Local News
     
Budget proposal includes provision that could speed up bridge replacement

The North Carolina General Assembly's final proposed budget, which was made public last night, includes a provision that would allow the governor to bypass some state environmental laws and potentially speed up the replacement of the aging Herbert C. Bonner Bridge over Oregon Inlet.  
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UPDATE:  Dare announces final dates for debris pickup

Debris removal for the unincorporated areas of Dare County has been completed in Hatteras village, Frisco, Buxton, Avon, Wanchese, and Skyco. Residents in these areas are asked to not put anything else on the roadside.

Residents of Rodanthe, Waves, Salvo, Colington, Manteo (outside the Town of Manteo), Manns Harbor, East Lake and Stumpy Point are asked to place all items on the side of the road no later than Tuesday, Aug. 5.  This will be the final pick up.

For more information, call Dare County Public Works at 252-475-5880 or 252-475-5881.


Hurricane debris removal still underway on Hatteras, Ocracoke

The removal of debris in unincorporated Dare County is moving forward.  So is chipping of yard debris on Ocracoke, where it will take a couple more weeks to finish the island.  
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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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Coast Guard medevacs man from fishing boat in Pamlico Sound

The U.S. Coast Guard medevaced a man early this morning from a fishing boat in Pamlico Sound. Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector North Carolina in Wilmington received a call via VHF-FM radio from the operator of the 70-foot fishing boat, Capt. Ryan, at about 11:20 p.m. Monday reporting an 18-year-old male crew member collapsed and experienced a seizure.
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Pea Island Refuge is a hub of Highway 12 activity this summer

Summer has always been an extremely active time for Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge.

Nesting shorebirds scrape their shallow nests in the sand. Sea turtles lumber ashore at night and dig nesting holes.  Literally thousands of visitors enjoy the natural-appearing beach and North Pond Wildlife Trail.  They come to fish, observe wildlife, paddle, or simply to walk on a beautiful and peaceful beach in the sunshine.  

This summer has all this wildlife and visitor activity -- and much more.  
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UPDATE: Nourishment project gets underway as beachgoers watch

Visitors on the beach in northern Rodanthe -- even those who are used to seeing vehicles on the sand -- were probably startled to see this vehicle working in the surf on Monday, July 14.

However, no need to worry.  It was just another CRAB on the beach.  
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Contract awarded for beach nourishment work on Highway 12 near Rodanthe

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has awarded a $20.3 million contract to Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Co., LLC of Oak Brook, Ill. for the beach nourishment project north of Rodanthe on Hatteras Island to protect this vulnerable stretch of Highway 12. The Corps of Engineers is administering the contract for the N.C. Department of Transportation.

The contractor will use two dredges to expedite the project, which is expected to be completed around mid-September, weather permitting.  
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Help with storm clean-up and repairs now available

The Dare County Department of Health and Human Services is working with local volunteer groups to assist those recovering from the recent flooding and winds associated with Hurricane Arthur.  If you need help with clean-up or home repairs, call 252-216-7274. 

The Outer Banks Community Foundation is now accepting donations to the Disaster Relief Fund to support relief and recovery efforts.  All contributions are tax-deductible, and 100 percent of all donations will be used to directly assist individuals in Dare County. Donations can be made online at www.obcf.org/donate, or can be mailed to the Outer Banks Community Foundation at 13 Skyline Road, Southern Shores, NC 27949. Please write “Disaster Relief” in the memo line of your check, or select the “Disaster Relief Fund” if donating online.

If you would like to help others with clean-up, contact Interfaith Community Outreach at 252-480-0070 to volunteer.


Hurricane Arthur:  Lost and Found

James Charlet, a reader in Rodanthe, suggested that Island Free Press might consider a Hurricane Arthur "lost and found" section for a brief time.

"We in Rodanthe, Waves, and Salvo had a lot of our stuff float away and also had others' stuff float into our areas," he wrote to IFP.  "If folks could give a brief description and the area, sorted by village, including vicinity or street, in which it was lost or found...that could be very helpful and at least relieve some of the stress."

So the Hurricane Arthur: Lost and Found is now posted on the classified ads page.  Click here to go to the page. Send to editor@islandfreepress.org. Send a photo if you can and please include your name and a phone number or an e-mail address.


Hyde commissioners say voluntary evacuation maybe wasn't the best action

The Hyde County Commissioners Monday night noted that their decision to order a voluntary evacuation for Hurricane Arthur on July 4 might not have been the best action.

“We need to look into the protocol,” noted Barry Swindell, board chairman, toward the end of the two-hour meeting. “We need to include the Ocracoke Control Group. Some things didn’t exactly go the way we thought.”
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Storm debris pickup scheduled for unincorporated Dare County

Debris removal for the unincorporated areas of Dare County, which includes all of Hatteras Island, will begin Monday, July 14. 

FEMA funding is not available to cover these costs, so the county’s hurricane debris removal contract will not be activated.  All hurricane debris removal will be provided solely by Dare County Public Works staff.  
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Tri-villages struggle to get Arthur's mess cleaned up, even as visitors return...WITH SLIDE SHOW

It was the sour fish-bowl smell in the air that made it obvious that Rodanthe, Waves and Salvo did not escape the wrath of Hurricane Arthur.

While most of the Outer Banks, except the Manteo waterfront, fared better than expected, the tri-villages suffered substantial sound tide that flooded homes and businesses, leaving residents and merchants devoting the July Fourth holiday weekend to cleanup chores.
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Dare estimates $1.6 million in damage on Hatteras

A preliminary report from Dare County estimates the total damage from Hurricane Arthur at $1.9 million -- with $1.6 of that on Hatteras Island.

"The preliminary estimates of Dare County’s property damage from Hurricane Arthur are not as significant as feared, based on the storm’s wind speed and track," Greta Skeen, the county's damage assessment officer, wrote in a report. "Most damage reported was due to soundside flooding, winds causing shingle, siding and roof damage, and downed trees."  
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UPDATE:
The summer season is back in full swing

Tideland Electric Membership Cooperative restored power to Ocracoke Island about 9:30 last night, and about 30 minutes later, Hyde County re-opened the island to visitors. Ferries today are running on normal schedules, and businesses on the island, many of which were closed because they had no electricity, are open again.

Dare County allowed residents and essential personnel back on Hatteras Island at noon yesterday and re-opened the island to visitors at 4 p.m. Re-entry was slow going in the late afternoon and early evening. 
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Hatteras Island finally gets its July 4 fireworks show....WITH SLIDE SHOW   

Hatteras and Ocracoke residents and visitors finally got their July 4 fireworks show -- on July 7. Hurricane Arthur passed close to the Outer Banks in the early morning hours of Friday, July 4, causing a postponement of the Friday night show.
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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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UPDATE: Test runs reveal that ferry channel is still unsafe

After conducting test runs in the traditional Hatteras Inlet ferry channel on Monday, NCDOT's Ferry Division announced today that the channel is still unsafe for ferry operations. As a result, Hatteras-Ocracoke ferry service will continue to run the "alternate" route until more dredging can be completed and conditions in the channel improve.
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Visitor from Virginia dies in collapse of hole dug in sand

A 49-year-old man from Fredericksburg, Va., died yesterday of apparent suffocation when a hole and tunnel in the sand that he was digging on the beach collapsed on top of him.

NPS park ranger Jon Anglin identified the victim as David Frasier who was on the beach just north of Ramp 27 near Salvo with family and friends.
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UPDATE:  Community reaches out to family that lost home

The Hatteras Island Community has spent the weekend reaching out to support a Buxton family that lost its home in a fire on Thursday, June 19. Courtney and Melissa Whitehead and their three children lost just about everything in the blaze that destroyed their three-story house. All escaped without injury but all of their possessions were destroyed.  
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Fire damages house in Buxton, starts brush fires
...WITH VIDEO


A fire at a house in Buxton in the vicinity of Rocky Rollinson Road today has badly damaged the structure, started several brush fires, and caused a closure of Highway 12 in the area.  
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Ferry tolls still on the table as Senate and House negotiate differing versions of state budget

Ocracoke islanders and friends will want to pay attention to the North Carolina General Assembly this week as the Senate convenes to review the House of Representatives’ version of the 2014-2015 spending budget.

This year was the Senate’s turn to propose the budget, and their version leaves the ferry system status quo from last year -- with the prospect of new ferry tolls to fund replacement ferry boats -- while the House’s version of the budget, which was passed June 13, eliminates all tolls and authorizes the N.C. Department of Transportation to seek other means of revenue.
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NOAA presents alternatives for expansion of Monitor Marine Sanctuary

Expansion of the Monitor National Marine Sanctuary could encompass nearly all of the existing wrecks off the North Carolina coast, where ships were lost in storms and every conflict that raged off the coast.   Or the nation’s first marine sanctuary, situated 16 miles off Hatteras, could expand to include just a few more isolated but significant wreck sites.

Four draft models in various range and scope were presented Thursday at the Coastal Studies Institute in Wanchese during a meeting of the Sanctuary’s advisory council.  
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Federal appeals court hears oral arguments in Bonner Bridge lawsuit
 

One of the more down and dirty battles on the Outer Banks moved into the refined wood-paneled courtroom of a federal appeals court in Richmond, Va., today when attorneys representing both sides of the Bonner Bridge replacement issue argued before a three-judge panel on the merits of their case.

Unlike other yawn-inducing court hearings, this was akin to a free-wheeling sparring match between attorneys and the higher court judges, who continually interrupted the lawyers with pointed, persistent questioning.  
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