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Volume 23, Number 8
BY SUSAN USHER
Bird Island lies just south of Sunset
Beach on the North Carolina-South
Carolina state line, it's old, established
dunes both beautiful and desolate.
The- tidal marshes, Mad Inlet Creek
and clean beachfront lure wildlife,
fishei ineii diiu shell collectors
throughout the four seasons.
Around this island of quiet,
however, have stirred years of convi
uvciaj aiiu i iiuiui . *>iGov rCCCut!}'
rumor held that its absentee owners
plan to sell the island to an out-ofstate
developer. At a Labor Day
weekend meeting of the Sunset
Beach Taxpayers Association, a
spokesman advised members that he
unuersiooa uie owners were naving
the island surveyed with the idea of
selling it for development.
In a recent telephone interview, the
owner of the island. Mrs. Ralph C.
(Janie) Price of Greensboro, said
there was liu tfiitit to tue uite.it G,
these nirnors She ana ner husband
had owned the island Jointly until last
year, when he gave her his half to do
with as she chooses.
"Before they get overly concerned,
the people in -Sunset Beach should
check with us on what wc plan lo do.
No one has bothered to do that until
"At the present time we're not considering
any offers, she said.
"We're thinking in terms of building
a house there."
Mrs. Price said she doesn't understand
the intensity of local interest in
"They ore property owners, we are
property owners: we have some
Approached By Buyers
The Prices were approached in the
fall, unsolicited, by an out-of-state
man wit;, carman money u> one nana
nod an offer to buy the island in the
other. '-He said he loved the Island
and didn't wani to develop ii. didn't
need any permits. He was going to
utilize it only for good, he told >ts. But
then we learned he was checking to
see what he could do with the island
Fire destroyed a rental home on
N.C. SCK across from Old Shallatte
Baptist Church near Grisscttown late
last', Wednesday night
No one was injured m the blaze, the
Uiini fire reported in the same
neighborhood since nightfall that
(U) , acvoiuuig lu mwnuKit* anu naicamaw
firefighters on the scene.
Brunswick County Fire Marshal
vcvu uugan u unTau^Muii|( urt [lira,
said Sgt Donne 11 Marlowe of the
Brunswick County Sheriff's Departitinil
Mat tvwe spoiled tire iwuar ill v
at about 11:15 p.tn while en route to
Seaside in response to a disturbance
"It had Just started. Flames were
visible inside and you could see
smoke,' be said But when he attempted
to see if anyone was trapped
inside, the fire was too hot By the
time firefighter* arrived, roost oi the
small tin-roof'd. wood-sided house
?ii IvkmKMI TW hniop h (> ?<< H*
Johnny Richardson, who bves near
by hut who did not hear the deputy"j
Mary Smith, an occupant of tlx
hooae, said she had left about 10 ? m
to go 'coon hulking with friends Shi
and one companion had returnee
boot* an foot to get her car after thed
tract. niMnt start, she added Ms
Smith said she had moved tn with hei
Sftsr a !?
'964 THC B?UNSWCK BEACON
once he bought it.
"That deal has fallen through."
The would-be buyer was the latest
in a scries, including at least one
group of South Brunswick Islands
John McCarthy, president of the
Sunsst Beach Taxpayers Associs*
tion, said that the organization has no
official position for or against
development of the island.
T__ (XI _ 4 n?
a a milt. r? vvuitiu
"We would be concerned about the
ecological questions and the increased
congestion on Sunset Beach?access
would pretty much have to be
If the Prices were granted access
to the island for their own use, he
said, "I don't think there would be
anyone who would object to that. I
don't think that would be a problem."
As it would be for any developer,
t?K.' Price's decision cn whether i**
build honvs on the island hinges
upon vehicular access.
in iiie late !"Mills the island's only
dock was floated away, its only
bridge to the mainland burned. The
insurance company proved arson
was the cause. "I sometimes wonder
if we would even be welcome. We've
not stayed overnight since then,"
noted Mrs. Price.
ller agent has learned that the couple
may be able to get their original
permits reinstated to rebuiiu the
dock and bridge for their personal
nso. "For us it's like getting a
driveway permit," she pointed out.
Charles Mollis, chief of the
regulatory branch of the U.S. Army
Corps of Engineers Wilmington of?!-.
- -? ? - 1 _*U .
ticv ?? _ rvi iwr? ICVI^VU mk .
"We're not close-minded on accepting
applications for some manner of
access," he said. li wouiur/i be a
simple task to gain vehicular access,
but it can be done. In my opinion it
wouldn't be iuifcwnllr.
But the cost today may be too prohibitive
for one family to absorb. The
Prices are considering allowing
,u?* - ;
( Gutted In Rc
son about one week earlier after her
Calabash residence burned.
Shallotte Fire Chief Curman Arnold
said Shallotte firefighters outed
a fire at the edge of a field near the
chuTCu soliicitinc ofici ualk n'edftcS
MARY SMTTM tftr rtgfcti vatdcs
r fUus^ri dm! tkftrv?** tfce revtaf !hh
Taliotte, North Carolina, TJ
RICES AAAY BUILI
Not On i
development of several homes on the
island for that reason. If so, ihe level
of density would still be much less
than anywhere on the Sunset Beacn
mainland, she added.
Architects had earlier drawn up
two sets of house plans for the Prices,
neither satisfBctory. At About tho
same time, 1979-80, the Prices
became embroiled with the U.S. Army
Corps of Engineers Charleston
L/UVI IV? v?? UV.V V?Vi V" IV- vv/uufc.?MK??vii
of 26 acres of the island to accommodate
construction of the Little
River Inlet Jetty, which was completed
On their attorney's advice, the
Prices refused to consider any purchase
offers and also delayed construction
of their own home until the
migauon was resoiveo?in ijoj?in
the state and federal courts.
"We fought a lonely battle. It didn't
work out. People need to be aware
that every decision marie affects
ouorv nlhftr "
Because of the potential threat by
wave action to fish and shellfish, she
added, "we never wanted the Jetty at
the end m the island." Twenty-six
acres, however, were condemned
against their wishes for the project,
with the price of $100 to $1,000 an acre
negotiated through the courts. The
jetty stabilization project, a joint effort
of North Carolina, South
Carolina, the federal government
and Brunswick and Horry counties,
was intended to boost the ailing commerciai
fishing industry, and included
the dredging of part of the
Calabash River at federal expense.
"Our record Is on the side ot convtronment,"
she continued. "We put
our money behind what we believe
While some Sunset R??.ch property
owners are concerned about Bird's
Island's potential development, she
noted, others in the same conunuriity
would like to develop the island
(See BIRO ISCANO, Page 21
ish Of Fires
(lay. Then, at about 9 p.m., Waccamaw
firelighters put out a fire in a
field several miles farther north on
Waceamaw also provided mutual
aid to Shailotte at the bouse fire.
Wihnfcir mijffct ? flnflghim fan
at (fee sfcarrd vtA fcer wi
lursday, January 3, 1985
D PRIVATE HON
A NARROW, private bridge that once
to Bird Island from Sunset Beach was t
BY TKRRY POPF.
Brunswick Hospital authorities
mil livv 3ct!f\ 5 uvCiaMttory jiiuftllreiil
involving its lease agreement with
Hospital Corporation ot America during
the Jan. 2l session ot Brunswick
County Supei :ur Court, saiu Huapitai
Administrator Claries Sons.
"It will not be filed for the January'
docket," Sons said. "It ir in limbo at
this point In time."
The hospital authority voted
unanimously In November to file a
declaratory judgment during the
Jan. 21 session of Superior Court. It is
seeking a legal interpretation of
whether or not the hospital's 10-year
lease agreement with HCA
auioinaucuuy convened 10 a ro-year
tease during an apparent absence of
restrictive legislation in June.
The judgment, to be filed by
Stuitlottc attorney Mark lewis, will
also attempt to clear up the Issue of
who or when the hospital's general
nhllgatinn bond? should bo paid. Sons
said the judgment Is not asking for n
judge io ruie that the county is soieiy
responsible for repayment of the
bonds Of the original $2.5 million used
io construct and equip tne
hospital, approximately $1.9 million
"I personally, nor the hospital
authority, nor HCA, has any intention
of Brunswick County being caught
holding the bag." Sons said. "The
judgment is to simply clarify
unanswered questions about our contract
because of that window that
was opened in legislation."
The lease extension may have gone
into effect in late June, when a state
house till governing hospital leases
expired as scheduled, but before a
replacement bill < House Bill 1709) actually
became law. A clause in the
iease agreement signed by the
1I Killed On
As of Monday afternoon, there had
beef no serious highway accidents
r*>/wirted in Rruriswirk f'rmntv
throughout the holiday season, said
Wiihv Oakley a State Highway
"We feel red fortunate that we've
had no serious injuries for the entire
district." Ms. Oakley said.
However, the U deaths on county
hSghweyi for the year ended st tvec
[ Shallotte police are investigating
uk eariy-mornmg areas-in Monujr
at the Scats store in Milliken Shopping
Plata on N.C. I*.
Forced er.tr> was gained through
the rear at the store between t a m
and 7 a m.. Chief Wayne Campbell
The tiaeves took five l?-wct; Sears
25c Per Copy
m -1 ??
provided access a number of years
lestroyed by lire It was arson.
\ff* _ i n
authority in May called for extension
of the lease to 40 vears at the earliest
opportunity allowed by law .
Sons said the declaratory judgment
will ask a judge to rule whether
w^' Saw the authorit" has **
^0-year lease with HCA.!? HCA does
have a 40-year lease, then the question
is, "Do the bonds nave to oe paid
off?" Sons said. "We are asking that
they tell us the bonds do not have to
be paid off.
The intent of the lease agreement
signed with the authority in May was
to eventually maintain a 40-year
lease. Sons said. An absence of
legislation " triggered mat simple
clause" that was placed in the lease
agreement calling for a 40-year lease
at the earliest opportunity allowed by
Law, he said.
Sons refuted claims that HCA attorneys
are attempting to seek the
4C-y<ar extension through a legal
loophole, or that a legal loophole ever
regarding Iho bills before tiy
le&slation in June.
"That's not the case st aii," Sons
said. "We had no idea what the
legislators would do. When we signed
the contract in May, we didn't know
what was going to happen in June."
At tills point, there are no tax
dollars being spent to operate the
hospital. Sons said. Since the lease
was signed, HCA haa added msre
than $650,000 in new equipment to the
hospital, and has recently been
grsnicu llca.th Agency
System's approval to begin a $2.7
million expansion and renovation
project at the 60-bed facility. HCA officials
are still awaiting the state's
approval to begin the project.
oun-T uie ui uuitus cunuiiue IU
serve their purpose, to build and
equip the hospital, it is HCA's "feeling
that they shouldn't have to be
paid Mi, i>Mu Said. Hi Umi t waiit
t County High wo
above Last year's figure, she said.
Of those fatalities, seven were
reported to be directly related to
alcohol use, she salu. For the year, 13
fatal accidents were reported for the
county with one accident resulting in
Nine deaths were recorded In accidents
on Brunswick County
highways In !2S2, four below Use 13
eyvuevfaj ijs 1QM
A I T\/~ C*^i
IU I Vb
cokx televisions and one 12-inch color
Sear* television and fom Ktmmxt
ShaiiuUe officer* are working with
other area law officers to pursue
evidence m the rase
In addition to working with the
abenfT s department on aocne joint
investigation!, officers responded to
" PMC >
ago; the insurance company proved
anyone to construe that we're trying
to put the burden on the county."
When the authority agreed to seek
the declaratory Judgment, they also
invited the county or other parties to
join the complaint, or to file uipiitif.i
thp authority to have tlic
cleared up once und for all. In a letter
uaieu Nov. iu 10 Auiiioruy Ciiairnmn
Robert Sellers, the county commissioners
labeled the goals ol U>e
authority the eolrity an
Through their attorney, David
Clegg, commissioners also stated in
the letter they would not join with the
authority on the "question of retroactivity
and may seek to Intervene in
any sun 10 put forward its position on
According 10 Sons, the judgment
wili nut ask for the lease to fall under
the new MB 170'J, which gives
authorities power to set trie length of
hospital leases, since legislation cannot
HCA will operate under a !!>-year
lease if necessary. Sons said, if a
Judge rules in favor of paying the
bonds, the funds would be obtained
from either tiigher hospital rates or
county taxes, he said.
Even if MCA had purchased the
hospital and been held responsible
for paying off the $1 9 million bonds,
that $1.9 million would liave come
from Increased hospital rates, he adJ..I
"There's no such thing as a free
lunch," Soar said. MCA's costs will
uc auued Imix to uiv iiuDpiuii'ii rate
structures, which ls why the authority
decided to lease the facility for only
$1 a year, he added.
"At the time, the question was. 'Do
you want money cut of the hospital,
or money into the hospital?' " l?c
ys Last Year
Of the nine deaths recorded in 1 aw,
only two of those vitn: illrectly
related to alcohol use, Ms. Oakley
"We did not reive a good count on
aitwviicutci ucviivi uut ;t?j out'
19S3 statisticsi." she said "The only
ones we knew for sure were the two
Drcniiir r~ u>? way tn?- reports were
tfnt in i**t year."
three minor traffic accidents that occurred
Monday afternoon within a
15-minute time period.
The rath of activity Monday followed
what Chief Campbell railed "a too
"It wit art ur (usually quiet time,"
he tnnA "We had no wreck*. no fuas
It was too quiet"