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Lynn S. Carlson Managing Edflor
Susan Usher News Eklttor
Doug Rutter Sports Editor
Eric Carlson Staff Writer
Peggy Earwood Office Manager
Carolyn H. Sweatt Advertising Director
Ttmberley Adams. CecelJa Gore
and Linda Cheers Advertising Representatives
Dorothy Brennan and Brenda Clemmons Moore..Graphic Artists
WUllam Manning Pressman
Lonnle Sprinkle Assistant Pressman
Tammie Henderson Fhoto Technician
Phoebe Clemmons and Frances Sweatt Circulation
PAGE 4-A. THURSDAY, JUNE 17. 1993
It's Better To Know Either
Way If Canals Are Polluted
Other Brunswick County beach communities might do well
to join Sunset Beach lead and have their finger canals tested for
evidence of pollution. This would not be a repeat of past ground
water studies which used test wells, but a simple check of canal
water to look for evidence of unacceptable levels of pollution
from malfunctioning septic tanks and stormwater runoff.
The Sunset Beach testing project was conceived when a citi
zen attending a public hearing expressed concern about reports of
high fecal coliform levels around the island, and asked what type
of warnings will be issued if any canals are determined to be un
safe for swimming. Good question.
If Sunset Beach finds reason enough to warn its visitors,
there's a good chance that a similar situation exists in other areas
where finger canals are lined with rental cottages which rely on
individual septic tanks for wastewater disposal. Getting that in
formation through testing now, depressing as it would be, is
preferable to finding out via an eventual public health crisis.
Conversely, if there is no problem found, visitors and people
whose businesses rely on them deserve to know those fears were
unfounded and that it's safe to swim, fish and crab to their hearts'
delight in finger canals as hundreds of thousands of vacationers
have done in years past.
Any long-term, regional solution to the problem of local wa
ter pollution will be a long time coming. But it doesn't take much
looking around to see a growing anxiety about this issue right
now, not just on the part of fishermen who rely on the waters for
their living, but by vacationers, retirees, school children and pub
Together, they need and deserve accurate information to
make sound decisions for the region's residents and visitors, now
Let Marketplace Deal With
Smoking In Private Sector
It's annoying when governments move too slowly. It's scary
when they move too quickly.
All around the state, municipal and county governments are
hastily drafting laws to restrict smoking. All this to get in under
the wire?to be "grandfathered" out of a legislative proposal
which would prohibit towns and counties from adopting anti
smoking rules more stringent than the state's.
When towns and counties limit these regulations to publicly
owned buildings, that's appropriate?even laudable. Some pro
pose to go farther, even though they appear to lack the resources
to enforce smoking restrictions in privately owned establish
ments. When they try, there'll be every reason to anticipate en
forcement to be selective. In addition, stay tuned to hear a chorus
of city and county governments this time next year asking more
money to apply these new rules.
Smoking in restaurants and other private sector establish
ments is an issue the marketplace can resolve of it own device.
It's been happening for years now without the costly aid of a
government nudge, at least in this state. No-smoking sections in
North Carolina's eateries were virtually unheard of, and would
have been politically blasphemous, not too many years ago.
They exist now, not because government said do it, but because
consumers did. That's the right way for it to happen.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
To the editor States that have tried it have found
I waded through James Payne's that the expected funding for
verbose letter chastising reporter schools, etc., never materialized. It
Eric Carlson, and I came to the con- turned out to be fools' gold.
elusion that Mr. Payne better not The lottery, if passed, would put
give up his day job. On the other the state of North Carolina in the
hand, if he does, he could try out as gambling businesses?a sorry exam
a television evangelist pie for our children and grandchil
Mr. Payne evidently doesn't know dren. The people of North Carolina
that the job of a columnist or editori- would be the ultimate losers, and
alist is to express his or her opinion our state would never again be the
on subjects about which he feels wholesome state that it is today,
strongly. Mr. Carlson's column did The lottery can be compared to a
just that: reflected his opinion, red apple that looks good on the out
Unlike Mr. Payne, he did not insult side but inside is filled with worms,
the intelligence of his readers with The lottery bill has passed in the
his manner of writing. He merely Senate. 1 hope the House will let it
provided food for thought die in committee for the good of our
Despite his long-winded, ego-trip people.
letter, Mr. Payne failed to prove his Berry Williams
allegations regarding Mr. Carlson's Wilmington
"lack of objectivity and danger of
"*^Tb paraphrase his "old lactic": Write Us
When you have nothing important to Xhc Beacon wc|comes ,eUers
say, use as many words as possible to ^ A11 must ^
to say it. signed and include the writer's
Pegge Jaynes address and telephone number.
SuPP'y We reserve the right 10 edit
'Coofc' Gold'9 libelous comments. Address
letters to The Brunswick Beacon,
To the editor P> G. Box 2558, Shalloue, N. C.
A lottery in North Carolina would 28459
be a bad bet any way you cut it.
Graduating With An Exercise In
Watching the mini-drama that
swirled around South Brunswick
High School's graduation ceremony
last week, it was hard not to feci ad
miration for the clean-cut young
man at the center of all the contro
As he and his fellow senior; pre
pared to close an important chapter
of their lives, Jason Lanier thought it
would be appropriate to say a prayer
during the ceremony. A majority of
his classmates agreed.
But the school administration said
no. Because the U.S. Supreme Court
had ruled that public schools could
not sanction a formal prayer. Be
cause doing so would violate the
Constitutional separation of church
and state?the idea that our govern
ment should not be allowed to favor
one religion over another.
You might think this law stinks.
Because, like most Americans, you
probably believe in some form of
Judeo-Christian religion. As do
most, if not all, of your friends. So
you would probably assume that any
prayer read at a public school would
coincide with your beliefs.
But what if you went to a high
school graduation and they began
the ceremony with a Buddhist sutra
or a reading from the Koran or by
chanting the words "Hare Krishna.
Hare Krishna. Krishna Krishna.
You might be a little upset to find
your tax money funding a school
system that promotes a religion you
don't believe in. Which is probably
the same way a Buddhist American
or an Islamic American or a Hindu
American or a Native American
might feel when a Christian prayer
is read at their graduation.
That's why the Supreme Court
and local school systems tried to
avoid such conflicts by not allowing
religious observances of any land.
Because the first amendment says
our government (of which our
school system is part) "shall make
no law respecting an establishment
Trouble is, the second part of that
sentence says, "...or prohibiting the
free exercise thereof."
In seeking to pray at his high
school graduation, Jason Lanier
wasn't trying to deprive anyone of
their Constitutional rights by estab
lishing a religion. He was merely
standing up for his Constitutional
right to freely exercise his own reli
Which put the school in dilemma.
If it allowed Jason to lead a prayer,
it would establish a preference for
his religion over others. But if it re
fused to allow the prayer, it would
prohibiting the free expression of a
majority of students.
Luckily (for the school), the
Supreme Court ruled last week that
prayers could be a',lowed at gradua
lion as long as they are initialed by a
majority of the student body and led
by a student and not an invited reli
It was a pretty good compromise.
Although adherents to other reli
gions might still have felt left out of
such an observance, they could at
least take some comfort in knowing
that it wasn't being done by the gov
While I applaud the decision, I
was a bit disappointed at the timing.
Because I hadn't seen a spark of stu
dent political activism like that in
many years (and several gradua
tions). I was looking forward to see
ing how it all played out.
You see, on the day I graduated,
my high school was in a shambles.
One month earlier, students (just
like us) who were protesting the
Vietnam War had been gunned
down by national guardsmen at Kent
State and Jackson State universities.
My high school was one of the
first in the country to join the na
tionwide student strike that followed
the shootings. For three days, no one
attended classes. Instead, we gath
ered on the school lawn for work
shops, lectures and debates about the
war and about President Nixon's de
cision to expand the conflict by in
Things never quite got back to
normal after that. The senior prom
was cancelled. A noticeable percent
age of students boycotted graduation
ceremonies, while many others ad
orned their mortarboards with peace
Needless to say, the valedictory
spcech was not upbeat. For it was
not a hopeful time. Our class had be
gun its freshman year after the long
hot summer of 1967, when urban ri
ots set our inner citics aflame.
Each school year was punctuated
by reports of former graduates who
went to Vietnam and came home in
body bags. We saw the early opti
mism about the war fade during the
Tet Offensive and disappear after the
My Lai massacre.
With childhood memories of one
assassination still fresh, we witness
ed the murders of Martin Luther
King and Robert Kennedy. Our faith
in the political system was shattered
in a blur of nightsticks as we saw ri
oting policc bmtally club unarmed
protesters outside the Democratic
Party convention in Chicago.
So there wasn't any talk at my
graduation about "bold new begin
nings" or the "great adventure"
awaiting us. After what we had seen
in the previous four years, no one
would have been surprised to hear a
prediction that things would only get
That the Pentagon Papers would
prove our government had been ly
ing to us about Vietnam. That the
Nixon administration would get
caught red-handed in a bungled bur
glary, a campaign of political espi
onage and an illegal cover-up. Or
that the president (and vice-presi
dent) would resign in disgrace to
avoid impeachment while several of
their key advisers went to prison.
I can't remember if we had a for
mal prayer that graduation day. But
I'm pretty sure we all said one to
Things h cv^nfife
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I emerge from the dream with a
In it I am standing on the State
House lawn, pad in hand and camera
around neck, as the members of my
sleepy-time legislature gather for the
session's most important public rela
tions function. They are dressed in
the Sunday finery of toddlers?
bright white training shoes, little
navy shorts with suspenders, crisp
cotton shirts and red bow ties.
When the big guy in the bunny
suit gives the cue, they all scatter
and begin poking under trees and
behind shrubs, shrieking with glee
as they discover the multi-colored
plastic eggs that hold the hidden
Meanwhile, back in the real
world, a coalition of local govern
ment leaders, worried about water
quality degradation and public
health, asks for half a million dollars
in state funds to study the possibility
of a regional sewer and stormwater
project. "Good idea, but we'll have
to see if we can find the money," is
one of the answers they get
A well-meaning citizens' group,
working against the clock to save
one of the last undeveloped barrier
islands, seeks financial help from
the state to buy the property. "Good
idea, but we'll have to see if we can
find the money," is one of the an
swers they get.
This is not to knock the people
who ask; in fact, I hope the state can
"find the money" for both causes. I
only mean to raise one curious liule
question: In any given year, who
finds how much money and where?
In this community alone, groups
present dozens if not hundreds of
find-thc-moncy requests, many of
nty Of Money Under The Cushions
them most worthy, to the legislative
delegation. If there are 100 counties,
with 100 good find-the-money caus
es in each, at an average $100,000
per cause, how much money can be
found to go how far and where?
In your own life, what's the most
money you ever found?in the
pockets of your dirty laundry, under
your sofa cushions, through a mis
take in balancing your checkbook?
Enough to use for anything more
extravagant than than a tankful of
gasoline? Not likely.
And if you began casually stick
ing significant sums of money in
odd places and having to go find it
whenever you need to have a tooth
crowned or your car lubed, wouldn't
someone in your family start think
ing about taking control of your fi
nances until you regained your sens
The state, and most notably the
feds, get away with doing this kind
of thing because of a phenomenon
called OPM. That's what Danny
Devito called it in a movie by the
same name?it's Other People's
I'm not being self-righteous. I've
only been back in the private sector
for a year alter having made my liv
ing off a combination of federal and
foundation money, all OPM. In fact.
it was my full-time job to convince
people to give our organization
OPM to do our work. And very
good work we did, taking care of
needy and sick people. But looking
back, I can't deny that we could
have done as much with a little less
Many years ago \ worked in a
community college under a federal
grant program which was suddenly
dissolved. My boss told the secre
tary and me?the three of us were
the whole department?that we had
six weeks to hang around until the
money ran out, then he'd see that we
got jobs in other departments.
What were we to do for six
weeks, I asked? Show up and sit at
your desk, and you'll continue to be
paid until we place you in another
job. In my experience, this type of
thing does not happen in private
business where there's no OPM.
See, when you're getting OPM,
you tend to rationalize. It gets worse
the longer you do it, and there are
OPM professionals who have been
around for many years?your hard
core bureaucrats who've never
worked on a Saturday or faced a
problem that couldn't be taxed out
You forget that ordinary workers
in the private sector often make less
money than you do, have less com
fortable working conditions, get
fewer holidays and vacations, never
get to go to conferences in fun cities,
and in most cases have to get more
done in a day's time than you you
do in a week or month. And, most
importantly, that they're paying you
to be there.
In the OPM game, you learn early
on to ask for twice as much as you
need. That way, if the budget gets
cut, you'll still have enough to oper
ate. If it doesn't, you'll have a little
It's behind those little cushions
that state and federal governments
"find the money." When they need
discretionary funds, they can just put
a liny budgetary squeeze, 5 percent
here, and 3 percent there, on a few
Sure, they'll holler, but that's part
of the game, too. You better believe
they've got it to spare, stashed in a
padded travel budget or somewhere
It may not be fair, but it's the only
game in town.
\The beauty of the world has two edges, one of
laughter, one of anguish, cutting the heart asun
der. ?Virginia Woolf
lA physician can bury his mistakes, but the architect
can only advise his clients to plant vines.
?Frank Lloyd Wright