Local News
     
Commissioners Are Briefed On Dare Ebola Preparedness

The Dare County Board of Commissioners was briefed at its meeting last evening on local preparedness for Ebola by Dr. Sheila Davies, the county's public health director.

Davies told the board that preparations at the state and local level for a possible case of Ebola began in July and are continuing to be honed and refined as new guidelines are issued by the Center for Disease Control.
 
The state, she said, has been "very active" in assessing community needs and preparedness.  
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Court of Appeals grants another 30-day extension for rehearing of bridge lawsuit

Negotiations continue out of public view between the North Carolina Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration and the Southern Environmental Law Center, on behalf of its clients, to settle a long legal battle over the state agency's plan to replace the aging Bonner Bridge over Oregon Inlet.

As promised, neither side in the debate about replacing the bridge has commented on the confidential maneuvering that's going on in Raleigh and Chapel Hill, nor has either given any hint of how long it might take to either reach an agreement or announce an impasse.

However, it's interesting to note that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond, Va., has granted another 30-day extension of the time for parties in the lawsuit to ask for a rehearing by the three-judge panel that issued an opinion on Aug. 6 or by the entire Appeals Court.
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7-mile bridge could be costly to CHEC customers


A 7-mile bridge that is on the table as the North Carolina Department of Transportation and the Southern Environmental Law Center  negotiate an agreement to end legal action over the replacement of the Bonner Bridge would be costly to Cape Hatteras Electric Cooperative members on Hatteras Island.
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UPDATE: New concept includes 7-mile bridge into Pamlico Sound

A new concept being considered by the North Carolina Department of Transportation  would include a 7-mile bridge into the Pamlico Sound that would run from just north of Pea Island Inlet --at the dike at the southern pond on the refuge -- down to northern Rodanthe.

DOT announced yesterday that it is in discussions with the Southern Environmental Law Center and its clients in the legal impasse over the replacement of the Bonner Bridge and the solutions for the hotspots along Highway 12.

The new concept is outlined in a PowerPoint presentation that DOT gave last week when the department met with the Highway 12 merger team, comprised of state and federal resource and regulatory agencies, to brief members on the status of the project and solicit feedback.
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UPDATE:
DOT and SELC in 'discussions' about Bonner Bridge replacement


The North Carolina Department of Transportation and the Southern Environmental Law Center, representing Defenders of Wildlife and the National Wildlife Refuge Association, are currently in active, confidential discussions regarding replacing the aging Herbert C. Bonner Bridge over Oregon Inlet with a new parallel bridge while continuing to develop a long-term solution to the transportation challenges along the stretch of Highway 12 south of the bridge to Rodanthe.  
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DOT temporarily suspends work on new Pea Island bridge

The North Carolina Department of Transportation is temporarily suspending work on the Pea Island bridge construction on Highway 12.  
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The voter's guide to the Nov. 4 general election

Despite overarching court battles and unceasing political advertising that may have created some cynicism this election season, Dare County voters have an unusually full slate of contests to inspire a trip to the voting booth.

Nearly all local offices on the ballot have opponents, from the county commission to the clerk of Superior Court to the county Sheriff to the District Attorney. Only three local judge seats and two partisan offices are unopposed. 

In Hyde County, however, the only contested local race is for Sheriff in which Democrat Carl (Guire) Cahoon is being challenged by Larry D. Weston, who is unaffiliated.
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Video of shark feeding frenzy at Cape Lookout gets national attention

A YouTube video of a shark feeding frenzy at Cape Lookout National Seashore, just south of Cape Hatteras, has gone viral on national and social media this week.

The video was shot by angler Donnie Griggs, while he was on retreat with some other leaders of One Harbor Church, which is located in nearby Morehead City, N.C.  The men wrote in the text with the video that they were out fishing for the evening's dinner when they came across more than 100 sharks attacking a school of bluefish.

The incident was filmed last Thursday, Oct. 9, and has been shared on local television stations all the way to Indiana, a USA Today blog, ABC Nightly News, and a whole myriad of other blogs and social media sites.
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Gonzalo expected to become major hurricane but stay far offshore

The seventh named tropical storm of the season, Gonzalo, became a hurricane overnight and is forecast to become a major hurricane -- perhaps a Category 4 -- as it heads northwest in the open Atlantic.

This afternoon at 5 p.m., the hurricane winds were 115 mph and the storm was moving  northwest at 13 mph. Strengthening is still expected as Gonzalo turns more to the north and eventually northeast. On this course, it will stay far offshore of the East Coast and could threaten Bermuda later in the week.
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Cancer Foundation Fun Run is a day of celebration....WITH SLIDE SHOW

The 11th Annual Hatteras Island Cancer Foundation Fun Run was held on Saturday, and the survivors won.
 
First across the finish line for the men was Keith Gray at a little more than 18 minutes. Evan O’Connell came in at a little over 20 minutes to pace the women. They were the runners who took home the first-place trophies, but the winners were the women resplendent in pink who had survived breast cancer and were celebrating life.
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Ocracoke travel trailer amendment on chopping block

The Ocracoke Advisory Planning Board voted at its September meeting to recommend removing the travel trailer section of the Ocracoke Development Ordinance (ODO) on the premise that it duplicates FEMA and other governmental rules. 

Travel trailers as housing on Ocracoke have been controversial for the last few years.  In 2011, the Planning Board while Darlene Styron was county commissioner began looking at regulating campers as their use increased by island employers needing summer housing for their employees.  
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Outer Banks Seafood Festival is Oct. 18 in Nags Head

One of the tastiest events on the Outer Banks, the Outer Banks Seafood Festival sponsored by TowneBank and Outer Banks Visitors Bureau, is coming up shortly. The third annual festival will be on Saturday, Oct. 18 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., rain or shine, at the soundside Outer Banks Event Site in Nags Head.
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Beth Midgett Talks About Replacing The Bonner Bridge On To The Point'...WITH AUDIO

Beth Midgett, who has been chairwoman of the Dare County Citizens' Committee to Replace the Bonner Bridge since it was established in 2006, was the guest on Sunday, Oct. 5, on the new Radio Hatteras interview show, "To the Point."

On the show, she discussed the 25-year effort of the North Carolina Department of Transportation to replace the aging bridge that is the only highway link between Hatteras and the mainland.
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Dare commissioner Burrus charged with simple assault

Dare County Commissioner Allen Burrus of Hatteras village has been charged with simple assault, a misdemeanor, and ordered to appear in Dare County District Court on Friday, Nov. 14.

The charges stem from an incident in which an employee, John Paul Pehrson, 20, says Burrus "grabbed him around the neck with both hands and pushed him into the wall" at the Red & White Supermarket -- which Burrus owns -- on Wednesday, Oct. 1, shortly before the store closed at 9 p.m.  
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Ocean Overwash Is Problem Again At Temporary Bridge, North Buxton

At Saturday's high tide, about 5 p.m., traffic was down to one lane on Highway 12  south of the temporary bridge at Pea Island Inlet as ocean overwash flowed across both lanes of the road.

Traffic was also slowing down at the Cape Hatteras Motel on the northern edge of Buxton, where water covered both lanes of the highway and was pouring into the parking lot.  
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Ocracoke's commissioner talks about marijuana, slot machines, ‘red neck IDs’

Legalization of marijuana, gambling on ferry boats, and other offbeat items have appeared on several of the Hyde County commissioners’ agendas this year for discussion at the request of Ocracoke Commissioner John Fletcher. 

Fletcher, 76, has yet to talk at a commissioners’ meeting about some of  these ideas but did so in a recent interview.  
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Proposals Aimed At Extending Window For Dredging And Nourishment

The public will have a chance to comment on a series of proposals aimed to change the way inlets are managed, such as extending the time "window" for dredging and beach renourishment into turtle and bird nesting seasons.  
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Candidates for Commissioner make their case at Voice forum

All four races for open seats on the Dare County Board for Commissioners are contested in this year's election. The eight candidates pitched for votes and answered questions in a forum held by The Outer Banks Voice and Max Media of the Carolinas on Monday, Sept. 22. Click here to watch the video of the forum. 





Second round of heavy rain has Hatteras, Ocracoke under water

A second round of torrential rain in five days has Hatteras and Ocracoke islands under water -- up to a foot or more in places on roadways, prompting the National Weather Service to issue a flood watch for the area until 8 p.m. this evening. The heaviest rainfall was overnight and into this morning when 2.25 inches was measured at Billy Mitchell airport in Frisco.
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UPDATE:
More heavy rain and gusty winds forecast for midweek

Even as the big "puddles" -- if you want to call them that -- continue to cover the roads and challenge drivers, the National Weather Service is forecasting a good possibility of more heavy rain and some gusty northeast winds and high seas for midweek.

According to the National Weather Service in Newport, the combination of building high pressure from the north and a low pressure trough stalled off the North Carolina coast will bring a period of unsettled weather, beginning late tomorrow and lasting through the end of the week.
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Coastal low dumps up to 5.25 inches of rain on Hatteras


A low pressure system that formed off the southeast coast late on Friday sent extremely heavy rainfall onto Hatteras Island, especially the southern part of the island, on Saturday, Sept. 20, as it headed northeast.

According to the National Weather Service office in Newport, N.C., unofficial totals by trained observers for the 24 hours ending at 7 a.m. this morning were 5.35 inches in Hatteras village and 3.32 in Salvo, where the rain started later in the day and was not as heavy.

Also, Tony Tata, Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Transportation, made a brief appearance at the Day at the Docks celebration.
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Governor, Tata unveil 25-year vision for transportation

Governor Pat McCrory and Transportation Secretary Tony Tata unveiled the Governor’s 25-year vision for transportation in North Carolina last week with a cross-state tour that includes stops in Wilmington, Greenville, Winston-Salem and Asheville to detail the challenges faced by and solutions proposed for each of the state’s four major regions -- coastal, eastern, central and western, as well as comprehensive solutions for the whole state. 
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Sheriff's office now has technology to catch the perps quicker

An onsite fingerprint reading machine and database at the Dare County Sheriff’s Office has the potential to help decrease the frequency of breaking and entering crimes that plague the Outer Banks in the winter.

By shortening the time for analysis of prints from months to days, the technology provides an especially useful tool to track down repeat offenders and connect suspects to numerous break-ins, said Sheriff J.D. “Doug” Doughtie.
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Hatteras commissioner talks about bridge issue on radio show...WITH AUDIO

Allen Burrus, vice-chairman of the Dare County Board of Commissioners and Hatteras Island representative on the board, was the guest Sunday, Sept.21, on the new Radio Hatteras interview show, "To the Point."

Burrus, who also is the owner of the Burrus Red & White supermarket in Hatteras village, talked about a variety of issues that affect island residents, off-island property owners, and visitors.
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Day at the Docks draws a big crowd despite the downpours...WITH SLIDE SHOW

Hatteras Island's watermen are known for their hardiness and their perseverance.  They go to sea to catch fish in all kinds of weather -- hot or cold, windy or calm, rain or shine.

And so it seemed rather appropriate that this year, after several years of fair weather, the planners of Day at the Docks, the annual celebration of Hatteras watermen -- and the visitors to that event -- had to battle the elements on Saturday, Sept. 20.

And they did it just as well as the commercial and recreational men and women who fish for a living have.
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Beach nourishment completed at S-curves and north Rodanthe...WITH SLIDE SHOW

Sand placement was completed earlier this week on a project to protect a stretch of Highway12 in the area of the “S-curves” north and Mirlo Beach in north Rodanthe.

Crews with Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Company, LLC of Oak Brook, Ill. have completed dredging and placing approximately 1.7 million cubic yards of sand in the location.  
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Ferry Division sets fall schedule on Hatteras-Ocracoke route

With the shorter days, cooler air, and passing of peak tourist season on the coast, the North Carolina Department of Transportation's Ferry Division will be switching to a fall schedule on its popular Hatteras-Ocracoke route on Tuesday, Sept. 23.

The change will take the route from its summertime peak of 36 departures from both sides each day down to 30. The fall schedule will run through Nov. 10. On Nov. 11, the Hatteras Inlet route will adopt a winter schedule with 18 departures from both sides each day. 
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Trial will be Feb. 2 for man accused in 2012 murder on Hatteras

A trial date for the Ohio man accused of killing his former girlfriend while visiting Hatteras Island two years ago was announced Monday in Dare County Superior Court.

Nathan Summerfield, 29, of Ashland, is charged with first-degree murder in the stabbing and strangling death of Lynn Jackenheimer, whose body was found in the grass off a Frisco cul-de-sac on July 14, 2012. He pleaded not guilty, and his trial is scheduled for Feb. 2.
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First responders honor fallen brethren with 9-11 Lighthouse Climb...WITH SLIDE SHOW

At exactly 8:46 yesterday morning, 30 firefighters and several other first responders started their second annual Memorial Stair Climb of the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse in Buxton.

The start time, of course, was the hour on Sept. 11, 2001, that American Airlines Flight 11 plowed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City.  The local first responders were still climbing the 257 stairs to the top of the lighthouse at 9:03, the time that United Airlines Flight 175 hit the South Tower.  
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Work to resume Sept. 15 on westbound Wright Memorial Bridge

Starting next week, traffic crossing the Currituck Sound on U.S. 158 will once again be reduced to one lane in each direction through May 2015. Crews with the N.C. Department of Transportation and G.A. & F.C. Wagman Inc. of York, Pa., will close the westbound Wright Memorial Bridge at the Currituck and Dare county line and shift traffic onto the U.S. 158 East bridge in a two-lane, two-way pattern with eastbound traffic.  
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Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum completion is pushed back again

Completion of the exhibit design for the seemingly always almost-finished Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum is continuing to be pushed back, with a final plan likely another year out.

“We have revamped the plan to reflect a more engaging content,” said Joseph Schwarzer, the museum’s executive director. “I think we’ve identified the broad overall needs.”
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It's now official: Alternate Hatteras ferry channel is permanent

The U.S. Coast Guard hosted a "symbolic" ribbon-cutting yesterday afternoon to establish Barney Slough as the permanent alternate channel to carry ferries and other boat traffic between Hatteras and Ocracoke.

The event at the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum was billed as a "media availability," and about six reporters attended, along with a large contingent of Coast Guardsmen, several officials from the North Carolina Department of Transportation and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, three Dare County commissioners, assistants from the offices of North Carolina U.S. Sens. Richard Burr and Kay Hagan, and 30 or so members of the public from Ocracoke and Hatteras.
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Residents not happy about two years for Buxton beach restoration

About 25 community members came to Cape Hatteras Secondary School last night to hear Dare County and its consultants explain the planned beach restoration project for Buxton and to ask questions.

When the meeting ended, it was clear that many residents are still not happy that the completion date is at least two years away.  And county officials made it clear that they  could not put sand on the beach more quickly and still meet regulatory requirements.  
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Appeals Court affirms in part and reverses in part lower court ruling on Bonner Bridge

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond, Va., today affirmed in part and reversed in part a lower court's decision on the North Carolina Department of Transportation's plan to replace the aging Herbert C. Bonner Bridge over Oregon Inlet.  
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