Local News
     

Coast Guard proposes new regulation at Oregon Inlet, but won't restrict boat traffic for now

Mariners will be not be stopped by the U.S. Coast Guard from transiting Oregon Inlet under a new navigation regulation, unless conditions become hazardous enough to justify issuing a notice to mariners. 

Exacerbated by a recent northeaster, even alternate channels under the Herbert C. Bonner Bridge are barely navigable because of sand build-up, but the Coast Guard is not, for now, restricting boat traffic, said Lt. Lane Monroe with Coast Guard Sector North Carolina.
 
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NCDOT crews are busy moving sand on Pea Island

North Carolina Department of Transportation crews have been busy on Pea Island since last week both repairing damage to dunes caused by last week's northeaster and building a dune berm to reduce ocean overwash on Highway 12 at the temporary bridge at the inlet, opened by Hurricane Irene in 2011.
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Dare County sets holiday trash collection schedule

Dare County has announced its recycling center hours and the holiday trash collection schedule for the Christmas and New Year's holiday weeks.  
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NCDOT gets fourth time extension, no end in sight to negotiations

It's looking extremely unlikely that the parties involved in negotiating a settlement to a long legal battle over replacing the aging Herbert C. Bonner Bridge over Oregon Inlet will reach an agreement before the end of the year.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration  asked for and have received the fourth extension of the time in which they can ask the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond, Va., for a rehearing of an August ruling in a case brought by the Southern Environmental Law Center, on behalf of its clients, to stop the planned bridge replacement.

The request for an extension was filed on Friday, Dec. 12, and was granted by the court yesterday. The new deadline to ask for a rehearing is Thursday, Jan. 16.
 
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Weekend coastal low not looking quite as strong

You heard it right.  The Outer Banks is in for another coastal low pressure system this weekend, probably Saturday night into Sunday.

However, as of late Tuesday afternoon, meteorologists at the National Weather Service office in Newport, N.C., were beginning to downgrade the low's impact.

"It's not looking quite as strong," said forecaster John Elardo. " Right now, I'd say minimal impacts,"  
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UPDATE: NCDOT says it's not responsible for damage at Buxton motel

The North Carolina Department of Transportation has answered the claims of Dave and Carol Dawson, owners of Cape Hatteras Motel in Buxton, in a legal action the couple filed on Nov. 10.

In its six-page response, dated Dec. 10, special deputy attorney general Melody R. Hairston answered the charges filed against DOT under the state's Tort Claims Act with denials, made a motion to dismiss the case, and presented a defense that includes contributory negligence by the motel owners.  
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Cape Hatteras Motel owners file tort claim against NCDOT


Dave and Carol Dawson, owners of the Cape Hatteras Motel in north Buxton, have filed a tort claim against the North Carolina Department of Transportation that asks for $1 million in damages.

The legal action was filed with the North Carolina Industrial Commission, which is charged under the state's Tort Claims Act with acting as a court to hear and determine claims filed against state agencies, such as NCDOT. The $1 million in damages that the Dawsons are asking for is the maximum amount available under the Tort Claims Act.  
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Summerfield pleads guilty, sentenced to 30 years

Before Nathan Summerfield pleaded guilty on Monday to second degree homicide and two kidnapping charges, he had planned to mount a defense based on his use of sleep medication the night he killed his former girlfriend two years ago during a July Fourth vacation on Hatteras Island.

Instead, Summerfield, 29, apologized to Lynn Jackenheimer’s family in Dare County Superior Court, as well as to his parents and son with Jackenheimer before being taken away to prison.

“This tragedy never would’ve occurred if it wasn’t for Ambien,” he said. “I admit responsibility for what happened (but) that does not diminish the pain and suffering of Lynn’s family.”
  
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Ocracoke's first gay wedding was ‘historical and hysterical’

Carmie Prete and Mickey Baker made Ocracoke and Hyde County history when they were married on Tuesday, Dec.2, in their home on Ocracoke Island by Hyde County Magistrate Gene Ballance.

They are the first gay couple to be legally married on the island and in the county. Marriage equality became legal in North Carolina on Oct. 10. “We decided after the mid-term elections to just do it,” Mickey said.
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Unattended boats cause problems in Ocracoke harbor

Another unattended, anchored sail boat in Silver Lake Harbor has become unmoored and is getting close to being aground near Silver Lake and Sarah Ellen Drive following the latest wind storm Wednesday, Dec. 8, that had gusts up to 50 mph. This is the third unattended boat to get loose since a storm Nov. 1.  
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UPDATE: Coastal storm still walloping Hatteras but highway stays open...WITH SLIDE SHOW

The coastal storm that has been torturing the Outer Banks since early Sunday morning brought more overwash at this morning's high tide, but Highway 12 has stayed open and all communications on Hatteras are back to normal -- as in texting, e-mailing, Facebook.

Today was cool and drizzly, but the wind has diminished.  The ocean, however, remains whipped into a fury, and sand and surging waves washed over the island again,  especially in north Buxton.  
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UPDATE: Coastal storm slams Hatteras, taking down communications...WITH SLIDE SHOW

Today was the day that a relatively minor coastal storm hit Hatteras with a major punch. The storm that started winding up early Sunday morning was not particularly remarkable -- north to northeast winds sustained at 30 to 40 mph with gusts to 50 and seas peaking at 15 to 17 feet.

However, this morning, as it moved past Hatteras, the storm sent the raging ocean cascading through the dunes and across Highway 12 from Cape Hatteras north. The surge eventually closed the highway and cut a fiber-optic cable, shutting down communications to and from Hatteras Island.  
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Coastal storm will bring nasty weather Sunday into Tuesday

A coastal low pressure will develop off the North Carolina coast on Sunday, drift to the south, and then re-intensify before it moves north and northeast Monday into Monday night.

Late on Saturday afternoon, The National Weather Service in Newport, N.C., issued a wind advisory for the Outer Banks, a gale warning for coastal waters, a high surf advisory, and a coastal flood advisory.
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Mid-Currituck bridge back on table in the state's 10-year transportation  plan

The on-again off-again Mid-Currituck Bridge proposal is back on the table, with its inclusion in the draft state transportation plan that was released on Thursday. 

But the U.S. 64 widening and bridge replacement project between Columbia and Manns Harbor did not make the cut.
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UPDATE: Woodard, Overman elected to board leadership positions

The Dare County Board of Commissioners elected new leaders today, and, as expected, the Democrats are out and the Republicans are in.

Republican Bob Woodard, two years into his first term on the board, is the new chairman and vice-chairman is Wally Overman, also a Republican, who was appointed last year to fill the unexpired term of the late Richard Johnson and then elected last month for the final two years of the term.  
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Woodard would accept board chairmanship, says TowneBank not a factor


Dare County Commissioner Bob Woodard, a Republican midway through his first term, is widely predicted to be the next chairman of the board, which is now under GOP control for the first time since the mid-1980s.

However, Woodard's employment with TowneBank insurance has raised speculations about whether his employer would allow him to serve in light of controversies with other employees holding public office in Virginia.

“I've been very fortunate that both my former and current employers have been very into supporting [its workers] giving back to the community,” said Woodard. “I have discussed the possibility of serving as chairman with my superiors, and they are fine with it.
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Atlantic hurricane season stays quiet as predicted

The Atlantic hurricane season officially ended November 30, and will be remembered as a relatively quiet season as was predicted. Still, the season afforded NOAA scientists with opportunities to produce new forecast products, showcase successful modeling advancements, and conduct research to benefit future forecasts.  
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UPDATE: No cause for Outer Beaches fire has been identified yet

Dare County fire marshal Steve Kovacs said today that he and the Dare County Sheriff's Office are still investigating the fire that extensively damaged the main office of Outer Beaches Realty in Avon in the early morning hours of last Tuesday, Nov. 18. Meanwhile, Outer Beaches operations manager Bud Smock said the company has all essential services back and running.

"We're up and running as well as we can be," Smock said today. "It's business as usual."  
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Outer Beaches Avon office extensively damaged by fire

The Outer Beaches Realty main office on Highway 12 in Avon was extensively damaged today by an early morning, three-alarm fire. Kenny Brite, assistant chief of the Avon Volunteer Fire Department, said that the fire was reported at 12:12 a.m. The report was that the back of the building was on fire.

Fire departments from Avon, Buxton, Hatteras, and Frisco responded, along with the Hatteras Island Rescue Squad, Dare County Emergency Medical Services, the Sheriff's Office, Cape Hatteras Electric Cooperative, Dare County Water Department, and the county fire marshal.  
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UPDATE:  Lee Robinson General Store is back in business

"We're going to pick up and move on," Belinda Willis said resolutely this morning, the day after a fire damaged the exterior of the business she and her husband, Virgil, own in Hatteras village, Lee Robinson General Store.

"Virgil and I are ready to open up," she said, adding that they could be back in business as early as Wednesday. 
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Fire damages Lee Robinson General Store....WITH SLIDE SHOW

A late afternoon fire today damaged Lee Robinson General Store in Hatteras village.

The fire was called in at 4:07 p.m. and appeared to be under control and mostly extinguished about 4:30.

The store is owned by Belinda and Virgil Willis and is closed on Sunday.  The Willises were at their home next door to the business when the fire broke out.  
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House-moving day on Ocracoke....WITH SLIDE SHOW

It’s moving day on Ocracoke.  House-moving day, that is.

Aaron and Becky Gallaher this year were given a historic home along Creek Road with the proviso that they’d move it to another island location.

After they prepared the house by dismantling an older section of it, the move began early on Wednesday morning after Bray’s House Moving of Camden rolled it onto the trailer bed, Aaron said.
  
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Going Public: Rodanthe beach access nears completion

With no public beach access and cars parked randomly along the side of the road, summer in the tri-villages of Rodanthe, Waves, and Salvo can be a traffic ordeal as visitors try to find their way to some of the best beaches on the Outer Banks.

With the planned completion of the Dare County’s beach access project in Rodanthe by the end of the year, parking on the north end of the area should improve, although the Rodanthe access remains the only public beach access among the three towns.  
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Ferry crew is honored for its heroism

A North Carolina ferry crew was honored on Monday with the Governor's Award for Excellence in Safety and Heroism for the September 2013 rescue of two people in rough seas off of Ocracoke Island. The crew received the award in an afternoon ceremony at the North Carolina Museum of History in Raleigh.  
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NCDOT says privatizing some road work will improve service on Hatteras, Ocracoke

An effort to look at ways to privatize some state road maintenance and improvements was announced this month by the state Department of Transportation just a week after an invitation for bids was published seeking contractors to do maintenance work on Highway 12 on Hatteras and Ocracoke islands.

But the two are not directly related, said Sterling Baker, NCDOT division maintenance engineer. Baker said that private contractors would be able to combine a number of tasks in one contract and help replace manpower on the islands lost from budget tightening.  
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UPDATE: Elevating Highway 12 at temporary Pea Island bridge is underway

The North Carolina Department of Transportation started a project this morning --  Monday, Nov. 11 -- designed to reduce the possibility of overwash and standing water on Highway 12  just north and south of the temporary bridge on Pea Island.

The project, which involves raising and leveling the elevation of the road, is scheduled to be complete by the end of the month, weather permitting.
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DOT plans to raise road at temporary bridge and build a berm

The North Carolina Department of Transportation plans to raise the roadbed on Highway 12 both north and south of the temporary bridge on Pea Island to help with continual ocean overwash in the area and continues to work with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to build a berm on the oceanside of the south approach.
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New Inlet sound access on Pea Island Refuge reopens to public

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has recently reopened the public access to the Pamlico Sound at New Inlet in the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge.

The access has been closed since last winter when the North Carolina Department of Transportation began construction of a permanent bridge at the inlet cut by Hurricane Irene in the area in 2011.  
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Cape Hatteras students honor island veterans...WITH SLIDE SHOW

Cape Hatteras Secondary School students honored Hatteras Island's veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces today with a special breakfast and assembly at the school. More than 40 island veterans, along with family members, attended the Veterans Day event.
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Hatteras-Ocracoke route switches to winter schedule

Off-season has come to the Outer Banks, and with it comes the switchover to the winter schedule on the North Carolina Ferry System's Hatteras-Ocracoke route. The schedule switch will take place Tuesday, Nov. 11, with hourly departures for most of the day between 4:30 a.m. and 12:30 a.m. every day.
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