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Eric Carlson Staff Writer
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PAGE 4 -A, THURSDAY, OCTOBER 20, 1994
To Remove Stench
From Sheriff's Race
The race for Brunswick County sheriff has turned ugly in the
vilest kind of way, with serious implications for both the Demo
cratic and Republican candidates. It is important to separate what
can be substantiated from what is alleged.
These facLs are admitted:
? Two years ago, a group of seemingly responsible adults
taking a course to learn basic law enforcement rented and
watched an X-rated videotape in mixed company while in a
? The incident occurred at Brunswick Community College, a
taxpayer-funded institution of higher learning, on equipment
bought with public money.
? Excerpts from an X-rated videotape purported to be one
they watched have been distributed in Brunswick County along
with a letter besmirching the heretofore good name of Demo
cratic candidate Ronald Hewett.
These are the allegations:
? Three of 12 students enrolled in the class say Hewett, who
was their instructor, allowed the viewing to take place and was
present when it happened. At least two others admit the tape was
shown, but say Hewett was off campus for lunch at the time, a
claim the college administration says its investigation bears out.
? Hewett's attorney is accusing Republican candidate James
Brown of having taken an active part in distributing the smut in
an overt, mean-spirited and possibly illegal attempt to impugn
the character of his opponent. Everyone known to be involved in
the distribution will face legal action, the attorney says.
The admitted facts point to bad judgment, unprofessional
conduct and questionable morality on the part of a few men and
women who were supposed to be studying to become officers of
the law. The letter raises questions about the wisdom of accusers
who would implicate themselves in the process of trying to dis
credit a candidate they oppose.
The allegations are more serious, since they involve the pos
sibility of illegal activities such as conspiracy, libel, dissemina
tion of pornography and violation of copyright laws.
The voters of Brunswick County deserve to have this cloud
of stench removed from the sheriff's race before they go to the
polls on Nov. 8. The only way to accomplish that is with an im
mediate and thorough criminal investigation ? from an authority
higher than the Brunswick County Sheriff's Department ? fol
lowed by a full public disclosure of the findings.
Searching No More
Campbell's Zesty Tomato Soup, imported sausages, a particular brand
of Creole spices, a favorite cleaner. Lemon ice cream.
You never know when a column
is going to strike a chord. Lemon ice
cream seemed an unlikely topic.
However, it seems many of us have
experienced that frustrating search of
the aisles to find a product that was
there only a few weeks ago, or was on
the shelf of another store in another
place but seemingly can't be found
During the past week eight peo
ple have called with promises to send recipes for Italian lemon ice, lemon
sherbet and the real thing.. .lemon ice cream. I plan to try every one.
They and others have also shared their own tales of the hunt; some are
still looking, I'm sad to report.
Two callers offered almost immediate relief in my own search. Ken
Proctor, co-owner of the new grocery store at Ocean Isle Beach, reported
that with a few telephone calls he had found a source for lemon ice cream
and will soon have it in the freezer case. Hurray and thanks! Maybe he can
ncip those oilier lolks out too...
The volunteers with Brunswick County Habitat For Humanity came
through "with an unexpected source that I had to share, "Partners in the
Kitchen, From Our House To Yours," a cookbook published by Habitat For
Humanity International. Brunswick County's Habitat chapter just received
copies that it started selling at the N.C. Oyster Festival this weekend. Like
any true cookbook lover. Karen Stanley immediately skimmed it from cover
to cover. She sent word it included a Lemon Velvet Ice Cream recipe.
President Doreen Alloway made sure I received a copy at the festival.
A beautiful, spiral-bound collection of recipes submitted by Habitat af
filiates across the United States, it uses the analogy of a house-raising for its
structure and incorporates photographs and information about Habitat's
housing ministry. "Feeding Hungry Workers," for instance, features make
and take recipes good for a house-raising or for a family reunion, church
dinner or neighborhood potluck.
You can try the lemon ice cream recipe yourself with your own cook
book from Brunswick County Habitat For Humanity Inc., P.O. Box 3347,
Shallotte, N.C. 28459. Cost is $10 plus shipping. For more information con
tact Habitat at 910-754-3788. Proceeds will go toward the partnership's ef
fort to see that people have decent, affordable housing.
Sometimes all you need to do to find an answer is to ask the right ques
? Knowledge of human nature is the beginning and end of po
litical education. ? Henry Brook Adams
? It is the customary fate of new truths to begin as heresies
and end as superstitions. ? Thomas Henry Huxley
? Even memory is not necessary for love. There is a land of
the living and a land of the dead and the bridge is love, the
only survival, the only meaning. ? Thornton Wilder
5>o how was your day?
I usually answer that question, as
most people do, by saying some
thing like: "the usual" or "nothing
new" or "same stuff, different day."
After all, much of newspaper re
porting involves pretty boring activi
ties, like talking to government offi
cials and going to public meetings
that you lucky readers don't want to
attend any moie mail 1 uo.
But every now and then, there are
days like last Tuesday, when the
adrenaline in your bloodstream
won't let you sleep until the wee
hours of the following morning.
It started out quiet. Too quiet.
Another slow day in what we in the
bidness call "a slow news week."
Nothing exciting to write about ?
just the most recent meetings of the
Utilities Operations Board, the Eco
nomic Development Commission,
the Board of Health, etc. etc.
I was busy working on stories
about septic tank regulations when
the police scanner went totally
"Motor vehicle accident near the
state line!. ..Gasoline tanker and one
automobile!... Car overturned!...
Subjects trapped!. .Vehicle on fire!...
Fully involved in flames!. ..Danger
of fuel spill explosion!... Priority
traffic!... All available units re
I < kWKKfl
I reckon that means me, I thought,
grabbing my camera bag and the
portable radio. I got behind a Shal
lotte Volunteer Rescue Squad crash
truck and buzzed down U.S. 17 to
ward the state line.
Often, these emergency calls turn
out to be less urgent than originally
reported. But not this one. The radio
traffic became more intense as po
lice, fire and rescue units updated
their progress. Blue lights and sirens
wailed past me in the left lane
Miles from the scene, clouds of
smoke could be seen billowing into
the air. Knowing I might not get too
close, I fumbled to attach a tclcpho
to lens and loaded a fresh roll of
film while steering with my knees.
Sure enough, the southbound lane
was clogged with emergency vehi
cles. Volunteers were jumping from
cars, rushing toward the smoke,
donning helmets and pulling on their
protective turn-out gear.
I ran too, straight into a scene that
looked like something from the
movie "Road Warrior." A dozen
black skid marks covered the pave
ment for a hundred feet, trailing off
into deep gouges across the grassy
shoulder of the highway.
One set of marks led toward the
tractor-trailer truck, jackknifcd and
iwiMcd into on iiicApliiduic contor
tion of cab and tanker, leaning at a
strange angle across the embank
The other black scar became a
furrow of plowed earth leading to
ward an unrecognizable mass of
smoking, crumbled metal surround
ed by yellow raincoats and stream
ing fire hoses.
How many in there?
Two. Maybe three
Male or female?
Can't tell yet.
The car's gas tank ruptured Set
the woods on fire.
How about the tanker1
No leaks Thank God
It was bad But it could have been
A LOT worse. That was the general
sentiment from everyone who help
ed prevent things from getting that
What if the first respondent had
arrived a few minutes later ^ What if
Route 17, Highway or Dieway?
HOW COME THEY'VE
GOT MONEY FOR
ALL THESE SIGNS
&\JT NOME F OR.
'USE AT YOUR
the car fire had spread to that 4,500
gallons of fuel? What if the truck's
cab had jackknifcd the other way,
overturning the tanker into the infer
As the smoke cleared and rescue
workers began the grisly business of
cutting open the wreckage, there
came a tidbit of good news. Better
anyway. There was only one person
(>Air rtlH Hinmon I Knrw.
i ii.nuv , u V,M ?* ********* * * K*
never knew what hit her. The other
charred body was a dog. The third
suspected fatality turned out to be a
pile of laundry.
It's hard to get your mind back on
the ramifications of septic drain
field overload after witnessing a
scene like that.
I had just finished the septic tank
story when the photos hit my desk,
bringing back the images in stark
black and white. I selected two pic
tures suitable for a family newspa
per and left for the Calabash town
Somehow, the lengthy discussions
of drainage ditch maintenance, sew
er system acquisition and street-sign
installation seemed inconsequential
as I jotted down notes and gazed in
to space, lost in a thousand-yard
It was the same expression I saw
afterwards at the Calabash Volunteer
l ire Department building, where I
stopped to make a phone call They
had been there, too.
Driving up Thomasboro Road. I
moved along briskly, hoping to get
this last story out in time to make it
home by midnight But no
I was near the end of the last long
straightaway before the final curve
leading to U.S. 17 when I saw head
lights in m> rear view mirror. They
were closing fast. F.xpecting a dis
play of flashing blue lights. I
gl?rve<J at mv speedometer. The
needle hovered just below 65.
The car camc around and passed
as if I was standing still I watched
the tail lights arc into the curve and
thought. "There is no way he's go
ing to make it."
Sure enough. I rounded the bend
and entered a thick cloud of airborne
dust There was the car. upside
down, laying beside the road on its
crumpled roof I slowed to a stop
and unfastened my seat belt, not
wanting to sec this again Knowing I
A woman emerged from behind
the wreckage waving her arms in the
air and streaming, "( ill VII! Call
It seemed like a good idea, since I
wouldn't be much help fixing what
might be wrong inside that car. So I
flew up the highway looking for a
house w ith a light on laside
It seemed to take forever to find a
place and make the call Heading
back. I was relieved to sec emer
gency lights already flashing near
the curve Die driver was miracu
lously unhurt He had run away.
Sheriff's deputies apprehended him
and put him into a patrol car.
For some reason. I had difficulty
focusing on the town board story.
But I was wide awake for the drive
home And for a long time after that.
Until the warm, brown liquid took
So how was YOUR day?
Reunion Brings Memories Sweet And Bitter
When Hazel blew in on that awful
Friday morning in October 1954, the
only thing left to celebrate afterward
was that she killed no more than she
Forty years later, 40 people came
together on Holden Beach to re
member ? not just the devastating
storm and those who were lost, but a
sweeter, slower island lifestyle al
tered for keeps by Hazel and the in
evitable march toward more trou
The idea came from Franda
Pedlow, whose Sand and Sea Fever,
published last year, is an oral history
of Holden Beach before the storm
changed every life it touched. She
thought it would be fun to get peo
ple together to share the kind of
treasured youthful memories she has
of a vacation spot that was a pain to
reach and offered few amenities ?
except, of course, a pristine beach,
lazy days, starry nights and waters
teeming with good things to eat.
How much fun, she couldn't have
They gathered last Friday upstairs
at the Seafood Barn to exchange
handshakes and hugs, to show old
photos and clippings, and to tell fas
cinating tales about Hazel and the
earlier years. Most had made their
first visit to "Holden's Beach" as
kids in the '30s and '40s. Their tales
are peppered with universal memo
ries of bogging down their cars on
the sand causeway, dancing to the
jukebox at the "honky-tonk," flirting
with Coast Guardsmen, the wartime
blackouts, and turning down oppor
tunities to buy mile-long pieces of
oceanfront for a couple of thousand
In one corner, a videocassette
recorder played grainy tapes dubbed
from home movies of Rose Holden
Cole and little brother John Qtiinton
lioldcn splashing in the surf and
running along the strand. On several
tables, party-goers thumbed through
scrapbooks and photo albums docu
menting the beach's development
and how Hazel, in a day's time,
turned more than 200 homes into
less than 20. At the front of the
room, Franda called on people to
share their most poignant memories.
? Marion Skinner Erath, who was
first brought to Holdcn Beach when
she was three months old in the mid
1930s: "We came down the day
school closed and stayed until time
to go back in the fall. I kept coming
all through college, and I wrote my
thesis while fishing on the dock. A
part of our house had been made of
crating from coffins....! remember
the bonfires, watching the sunrise
and square-dancing on Saturday
nights. Everybody danced with
everybody, and the paratroopers
would step on our toes with their
boots. Most of us were barefoot."
? Rose Holdcn Cole: "I came for
the first time in 1932 at three
months old. I remember the Coast
Guard boys riding their mounts up
the beach and stopping by houses to
water their horses or get water for
themselves. We'd snoop in their bar
? acks when they were gone, and we
learned our first dirty words from
reading them on their walls and saw
our first dirty pictures in the maga
zincs they'd leave....
"We had to bury our garbage, so
over the years when we'd come
back, we'd have these beautiful
vines with cantaloupes, and there
was a peach tree that the wind kept
pruned all the time. I remember
waiting for the ice truck."
? John Quinton Holden, her
brother, remembers moving to
Brunswick County from Durham in
1941 and the family building its first
cottage on the beach. He remembers
the war years there, with blackouts
at night and Coast Guardsmen on
horscback patrolling the beach.
He remembers waiting out Hazel
in the family's Shallotte home, them
driving out to the beach to survey
the damage. "The only thing left of
our cottage was the back concrete
steps. I walked into the woods and
found myself standing on a hard
wood floor and realized it was my
bedroom floor. I found my sister's
wedding dress in a tree. The chair
my mother had rocked us in was up
in another tree."
He remembers the people who
stayed on the island during the
storm, including his Uncle Luther
who went house to house looking
for safer and higher ground. "I can't
image the tenor and bewilderment
they felt," he said.
? Elwood Newman rode out half
the hurricane in a trailer on the
causeway where the waterslide is
now. "1 left in the middle of the
storm for Whiteville, but I'd proba
bly have been better off staying
put," he said. After the storm, he re
turned and cut his boat out of the
trees. He saw houses in the marsh ?
some intact ? and a sea of refrigera
tors, stoves, commodes and other
remnants of day-to-day life. A brand
new restaurant, where he'd eaten
breakfast just hours before the storm
hit, was gone A man he knew rode
out ihc storm on a boat in the water
way, bow pointed into the wind and
engine running full throttle to stay
? Taylor McMillan remembers
family lore that his Uncle Wash
ington Holden sold all of what is
now lvong Beach for $2,(KM) in
1905 Hazel left his folks' yard with
nothing on it except the cottage's
septic tank, which had floated two
feet out of the ground. The day after
the storm they spotted the top por
tion of their cottage on the other side
of the intracoastal waterway. When
they reached it, there were eggs still
in the refrigerator and plates unbro
ken in the cupboard. The place sim
ply floated over intact.
He brought along a scrapbook
compiled by his mother, Rhoda
Holden McMillan. The title page
says "Black Friday, October 15,
1954, Hurricane Hazel, Rhoda H.
McMillan." A headline screams
"HURRICANE K1I.IS 1()9 BE
FORE FADING OUT."
Not one of those people will ever
forget the horror of Hazel or the
richness of carefree days spent in
one corner of paradise. I'd bet they
don't forget Franda's reunion, either.
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