Local News
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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Ocean overwash at Pea Island bring may hang around for a few days

Motorists on Pea Island this afternoon were reporting ocean overwash on the south end of the temporary bridge at Pea Island Inlet, and the National Weather Service at Newport says overwash will be possible at high tides on Thursday and Friday also.

The Weather Service says that tides have been running about a foot above normal this week with a northeast wind and an east swell from very distant Hurricane Eduoard. 
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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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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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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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Outer Banks Bluegrass Festival features all-star roster of performers

Bluegrass is alive and well in North Carolina, with three events in as many weeks that will provide top-notch entertainment to bluegrass lovers.  The first of these, the Outer Banks Bluegrass Festival, will be held from Thursday, Sept. 25, through Sunday, Sept. 28h in Manteo.

The festival features an all-star roster of bluegrass greats, including Rhonda Vincent and the Rage, Blue Highway, Ricky Skaggs, Dailey and Vincent, and dozens of other local, regional, and national bluegrass and newgrass bands.
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Four-day bluegrass block party planned for Oct. 9-12 in Hatteras village

Every acoustic music fan knows that nothing compliments good bluegrass, Irish, Old Time and American Roots music like the sun and the sea, but it took a happy accident to bring some of the best musical talent on the East Coast to sleepy little Hatteras village at the (almost) very end of North Carolina’s Outer Banks.

On Columbus Day weekend -- from Thursday, Oct. 9, through Sunday, Oct. 12 -- nine bluegrass, roots and Irish bands will perform over four days at the Hatteras Civic Center during “Hatterasity! A Bluegrass Block Party.”  
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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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Cedar Island-Ocracoke ferry schedule adjusted for two weeks

The North Carolina Department of Transportation Ferry Division is making an adjustment to the schedule of the Cedar Island-Ocracoke route for the final two weeks of the summer season because of a mechanical problem with the MV Swan Quarter. 
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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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Are passenger ferries in Ocracoke's future?

“It would take a culture change,” said North Carolina Department of Transportation ferry division director Ed Goodwin.

Goodwin has requested that the ferry division do a feasibility study on passenger-only ferries. These would be smaller and faster than the lumbering boats we have now, and would possibly carry visitors all the way from the Hatteras ferry landing to the ferry docks in Silver Lake harbor on Ocracoke.

"We've got the parking space [at the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum] and the ferry docks in Silver Lake," he said. Goodwin thinks the feasibility study would show good feasibility with those two necessities already in place.

“We could put 150 people on a fast ferry and put them in Silver Lake where they don’t need a car,” he said, referring to Ocracoke Village’s walkability, not to mention the golf carts, scooters, and bikes ready to rent.

Goodwin thinks many visitors would choose to leave their cars behind on Hatteras if they could get to Ocracoke faster. Facing a three-hour wait to take your vehicle over on a slow boat versus a 40-minute ride to the village that you can board right away – which would you choose?

Read the Story in The Ocracoke Current.

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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Coast Guard rescues tangled sea turtle in Oregon Inlet

Members from the U.S. Coast Guard and National Park Service rescued a loggerhead sea turtle Sunday in Oregon Inlet. Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector North Carolina in Wilmington received word from a good Samaritan boater the turtle was tangled in a line and dragging a plastic bucket in the vicinity of Bonner Bridge.  
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Day at the Docks 2014 will be Sept. 20 at the Hatteras waterfront

The annual Day at the Docks, a celebration of Hatteras Island watermen, will start with a roundtable discussion on Thursday evening, Sept. 18, and conclude with events from early morning into the evening on Saturday, Sept. 20, in Hatteras village.
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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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Rough shorebreak and rip currents forecast as Cristobal passes offshore

Beachgoers on all of the Outer Banks this week are being warned to expect rough breaking waves and rip currents as Tropical Storm Cristobal passes well offshore Tuesday night into Wednesday.

The rip current risk is high on Hatteras and Ocracoke beaches today, and that is expected to continue into mid-week, said Laura Patano, forecaster with the National Weather Service in Newport, N.C.

Today's elevated risk is being caused by gusty northeast winds.  The winds, Patano said, will be diminishing gradually into Wednesday.  
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Disturbance in the Caribbean may become Cristobal

Forecasters are taking a careful look tonight at  Invest 96L, a disturbance that is moving through the Caribbean Sea and could well become a tropical depression or named storm over the weekend. If it does, the storm would be named Cristobal, and its path is anything but certain tonight.  
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Disputed resolution on immigration splits Dare County board

Much of the agenda at Monday night’s Dare County Board of Commissioners meeting was routine, but one item evoked some strong emotions during public comments.

At the end of the Aug. 4 board meeting, Commissioner Wally Overman introduced a resolution concerning the “resettling of illegal immigrants” and its impacts on Dare County. The board agreed to consider it at the Aug. 18 meeting.

Overman’s resolution cited the failure of the federal government to control illegal immigration, describing the recent wave from Central American countries as “unprecedented.”

Read about it in The Outer Banks Voice.

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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State Budget Update: Now you see it... now you don't

Like all state budget bills, what’s not in the final deal is often just as important as what is. In the case of the 2014 legislative session, the budget passed last week has some significant no-shows.
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Sheriff's Office needs help identifying suspects in school break-in

The Dare County Sheriff's Office is asking the public's help in identifying suspects in a breaking and entering incident at Cape Hatteras Secondary School in Buxton on the night of Wednesday, Aug. 6.
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UPDATE: Man's death in Frisco ruled accidental drowning

The death of Ronald Jessen, 57, of Gloucester, Va., has been ruled an accidental drowning by the medical examiner pending the results of toxicology reports, according to Sgt. Doug Oberbeck of the Dare County Sheriff's Office.

Jessen was reported missing from the Frisco Woods Campground by a friend on Saturday night, Aug. 9. His body was found by passersby on Monday morning, Aug. 11, in the water near the soundside campground.

"Based on the circumstances, there's nothing to lead anyone to believe that was play was involved," Oberbeck said.

Body of man reported missing is found in Frisco

The body of a man who was reported missing from the Frisco Woods Campground on Saturday, Aug. 9, was found this morning in the water near the soundside campground.

The man was identified by the Dare County Sheriff's Office as Ronald Jessen, 57, of Gloucester, Va.  
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NCDOT Ferry Division embarks on late summer photo contest

Shutterbugs unite! NCDOT's Ferry Division is inviting photographers of all skill levels to take part in a late summer photography contest highlighting the vital connection between life in Eastern North Carolina and the North Carolina Ferry System.  The contest began Aug. 5 and will continue through Oct. 10.  
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Visitor dies after ocean rescue in Frisco

A 44-year-old visitor to the Cape Hatteras National Seashore died on Thursday, Aug. 7, a day after he was rescued from the ocean near Ramp 49 in Frisco.

The National Park Service confirmed the man's identity as Stuart Hooper, 44, of Cincinnati, Ohio.  
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NOAA increases the odds that we'll have a below-normal hurricane season

Forecasters with NOAA's Climate Prediction Center raised the likelihood for a below-normal season in today’s update to the Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook.

The update predicts a 70 percent chance of a below-normal season, a 25 percent chance of a near-normal season and only a five percent chance of an above-normal season. The probabilities in the initial outlook issued on May 22 were 50 percent, 40 percent and 10 percent, respectively.
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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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Ferry tolling issue still unresolved as legislature nears adjournment

The skirmishes over tolling free ferries and raising tolls on the others are likely to be with us into next year. The North Carolina General Assembly is expected to conclude its lengthy budget negotiations this week without making changes to legislation passed last year that opens the door for the changes to tolls.
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Canadian visitor drowns off Salvo

A 51-year old French Canadian drowned off Salvo Monday, July 28, around 1:30 p.m. Cape Hatteras National Seashore acting chief ranger Ben McKay reported that the man was snorkeling 30 yards offshore. He waved for help but was next seen face-down.  
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DOT's new plan for funding projects makes it hard for rural areas to compete

Citizens who want to understand what projects the state Department of Transportation is proposing to fund or not fund under its new Strategic Mobility Formula might need to first hone their mastery of puzzles and mazes.   

What residents of northeastern North Carolina may miss in NCDOT’s unfathomable document posted online for review is that most – if not all - of the proposed transportation projects in Highway Division One that includes Dare, Hyde, and Currituck counties,  rank low in priority – including the Mid-Currituck Bridge, the Alligator River bridge and widening US. 64 - and that the division’s guaranteed dollars are a sliver of its prior funding.  
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Citizens invited to comment on next step in new transportation law implementation

Citizens are encouraged to help North Carolina take the next step forward to implement the Strategic Transportation Investments law. STI overhauls the way the state funds transportation improvements, allowing the North Carolina Department of Transportation to make more efficient use of its existing revenues to fund more investments that improve the state’s transportation infrastructure, create jobs and help boost the economy.

Two public meetings are planned as part of a 30-day public comment period for Division One, which includes Dare and Hyde counties.
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