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Edward M. Sweatt and Carolyn H. Sweatt Publishers
Edward M. Sweatt Editor
Lynn S. Carlson Managing Editor
Susan Usher News Editor
Doug Rutter Sports Editor
Eric Carlson . Staff Writer
Peggy Earwood Office Manager
Carolyn H. Sweatt Advertising Director
Tirnberley Adams. Cecelia Gore
and Linda Cheers Advertising Representatives
Dorothy Brennan and Brenda Clemmons Moore ..Gmj)hlc Artists
William Manning Pressman
Lonnie Sprinkle Assistant Pressman
Tarn mle Henderson Ptioto Technician
Phoebe Clemmons and Frances Sweatt Circulation
PAGE 4-A, THURSDAY, JUNE 24, 1993
There's Still No Evidence
Of Need For Certification
The county health department's second public hearing on cer
tifying food service managers has come and gone, and still there
is no clear evidence of a problem crying out for solution.
No statistics have been presented indicating a food-borne ill
ness problem in Brunsw ick County Restaurant sanitation grades
do not seem to be at all below average. Thete is no evident con
sumer demand for the program. Indeed, there is little apparent
health board support for the proposal. Not a single board of
health member bothered to attend the first hearing. Only one did
And now restaurant managers?as if they weren't already in
a line of work fraught with pitfalls and profit-drains?may be
forced to attend school to prove they know what they undoubted
ly already do know if they are able to maintain legitimately high
Among the 40 or so faces in the crowd at last week's public
hearing were several veteran restaurateurs who've operated re
spected establishments with consistently high sanitation ratings
for more than a decade. Should they be honored for this accom
plishment by being bound in red tape and made to pay extra help
to cover workers attending mandatory certification classes?
While the health department staff no doubt conceived this
idea as a service to the public, it adds up to little more than an
added hassle where none is justified. It looks a lot like govern
ment for the sake of government. And at the expense of small
Getting 'Dear Volunteer'
Letters? Read Fine Print
I don't know about you, but hearing stories about disreputable fundrais
ing outfits makes me so angry my teeth hurt.
It happens all to often, and all too
subtly?because we allow it to hap
pen. In a few cases, the fundraising
stratagem may actually be illegal, but
more often than not we're talking
about naive consumers who allow
themselves to be taken in by profes
sionals who woo us with hot button
words like ''cancer," "heart disease"
and yes, even "drug abuse preven
A state agency recently reported on activities of professional fundrais
ers operating within the state. Several supposedly reputable companies re
ported that in some cases not much more than half the funds they raised
went to the causes for which they were meant. United Way in North
Carolina, by the way, returned a very high percentage of funds raised.
Generally speaking, a well-run professional fundraising effort will spend
less than 15 percent on overhead, returning at least 85 percent to the charity
or charities it represents.
Not so long ago, Brunswick County residents gave nearly $500 to a so
called "area cancer drive" without reading the fine print that clearly stated
most of the money raised wouldn't do beans for cancer research. I got the
same letter and tossed it, but perhaps we should have complained?to the
state, to the Better Business Bureau. It might not be illegal, but letters like
this are deceptive.
Richard Owens, a resident of the next subdivision over saved the letter
he got and brought it to the staff here at the Beacon. He was concerned that
good, soft-hearted people were being used.
Legal or not, the folks behind that letter are at it again. He's brought us
another letter, this time for a "heart disease campaign." Judge for yourself.
The format is identical, down to the personal memo (Mr. , I hope we
can count on you for our Area Door-to-Door Drive!).
This latest letter seeks volunteers to go door-to-door in their neighbor
hood in July raising money "to fight heart disease." It adds, "Your volun
teer work or your $10 gift is urgently needed and will be deeply appreciat
You bet it will be appreciated, especially by the friendly folks at Direct
Response Consulting Services who pocket the 60 percent the sponsors esti
mate will be spent directly on fundraising. I personally wouldn't be sur
prised if Direct Response happened to be run by the same folks who spon
sor the heart drive, just working out of different post office box sweatshops.
Calculating generously, I suspect, they figured another 20 percent
would be spent on public education "in conjunction with fundraising ap
peals," and 10 percent each for "administration" and "program services."
What kind of services? It never says.
And what would the costs have looked like if the sponsors had not been
trying to save money ? That's right, that's what the letter said. 'To save
money, we at the National Office will be coordinating this Heart Drive."
It also stated, on the back of the letter, in black and white, that though
this organization was founded in 1991, it would be 1994 before its first an
nual report and audited financial statement would be available.
My 10 bucks says this group will be long gone by then, or perhaps op
erating a door-to-door boiler room campaign to support a cure for AIDS or
diseases of the lungs.
Public education expenses for this "heart disease" campaign including
the costs incurred in "disseminating information contained in solicitations."
The fundraising appeal I saw included only two pieces of so-called edu
cational information about heart disease, both lacking supporting data and
crafted to appeal to our fears: heart disease is a leading killer in America
and that one out of every two Americans will eventually be stricken "with
this dread disease."
So. it pays to consider letters of solicitation carefully before responding.
Well informed, well-intended people get taken in everyday because they
If a solicitation tugs at your heart strings the least bit and you're moved
to give, stop and read the fine print carefully. Then do your homework: Is it
a group whose work you're personally familiar with? Do you know any of
its volunteers or staff members? Is an annual report or financial statement
readily available for inspection? Any complaints on file with the N.C.
Attorney General's Office or area Better Business Bureau? Is the organiza
tion included in an annual rating of national charities? If so, how does it
More important, don't let bloodsuckers such as these discourage you
from giving to legitimate charities, especially those doing good work in
your own local community.
What Makes Fido Tick
"What Makes Dogs Bark? No
body Knows For Sure." That's the
headline on a news release about
scientists studying why you can't to
save your life get Fido to p>pe down.
Sounds dumb enough to be a tax
payer-funded project, but it's not.
The source of this dauntless mission
to pierce the darkness is the venera
ble National Geographic Society. In
an uncharacteristically glib article,
the society offers these tidbits about
?"It's because they (dogs) are im
mature characters, like teen-agers,
very hard to train."
?A biologist at Hampshire
College in Amherst. Mass., once
clocked a sheep dog in a remote
Minnesota field that barked nonstop
for seven hours. "I don't know if the
dog is a record-holder, but I'm cer
tainly the record-holder for listening
without interrupting," says Ray
mond Coppinger "with a rueful
grin." (Columnist to Coppinger:
Avoid Minnesota. Acquire a life.)
?Another researcher timed a
cocker spaniel that yapped 907
times in 10 minutes.
?Dogs that sound off because
they have nothing better to do are
called "boredom barkers," says
Bonnie Beaver, chicf of small-ani
mal medicine and surgery at Texas
A & M. and that's really her name.
?Seeking instant cures for bark
ing. some dog owners have gone to
such lengths as noise-activated de
vices that emit offensive odors or
squirt water on offenders. A British
inventor recently came up with a
gadget that hangs around a dog's
neck and emits a pungent lemon
aroma every time the animal barks.
Typical anti-bark collars produce
unpleasant sounds or mild electric
Most such contraptions have one
thing in common, the experts say:
They don't work.
?"Almost nothing will keep terri
ers from barking; it's in their genes,"
says a psychologist at the University
of British Columbia who has studied
canine intelligence, as it were. "Ev
erybody who owns a little terrier
will tell you that its favorite game of
all time is imaginary burglar. And
it's always played between 2 and 3
in the morning, when in fact the dog
is announcing that a leaf has fallen
against the wall of the house."
Before I proceed, let me state that
I am not a dog person. I realize that
this confession is likely to endear
ine to the Sftuwi-reading public in
much the same way that my beloved
husband did by publicly admitting
his distaste for stock car racing.
("He don't like NASCAR and she
don't like dawgs. Them people's
One year Santa brought my son a
yellow Labrador retriever named
Abby. and we got along quite well.
But I didn't become a dog person.
Proof? I never had even the faintest
desire to let her sleep in my bed,
ride in my car. lick my face, have
puppies, or accompany me on vaca
She grew up to be fat. doe-eyed,
obedient and dumb as a box of
rocks?all acceptable qualities in a
dog. as far as I'm concerned. But I
just couldn't get that best-friend
thing going with an animal whose
entire life revolved around chasing a
slobber-slick tennis ball as far. and
as often, as any human being would
Preferring pels who are fastidious.
haughty, disloyal and immune to hu
man guidance, 1 am a cat person
But please, you gabby dog defend
ers. resist the impulse to call and tell
me that emptying a litter box is infi
nitely grosser than having your hand
touched by a cold, wet dog nose.
Not to me.
That YOUR weenie dog never
yaps. It does.
That YOUR afghan hound is
smart. It ain't.
That YOUR chihuahua is cute.
Then I won't have to try to con
vince you that my 10-week-old kit
ten is a joy. even though he has in a
?shredded most of the skin on my
hands, arms, feet and legs in the
course of his adorable playful antics;
?taught himself to crouch, jiggle
and tear across the room from differ
ent angles, producing an alarming
ripping sound as he scales the furni
ture. stereo speakers or window
?and made it abundantly clear
that he will for the rest of our so
journ together disregard any rules I
am foolish enough to try to enforce.
Hric might be a subversive as far
as racing goes, but he's on the right
track with critters. He has aquari
You are driving through an unfa
miliar city on a crowded interstate
highway at dusk, trying to find the
exit for a motel where you have
made reservations for the night.
The sun is in your eyes. Cars are
zig-zagging across the lanes. You
pass a green sign that might have
had the correct route number. You
are not quite sure. But you're about
to pass the exit. So you quickly
swerve down the ramp.
A moment too late, you realize
that it was the wrong exit. Oh well.
No big deal. Just wait for the traffic
light and get back on the highway.
For most of us, those are about
the most demanding split-second de
cisions we are ever forced to make.
Except those who work in law en
There's an old saying that a police
officer's job is 99 percent boredom
and 1 percent terror. If you choose
that line of work, there is a good
chance that some day you'll be re
quired to make a snap judgment that
will mean the difference between
life and death for yourself, for a
crime suspect or for innocent by
It appears that Lt. Ronald Hewett
of the Brunswick County Sheriff's
Department was put into one of
those situations when two Wilming
ton teen-agers allegedly sped off in a
stolen GMC Suburban after he
stopped them on U.S. 17 last week.
Only Hewett and the two suspects
can tell us exactly what happened
out there. But we do know that shots
were fired. And that the fleeing ve
hicle was driven wildly up the high
way for about two miles before it
overturned and rolled down the
pavement, ejecting its two occu
Sheriff John Carr Davis did the
right thing by immediately calling in
the SBI to investigate the case.
Working until late that night, ten
agents combed the two crime scenes
and interviewed witnesses to deter
mine whether Hewett had been justi
fied in firing his service revolver at
the suspects' vehicle.
As of this writing, the SBl's final
report has not been completed.
However, Sheriff Davis said the pre
liminary investigation indicates that
Hewett "acted properly and violated
no policy" of his department.
Right now, that is all the we have.
Because the alleged driver of the
stolen vehicle remains hospitalized
in critical condition. The other larce
ny suspect is a 15-year-old juvenile
who has not been identified.
But the editors at the Wilmington
Morning Star presume to know
more about this incident than their
own reporters. They have indicted
our criminal justice system in a slap
dash editorial that begins:
"Fleeing in a stolen truck is prac
tically a capital crime in Brunswick
Without offering a shred of evi
dence to contradict the SBI findings,
the Star concluded that Hewett's ac
tion was "reckless." The editorial
said the officer should have been
"more sensible and responsible" be
cause the suspects were not thought
to be "armed or particularly danger
ous," nor did they pose "an impend
ing threat of grave injury or death to
Nothing in the Star's news ac
counts of this incident supports this
editorial point of view. Their stories
reported that the Suburban was
stolen in Wilmington. That it was
pulled over by Lt. Hewett. And that
he fired four shots, hitting the left
rear tire three times as the alleged
thieves sped off.
The paper reported that the sus
pects drove north on U.S. 17 at
speeds of up to 70 miles per hour,
passing two tractor-trailer trucks on
the right-side grass shoulder before
the vehicle overturned and flipped
several times in the southbound lane
of a busy U.S. highway.
The paper also reported Sheriff
Davis' determination that the SBl's
preliminary investigation indicated
that Hewett had acted properly.
Evidently that was not the story
the Star's editorial writer wanted to
believe. So he or she ignored the pa
per's own reporting and conjured up
another version of events. One that
fit his or her point of view.
The Star's news accounts did not
say whether or not the alleged car
thieves were thought to be carrying
weapons, because the SB1 has not
released that information. But the
editorial writer assumed they were
unarmed. He claims that as far as
anyone knows, "they were kids who
swiped a truck for a joyride."
But if he had read the Beacon, he
would have known that these "kids"
are suspects in a series of car thefts
and that a felony anest warrant on
another auto theft charge was issued
for one of them a week before the
incident. If he had called his own
city police department, he would
have learned that additional charges
against one of these "kids" are pend
ing there, too.
The editorial writer fails to ac
knowledge that a 4,000-pound sta
tion wagon tumbling down the high
way at 70 m.p.h. might pose an "im
pending threat of grave injury or
death" to oncoming traffic. He ig
nores the possibility that Lt. Hewett
might have fired at the speeding ve
hicle to avoid such a calamity.
Nor does he consider that any of
ficer who could shoot three out of
four bullets into the tire of a moving
car might just as easily have put one
of those slugs into the driver's head
and removed the "impending threat"
Instead, forced to make a snap
judgment in a situation about which
we know very little, Hewett appar
ently took the measured response of
deflating one of the vehicle's tires.
All evidence released so far sug
gests that Hewett acted responsibly.
That same evidence indicates that
the Morning Star didn't.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Reporter Is Always Accurate, Fair
To the editor: on our behalf. He has spent many hours at our meetings
On behalf of the Varnamtown Board of Aldermen, we and worked hard to insure the activities and actions tak
wish to officially commend Doug Rutter for his report- en to enhance our town are reported to all interested in
ing of our town news. His columns on our town affairs dividuals.
have always been of the highest caliber, both in accura- We have chosen to demonstrate our appreciation in
cy and fairness. Mr. Rutter's professionalism is a credit this manner so that Doug, his Beacon friends and, hope
to himself and The Brunswick Beacon. fully, all Beacon readers will be aware of his contribu
Too often we forget to thank those individuals that tions to Varnamtown.
contribute so much to their communities. We do not Mayor Judy L. Galloway
want to make that mistake. Varnamtown
We wish to sincerely thank Mr. Rutter for his efforts (More Letters, Following Page)