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PAGE 4-A, THURSDAY, MAY 13, 1993
Public Effort Needed To Find
Library A Temporary Home
There is a way to keep library service in Shallotte from being
curtailed for more than half of 1994 while the West Brunswick
Library Branch is being renovated.
Some residents of Calabash and Sunset Beach know what
one step of that way is. They called and wrote letters to elected
officials asking for official sanction to their plea to maintain at
least limited library service during the extensive renovation pro
ject. Neither town board hesitated in providing its unanimous
The only realistic option for keeping the library open is to
move it to temporary quarters during construction. These renova
tions will do more than raise a litde dust and force patrons to
walk on drop cloths. The place will be dirty, and it will be dan
gerous. The library's enure interior will be reoriented, the main
desk and office relocated and the the entrance moved to what is
now the south side of the building?all to provide welcome and
much-needed room to grow.
For citizens who care deeply whether southern Brunswick
County has library service between January and July of next
year, it's time for Step 2?helping to find a solution. The library
board seems open to the possibility of a temporary home for the
facility, and the logistics are not especially complicated, except
for the financial factor. It's not likely that the county commission
ers will shell out lots of money to rent a temporary facility, and
But there's lots of empty space out there, if the civic-minded
ness and generosity of some landlord can be prevailed upon.
Private citizens, acting out of nothing other than public spirit, can
do that kind of prevailing much more effectively than elected or
appointed officials can. And they should.
The Case For More
BY FRANKLIN FREEMAN
N.C. CORRECTION SECRETARY
North Carolina's crime rate has doubled and violent crime has tripled
over the past ten years. Prison construction has not kept pace with the stag
gering number of lawbreakers entering prison. Inmates
are released early only to make room for the next group
of criminals sentenced to prison. That revolving door
must stop. Part of the solution is to build more prisons.
Construction is already under way on four major
single-cell facilities. Those 2,000 cells are for violent
offenders who arc actually serving longer sentences to
day than they did ten years ago. Now there are more of
them, requiring more cells.
With assaultive criminals taking priority over prison
space, the non-assaultive felons are the ones serving the
quick, turn-around sentences. Felons who left prison in freeman
1992 served an average of eight months in prison, down from 14 months in
Misdemeanants who left prison in 1992 served an average of one month
in prison, down from four months in 1986. Gov. Jim Hunt and the
Department of Correction's S87.5 million construction plan addresses this
serious issue so that both needs are met.
The plan?which includes work farms, boot camps, a felon processing
center, a medium- and a minimum-custody prison and expansion of 13 pris
ons across the state?is the best use of the remaining prison bond money.
The recommended construction will add 4,220 prison beds within two
years of prison construction bonds being sold.
Our plan also requires more prisoners to work while they're in prison.
Nearly half of the inmates are now scrubbing floors, cooking meals or
cleaning up and repairing highways. Prison construction will put even more
to work by using inmate labor to build prisons.
Without the ability to punish lawbreakers through confinement, the
threat of prison as a deterrent is greatly reduced. Last year, 30,800 people
were admitted to North Carolina prisons with space for 18,000. As a result
of the lack of space, 29,200 were released.
In the next week or two, the General Assembly will begin considering
our prison construction proposal which, if passed, will go a long way to
ward casing the revolving door syndrome.
Of course, prison construction is only part of the response to the crime
crisis. North Carolina must continue to expand community supervision and
alternatives and boost drug and alcohol rehabilitation in prison. Most im
portantly, we must prevent crime by opening the doors of education and
economic opportunity while paying special attention to at-risk children in
But we also must act now to met the urgent need for more prison beds
and to keep faith with those who voted in November 1990 to put more law
breakers in prison.
mWe are, perhaps, uniquely among the earth's creatures, the
worrying animal. We worry away our lives, fearing the fu
ture, discontent with the prestru, unable to lake in the idea
of dying, unable to sit still. ?Lewis Thomas
mA crust eaten in peace is better than a banquet partaken in
*77^ young need old men. They need men who are not
ashamed of age, not pathetic imitations of
themselves....Parents are the bones on which children sharp
en their teeth. ?Peter Ustinov
mMostpeople my age are dead. ?Casey Stengel
Not to be indelicate, but I'd like
to have a buck for every hour I've
spent writing about the disposal of
"wastewater." (Thai's a form of ver
bal Lysol spray, kind of like calling
the trucks that pump sewage "honey
It's the best-kept secret in journal
ism school that the overwhelming
majority of reporters wind up work
ing for small-town newspapers, cov
ering officials who grapple with the
tandem topics of water and sewage
with mind-numbing regularity.
When I discovered this ugly truth,
I did my very best to adopt a Taoist
philosophy?you know, that the
path to enlightenment is revealed
through simplicity and unassertive
acts, that kind of thing.
(Not that I'm any great student of
Eastern mysticism. At the time,
"The Karate Kid" had just come out.
If Young Daniel could master the
martial arts through the simple te
dious act of "wax on, wax off' Mr.
Myagi's cars, perhaps I could unlock
the meaning of life writing endlessly
about the stupifyingly dull details of
"water in, waste out.")
Now, I'll admit to having a fairly
low threshold of boredom, but I've
read enough stuff like this to last me
Phosphorous in groundwater
may not itself represent a threat to
human health, or to saltwater estu
arine environments. However, the
presence of phosphorous in
groundwater in concentrations
greater than background levels
Train On The Honey Wagon Beat
tr > l
may be an indicator of contamina
tion from improperly treated
wastewater, particularly if other
indicators are also present.
Thai's from the Report on an
Investigative Program for Demon
stration of Impact or Non-Impact of
Residential Septic Tanks on Ground
water and Surface Water Quality on
or Around the Island of Sunset
Beach, N.C., authored by Joseph A.
Tombro and James R. Billups, engi
Eric and I affectionately call them
"The Jim and Joe Show," bccausc
we see them so much more frc
quendy than we see "The Tonight
Jim and Joe arc at every meeting
of the Sunset Beach Town Council,
which I cover, and the Calabash
Town Council, which Eric covers,
and lots of other meetings in be
tween. I like Jim and Joe. They're
nice guys, and they must have ihc
patience of Job to do the kind of
work they do?writing sewage stud
ies and arguing with armchair engi
neers and conspiracy theorists who
seem to think they're playing fast
and loose with ihc fecal coliform
(If you don't know what fecal col
iform is, just count yourself among
the truly blessed and I'll leave you
in blissful ignorance.)
Before any humorless scwcr-sys
tcm-ovcr-my-dcad-body types start
calling me on the phone and writing
me nasty letters for poking fun and
liking Jim and Joe, let me make a
couple of what 1 hope to be salient
?I do not live at Sunset Beach or
Calabash and consequently will not
be on the receiving end of whatever
financial burden might result from a
ccntral sewer system; at least until
the system makes great strides in a
?I realize that there arc legitimate
differences of opinion from perfect
ly credible sources regarding the ori
gin and severity of coastal pollution
and what should ideally occur after
you flush your potty. I've had infi
nite pleasure reading and writing
about them over the years.
?1 lived here 15 years ago and re
member that there used to be more
plentiful shellfish and a healthier
commercial fishing industry than
there is now. I also remember that
some once-productive beds were
closed to shellfishing even back
then, when the southern end of the
county was about a tenth as devel
oped as it is now.
If it's difficult for me to go ballis
tic about the prospect of ccntral sew
er service coming to another area of
Brunswick County, it's bccausc ihis
is not my firsl, or even second, ex
perience wilh the issue. I was cover
ing Ocean Isle back in 1977 or
thereabouts when the town was
working hard toward getting a sewer
system. They succeeded, and from
what I can tell, folks there seem to
be anything but sorry.
On the other hand, I lived on the
Outer Banks from 1978 until 1985
during an unprecedented economic
burst which, naturally, prompted a
sewer system debate.
"This place is going to be one gi
ant human litter box if we don't do
it," the pros screamed, while the an
li's wailed, "If you do it, develop
ment will go hog wild; this placc'll
be as tacky as Virginia Beach before
you know it."
The anti's won. Whether the
Banks became a human litter box
depends on which scientist you ask.
The development, of course, hap
pened anyway. While it would be
hard to make anything as tacky as
Virginia Beach, the Outer Banks did
get lots of condos and hotels, scores
of new restaurants and shopping
malls, a K-Mart, a Wal-mart and
every fast food oudct known to man.
Plus a five-lane highway from
Whalebone Junction to Kitty Hawk
And the sewer system debate
rages on, provoking spirited public
discourse and enlightening a whole
new generation of small-town jour
Water in, waste out, Mr. Myagi.
'just rase sen aqoi nl
)/ ' W J 7
, Oh wh,
well we It
The Roar Of The Fumes,
The Smell Of The Crowd
The other day, someone asked me
what I was going to write about this
"What would you like to read?" I
"I don't know. Something contro
versial," she said.
OK, how's this? I think NASCAR
racing is boring.
There. I've said it. And I'm not
taking it back.
Just what is the big deal with
stock car racing, anyway? You drive
to some God-forsaken place like
Talladega, Alabama. In mid-August.
When it's 105 degrees in the shade.
Except there is no shade.
Then you get all crowded together
with 50,000 hot, sweaty people to
watch a bunch of cars painted up
like laundry detergent boxes driving
around in circles and making
enough noise to rattle earthquake
meters in Alaska. Then you buy
some S30 souvenir T-shirts and dri
ve back home to treat your sunburn.
Now don't get me wrong. I've
been a racing fan for nearly 30 years
and have seen just about every type
motor sport run on four wheels, two
wheels and even three wheels (side
But I've found only one type of
engine powered competition more
monotonous and less interesting
than a NASCAR race, and that's a
tractor pull. This is a "sport" devel
oped by over-subsidized farmers
who try to see whose taxpayer fund
ed SI00,(XX) jct-cngincd "tractor"
can pull a heavily weighted sled the
farthest through a mud field.
The highlight of a tractor pull is
watching the clown on the only real
tractor in sight riding around and
around for a half hour smoothing the
mud field between pulls.
I grew up as an avid fan of the
greatest motorized speed competi
tion on the planet: Formula 1 Grand
Prix racing, otherwise known as the
World Championship of Drivers.
They don't call it that for nothing.
Grand Prix cars represent the pinna
cle of auto racing technology. They
arc awesome, no-frills machines
stripped of everything except four
open wheels, a high-revving engine
and a driver laying on his back
about two inches off the pavement.
Those lumbering billboards on
the NASCAR circuit couldn't keep a
Formula 1 car in sight for a single
lap of Grand Prix racing.
Because (you NASCAR folks
will be shocked to learn) those races
require a driver to turn left AND
right. They have to use the brakes
AND the accelerator. They go up
and down real hills. And they even
drive in the rain!
NASCAR drivers shift gears
once to get moving. Then they drive
around in counter-clockwise circles
until the car runs out of gas or crash
A Grand Prix driver often makes
a thousand gear changes in a race.
The only time he's not applying full
acceleration or full braking is when
the car is sliding through corners
just below the speed at which it will
fly off the road.
Sterling Moss, the greatest driver
never to win a world championship,
captured the frightening intensity of
a Formula 1 race in his explanation
of how a Grand Prix driver must ne
gotiate a typical 100 mile-per-hour
He said if the driver went into that
turn at 101 mph, he would spin out.
If he slowed down too early and
went around at 99, the driver behind
would pass him. And so it contin
ues, turn after turn, left and right, lap
Thai's my kind of racing. The
kind I used to watch on television at
the Grand Prix of Monaco, where
(now deceased) drivers like Graham
Hill, Jim Clark and Lorenzo Bandini
would scream through the twisted
city streets of Monte Carlo. Or the
German Grand Prix, where drivers
felt lucky to be alive after a day on
the infamous Nurburgring. And
many were not so lucky.
It's the kind of racing I used see
each fall at the United States Grand
Prix in Watkins Glen, N.Y., where I
watched Emerson Fittipaldi earn his
first Formula 1 victory and saw
Mario Andretti become only the sec
ond American driver in history to
win the World Championship.
Nowadays, Hill's son Dai.ion and
Mario's son MichacI arc contenders
on the Formula 1 circuit. But unfor
tunately, there is no longer a United
States Grand Prix. Because Ameri
cans prefer to see their race cars go
around and around in circles.
Now I must admit ihat I've only
actually been to one NASCAR race.
A newspaper friend hung a camera
around my neck and got me into the
pits at the World 600 one year. So I
experienced all the racing action and
saw the cars and drivers up close
But it just didn't compare to the
paddock at the Glen, where you'd
see drivers sipping champagne with
impeccably dressed European aristo
crats at linen-covered tables set with
fine crystal and surrounded by clas
sic Ferraris, Lambourghinis and
At Charlotte Motor Speedway, it
was all frcnch fries, Skoal and
Mountain Dew in a sea of ball caps,
big-wheel pickups and Winncbagos.
1 probably would have enjoyed it
more if it hadn't been the hottest
temperature ever recorded on that
date. Outside the speedway, it was
over 94 degrees in the shade. Of
which there wasn't any.
In the pits, I learned about how
those solar powered stoves work?
the ones that look like a big mir
rored bowl where you put the hot
dog in the middle and the reflected
sunlight cooks it in minutes.
At Charlotte, 1 was the hot dog in
the middle. The sunlight reflecting
off the 100-foot high asphalt bank
ing roasted my brain, which was
marinated in carbon monoxide
fumes and tenderized by the roar of
several dozen un-mufflcd V-8 en
gines swirling around my head.
After about fivc-hundrcd-and
somcthing miles of this, 1 staggered
outside, drank a gallon of Gatorade
and swore I'd never go back.
But it's a long way from Holden
Beach to the nearest sports car cir
cuit (Road Atlanta). And once
you've had a whiff of hypcr-octane
racing fuel, it's hard to stay away.
So if that guy comes through with
that pit pass he promised, 1 might
jast be tempted.
After all, as a professional jour
nalist, 1 need to remain (somewhat)
objwfciivc. Who knows? 1 might take
it back after all.