Local News
UPDATE: Frisco man charged in gravestone case

On April 10, Dare Sheriff’s Investigator Doug Oberbeck charged the suspect in the defacing of gravestones from a Frisco grave site.

Charged with defacing a grave site, a misdemeanor, was Leland Eyre Haller Jr., 59, of Frisco. He was charged on a criminal summons to appear in court in lieu of being arrested.

The very old gravestones were discovered broken in a dumpster at the Frisco Bathhouse on Highway 12 on March 21. With the help of local genealogists and other sleuths, Oberbeck was able to determine that the two gravestones were originally located in a small graveyard near Morris Lane, also in Frisco.

According to a catalog of Dare County cemeteries, the stones belonged to Robert B. Basnett (1831-1896) and Ulethe C. Fulcher (1872-1901), who was apparently his daughter.
“The Dare County Sheriff’s Office wishes to thank the Hatteras Island residents and others that were instrumental in determining the original location of the gravestones,” according to a news release from the office. 

Progress made in case of gravestones found in Frisco dumpster

Sgt. Doug Oberbeck reports that the Dare County Sheriff’s Office is making progress in solving the case of very old broken gravestones that were found on Friday, March 21, in a dumpster at the Frisco Bathhouse.  
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Sheriff’s Office seeks information on century-old discarded gravestones

The Dare County Sheriff’s Office is seeking the public’s help in finding information on pieces of very old gravestones that were found discarded in the dumpster at the Frisco Bathhouse. The report came in Friday, March 21.

Lt. Doug Oberbeck said that office needs information on who may have discarded the stones, whom the stones belonged to, and where the graves might have been located.  
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UPDATE: Corps of Engineers says Oregon Inlet too shallow for dredging

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Wilmington District, today, announced its side-cast dredge Merritt is unable to open Oregon Inlet at the navigation span of the Bonner Bridge. Even with favorable wind and tides, the Merritt cannot break through the two-foot depth with a pilot channel.  
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As sand rushes into Oregon Inlet, a deadline looms

A legislative task force is hurrying to meet a May 1 deadline for a report on the potential state takeover of Oregon Inlet and adjacent land on the Outer Banks in Dare County. Meanwhile, the inlet is again showing how cantankerous and unruly it can be to whoever wants to try and corral it.
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Hatteras-Ocracoke ferry switches to modified spring schedule on April 15

The North Carolina Department of Transportation's Ferry Division will be switching to a modified spring schedule on its Hatteras-Ocracoke route Tuesday, April 15, adding four scheduled daily departures from both sides while adding unscheduled shuttle service to alleviate backups when they occur.

Dredging operations on the original ferry route continue in Hatteras Inlet, so the ferry will still be operating on the longer "alternate" route that takes approximately 55 minutes each way. However, the added trips are expected to greatly reduce congestion as visitors return to the Outer Banks for the 2014 season.  
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No easy answers yet for maintaining inlets

North Carolina lawmakers will not receive a completed final report on the Coastal Resources Commission’s Inlet management study by year’s end.

“We are not going to know everything by final report time,” CRC Chairman Frank Gorham said last week following the last of a series of public meetings held to discuss inlet issues. “We have a lot to do, and I don’t have a problem telling the General Assembly or the governor we’re not finished.”

Maybe 40 percent to half of the report will actually be complete and ready for submission by the Dec. 31 deadline, he said.  
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Dancing, dining, and gaming to benefit Hatteras cancer patients….WITH SLIDE SHOW

More than 150 guests danced, dined, and played the gaming tables at the Hatteras Island Cancer Foundation’s annual Spring Dance on Saturday night, April 5, at the Hatteras Village Civic Center.

And they raised more than $4,000 to help island cancer patients pay for treatment and medications not covered by insurance.  
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Voter registration deadline is Friday, April 11, for May 6 primary election

In 2013, the North Carolina General Assembly passed VIVA, the Voter Information Verification Act. As a result of VIVA, same-day voter registration is no longer available.

In order to vote in the upcoming May 6 primary election, Dare and Hyde county residents must register to vote by 5 p.m. on Friday, April 11. If you are registering through the mail, voter registration must be postmarked no later than Friday, April 11.
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Former Chowan County Commissioner named Ferry Division director

The North Carolina Department of Transportation today named Ed Goodwin to lead the North Carolina Ferry Division as its new director.

According to a Ferry Division news release, “Goodwin has a long history of leadership in both civilian and military positions that will be vital as the division redoubles its efforts to develop new strategies, operate more efficiently and better serve customers.”  
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Hatteras village welcomes a new medical provider

Only four months after its grand reopening in November 2013, the Hatteras Village Medical Center closed its doors once again.

This time, however, it is only temporary.

Services were suspended for the first week of April to accommodate the center’s transition between primary care providers and will resume on Monday, April 7, under the direction of Gail Covington, a nurse practitioner from Ocracoke.  
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Changes coming to health care facilities on Hatteras and Ocracoke

Both the Hatteras Village Medical Center and the Ocracoke Health Center will see some changes in operations this spring. The Hatteras center will see a change in the health care provider, and the Ocracoke center will have expanded hours, but will no longer have an after-hours, on-call provider.  
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USFWS amended compatibility determination for emergency beach nourishment is now  available

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has released an amendment to the S-Curves Beach Nourishment Compatibility Determination for one-time nourishment at the S-curves on Highway 12 in the Peal Island National Refuge.

In it refuge manager Mike Bryant has found the project “compatible” with uses of the refuge with certain conditions, just as he did last November with original compatibility determination.  
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Pea Island bridge construction will close New Inlet boat ramp and day-use area parking

As part of construction of the permanent Highway 12 bridge over the inlet created on Pea Island by Hurricane Irene, the N.C. Department of Transportation has coordinated with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to use the New Inlet boat ramp/sound access parking area and Pea Island day-use beach access parking area as staging locations for equipment and materials during the project.

These areas are located approximately one half-mile and one quarter-mile south of the temporary bridge and will be closed to the public for the duration of the project beginning Tuesday, March 18.  
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Shavees at St. Baldrick’s event raise almost $2,000 for childhood cancer research…WITH SLIDE SHOW

At first glance, the crowd gathered at the Avon Fire Station on Saturday, March 15, appeared to be celebrating St. Patrick’s Day a bit early, but something was missing amidst the green T-shirts, accessories, and tasty treats -- namely, hair.

The event was, in fact, the eighth annual Kinnakeet St. Baldrick’s Day fundraiser, which raises money for childhood cancer research by shaving the heads of participants.  
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Ocracoke wins another round in ferry toll fight

Ocracoke Island has won round three in the ferry toll fight. The Regional Planning Organization (RPO) of Division 1, which is overseen by the Albemarle Commission and which includes Hyde and Dare counties, did not vote on the North Carolina Department of Transportation’s request to enact tolls on the Hatteras-Ocracoke ferry.  
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Residents and officials speak against ferry tolls at Ocracoke and Hatteras

Ocracoke and mainland Hyde residents who attended a hearing last night on the N.C. Department of Transportation’s plan to toll the Hatteras-Ocracoke ferry were overwhelmingly against putting a toll on their only free access to their homes.

“A toll on the Ocracoke-Hatteras ferry would devastate our local economy,” said Chip Stevens, owner of Blackbeard’s Lodge, who made a PowerPoint presentation on the unique qualities of Ocracoke. 

About 150 people attended the Ocracoke hearing and a smaller, but equally opposed to tolls, crowd attended last week’s meeting in Hatteras.  
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Honoring Wayne Teeter, a true Ocracoke icon

Island old-timers believe that when an Ocracoker was going to die, the island’s roosters would crow repeatedly in mournful tones. On Sunday morning, March 9, the roosters along O’Neal Drive crowed non-stop, even as the news arrived that Wayne Teeter, a man who was “as Ocracoke as you could get,”  had just passed.

Wayne Teeter was, according to his friend Jerry Midgett, “a true Ocracoker, who didn’t put on airs. What you saw was what you got.”  
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Citizen Science Program needs your help observing the weather

Do you ever wonder how much rainfall you received from a recent thunderstorm? How about snowfall during a winter storm?

If so, a new volunteer weather observing program needs your help.

The Community Collaborative Rain, Hail, and Snow network, or CoCoRaHS, is looking for new volunteers across North Carolina. The grassroots effort is part of a growing national network of home-based and amateur rain-spotters with a goal of providing a high density precipitation network that will supplement existing observations.  
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Dare voters will have many choices in this year’s elections

Dare County voters will have lots of choices to make this election year, and not just one time. Numerous contests are on the ballot for both primary and general election races, from municipal to federal offices, and races with competition outnumber those with no opposition.

The only competitive race in Hyde County is for county sheriff where two Democrats are facing off in the primary.  
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Highway 12 in Frisco reopens to through traffic

Just 24 hours after it closed for the North Carolina Department of Transportation to repair a culvert at Peter’s Ditch in Frisco, Highway 12 reopened to through traffic just after dark this evening.

As had been planned, the highway was shut down at 7 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 28, to start work on the culvert repair. DOT and the contractor had until 6 a.m. Monday to complete the repair, but all involved hustled to get equipment staged and the work done.
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Ocracoke-Cedar Island ferry free after a day stuck on sand

The early morning ferry boat to Cedar Island was freed late this afternoon after spending all day stuck in sand in the ditch in Ocracoke since shortly after it left the dock.

“I’ve never seen one stuck there before,” said Wilson Garrish, an Ocracoke native who braved the chilly and gust northeast winds this afternoon on the N.C. Center for the Advancement of Teaching property near the entrance to Silver Lake to see the grounded boat M/V Carteret. “The wind is just keeping her there.”  
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Popular Hatteras Storytelling Festival returns May 2-4

In May, renowned writers, storytellers, and musicians from all across the state will gather in Hatteras village to delight crowds with tales of life, legacy, and lore as part of the second annual Hatteras Storytelling Festival.

The three-day event, scheduled for Friday through Sunday, May 2-4, this year, is brimming with performances by both local and regional talent, ample opportunity to indulge in the local cuisine and fresh seafood, and, to top it all off, the boundless beauty of Hatteras Island.
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Sand woes:  Emergency nourishment delayed again; ferry channel still being dredged

There’s too much sand in the Hatteras ferry channel and not enough on the beach in Rodanthe, and state and federal officials are working on both ends of Hatteras Island to address the issues.

An emergency beach nourishment project near the S-curves in northern Rodanthe is no longer considered an emergency by the federal government, but after several glitches, the project is nearly back on track.  
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Court of Appeals grants oral arguments in Bonner Bridge case

The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va., today agreed to hear oral arguments in a case that pits environmental groups against the N.C Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration over the plan to replace the aging Bonner Bridge over Oregon Inlet.

The oral arguments will tentatively be heard during the May 13-16 session of the court.
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It’s snowing on Hatteras and Ocracoke!  WITH SLIDE SHOWS

It’s been snowing all day on Hatteras and Ocracoke islands.  It’s a wet, heavy snow with big, fat flakes falling – and not too much wind, so you can actually watch them fall.

Also the wind isn’t blowing the snow into drifts as it usually does out here, leaving some areas bare and others with several feet.  
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Commissioner says slot machines on ferries would raise more money than tolls

Hyde County Commissioner John Fletcher of Ocracoke has a better idea for raising revenue for the N.C. Department of Transportation’s Ferry Division.  He said adding slot machines on the big ferries that make the 2-plus hour Pamlico Sound crossing would bring in more money than tolling.  
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Hatteras and Ocracoke get little snow, only misery from winter storm…WITH SLIDE SHOW

Snow lovers on Hatteras and Ocracoke islands were disappointed by the slight - to 1-inch snowfall – much less than 8 inches or so that was forecast a couple days ago. Instead of snow, we got only misery.

The temperatures have been in the 20s all day. The roads are treacherous for vehicles. Steps and walkways are icy and dangerous for even those on foot. Schools are closed, but it’s so cold and there’s been so little snow that few if any folks have been sledding. And the power has been out on Ocracoke for much of the day.
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