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The Brunswick beacon. (Shallotte, N.C.) 19??-current, May 21, 1987, Image 1

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HOW Fast IS Growth? Brunswick county's population Is expected to double by the year 2000. The chart and story are on page 12*C of this Issue. Supplement included in this issue. Off TO Good start! Area pier and marina owners say the fishina season Is off to a good start. The report Is on page 10-B of this issue, INSWICKfiKACON Twenty-fifth Year, Number 28 INC SIONSWtCK Sf ACON Shallotte, North Carolina, Thursday, May 21, 1987 25c Per Copy 94 Pages Including Supplement Murder Suspect Indicted After Surrendering BY SUSAN USHER A Brunswick County Grand Jury Monday afternoon indicted Ronnie Lee Clemmons with first degree murHgr in Hia TTaKrttot^ oHnnH pff death of a Shallotte man, Joe S. Reeves. Clemmons, 30, of Leland, turned himself into the State Bureau of In vestigation Sunday after eluding ar rest for three months, said Shallotte Police Chief Don Stovall. He is being held in the Brunswick County Jail without bond. He is charged with murder and assault with a deadly weapon in connection with the Feb. 6 shooting. Trial has been set for July 21 in Brunswick County Superior Court At a first appearance hearing Mon day in Columbus County District Court in Whitcville, two lawyers, Roy Trest of Thomasboro and Bill Fairley of Southport, were appointed to represent Clemmons. Reeves, 31, was found dead in his iniuie at 2 uciiaiTiy Lafic On inUiberry Street, Shallotte. He had been shot once in the back. The search for Clemmons began based on information given officers by a woman in the Reeves house at the lime of the shooting. Officers searched the Leland area after Clem mons' car, with a handgun inside it, was found near a mobile home park there. The search involved a helicopter, officers on horseback, dogs and roadblocks of major highways. Dcnunons has been on the run since February and his flight taking him across several states and to "quite a few places,” Stovall in dicated after questioning Clemmons. At about 5 a.m. Sunday, Clemmons called SBI Agent Rick Gainey in Wilnrungton from Columbia, S.C., coving ^ tvontA^ tn turn IUfn5F!)f in. His brother drove him to Wilmington, where he was questioned by Gainey and Stovall before being taken to the Brunswick County Jail mid- aftemoon SuTKiay. "We took his statement,” said Stovall. "He said he was tired of run ning and wanted to tell his story.” Clemmons told officers he was afraid he would be shot on sight He had been previously arrested in Brunswick County on Jan. 11 on a larceny charge. Reeves was scheduled to appear Feb. 9 in Brunswick County Superior Court on drug charges. Ocean Isle Police Chief Resigns STAFF PHOTO 6Y SUSAN USHf R Sprucing Up Sunny Side Shallotte Junior Woman’s Club volunteers sprayed, dabbed and bmshed paint Saturday as they freshened up old Sunny Side School to the ^t of heach music playing on a car radio. Since Its relocation to land adja cent to Shallotte Municipal Part in 1980, the building hu been awaiting renovation for use as a community {acIllty..-Ballt in the early 1900s, the three-classroom building served three generations of Sballotte-area schoolchildren before its retiremenL Among those helping out are, from the left, Britt, Megan, Jeff, Kristen and Gail Williams, with Jimmy Register per ched on the outside extension ladder and Woodman of the World agent Danny Cartrette on the inside ladder, Cindy Champion and Brenda Batchelor. The Town of Shallotte scraped the building for the painting crew and has a fund for donations toward its renovation. BY TERRY POPE Ocean Isle Beach Police Chief Jerry Gurganus resigned Monday following a meetmg of the town board of conunissioners. cited ‘Jjrersonal ’ reasons” for leaving the department where he has been employed for the past 14 years. His resignation will become effective June 1. The board on Monday also accepted the resigna tion of Connie Duncan, a town employee on the accounting staff. Ms. Duncan, whose resignation was effective immediately, also cited “personal reasons" for leaving her job. Mayor LaDane Bullington said that based on conversations Gurganus has had with board members for the past two weeks, “I think they were ready” for his announcement Mon day. "The town board feels really secure with the situation," Ms. Bull ington said. “It's a position that we'll need to filL It's not like we feel that we vfSh’t be -ahle to carry on." She said the town will begin adver tising for a new police chief. Gurganus will remain on patrol until June 1 So the town will have “a good period to tie over and to begin finding a replacement,” she said. When contacted Tuesday, a person at the town hall said, “Jerry will not be available today.” Ms. Bullington said she will work with Commissioner Terry Barbee to oversee the recruitment of a new police chief to Ocean Isle. “We will want someone that is well qualified,” Ms. Bullington said. She added that the board will not rush to fill the position by June 1. “The board members are willing to give their time to find a very qualified person,” she said. “It is a good situation. We feel it will be an attractive situation. So why not hire the best?” The town is also advertising for a town administrator, a position the town will create in a reorganization of staff. . In other^ business Monday, the "Tward ain^ded the dog "ordinance which it passed last wedc to allow dogs on the beach strand only during certain hours. An ordinance unanimously adopted last week prohibited dogs from the strand at all times from May 1 to Sept. 30. The amended ordinance restricts dogs from the strand from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Dogs will be allowed on the strand at other times, but they must still be on a leash. The fine for allowing a dog on the strand during the restricted hours is 8100. The board also passed a resolution Monday asking for Sen. Jesse Helms’ Itelp in having dredge fill material pumped onto the west end. Commis sioners are asking Helms to contact the U.S. Corps of Engineers to see if dredge material from the Shallotte Inlet can be pumped onto the beach strand. Election Changes Spark Oratory, Pleas To Return Old Precincts BY SUSAN USHER Brunswick County Commissioners hope to convince election officials to nges t'CSVUlU AVWM preciiKts. Spurred on by speeches of support Monday, they adopted a resolution asking the Brunswick County Board of Elections to reconsider its con solidation of Waccamaw and Exum precincts Into Freeland precinct in the western section of the county and the division of the coastal Oak Island and Secession precincts into two smaller precincts each. Members said they didn't know if their action would make any dif ference, since the State Board of Elections has already approved the changes. Brunswick County Democratic Party Chairman W.A. Stanley Jr., Exum Precinct Chairman Boyd Evans and Commissioner Chris Chappell, who grew up in Exum precinct, encouraged the board's unanimous vote for returning to the old precinct lines. Stanley told trie ooard there exisia ^ . 0 A a broad oase in »u|iijwn. community precincts such as Exum and Waccamaw that foster "Why single us out to take away a heritage we've had ]QQ years?” —Boyd Evans Precinct Choirman cohesiveness and are the center of community life. They help preserve the traditional values of “In dependence and self-determination that help make Brunswick County a place we all want to live," he said. Such small precincts shouldn’t be eliminated unless there is “great fiscal liability” to the county in main taining them, added Stanley. Evans told the board that Exum precinct, which now has about 200 voters, was established in 1898. The change would cause some residents to drive 30 miles to vote, he pointed out He said Exum was the only precinct in the western section of the county to support the county’s water bond referendum. “The next thing that happened was our township got taken away from us. Now it looks like they’re going to take away our precinct. “The only things left are four green boxes. If we can’t get our precinct back, we want you to pick up the boxes and at the same time reUeve us of paying property taxes,” said Evans. “Why single us out to take away a heritage we’ve had 100 years?" Chappell said his childhood precinct has always had a good voter turnout. Without giving specifics, he added he thought the motive in eliminating Exum precinct was "not political, but personal." Evans’ comments about losing a township referred to redistrlctlng several years ago in which five voting or electoral districts were established, eliminating Waccamaw Township’s separate representation on the t^rd M commissioners and board of education. Now District 1 encompasses both the coastal area from Calabash to Shallotte and the rural area west to the Columbus County line. Township lines are still used for demographic purposes. Commissioner Jim Poole question ed the .splitting of the coastal precincts, asking why Leland wasn’t also divided since it’s about tire sama size as Oak Island. While poll capacity was cited as a reason for the division, he said, the voter turnout for the island to his knowledge has not exceeded 1,500, though there are more yotem. Commissioner Benny Ludlum didn’t comment at the meeting, but expressed similar concerns to the Beacon. “We were getting along all right for a long time. Why change?" he asked. “I don’t like it.” If growth creates a problem at the polls during the next general elec tion, he added, “we’ll do something about it then.” In an interview, Chappell also criticized the election board’s failure to inform county political organiza tions and the general public of the changes it proposed. “There’s a com munication problem,” he said. The issue came under discussion last week as both parties nominated individuals for appointment to the county board of eletdlons. Elections Board Supervisor Lynda Britt cited growth along the coast as the reason for the precinct changes, which left the county with one addi tional precinct and only one spare voting machine. Holden Beach Light Goes Up Next Week BY SUSAN USHER A signal won’t be up at the Holden Beach Intersection in time to han dle the Memorial Day weekend traffic, but motorists won’t have to wait much longer. “We’ve promised the mayor the signal will be working by the 29th, In about 10 working days,” said Roger Hawkins, division traffic engineer for the N.C. Department of TransportatiOT, on Monday. "We got the traffic signal plans In the mall this morning. We’re on flat go.” Due May 22, the plans actually arrived early. The signal equipment Is due in at mid-week and a crew is expected to set poles at the end of the week. Signal iiutflnntlnn is to begin May 28. The only delay might come in getting an electrical connection, since a request had not been made to Brunswick Electric Membership Corp. as of Monday. “But we don’t foresee any problems," Hawkins added. “They’ve always been very helpful." The fully-actuated light will respond to loops set in the pavement ?n each side of the intersection, he said, moving from one location to the other. If a car is there. It will get a green tight; otherwise, the signal will skip on to the ne.xt location. Hawkins said the first movement is set for S.R. 1239, Fulford Road; then S.R. 1120, Sabbath Home Road; then the traffic leaving Holden Beach. The traffic signal became a political issue last fall. Holden Beach officials and State Rep. David Redwlne had been lobbying for the light, but DOT had said repeatedly that its studies didn’t show a high enough need. Gumges it proposed to Improve the intersection in lieu of a tight in cluded moving the stop signs, which prompted (Ejections from local residents. In October, two Republican candidates for local public office In vited Highway Commissioner Tonuny Pollard, also a Republican, to an “emergency” meeting at the intersection. There Pollard promised to reverse the stop signs again and to work toward getting a signal He also traded barbs with audience member Redwine, a Democrat Redwine later worked with House Speaker Liston Ramsey to obtain the estimated 125,000 needed for the project, while Pollard pushed the signal request with the Board of Transportation.

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