The Brunswick beacon. (Shallotte, N.C.) 19??-current, November 18, 1993, Image 1
id MM ir nmill Thirty-Second Year, Number 3 C1993 TH? MUNSWICK BfACON SWICK .fe, North Carolina, Thursday, November 18, 1993 50<t Per Copy 44 Pages, 3 Sections, Plus Inserts MM Got No Breaks On Septic Permit Health Officials Say BY ERIC CARLSON Brunswick County Health Department officials on Friday denied charges that Martin Marietta Aggregates was given preferential treatment in processing a septic tank permit for its proposed limestone mine near Southport. Calling the approved septic system plan "conservative" and "slightly overbuilt." Environmental Health Specialist Bruce Withrow said he had discussed its design with company representatives for "more than a month" and found them "cooperative and willing" to make recommended changes. "They asked for no special favors and they received none." Withrow said. Opponents of the proposed mine las! week asked the stale to revoke any building permits on the site until the company's sep tic tank plans are reviewed to assure com pliance with environmental regulations. A group calling itself the Brunswick Mining Awareness Committee claims the system as proposed would violate wetlands regula tions and could easily he damaged by heavy equipment. In its letter to the N.C. Division of Environmental Management, the commit tee also accused local health officials of acting "erroneously, unlawfully and with out proper procedure" when they issued a permit for the system "almost immediately upon receipt of the engineering plans" and "They asked for no special favors and they received none. " ? Environmental Health Specialist Bruce Withrow without proper site inspection and specifi cation review. "I don't know where they got their infor mation from." Brunswick Environmental Health Supervisor Andrew Robinson said l-'riday. "There have been a lot of phone conversations ? maybe a year old ? pertain ing to this site. Nothing out of the ordinary has been done. They did not get any prefer ential treatment. "In fact, their permit took a bit longer than most," he said. Robinson said he was unable to docu ment all the health department's contacts with Martin Marietta because field notes from a site inspection were found to be missing from department records after for mal requests were made to review the sep tic system file. He did not indicate who had inspected the file. Because the company's plans called for a mechanical septic system. Robinson said he referred the permit request to Withrow, who specializes in such designs. Withrow said he was first contacted hy Martin Marietta around Oct. 1 and had sev eral discussions with company representa tives before they requested a permit appli cation. Withrow advised them that the plan would have to he certified hy a licensed en gineer. He scheduled an on-site meeting for Oct. 13. After walking the site and inspecting pre liminary plans. Withrow said he told the company that more information was needed before the county could review its applica tion. A second site evaluation was done on Oct. 27. (See SEPTIC PERMIT, Page 2-A) & STAFF PHOTO BY ERJC CAKUON LIEUTENANT Carl Pearson (in photo above) leads William Anthony Daniels of Ash toward a sher iff's department van for transport from "the shed" in Long wood to Brunswick County Jail on cocaine possession charges. Below, sheriff's department officers prepare for a series of raids on alleged drug dealing areas. Narcotics officers raided " the shed" and several other alleged drug-trafficking areas last week in a county-wide crackdown dubbed "Operation War Paint. " r ' OPERATION WAR PAINT' Officers Arrest 1 4 In Drug Crackdown BY ERIC CARLSON "Bad boys. Bad boys, Whatcha gonna do? Whatcha gonna do when they come for you ? " The throbbing reggae theme from the TV program "Cops" pulses through the police radios of five un marked vehicles converging on one of Brunswick County's most notorious open-air drug markets. It's a place called "the shed." an abandoned one-story building on N.C. W4 in Longwood that once housed a tractor dealership. Years of neglect and abuse have re duced it to a windowless metal shell emblazoned with graffiti and strewn with trash and liquor bottles. Out front is an overhang that was originally designed to keep customers dry. It still performs that function. But now the products for sale are marijuana, crack cocaine and other controlled substances. Any time of the day or night, you are likely to find a crowd of people, mostly unemployed young men. hang ing around the shed, sitting in one of several stuffed chairs or milling around a makeshift table. Cars pull up to the awning. Cars stop. Cars drive off. Sometimes they leave with illegal drugs. Last summer, the sheriff's department narcotics squad sent a visitor to the shed and to other known drug mar kets around Brunswick County. They watched him make a number of purchases. They captured the action on videotape, gathering evidence in what came to be known as "Operation War Paint." At sunset on Friday, it was "pay-back time." Armed with a stack of sealed felony indictments, ten sheriff's officers in bullet-proof vests and black tactical uniforms paid a visit to the shed with "Colonel." the unit's new drug-sniffing dog. Approaching 'ram three directions, four cars and a van slid to a halt at several pre-arranged locations around the building. With blue lights flashing and guns drawn, the officers jumped out and swarmed toward the crowd of about 20 men milling around out front. "Sheriff's department! Everybody up against the wall!" the officers shouted. In the momentary chaos that followed, most of the men complied and moved quickly toward the side of the building. But at least three took off running through the darkness to a far corner of the shed, where the corrugat ed steel skin had been peeled back to provide an easy es cape. As expected, several of the detainees were among those accused in the indictments of selling crack co caine. Another was found to be holding a small quantity of marijuana. They were handcuffed, advised of their rights and herded into the van. Next to the shed, on the roadway beside a parked car. one of the detectives picked up a plastic container. Removing the green cap, he looked inside and found (S3 rocks of crack cocaine worth nearly $2,000 "Bad boy s. Bad boys. Whatcha gonna do? Whatcha gonna do When they come for you?" The convoy moves to its next destination, a stretch of Turkey Trap Road in the Cedar Grove community where a number of drug offenses and shooting incidents have been reported. Again there is a crowd of young men standing around cars parked in front of a mobile home. Like before, some of them run into the woods as the officers swarm from their vehicles. Others quickly toss small items into a nearby drainage ditch. Another indicted felon is found among the group. He is ushered to the hood of a car, handcuffed, frisked and helped into the van with the others. "Check this out," Detective Billy Hughes says, point ing his flashlight into the back seat of a silver Toyota. There, protruding from beneath a portable cassette play er, is the foot-long banana clip in SKS assault rifle. They locate the owner of the rifle and radio for a check of its serial number. Meanwhile one of the deputies ejects the 50-round clip, which slips to the ground, spewing copper-jacketed bullets across the pavement. Colonel immediately tugs at his leash and begins (See COUNTYWIDE DRUG, Page 3-A) COUNTY SAID RESPONSIBLE FOR MESS Manager Ordered Clean-Up On Former Commissioner's Land BY ERIC CARLSON In what he acknowledged to he "an exception to the normal rules," County Manager Wyman Yelton recently ordered his landfill supervisor to use county personnel and equipment to haul trash, old tires and other debris from a former county commissioner's property. In a Nov. 5 memorandum to Operation Services Director Darry Somersett, Yelton said he felt "com pelled to take the huii by the horns and clean up this mess rather than let it continue to exist" along a strip of undeveloped subdivision lots owned by former commis sioner Benny Ludlum. Somersett said he complied with Yelton's order by au thorizing a backhoe operator to spend an eight-hour day removing items from Ludlum 's lots on lakeside Avenue off Oxpen Road last Tuesday. He estimated the cost to the county at around S4(M). "The boss told me to do it. I've never been asked to do it before," Somersett said. In an interview Tuesday, Yelton said he authorized the clean-up because he felt the county was somewhat re sponsible for causing the mess. "He had some trash dumped on his property that he hadn't been able to get cleaned up by the party who dumped it there," Yelton said. "It was three months since it was reported. I felt we had an obligation to cor rect the problem." The clearing was done on a strip of wooded lots along the edge of a marsh about a half mile from the Oxpen solid waste convenience site. People who arrive at the dump station during off-hours frequently leave piles of trash outside the gate. Yelton said he felt the proximity of Ludlum's property to the convenience site contributed to the illegal dumping. But the debris cleared from Ludlum's property was not the bagged household trash commonly found around the waste site, according to the person who supervises the county's solid waste enforcement officers Recycling Coordinator Mary McCarley, who inspected the Ludlum property, said much of what she found there looked as if it had been there for a long time. McCarley said she found numerous piles of tires and large rusted auto parts that were overgrown with vegeta tion. She said she also found an old burnt building, a television set, wooden crates, a cable spool, some old Inside... Birthdays Business News ............ 14C Calendar 11C Church News .......... 5B Classified 1-9C Crime Report 9A Court Docket 9- IOC Fishing 1 4B Golf 13B Obituaries 5B Opinion 4-5A People In The News 8B Plant Doctor JB Sports 10-14B Television ............... 12- 13C ZONING TO RETURN JAN. 1 Board Hears Rosy Forecast Of Mining Benefits BY ERIC CARLSON The Brunswick County Commissioners were told Monday that Martin Marietta's proposed limestone quarry will pump $6.9 million into the county's economy for every 3.6 billion gallons it draws from the local ground water. Commissioners took no action on a re quest from opponents of the project who want them to ask state regulators to hold back a mining permit until questions about the currently suspended zoning ordinance are resolved. Instead, the l>oard voted unanimously to reinstate the land use law on Jan. 1. The economic impact report prepared by Economic Development Commission Dir ector Tom Monks estimates that Martin Marietta will add 103 positions to the coun ty job market and increase annual tax rev enues by $1 13,710 while costing the county nothing in return. But opponents of the mining project say Monks paints too rosy a picture of Martin Marietta's economic impact. They say the study "completely ignored" the mine's po tential effects on tourism or the possibility that property values might decline due to a deterioration of the environment. They are concerned about blasting at the quarry site and increased truck traffic on N.C. 21 1 and fear that the company's plan to use 10 million gallons of ground water per day will dry up local wells and ponds and cause dangerous sinkholes to form. Martin Marietta says the opponents' claims are exaggerated and the concerns unwarranted. Monks' report says the county can ex pect a $280,000 increase in retail sales dur ing the first year of construction and opera tion of the mine. Once the company reach es full production, the county can expect $6.9 million in additional sales attributed to the Martin Marietta operation every year. The company will directly employ about 50 truck drivers and 28 service workers, (See MINE WILL BRING, Page 2-A) carpeting, "common litter" and cut pieces of wood and yard debris "that may have come from on-site." "It was not all in one location. It did not give the ap pearance of coming from one person. Judging from the rust and the weeds grown up over it, it appeared to have been there for some time," McCarley said. One thing she did not find on Ludlum's property were "no trespassing" or "no dumping" signs Nor have there been any complaints from other property owners in the area about overflow dumping from the convenience site. McCarley said she has never heard of the county clean ing up trash on private property and admitted she "was shocked" to see Yelton's memo. Both state and county laws say it is the responsibility (Sec LAND CLEAN-UP, Page 2-A) Beacon Publishes Early During Holiday Week Because of the Thanksgiving holiday, The Brunswick Beacon will publish a day earlier next week and all advertising and news deadlines will be a day earlier. All real estate advertising must be placed by 5 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 18, and classified advertising must be ordered by noon on Monday, Nov. 22. The newspaper will be available in racks and at dealer locations Tuesday. Mail subscribers in Bruns wick County should receive their paper on Wed nesday. Other subscribers should get their papers about the same time as usual since post offices will be closed for the holiday on Thursday, Nov. 26. The Beacon office will be closed Thursday, November 26.