|Home » Outer Banks » Blogs » News » March 2011||Previous Entries|
News Blog - March 2011
Monday, March 21, 2011
Cape Hatteras National Seashore officials today closed Cape Point to off-road vehicles. Deputy Superintendent Darrell Echols made the announcement, which he termed a "temporary" ORV access closure of the popular Cape Point area in accordance with the requirements of the consent decree.
On March 18, 2011, just south of Ramp 44 along the ocean shoreline, National Park Service staff observed piping plover breeding behavior, which is the reason for the closure. The width of the beach is very narrow in the area commonly known as "the bypass" and the required consent decree buffer of 50-meters to the north and south resulted in the full beach closure. There currently is not an alternative ORV access route to Cape Point. Because of the steep beach slope, pedestrians will be allowed to walk through the inter-tidal zone to access Cape Point.
This is the earliest that Cape Point has been closed to ORV access under the consent decree - or perhaps ever. Last year, ORV access wasn't stopped until mid-May when the first piping plover nest in the Cape Point area hatched. In 2009, ORV traffic to the Point was stopped because of nesting oystercatchers just south of Ramp 44. And in 2008, ORV access to Cape Point was closed the first week in May, just after the consent decree was signed, because of courting oystercatchers.
For more information on beach access, see: http://www.nps.gov/caha/planyourvisit/off-road-vehicle-use.htm or call 252-472-2111, ext. 148.
Monday, March 21, 2011
Locomotion, the Hatteras Island teen organization, will have its annual Seal Swim on Saturday, April 2, at the Old Lighthouse site in Buxton. The "swim" begins at 10 a.m., and all are invited to enter as a swimmer or to sponsor a swimmer.
"Everyone is invited to come out and cheer the swimmers on in their quest to help in enhancing the lives of youth living on Hatteras Island," said Kiddy, who is director of Locomotion.
For more information and to enter or sponsor, contact Kathy Kiddy at Locomotion's Changing Tide Thrift Shop on Highway 12 in Buxton or call 252-995-6010. All proceeds benefit the organization.
Monday, March 21, 2011
Though choked by shoaling, Oregon Inlet will remain open, the Coast Guard said Tuesday, but a longer-term funding problem looms for the only ocean access between Virginia and Hatteras.
As the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers battles an encroaching spit on the north side of the channel, funding in the president's budget for 2012 provides just $1 million to maintain the waterway.
That represents a fraction of the money it takes for an endless cycle of dredging to keep the inlet safe and boat traffic moving.
Meanwhile, the Corps' current funding will last only until the first week of July, three months before the end of the 2011 budget year, and boats are using an unmarked channel under the Bonner Bridge.
Problems at the inlet drew a large crowd to Tuesday's meeting of the Oregon Inlet and Waterways Commission, a Dare County advisory panel that was told the main channel just east of the Bonner Bridge is only 4 to 5 feet deep.
Coast Guard Chief Hank Macchio, who heads the local Aids to Navigation Team, said, however, that there were no immediate plans to close or restrict passage through the inlet. He said the Coast Guard had received phone calls and seen Internet rumors suggesting it would shut down the channel and pull its aids to navigation.
"We intend to allow navigation in and around the Bonner Bridge and Oregon Inlet as long as we possibly can," he said.
He urged caution and recommended closely monitoring information regarding the channel.
Sunday, March 13, 2011
Charging a toll for the Hatteras-Ocracoke ferry and raising rates for the sound ferries may be a reality before June if the North Carolina General Assembly demands it. Hyde County Manager Mazie Smith reported on this possibility Wednesday night at the Ocracoke Civic and Business Association meeting in the Ocracoke Community Center.
She had attended a state Department of Transportation presentation by Deputy Secretary for Transit Jim Westmoreland to the legislature's Joint Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee Tuesday in Raleigh.
Westmoreland's scenarios suggested a $10 toll each way at all the free ferries in North Carolina, an increase on the sound ferries to $30, and a monthly commuter pass of $100. Greer Beaty, director of communications for NCDOT, stressed that Westmoreland's presentation was simply informational. "The General Assembly asked us to present ideas about how we could recover more income from the ferry system," she said. "We have no mandate now to raise tolls. There is no proposal on the table."
She explained that the NCDOT is in the process of conducting a ferry study that will be completed by May 1. After that, refinements are made with the information and it goes through the committee process to be placed in the overall state budget, which has to be in place July 1. This is a bad budget year, Beaty said, and the General Assembly is looking at all ways to raise revenues and cut costs. Beaty confirmed that the General Assembly has the ability to ask agencies to make changes at any time.
And that's what concerns Smith, who said she heard that the legislature wants to fast-track getting more revenues from the ferries, even as soon as by the end of March. She urged Ocracokers to make their voices heard now by sending letters and emails to their legislators and, preferably, making a trip to Raleigh. "I'm afraid that if we don't make some noise about it, it's going to happen," she said about the possibility of a toll. "The legislature wants to recover 25 percent of the ferry division operating costs." At present, total annual operations costs are $40.8 million. Current revenues from ferry riders total $2.2 million. Westmoreland's proposed tolls estimated revenues could be $10.4 million.
In addition to adding and raising tolls, Westmoreland's presentation looked at reducing the number of ferry runs through a return to the 2009 schedule, which would likely result in laying off personnel, closing the Morehead City office, and consolidating the reservation system with the Turnpike office. The more than 20 Ocracokers who attended Wednesday night's meeting were uniformly aghast at the prospect of the Hatteras Inlet ferry charging a toll.
Such fees would reduce ridership, they said, resulting in even lower revenues.
Sunday, March 13, 2011
Cape Hatteras Elementary School supporters hope that you will help them win a free visit to the school by author Jan Brett. With more than 36 million books in print, Brett is one of the nation's foremost author illustrators of children's books. Brett is hosting a competition on her Facebook page that invites parents, teachers, friends and supporters to "like" her and cast a vote for a school to win the visit.
The contest began on Jan. 3 and ends on April 2. At one point, Cape Hatteras Elementary was third in vote totals. It dropped to No. 11 in the March 5 tally, but there is still time to enter this sweepstakes and help the school win this visit from a nationally recognized author. For more information, and to cast your vote for Cape Hatteras, go to http://www.facebook.com/byjanbrett#!/byjanbrett?sk=app_131391993586838.
Sunday, March 13, 2011
A group of Republican lawmakers wants to undo a final legacy of former state Senate leader Marc Basnight — the ban on plastic bags in northern coastal counties.
The Senate bill filed Thursday calls for repealing the ban initiated by the Dare County Democrat and relying on programs that encourage reusing and recycling plastic bags.
After specifying stores larger than 5,000 square feet, the ban was expanded last October to include all retailers on the barrier islands of Hyde, Dare and Currituck counties. It received mixed reactions on the Outer Banks. None of the 10 sponsors are from the three counties, and all are Republicans from several regions of the state. The primary sponsors are Sen. Thom Goolsby of New Hanover, a coastal county that includes Wilmington, and E.S. "Buck" Newton of Nash and Wilson counties.
The ban requires stores to offer recyclable paper bags and to give a 5-cent rebate for each re-usable bag a customer provides. Newton is not against programs that protect the environment, said his legislative director, Rachel Lee. "He's for programs that work," she said. One of the arguments against the ban is that too many paper bags are being used, rather than re-useable cloth bags, and their production and delivery have their own environmental consequences.
Ivy Ingram of the Outer Banks Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation, which advocates maintaining the ban, said plastic bags have a more significant impact. "While it is true paper bags have their own environmental impact, it is the plastic bag (low and/ or high density polyethylene aka petroleum) that never biodegrades and is the most dangerous to our coastlines, waterways and marine life," she wrote in an e-mail. "The fact remains that by eliminating the use of plastic bags in coastal communities we reduce plastic marine debris, saving some of the estimated 1.5 million marine animals who lose their life each year due to plastic."
News Blog Archive
|Rentals By Name||Rentals By Number||Search By Name or Number|
Copyright © 1998-2013 Outer Beaches Realty. All Rights Reserved. Photography Copyright © 2013 Outer Beaches Realty and respective photographers. Reproduction strictly prohibited. Website Services and Consulting provided by LSI.
All information on this site is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed. All reasonable efforts have been made to ensure that the information on this website is accurate, however, Outer Beaches Realty cannot be held responsible for errors or omissions.
Description: Outer Banks: News Blog: March 2011
Title: Outer Banks: News Blog: March 2011
Terms: Outer Banks, News Blog: March 2011
Page generated Wednesday, June 19, 2013 8:40:35 AM in 0.66 seconds. [ 10Q-10L-8P-U-4E0C3A46-3E7D-42D8-AA7A-D717E9D70CD1 ]
|Vacation Rentals||Real Estate||Outer Banks|