Local News









High winds, coastal flooding possible on Sunday

The National Weather Service in Newport/Morehead City is advising Outer Banks residents to batten down the hatches on Sunday and Sunday night as yet another coastal storm forms off the Southeast U.S., rapidly deepens and strengthens, and moves quickly off to the northeast.

On the southern Outer Banks, we can expect high winds, possible coastal flooding on both the soundside and oceanside, and heavy rains that will possibly cause flooding problems with ground that is already saturated with three or more inches of rain that we've had in the past two days. 
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State coastal commission to hold public hearings on rule change

As part of an effort to improve regulatory efficiency, the state Coastal Resources Commission will hold public hearings in each of North Carolina’s eight oceanfront counties to gather comments on a proposal to change the formula used to calculate the width of the Ocean Erodible Area of Environmental Concern.

The change will result in an overall decrease in the amount of oceanfront property that falls under the commission’s permitting authority.
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Commissioners hear about bridges, dredging, and ferry tolling

Transportation issues topped the agenda at the Dare County Board of Commissioners meeting on Monday, Feb. 1.

Among the long list of items on the agenda were updates on the Bonner Bridge replacement and other bridges on northern Hatteras Island, dredging in Hatteras Inlet, and ferry tolling. 
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Hyde board drops efforts to change Ocracoke noise ordinance

The Hyde County commissioners last night agreed to drop a proposed Ocracoke noise ordinance with criminal penalties and leave the current ordinance standing.

While close to 50 islanders packed into the Ocracoke School commons room, as well as in the Hyde County Services building in Swan Quarter where the meeting was held, the issue went out with whimper and not a bang. 
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Coast Guard medevacs woman from ship off Cape Hatteras....WITH VIDEO

The Coast Guard medevaced a 61-year-old woman Monday from a cruise ship 230 miles east of Cape Hatteras. Fifth Coast Guard District watchstanders received a report at 1 p.m. stating a woman aboard the cruise ship Norwegian Breakaway was found unconscious. 
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Jones asks Corps for more funds for Oregon, Hatteras inlets

U.S. Rep. Walter B. Jones, R- N.C., is calling on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to allocate additional funding to dredge Eastern North Carolina’s Oregon and Hatteras inlets.  In a letter sent last week, Congressman Jones reminded Army Corps of Engineers leadership of the chronically poor navigation conditions at both inlets. 
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No one injured when ferry runs aground in Hatteras Inlet

At approximately 10:40 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 30, the North Carolina Department of Transportation Ferry System vessel, M/V Roanoke, ran soft aground on its way from Ocracoke to Hatteras, while maneuvering around a dredge pipe in the vicinity of navigational aid 3 in Barney Slough. 
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Legislators visit Hyde County, get an earful about tolling ferries

State legislators who spent three days in Hyde County earlier this week were impressed with the county and the passion of islanders who traveled to speak on behalf of keeping the Hatteras Ferry free.

Hyde County Manager Bill Rich on Wednesday said that thanks to the efforts of Rep. John Torbett (R-Gaston) and Paul Tine (U-Kitty Hawk), the 10 members of the Albemarle Regional Planning Organization (ARPO) voted unanimously on Wednesday to postpone any vote on tolling that ferry.
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Bonner Bridge engineer outlines the work ahead

After years of legal wrangling, a new Bonner Bridge is finally going to be built. A contractor is in place, equipment and materiel are being scheduled and the first survey sticks have been put into the ground.   And for Pablo Hernandez, NCDOT Resident Engineer in Manteo, that idea is a little hard to get used to.
 

If there is an expert on the Bonner Bridge, it is Hernandez, the NCDOT engineer who oversees projects on Hatteras Island. “I did my first repair project on Bonner Bridge in two thousand and four,” he said. “Since then I’ve had various repair projects from concrete repair, to scour repair to painting.”

Read the story in the Outer Banks Sentinel.


N.C. Marine Patrol rescues duck hunter from Roanoke Sound

N.C. Marine Patrol officers rescued a duck hunter who was in the water in Roanoke Sound Wednesday afternoon, Jan. 27.

Marine Patrol Officer Justin Lott was towing a boat across the Washington Baum Bridge around 3:30 p.m., after leaving a meeting at the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries’ Manteo Office, when he looked over the water and saw a small skiff adrift with no one on board. About 150 yards away from the boat, a man was standing in waist-deep water.
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Celebration of Rich Baran's life is planned for Saturday

Friends of Hatteras Island waterman Rich Baran have planned to gather for a celebration of his life on Saturday, Jan. 30, from 5 until 7 p.m. at the Hatteras Village Civic Center. Everyone is invited and asked to bring a potluck dish to share and whatever they want to drink. 
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UPDATE:
Friends still searching for missing Frisco hunter

Friends of missing Hatteras Island waterman Rich Baran were out in force in their boats again today searching for a trace of the 47-year-old Frisco man who disappeared while on a hunting trip by himself Saturday afternoon in the Hatteras Inlet area.

Rom Whitaker, captain of the charter boat Release and a friend of Baran's, said there were quite a few boats out again today as there have been every day since he went missing.
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UPDATE:
USCG ends search for missing hunter, but locals still looking

The U.S. Coast Guard suspended it search this afternoon for a missing Frisco hunter, but local watermen were still searching in and around Hatteras Inlet.

"We're still hoping to find something," said Hatteras charter boat captain, Rom Whitaker, who was out searching this morning with is two sons, Rom Jr. and Cameron.
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Coast Guard, locals search for missing Frisco hunter


This morning, the Coast Guard, the Hatteras Island Rescue Squad, and many islanders in their skiffs were out in the Pamlico Sound searching for Richard Baran, 47, of Frisco who went missing on a hunting trip yesterday. 
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Commissioners set first Hatteras town hall meeting for Feb. 4

The Dare County Board of Commissioners will host a town hall meeting on Thursday, Feb. 4,at 6:30 p.m. at the Fessenden Center in Buxton.
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Public turnout is low for town hall on freezing night


Freezing temperatures may have put a chill on public turnout at the Dare County Board of Commissioner’s second annual town hall meeting in Manteo on Tuesday evening, when more county employees were in attendance than members of the community.
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Coast Guard medevacs man off boat near Oregon Inlet

The Coast Guard medevaced a 22-year-old man Tuesday off a fishing vessel near Oregon Inlet. Sector North Carolina watchstanders received a call at 5:30 a.m. that a crew member aboard the 43-foot fishing vessel Sea Dog had fallen and sustained an injury to his ear.
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UPDATE:  A windy, wet weekend for Hatteras and Ocracoke

Some mainland areas west of Hatteras and Ocracoke were being pummeled with light sleet, freezing rain, and even some snow this morning, but as of mid-day, the islands hadn't seen even a drop of rain.

The rain will move in this afternoon, however, and the winds will pick up to gale force, threatening both Hatteras and Ocracoke with high surf and possible beach erosion and minor coastal flooding until Sunday morning -- with flooding possible on both the oceanside and soundside of the islands.
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UPDATED:
Outer Banks should be spared worst of strong, wintry northeaster


It looks as if the Outer Banks will be spared the ice and snow that is forecast for north and west of the area from tomorrow into Sunday morning as a major winter storm deepens just off the North Carolina coast and moves quickly northeast.

However, according to the National Weather Service in Newport/Morehead City, N.C., the Outer Banks could get walloped with heavy rains, gusty winds and minor to moderate beach erosion and coastal flooding on both the oceanside and soundside of the islands. 
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For Dare Narcotics Task Force, heroin is the top challenge

Law enforcement officials on the frontlines of the fight against illegal drug trafficking in Dare County say the one thing that changes over time is the illicit drug of choice. And right now, that is heroin.

When Dare County Sheriff Doug Doughtie worked in Ahoskie back in the early '80s, that drug was crack cocaine and users “would do anything to get it” — from stealing to prostitution. Three decades later, he added, “it’s the same thing, [but] a different drug.”

“Since ’99, when I first started in the drug world, it’s just been a revolving door of what’s going to be popular,” said Captain Kevin Duprey, who oversees the Dare County Narcotics Task Force. “You go from heroin being the top, to cocaine being the top, to prescription meds. Now that loop has come back to heroin.”

Read the story by Mark Jurkowitz in The Outer Banks Sentinel.


Commissioners approve economic development proposal

The Dare County Board of Commissioners last night approved spending $58,640 on an Economic Diversification Strategic Plan proposed by North Carolina State University's Office of Outreach and Engagement. 
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Skateboarders invited to meeting on new Buxton skate park

A new skate park is on the horizon for Hatteras Island -- replacing the now-removed skate park that was behind the Fessenden Center in Buxton -- and the public’s help is needed to craft a design that will best suit island boarders.

A public meeting is planned for Wednesday, Jan. 27, at 7 p.m. at the Fessenden Center to give local residents the opportunity to voice their opinions on what the skate park should entail and to learn more about the methodology for the upcoming project.
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UPDATE: Gypsy moth spraying will affect smaller area

The North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services' Plant Industry Division still plans to spray an area this spring in Buxton that is heavily invested with gypsy moths, but said this week that, because of budget constraints, the area will be smaller.

At one point in the fall, the division had said it would treat about 3,000 acres in Buxton and nearby Frisco. This week, Chris Elder, gypsy moth program manager in the Plant Industry Division, said the area that will be sprayed has been reduced to 1,478 acres.
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Business, government drone operators in N.C. now need permits

As drones become more common in American households and businesses, the N.C. Department of Transportation is working to help promote safety on the air and on the ground by educating drone operators in the state. Drones, also called Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), offer a wide variety of uses – from tech-loving hobbyists to professional photographers, university researchers, agricultural operations and government organizations.

Starting this month, all government and commercial UAS operators must obtain a permit from NCDOT’s Division of Aviation.
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UPDATE:  Seashore officials seek information about suspicious fire

Cape Hatteras National Seashore law enforcement staff are investigating a suspicious fire on seashore property.  On Tuesday, Jan. 12, Nags Head and Roanoke Island fire departments extinguished a human-caused fire south of Whalebone Junction and on the east side of Highway 12.
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Wildfire south of Whalebone Junction under control


On Tuesday evening, Jan. 12, a small wildland fire burned approximately 3/4 of an acre south of Whalebone Junction on Cape Hatteras National Seashore between Highway 12 and the power transmission corridor in south Nags Head. 
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The year's first hurricane is an early bird

The tropical Atlantic is suddenly full of surprises for meteorologists this month.

First, the National Hurricane Center announced late yesterday afternoon that a subtropical storm, named Alex, had formed in the eastern Atlantic near the Azores islands.
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Hatteras Inlet dredging finished, but problems persist

With a dredging project just completed in Hatteras Inlet, conditions that have clogged the channel since the summer have been considerably improved.

“I’ve talked to my captains and they’re pretty comfortable right now,” Jed Dixon, deputy Director of the state Ferry Division, said at Monday’s meeting of the Dare County Oregon Inlet and Waterways Commission. “As long as we’ve got the water there, we’re good to go.”

But Hatteras waterman and commission member Ernie Foster told Dixon that transiting might be fine now for the ferries, but that’s not the case for other boats.
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NOAA releases expansion proposal for Monitor National Marine Sanctuary

Following several years of scientific and archaeological assessment and public input, NOAA last week announced plans to consider possible expansion of Monitor National Marine Sanctuary off the North Carolina coast. NOAA says that the proposed expansion would protect a collection of historically significant shipwrecks including vessels sunk during World War II’s Battle of the Atlantic.

NOAA will host public meetings in February, and the public is invited to submit comments to the agency on the proposed expansion through March 18. 
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Dare County offers free radon testing kits

The Dare County Department of Health & Human Services advises that as the turning of the seasons brings colder weather to North Carolina and families close windows to keep warm, it is an excellent time to make plans for radon testing in your home.

The county Department of Health & Human Services is partnering with the North Carolina Radon program to provide free short-term radon test kits in recognition of National Radon Action Month. 
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Hyde commissioners approve July 3 fireworks for Ocracoke

With little fanfare, the Hyde County commissioners Monday night voted unanimously to approve a fireworks display July 3 on Ocracoke.

Bill Rich, Hyde County manager, said the Occupancy Tax Board on Dec. 22 approved the $20,000 expenditure for an 18-minute display. Money for the show will come out of occupancy tax funds.  The county will be the contracting organization and insurance certificate holder. 
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Dare County Commissioners pass feral cat ordinance

The Dare County Board of Commissioners at yesterday's meeting passed an ordinance to address the issue of feral cats in unincorporated areas of the county. The board members unanimously passed most of a draft ordinance, presented by county manager and attorney Robert Outten.

The board has received numerous complaints from residents about feral cats that are a nuisance on their property.  The Dare County Sheriff's Office also receives complaints from residents about the cats or caretakers of the cats coming onto their property to feed the cats without permission and other issues. 
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Three feral cats found dead in Avon, more are missing

The Dare County Sheriff's Office is investigating a case of three cats from a feral colony in Avon that were found dead in a dumpster last week.

Sgt. Doug Oberbeck, who is handling the case, said that the manager of a laundry facility in Avon owned by Outer Beaches Realty reported at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 30, that he had found three dead cats in a dumpster on the property. 
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BOC Chairman discusses county issues on radio show...WITH AUDIO

Bob Woodard, chairman of the Dare County Board of Commissioners talked about county issues on Sunday, Jan. 3, on the Radio Hatteras Interview show, "To the Point," hosted by Island Free Press editor Irene Nolan.

Woodard of  Kill Devil Hills was elected to the county board in 2012.  In December 2014 after Republicans took control of the board in the November general election, Woodard was elected chairman.  He was re-elected chairman last month. In this interview, he discusses a number of county issues, especially those of interest to Hatteras Island.
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The race is on for three of four Dare Board of Commissioner seats

Candidate filing for the March 15 primary election ended on Monday, Dec . 21, and three of the four seats on the Dare County Board of Commissioners will be contested in the primary or general election.
The only race that will be uncontested is for the District 4 seat, which includes all of Hatteras Island.  Incumbent commissioner Allen Burrus has announced he will not seek re-election for health reasons. 
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Preliminary work is underway on new interim Pea Island bridge

Drivers on Highway 12 in Dare County are beginning to see activity at the site of the temporary Pea Island bridge over New Inlet.

The N.C. Department of Transportation awarded a $14.3 million contract to T.A. Loving Co. of Goldsboro in November for the construction of a new interim bridge made out of concrete that will replace the existing metal temporary bridge constructed in 2011 following Hurricane Irene. 
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