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Tlmberley Adams. Cecelia Gore
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Phoebe Clemmons and Frances Sweatt Circulation
PAGE 4-A, THURSDAY, JUNE 10, 1993
'Town Meeting' Legislative
Forum Should Be A Tradition
About 15 people took advantage of Monday's "town meet
ing" in Shallotte to speak their minds to, and answer questions of.
Representatives David Redwine and Dewey Hill and Senator
R.C. Soles. Another 10 or so sat in on the two-hour session with
out speaking. It was a rewarding exercise for the citizens and the
legislators?one that ought to become a tradition.
The questions were thoughtful and the answers, for the most
part, enlightening. It became quickly apparent that Brunswick
Countians are keeping a close watch over their men in Raleigh,
especially watchtul against bills with the potential to place heav
ier burdens on small businesses and local governments.
Equally obvious was the dichotomy between what citizens
profess to want?such as more prison beds in the state?and how
little tax support they're willing to provide toward that end. It's
heartening to see legislators look constituents in the eyes and re
mind them they can't have it both ways.
Though the crowd was weighted heavily with local govern
ment and education officials intent on staking claims to various
pots of state money, a number of "civilians" were on hand to
bring up such topics as health care, gun control, highway litter,
the lottery, and the relationship between illegal drugs and revolv
None of those issues has an easy answer. In particular, reform
of the state's health care and justice systems will be inextricably
linked to changes at the federal level?changes, as Redwine
pointed out, cannot occur without pinching citizens, as well as
special-interest groups, in their tender spots.
Two Friday evening town meetings are scheduled next. They
are June 18 at the courthouse in Southport, and June 25 at the
Leland Town Hall. Both begin at 7:00.
Even if you don't have a question or a beef, you'll learn
something by attending.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
4Surround Us In Beauty4
To the editor
Holdcn Bcach homeowners and
visitors noticing the beautifully
landscaped areas on the sides of, and
at the bottom of, our bridge, plus the
many other public areas, have a cou
ple of hard-working ladies to thank
?Fran Vogt and Hap Hart.
Although a few other people have
helped on occasion, Fran and Hap
have spent many, many hours to
beautify our island. Fran was also
instrumental in getting the mer
chants on the causcway to beautify
Not many people would give up
every weekend of two months to
oversee community workers (who
can only work on weekends) as Fran
has done. Even the verbal abuse and
constant criticism from fellow beau
tification committee members does
not daunt the civic pride and hard
work of these special ladies.
If you haven't shown your appre
ciation for this beauty, please take
the time to give them a call. Cer
tainly, that is the very least we can
do. I personally know how many
hours of hard labor in the blistering
sun these unselfish ladies have given
to our community.
I thank them for surrounding us in
To the editor:
1 am writing to let the people of
Shallottc and surrounding areas
know about the Shaliotlc Explorers.
The Explorers arc a division of
the Boy Scouts of America for
young people 14 to 20. Their pur
pose is to help young people learn
about law enforcement, cooperation
with others and helping people.
The group is organized by the
Shallotte Police Department. Advis
ors Keith Croom and Michael Fers
ter work together to teach us what it
takes to be a successful law enforce
The Explorers do fundraisers such
as car washes, bucket shakes, etc.
We also accept donations. We arc
now looking for donations to help
get members their uniforms.
Thank you for learning about our
Shallotte Explorers unit. For more
information about the program, con
tact Keith Croom of the Shallotte
(More Letters, Following Page)
The Beacon welcomes letters
to the editor. All letters must be
signed and include the writer's ad
dress and telephone number.
Under no circumstances will un
signed letters be printed. Letters
should be legible. We reserve the
right to edit libelous comments.
Address letters to The Brunswick
Beacon, P. O. Box 2558, Shal
lotte, N. C. 28459.
? Democracies cannot dispense with with hypocrisy any
more than dictatorships can with cynicism.
mAn example from the monkey: The higher it climbs, the
more you see of its behind.
? Words ought to be a little wild for they are the assault of
thoughts on the unthinking.
?John Maynard Keynes
? There is not a more mean, stupid, dastardly, pitiful, selfish,
spiteful, envious, ungrateful animal than the Public. It is
the greatest of all cowards, for it is afraid of itself.
? What is so rare as a day in June?
Then, if ever, come perfect days.
?James Russell Lowell
Phantom Creature Part II: Crazy No More
I am pleased (I guess) to report
that 1 am not the only South Bruns
wick Islander to experience things
that go screech in the night.
I've had calls or visits almost
every day from people with infor
mation and speculation about the
"phantom critter of Holdcn Beach" I
described in this space a couple of
weeks ago. The woods (and marshes
and dunes) were once full of 'em, so
there arc bound to be a few still
I may have caught a rare glimpse
of a coastal cougar, they tell me.
Although this isn't any great revela
tion among the county's hunters or
folks who live on the fringe of the
Green Swamp, it's a pretty big deal
I learned in a fascinating conver
sation with naturalist Arthur Carrier
of LitUc River that the last officially
documented coastal cougar died in
captivity in 1911. Carrier is certain
they still exist; he's seen plenty of
evidence, including a dead cougar
kitten. Many hunters have also told
me they've seen these cats, or at
least their tracks, and know where
their dens arc.
I'll be getting together with
Carrier in a few days to learn
enough about these mysterious fe
lines to make into a whole feature
story. He works with state and feder
al agencies and conservation groups
to try to document and preserve the
habitats and increase the gene pool
of rare and endangered (and official
ly extinct) species.
From what I've been told thus far,
numerous others have seen the same
kind of criltcr and assume it must be
something else, since coastal cou
gars don't resemble the big pumas
we know from Tarzan movies. They
arc "odd-looking," Carticr says,
rather long-legged and thick-tailed,
able to swim across waterways and
roam 300 miles. They have been
sighted as far north as Massachu
setts. They don't look like the endan
gered Florida cats, of which only 17
remaining pairs arc known to exist.
As I said earlier, the animal I saw
at 4:30 a.m. Wednesday, May 12,
had a cry bloodcurdling enough to
scare the cheese dip out of anybody.
Every one of my callers has agreed
that it makes a noise like something
A resident of Brunswick Avenue
at Holdcn Beach, and another who
lives on High Point Street, heard but
didn't see it in the prc-dawn hours
that weekend. A woman on Kirby
Road heard something like it, too.
A man from Bent tree Plantation
near Ocean Isle Beach has seen and
left food out for an animal he de
scribes as gray, short-legged, bushy
tailed and "real fidgety." However,
Cartier discourages such well-inten
tioned efforts to feed wild animals.
"They shouldn't be made dependent
on man, who's their worst enemy,"
A woman who lives at Sunset
Beach slopped by to report that both
her husband and she caught an odd
looking cat-like critter in their car
headlights one night last week be
fore it bolted into the marsh.
While I reported the cat under my
floodlight to be short-legged, it
could well have been just crouching,
Carticr suggested. He also added
that the time of year is right for fe
males to go off alone and bear their
young in a relatively safe place?
like the city-block-sized marsh I sec
when 1 look out my kitchen window.
If you recall, I speculated at least
halfway in jest that it could have
been a jaguarundi. Carticr tells me
that while jaguarundi arc native to
the Carolinas?and a few arc known
to live in Horry County, where they
got away from a traveling circus?
they have very stringy tails and
spend most of their time in aces.
My experienced piqued the inter
est of Lorena Jodicc, a self-describ
ed "unemployed cat-keeper" who
came to stay with her parents in
Brunswick County after being bitten
by a hyena at the Knoxville Zoo,
where she tended 40 large cats and
"several other carnivores."
I learned from Lorena that jag
uarundi can be found in Arizona,
New Mexico and Texas and arc easi
ly domesticated. She said my de
scription fit that of a tayra, native to
South and Central America with a
bushy tail and a pointy cat-like face.
Whatever the outcome, it's been a
delight to hear from so many readers
about a column I was ccrtain would
blow my cover and expose me as an
utier kook. Either I'm not, or lots of
other people are, and lunacy loves
? ? ?
Odds and ends not big enough
for a whole column:
?In a photo caption last week, I er
roneously referred to the beachcs'
large "Labor Day" crowd. Somehow
the boo-boo slipped past several oth
er staffers and went to press that
way. I promise it wasn't a Freudian
slio, and I'll try to atone on Inde
pendence Day. Duh...
?I had the double pleasure Friday of
attending the Ocean Isle Property
Owners' Association's first Town
Employee Appreciation picnic
PLUS getting a sneak peak at the
completed mural in the Museum of
Coastal Carolina's work-in-progress
In a very welcome gesture of sup
port, the town staff of 17 got some
much-descrved praise, and a barbc
cuc luncheon, from the POA. Say
what you will about the way Ocean
Isle Beach operates, but it's refresh
ing to see a citizens' group and
clccted officials enjoy (and work at)
a genuinely civil relationship.
After the picnic, museum founder
Stuart Ingram took me back to sec
Vic Gillispie's completed mural,
which is nothing less than spectacu
lar. I can't tell you when the new ad
dition will go public; that's a fiscal
matter, since the museum is strictly
a pay-as-we-go proposition. But if
you'd seen what I saw, you might
want to come up with a contribution
to speed things along.
WED T? DEATH.' pJTy,
WHy, X CAN bareiy rLnY. ON(t n ,
sjrape By from WEEK/ AT LEAST:
WEEKTO WK^ ^>1 I) |
NO /VEWTOBf^I || AMLJ^ I
? r it?':"
-m ^ *??
. ? - - ii
(WHYTHE icmm 35 50TEA1PTIN6 TO STATE LEGISLATORS)
Dragging For Kings With Captain Jamie
Remember that great scene in the
movie "City Slickers" where the
grizzled old gunfighter, played by
Jack Palance, casually asks tender
foot Billy Crystal if he wants to
know the secret of happiness?
Stunned with anticipation that he
might find some clue to this funda
mental question, Crystal eagerly re
plies in the affirmative.
"Just one thing," Palance says,
holding a calloused finger toward
After a painful silence, with no
relief in sight. Crystal blurts out,
"That's for you to decide," says
Palance as their horses clip-clop
down the trail.
I couldn't help thinking about that
after spending a day with Jamie
Millikcn, a guy who has definitely
found his "one thing." And if you
don't know what that is, you need to
read your Beacon more thoroughly.
To say Jamie Millikcn enjoys off
shore fishing is like saying . a
Labrador retriever enjoys chasing
tennis balls. If he's ten miles out
with four lines dragging, Jamie is
one very happy man. Even when the
only thing biting is the wind.
We had been trying to do a fish
ing story together for nearly a year,
but had repeatedly run into schedul
ing conflicts. So when Jamie called
last week and asked if I wanted to
go along for the "Sun Fun King
Mackerel Tournament," I eagerly
took the bait.
A day later, partially recovered, I
began to wonder if he had said
"tournament" or "torment."
Piloting the Caribbean Soul up
the waterway for a 7 a.m. start from
Lockwood Folly inlet Friday, Jamie
kept a running radio banter going
with his closc circle of local fishing
buddies aboard the Oil Slick, the
Reel Chase, the Captain Hook II, the
Outlaw and the Shooting Star III.
'There's a lot of camaraderie out
there," he explains. 'The local crews
keep in touch and help each other
I would soon find that to be a
very comforting thought
As the sun began to bum through
the mist and the circling competitors
idled slowly toward the starting line,
1 got into position for what would be
a beautiful photo of a dozen fully
rigged mackerel boats peacefully
motoring out to sea.
Silly me. The second hand hit 12.
Jamie hit the throtUe. The Caribbean
Soul hit the first wave. And my head
hit the cockpit roof as we began a
20-minute spray-soaked pounding
that was about as peaceful as a bare
back steeplechase in a hurricane.
I somehow managed to pry one
hand loose long enough to stow the
camera safely below deck and
quickly resumed my death grip be
fore another wave exploded off the
bow. That's when I met the real
Wedged between the wheel and
the cockpit seat, his hair and mus
tache dripping with salt spray, grin
ning like a kid on Christmas, Jamie
kept the big Evinrude howling
through all but the tallest swells.
Now and then he'd let out a rousing
"Yee Haw!" as the propeller bit the
air and revved wildly to announce
that the Caribbean Soul had gone
Bathed in the warm light of a
golden sunrise, the image recalled
those wonderful Frederic Remington
paintings of Pony Express riders
wildly slapping the haunches of a
galloping horse as it bounded across
the desert A picture of unbridled
enthusiasm. One I would have need
ed an underwater camera and an ex
tra hand to capture.
Suddenly everything went quiet.
We had reached the offshore reef
that would be our first hunting
ground for the $10,000 fish.
Jamie stayed at the helm as his
experienced young mate Brant Mc
Mullan moved purposefully around
the cockpit bailing hooks, running
out line, setting reels and adjusting
the downrigger. Meanwhile, 1 busied
myself snapping pictures.
It wasn't until we started to troll
that I noticed the Soul had begun to
roll. With a ground swell from one
direction and a wind swell from an
other, there was no pattern to the
pitching. First we'd roll fore-and-aft,
then beam-to-be am. My stomach
took an elevator up.
1 mod all my old tricks: like deep
breathing, staring at the horizon,
drinking Coca-Cola and eating crac
kers, and even a hew one?munch
ing celery?and somehow managed
to stave off a major upheaval.
Three times I came close to losing
it. The first was when 1 went below
to change film. The second was
when Jamie offered me what he
called a "horse doovcr" consisting
of a saltinc garnished with Vienna
sausage. (I won't tell you what he
Recoiling, 1 declined and asked,
"Do you have any idea what's in
This turned out to be my third
mistake. Jamie simply grinned and
answered by reading the ingredients
on the side of the can, which basi
cally said "parts is pans."
Brant wasn't quite so lucky. He
had driven straight to the dock after
finishing final exams in Atlanta the
day before. So he didn't quite have
his sea legs back. He spent much of
the day splayed out across an Igloo
He later made a valiant recovery
after generously donating his break
fast of saltines and Yoo-Hoo to the
To make a long story short, we
didn't catch a thing?much less a
king?that day. Neither did any of
Jamie's comrades. Nor did more
than 400 of the 500-something boats
in the tournament.
Most blamed it on the full moon,
which had given the big macks a
spotlight for all-night feeding.
But getting skunked didn't seem
to bother Jamie one bit Although
claimed to be "ticked off to the high
est peak of tickativity," you'd never
know it by looking at him. He
stayed in the highest of high spirits
all day, rallied his buddies with ra
dio pep talks and predicted better
Whether they got it or not, 1 can't
say. You'll have to turn to his col
umn to find out. But 1 do know a
happy guy when I see one. And
whether he's catching or just fishing,
as long as Jamie Millikcn has a line
in the water, he's one "Jolly Mon."