September 5, 2017

Island Free Press Celebrates 10-Year Anniversary
with a Look Back at a Decade of News


On Tuesday, September 5, the Island Free Press officially marked its 10-year anniversary as the “up to date and down to earth” news source for Hatteras and Ocracoke islands.

Started by founders Irene Nolan and Donna Barnett in 2007, the online paper originated as an effort to post essential news stories as soon as they occurred. Before the formation of the Island Free Press, Irene was the editor of the now defunct Island Breeze – a monthly publication that was considered a valuable paper for residents and visitors alike, but which couldn’t have the up-to-the-minute updates that an online format could provide.

The Island Free Press was a venture motivated by timeliness for all parties involved, but in the past 10 years, our local paper has continually grown in readership and has cemented a reputation as an invaluable news source. In 2016, the Island Free Press had 1.6 million visits, and this number looks like it will be even higher for 2017.

And this is due to Irene’s insight, dedication, and unparalleled professionalism.

Without Irene, the Island Free Press would not exist. It was Irene who created the paper, and it was Irene who almost instantly built the Island Free Press into a reputable media outlet.

We lost Irene in March of 2017, and it’s a loss that still reverberates with every story that we write, and every topic that we cover.

From our more light-hearted features stories to tougher topics that stir inevitable controversy, we are continually asking “Would Irene approve?” and only move forward if the answer is yes.

Her contribution to The Island Free Press and to our islands in general remain prevalent and constant. It’s because of her that we are able to reach our 10-year mark today, and it’s because of her that we will continually strive to maintain the high reputation that she created for decades to come.

Making Irene proud continues to be our sole motivation and the backbone of The Island Free Press. And though she is not here to celebrate this milestone with us, we wanted to honor what Irene created with a look back at our top stories of the past decade.

We also want to thank you – our readers and advertisers – for being our partner in the past 10 years. It was Irene who created and shaped the IFP, but it is you who keeps us going strong, and who helps keeps us motivated to do our very best.

The first two stories published for The Island Free Press on September 5, 2007, covered the Day at the Docks and the American Heroes Day at the Chicamacomico Lifesaving Station.

Since these inaugural stories, the IFP has tackled hurricanes, movie productions, sharks, shipwrecks, wildfires, road closures, local sports, and a myriad of ongoing issues that are still discussed in depth today.

So with this in mind, we decided to take a look back at some of our most read stories over the past decade, which are listed below by year.

We hope that the following stories stir your nostalgia - and your memories of Irene - as much as it did for us when we compiled and reviewed this list.

What a decade it has been.

Top Stories of 2007
Beach Driving and Beach Access: (This was Irene’s very first blog, and appropriately, it was focused on Beach Driving.)
Bonner Bridge Replacement:
Highway 12 Replacement in Ocracoke:

Top Stories of 2008
Beach Driving and Beach Access:
Nights in Rodanthe:
Wildfire on the Mainland:
Stranded Sailboat:
Our Initial Anniversary:
Lady Canes Basketball Team in the Payoffs:

Top Stories of 2009
Fireworks Explosion on Ocracoke Island:
Fessenden Center Fire:
Jimmy Buffet on the Beach:

Top Stories of 2010
The Move of “Serendipity” – the Nights in Rodanthe House:
The Closing of Hatteras Island Medical Center:
Bonner Bridge:
Top Stories of 2011
Hurricane Irene – this dominated our paper for much of 2011:
Mixed Drinks Legalized:

Ocracoke Teacher on Jeopardy:
Ocracoke Shark Attack:

Top Stories of 2012
Murdered Woman Found in Frisco:
Hurricane Sandy:
Losing Hatteras Realty Owner Stewart Couch:
Lady Canes Advance to Playoffs Once Again:

Top Stories of 2013
Government Shutdowns:
Beach Access / ORV Plan:
Bonner Bridge Lawsuit
House Fire in Avon
Top Stories of 2014
Hurricane Arthur:
Snow on Hatteras and Ocracoke:
December Storm:
Outer Beaches Fire:
Lee Robinson Fire:
Slash Creek in Hatteras village Fire:
Buxton House Fire:
Proposed North Rodanthe Bridge:
Top Stories of 2015
Bonner Bridge Will Finally be Built
Hatteras Inlet Shoaling:
Avon Motel Fire
Shark Attack on Hatteras Island
Sailor Rescued:
Top Stories of 2016
Hurricane Matthew:
Hurricane Hermine:
Abandoned Refugee Vessels:
Missing Frisco Hunter:
Top Stories (so far) of 2017
Power Outage:
New Sandbar off The Point (Shelly Island):
Unidentified Military Device:
Buxton Drowning:
Hatteras Inlet:
Hatteras Power Outage
08.03.2017-Unrestricted Access To Hatteras Island Effective Friday August 4 At 12pm

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