Thursday, April 10, 2014

Task Force Targets May 1 for Report on Acquiring Oregon Inlet

NAGS HEAD, N.C.--A task force of state officials and coastal legislators is preparing an economic case and legal strategy for the potential acquisition of Oregon Inlet and adjacent land in Dare County. With the land in hand, the state could then resurrect the old plan to build jetties to keep the inlet open for navigation. The Oregon Inlet Land Acquisition Task Force, created last year by the General Assembly, is studying options for obtaining the waterway and land on either side, including a purchase, condemnation or a swap with the federal government. On either side of the inlet is land that is part of Cape Hatteras National Seashore or Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge.

Lake Norman Bags & Brews Festival Getting its Happy Fix® May 3rd

APEX & MOORESVILLE, N.C. –Positive lifestyle company Happy Fix® (www.happyfix.com) is bringing its message on the road to the Lake Norman Bags & Brews Festival May 3rd at the Central Greenway at Mooresville Town Square in support of the inaugural fundraiser for the Captain Mark McDowell Memorial Foundation. Happy Fix will be selling quality, sought-after products people love at the event, including uber-comfy apparel and fun accessories. “We’re honored to be supporting this event and the Captain Mark McDowell Foundation,” Stacy Menzies, Happy Fix president said. Captain McDowell grew up in Mooresville and graduated from the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. An F-15E Strike Eagle pilot, Captain McDowell died July 17, 2009 in a crash in Afghanistan, flying in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. The Bags & Brews Festival was designed to help raise money to establish a yearly scholarship at South Iredell High School, McDowell’s alma mater, in addition to assisting other charities and public schools with needed funds.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Producers Fish for Tuna - and A Hit - in the Outer Banks

(from PilotOnline.com)
WANCHESE, N.C.--In the same waters where Blackbeard once sought protection, Capt. Greg Mayer quietly slipped his boat into this busy-by-day, sleepy-by-night fishing village. With his precious treasure secured, he pulled in under the cloak of darkness. That is, until he hit the docks at the Broad Creek Fishing Center & Marina, and a blast of television camera lights lit up his world. Being a celebrity wasn't part of Mayer's game plan when he took to the waters as a New Jersey youngster nearly 40 years ago. That likely will change later this year - thanks to a casting call from "Wicked Tuna." >> Read More

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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Fickleness of Sand

(from Coastal Review Online)
NAGS HEAD, N.C.--Beach sand is a fickle thing. It gets pushed around by winds and waves, and you can never tell with any certainty where it will end up, despite the best engineering and intentions. Take Nags Head, for instance. Too much sand there is burying walkways, swimming pools and septic fields under drifting dunes, while down on Hatteras Island an abundance of sand is clogging a ferry channel and a scarcity of it could once again threaten a roadway. Some of the Nags Head sand that was pumped onto the beaches during the town’s massive widening project two years ago is not sliding back into the ocean. Instead, it’s piling up and over the dune line, mainly south of The Village at Nags Head. Last week, the town’s Board of Commissioners agreed to ask the state to allow exceptions to limits on how much sand can be moved from private property and back onto the beach with bulldozers and other equipment. One concern is that without such an exception, property owners would have to haul the sand off to get rid of it. Elizabeth Teague, Nags Head’s Planning and Development director, said that a decision by the state Division of Coastal Management is expected in 30 days. The amendment would be to the Coastal Area Management Act permit that the town received for beach re-nourishment and maintenance. Town officials have been working with the division on ways to address the problem. Time is running short because turtle nesting season starts at the beginning of May. >>Read More
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Good News on the Flood Insurance Front

WASHINGTON, D.C.--On Thursday, March 14, the U.S. Senate gave final congressional approval to the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act (HR.3370). The bill passed the Senate 72-22. It has passed the House and will now head to the President's desk for signature. The bipartisan legislation going to the White House includes offsets for the costs of H.R.3370, which would limit annual policy rate increases, force FEMA to certify its mapping methodology, and set milestones for FEMA to carry out a flood insurance rate affordability study, among other things. The legislation significantly rewrites a major overhaul of the flood insurance program that passed almost unanimously in 2012. Those 2012 changes were aimed at weaning hundreds of thousands of homeowners off of subsidized rates and required extensive updating of the flood maps used to set premiums. The White House has indicated Obama will sign the measure into law despite earlier administration reservations about a Senate-passed bill that would have delayed implementation of the 2012 law. The bill would alleviate a provision in the 2012 law that threatens hundreds of thousands of homeowners with huge premium increases under new and updated government flood maps. Their properties were originally built to code but were subsequently found to be at greater flood risk. Such "grandfathered" homeowners currently benefit from below-market rates that are subsidized by other policyholders, and the new legislation would preserve that status and cap premium increases at 18 percent a year. The 2012 reforms required premiums increases to actuarially sound rates over five years.

The Lost Colony Presents: A Haunted History Tour for Two Nights

MANTEO, N.C.--The Lost Colony is extremely excited about presenting a walking tour of the grounds of the first English Colony in America that will be both fun and educational! Step back in time as you are guided in and around the historic Waterside Theatre where you will learn the mysteries of the island, the history of the colony and meet the ghosts of those who lived here. Learn first-hand why Sir Walter Raleigh sent his colonists here, what they hoped to accomplish and the history changing outcomes of their journey. The history of our modern America began here…experience it in an entirely new way. The Lost Colony, America’s longest running outdoor drama, is thrilled to present this new interactive theatrical experience! The trail will be presented on two consecutive nights on April 22 and 23. The event begins at 8:30. Guests should plan on the tour lasting for 1 hour.

Road Trip: North Carolina's Outer Banks

(from National Geographic)
HATTERAS, N.C.--Stand on the metal walkway that encircles the lantern room of the Cape Hatteras Light, some 165 feet (50 meters) above ground, and you'll sense that this towering sentry, which has been saving lives since 1870, is still vital to today's passing mariners. Looking east, you watch the relentless swells of the Atlantic Ocean paw away at the beach, continuously redrawing the contours of this coast. Panning south, you see Cape Hatteras National Seashore sweeping out toward Cape Hatteras Point, which knifes into the ocean like a giant arrowhead. Even on a calm day you can make out the froth of the treacherous waters just beyond Diamond Shoals, where the northern Labrador Current clashes theatrically with the Gulf Stream. This lighthouse is among four that dot the main stretch of North Carolina's Outer Banks. All were built during the 1800s and still cast their beacons today—guiding white-knuckled seafarers through famously ornery waters. Over the centuries, some 1,500 ships have perished here, earning the Outer Banks the moniker Graveyard of the Atlantic. Nature still rules this tendril of barrier islands, despite the creep of development in some Outer Banks towns. Marsh grasses bend to light breezes in Pea Island Wildlife Refuge; just up the road, long-billed herons, ibises, oystercatchers, and plovers feed in the tea-colored waters of Pamlico Sound; and out in the Atlantic, surfers and sea kayakers frolic in the breakers. >>Read More
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The Outer Banks Provides Off-Season Adventures

(from News & Observer)
MANTEO, N.C.--Hot weather is not required to soak up all the rich goodness of the Outer Banks. You’ll find timely activities to match any season plus all the fun, fine food and festivities visitors want to complement an offseason getaway. Take time going through the portal and enjoy the town of Manteo. It’s on the eastern side of Roanoke Island, which sits between North Carolina’s mainland and the barrier island beach towns that include Nags Head, Kill Devil Hills, Duck, Rodanthe, Avon and Hatteras. Manteo is everything you could hope for in a small, coastal village; its long history is embedded in many of its buildings, sites and landmarks. Stroll along the downtown waterfront boardwalk and marina, shop for unique art pieces, then set out to explore Roanoke Island’s attractions. They include Roanoke Island Festival Park with its 16th-century replica ship Elizabeth II and the ever-fascinating Fort Raleigh National Historic Site and Island Farm (circa 1847). History buffs will also be delighted to learn that Roanoke Island played an important role during the Civil War after its capture by the federal army in 1862. Hundreds of African-American slaves fled to this safe haven and established a working community. >> Read More
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Pea Island Bridge Construction Closing New Inlet Boat Ramp, Day Use Area Parking

MIRLO BEACH, N.C.--As part of construction of the permanent Highway 12 bridge over the inlet created on Pea Island by Hurricane Irene, the N.C. Department of Transportation has coordinated with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to use the New Inlet boat ramp/sound access parking area and Pea Island day-use beach access parking area as staging locations for equipment and materials during the project. These areas are located approximately one half-mile and one quarter-mile south of the temporary bridge and will be closed to the public for the duration of the project beginning Tuesday, March 18. A $79.7 million contract was awarded to Parsons Construction Group in December 2013 for the 2.1-mile-long permanent bridge that will replace the temporary bridge currently standing where Hurricane Irene breached the highway, in an area where inlets have historically opened and closed.