Monday, July 28, 2014

Rising Seas: Will the Outer Banks Survive?

(from National Geographic)
HATTERAS, N.C. -- The tourists flocking to North Carolina's Outer Banks right now know that the joys of summer there -- the gorgeous beaches, the wild horses, the views of the lighthouse at Cape Hatteras -- come to an end as the season fades. But they may not know that the place itself is disappearing from the map. Under the combined effects of storms, development, and sea-level rise, portions of this narrow, 200-mile island chain are collapsing, says Stanley Riggs, a coastal geologist at East Carolina University in Greenville. "We're losing them right now," he says. "In the next ten years, it's going to be awful." In an area of Hatteras Island between Avon and Buxton, the beach has receded about 2,500 feet in the past 150 years. That portion of the island has narrowed to just 25 percent of its original width, according to Riggs. In Buxton and Rodanthe, and farther north in Nags Head, houses and hotels once solidly on land stand on spindly stilts in the surf. State Highway 12, the only road to Hatteras Island, repeatedly has buckled and washed out during storms. It briefly closed after Hurricane Arthur made landfall July 3. The erosion is set to worsen as sea-level rise accelerates around the world because of global warming. As that happens, coastal communities everywhere will face the same wrenching decisions that confront Outer Banks inhabitants today—and that are causing enormous fear there, says Michael Orbach, professor emeritus of marine policy at Duke University's marine lab in Beaufort, North Carolina. What's at stake for locals is not just summer fun but a way of life and an entire economy that is now based on tourism. "All these effects that people have been talking about for years are now actually starting to be seen," Orbach says. "And they realize that we don't know what to do about it." >> Read More

NC's Inner and Outer Banks a Land of Pirates, Wolves, Legends

(from News & Observer)
NAGS HEAD, N.C. -- Along the Inner Banks and Outer Banks of North Carolina, you can climb a lighthouse, spot a black bear or while away the afternoon on the sands of some of the East Coast’s most beautiful beaches. There is something magical about the land of sunken ships, pirate tales and wild horses that roam the shoreline. Even the names of places evoke a time of swashbucklers and legends. Alligator River. Kill Devil Hills. Chocowinity. Nags Head. Mattamuskeet. While the Outer Banks have become a tourist mecca, with a Wings store every few miles along Highway 158 in Dare, there are also massive national wildlife refuges, protected seashores and conservation areas that hug the waterways. There, red wolves and bald eagles have a world almost to themselves. Exploring the IBX and OBX (Inner Banks and Outer Banks, for those unfamiliar with the lingo) usually involves water. Hop in a canoe, board a ferry or drive the sleepy, swampy roads in search of North Carolina’s wild scenery and mystery. >> Read More

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Village Realty Announces Winner of ‘Our State’ Vacation Contest

NAGS HEAD, N.C. -- After receiving more than 20,000 entries in its vacation giveaway, Village Realty has announced the winner: Elizabeth Lineberger. The contest, which was featured in Our State magazine, was open to entries from mid-April through May and boasted a grand prize of a one-week vacation in a historic Nags Head, oceanfront beach cottage during the week of Oct. 12 to 19. The prize package also includes two tickets to the haunted Roanoke Island walking tour, “PsychoPath,” as well as a pair of tickets to the 3rd Annual Outer Banks Seafood Festival Oct. 18. A $50 gift certificate to Kelly’s Restaurant and Tavern will also be given to Lineberger, bringing the total retail value of the award to approximately $1,750. Recently contacted with the news of her stroke of luck, Lineberger says it couldn’t have come at a better time. “I am thrilled to be looking forward to a week away on the Outer Banks. I’m planning to bring my four sisters for a ‘girl’s weekend’ and am hoping that my mother will be able to come along too.” she said, adding “My son may even be able to visit for a weekend away from college at Appalachian State!”

“OBX” Murder Mystery Now On Nook from Barnes and Noble

APEX, N.C. -- The action-packed murder mystery “OBX” is now available to Barnes and Noble Nook fans for $4.99, giving more readers access to the first in a series of novels starring Michael Francis, a troubled mother of three and driven state investigator. Barnes and Noble is considered number two in worldwide sales of digital books on its Nook behind the Amazon Kindle, where the debut novel by North Carolina author David Dean Menzies can also be found for $4.99. In OBX, Agent Francis struggles to piece together a puzzle involving a serial killer, an attempt on her life, a break-in and shooting at her home, drug ring, and cover-up by local law enforcement and government officials while a hurricane bears down on the crime scene in the beautiful seaside vacation mecca of North Carolina’s Outer Banks.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Outer Banks Not Included in Critical Habitat for Loggerheads

HATTERAS, N.C. -- To the relief of beach access proponents, the Outer Banks is not included in a new rule that established critical habitat areas for loggerhead turtles on nearly 700 miles of shoreline in southeastern states. The designation from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service provides another layer of regulation to management of protected species, and is in place on beaches within Cape Hatteras National Seashore for piping plovers. As the northernmost range for nesting sea turtles, the Outer Banks was not part of the proposed rule. But in their comments, environmental groups had asked for the designation to be expanded to Outer Banks beaches as a proactive measure to ensure population diversity and resilience.

New Formula Sinks Mid-Currituck Bridge, Other Local Projects

(from The Outer Banks Voice)
The Mid-Currituck Bridge came close to being built. A plan was in place to pay for construction through a private-public partnership. All that remained was for the state legislature to provide $24 million in gap funding to hold contracts in place until construction could begin. But funding was never provided, the private partner has the option to withdraw, and a Record of Decision, the final step for a project first proposed more than 25 years ago, has been put on hold. So now, the fate of the Mid-Currituck Bridge is more in doubt now than it has ever been. Funding for the bridge was a casualty of the Strategic Transportation Investment Law (STI). The Mid-Currituck Bridge was intended to link the mainland with the northern Outer Banks and relieve the huge weekend traffic jams that plague the Wright Memorial Bridge into Dare County. Without it, travelers to Corolla will continue to cross the Wright Memorial Bridge, then loop north on two-lane N.C. 12. >> Read More

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Headbands and Happiness

by Stacy Menzies
President, Happy Fix (
In life, as in business, it’s always important to reflect on where you’ve been, where you are and where you’re going.  Sometimes it's just a natural progression, sometimes events force consideration.  This summer has been challenging.  Both of my kids are away, one at college, the other at a summer program.  We’ve also had several close friends experience devastating losses and challenges that nobody should have to encounter.  Last weekend, our sweet dog who was 14, was euthanized.  It was the right decision but no less sad and painful for our family.
As I processed these events, I asked myself, “How can you find a silver lining  in negative events?  How do you Happy Fix things that are by their very nature, unhappy?”  Not easy questions and really,  a challenge to what we embrace at Happy Fix.  This idea that you should choose happiness can be hard sometimes.  It can go against all of your instincts. The notion that you could ” Celebrate the Great” in the face of things that are really hard is counterintuitive.  
Yesterday, I came across an interview with Jessica Ekstrom.  Jessica runs a company called Headbands of Hope.  Jessica interned with a wish granting organization during college.  She was struck by the fact that kids who are being treated for cancer and have lost their hair, love to wear headbands.  She took money set aside for a study abroad trip to Spain and started Headbands of Hope.  For every headband purchased, the company donates one headband to a child with cancer AND $1.00 to Pediatric Cancer Research.  

Monday, July 14, 2014

Action-Packed Murder Mystery “OBX” Now Available on Amazon Kindle

Debut Novel by North Carolina Author David Dean Menzies Features Strong Female Lead, Race Against Time in the Outer Banks

NAGS HEAD, N.C. -- With a hurricane bearing down on the North Carolina seaside vacation mecca known as the Outer Banks, State Bureau of Investigation agent and troubled mother-of-three Michael Francis battles personal demons and real-life danger to solve a brutal politically charged murder case. “OBX” is the debut novel by North Carolina author David Dean Menzies featuring Agent Michael Francis and her struggles to piece together a puzzle involving a serial killer, an attempt on her life, a break-in and shooting at her home, drug ring and cover-up by local law enforcement and government officials. In the midst of unexpected and confusing romantic overtures from a suspect in the case, Michael is forced to deal with human threats more dangerous than mother nature herself in a climactic ending with an unexpected twist.

Happy Fix® Celebrating What’s Great with HPY Directory

THE PEAK OF GOOD LIVING: APEX, N.C.  -- North Carolina’s happiest startup, Happy Fix® (, recently launched its HPY Directory, a collection of user-submitted lists of places and things that help people celebrate what’s great in life. In return, Happbassadors (happiness ambassadors) who send in their lists will receive special discount codes for purchases of official Happy Fix apparel and accessories featuring the company’s popular HPY logo design, which serves as a constant reminder for people that happiness is a choice that is always within reach. “When we’re at festivals greeting people at the Happy Fix booth, or spending time with friends and family we always hear about great vacation spots, restaurants, or cool products that make people happy. Our HPY Directory is a way to share all these happy ideas with the world,” Stacy Menzies, company president said.