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PUBLIC HEARING TUESDAY
Shallotte Aldermen Eyeing $1.6 Million Sewer Expansion
BY DOUG RIJTTER
Shallotte residents and business owners get their
chance next week to comment and ask questions about
the town board's plan to more than triple the sewer sys
Aldermen will conduct a public hearing Tuesday,
Sept. 6, at 7 p.m. on a proposal to boost the wastewater
treatment capacity to 750,000 gallons per day at a cost
of $1.63 million.
Shallotte sewer customers can expect to pay an extra
$7.55 per month, or $90 per year, as a result of the ex
pansion, according to the draft facilities plan for waste
water treatment plant expansion.
The facilities plan, written by engineer Street Lee of
McKim & Creed of Wilmington, calls for the phased addi -
tion of 550,000 gallons of wastewater treatment capacity.
Based on residential and commercial growth projec
tions. the additional 550,000 gallons would be enough to
serve Shallotte for the next 20 years.
The existing facility, which has been operating since
1984, has a maximum capacity of 206,000 gallons per
Shaiioiic serves about 612 sewc: cv'omers and t-c-\Ls
an average of 140,000 gpd, but the demand for sewer
service is increasing due to the overall growth of the re
It is projected that Shallotte's population will increase
ftom 1,288 to 2,033 over the next 10 years. By the year
2014, the town will be home to 3,209 people.
In addition to residential growth, ShalJotte officials
anticipaie that the number of acres developed for com
mercial use will nearly double in the next decade.
Of the 11,000 acres of land zoned for business and
commercial use, only 477 acres have been developed.
However, the number is expected to grow to 815 acres
by the year 2004 and 1,391 acres by 2014.
Based on those projections, the town will be treating
400,000 gallons of wastewater per day within 10 years
and 750,000 gpd by 2014, according to the facilities
Expansion of the facility to accommodate the addi
tional 550,000 gpd will include construction of a 24-acre
lagoon, adding 170 acres of spray fields and a 1,500-gal
Suicide is Preceecied By Notes,
Threats , Gunshots From Porch
(Continued From Page I -A)
Martin, who was upset and said she
needed help with Roger.
"He never called me to say there
were any problems. I didn't have a
clue until last week," Mrs. Arm
brustcr said. "We were all worried
about hirr. and thought we could get
him some help. I think when she got
the restraining order, it really both
cicu iiiin. He jusi wanted to be
Both Neller and one of Arm
bruster's brothers had been to visit
him recently. They realized he had
grown obsessive about Martin but
said he was trying his best to keep it
to himself. Neller said he told her he
was "taking things one day at a
No one in the family was aware
that Armbruster had purchased a
pistol from a local pawn shop sever
al weeks earlier.
"I knew it was bothering him, but
not that bad," said his brother.
Court records indicate that Roger
Armbruster 's obsession had grown
significantly worse in the past six
weeks. On July 26, Margaret Martin
found the note and the bullet on her
car and swore out a warrant against
Armbruster for trespassing. A judge
agreed to grant her a court order
prohibiting him from visiting
Last week, on Aug. 22, Martin
went back to court for another do
mestic violence protective order. It
claimed that Armbruster called her
on the night of Aug. 14 and threat
ened suicide. Three nights later she
got another call from him saying "if
I did not drop the charges against
him, that I would be sorry and he
would kill himself and take me with
him. I callcd 911," the court order
After another threatening call on
the night of the 21st, Martin said
Armbruster came to her home at
about noon the next day and "threw
a bag of hair that he shaved from his
head and a note." Police say they be
lieve he cut off his hair while drink
ing with friends at a local bar.
Brunswick County Sheriff's
Detective Nancy Simpson said
Martin had tried to get psychiatric
commitment papers filed against
Armbruster, but was unable to do so
"because at the time, there was no
evidence that he was a threat to him
self or others."
After piecing together
Armbruster 's actions leading up to
t-3Eafr*y-" ? ? - ? ?
ROGER ARMBRUSTER and his ex-wife Margaret Martin in hap
pier times, before his obsession for her ended in suicide on a Long
Beach dune Saturday morning.
his suicide, investigators agree that
Armbruster's psychological condi
tion must have deteriorated more se
riously and rapidly than anyone real
Simpson said Armbruster wrote
several letters and "made the rounds
of all his friends" to say goodbye.
On Friday, he placed his advertise
ment in the Beacon and wrote out a
new will. He left it in a pickup truck
owned by Martin's new boyfriend.
Shortly after midnight,
Armbruster showed up on Martin's
pofch and began banging on the
door. After she refused to answer he
fired at least two shots from his pis
One of the bullets passed through
the side of a neighboring trailer and
lodged in a living room wall. The
owner had been lying on the floor
watching television while his wife
and child slept in the adjoining bed
room. He immediately called 911
and reported the shooting.
Armed with a warrant, Simpson
said she headed for Martin's trailer
and asked patrol officers to waich
for Armbruster's white van. A
deputy spotted the vehicle headed
toward Holden Beach and began fol
lowing him at speeds that never ex
ceeded 45 miles per hour, the detec
The deputy followed the van to
the east end of Holden Beach
Boulevard and watched as it drove
out onto the sand and stopped.
Knowing Armbruster was armed,
the deputy called for back-up before
approaching the vehicle. But when
officers reached the van, they found
Police speculate that Armbruster
slipped out of the van, put the pistol
in his pocket and swam across the
inlet. Then, in the last hours of his
life, he apparently removed the bul
lets and let them dry while scrawling
one f:r.a! message in the sanu.
"At least he's at peace now,"
Rosemary Armbruster said on her
son's porch Monday afternoon.
"Nothing will ever bother him
Schools' Funding Arguments
To Resume In Court Thursday
(Continued From Page 1-A)
A second motion claims that there
was not enough evidence presented
at the trial to support the jury's
award of $14 million to run the
county schools. It asks the judge to
set aside the award and to gran: the
schools a lesser amount.
"At most, the evidence supported
a judgment for the amount asked for
in the continuation budget, or $9.7
million," the motion states. Instead,
it claims the jury awarded the
amount requested in the school "ex
Such motions are standard proce
dure for the losing party in a civil
suit and raiely result in a new trial.
But County Attorney Mike Ramos
said the county's third motion "will
be argued strongly."
It claims that Judge Thompson
made "an error in law" when he re
fused to let the county present evi
dence about its ability to collect and
pay the $14 million requested in the
school board budget.
"Evidence of funding to other
An appeals court
decision on the
motion or the
verdict could take
a year or more.
agencies of the county couid have
aided the jury in deciding whether
the Brunswick County Board of
commissioners could have, consis
tently with their fiscal policy, paid
$14 million to the board of educa
tion," the motion states. It claims
North Carolina law requires that the
amount of money given to schools
"be within the financial resources
and consistent with the fiscal poli
cies of the board of county commis
The motion claims the judge was
wrong in not allowing the jury to
hear evidence about the county's
"ability to pay" before deciding how
much it should award to fund the
schools. Ramos said Judge Thomp
son specifically prohibited him from
informing the jury about how their
decision might affect county taxes.
"I think it is very relevant,"
Ramos said of the third motion. "I
plan to argue strongly that (under
state law, the amount budgeted) has
to be within the county's financial
resources and consistent with the
fiscal policy of the board of com
missioners. The judge had his own
ideas about that."
If Judge Thompson aiiows the
county's motion, he could set a new
trial on the case. Otherwise, the mo
tion could be appealed.
An appeals court decision on the
motion or the verdict could take a
year or more. If it decides to appeal,
(he county would continue to fund
the schools at the same level used to
operate them last year.
Commissioners say a tax increase
would have to be instituted anyway,
so the award could be paid immedi
ately if the appeal is denied. If the
courts rule in the county's favor, the
additional tax money could be re
?on-per-minute pump station and upgrading the chlorine
Town officials have proposed a phased approach to
the expansion, with the first phase providing an addi
tional 200,000 gpd of treatment capacity ? enough to
last the next 10 years.
Phase I, which will cost about $1.05 million, includes
construction of approximately haif the 24-acre storage
The pump station, thloriri contact chamber and chlo
rine feed system* will or designed for the full expan
sion, with the exception of the pumps, motors and elec
trical switch gear. This equipment will be sized for the
first 10 years in order to reduce initial construction
The spray irrigation system will be installed in phas
es, the first of which will provide a capacity of up to
Town officials are considering leasing or buying two
parcels of land for the additional spray fields.
They're looking at an 1,100-acre tract north of the
sewer plant owned by International Paper Company and
a 210-acre site east of the pianl owned by Federal Paper
The $1.63 million cost estimate does not include land.
Town officials hope they can work out a long-term lease
with International Paper that wouid aiiow the company
to continue harvesting trees while the town uses the land
for spray fields.
Expansion is not expected to significantly affect oper
ation and maintenance costs, which were $243,871 list
fiscal year. Costs would increase about $5, (XX) per year
over the first several years.
The method of financing for the project will be based
on the availability of loans under the Clean Water Bond
Program administered by the N.C. Division of
Shallotte officials have said there's a good chance
loan funds will be available in January 1995 for the pro
I -oans would be repaid with revenue generated from
user charges as well as impact fees and acreage fees.
Shallotte also has approximately $110, (XX) in its capital
reserve fund that could be used for the expansion.
Brunswick Students' SAT
Scores See 30-Point Drop
(Continued From Pip 1-A)
white students. White students averaged 822 on the
SAT. while black students averaged 678.
"The SAT is just one measure of student perfor
mance. yet it is perceived as a general indicator of the
health of our schools," said Johnston in a prepared
statement released last week. "Staff and administrators
continue to believe that our students are getting a bet
ter education than the SAT scores indicate."
While Brunswick County's senior scores fell from
an average score of 806 to 776, the statewide average
increased one point, to 860. and the national average
remained the same, at 902. While statewide average
scores have showed a steady gain totaling 33 points
over the past 12 years, local scores havt seesawed
This year's local scores arc the lowest posted in at
least four years, and came as a surprise and disappoint
ment to local school officials after a 25-point gain
from 1992, when the average score was 781, to 1993,
when the average rose to 806. In 1991, the county av
erage was 803.
North Carolina's one-point gain this year did not af
fect its ranking at 48th among the SO states. New
Hanover County Schools, with a total average score of
863. was the only school system in the 19-county
southeastern educational regional to post an average
score at or above the state average System results
across the region ranged from a drop of 62 points in
the Clinton schools to a 76-poin! giui by Giccnc
Assistant Superintendent of Schools Jan Calhoun,
who is tit charge of instructional services, said he be
lieves local students will show gains on the SAT in the
future because of changes thai arc occurring now.
Students showed improvement this year in end-of
grade, end-of-course test results, indicating better
alignment of the county's instructional program with
the state's standardised curriculum and state testing
"Both inititi'vn rrniurr uuitrniv in use higher order
thinking skills and to apply what they have learned
comparable to what is required by the SAT," said
Calhoun "These positive indicators should provide
higher SAT scores in the future "
Meanwhile. Johnston and Calhoun arc convinced
part of the solution lies in setting higher expectations
for performance and encouraging students to partici
pate in more challenging courses, with a focus on core
curriculum such as reading, writing, math, science,
history and social studies
Johnston also wants to focus in staff training and de
velopment and school -based planning on tasuring that
teachers use instructional approaches that allow for
students' different styles of learning
He said a break -down of score information from the
SAT provided by the N.C. Department of Public
Instruction will help educators identify areas where
gieaier instructional emphasis or new approaches arc
ABC Merger Would Allow
Liquor Stores On U.S. 1 7
(Continued From Page 1-A)
in seven miles of Ocean Isle Beach.
Sunset Beach and Calabash
If the merger happens. Ramsey
said the likely spot for a new ABC'
store would be near the heavily trav
eled intersection of U.S. 17 and N.C.
211, about 6.2 miles north of
Shallotte. Because of its central lo
cation. that area would also be an
ideal spot for a warehouse to serve
the cntiff ?ys!?fn, he ssid.
Both the town of Shallotte and the
cnunty ARC board would benefit
from the merger, Ramsey said. The
town's ABC system, which saw its
sales plummet after the county built
its Holden Beach store, would join
in the profits and the benefits of an
"economy of scale" created by an
expanded joint system, he said. Both
systems would also share in the pro
ceeds of a new store on U.S. 17.
"Right now we have thousands of
people driving through Brunswick
County every day from Wilmington
to Myrtle Beach and we can't open
an ABC store anywhere on thai
highway," Ramsey said.
Although the larger system would
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simplify staffing, ordering ana ac
counting, Ramsey said there would
be no employee "firings, layoffs or
salary cuts" if the two systems arc
merged Any reductions in force
would happen over time as existing
workers retired or moved to differ
ent jobs, he said.
Ramsey said he could not say
how the financial arrangements
would be organized in a mercer of
the two systems.
fivr prrcrnl of rvrry
ABC system's profits are earmarked
for law enforcement, Ramsey said
savings from the joint system and
increased profits from the opening
of another store would probably pro
vide enough revenue to hire a sec
ond county ABC enforcement offi
cer. Detective Mike Speck of the
Brunswick County Sheriff's Depart
ment currently handles that job for
the entire county in addition to his
No firm date has been set for the
joint ABC meeting. Ramsey said he
hopes it can be held in late Sep
tember or early October.
Hint Of Fall
Sooth Brunswick Islands resi
dents and visitors may get their
first hint of autumn this weekend.
Shalkxte Point meteorologist
Jackson Canady said Tuesday he
anticipates a cooling trend to
reach the area around the week
end or the first of next week.
For the week he expects tem
peratures to average from the up
ps 50s st night into the upper
80? during the daytime, with
about three quarters of an inch of
Fur the period of Aug. 23-29,
Canady recorded a high of 91 de
grees on Aug. 27 and a nightly
low of 58 degrees on Aug. 25.
A daily average high of 88 de
grees and an average nightly lew
combined for a daily average
icmpci aiurc of 76 degrees, which
Canady said waa 2 degrees below
the long-term average for this
time of year.
He recorded only five-hun
dredths of an inch of rainfall for
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