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Ash Residents Soy No To ABC Boord s Liquor Store Plons
BY ERIC CARLSON
They don't need a liquor store. They don't want a
liquor store. They will do whatever they can to see that
a liquor store does not get built in their rural communi
That was the message a crowd of nearly 100 Ash
residents had for the Brunswick County Alcoholic
Beverages Control Board last week as it heard com
ments about plans to open the county's third ABC store
on N.C. 130 about two miles south of the Columbus
Chairman John Ramsey said the ABC Board "docs
not have an option on property in the Ash area" and
told the group that planning for the store is only in the
preliminary stapes. The matter is scheduled for further
discussion at the next ABC Board meeting Aug 24.
Ramsey's assurances were made at the board's July
27 regular meeting in Bolivia, where petitions were
submitted bearing the signatures of more than 900 peo
ple from the Ash area who are opposed to the idea.
All but two of the 23 people who addressed the
board spoke against the proposal. Most were active
church members who rejected the idea for religious
reasons. Others feared that easy access to alcohol
would have a damaging influence on local young peo
"I have a son who is 10 years old. In the future he
will be facing a lot of temptations," said Gene
Simmons. "I don't feel that an ABC store down the
road is what he's going to be looking for. Anything I
can do to make it more difficult for him to get alcohol.
I will do."
William Chappcll, pastor of the Faithful Gospel
Church in Ash. said his congregation had "talked about
it and prayed about it" and decidcd to form a "coalition
of concerned citizens" to oppose the liquor store pro
"We know (alcohol) destroys lives and homes and
businesses. We know that the economic benefits do not
outweigh the damage caused by alcohol." Chappell
said. "Why do you want to subject our neighborhoods
to something we don't need?"
Betty Warren pointed out that in past county-wide
ABC referendums. the Ash and Waccamaw areas voted
"overwhelmingly against" alcohol sales. "We ask you
to go with the majority and be fair <o all," she said.
But not everyone who spoke >t the meeting was
against the idea. John Webber sau. ne lives "right next
door" to the former site of the Junction Lounge, a site
which is reportedly being considered for the new ABC
store. The tavern, now closcd. was the scene of a
January, 1993, shooting that claimed the life of a
Columbus County man.
"I lived next to that place when it was a den of iniq
uity, when there was loud music and yelling going on
all hours of the nighr This would a pleasant thing to
have there." Webbei said. "If you don't want your chil
dren to drink, teach them not to."
James L. Smith said he owns s business next to the
(See ASH ABC, Page 2-A)
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Year, Number 40
Shallotto, North Carolina, Thursday, August 4, 1994 50< Per Copy 42 Pages, 4
JURY AWARDS SCHOOLS $ 14 MILLION
Tax Hike Likely Outcome
School Fundi HQ AWQfd
Ride The Wild Surf
Jake Holloway, 12, finds the Brunswick Islands surf ideal for body boarding. He and his brother Luke,
IS, took turns riding the waves while vacationing with their parents from Akron, Ohio, last weekend.
BY ERIC CARLSON
Brunswick property owners are likely to reccive a
second tax bill to cover the cost of a $4.8 million civil
court settlement awarded to the board of education last
week, even if the board of commissioners decides to ap
peal the jury decision.
The commissioners on Monday authorized County
Attorney Michael Ramos to file a motion to set aside the
jury verdict. Judge Jack Thompson will consider the
question Aug. 29, but county officials admit privately
that the decision is not likely to be overturned at the
Superior Court level.
After three days of testimony and arguments last
week, a jury of six women and six men took just over 90
minutes Thursday afternoon (July 28) to decide that the
school board needs $14 million from the county to run
the school system during the 1994-94 fiscal year. The
county commissioners had insisted that the $9.2 million
they budgeted for schools was enough.
If the verdict is allowed to stand, the commissioners
will have to decide whether to pursue a costly, time-con
suming appeal to the N.C. Court of Appeals. A decision
there could take a year or more. The school system
would be funded at lasi year's level during the appeal
Whether they resolve to pursue the case in higher
courts or not, the commissioners must be prepared to
pay the school board settlement if the appeal is denied.
boarc' Chairman Dc,i Warren saic1 Monday night.
Thai means a second tax bill adding about 10 cents
per $100 valuation to the current tax rate of 58.S cents,
is likely to be sent to all Brunswick County property
owners. If the settlement is upheld, the additional $5
million levy would be used to increase the board of edu
cation budget to the S 14 million !cvel ordered by the ju
The money could be refunded if the county wins its
appeal. But it would have to be collected and kept on
hand to give the schools immediately following an ap
peals court decision if the boaru o.' education prevails.
Asked Monday if the c- -unf could dip into its unap
propriated fund balance <c cover the settlement without
raising taxes. Warren replied, "We don't have any dip
ping room. Not that much."
Several of the commissioners said most people who
expressed an opinion to them ; Hout the court battle
voiced support for the county's 'ttempt to defend its
school budget allocation in court.
"Most of the people I've spok< n with and the calls
I've received have agreed with the board of commis
sioners' decision to kcrp the budget in >ine,**
Commissioner Jerry Jones saic* in an interview Tuesday.
"They say do what you can to keep tne tax rate down. If
that takes an appeal, then appeal.
"Of course, before we decide on that, we'll have to
(See TAX HIKE, P age 2-A)
Officials Say Schools In 'Holding Pattern' Awaiting Judge's Ruling
BY SUSAN USHER
Summer vacation ends in less than a month and
Brunswick County school officials are in a holding pat
tern. not knowing whether they will have more local
funds or less with which to run the system next year.
"We're doing as much as we can do," Superintendent
Ralph Johnston said Monday, after Brunswick County
jury last week awarded the schools an additional $4.8
million for the 1994-95 school year, for a total of $14
million in county funds.
The award was the equivalent of a 10-cent increase in
the county property tax rate if commissioners chose not
to make up the difference from reserve funds.
On hearing the jury's decision, Johnston said he was
"excited and pleased for the children of Brunswick
But he and Brunswick County Board of Education
Chairman Donna Baxter are also highly aware that the
budget fight between (he schools and county commis
sioners isn't over, and that the outcome could change
Brunswick County Commissioners, who had asked
for the jury trial rather than mediation, voted Monday to
ask a judge to set aside the judgment.
Deiuy Still A Mystery
Hie re is slill no explanation from
postal officials why it took until
Friday to deliver last week's issue of
The Brunswick Beacon to mail sub
scribers in Bolivia, Leland and Win
The newspapers were loaded on
schedule on a mail truck about 2
p.m. Wednesday, headed for the sec
tional center at Fayetteville. What
happened to the newspapers be
tween that time and Friday morning
is a myslcry, said Shallotte Post
master Frank Bringoli.
Bringoli said he has asked other
Brunswick County postmasters to
let him know early on Thursday
morning if they do not receive the
bundle of Brunswick Beacons for
delivery. "That way I can try to track
the n down." he explained
II is often Thursday afternoon be
fore subscribers begin to report that
they did not receive their papers. It
is then that the Beacon notifies the
Shallotte Post Office of the missing
The Beacon delivers the newspa
pers directly to the post offices in
Supply, Longwood, Ash and Cala
bash. Newspapers bound for Bo
livia, Winnabow, Leland, Southport
and Oak Island are routed through
the postal system at Fayetteville.
There was no explanation as to
why Southport and Oak Island pa
pers arrived on time last Thursday
and the others did not
Baxter said she was proud of the teamwork shown by
school system employees during the trial and glad the
schools had chosen to "go a different way" and seek the
additional funds they need.
"Our people finally realize what a team effort can
do," r,he said. "The need's been there for the last 10
. ifs. The jury saw the need for us to catch up. They re
alized we are just out to educate our children. TWelve
people said we did a good job of presenting our needs
and gave us the money. I hope the commissioners will
look at what was said and why the jury set the award as
The burden of proof was on the school syctem, she
said. "We had to prove the need."
The jury's response was gratifying, she said, after
years of watching the school board prepare a budget re
quest that reflected its needs, then pare it to match "what
the commissioners were willing to give us."
Depending on the outcome of that request, the com
missioners may decide to appeal to a higher court. If the
court upholds the commissioners' S8.7 million alloca
tion for day-to-day operations, the schools have said
they will not be able to continue operating at the current
level and would look at cutting services, reducing class
A PLACID POM) off S.C. 17 By-pass near Shallotte provides an
ideal spot for \M imminn on a h?l summer day. But three violent in
cidents there in the past month have raised the concerns of law en
sizes and/or eliminating jobs.
The schools also received S497.2"75 from the county
for capital needs such as equipment, furniture, site im
provements and vehicles.
County commissioners expressed surprise and shock
at the jury's verdict. District 2 Commissioner Jerry
Jones of Shallotte said he hadn't decided personally
whether the verdict should be appealed or not.
"Nobody was trying to slack the schools," he said.
"We were just trying to live within our means. I think
most people are supportive of education, but we were
hoping the schools could get by with what they were al
located. The county has a lot of other things to fund and
we can't just grab money out of the sky. And there's the
question of accountability too."
If the judgment stands, he said, the commissioners
will have to choose between raising taxes by about 10
cents, to 68.5 cents per $100 of valuation, or spending
down the county's fund balance.
The county has between $10 million and $12 million
in reserve, he said. That's where (Finance Director)
Lithia Hahn says we need to be for cash flow and in case
of an emergency such as a hurricane ? enough money to
cover a month of bills."
"I hope they put the funds to f >od use and that things
will improve. The next question i. what will they ask for
next year? Hopefully this will catch them up some."
The schools had asked for additional money to:
? open an alternative school;
? continue the extended day evening high school pro
? meet state pay raises for kv ally-paid employees;
? keep a computer coordinator employed at each
? hire 3.5 new erceptional children's teachers, a new
physical education teacher for Waccamaw School and
six new classroom teacheis;
? hire a principal to prepare for the opening of the
new Lei and School; and
? hire a site facilitator fo- die N.C. Information
Highway site being developed at West Brunswick High
School in Shallotte.
The school board also planned to give teacher raises
under a new salary schedule, hire some assistant princi
pals for an 11th month, give bus drivers another $50
supplement plus benefits, begin adjusting custodial
salaries as required by state law, and give teachers a
higher local supplement.
RECREATION AREA OR NUISANCE?
Brawl, Knifings, Shooting Raise
Concerns Over Swimming Hole
BY ERIC CARLSON
Ten men were arrested last week
in what police say may have been a
racially motivated brawl at a
Shallottc swimming hole that result
ed in a man being stabbed and two
others clubbed with a baseball bat.
Another slashing incident at the
same spot Friday evening and a third
knife assault two weeks ago prompt
ed a Brunswick County Sheriff's
Detective to warn people Monday to
stay away from the popular, unsu
pervised recreation area, which he
said "is becoming a public nui
"It gets pretty crowded out there,
especially on weekends," Detective
Steve Mason said, referring to a
swimming hole located behind the
WCCA radio station on U.S. 17 by
pass near Shallottc.
The property is not owned, con
trolled or connected in any way with
the radio station. Mason said. TWo
large manmadc ponds behind it were
formed when a nearby .. ream
flowed into large holes excavated
for fill dirt during highway construc
"It could be an excellent recre
ation area," Mason said. "Unfor
tunately it isn't supervised and the
people who go there feel like they
can do anything they want. Now that
things have gotten bad, we're going
to have to do something."
Things went very bad on the
evening of June 23, Mason said. A
black man from Bolivia and two
white women from Shallotte were
swimming when a group of about 12
to 15 people, including children,
came to the pond. He said several of
the men had been drinking.
"When they saw the black man
and the white women swimming to
gether, some of them started yelling
racial slurs," Mason said.
The swimmers left. Then about
20 minutes later the man returned
with five friends in two cars. Mason
said. They brought with them base
ball bats, a rifle and a 9mm pistol.
After a "verbal altercation that in
volved racial slurs from both sides,"
Mason said a fight ensued in which
several people were injured, some
seriously. The brawl ended when
,jnc man was stabbed and fled to
ward his friends with his assailant in
pursui'. One of the birred man's
friends fired warning shot" from
the pistol, w. ich passed through the
hood of hit ? car and lodged in
the battery, th> Elective ssid.
The stabtng victim, Jerome
Smith, 23, ot Bolivia, underwent
surgery at t' .'runs wick Hospital
for a cut tr 'V; lower abdomen that
resulted in a punctured intestine,
(Sec SWIMMING, Page 2-A)