March 27, 2014

Ocracoke Observer is under new ownership

Islanders Connie Leinbach and Peter Vankevich in March purchased the Ocracoke Observer from Linda Rippe and will run this free publication made available throughout Ocracoke Island and connecting points and areas in Hyde and Dare counties.

The new owners, while looking to enhance the Web presence of the paper, believe in the worth of print newspapers and the special niche this monthly has for Ocracoke Island.

“We’re very excited about this new venture and working to revitalize this publication for both tourists and residents,” Vankevich said.

Ruth Fordon will continue as editor.

Both Vankevich and Leinbach live fulltime on the island and have written for the publication for several years and will continue to do so.

Founded in 1999, the paper covers news and culture primarily relating to Ocracoke Island. Future plans for the paper include creating an online presence and making past articles available online.

Connie Leinbach has an extensive industry background in Reading, Pa., as a daily news reporter, freelance writer, public relations consultant, and newspaper publisher. She also has worked in arts management as an amateur opera company manager and arts agency executive director. She is the Ocracoke correspondent for an online newspaper that covers Ocracoke and Hatteras, The Island Free Press (,  and will continue in that capacity. 

Peter Vankevich worked in the U.S. Copyright Office at the Library of Congress including being head of the Copyright Information Section for 16 years, and has been a freelance writer for the Hill Rag, Washington, D.C. He has a radio show called “Theme Tunes” on the Ocracoke community radio station, WOVV 90.1 FM and online, and he serves as a volunteer fireman.

The new co-owners can be reached at [email protected].

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