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THE BRUNSWICK^ BEACON
Edward M. Sweatt and Carolyn H. Sweatt Publishers
Edward M. Sweatt Edltor
Lynn S. Carlson Managing Editor
Susan Usher News Editor
Doug Rutter Sports Editor
Erie Carlson Staj/' Writer
Mary Potts & Peggy Eanvood Office Managers
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
Lonnie Sprinkle Assistant Pressnian
PAGE 4-A, THURSDAY, JANUARY 20, 1994
Stanley Did Effective Job
As Health Board Chairman
l-veryone is fair game in ihe public arena, but it is nonethe
less disappointing to see a solid, thoughtful leader like Maliston
Stanley lose a job he seemed to be doing so well.
Last week. Stanley was replaced by engineer Patrick Newton
as chairman of the Brunswick County Board of Health in a 5-4
vote. The four health professionals serving on the board support
ed Stanley; the others did not. w hich ma\ say something about
the board's apparently evolving priorities in recent months.
Stanley led the health board through the fractious smoking
ordinance debate and did so with a great deal of grace, keeping
his promise to give all sides a fair forum and 10 remain objective
unless his vote was needed to break a tie. It was not.
Long before his election as chairman. Stanley was demon
strating his commitment to public health by working for health
education and prevention for minority males, a group at risk for
some of the most serious long-term health problems in our soci
ety That kind of action means infinitely more to the community
than simply showing up once a month to sit at a table and vole.
This is not to suggest that Patrick Newton will be any less ef
fective a leader. In his short time on the health board. Newton has
demonstrated considerable initiative and clear, strong opinions he
can back up. We wish him success and support.
New ton can no doubt count on the cooperation of the outgo
ing chairman, who remains on the health board and who told this
newspaper last week. "I'm a team player. He was elected and I
w ill support him KM) percent. I think he will do a good job."
Better Policy, Welcome Change
West Brunswick High School's revised attendance policy is a
welcome change, especially in light of last week's release of an
other gloomy report card for public schools in Brunswick
Tightening up a policy that wasn't working may be just a
drop in the bucket, but it is still one means of upgrading stan
dards and expectations, the answer put forth by Jan Calhoun, the
county's assistant superintendent tor instruction, to the question
of how to turn an entire school system around.
Under all but the most extraordinary of circumstances, three
absences per grading period is a gracious plenty for any student.
Ami it certainly makes sense to require missed work to be made
up right away.
After all. you can't teach them if they're not there.
VA Track Record Demonstrates
Why Government Should Stay
Out Of The Health Care Business
BY J. ELLIOTT WILLIAMS
As a patriotic duty to my country. I am urging every American to get in
volved in the tight against government-run health care as en\ isioned by
President Clinton's health-care proposal.
Krom a veteran's perspective, the lesson is simple: Government-run
health care hasn't worked. Ask any veteran what they think of the Veterans
Administration and the health care it provides to more than 2.5 million vets,
and the answer will he the same almost anywhere in the country : it is gov
ernment at its worst.
There are waiting periods of 60 to W days to see specialists such as car
diologists. incredible amounts of paperwork, average three-hour waits
whenever you try to see a doctor, and hospitals that are physically falling
apart. This is government acting not as a healer, but as a roadblock to un
derstanding problems such as Agent Orange and the current Gulf War
That's what we deal with every day. Hopefully, other Americans will
never have to endure the same difficulties and hardships as we do in getting
basic health care. In fact, it anything, the Veterans Administration should
serve as 'h'- number-one example of how NOT to run a health care system.
That's why I'm so amazed that so many of oui national politicians in
cluiling President Ciiniou. adv.vjute ? l',r?y*r ml?? for government in
providing health care instead of a smaller one. Because. based on our expe
rience. the government just isn't up to the job. The proof is in the numbers:
Of 26.7 million veterans eligible for VA health care, less than 10 percent
actually seek VA assistance.
In one ol the most perverse outcomes imaginable, what was supposed
to be an extraordinary privilege for veterans medical care guaranteed and
run by the government -has turned out to be a nightmare.
While everyone else in the country has access to the finest technology,
the most skilled surgeons and physicians, and the finest hospital facilities in
the world. VA users are confined to a system that isn t even mediocre. And
they're trapped. There's no way out. because most of the 2.5 million veter
ans who use the VA don't have any alternatives
So when I hear that government is going to have a monopoly on health
care through these regional health alliances. I shudder. When I hear that a
new national health board is going to set standards for the rest of the coun
try to follow. I think of the way VA standards have been allowed to deterio
When I think of the second-rate care that veterans are consigned to re
ceiving. I just can't sil still anil let the rest of the country go down the same
Don't let government run your health care into the ground Don't let
them take it over. The entire history ol the 20th century shows that once
government gels its hands on something it never lets go There have to be
ways lo improve health care wiihout having government tun it. as President
Clinton is currently proposing. His plan lakes us down precisely the wrong
direction, and everyone veterans and non-veterans alike need to let our
elected officials know that this is the wrong way lo go.
Ii may not seem like a big deal now. Bui HI years from now. when
you're overwhelmed with paperwork and waiting three hours to see a doc
tor or '>(? days to see a heart specialist, n will be much more important to
you. We have to ensure that this scenario never happens
J Elliott W illiams In es i.?/ South Carolina and Honda lie served 20
years in die I S. Nai v and H as awarded the Medal of Honor for Ins ser
vice in Vietnam lie is the immediate past-president of the ( ongresstonal
Medal of Honor So< lety. I In- new \ expressed in this at tu le ate his own
and do not represent the view s of the society
Telecommunications Access Could Be
The Key to County's Economic Future
Richard Snelling contends that, in
the 21st century, the economic de
velopment and/or quality of life of
any area will be totally dependent on
the information structure in place or
In his opinion. North Carolina is
.in international model of how it can
be done, with its commitment to de
velop a fiber-optic based Informa
He should know. The retired Hell
South of Atlanta chief executive
may have left his old job. but he's
still at the forefront of telecommuni
cations technology with his own
business . He recently put the activ i
ty in a global perspective: Nine tele
phone companies in Japan are com
ing to the United States to see sys
tems in operation. Where are thev
coming? North Carolina.
There's only one problem: Most
of us aren't doing much to get ready
for this new age. We don't under
stand its importance and how rapid
ly it is advancing upon us. It's here.
Snelling says there is growing ev
idence that without a solid telecom
munications infrastructure in place,
it is questionable whether communi
ties will be able to maintain even
"fiat" giowth. resulting in a new
form of "haves" and "have nots" in
the so-called Age of Information.
This Age of Information is pre
dicted to be an era "in which imme
diate access to information" means
the difference between success and
failure." according to a study com
pleted in 1991 by the N.C. Rural
Economic Development Center in
That study looked at the results of
questionnaires sent to urban and rur
al telephone companies and cooper
atives. businesses and industries,
and county economic directors and
local chambers of commerce. The
surveys looked at access to digital
switching facilities, use of fiber op
tic cables and the importance of
telecommunications service to busi
nesses and industries.
Both business people and eco
nomic developers saw telecommuni
cations as increasingly important.
However, business people rated it
significantly higher when both
groups were asked to rank the im
portance to the business community
of five types of infrastructure: trans
portation. telecommunications, wa
ter. sewer and solid waste.
Sixty (60) percent of all business
respondents ranked telecommunica
tions as most important. Repeat,
most important. Only 6 percent said
it was least important.
Economic developers, however,
consistently ranked telecommunica
tions at or neai ilie bottom. Or.lv M
percent said it was mosi important.
As a result, the Center staff iden
tified two general problems to be
overcome: I) local economic devel
opers are slow to acquire expertise
in telecommunications and to in
form the community of its potential;
and 2) there is an apparent lack of
communication among the develop
ers, telecommunications providers
and the business community.
We're ahead of the game in some
respects heie in Brunswick County.
ATMC is busy installing a tiber op
tic ring that will help secure uninter
rupted long-distance telephone ser
vice in most instances. A fiber optic
highway will run parallel alongside
U.S. 17, the backbone of a future
web of cable moving information
with incredible speed and clarity.
Brunswick Community College and
West Brunswick High School will
he linked to an interactive distance
learning network by fall. More gov
ernment and private ventures will
follow, bringing the new technology
into the settings where we live,
work. shop, learn and play.
Snelling contends that education
is the key link that ties all this to
gether. "No society can reach a
higher level for its people than its
educational system provides." he
Translated: To take advantage of
the opportunities that will be avail
able. we must become a computer
literate society and a society of
As a county interested in econom
ic diversity :ind growth, we need to
do our homework and be ready
when opportunity comes looking.
Snelling outlines these telecom
munications essentials lhat will he
required when an Information Age
business or industry comes calling:
? Access to a local switch that
makes different fiber optics systems
? Access to a fiber optics ring
with "self-healing provisions" so
that the telephone service on which
the new technology relies will be re
? Access to a carrier with lines
running to major destinations?a link
to an information highway. Southern
Bell is one of three interstate carriers
in North Carolina;
? Built-in redundancy (I haven't
had a chance to tmd out what that is.
but it sounds like a back-up system);
? Access to cable television
? A computer literate community
and workforce, which means there
must be qualified teachers and train
ing facilities available;
? An environment "conducive" to
creating a level playing field for all
telecommunications users. This re
quires. among other things, greater
receptivity by local government to
advancements in technology and to
the needs of the players-a mix of
government, franchise and open
market businesses?in this rapidly
evolving and complex arena.
Maybe our local decision-makers
need to be listening to what this ex
pert has to teach us.
T wivrVc*" The 013 No>lh Sjolfi
f eis ^eTike ?ttie o\? Norfh Pole 1 >
Reunion Of Tres Amigos: Greetings From Acapulco
By the lime you read this. I will
Th-il is unless your paper arrives
a lew days lale. In which case, by
the lime you read this I will be back.
From where, you ask'.' From sun
ny Acapulco, that famous half-moon
hay on the Pacific coast of Mexico,
home of lacos. margarilas, big flop
py hals. had water and guys who
dive oft cliffs.
Why Acapulco. you ask? Wasn't
that an old jet-set stop back in the
"50s' Doesn't everybody go to
Cancun or Cozumel or Caho San
Lucas these days? Yes. but they
don't gel to stay in a luxury water
front condominium for todays, Iree
That's why I am now in Aca
pulco. And also because this may be
my last chance to go on an adven
ture with two of my oldest friends.
(We'll call them Tim and Dave.)
Tim is .1 painter, a very good one.
who for the past several years has
been working tirelessly to break into
the big-time New York art scene.
After numerous shows in and
around the city, he is steadily build
ing a reputation anil receiving high
praise from learned art critics.
At one of his recent gallery open
ings. a New York travel agent fell in
love with one of Tim's paintings and
asked him to trade it for a round-trip
plane ticket and the keys to his con
do and car tor one month. The cash
value was less than the asking price
of the painting, but a month in
Acapulco sounded belter than Jersey
Dave is the son of a painter, a
very rich and famous one (we'll call
him Roy) who entertains oiher rich
and famous people al his beautiful
summer home in the Hamptons.
During our teenage years. Roy also
endured lengthy visits from Dave's
poor and infamous surfing hud
dies?like nie and l im.
While Roy and his lovely wife
dined on the veranda with such nota
bles as Lee Rad/iwill and Robert
Rauschenberg. his top floor loft was
total bedlam, strewn with wet
bathing suits and surfing magazines,
reeling w ith Dave's early attempts at
rock guitar and rolling from frequent
impromptu wrestling matches.
Mis kid brother, now a Hollywood
movie actor, once pushed Dave
through a sheet rock wall during one
ot these conflicts.
Hack then. Dave was the most de
voted surfer I ever saw. During the
school year he lived with his mother
in New Jersey, about 50 miles Irom
the ocean. But somehow he could
always linaglc us a ride to the beach.
Surfing was all Dave thought
about. His bedroom walls were cov
ered with surfing pictures and
posters. His class notebooks were
filled with sketches of perfect waves
and experimental board designs. He
taught himscll how to shape loam
and laminate fiberglass and started
building his own surfboards in his
I can remember surfing wilh Dave
in February, when it was so cold that
ice formed in our hair. So cold that
we had to ask a passer-by to unlock
the car because neither of us could
close our fingers around the key.
I remember the night we camped
on the cliffs ai Montauk Point and
v.'cks up 2! d''wn to see perlect
head-high tubes rolling in to the
rocks below. We scrambled into our
wetsuits and made it halfway down
before noticing the 10-foot shark
cruising back and forth through the
waves, which it continued to do for
most of the morning.
But the day we all remember
most was July 6, 1971. Tim and I
had been staying with Dave for iwo
frustrating weeks of total flatness.
Then one evening, we went for our
usual sunset swim and saw that the
shore break was beginning to pound
Out of nowhere, the surf kept
growing until we found ourselves
lx>dy surfing eight-foot waves in to
tal darkness. The next morning we
piled our boards into the car and
drove through an intense, thick log
to an inlet jetty known for its perlect
With the roar of the surf deadened
by the tog, we had no idea what was
in store until we paddled a half mile
offshore and into the biggest waves I
had ever seen. We only hail a chance
to catch a handful before the swell
began to drop, disappearing as
quickly as it came.
Dave's local surfing friends, who
stayed in bed that morning, said we
were crazy and forever refused to
believe our story about the phantom
swell. But Tim and Dave and I will
Dave went to California (natural
ly) after high school and we haven't
seen much of each other since. Tim
and I have rendezvoused for several
surfing trips to Puerto Rico. Hut the
three of us haven't stood on the
same beach for nearly 20 years.
So whv aren't we going to some
famous surfing spot instead ui
lounging hy the pool in Acapuico?
Well, first of all, there's that free
room. And a few things have hap
pened over the years.
Tim has been diagnosed with re
tinitis pigmentosa, a degenerative
eye disease. Me could be completely
blind in five years. Or his sight
could remain as it is today, which is
not too good.
He can no longer drive a car or
ride a motorcycle, which used to be
one of his favorite pastimes. He can
still see enough of an approaching
wave to go surfing, but the destruc
tive effects of sunlight on his eyes
makes staring out to sea an un
Luckily, in the controlled atmos
phere of a studio, Tim can still paint.
His work continues to improve and
more people are beginning to notice
Dave has been diagnosed with
muscular dystrophy, a degenerative
muscle disorder. Within five years,
he might need a wheelchair to get
around. Or he could remain healthy
enough to keep playing guitar and
continue his post-graduate studies in
computer science. Hut he can't surf.
So Acapuico will do just fine. I
wouldn't have missed this reunion it
they held it in Peoria.
Ilasta la vista, baby.