Local News

New Island off of Cape Point Creating a National Stir

The island that has surfaced off of Cape Point in the last couple months has become a media sensation.

First noticed by local and visiting fishermen in the spring, and brought to national attention last week by an article in the Virginia Pilot, the island has since been featured in US News and World Report, Travel and Leisure, the Raleigh-based News and Observer, Fox News Travel, and a world of other print and online publications.  
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Buxton Beach Nourishment Project is Underway

The Buxton Beach Nourishment project has begun, with crews working along the shoreline at a starting point that’s roughly 1,000 feet north of the town’s border.

The project, which was schedule to begin on June 17, had to be postponed due to inclement weather and high winds over the weekend. Now that it’s officially underway, it will take roughly 90 days to complete the 2.9 mile stretch of beach that is slated to be widened.  
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Celebrations, Fireworks Planned in Hatteras and Ocracoke for Fourth of July

Visitors to Hatteras and Ocracoke islands over the Independence Day weekend will be treated to two fireworks shows over the local waters, in addition to an array of corresponding events.

Ocracoke Island will have their fireworks display on Monday, July 3, while Avon will have their fireworks show the following night on Tuesday, July 4. Both communities will also host a number of activities and events along with the show.  
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Dare County Adopts Budget for Fiscal Year 2018

The Dare County Board of Commissioners adopted its budget for fiscal year 2018 that will maintain county services and address needs that are long overdue.

The General Fund budget for next year is 6.28% ($6,537,761) more than the current year budget.  Most of this increase (79%) is because of 7 pressing items, several of which have been deferred for many years. Driving this increase are expenditures for public safety, schools, county employees, and preserving access through our inlets. 
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UPDATE:  Buxton Beach Nourishment Rescheduled Due to Rough Seas

Due to rough seas, pumping for the Buxton beach nourishment project did not begin on Saturday, June 17. Weeks Marine reports pumping is now estimated to begin midweek, weather permitting.

Buxton Beach Nourishment Scheduled to Begin on June 17

At the pre-construction meeting on Wednesday, June 14, Weeks Marine announced that the pumping of sand for the Buxton beach nourishment project is now estimated to begin on Saturday, June 17, 2017.

Representatives from the company reported that resources are now in place for the start of the project. An 8,000 foot subline (30 inch steel pipe) was submerged toward the borrow area on Sunday, June 11. The dredge C. R. McCaskill was towed towards Buxton on June 13 and is currently positioned offshore of the project area. 
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Updates on the Bonner Bridge; Daytime Lane Closures Expected to End for Summer Season

Dare County released a video update on the progress of the new Bonner Bridge replacement project on Friday, June 16.

Per the latest update, several new milestones have been reached in recent weeks. On the north end of the bridge, 10 spans of the bridge’s decking have been installed and poured with concrete, with crews steadily making their way south through the marshes and shallow waters to the bridge’s center.
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Short Term Dredging is Completed, but Connecting Channel isn’t Out of Hot Water Yet

The short term dredging of the Connecting Channel has paved the way for mariners to travel through Hatteras Inlet, but plans need to be made to keep the channel open in the weeks and months to come.

This was the overlying message at the Dare County Waterways Commission, which was held on June 12 at the Fessenden Center in Buxton.
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Community Foundation Awards $16,100 in Hatteras Island Scholarships
Five graduating seniors from Cape Hatteras Secondary School are on their way to achieving academic dreams, thanks to donors with the Outer Banks Community Foundation.
On the last day of May in 2017, the Community Foundation awarded seven academic scholarships to five distinguished seniors, totaling $16,100 in funds. 
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Improvements Coming to 11 NC Airports

Improvements are on the way for 11 airports across North Carolina following the approval of $35.4 million in state funding for aviation projects by the N.C. Board of Transportation. In addition to enhancing airport safety, these upgrades will support and help generate more economic activity and tourism.  
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Cape Hatteras Secondary School Graduation Held on June 10...WITH SLIDE SHOW AND VIDEO

45 seniors at Cape Hatteras Secondary School received their diplomas at a graduation ceremony held on Saturday, June 10.

A collection of both friends and family joined the graduates in The William P. Dillon Memorial Gymnasium on a warm and sunny evening to celebrate the happy occasion.
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Property Tax Rate Increase Proposed for Dare County
A proposed 4-cent increase in Dare County’s property tax rate is necessary to catch up with long unmet needs, county officials say, but the fiscal year 2018 budget proposal also reflects how well the county has recovered from the recession. 
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Hyde commissioners raise occupancy tax rate to 5 percent

The Hyde County commissioners last night unanimously approved raising the Occupancy tax to 5 percent effective Jan. 1

This 2 percent will be in addition to the 3 percent tax currently levied on all lodging rentals on Ocracoke–on top of the 6.75 percent sales tax to all hotel room and rental house fees. 
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UPDATE:  Body of Missing Swimmer Found

At 5:24 am this morning, Wednesday, June 7, 2017, the body of a teenage male was found by National Park Service staff on the beach just east of off-road vehicle ramp 48 in Frisco, North Carolina. The body has been identified as a 17-year-old* from Thailand who was reported missing yesterday, June 6, 2017, after his boogie board was found washed up on shore near off-road vehicle ramp 49 in Frisco. 
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Search Underway for Missing Swimmer off Frisco Beach

Coast Guard crews and Hatteras Island Rescue personnel are searching for a missing man off Frisco Beach near Ramp 49, which was reported this afternoon.

At 1:06 p.m. today, a teenage male swimmer from Thailand was reported missing off the beaches at Cape Hatteras National Seashore in Frisco, North Carolina. The individual's boogie board was found washed up on shore near off road vehicle ramp 49.  Read more

Island historian, Earl O’Neal Jr.: 1929-2017

Island historian and raconteur Earl O’Neal Jr., 87, died May 26 in the McCall Hospice House, Simpsonville, S.C.

A memorial service is scheduled for 2 p.m. June 24 in the Ocracoke United Methodist Church.  
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Contract Awarded for Construction of State's First Passenger Ferry

Passenger ferry service between Hatteras and Ocracoke Village is a major step closer to reality this week. On Tuesday, the N.C. Department of Transportation awarded a $4.15 million contract to Armstrong Marine Inc. of Port Angeles, Washington, for construction of a 98-passenger catamaran-style ferry. The vessel will be built at Armstrong Marine's eastern shipyard in Swansboro, North Carolina. 
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Bag Ban Repeal, Marine Fisheries Commission Requirements make an appearance in House Bill 56

House bill 56, which was originally filed in February and which is now in its fourth edition, was amended this week to include the repeal of the plastic bag ban on the Outer Banks that was initiated in 2009.

The plastic bag ban was spearheaded by then Senate President Pro Tem Marc Basnight as a means of cutting down on litter along the coastline as well as sea turtle deaths. The 2009 ban required stores to use paper bags, and also offer a $.05 refund or credit to shoppers who bring their own bags. 
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Bill That Includes the Repeal of the Outer Banks’ Plastic Bag Ban Approved by N.C. Senate

A Senate bill focused on environmental deregulation changes, which includes the repeal of a 2009 law that bans the use of plastic shopping bags by Outer Banks retailers, was approved on Monday night by the N.C. Senate in a 31-17 vote. The bill now moves on to the House.
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Origins of Navy Garbage Disks Revealed

Mysterious garbage-filled plastic disks that washed up on northern Outer Banks beaches over the recent Mother’s Day weekend had been thrown overboard by sailors on a Navy ship, the U.S. Navy said in a statement issued Thursday. 
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Navy Unsure Why Trashy Disks Washed Up

The U.S Navy is investigating how more than three dozen clear plastic-coated disks of compressed trash, apparently from one or more naval vessels, washed up on northern Outer Banks beaches in recent weeks.

Beachcombers were initially baffled about the source of the large – and smelly – disks, but conveniently, one of them contained a document clearly visible among the trash with a seal that read, “Commander Naval Surface Force Atlantic.”
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Ocracoke Lands a #3 Spot on the 2017 “Best Beaches” List

After being retired for a few years following a Number #1 designation as the Best Beach in America in 2007, Ocracoke Island has once again risen to the top of the famed Dr. Beach list in 2017, earning a #3 spot.

The list has become a nationally recognized guideline of the best beaches in the country, and is compiled every year by Florida International University professor Stephen Leatherman, who is also more commonly known as “Dr. Beach.”

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NOAA Predicts Another Above-Normal Hurricane Season for 2017

Forecasters at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center say the Atlantic could see another above-normal hurricane season this year. This announcement was made at a May 25 news conference held at their weather and climate prediction headquarters in College Park, Maryland. 
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