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PAGE 4-A THURSDAY, JANUARY 13, 1994
C/^i iiU ^I 7Q ^irshl
juuiii >w v~i i win iu o i~/ o i lyiii
Could Hurt Down The Road
"I can't even believe this is being debated." That's what one
participant said last week when South Carolina Transportation
Secretary Dan Fanning spoke out against North Carolina's plan
to route proposed highway 1-73 into Brunswick County and point
it toward the mutating traffic nightmare we know as the Grand
But as silly as it may seem to those of us in the interstate-de
prived Far Fast of the Carolinas. South Carolina could conceiv
ably foul the plan for federal funds to study the still-nebulous I
73 b\ continuing to insist that the highway run through Florence,
a small citv already served by both the north-south route 1-95 and
I"his despite the fact that the federal legislation which created
the 1-73 project was intended to bring interstate highways to ar
eas that don't have them. One would be hard-pressed to pinpoint
any South Carolina location more in current need of relief from
its transportation crunch than the Grand Strand.
North Carolina's Department of Transportation board, whose
local representative is Ocean Isle Beach developer Odell Wil
liamson. unanimously agreed to push the original 1-73 route 90
miles farther east to better serve long-neglected southeastern
North Carolina and. presumably, our neighbors to the south. Our
DOT backed up its revised plan by offering to pay tor the route
with its own money or regular federal highway aid. That's a pret
ty solid offer considering the fact that many states are counting
on extra federal dollars to build the highway.
In a world that made sense. South Carolina would follow
through and eagerly seize the opportunity to improve the north
south route from Wilmington to Charleston.
The new proposed route has. understandably, been endorsed
by numerous local governments in Brunswick County who see
the economic boost an interstate highway could bring. But it's
more than that. Looking eight to 10 years dow n the road, to coin
a phrase, it's frightening to imagine how desperate this region's
transportation needs will be if no such major highway project is
County Work Lamp
Part Of The Solution?
There's onlv one prisoner work camp ieft in N'orih Carolina in t iuiiford
Gov. Jim Hunt wants that to change. Ile'd like to see a minimum securi
ty work camp in every county, and a
boot camp as well in many of them.
From the shape of the system we now
have, I'd say he's on the right track.
l.ast week during a brief stop-over
at the Rural Tele-Forum at UNC
Wilmington. Hunt talked about the
Information Highway and its potential
impact on the state, then held a press
conference. Accompanied by Attor
ney General Michael Fasley Hunt
talked at greater length, not about fiber optics, but crime prevention and
punishment You could tell what's foremost in his mind this month, as he
prepares for a special legislative session in March on crime
The work camps and boot camps are jusi two ol the alternative lornis ol
sentencing being eyed as the Mate look-, a', ways to make the criminal ju.Mice
system work better.
One way is to assure that those Who commit vH>!ent or otherwise more
serious crimes receive greater punishment than those who do not. Currently
that isn't always the case We have teen-agers serving longer sentences than
adults, and some criminals going virtually unpunished.
Over the next IK months the state will add another 7.5(H) beds to the
prison system, hut that won't be enough to solve the problem
The state will also be working with counties so that as |.tiI space is built,
consideration is taken to add space for some ol the misdemeanants now be
ing served in slate prisons
As Hunt noted last week, the crime rate in North Carolina has doubled
over the last five years. He believes we face a crime '"crisis, it something
isn't iinirkly in terms ot deterrence and punishment.
One wa> to improve the situation is to free existing high-priced prison
beds for felons by sending misdemeanants back to their home communities
to jails, work camps and boot camps. Those facilities don't have lo meet the
same federal standards as prisons, where inmates serve longer terms That in
itself would save the state money.
Misdemeanants ser\c terms ot two years or less
Hunt said these minimum security camps would lx- similar ti> the old
county prison camps, (like the one that used to he on Mulhenv Street out
side Shallotte) where inmates hail to work every day Prisoners could grow
theii own Unnl. .in tho.se .it (iuilfoid do. <ind do other piodueiive work 111
stead of laying around and doing nothing.
Hunt said using the camps would guarantee some punishment for these
offenders. I hat's important in a system that adult criminals misdemeanor
anil otherwise?now "volunteer" tor hy asking that their probation be re
voked and that they be allowed it) serve active sentences
Criminals know that in the existing prison system they'll be on the
streets again in a matter ot months, weeks, or even days, depending on when
the number of people in prison reaches the federal "cap" and some must be
released to make room tor the others arriving each day. I hat's a much better
deal tor a criminal than having to make restitution, complete community ser
vice and stay out ot trouble.
The state has an idea lor lixing that problem as well. A bill before the
N.C. House of Representatives would have the court decide when probation
could be revoked rather than giving criminals a say in the matter
I'll be watching, and I m sure the rest ot you will, to sec ho a 'ar the
state legislature goes in helping forge a more comprehensive criminal justice
system that addresses the need tor a variety of minimum security facilities to
house non-violent offenders.
Most of us would agree with Hum thai it is "a moral outrage" to let pris
oners out early under the existing prison cap I ew." he savs. "can Ik- lei out
that aren't dangerous."
So we've learned as just-released prisoners commit additional crimes,
knowing the punishment will be- light and the living easy urinl they're back
on the streets again
Is There Hope For Children
"Boyfriends held in slayings." the
Under it are smiling school pic
tures of the 15- and 13-year-old sis
ters whose bodies were found in a
shallow grave outside Gastonia last
Tuesday. To my motherly female
eyes they look like babies, but obvi
ously they weren't.
The 15-year-old was dating a 32
year-old; the 13-year-old was dating
an 18-vear-old. The "boyfriends"
are accused of having tied them up.
slashed their throats and buried them
near Crowders Mountain in the mid
dle of December 1993.
Their mom is quoted as saying
she distrusted the heavily tattooed
guys, who "looked like boys maybe
trying to be in some kind of cult."
?..? .k,. I,|n't ih.icr
??u* .?iiv j*? ?? v> uiuii i uiv.^v.
girls. They lought with her over dis
cipline. They'd skip school and stay
gone for weeks at a time.
At first, she said, she didn't worry
when they stayed out all night Dec.
l>. She thought it unusual that the
younger daughter didn't even call
home on her 14th birthday Dec. II.
Then on Dec. 13 she finally called
The younger man charged in the
girls' murder has no criminal record.
The older one spent two months in
prison in 1 *>S3 for breaking anil en
Their picture was in the paper,
too. taken as they were being leJ
back to jail following a first appear
ance in court The 32-year-old is
wearing a sleeveless I-shirt that says
"1993 World Tattoo Tour Chicago.
Where The Weak Are Killed And
? ? ?
"New tears and pressures are rob
bing a generation of its childhood."
proclaims a headline in the current
issue of jVt'H um'A.
With it are statistics about
changes in the family and outside in
fluences over our children, plus a
list of what kids ages 9 through 17
say they fear most. Forty-two per
cent said it was contracting the
AIDS \irus. 24 percent said having
to fight in a war; 14 percent said be
Their major economic worries in
eluded not being able lo find a good
job. not having enough money. not
being able to gel into college, .mil
having their parents lose iheir jobs.
The author reminds us that the ac
tual mortality rate among children 5
to 14 has dropped steadily lor dec
ades. to le>.s than halt the 1950 rate,
but that tear t>! crime is "almost a
separate phenomenon from the real
danger it poses."
"...What we've lost goes lievond
the tear o! crime." he writes. "It is
the unspoken consensus that held
children to be a privileged class de
serving protection from adult con
cerns and responsibilities. Increas
ingly they are left to fend for them
selves in a world ot hostile stran
gers. dangerous sexual enticements
and mysterious economic torces that
even adults find unsettling.
"Your mother is on a business
trip, your father is skiing with his
other set of kids and your teacher
has been suspended tor telling a se\
cnth-grade girl she reminds hint ot
Veronica I ake Now. go do your
? 9 ?
Here at home, a group of nine
young adults-?some of them teen
agers or still in high school?are
charged with having been present at
the scene of a killing. Four of them
are charged with first-degree murder
For the second time since a man
was found dead in his drivcwa\ to|
lowing something apparently resem
Ming gang activity, family members
have protested to reporters that the
kills are being treated unfairly.
The\ couldn I all have done it.
s.ivs a mama or a sister; my bo\ w .is
there but did nothing wrong I he
ontv reason no one reported a man's
death, they rationalize, was that the
kids were all afraid of each other
? ? ?
I'm not old. but I can remember
when children were taught to respect
life and. that in decent people, eon
science overrides fear.
When acne was the worst thinu
troubling your average middle-class
When you weren't allowed to
leave the house with anybody vout
parents didn't like the looks of.
God help our children. And it \\v
as parents don't pitch in. too. we'll
all find ourselves living the John
Lennon phrase that has been plavini;
in my head ever since I started writ
ing this column:
Instant karmu 's gonna get you,
donna look you right in the fate
Better get yourself together, ilarliiu;.
Jotn the human race. "
/ N.C.QerweiAaerbiy /
J Sp&te! sestioc on Ct'tei
L\- Straight Talk
LET5 KEEP XT SIMPLE, OK ?
Commercial Fishermen Fiqht For Their Livelihood
The following is a letter to Governor Jim llmu
from the president of the newly reactivated
Brunswick County Commercial Fisherman's As
sociation. It is reprinted as a gues: column with
permission o) the author.
BY LLOYD >v\Kl)
You probably won't remember me. but we met
In Raleigh during your first
term in office. My name is ,
Lloyd Ward. I was then the
president ot the Brunswick
County fisherman's Asso
ciation. You and your staff
were very helpful to our
cause, and we would like to
thank you. but now we are in
more need than ever.
(iovernor. v.e the commer
cial fishermen are being regu
' 5* VV \ |Z I )
lated out ot our livelihood.
Our way of life is not only endangered by pollu
(we ui'.vlv r >tand that), but by your appiiiPiiCu
officials m Morchead City. Thev seem to thrive
oil ol making things miserable for fishermen.
l! has gotten to the point that if you try to make
.1 living as a commercial fisherman, you lake a
big gamble every day in trying not to break any of
Morehead's rules Governor Hunt. I wish you
would have someone from your staff to read the
regulations we have to live by. Here is what it
takes to get one bushel ol oysters to sell:
? North C arolina boat license and Marine
f isheries license on the boat. I hen a lite jacket
for every person and a throw preserver, a whistle,
fire extinguisher, and a light on the front and back
of the boat.
S Now the boat is ready, but you arc not. You
now need an oyster and clam license for yourself.
You muM buy tickets to let people know your
name, location of oysters, and buyer.
? Just starting the lirst ot the year, we have to
buy a card giving us an ID number which we
must have to sell seafood to a dealer. That costs
$25. Altogether licenses cost from $75 up.
? Hut with all this you may still get a ticket. If
you have one clam undersize, your whole load
will be taken and you will be charged $K5; or it
HI percent of oysters are undersized or loo many
shells on them, you get charged SX5 and they take
your whole load. If flounder is under 13 inches,
it s another SK5 or lor any other undersize hsh.
You always have this threat hanging over you.
from the time you go to work until you get home.
I was even stopped one day. (after driving
over MM I miles to go ovstering) in the middle of
the town of Sh illottc by two Marine Fisheries of
ficers driving two automobiles with sirens going
and lights flashing. You would have (hough! !
robbed a bank by ihe way ihcv acted 1 hey
couldn't find anything wrong, so they let me go.
If things weren't bad enough, our state is being
flooded with out-of-state oysters (Florida, lexas
and Louisiana) and underselling us since they
don't have Morehead City regulations. If the peo
ple only knew the oysters they ate at our North
Carolina Oyster Festival came from out of state
and thai the seafood from our restaurants not only
comes from other states, but also from other
countries?they may not be so eager to \ ;sit our
Governor Hunt, it seems to me that insieaJ of
trying to help the commercial fishermen, that the
Marine Fisheries Commission is trying to stop us
First of all. how can anyone tell you how to do
your job when they have never been a commer
cial fisherman? 1 doubt that most of the commis
sion can tell between an oyster or clam, a sj>ot or
a mullet. I don't believe any of these have ever set
a gillnct, used a clam take or cuiicd oui a bushel
of oysters. Yet they tell us what to do
It's like me being in an operating room telling a
brain surgeon how to operate. I'm afraid the pa
tient would die the same way we commercial
fishermen are doing.
1 know, you are probably saying that before
they pass any ruling, they have held meetings for
public input That is a laugh. I have been to those
meetings. I even sat in on their closed door meet
ing when they were ready to vote on an issue
I hey would generally sit back and laugh at how
some of the fishermen looked and talked while he
was asking them to please not put anymore regu
lations on him. After everyone quit laughing, they
would then say. ix't's vote on this issiu Ihe
commissioners would ask the Marine Fisheries di
rector what he thought was the best choice, lie
would tell them, and that is the way the vote
To my knowledge, we have no elected olticials
from our county commissioners m the House or
Senate in Raleigh doing anything to help com
I would like to share this storv with \ou When
I was going from meeting to meeting to try to get
help lor oui industry in this county, there one
in particular I will never forget We wire in
Morehead and a committee to allocate monies to
different coastal counties was in session I ,at in
and listened as different counties weu being
named. After a while, the committee starki?io ad
journ No one had mentioned Brunswick County.
I nsk.'d them why. One of !hem looked .a me and
seemed very amazed "Brunswick County," he
said. "Isn't that in South ( arolin.i'
After we have done the best we can nu! to
break any laws. I recommend to everyone before
you do any commercial fishing:
I. lake the Morehead regulations book with
- lake a lawyer with vou to help you under
< iirry a ruler to measure everything.
4. lake someone with you that knows how l<>
pray that a new law you don't know about hasn t
gone into effect.
Governor Hunt. I am not trying i" be funny.
I Ins is how fast a new regulation can be made in
Mori head. Marine fisheries Commission has del
egated. it seems, most ol their authontv to the di
rector lie can. at any time he feels like it. p?' "s
on the welfare line. He can limit us to as many
bushels of oysters we can gather in a day just by .1
strike of his pen. which by the way. is five
bushels a day l ast year it was seven. We have
been threatened with'possibly three per day. and
^ tiovernor. you are our last hope. While I have
? xi... writing tins leiier louay. when I went to
Shallotte to pay for my brand new right-to-sell
seafood license ($25). l'was told I had to turn in
my oyster and clam license (cost. $4) even though
u was suit good until June 1994. and pay $lb tor
another set which expires in June I<>94.
I he people of North Carolina should be told
why they have to pay $25 and up per bushel of
oysters. It is not our fault.
As I said. Governor, your staff did such a fine
job helping us that we disbanded the fishermen's
association, but now I am calling it back again
not only lor everyone concerned with commercial
lishinu. but lor the general public who want to be
able to buy local seafood at reasonable prices and
to those thai are concerned about out-of-state
seafood coining into our state and being sold as
flection time is near. We should ask those that
are running for office how ihcv plan to help this
situation We should ask those that have been
there lor a long time when they ihink il will be
sale to swim again at Sunset Beiich and Calabash,
anil what, it anything, can lx- done to stop the
Morehead ( ity gang from completely destroying
the commercial fishermen.
< 'in. more thing be tore I close. I am tul I v aware
h> wri,,inS lhis letter I will Ik- on the
? on head ( ity s ("look out for these people' )
lisi I Iley are given to Marine f isheries Officers
Vou can guess the rest But if I can do something
that will help our effort and to give my children
and manilchiUircn the chance to he able to make a
iving iiom out natural resources that God gave
us. it will lx* worth it all