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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
Tlmberley Adams. Cecelia Gore
and Linda Cheers Advertising Representatives
Dorothy Brennan and Brenda Clemmons Moore ..Graphic Artists
William Manning. Pressman
Lonnle Sprinkle Assistant Pressman
David White Photo Technician
PAGE 4 -A, THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 4, 1993
Boards' 'Playground Squabble'
Growing Tedious, Indefensible
Will nothing short of the next election motivate the
Brunswick County commissioners and school board to stop act
ing like preschoolers jockeying for a place in Time Out?
These are men and women who just weeks ago emerged
from the grueling process of mediation over the schools' budget,
most of them speaking of hope for a new day when communica
tion would be smoother and needs more clearly understood.
So much for that. The current flap regarding the use of left
over funds is tantamount to a playground squabble. School
board: "He's picking on me." Commissioners: "Well, you're be
ing bad." School board: "Give me back my toy." Commissioners:
"No, you can only play with this one."
The commissioners are enjoying the bully part all too much.
Same would appear to be true of the school board in its role as
Meanwhile, those of us watching from the outside can't help
being squeamish with embarrassment. And those of us with kids
in those schools know who will suffer ? no, keep suffering ? un
til something changes.
VIC Needs A Santa To Solve
Its Christmas Space Dilemma
It's a sticky problem that pops up every year as reliably as lit
tle green sandspurs. Where will the Brunswick County Volunteer
and Information Center set up its massive Christmas giveaway
The VIC office is filling up with the contributions generous
Brunswick Countians make to their less fortunate neighbors for
the holiday season. Members of the Extension Homemakers and
other clubs will soon be turning in the hundreds of dolls they lov
ingly dress each year for needy girls. There will also be hundreds
of Tree of Hope presents, food baskets, bicycles and other gifts
for children and adults.
But as of this writing, VIC has nowhere to store the goods
and nowhere from which to distribute them. Somebody out there
must be able to help.
What VIC needs is a space large enough to keep the give
away goods from the end of this month until the week of
Christmas. They'd like a central location ? somewhere in the
Supply area would be great ? but will take what they can get.
The giveaway is scheduled for Dec. 21 and 22, according to VIC
Executive Director Pete Barnette, then the space would be
cleaned out on the 23rd.
They're down to the wire. If you can provide the space VIC
needs to help more than 600 families ? more than 2,000 less for
tunate fellow Brunswick Countians ? you're the Santa they're
? The whole history of the progress of human liberty shows that
all concessions yet made to her august claims have been born
of earnest struggle. ...If there is no struggle, there is no
progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet depre
cate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the
ground, they want rain without thunder and lightning. They
want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters.
? Frederick Douglass
abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging
to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong,
we may begin to use it with love and respect.
? Aldo Leopold
? The public buys its opinions as it buys its meat, or takes in its
milk, on the principle that it is cheaper than to do this than to
keep a cow. So it is, but the milk is more likely to be watered.
? Samuel Butler
Neither Rain, Snow,
Nor Lack Of
It's one of the those love/hate re
You readers seem to appreciate
your personal postal carriers as
much as I do mine.
It's the bureaucracy and the baf
fling innards of the U.S. Postal
Service that frustrates us. A recent
visit to behind-the-scenes workings
of the post office didn't help. Turns
out that bureaucracy baffles and
frustrates even hard-working postal
employees. Should we be surprised?
After venting my own postal frus
trations in the Sept. 30 issue, I invit
ed readers to send their postal suc
cess and horror stories. Almost
equal numbers of both came by mail
and by fax, but not the total volume
of responses one would expect.
Let me share with you three of the
most succinct and articulate respons
es, all from friends, that represent
the full range of reviews: grateful,
Ruth Hood of Sunset Beach, an
award-winning rugmaker and crafts
woman of excellent skill, is also a
She writes, "I want to applaud my
mail carrier. In early September, in
the excitement I felt after my new
grandson was born, I put in the mail
six letters, all without stamps, to
friends whom I wished to share the
good news. We had stopped our
mail as we were going to help our
daughter and enjoy the new baby.
"When we returned, our mail car
rier (Carrier 5, Sunset Beach) told
me that the six letters did not have
stamps, and as she knew we might
be away a long time she had put the
stamps on and mailed them.
"Our carrier has always been very
helpful," concludes Ruth. "I find it
amazing that for a mere 29 cents I
can send letters to my children who
live in California. Arizona and
(That is a bargain for 29 cents
each; however, I'd pay more if that
brought better service and stop the
A facsimile from a high school
classmate. Don O. Stanley of Ash,
brought back memories of regular
mail cross-ups between Shallotte
and Charlotte in the pre-ZIP days.
Apparently something similar hap
pens even in this marvelous era of
"Greetings from Ash N.C. 28420!
That's right. Ash 28420, not
Asheville 28801, not Asheboro
27203, not even Ashford 28603, but
just plain Ash 28420.
"Mail is ZIPped from one end of
the state to the other trying to locate
the elusive Ash 28420, and eventu
ally, through a series of brutal muti
lations and various colorful stamp
ings, it arrives. I think.
"I assumed that the Postal Service
sorted and directed mail by Zip
Code, after all it is their idea. Right?
"If you're wondering why I faxed
this, it's not paranoia. I just wanted
to be sure it ended up in Shallotte
28459 and not Charlotte 28202."
And lastly, a word from retired
longtime Winnabow postmaster
Tom Bragg Rabon Sr., who since re
tirement has earned a real estate li
cense and won election as District 4
Tom writes, "The Postal Service
receives a lot of bad press. I'm sorry
to say that much of it is deserved.
"A look at the enclosed envelope,
which was delivered to me 4 days
after mailing, with a Wilmington ad
dress. renewed my faith in the
Sure enough, the U.S. P.S. found
Tom (at P.O. Box 1, Winnabow
28479) even though the envelope
was addressed to "Rabon Realty
Estate, Wilmington North Carolina"
He adds. "P.S. I'll admit to being
a bit (underlined) biased."
Back In School, Hoping For A Snow Day
No "fire. No "hrfnadc
hurricane- No -flood
cur- Btf our A
own insurance &
BAY REALTY /'
Guess who got a speeding ticket.
And I was being so good. Haven't
had one in years and years. Long
enough to earn "safe driver" rates
from my insurance company. For
which I feel permanently qualified,
since I've never caused an accident.
I just like to go fast sometimes.
Unlike Lynn, who never, ever
likes to go fast and who constantly
reminds me by making panicky little
"Eeeek!" noises and slamming on
the imaginary brakes as I skillfully
maneuver her peppy little sports
sedan through congested highway
Just like I was on the day of my
We were heading out of Wil
mington after eight hours of bustling
around the city, looking forward to
that nice, quiet, sunset ride down
U.S. 17. As usual, Wooster Street
was a madhouse of careening mo
torists darting from lane to lane,
jockeying for position on the Cape
Fear River Bridge.
As we enjoyed the view from the
crest of the span, I noticed a
Wilmington Police car close behind
us. Assuming he was on some inves
tigative mission to Brunswick
County, 1 paid it no mind until we
were nearly to Leland and the blue
light started flashing.
Although he WAS out of his juris
diction, and he was NOT in pursuit,
and 1 DID have every right to ignore
him. I finally located a safe place to
stop and pulled over beside the busy
"He probably wants to tell me
Lynn's brake light is burned out
again," I thought.
But nooooooo. He wants to give
me a ticket, for going 50 miles per
hour on Wooster Street.
"So was everybody else," I told
the officer politely. Yes, that's true,
he said. But it's a 35 m.p.h. zone and
he's been assigned to slow them
down by picking out a daily dozen
and writing tickets for them.
"Lucky me," I thought. He had
plunged into the speeding masses and
snagged me like a shark grabbing a
snack from a school of mullet.
No hard feelings. He was only do
ing his job. And he was nice enough
to tell me about New Hanover
County's program that allows speed
ers to avoid points on their license
(and higher insurance rates) by pay
ing a hundred bucks to take a four
hour safe driving course.
So now I'm going back to
school. ..again. You see. this won't
be my first post-graduate degree in
motor vehicle safety. I'll be going
for my PhD (Perfect Highway
I got my license back in the late
1960s, when cars were cars and
radar was some fancy gadget on air
port towers. Back then, a policeman
had to get behind you and clock
your speed before giving you a tick
et. Which gave the officer time to
decide if he was observing a mo
mentary indiscretion or an blatant
disregard for public safety.
That all changed during the 1970s
Energy Hoax, a make-believe "cri
sis" that magically disappeared after
small oil companies were run out of
business and gasoline prices tripled.
It also brought us the "energy-sav
ing" double-nickel speed limit and
radar in every patrol car.
I had some problems adjusting to
this "new road order." As a testos
terone-poisoned teen-ager with a
fast motorcycle, I was accustomed
to moving from place to place at a
somewhat rapid pace. So when the
clamp-down came, I often found
myself sitting in patrol cars, watch
ing the little red light on the radar
gun flashing "75! 75! 75!"
Then one day I got a letter from
the N.C. Department of Motor
Vehicles notifying me that I had
earned enough points to qualify for
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Don't Feed The
To the editor:
The rhetorical assault on crime by Governor
Hunt and Attorney General Easley would be
comical if the repercussions were not so trag
ic. Words don't feed the bulldog. Only bullets
and bricks will deter the murderers who hold
no value for human life ? new statutes to aid
law enforcement in criminal prosecution and
bricks to build new prisons.
Our society has been pushed to the brink of
anarchy by the state government's 20-odd
year neglect of the prison system. In the 1970s
North Carolina's reported crime rate ran well
below the national average, so the state
stopped building prisons. In 1981, North Car
olina was third in the nation for average time
served by felons.
During the 1980s, the time served by crimi
nals in North Carolina became progressively
shorter and reported crime increased propor
tionally. From 1985 to 1991 the total reported
crime rate in the United States rose by 15 per
cent. During the same period. North Carolina's
reported crime rate increased by 45 percent,
three times the natiorfal average. The scan
dalous inadequacy of the state Department of
Corrections was apparent during Hunt's for
The class action lawsuit filed against the
state is evidently the motivation for Hunt and
Easley's war of words on crime. The lawsuit
contesting the prison cap was filed by Thom
Goolsby, partner in a small five-member law
The attorney general is supposed to be the
people's lawyer. In a perfect world, it would
have been Easley who initiated the lawsuit on
behalf of the undeniably injured victims. But
It fell to Goolsby to contribute untold pro
bono hours to advance the people's cause.
Goolsby contesting Easley's immense staff is
the classic David versus Goliath confrontation.
Attorney General Easley is petitioning the
federal court to relax the prison cap, he says,
so that DOC can house more prisoners in the
available space. His real intent is to divert the
public's attention away from the need to build
more prisons. From 1987, when the Prison
Cap Statute [G.S. 148.4-1] was ratified, the
state has implied that DOC was conforming to
the 50-square-feet-per-prisoner mandate. The
50-square-feet mandate was the excuse used
for releasing the horde of ravening evildoers
to prey on the, until now, unsuspecting public.
Easley now admits that DOC has never
complied, has never intended to comply, with
the court agreement. Secretary of Corrections
Freeman now admits that, if the conserit agree
ment stands, on July 1, 1994, DOC will have
to release an additional 1,600 prisoners. A
more accurate assessment is over 2,700.
Freeman is offering several stop-gap Band
aid schemes he apparently believe will serve
to defuse the pressure of the heightened public
awareness. Since taking office Freeman has
talked of several different minimum-security
housing projects, but nothing has materialized.
Check the parole letters in any district attor
neys' office. The current early releases are on
ly violent criminals. DOC's desperate need is
for more maximum-security cells. Freeman's
Band-aid proposals will accommodate only
The class action lawsuit is example of the
course of action necessary to protect our fami
lies from the horde of murderers and rapists
with which the elected officials have afflicted
Nothing good will he made to appear until a
sufficient number of determined citizens join
together to make it happen. Do not look to the
elected and appointed to place the blame. Bad
government results from the inaction of the
face you see in your mirror.
John Donne's quote is appropriate. "Never
send to know for whom the bell tolls." We are
all the less when good men like James Jordan
are so needlessly sacrificed.
R B. Nicholson
(More Letters On Following Page)
Safe-Driver School. Unfortunately,
this is a game where scoring points
is bad and qualifying is worse.
Lucky for me, my session was
probably the shortest driver safety
school in state history. Instead of
two three-hour evening classes, we
graduated after little more than an
hour of instruction. For which I will
be forever grateful.
The class consisted of a boring re
hash of motor vehicle laws, safety
recommendations and other exciting
facts delivered by an equally bored
veteran highway patrolman who no
doubt took this assignment as an
easy way to finish his last few
months before retirement.
After a half-hour of squirming
around in our chairs and watching
the clock, we were delivered from
purgatory by an act of God. Another
trooper came in and reported that the
wind had shifted, the tide was com
ing up and the causeway from
Manteo to Nags Head would be
awash within the hour.
The next night several of the guys
in back apparently tried to make the
evening more interesting by having
a cocktail (or ten) before class.
These were students who had earned
their points by operating motor vehi
cles while under the influence of
some impairing substance and who
had yet to learn the error of their
As the building's rickety old
heater chugged out its musty, hot ex
haust and the instructor's disserta
tion droned into its second half hour,
one of the DW1 boys started to look
a little green around the gills.
He began to exhibit a bad case of
"baby head," that pre-comatose
phase of intoxication where the neck
loses its ability to hold the face up
right. Then, as the lights faded and
the screen filled with a colorful pho
tograph of a head-on collision, it
"Aaaauuuggahhh!" came a gur
gling cry from the back of the room.
Then the little pitter-patter of liquid
dripping from a desktop to the car
Without looking back to see what
we all knew had happened, the in
structor suggested that we take a
short break. After surveying the
damage and having a little talk with
perpetrator, the trooper awarded all
but one of us honorary degrees and
sent us home.
So if there is a massive power
failure on Nov. 11 at about 6:15
p.m., you will know that somebody
up there still likes me.