Local News

Outer Banks is keeping an eye on Matthew

According to the National Hurricane Center's 2 p.m. advisory, Hurricane Matthew was in the Caribbean, just 85 miles north of Columbia, South America, and was heading west-southwest at 12 mph. And, while the storm is many miles from Cape Hatteras, it is forecast to make a sharp turn to the north over the weekend and perhaps threaten the Outer Banks by late next week.
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Abandoned vessel washes ashore in Avon, may have held refugees

A vessel that appeared to be an abandoned refugee boat washed ashore in Avon on Tuesday sans passengers, but with equipment and supplies surprisingly intact.

The roughly 20-foot long vessel washed up on the beach in front of Greenwood Place, in between the Avon Pier and Ramp 38. The Avon Volunteer Fire Department and National Park Service rangers Joseph Darling and Peter Malionek responded to a call from the U.S. Coast Guard via Dare County Dispatch about the vessel, and enlisted Jarvis Williams of Jarvis’ Towing to dispose of the wreck after examining the structure and cleaning excess Styrofoam and debris from the beach.
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Federal officials present plan for offshore wind auction

It’s been six years since the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management proposed siting wind energy production off Kitty Hawk, and now the agency is preparing to actually offer leases in offshore blocks more than 20 miles from the beach.

An online auction for the lease sites is expected early next year. Virtually no one at a public information meeting held Wednesday at Jennette’s Pier seemed particularly concerned about the prospect. 
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Ferry system will transition to off-season schedule

With the kids back in school, temperatures falling and days getting shorter, the annual transition to off-season schedules will begin next week for the North Carolina Ferry System.
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Community Foundation awards $150,000 in grants

Earlier this summer and fall, the Outer Banks Community Foundation awarded more than $150,000 in grants to over 35 local nonprofits, including several on Hatteras Island. The grants will assist with a wide range of community efforts, from food assistance to special needs programs, public safety to animal welfare, educational efforts to athletic programs for youth. 
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Hatteras gas stations weathering shortages from pipeline leak

A survey of a half dozen Hatteras Island gas stations from Rodanthe to Hatteras village turned up a few owners who were concerned about deliveries but none who had run out of gas or were expecting to.

Meanwhile, the good news for the station owners and the driving public is that the Colonial Pipeline Co. announced this morning that it has completed a bypass around the segment of leaking line in Alabama that has caused gasoline shortages in several states.  The company said that it expected gas to be flowing again Wednesday through the pipeline that supplies much of the East Coast. 
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Dare Schools accountability report:  Progress at CHES, concerns at CHSS

The recently released Dare County Schools Accountability Report for 2015-2016 — which includes the much-watched and oft-criticized school performance grades — paints a largely positive picture of what is going on in county classrooms, albeit with a few worrisome signs. 
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Lane closures expected as Bonner Bridge progresses...WITH VIDEO

Dare County has released another video update  on the progress of the construction of the Bonner Bridge replacement and of the interim bridge over the Pea Island Inlet -- or Irene’s Inlet -- and the message to travelers is to expect land closures and some delays.

Despite a brief break on bridge construction operations because of Tropical Storm Hermine, the Bonner Bridge replacement project continues to progress at full steam, with the highest number of workers to date present on-site.
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Forecasters discuss Hermine impacts on Hatteras...WITH AUDIO

The week after Tropical Storm Hermine passed over the Outer Banks, two meteorologists from the National Weather Service Office in Newport/Morehead City, N.C., spent the better part of a day on Hatteras Island looking over the impacts from the high winds and the storm surge.

During their day on the island,  they sat down for  an interview with Island Free Press editor Irene Nolan for her Radio Hatteras show, "To the Point," which was broadcast on Sunday, Sept. 18. 
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Fish and Wildlife Service to scale back red wolf recovery area

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced this week it will begin to dramatically scale back its controversial red wolf recovery program.

The agency said in a news release it will begin implementing a series of actions based on scientific information and divided public opinions gathered during the past 21 months. The plan is to limit the area that the endangered wolves are able to roam freely to a federal wildlife refuge and adjacent land in Dare County by the end of 2017. 
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Waterways Commission works on new mission, same old problems

Now that the Dare County Waterways Commission has a more inclusive name, the panel will soon update its official mission by retiring its focus on securing jetties at Oregon Inlet -- a goal as obsolete as the days of fat federal budgets for coastal projects.

At its meeting Monday in Manteo, commission administrator Jenny Jones said that county manager Bobby Outten is currently working on creating the new mission statement.
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Second community forum on substance abuse will be Oct. 4

The second annual Community Forum on Substance Abuse Prevention and Education is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 4, and is an opportunity for residents to come together to learn about substance abuse issues in Dare County, become familiar with local resources currently available to help those in need, and get involved by learning how to become part of the solution.
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The fallen heroes of Sept. 11, 2001 remembered at Lighthouse Climb...WITH SLIDE SHOW

At precisely 8:46 a.m. on Sunday morning, roughly 50 volunteer firefighters, U.S. Coast Guard personnel, and National Park Service rangers began a trek to the top of Cape Hatteras Lighthouse in full gear to honor the fellow firefighters and first responders who lost their lives 15 years ago  on Sept. 11, 2001.

Now in its fourth year, the annual trek is a display of solidarity, and a way for present-day firefighters and other first responders  to pay homage to the heroes of 9/11. The men and women who made the trek to the top were supported by a continually growing crowd of family members and loved ones, as well as lighthouse visitors who were in attendance for the event. 
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A man and his would-be rescuer drown off Rodanthe beach

Two men, both visitors, drown in an apparent rip current in Rodanthe this afternoon -- at the end of Dean Street just north of the Rodanthe Pier in the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. 
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Dare County updates damage estimate from Hermine

Dare County has updated its preliminary estimate of damage from Tropical Storm Hermine, which passed over the Outer Banks on Saturday morning, Sept. 3. Today's updated preliminary damage estimate is $5.4 million, up from the very preliminary total of $2.55 million, which was presented to the Board of Commissioners at its Tuesday meeting. 
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UPDATE:  Commercial recycling pickup temporarily suspended

The Dare County Recycle Department is suspending commercial recycle pickup service at Dare County businesses until the storm debris collection is completed. Dare County businesses may bring their recyclables to the Buxton Transfer Station, the recycle site located in Rodanthe on Myrna Peters Road, or the Recycle Center located on Driftwood Drive in Manteo.

Storm debris pickup will start Sept. 12 on Hatteras

North Carolina Department of Transportation workers have already begun removal of storm debris from state maintained roads on Roanoke Island. State and county crews will begin pick up on Hatteras Island beginning Monday, Sept. 12. Crews will pass through areas only once, so residents and businesses are asked to move debris to the side of the road now, separated properly, to ensure service. 
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Dare Board talks about storm aftermath, damage estimates

Tropical Storm Hermine and its aftermath dominated much of the discussion at yesterday morning's meeting of the Dare County Board of Commissioners.

Hermine, which passed offshore of the Outer Banks, at about 8:45 on Saturday morning after having spun up a tornado at a Hatteras village campground in the early morning hours, packed a punch on the backside of storm that many weren't expecting.

According to a very preliminary damage estimate by a county assessment team on Sunday and Monday, high northwest winds and soundside storm surge damaged at least 665 properties in Dare County, destroyed a house in Southern Shores, and did a total of $2.5 million of damage in the county. 
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Ferry crew honored for charter boat rescue

The North Carolina Board of Transportation today awarded the crew of the N.C. Ferry Divison's M/V Swan Quarter with an Extra Mile Award for its actions responding to a fire on a nearby charter vessel in July. 
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Hatteras CERT members hard at work after the storm

On Labor Day Monday, roughly 30 Hatteras Islanders were foregoing their holiday plans to move old refrigerators and soaking wet furnishings and rake piles and piles of eel grass out of the yards of their island in Hatteras village.

These hardworking folks were part of the Hatteras Island Community Emergency Response Team, or CERT – an all-volunteer organization that serves by helping out in a storm or other emergency in any way they can. 
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Hatteras and Ocracoke are cleaning up, opening up

Residents of Hatteras and Ocracoke island began cleaning up today from Saturday's storm surge from Tropical Storm Hermine and began opening up businesses for visitors who seem to be enjoying themselves despite the stormy start to the last holiday weekend of summer. 
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Hermine moves offshore, leaves behind high winds, soundside flooding....WITH SLIDE SHOW

After a stormy night -- that included a tornado in Hatteras village -- Tropical Storm Hermine  moved over the Outer Banks and off the North Carolina coast about 8:45 this morning.

Briefly, all was quiet and some folks were out and about thinking that perhaps the worst of the storm had ended, when the backside of Hermine hit Hatteras and Ocracoke with a vengeance. 
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