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!

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The time has come for liquor by the drink on ALL of Hatteras Island

Thursday 07 July 2011 at 2:45 pm

Voters in the northern Hatteras Island villages of Rodanthe Waves, Salvo, and Avon will have a chance to level the playing field for some of their neighbors who own restaurants when they go to the polls next Tuesday, July 12, to vote on whether liquor by the drink should be legal in Kinnakeet Township.

Restaurateurs in the northern Hatteras villages are literally surrounded by businesses with an advantage – they can serve mixed drinks in their establishments.

The incorporated towns on the northern beaches have had liquor by the drink for some years.  In 2007, Hyde County voters agreed that mixed drinks should be available on Ocracoke. The southern villages of Hatteras Township – Buxton, Frisco, and Hatteras--passed a referendum on the issue quite handily last December. And, in June, mixed drinks were finally approved in Manteo on Roanoke Island.

So, restaurants along all of the Outer Banks except in the four small northern Hatteras villages can serve liquor to their patrons who want a buy a drink.

And restaurant owners interviewed for stories in The Island Free Press over the past four years all make it clear that a changing clientele on the island means that more visitors are surprised – and sometimes unhappy -- to find out they can order only a beer or wine with their meal, not a Margarita or a Manhattan.

Rodanthe, Waves, Salvo, and Avon deserve to be on the same economic footing as their neighbors on the Outer Banks when it comes to meeting visitor expectations and maximizing their profit in a tough economic climate.

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Fireworks, fires, and freedom

Thursday 30 June 2011 at 11:07 am

I have been surprised by the number of negative comments that The Island Free Press has received about July 4 plans on Hatteras and Ocracoke.

There will be no fireworks on the islands for a second year, but there will be other celebrations.  Apparently, that does not please some people.

What has surprised me is the number of folks who are so unhappy about it that they are vowing not to return here again on their vacations.

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Access Advocates head to D.C. to meet with OMB on ORV rule

Thursday 23 June 2011 at 08:49 am

As I am writing this blog, a group of beach access advocates, mostly from Dare County, are heading to Washington, D.C., to meet with officials of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) about the National Park Service’s proposed rule for off-road vehicles on Cape Hatteras National Seashore.

The never-ending process of formulating a final rule is now in “recess” while the OMB reviews the Park Service proposed rule, based on the Park Service’s Final Environmental Impact Statement and preferred alternative, which is Alternative F – even more onerous than the despised consent decree, under which beaches have been managed since 2008.

The Park Service’s proposed rule has not been made public and won’t be released to the public for 60 days of comment until after the OMB review, which averages two months but could take longer.

However, even though the public doesn’t know what is in the final rule, OMB welcomes meetings with groups and individuals interested in the outcome of the rulemaking process.

It’s just another strange chapter in the ongoing saga of rulemaking here.

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