Local News

Islanders Wake Up to Icy Winter Wonderland...WITH SLIDE SHOW

Though the forecasted winter weather was a little late arriving to the Outer Banks, it certainly made an impact to the local landscape, as islanders woke up on Thursday morning to a blanket of snow. 
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1-3 Inches of Snow Headed to Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands

Up to three inches of snow is now forecast for the islands, per the Wednesday afternoon update from the National Weather Service Newport / Morehead City office.
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Waterways Commission Considers the Future of Permitting, Dredge Disposal at January Meeting

Taking advantage of a lull in crisis mode, members of the Dare County Waterways Commission spent Tuesday’s quiet winter night planning proactive steps to stay ahead of issues looming this year in Hatteras Inlet.  
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Avon Resident Ed Danko Announces Candidacy for Dare County Commissioner

On January 11, Republican Ed Danko announced his candidacy for the November 2018 election for the at-large seat of Dare County Commissioner.

If elected, it would be the first time in recent memory that the Board of Commissioners would have two representatives from Hatteras Island.  
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Cape Point Enjoys an Unusual Weekend Visitor

On Saturday afternoon, local beachcombers along Cape Point reported seeing a newcomer to the scene – a resting seal that was enjoying the beach, (and presumably, not the shelling and the fishing.)

The seal made an appearance at around 4 p.m. on Saturday, but had disappeared by the end of the weekend. However, visitors who were lucky enough to be nearby and who had a great zoom lens were able to capture a couple photos before the unexpected visitor moved along.
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UPDATE:  One Fatality in Accident on N.C. Highway 12 in Avon

A major two-vehicle accident on N.C. Highway 12 in south Avon was reported late Friday morning, January 12.
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Strong Thunderstorms Produce 77 mph Winds Gusts on Friday

A strong cold front on Friday night produced some intense thunderstorms across the eastern North Carolina area, especially over the Outer Banks where winds gusted to 77 mph at the Avon Fishing Pier, according to the National Weather Service Newport / Morehead City Office.  Read more

Buxton Beach Nourishment Update

The new hopper dredge Magdelen arrived last weekend and began pumping sand on Tuesday, January 9. As of Wednesday, January 10, about 76% of the project had been completed.  
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Cooper Asks Feds to Exempt N.C. From Offshore Drilling

One day after the news that the Trump Administration was removing the waters off Florida from its new offshore drilling plan, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper asked for a similar waiver for his state.

“Offshore drilling holds the same risks for North Carolina as it does for Florida and North Carolina deserves the same exemption,” Cooper declared. 
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Dare County BOC Year in Review

The Dare County Board of Commissioners had a highly active year in 2017, tackling a number of issues that affected Hatteras Island and the Outer Banks.

From Beach Nourishment projects to plastic bag bans, salary studies to new facilities, here’s an overview of the topics, resolutions, and developments that stood out in a very busy year.
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Trash Collection Schedule For Martin Luther King Jr. Day Holiday Announced

Dare County Offices will be closed on Monday, January 15 in observance of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day. This includes the Dare County Sanitation Department, the C&D Landfill and Transfer Station in Manns Harbor, the Buxton Transfer Station, and the Recycle Center in Manteo. 
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Hatteras Island Highlights from Dare County BOC Meeting

The Dare County Board of Commissioners (BOC) covered a number of issues at their January 8 meeting in Manteo. 
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Islands Thaw and Return to Normal After Record Winter Storm

Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands still had patches of ice and snow roughly a week after a winter storm slammed the Eastern Seaboard, bringing record cold temperatures and a deep freeze. 
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Dare County Sanitation Department Conducting Residential Large Household Pick-Up

The Dare County Sanitation Department will be conducting a large item household pickup for residential customers only. No commercial business debris will be picked up. Please do not interfere with county employees picking up large items. Materials must be at curbside no later than 6 a.m. on the date of collection. There will not be a second day pickup.  Read more

Alligator River Bridge on U.S. 64 to Close for Repairs Jan. 10-17

The North Carolina Department of Transportation will close the Alligator River Bridge between Tyrrell and Dare counties to all vehicle traffic and boat navigation for one week in January. The closure will be in place from 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 10 through Tuesday, Jan. 16.  
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After a Weekend of Freezing Temps, Islanders Await the Big Thaw

After a prolonged period of freezing that followed the winter storm on Thursday, January 4, islanders were anxiously awaiting the forecasted warmer temperatures on Monday, and hopefully a big accompanying thaw. 
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Ice Cold Temperatures Cause Sound and Canal Waters to Freeze...WITH  VIDEO AND SLIDE SHOW

Island residents and visitors caught a rare sight on Tuesday, as sound and canal waters began to freeze from Rodanthe to Hatteras village and beyond.  
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Islanders Ring in the New Year with Icy Temps and a Little Snow

Islanders were treated to an unexpected visitor on New Year’s Eve – a dusting of snow.

Light flurries began at around 9 p.m. for most of the island on Sunday night, and continued into Monday morning with minimal accumulation on the ground. As of Monday morning, N.C. Highway 12 was traversable, with no accumulating ice or snow on the road.
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Spans of Bonner Bridge Moving Closer to Eventual Connection

Per the latest video update from the NCDOT, crews at the Bonner Bridge project are getting closer to working on the southern and northern inclines that will eventually connect the in-process segments of the new bridge.

At the northern end of the Bonner Bridge project, having completed 25 spans stretching for .75 miles, crews are steadily making their way south to meet with the work already underway of what will be the bridge’s northern incline. 
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Loud and Clear: New Tower, Antenna Return WOVV to Full Strength

More than a year after Hurricane Matthew’s high winds toppled WOVV’s transmitting tower, Ocracoke’s community radio station has resumed broadcasting at 650 watts thanks to a new 70-foot tower and antenna installation completed in November. 
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Damaged Fire Hydrant Leads to Temporary Loss of Water for Frisco

A damaged fire hydrant in the vicinity of Central Drive and Old Landing Drive in Frisco led to water temporally being turned off for Frisco residents on Friday afternoon and night.
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NC Ferry Division Releases 2018 Schedules

e N.C. Department of Transportation’s Ferry Division released its 2018 schedules today. While similar to the 2017 schedules in terms of level of service, the Division was able to eliminate a limited number of low-ridership departures, saving taxpayers a total of $100,000 in reduced fuel costs.  Read more

Weekend Brings More Cold-Stun Turtles, Donations to Aquarium

Cold-stunned sea turtles continued to arrive for treatment at the NC Aquarium on Roanoke Island throughout the weekend following last week’s drop in water temperatures.

As of Monday morning, 96 sea turtles had been admitted to the Sea Turtle Assistance and Rehabilitation (STAR) Center.  
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Dare County EMS Places 1st in Pulling for a Purpose

Dare County EMS won first place in the Public Safety category as well as overall Best Pull at the Dare Education Foundation's Pulling for a Purpose fundraiser. 
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Ocracoke Waterways Commission Seeks Shorter Ferry Route

The Ocracoke Waterways Commission is looking for a way to make the ferry ride between Hatteras and Ocracoke shorter.

At their Nov. 20 meeting, the N.C. Ferry Division agreed to survey areas of the current route that may lend themselves to dredging and possibly creating a shorter ride between the islands. 
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Island Group Secures Purchase Agreement for the Island Inn

Although many details need to be worked out, a proposal to purchase the iconic Island Inn could have it fully in the community’s hands in 150 days.

The group, an ad hoc committee calling itself the “Island Inn Preservation Committee” on Thursday (Dec. 7) secured a $790,000 purchase agreement rom Thomas Storr’s, the Inn’s owner, said Ocracoke Commissioner Tom Pahl on Friday during an interview on WOVV 90.1 FM.  Read more

Doughtie to Run for Another Term as Dare County Sheriff

Sheriff J.D. “Doug” Doughtie will seek a third term as Dare County’s top law enforcement officer.

“I have enjoyed being your sheriff for the past seven years and look forward to serving you again for four more years,” Doughtie said in a post on his Facebook page Tuesday afternoon. 
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Applications for 2018 Ocracoke Vendor Priority Passes Now Available

The North Carolina Department of Transportation’s Ferry Division is now accepting applications for 2018 Vendor Priority Passes on the Hatteras Inlet route.
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Museum’s Event Brightened with Presentation of the State’s Highest Civilian Honor

On Saturday afternoon, the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum partnered with the Hatteras Village Civic Association, local churches, and crafts people to create “Holidays on Hatteras.” The event was an all-encompassing collection of food, vendors, holiday music, special exhibits, and all things merry that included the “‘Holiday at the Museum” open house, which is held at the museum annually. 
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Coast Guard Medevacs Man From Fishing Vessel Near Hatteras Island

The Coast Guard medevaced a man who had suffered possible injuries aboard a fishing vessel near Hatteras Island Sunday morning. 
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Bruin the Shark Pays a Visit to the Outer Banks

It’s not unusual for sharks to make an appearance along the Outer Banks this time of year as they make their way south from New England, and a young great white shark named Bruin appears to have paid a visit to Hatteras Island, and perhaps the Pamlico Sound. 
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UPDATE:  Dare County BOC Opts to Keep Winter Trash Schedule the Same for Hatteras Island

The Dare County Board of Commissioners opted not to change the winter trash schedule for unincorporated Dare County, which includes Hatteras Island, at their December 4 meeting.

The idea of a reduced trash pick-up schedule was proposed at the November 20 meeting as a possible way to save extra funds. The revised trash schedule would have changed the number of pick-ups for Hatteras Island from two to one per week for the months of November through March.
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Dare County Commissioners Consider Reducing Winter Trash Pick-up for Hatteras Island

The Dare County Board of Commissioners considered a proposal to alter the winter trash schedule for Hatteras Island and other portions of unincorporated Dare County at their meeting on Monday, November 20. 
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Coast Guard medevacs 67-year old man from Ocracoke Island

The Coast Guard medevaced a 67-year-old mansuffering a possible heart attack off Ocracoke Island Tuesday.

Coast Guard watchstanders at the 5th District command center in Portsmouth were contacted by members of Ocracoke Health Center to transport the man to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital in Norfolk due to inclement weather in the Outer Banks region, at 10:23 a.m. 
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Coast Guard Assists Man Aboard Sailboat Taking on Water Near Ocracoke Inlet

The Coast Guard assisted a man after his sailboat began taking on water early Tuesday morning near Ocracoke Inlet.

“This mariner called for help right away instead of waiting for a minor problem to become something much worse,” said Craig Sanders, the operations unit controller for the case. “He had the right communications equipment on board, and his quick call for help enabled our crews to respond in a timely manner.” 
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Grounded Trawler Causes Monday Ferry Delays on Ocracoke Island; Schedule Back to Normal Tuesday

A 75-foot trawler ran aground in Bigfoot Slough on early Monday morning, blocking the ferry channel outside of Ocracoke's Silver Lake Harbor, per the NCDOT North Carolina Ferry System. 
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Bigger Flood Insurance Bills Likely on the Way

With a Dec. 8 renewal deadline looming, lawmakers in Washington are set to decide the fate of the debt-ridden National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), something that affects roughly 9,000 Dare County property owners.

The NFIP, which has been renewed in the House, now awaits action in the Senate, and that could conceivably mean changes to the measure. But local experts say that, based on what they see now, higher flood insurance bills are on the way.
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Pirate’s Chest Suffers Major Fire Damage; No One Injured

A fire broke out in the apartment above the Pirates’ Chest souvenir shop at the corner of Irvin Garrish Hwy and Back Road early Wednesday afternoon.

Ernie Doshier, assistant chief of the Ocracoke Volunteer Fire Dept. (OVFD), who was in charge at the scene, said the fire was called in to 911 at 1:20 p.m. and trucks were on the scene by 1:30 p.m.  He said the fire was contained within about 30 minutes. No one was injured. Amy Srail who owns the business ,lives in the apartment with her son where the fire broke out.  
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NCDOT Awards Contract for New River Class Ferry

The North Carolina Department of Transportation has awarded a $9.7 million contract for construction of a new river class vehicle ferry for the N.C. Ferry Division. 
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Jug Handle Bridge Slated to Begin Construction in Early 2018

As the former Lego Bridge on Pea Island is dismantled, and progress continues on the new Bonner Bridge, the third bridge in the trio of Hatteras Island projects – the “Jug Handle” Bridge – is nearing its early 2018 starting date.

“Construction is scheduled to begin in March 2018, and starting in January and February, crews are going to be working in the staging area - grading and doing pile tests,” says Nora McCann, Project Planning Engineer for the North Carolina Department of Transportation. “We’re still on schedule for a March starting date.” 
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Whale Spotted off of Avon Fishing Pier

A whale was spotted hanging around the Avon Fishing Pier on a sunny Monday afternoon, surprising anglers who were already enjoying great weather and plenty of catches.
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NC State Researcher Seeking Insight and Opinions on Ocracoke’s Tourism Workforce
Finding and maintaining quality employees is a challenge for any business, but doing so may be particularly challenging for tourism businesses on Ocracoke.

In an effort to support Ocracoke’s tourism industry and its employees N.C. State faculty member Dr. Whitney Knollenberg is working with N.C. Sea Grant and Ocracoke Alive! to identify the challenges and opportunities related to the tourism workforce on Ocracoke. 
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Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum and the Mystery of Theodosia Burr Back in the Spotlight

The Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum and director Joseph Schwarzer will appear in an episode of “Mysteries At The Museum” on Thursday, November 30, at 9 p.m. on the Travel Channel. 
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Coast Guard assists man aboard sailboat taking on water off of Hatteras Inlet

The Coast Guard assisted a man aboard a boat taking on water off of Hatteras Island Sunday.

Watchstanders in the Coast Guard Sector North Carolina Command Center in Wilmington received notification at 1:35 p.m. that a 46-foot sailboat, with one man aboard, was taking on water about 13 miles east of Hatteras Inlet. 
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Dare Challenge to expand drug recovery program

With the unanimous approval of a requested zoning text amendment by the Dare Board of Commissioners at its Nov. 20 meeting, the Outer Banks Dare Challenge drug recovery program is set to expand to meet the growing demand for treatment.

Put simply, the change allows the Wanchese-based residential recovery and treatment center to be housed in several structures on one parcel of land.
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Coast Guard Medevacs Man from Cruise Ship Off Oregon Inlet...WITH VIDEO

The Coast Guard medevaced an ailing man from a cruise ship about 55 miles off Oregon Inlet Monday.

Watchstanders in the 5th District Command Center in Portsmouth received a call from the 958-foot, Nassau, Bahamas-flagged Norwegian Dawn at about 6:15 a.m., requesting a medevac for a 56-year-old male passenger experiencing stroke-like symptoms. 
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Fire Destroys Home in Rodanthe Early Monday Morning

A fire destroyed a home on North Holiday Boulevard in Rodanthe early Monday morning, leaving only the pilings behind. Renters were staying at the home at the time of the fire, but were able to leave the structure safely, and no serious injuries have been reported. 
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N.C. 12 Pea Island Interim Bridge Now Open to Traffic

Outer Banks motorists are now driving on a new bridge along N.C. 12 in Dare County. The Pea Island Interim Bridge opened for traffic on Nov. 14. Drivers have been using a temporary metal bridge put in place after Hurricane Irene in 2011. Although the new bridge is in place, more work is needed. That includes the smoothing and grading of road shoulders along N.C. 12.   
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Dare County Moves to Online System for Job Applications

Beginning Monday, November 13, Dare County will go live with a new online system to improve its application and hiring process. With this system, job seekers will be able to quickly apply online to numerous positions currently open via the County website, www.darenc.com.  Interested candidates can apply for current vacancies or sign up to be notified when new openings become available. 
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NOAA's winter forecast predicts a warmer and drier season on the Outer Banks

Forecasters at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center issued the U.S. Winter Outlook in late October, reporting that La Niņa is expected to once again influence winter conditions this year.

As a result, the Outer Banks has a hefty 40-50% chance of experiencing a drier and warmer winter than usual.
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UPDATE:  Mysterious Aircraft Piece that Washed Ashore in October Tentatively Identified

The mysterious piece of aircraft that washed ashore in southern Hatteras village in early October may have finally been identified. 
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Aircraft Piece Washes Ashore in Hatteras Village...WITH SLIDE SHOW

On Sunday evening, NPS personnel responded to a report of a large piece of aircraft that had washed ashore in southern Hatteras village. 
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Frisco Pier Removal Scheduled to Begin in December 2017

A project to remove Cape Hatteras Fishing Pier and its pier house will begin in December 2017. The removal project was awarded to DOT Construction (Beaufort, NC) and is expected to be completed by Spring 2018.  
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Stakeholders Meet to Tackle Plans for the 2018 Ocracoke Express Passenger Ferry

The Ocracoke Express, the state’s first high-speed passenger ferry, could provide a different kind of tourism adventure for Outer Banks visitors by next summer. But first, it has to be figured out how to divert passengers from long lines of traffic to board the boat, and then readily get them around Ocracoke when they disembark.
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Island Free Press Celebrates 10-Year Anniversary with a Look Back at a Decade of News

On Tuesday, September 5, the Island Free Press officially marked its 10-year anniversary as the “up to date and down to earth” news source for Hatteras and Ocracoke islands.

Started by founders Irene Nolan and Donna Barnett in 2007, the online paper originated as an effort to post essential news stories as soon as they occurred. Before the formation of the Island Free Press, Irene was the editor of the now defunct Island Breeze – a monthly publication that was considered a valuable paper for residents and visitors alike, but which couldn’t have the up-to-the-minute updates that an online format could provide.
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