The recovery from Hurricane Matthew is a work in progress on southern Hatteras and Ocracoke with important new information coming out every day.
And, at the same time, island residents must focus on a very important election on Tuesday, Nov. 8, that includes voting for the President and Vice-President of the United States, governor of our state, local representatives to the state’s General Assembly, and seats on the Board of Commissioners in Hyde and Dare counties.
No question but that it’s a challenge to focus on all of this, especially for the islanders who were most affected by Matthew’s devastating storm surge that destroyed homes and businesses on both islands.
However, recovery and the election are both on our plate for the next week or so, and it is essential that both get our attention.
There’s so much information out there both for victims of Matthew and for those who want to help them that it’s hard to keep track of it all.
That’s why we hope you will frequently check our Hurricane Matthew Recovery Information Live Blog.
We started the blog on Saturday, Oct. 8, the day before Matthew hit southern Hatteras and Ocracoke with a record storm surge in several villages. The idea was to get information about the storm and its effects out to our readers as quickly as possible.
We managed to do that and the blog was frequently checked out by our readers on Saturday and Sunday Oct. 8 and 9 and beyond.
And, when the level of devastation became apparent, we began receiving more very important information on recovery from the storm and help for victims.
Thus, the Hurricane Matthew storm event blog is now the Hurricane Matthew recovery blog.
We are posting information as quickly as we can after we receive it — information about how victims can get help, how others can help them, debris collection, FEMA assistance, small business loans, disaster food stamps, and many other issues.
Today we noted that debris collection is scheduled to be completed in Hatteras village on Tuesday, Nov. 1. On Wednesday, the contractor working for Dare County will move onto the village of Frisco.
The county has said that the contractor will make more than one pass through the villages to be sure that all debris is collected, which will take many weeks. For now, debris is being collected on state-owned roads only, but the county hopes that private roads will eventually be included as areas for which it can be reimbursed for debris removal.
The debris removal contractors will be working seven days a week — through the weekend.
We hope that residents and visitors will be patient when encountering the debris removal operation on Highway 12 or in neighborhoods.
Also, on today’s blog, we posted information on interest-free bridge loans that are available to help affected businesses.
We can also report that FEMA workers are here on Hatteras Island and are walking through neighborhoods handing out information about signing up for assistance. FEMA is checking out a site for an office on southern Hatteras, and when an announcement is made, we will post it on the blog.
Also today, we’ve posted information about two really important resources for storm victims — the Really Really Free Markets and the Hatteras Island Food Pantry.
The Really Really Free Markets are now located at the 316 Skatepark on Highway 12 in Frisco and Stowe on 12 in Hatteras village. Anyone affected by the hurricane can shop and everything really is free. Right now, the markets are in need of food items, as well as such items as diapers, paper plates and plastic utensils, sheets, box fans, and small microwaves.
The island-wide Hatteras Island Food Pantry, located at Buxton United Methodist Church and operated by the Cape Hatteras United Methodist Men, is also kicking off its annual food drive, which is especially important this year with so many people in need.
If you are a regular visitor, an off-island property owner, or a resident not affected by Matthew, we hope you will consider contributing to both endeavors.
The Really Really Free Market folks say they plan to keep at least one site open until the end of the year, depending on need and volunteers, but the Food Pantry will be helping folks year-round — and not just folks who are victims of Matthew but also folks who need assistance because of unemployment, a catastrophic illness, or other devastating situation.
Meanwhile, Hatteras and Ocracoke are both open for business and plan big events in the next week.
Ocracoke had to cancel its Blackbeard’s Pirate Jamboree because of the storm, which had been planned for this week. But instead, the island plans of terrific Halloween events.
Next week, on Hatteras Island, the Cape Hatteras Anglers Club will host its annual Surf Fishing Invitational Tournament. It’s one of the largest in the world with 120 teams of six members each. When you count friends and family of all those team members, there will be a lot of folk in town Nov. 2-4. Several events are open to the public.
We hope all of our visitors will excuse our untidiness as we continue with debris removal and we hope all of you will visit our local businesses — that’s the best way to help us to recovery.
THE 2016 GENERAL ELECTION
Even though many of us on southern Hatteras and Ocracoke who were affected by Hurricane Matthew have many other important tasks and issues on our minds, none of us should forget that a very important election is coming up on Tuesday, Nov. 8.
Residents on both islands can vote early — before election day.
On Hatteras Island, the Dare County Board of Elections has a satellite voting site at the Fessenden Center in Buxton with a voting schedule next week of Monday through Friday from 2 until 6 p.m. except for Tuesday, Nov. 1, when hours are from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. The last day for early voting at the site is Friday, Nov. 4.
On Ocracoke, early voting will be at the Ocracoke fire station on Wednesday and Thursday, Nov. 2 and 3, from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.
The polls will be open from 6:30 a.m. until 7:30 p.m. on Election Day — Tuesday, Nov. 8.
If you are not registered to vote, you can register and vote at the same time during early voting, but not on Election Day. To vote on Election Day, you must have been registered by the deadline of Oct. 19.
For more information, contact the Dare County Board of Elections office at 252-475-5630 or the Hyde County Board of Elections office at 252- 926-4194.
I can’t imagine anyone who owns a television or an electronic device to download the news is lacking information on the race for President and Vice-President.
However, that may be different for some local elections that perhaps have not gotten the coverage they deserved because of Hurricane Matthew and its aftermath.
Several forums for the candidates were cancelled or rescheduled because of the storm, and few, if any, events have been held on Hatteras Island.
However, here are some places you can go for information about the local races for state legislative seats and the Dare County Board of Commissioners.
Island Free Press article on voting, sample ballots and other information:
The League of Women Voters Forum in Nags Head for Dare County Commissioner candidates:
The League’s forum is also scheduled several evenings next week from 7 to 9 on the Government TV — Charter Cable Channel 120/20 on Hatteras Island:
Video of forum for candidates for the state House of Representatives and state Senate, hosted by The Outer Banks Voice and Milepost Magazine.
The Outer Banks Sentinel Voting Guide: