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About the Ocracoke Observer

Ocracoke, N.C.’s community newspaper since 1999

Copyright©2022 Ocracoke Observer. All rights reserved

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The Ocracoke Observer is a North Carolina Press Association award-winning newspaper published online and printed 10 months each year for distribution on Ocracoke Island, connecting points and areas including Hyde and Dare counties. The paper is generated on Ocracoke and printed in Greenville, N.C.  Contributors’ opinions are not necessarily those of the publishers.
We publish from March to December and daily online at ocracokeobserver.com.

Our mission: To illuminate the unique experience of Ocracoke Island by communicating important community news, history and culture.
Contact us: info@ocracokeobserver.com
Letters to the editor and ideas are welcome. Letters must be signed, include contact information (address, city, email and phone number) for verification purposes. The Ocracoke Observer reserves the right to edit for content and space and to not publish submissions deemed inappropriate for any reason.
Website: We welcome comments on posts but reserve the right not to post comments that attack others.

Editorial, letters and Advertising: info@ocracokeobserver.com
Mail: P.O. Box 427, Ocracoke, NC 27960
Publishers: Connie Leinbach and Peter Vankevich
Editor: Connie Leinbach
Editorial board: Peter Vankevich and Connie Leinbach

Staff writers/contributors:  Connie Leinbach, Peter Vankevich, Richard Taylor, TL Grace West, Rita Thiel
Copy editing: Kaye Campbell, Rita Thiel 

Mailings and more: Mary Vankevich and the Ocracoke post office staff
Production: Jesse Davis

Peter Vankevich and Connie Leinbach
Owners Peter Vankevich and Connie Leinbach, 2014. Photo by Ruth Fordon.

Connie Leinbach,  has an extensive newspaper industry background as a daily reporter, freelance writer, publicist and newspaper publisher/editor. She worked as a reporter at the Reading Eagle-Reading Times, Reading, Pa., in the 1980s, as a freelance news reporter for several Pennsylvania publications, and was a publisher and editor of a monthly fine arts publication, The Arts Connection, all in the 1990s.  She concurrently worked as the production director/stage manager of the former Berks Grand Opera, Reading, Pa., in the 1980s,  and later as the general manager of the former Star Series Association, Reading, Pa., in the 1990s.  Before moving to Ocracoke in 2010, she worked as the program manager and then executive director of Berks Arts Council, Reading, Pa., in the 2000s.

Peter Vankevich, worked in the U.S. Copyright Office at the Library of Congress including being head of the Copyright Information Section for 16 years, and has been a freelance writer for the Hill Rag, Washington, D.C. He has a radio show called Theme Tunes on the Ocracoke community radio station WOVV 90.1 FM and online, and he serves as a volunteer firefighter. The co-owners live full-time on the island and have written for the Observer for several years.

Obituary policy: If you have lost a loved one and wish to have an obituary posted, please contact us. We will be glad to work with you personally or with the funeral home. Contact us at 252-928-1811, or info@ocracokeobserver.com

Letters to the Editor/Op-Ed: The Ocracoke Observer invites comments on posts or Letters to the Editor, for publication in print or online. (Deadline is the 15th of the month prior to publication.) Letters may be emailed to info@ocracokeobserver.com, or mailed to P.O. Box 427, Ocracoke, NC 27960.  Letters (both email and paper) must be signed and include address and contact information for verification purposes.  Unsigned letters will not be considered.

We encourage a civil discourse and reserve the right to edit for clarity and content. Comments that are abusive, off-topic, make personal attacks, use profanity or show a general lack of respect for another poster will not be approved and on Facebook will be removed. 

Also, we do not publicize specific locations of nesting birds or other sensitive information on wildlife so that they will not be disturbed.


Pat Garber is the author of Ocracoke Wild (Down Home Press, 1995) and Ocracoke Odyssey (Down Home Press, 1999) both collections of nature essays, and the children’s book Little Sea Horse and The Story of the Ocracoke Ponies (Ocracoke Preservation Museum, 2006).  Her book, Heart like a River: the story Sergeant Major Newsom Edward Jenkins 14th North Carolina Infantry, 1861-1865 (Schroeder Publications 2011) is based on a diary written by her great grandfather’s time fighting for the South in the Civil War. Her latest book, Paws and Tales (Schroeder Publications), is a work of fiction; a novel narrated by Kali, a sailor cat and Harvey, an island dog.

Pat has a background in anthropology, history and education, with a master’s degree from Northern Arizona University in cultural anthropology.  She was born and raised near Richmond, Virginia.

TL Grace West loves teaching yoga and Tai Chi almost as much as providing her unique warm water massage therapy, Float with Grace.

Henry Schliff’s kitchen experience is long and varied over the past 30 years. He has been the chef of a French, Italian, and Mexican restaurant, and most recently the chef/owner of the Orange Blossom Bakery in Buxton, Dare County. He is the author of two cookbooks and now shares his love of cooking from his Ocracoke home kitchen.

Kelley Shinn is a graduate of the Hollins University Creative Writing Program, where she was the 2006 Melanie Hook Rice Novel-in-Progress Award Winner.  Excerpts from her upcoming memoir “Passage Home,” which is a reflection upon Kelley’s experience of losing her legs at the age of 16 and subsequently communing with landmine survivors a decade later in Bosnia-Herzegovina, were nominated in recent years for a Best American Essay and multiple Pushcart Prizes.  In 2013, Kelley was named Ocracoke Friends of the Library’s Inaugural Writer-in-Residence.  It was a yearlong fellowship, and she has chosen to make Ocracoke her home.

From Peter's camera 039
Melinda Sutton: is an island photographer who photographs the island daily.