Local News
Passenger ferry trials will include boat tours, open houses

When the Provincetown III visits the Outer Banks May 4-5, it could be a glimpse into the future of a new type of ferry service between Hatteras and Ocracoke.  During that visit, the North Carolina Department of Transportation Ferry Division officials are offering members of the public a chance to tour the ship for themselves and provide valuable feedback as they study the idea of passenger service between the two villages.
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CHEC plans power outage for Thursday

Cape Hatteras Electric Cooperative is planning a brief power outage for Hatteras and Ocracoke islands on Thursday, April 16, to do maintenance work on the Oregon Inlet substation.

According to CHEC, customers may experience periodic blinks in power during the switch to diesel generators during this planned maintenance.

CHEC also notes that the islands will be served by limited diesel generators during this time.  "If the load exceeds the capacity of the generators, you will experience more extended outages," CHEC says.

If for any reason, your power does not return following the planned outage, call 866-511-9862.

During the outage, updates will be posted on Facebook and Twitter and broadcase on Radio Hatteras at FM 101.5 and 99.9.

Community Foundation now accepting grant applications

The Outer Banks Community Foundation is now accepting grant applications from qualified nonprofits for several different grant programs, including the David Aycock Loy, Pauline Wright, Aviation Education, and Community Enrichment grant programs.

Applications must be completed and submitted online by Friday, May 1, through the Community Foundation’s website: www.obcf.org.  
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Legislative Update: Lawmakers take aim at N.C. Constitution

Since convening a couple of months ago, legislators in the North Carolina General Assembly have filed a number of bills aimed at getting proposed amendments to the North Carolina Constitution on a future General Election ballot.
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State science panel’s draft sea level rise report released for public comment

The N.C. Coastal Resources Commission’s Science Panel has released for public review and comment a draft of the five-year update of its 2010 report on sea level rise in North Carolina.

Required by Session Law 2012-202, the draft report provides estimated rates of sea level rise along the North Carolina coast over the next 30 years. The report relies on data collected at five tide gauges located along the North Carolina coast at Duck, Oregon Inlet, Beaufort, Wilmington and Southport.  
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UPDATE: Inlet restrictions are eased, opening channel to charter boats

The Coast Guard yesterday eased its restrictions on the channel at Oregon Inlet, allowing boats that draw up to 5 feet of water to use the passage. The move comes just before the busy Easter week for charter boats, most of which draw between 3 and 5 feet of water and can now get through the inlet to the ocean.
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UPDATED: Sailor missing for 66 days rescued off Cape Hatteras...WITH AUDIO AND VIDEO

A 37-year-old South Carolina sailor, who was reported missing in late January, tonight walked into a Norfolk, Va., hospital after his rescue by the U.S. Coast Guard about 200 miles east of Cape Hatteras.

The sailor, Louis Jordan, apparently suffered only a shoulder injury during the ordeal on his 35-foot sailboat, Angel.
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UPDATE: State House passes bill allowing Dare sales tax hike

The North Carolina House of Representatives today passed a bill that will allow Dare County to raise the local sales tax by 1/4-cent without a voter referendum to pay for inlet dredging. The vote was 114-3.   Read more

Dare County plans large-item pickup for April

The Dare County Sanitation Department will be conducting a large item household pickup for residential customers only. No commercial business debris will be picked up. Please do not interfere with county employees picking up large items. Materials must be at curbside no later than 6 a.m. on the date of collection. There will not be a second day pickup.
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UPDATED: Dare County is the big loser in bill that would shift sales tax revenue

Finance officers for the county and town governments in Dare County have been scrambling to try to determine just how hard local budgets will be hit if Senate Bill 369, sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Harry Brown, an Onslow County Republican, and filed on Monday, becomes law.

The new plan would increase – in some cases double – the amount that some poorer, rural counties would receive, while reducing revenues flowing to more prosperous areas.
Brown said at a news conference on Monday that the rural counties are being shortchanged by a system that gives sales taxes to urban centers with shopping malls and big-box stores.

Of all the counties that would see decreased revenues, Dare County would take the largest hit – a 59.2 percent reduction in sales tax revenues. The plan would have an significant impact on the budgets of the county and the incorporated towns. 
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Extra ferries will be added for Easter and spring-break visitors

In preparation for holiday travel over the upcoming Easter and spring breaks, the North Carolina Department of Transportation's Ferry Division will be enhancing the schedule on its Hatteras-Ocracoke route between March 31 and April 13.  
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Outer Banks residents say 'no' to offshore drilling

For members of LegaSea, an Outer Banks grassroots anti-drilling group, it was like a flashback to more than 25 years ago when Mobil Oil Corp. wanted to sink an exploratory well off Cape Hatteras – except this time, they were joined by opponents of all ages and political stripes.

“I was just bowled over by all the people that were there,” said Mickey Baker, a founding member of LegaSea who attended an open house held Monday by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, or BOEM. “I was very, very encouraged. We saw another generation coming up.”  
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A whole lot of shaking going on

I was sitting at my desk in my office on Monday afternoon around 4:30 when the door out to the porch startling rattling and shaking.  It was a sunny, mild day with no wind to speak of.  The house was quiet and the noise got my attention.  I watched and listened for maybe 10 or 15 seconds and the rattling ended.

So, no wind. No storm clouds on the horizon. No one was running up my steps.  I didn't hear any trucks rumbling around the neighborhood.  No aircraft noise from above. Suddenly, it was just quiet again.

Then it happened again -- twice this afternoon.  So what's going on?  
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BOC chairman sends another letter on Dare County gas prices

Bob Woodard, chairman of the Dare County Board of Commissioners, has sent a second letter to state Attorney General Roy Cooper asking for him to investigate gas prices in Dare County.

Meanwhile, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Justice said this week that the department's Consumer Affairs Division continues to investigate the complaint.  
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Gas pricing on Hatteras Island is topic of radio interview...WITH AUDIO

Bryan Perry, owner of Frisco Shopping Center and Frisco Rod & Gun, where he sells, among other things, gasoline, was the guest on this week's edition of "To the Point" on Radio Hatteras.

In the interview, Perry, who has been selling gas at the store since 1975, gives some straightforward answers to questions about how he determines the price of gas at his pumps and how much profit he makes on it. 
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First Stewart Couch scholarship will be awarded in June

When Stewart Couch passed away, unexpectedly in February 2012, a heartbroken community searched for a way to memorialize this local leader. Within days, the Outer Banks Association of Realtors (OBAR) and the Outer Banks Community Foundation established a scholarship fund in his name to benefit Hatteras students. From across the country, dozens of people contributed to the fund.

Little did they know, Stewart himself had the exact same idea.

Now, a bequest from Stewart Couch's estate will be combined with funds from the two groups that have raised money to create the Community Foundation's largest one-year scholarship to date --  $8,900, which will be award to a Hatteras Island graduating senior in June.
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Ocracoke wrestles with occupancy tax, marketing, boosting tourism

After receiving an outpouring of mostly negative comments about a proposed tourism authority for Ocracoke, Hyde County Manager Bill Rich last week unveiled a revised plan for enhancing tourism, especially in the shoulder seasons.

Instead of a tourism development authority that would levy an additional 2 percent on top of the 3 percent occupancy tax already in place for all short-term lodging stays, Rich wants to work within the 3 percent already collected.
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UPDATE: Appeals Court grants request for mediation

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit today granted a request by all of the parties involved in the legal wrangling over replacing the Herbert C. Bonner Bridge for the assistance of a mediator in their effort to negotiate a settlement in the case.
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Bonner Bridge down to one lane for concrete repairs

Starting Wednesday, Jan. 28, weather permitting, the North Carolina Department of Transportation will close a section of one lane of the Herbert C. Bonner Bridge on Highway 12 over the Oregon Inlet.

The lane closure will enable crews with Precon Marine Inc. of Chesapeake, Va. to begin repairs to the concrete along the underside of the bridge deck. The project is expected to be complete by mid-June. 
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