Maggie.

The goal of the exhibits is simple: to celebrate and learn about the island's past.

To help celebrate the 150th anniversary of two Civil War battles that took place on the island, the display includes descriptions of the key battles that took place at Hatteras Inlet and Civil War artifacts found in Hatteras village.
Also on display are some French-Indian War and Colonial artifacts and Native American items that range from 400 years ago to 3,000 BC.  They were unearthed by the University of Bristol in England in conjunction with the Croatoan Archaeological Society.

Hatteras Connection helps feed the hungry

The third annual Hatteras Connection seafood dinner raised $2,165 for Hatteras Island Meals, Inc., and collected more than 10 fish boxes of items for the Hatteras Island Food Pantry.

Local commercial fishermen and fish dealers donated swordfish, sea mullet, flounder, king mackerel, wahoo, and soft shell crabs for the Dec. 6 dinner at the Hatteras Village Civic Center.

A team of local chefs prepared baked swordfish and king mackerel, fish cakes, fish puffs, fried sea mullet, flounder, and soft shell crabs, and a seafood chowder for guests.

Chefs for the evening were Tracy Morris of Frisco Sandwich Shop and The Catering Company, Nathan Robinson of Basnight’s Lone Cedar Café, Forrest Paddock of The Inn on Pamlico Sound, Sharon Kennedy of Hatteras Harbor Deli, Don Oden of The Breakwater Restaurant, Elwood Wescoat, and Brett Barnett.

Lynne Foster of Hatteras prepared the chowder base, and Sue Mattingly of Frisco prepared the cornbread. 

Jeffrey’s Seafood, Avon Seafood, Hatteras Harbor Deli, Frisco Sandwich Shop, The Inn on Pamlico Sound, Lone Cedar Café, and Conner’s Supermarket donated ingredients and supplies for the meal.  Other businesses, organizations, and many residents donated paper goods, raffle items, and desserts.  Jim Lyons and Steven Peele collected and processed fish donated by island fishermen.

Chuck Conlogue provided music during the dinner.

Hatteras Island Meals, Inc. serves daily lunches to as many as 45 people on the island who are homebound, convalescing from surgery, or dealing with extenuating medical conditions.

The Cape Hatteras United Methodist Men’s Food Pantry helped 3,832 people with over 81,000 meals last year and paid out over $81,898 in emergency assistance to families.

Hatteras Connection is a community-based project dedicated to sustainable economic development and environmental stewardship, and committed to working to ensure a future for new generations of watermen on Hatteras Island.   The project works with a regional initiative called Saltwater Connections.  More information is available at .

December 2, 2011

Fundraiser is underway to aid firefighters who were hurricane victims

Late in the afternoon on Aug. 27, waters began to rise in Dare County's soundside communities. Dare County's volunteer firemen — as always — immediately answered the calls for help and began rescuing the stranded as flood waters swept into homes.

After getting people to safety, they continued their efforts to ensure that their neighbors had access to basic necessities and to hold down the proverbial fort until relief agencies could arrive on scene. But they didn't stop then. They continued to work for weeks, side-by-side with volunteers, to clean up, tear out, and hand out relief supplies.

All of this unpaid help was given to their communities while their own homes and problems went unattended.

Responding to hurricanes, floods and other natural disasters is not unusual for these men and women. And at other times, they are the first responders at fires, accidents, and sudden illness.

Let's say “thank you” and return some of that generosity. Many volunteer firemen are struggling financially as they try to recover from the storm.

What better way to show appreciation than to donate to the Firefighter's Fund, set up at the Outer Banks Community Foundation. All proceeds will be given to the Dare County Association of Fire Officers to use to help those firefighters who now have their own needs. Donations will be accepted until Dec. 20 so that they may be distributed in time for Christmas.

Send donations — large or small — to Firefighter's Fund, c/o OBCF, 13 Skyline Road, Southern Shores, NC 27949 or donate online at and click Donate Now on the home page. All donations are tax deductible.

They answered the call. Will you?

This fundraiser is an initiative of the Dare County Long Term Recovery Committee whose mission is to bring together non-profit organizations, faith-based organizations, government agencies and corporate partners to effectively respond to the human needs that result from disasters. For more information, contact committee Chairman Bill Pitt at 441-8607.

Messages in a bottle cheer CHES students

The bottle is placed prominently on the counter in Cape Hatteras Elementary School's front office, where people regularly notice it and ask about it. And the story surrounding it is as sweet as can be.

In the wake of Hurricane Irene in late August, devastating soundside flooding delayed the opening of schools in Dare County.  For residents living in villages on Hatteras Island south of the Herbert C. Bonner Bridge, the impact was monumental because of two breaches in the island that left Highway 12 impassable and the residents cut off from the rest of the Dare County.

Because Hatteras was accessible only by emergency ferry, the start of school was delayed by several weeks.

Schools opened north of Oregon Inlet earlier and students and teachers in those schools were well aware of the predicaments that their Hatteras peers and colleagues faced, not the least of which was waiting for the completion of a bridge that would span the breach. Many schools and clubs were involved in various "drives" for school supplies, clothing, and food to send down to those impacted by the flooding.

One day early on in the damage assessment at Pea Island, DOT employee Willie Rawls found an old bottle perched on a dune. Excited by his find, he took it home that evening to share with his wife, Jennifer.

While examining the capped jug, a thought -- message in a bottle -- occurred to Jennifer, who works at Manteo Elementary in the school's After School Enrichment Program (ASEP). 

"Staff and students alike had all been talking about the struggles they were facing on Hatteras," she notes. "Our children were genuinely concerned. These storms have a way of altering not just the terrain, but routines and livelihoods -- things as we know them - - and you could tell the children could sense that."

Manteo Elementary ASEP students and staff alike were enthusiastic about writing notes of encouragement to place in the bottle for students at Cape Hatteras Elementary School, and they began creating their messages.

Over the course of a couple of days, the messages of well-wishes were written, rolled up, tied, and placed carefully in the bottle.

The dilemma of how to ensure the bottle arrived at Cape Hatteras Elementary was solved with a bit of creative teamwork.

"The bottle traveled by boat with Willie to Hatteras Islander Steve Crum, who so kindly took the time to help. It took two or three weeks for the bottle to travel to its destination by these caring hands," recounts Jennifer Rawls. "The children were so glad to hear the news that the bottle had made it."

So the bottle sits in the CHES office. Receptionist Jenny St. John is happy to relate the story to anyone who asks -- almost everyone does. From time to time, a note is pulled out and read, and placed carefully back in the bottle.

November 21, 2011

‘Faces of Hatteras: Past and Present’ mural created by students and visiting artist

With an Arts in Education Grant from the North Carolina Arts Council and additional support from the Outer Banks Community Foundation and Dare Education Foundation, Dare County Arts Council facilitated an artist in residency with Nigerian muralist Tunde Afolayan at Cape Hatteras Secondary School.

The mural, called “Faces of Hatteras: Past and Present,” depicts Hatteras Island community members that were chosen during a planning meeting in October where members of the Hatteras Island community gathered with the artist and art teacher, Marta Martinez, to share photographs, articles, and personal stories that would later be transformed onto the canvas.

Students working on the mural found themselves painting their own ancestors and, according to Martinez, a “real sense of ownership” developed as the project progressed. People in the community who shared their stories visited throughout the duration of the residency, checking on the progress of the mural and sharing more stories with the students and artist.

The finished mural will be unveiled to the public in the near future and will travel to various locations in Dare County before being installed in the School.

November 17, 2011

Hatteras Island gardens are growing vegetables for local food pantry

The Seeds for Salvo initiative along with Coastal Harvesters, Inc. and Home Depot recently planted vegetables in two locations to benefit the Salvo Food Pantry.  

Lettuce, cabbage, collards, and other winter vegetables were planted in a garden maintained by Oscar and Tilman Gray of Avon and the Hatteras Island Community Garden site in Buxton on Nov. 8.   

Plants, fertilizer and tools were donated and delivered by Home Depot of Kitty Hawk.  Shelby Kinnaird of provided lunch for the volunteer workers.

The partnership stemmed from a mutual concern for Hatteras Island communities hard hit by Hurricane Irene.  Seeds for Salvo initiative, comprised of area master gardeners and businesses, began by collecting and distributing seeds to “re-green” storm affected home sites. 

Coastal Harvesters is dedicated to bringing local and healthy foods to Outer Banks communities.  Volunteers will tend the gardens until the produce can be harvested for residents impacted by the hurricane.  “There’s something about working together for a good cause that makes the work enjoyable.  Plus we got a lot done,” stated Rick Kinnaird, project leader for Coastal Harvesters.

Hatteras Middle School students bring "Wildtimes" to Wings Over Water event

For each of the past three years, members of Cape Hatteras Secondary School of Coastal Studies Middle School Young Naturalists and National Junior Honor Society have taken part in Eastern North Carolina's Wings Over Water by sponsoring "Wildtimes" activities for children at CHSSCS. 

This year, on Nov. 12, the two groups, both advised by CHSSCS Media Specialist Linda Austin, partnered with several volunteer organizations and agencies, including Hatteras Island Animal Rehabilitation, Sea Turtle Volunteer Group, Outer Banks Wild Care, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Alligator River Red Wolf Program, and Coastal NC Girl Scouts.

"Kids participated in an animal Olympics course, animal tracking and identification, GPS technology, treasure hunts, and craft activities, such as beaded dragonflies, owl puppets, build-a-bird, and fish prints," noted Austin.

The activities were fun and informative and relationship building and were perfect fits for CHSSCS students to demonstrate their concern for the environment and willingness to participate in community service.

November 11, 2011

Avon Weight Watchers group needs help to survive

The Weight Watchers group that has been meeting weekly in Avon since 2006 is in danger of being shut down by the national organization because of dwindling membership.

Tracy Burns started the group after relocating to Hatteras from Pennsylvania.
“I had done Weight Watchers before, so I knew that I could lose weight following the program,” Burns said recently, “but I didn't know if I could reach my goal weight as I'd never stuck with the program long enough to find out.  In the two times I'd joined before, I'd stopped attending meetings due to life changes and gained back what I'd loss.”
In 2006, she said she had 75 pounds to lose, but she was determined that this time would be different. 

“I stuck with it; and continued to attend meetings through 2007 when I reached my goal weight,” Burns said. “In early 2008, I began leading the weekly meetings.  During that four-year period, I have successfully maintained my weight loss and witnessed many other residents do the same.   I truly believe that meeting attendance is a key to success at both losing and maintaining.”

Despite the importance of meetings to many, Burns said Weight Watchers is considering closing the Hatteras Island meeting, leaving her and other members without convenient access to meetings, a key part of the equation when it come to losing weight and maintaining the loss. 

Burns said she has been told that this is due to the fact that the meeting is averaging only eight paid members per week. 

“None of those paying members (or lifetime members who's attendance doesn't count because they no longer pay) want to see this happen,” she said. 
“I don't want to see it happen either because of my own experience,” she added. “Plain and simple, I knew Weight Watchers would work for me and I knew I could have driven to a meeting in Kitty Hawk, but I didn't.  It wasn't until attending meetings was made convenient that I was able to make the commitment to myself and my health.  Losing weight is hard enough and having to travel an hour to a meeting adds to the difficulty and makes it easier to give up at the first obstacle.  That's why I believe that Hatteras Island needs its own meeting.”

The Avon group meets on Thursday evenings at 5:30 p.m. at the Avon Fire House.

For more information, contact Burns at  [email protected].

CHSSCS Marching Hurricanes - Peanut Fest Redux

On Saturday October 1st Cape Hatteras Secondary School of Coastal Studies Marching Hurricanes marching band traveled by ferry to participate in the annual Peanut Festival Battle of the Bands in Edenton. CHSSCS Band Director Sean McCroskey reported that the Marching Hurricanes performance took the divisional overall first place award and received a rating of "excellent."  This is the second second consecutive year that the Canes were awarded the first place in their division.  "The students also brought home 1st place Music, 1st place General Effect, 2nd place Marching, and 3rd place Drum Major and Percussion.  "Our marching band is continuing to expand and improve their exciting show that features the music of The Black Eyed Peas, as we practice for two additional competitions lined up for this year," notes McCroskey.  "On October 22nd we plan to travel to Greene Central; on the 29th we'll participate in the ECU Band Day event, and on November 5th we'll finish the season competing in the Crystal Coast Band Classic in Havelock."  In addition to the inclusion of ferry rides to attend the competition, a  notable difference this year was the band's style-factor, as this was the first competition the Marching Canes dressed out in their new uniforms that were made possible thanks to a generous donation from the Oden Foundation. From left - McCroskey with his students on the ferry - thank goodness the new bridge is open! - and later that evening, sophomore Caroline Austin, senior Blake Taft, and sophomore Seth Gray, wield 2011 Peanut Festival trophies.

Locomotion’s Changing Tide thrift shop has closed

The Changing Tide thrift store, operated by Locomotion (The Cape Hatteras Teen Association, Inc.) is no longer in business as of Friday, Sept. 23.

Changing Tide was opened in early 2007. Gently used items donated by the community were sold at the store, and 100 percent of the proceeds went to fund Locomotion activities.

While the store was a great overall success, recent declines in revenue led the organization to close the business. Like many local businesses, the store made the bulk of its income during the tourist season.

Kathy Kiddy, director of the Cape Hatteras Teen Association, Inc. says that profits have declined over the past two years. Until this season, summer revenue has been enough to cover expenses, such as rent and utilities, during the off-season.

Kiddy says she is saddened by the closing of the store, but is excited about upcoming events and activities. Volunteers are working with students and are planning activities such as game nights, cultural events, and enrichment programs.

The Changing Tide venture is not coming to a permanent end.  Accounts are being set up with consignment stores both on and off the island to continue selling donated items. Volunteers are also researching online sales methods.

“The name we chose fits the situation perfectly. We are just adjusting to the ever changing tides,” says Kiddy.

For more information about the Cape Hatteras Teen Association, Inc. and its activities, please contact Kiddy at 252-995-6010.

Hatteras winter sunset

The Island Free Press' premier sunset photographer, Lynne Murray, who lives in Brigands' Bay in Frisco and has a terrific view of the Pamlico Sound, sent us this sunset photo recently.  The photo was taken on Jan. 4, and was one of the most spectacular of the winter so far.

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