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County's Yellow Buses Will
Stick To 35 MPH Speed Limit j
BY SI S \N I'SHEK
Brunswick. County's entire fleet
ot yellow -orange school buses will
continue traveling at .'5 mph or less,
.it least for the time being, though
the state now permits school dis
tricts to set speeds ot up to 45 mph.
Assistant Superintendent of
Schools Bill I'urner said he would
he recommending no changes at pre
sent to the school hoard after meet
ing last week with the Brunswick
County Bus Council, which has dri
ver representatives from all schools,
and consulting with Transportation
Director George Brown, who over
sees the school hus maintenance
"We've decided we will maintain
everything at 35 mph right now. but
we will explore putting some of the
buses on 45 mph and track the main
tenance to see how it goes." Turner
said. "If we put it up to 45 mph
we're afraid drivers won't drop
speed w hen they move off the main
"The bottom line is it is going to
cut their (drivers') time." Turner ex
plained before the council meeting.
"We have to also look at operating
of the hus garage. We're looking at
factors of safety and of wear and
tear on the buses."
Vickie Jenrette of the N.C.
Division of Motor Vehicles School
Bus and Traffic Safety Section trains
local hus drivers. She also advocates
keeping the 35 mph limit, tor safety
reasons ind to protect bus drivers"
Turner said the 45 mph speed lim
it was intended to help Piedmont
area schools with buses that operate
on "all major highways." not dis
tricts like ours with a lot of dirt
roads and narrow, winding paved
His ideas echo those of most of
the bus drivers contacted by The
A majority said they don't want
the higher speed limit and cite child
safely as their No. 1 reason. The dri
vers are also concerned ahout the in
creased responsibility a higher speed
would place on them, possible cuts
in pay il the time required to run
their bus routes is shortened, and
greater wear and tear on the buses
themselves, which would increase
As ot Dec I. IW3. North Caro
lina state law changed, giving local
school districts the discretion of
changing the maximum speed foi
vellow buses. North Carolina was
the last state in the United States to
allow the higher bus speeds. From
now on. new state buses will arrive
at local school garages with the gov
ernors set at 45 mph. but readily
switchable to 35 mph.
Norfleet Gardner, chief trans
portation consultant to the N.C.
Department ot Public Instruction,
said the law came about because
North Carolina state legislators had
been getting "lots of complaints"
from motorists about buses on major
highways and bypasses holding up
"We also wanted better utiliza
tion ol buses." he said. "At 55 mph
it is harder to stagger schedules. Hut
it you increase the speed, if South
port Elementary School wants to
double up and run two routes with
one bus in Southport. it probably
could, for example."
"The only opposition we got was
front school bus drivers." Gardner
said "They were concerned they
would lose money. Hut they cut their
own throats and helped its passage.
On the issue of safety, he said
drivers also couldn't support their
position, because the same drivers
were already safely transporting stu
dents on school activity buses at
speeds higher than 45 mph.
Gardner said the Department of
Public Instruction would never have
asked for the increase if it still relied
on student drivers under age !8.
"Safety depends on the driver and
dri\ ing .is road conditions warrant."
he said. "Our drivers have their
commercial licenses now and most
have five to six years experience.
We have the drivers who are quali
fied to do it."
But not all drivers can. says 15
year driving veteran Wilhelmenia
Stanley ?>l Sliallottc. who drives Bus
(' for Shallotte Middle School.
"For me. it would he fine. I would
drive like I do anyway. But not
everyone is goin^i !o he curcfu! ;>nd
can stand the pressure." she said. ' I
would not want to trust mv children
to some of the drivers in this job.
You have got to pay attention.
"This is one of the most important
jobs in the system?transporting
Once construction ends on U.S.
17 south of Shallotte. a 45 mph limit
would work fine as she "dead-heads
(drives some distance with no
stops)"' out of Calabash, she said,
"but right now I don't need it."
She believes the district will
eventually go to the higher speed
limit, but cautioned. "This is some
thing they need to think about real
good before they put it in action."
Pinta Todd of Supply drives Bus
160 for Shallotte Middle School.
Her route winds through the Holden
Beach and Varnamtown areas and
requires about one hour 35 minutes
or slightly longer in travel time.
"The way my route is there are
not too many places I could drive
over 35. maybe on 130 between
Oxpen and Shallotte. On some dirt
roads you can'i even drive 35." she
"In some places it would help.
The people who drive on (U.S.) 17
would probably benefit from it a
whole lot." she said, noting it would
help traffic low while cutting chil
dren's lime on the bus and possibly
saving money on bus drivers' pay.
On the other hand, drivers would
need to be conscious that with a
higher speed and the weight of the
STAFF PHOTO BY SUSAN USHER
THE YELLOW BUSES that tron.span children to and from Brunsnick County Schools will continue
to travel at a maximum speed of 35 mph for now, though higher speeds on some roads are a future
hus. more braking distance would be
required to stop.
"The safety of the children. That's
something to think about." she said.
John Hewett of Sunset Harbor
drives Bus No. 130 for West Bruns
wick High School and also doubles
as a custodian at the school.
"It's hard enough for a driver to
watch the kids. If they have to watch
the road more and the kids too, it
wouldn't be as safe." he said. "With
elementary and middle school stu
dents. drivers have to watr Vi the kids
even more because of the possibility
of a child darting out from the side
of the road."
"I'm pretty sure the night the
(school) board has thai discussion,
there *v i!! he plenty of parent^
there," he predicted.
Hewett also predicts that drivers
would stand a greater chance of get
ting speeding tickets, because they
would need to remember to lower
speed if the posted speed limit
drops, as inside town limits.
While safety is his main concern.
Hewett shares drivers' concerns
about pay. In his sixth year at the
wheel, he earns $7.16 an hour. His
route takes an hour and a halt one
way. It a higher speed cut that hy 30
minutes one way (county officials
estimate the most that could be cut
from any route is 15 minutes one
way) he could lose 20 hours a
At least one longtime county dri
ver thinks the higher speed limit is a
good idea that warrants attention.
"I think it's necessary in some ar
eas," said Pani Clardy, who drives
Bus 174 for Union Elementary
School. "I have driven so much on
17 and have come so close to acci
dents with pulpwood truck drivers.
Maybe if we were going a little
faster they wouldn't be that anxious
"Safety-wise I think it would he
better on the busy highways. I don't
have any facts to prove that, but
that's how I feel."
Clardy said if allowed to drive 45
mph on major roadways such as
U.S. 17 or N.C. ''04. she wouldn't
drive that fast "anywhere else."
If and when that happens, said
both she and llewett. it should be
easily detectable. "They could tell it
someone is doing 45 mph on a dirt
mad because the bus would be lorn
all m pieces." said ('lardy.
Drivers at Union Elementary, she
says, arc "real responsible people.
We don't break the rules. Hut there
are a few out there who are going to
She agrees that higher speed lim
its mean drivers need "to be more
aware" so they can react more
As for pay. Clardy believes the
current structure for computing
wages would provide some insula
tion from the cuts other drivers fear.
Pam Lanier at Bolivia will follow
whatever guidelines she receives.
"It's going to have to come from
the bus garage. It doesn't really mat
ter to me one way or the other," said
Lanier, a teacher s assistant at
Bolivia Elementary School who also
drives Bus 154.
Shallotte Middle School Lists First Term Honor Roll
Shallottc Middle School has be
latedly announced its honor roll for
the first nine-week grading period of
the school year, as follows:
A Honor Roll
hifth Grade: Amanda I). And
rews. Stephanie S. (ate. Grayson H.
Cheek. Mary C. Katie Hart. Stacy
Ann Hewett. Shannon Hughes, Sar
ah E. Spayd. Lauren R. Yoho.
Sixth Grade: Charlene Banks.
W.K. Bradley ill. Constance Cole
man. Jessica Diane Dosher. Kasey
Nicole Hewett. Ix-ah Hewett. Car
men A. Hickman, Erin E. Holden.
I.rica J. Kerley, Christopher R. Kerr.
Ian Trent Nott. Amy E. Robinson.
Christopher J. Schwab. Cortney
Sloane. Candice Smith. Brandy I.
Stevens. Alyson S. White and Lau
Seventh Grade: Patrick 1. Covil.
Bria S. Hall. Tara I.. Holden. Court
ney I) McKen/.ie. Jenny Rose Pate.
J.N. Quaintance. Lucas Wagenseil.
Eighth Grade: Erin Alderfer.
Jaime C. Atwell, Jennifer R Bailey.
Thomas L. Carpenter, lomakio S
Dennis, Ashley N Hardy. Christina
Hewett. Ionia J Jackson. Reginald
Manning. Jenny 1 . Trest and Mere
A'B Honor Roll
Fifth Grade: John VV Abshire.
Tiffany N. Bellamy, liric K Bethca.
Brandy L. Blackmon. I.indsey
Rhyne Brown, Eric M. Butler. John
Andrew Covil, Steven Zak Creech.
Tabitha Deberry. Chanty (i. Duran.
Matthew R. Edwardv Shamie ' 1 >1
wards. Misf.v hr,r>1 Ri><ln<-\ D
Gause. Amanda Kaye Gore. Kiesha
Ajuna Gore. Kellie J. Granton. Ash
ley J. Gray. Christiana l.. Hicks.
Amanda Renae Inman. Robin Lee
Il Itby, Tessa S. Kell\. Joshua D.
Milliken. Ross Moll. Sandra J. Pisci
telle. Miranda Prilchard. Alisha
Ouainlance. A. Serriiella. Heather
M Smali. Dana Stanley. Jamie C.
Stutts. Jason C. Todd. Adam Vitale,
George O. Wagner. Pamela S. Wil
liamson and Melissa Ann Winters.
Sixth Grade: Roberta Lynn Adk
ins. Ldward L. Anderson. R Charles
K Mass. Sharyl I) Bellamy. Brandy
L. Hen/. Israel E. Hilton. Lyman W.
Blanchard. Thomas A. Hlandino,
Kortney (i. Bradsher. Lirina Sara
Brandt. Nathan:.', 'l'. Brown. Cyndi
Burckley. Rebecca Carroll. Chalm
ers I Champion, lara D. Champion.
Mark Jonathan Darby, Steven R.
Edwards. Ho A. Ellis. Bobbie D.
E'.ans. Dianna B Fv;ms loey Ever
hart. Donita C. Ford. Kendrick L.
l-tink. Latasha N. Frink. Heather D.
Gales. 1 lay ley J Galloway. Kasey L.
Galloway. Stephanie Ann Gore,
( hi iskipher S. Green, Ixaune Gris
sett Leslie K. Grissett. Faith N. Har
dee. Jason R Hernandez. Lydia Rae
Henstess. Crystal N. Hewett. Tiffany
F\on Hill. Jason Holden. Kelly \i
Holden. Nichol Jankowski. Andrew
Johnson. Jennifer Kennedy, Eric
Scott Kerr. Tara Nicole King.
Stephanie B Knight. Charmione K
l.ance. Christopher T. Lee. Liuren
M J. Lolland. Raymond I. Mar
lowe I i.i Brenita Marlowe. Shelton
Wooily Mercer. Crvstal Meuse. Ant
wan M Mitchell. KimberK \1
Newman. Christie l.ayne Noble.
Dcrvl Dejuan Norton, Alexis Over
ocker, Sarah Amanda Parker. Me
lissa I). Pennington, Lisa Potter.
Micheal J. Quinto, Nichotc Reaves.
Christopher Richard. Jessica D.
Ridgeway. Ashley N. Sawyer. Iris V.
Scheier. Thomas Sheets. Baxter K.
Sigafoos. Tiffany R. Skaggs. Nicole
L. Stanley. Lashaunda N. Stephens.
Natalia M. Stevenson, Bobhy Allen
Thomas Crystal P. Tindal. Amy
(?ail Todd. Jack Q'Dell Todd, Jen
nifer Turner. Jennifer M. Ward.
Jesse Ward, Ryan Walker Ware and
Brian Keiih Windham.
Seventh Grade: Allysun A. Ab
bott. Anna Adams. Natasha K.
Barrett. Jeffrey Becker, Loretta Bell,
Kcywanna L. Bellamy. Tanea N.
Bernard. Tiffany C. Bernard. Meg
han R Bradsher. Edward 1,. Brock.
Amanda N. Brown. Clifton L.
Cheek, Codie Cline. Robert Cross
man II. Kristine Doster. Jeneane D.
Evans. Jessie N. Faircloth, Denise
Ferguson. Charles E. Foehrkolb,
Monica L. Frink, Lindi M. Fulford.
Tiffany Fullwood. Mvlecia T. Grif
fin. Jeffrey N. Grissett. Ashley Lane
Helms. Amanda Beth Hewett. Wil
liam VV Hickman, Rhea Kay Hicks,
Bryant F'. Ilogan. Brandon L. Holli
field. Joshua Brett Hughes. Melissa
k Immen. Christi luiyne Inman.
Chrvstal Johnson. James Johnson.
Jason Lamberton. David L. Little II.
Kacev I Long. Charles F. Loomis.
So >ti I Macon. Jeremy McCarren.
\icholc \K Henry. Amanda I). Mc
Keithan. I li/abeth A. Milligan. An
nette Mn iuliotta. Raui L. ivioutai
Choice of entree and 3 vegetables
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son. Tabitha Baines. Jennifer P. Bar
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trish L. Johnson. Lottie Z. Johnson.
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W. lA)ng, Sarah A. I^ong. Charity D.
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lanie Brooke Odom. Priscilla Panu
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Prince. Amanda M. Reinhardt. Jill
Marie Rivenhark. Amanda Scog
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lers. Mateus Shannon. Nickolus
Shannon, Kanika M. Smimmons.
Tiffany D. Stevenson. Zachary
Swart/miller. Peter J. Testa. Gary E.
Tinsley. Molly S. Varnam, William
H. Varnam, Richard A. Ward. James
P. Wemvss, Teresa L. White, Ca
uiille W'iiiTioih, Gary Dane Wood
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