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Hi, and welcome to my "Editor's Blog"! In this space I'll be attempting to keep our readers informed on fast-breaking news and issues affecting our islands. Visit often. There's a lot going on!

Enjoy the Island Free Press and, even more importantly, enjoy our wonderful barrier island!!!

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FKAA (Not much good new…): Ricky, Unwrap the tinfoil. It takes at minimum 35 days for AMOYs to fledge.
AnonVisitor (Thoughts on publi…): FKAA, I am talking about pedestrian to ORV conflicts. How much earlier did they want villages beaches…
PH (Thoughts on publi…): SJ If you advocate changing a VFA into a seasonal ORV area you are advocating changing the status of …
bbc (Thoughts on publi…): “…easy to access…” tell that to the older woman i saw dragging her oxygen tank through the sand at …
Ginny (Not much good new…): Fed. or state funding don’t matter a bit because the bridge/road projects in question are tied up in …
salvo jimmy (Thoughts on publi…): Knock yourself out bf As I said before, I’m out of cheese.

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Not much good news is coming our way from Raleigh

Friday 18 July 2014 at 1:42 pm

Since Republicans took total control of North Carolina in 2012, not much of the news coming our way from Raleigh has been good news.

The memories of those powerless days when Democrats controlled all in Raleigh have not been forgotten -- especially the memory of a powerful politician from Dare County, Marc Basnight.

Basnight, the leader of the state Senate, pretty much got what he wanted and he wanted to improve the plight of Dare and Hyde counties and other areas of rural eastern North Carolina.

Some observers say that the Republicans are exacting revenge by undoing Basnight's legacy.  

That assessment may or may not be on the mark.  But one thing is very clear -- the power in the capital has shifted,  and rural North Carolina certainly appears to be getting the short end of the stick.

Funding to some projects -- viewed as Basnight "pet projects" -- has been reduced or totally cut off.  Just look at the North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching, which the General Assembly has tried to close down several times and may still, or the state-owned Jennette's Pier in Nags Head, which the General Assembly wants to sell.

There are other examples, but today's blog is about  two particular changes brought to us courtesy of our lawmakers in Raleigh -- the new transportation planning law, which may be the most diabolical piece of legislation they have passed, and the law that slaps a sales tax on the bills of Cape Hatteras Electric Cooperative members.

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Evacuation and re-entry woes

Friday 11 July 2014 at 1:30 pm

In the 23 years that I've been reporting news on Hatteras Island, there has never been a hurricane evacuation or re-entry that was not controversial.

And Hurricane Arthur was not the exception.

The storm that became Arthur started as a low pressure area off the Florida coast the week before it made landfall south of the Outer Banks about 11:15 p.m. on Thursday, July 3.  

As early as the last week of June, the storm had the attention of forecasters, emergency managers, and residents along the southeast U.S. coast.  Any disturbance in that area -- so close to the coast -- is reason for concern. It can quickly strengthen and quickly reach the coast.

By Monday, June 30, Arthur was clearly a concern for the Outer Banks. The National Hurricane Center gave the low an 80 percent chance of becoming a named storm and said an approaching cold front and dip in the Jet Stream would lift it up the southeast coast.

There was still hope, however, that the storm would move by us offshore, perhaps well offshore.

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Thoughts on public access: It's about more than ORVs

Friday 27 June 2014 at 6:39 pm

It's been an interesting week since U.S. District Court Judge Terrence Boyle ruled that natural resources trump beach driving -- and apparently recreation -- here at the Cape Hatteras National Seashore.

The judge issued his order on June 20 in a lawsuit filed by the Cape Hatteras Access Preservation  Alliance (CHAPA) against the Department of Interior and the National Park Service to overturn the park's 2012 off-road vehicle plan and final rule for the seashore. Two environmental groups, represented by the Southern Environmental Law Center, were defendant-intervenors in the litigation.

Boyle ruled in favor of the federal defendants and the defendant-intervenors on every objection that CHAPA raised in the lawsuit about the plan -- from whether it met the requirements of the seashore's Enabling Legislation and the National Environmental Policy Act to the science upon which it is based to whether the economic impact studies were adequate.

It's clear that the plan and final rule are here to stay -- unless there is a successful appeal of Boyle's ruling or Congress finally passes legislation to order the seashore to revisit parts of the plan.

CHAPA has not decided whether to appeal. And a bill to overturn the plan has stalled in Congress. It has passed in the House of Representatives -- twice.  But an amended version of the bill, favorably reported out of committee earlier this year, has never reached the Senate floor.

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