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PAGE 4 -A, THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 1994
Listen To Firefighters
In Wake Of Beach Blaze
Things could have been worse. That's surely not much con
solation for John Eldridge and Bill Mickey, both of whom lost
oceanfront homes in the recent fire on Holden Beach, but it
should be to all their neighbors. With just the slightest change in
wind direction and velocity, a dozen other property owners could
have seen their investment on the beach go up in smoke.
There seems to be widespread agreement that the 40-plus
volunteer firefighters representing six departments on the scene
did a superb job. Firefighters and townspeople say Tri-Beach
Volunteer Fire Chief Doug Todd made a tough but sound deci
sion in writing off the two fully engulfed cottages and concentrat
ing efforts on saving the other houses in immediate peril.
If we truly want to give these valiant volunteers the respect
they've earned, we should listen to them.
Todd warns that on some tragic day when an oceanfront
blaze breaks out in a strong east or west wind, "someone will
have to go down the road and decide where we should make a
stand and try and stop it, because we're going to lose some hous
es in between."
He says that no matter how much or little water there is in the
town's storage tank, it's a simple fact of physics that a dead-end
water line running miles down the beach will have less pressure
every foot past the tank.
His counterpart at Ocean Isle Beach, Chief Dave Harrell, told
commissioners there last week that it's time to get firefighters
and elected officials together to talk about water supply, equip
ment capacity and other firefighting assets and limitations ? to
make sure that as many safeguards as possible are in place before
the next time the alarm rings.
All the South Brunswick beach communities have undergone
accelerated new construction during the past year or so ? an indi
cation that it's time for each town to seriously inventory its fire
fighting capability in terms of manpower, equipment and water
supply. In cases where there are shortcomings, property owners
and their elected officials owe it to themselves to do whatever is
necessary to help every department reach a comfortable level of
efficiency before the next big one breaks out.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Island Said Small,
Houses Too Close
To the editor:
(I am) sorry to have missed the
town meeting at Holden Beach on
Monday, Nov. 7. My husband has
been quite ill over the past year, and
we could not attend.
It comes as no surprise to me that
builders and developers "spoke out"
(mildly put) against the proposed
change of the building code at
Jim McSwain's was quoted: "We
still haven't proved we have an
overcrowding or density problem"
Perhaps he has not been very obser
vant! This island is small ? the hous
es are too close together and too
I for one do not understand filling
in on wetlands and building large
hoi~2r.. Ho?.v can satisfactory septic
systems be installed on filled-in
land? There is beginning to be a
smothering effect on the island.
Alan Holden 's tear-jerking speech
about "taking people's property and
taking people's dreams" almost
made me weep.
I have personally seen as many as
IS to 20 cars at one address. All
these people are in one condo or
Greed is a terrible thing to watch
ruin a lovely place.
Helen O'Neal Stewart
Wants An Inquiry
To the editor:
I am a new resident of Ocean Isle
and take it to be a very safe place to
live. I was shocked to read of a resi
dent throwing his weight around
I want to back up Commissioner
Ken Proctor in his calling for an in
vestigation into the "premature" re
lease of William Earl Holden. Un
less we are willing to back up our
policemen, we will never be safe.
Ocean Isle Beach
To the editor:
Sometimes through the shuffle of
everyday life, we forget to thank the
people that mean so much to us.
I for one never thought too much
about rescue squads and their func
tions, or how they got their training.
I thought they were "just there."
Boy, was 1 wrong.
These people spend many long
hours training, responding to our
emergency situations and giving of
their own time to helping people in
sometimes very serious accidents. I
must say that not everyone can be a
rescue worker. They have to be
God-sent. They are very special peo
Just this week I had a very tragic
accident on one of my jobs. These
special people of ours rushed to give
a helping hand. With their trained
hands they lifted two men, per
formed CPR and other necessary
treatments while being transported
to The Brunswick Hospital. I thank
I also thank the emergency room
staff for their outstanding work in
preparing one of these men for airlift
to Chapel Hill. Words cannot ex
plain our heartfelt appreciation. It
was a job well done.
(More Letters, Following Page)
m l doubt if the texture of Southern life is any more
grotesque than that of the rest of the nation, but it does
seem evident that the Southern writer is particularly
adept at recognizing the grotesque; and to recognize
the grotesque, you have to have some notion of what is
not grotesque urul why.
? Flannery O'Connor
Who Doesn't Need A Green Retreat?
The dictionary on my computer
offers these synonyms: asylum, pre
serve, haven, oasis, refuge.
A place to come home to, where
we feel secure, where we can pull
body and soul together. Humans
need sanctuary; so do other animals.
Sometimes we can even share it.
As part of the expanded environ
mental section of the 201 facilities
plan completed recently for the
South Brunswick Water & Sewer
Authority, consultant Richard D.
Brown, Ph.D., lead biology instruc
tor at Brunswick Community Col
lege, studied the project area's wild
life population and habitat.
In his report Brown offered sever
al suggestions that seemed to war
rant sharing with a broader audi
ence. They all have to do with pro
? developers should be encour
aged to either leave natural corridors
or create corridors to prevent "frag
mentation" of wildlife habitat. Corr
idors would allow wildlife to move
from one area of suitable habitat to
another without "undue exposure"
in open or developed areas;
? developers should try to retain
natural vegetation instead of clear
ing the understory of woods when
developing projects such as golf
? the county and towns should
promote environmentally sound de
velopment that works in and around
natural habitats without destroying
? the water and sewer authority
should encourage cooperative ef
forts with schools, conservation
groups, scout units, 4-H, etc., to use
certain project areas (like the access
road to the treatment plant) for habi
? that the salt marsh "ham
mocks" or islands and strip along
North Shore Drive and 6th Street on
Sunset Beach island not be devel
oped, but be preserved for migratory
birds and Sunset Beach residents to
On that same note, he "strongly
suggests" that, to offset or mitigate
the loss of habitat due to increased
developed land, several parcels of
land 6(H) acres or more in size be set
aside now as "preserved parkland"
for the benefit of wildlife and the
"It is far better to 'think ahead'
than to wish you had." Brown
wrote, citing his experiences in an
Brown's recommendation to pre
serve open space and do it now
I'm convinced that only those
who have lived both in the country
and in urban areas can truly appreci
ate the value of a simple patch of
woodland, a view of a marsh or the
ocean, or a quiet spot by the side of
These are opportunities for sanc
tuary that we in Brunswick County
tend to take for granted, but may not
always have. We live in North
Carolina's second-fastest growing
county, by some reckonings, and see
rapid change occurring all around
After freely enjoying the fields,
swamps, beaches and waterways of
home, adjusting to city life was a
challenge during my year-plus so
journ in and around Toledo, Ohio, in
the mid-70s. My escape from the
downtown bustle and noise was usu
ally one of the beautiful parks and
preserves this business-oriented
Great l.akes city had acquired over
There were the usual playground
areas, but what soothed me were the
gladed woodlands with bicycle, hik
ing and cross-country ski trails, hills
for tobogganing, lakes, an occasion
al lodge and other amenities.
Grccnways ? small strips of park
lands scattered in neighborhoods
around the city ? offered a safe
placc to fly a kite without getting
tangled in power lines.
When seriously struck by the
homesick blues, though. I'd grab a
friend or two and we'd head north
by bicycle or car past Detroit and
across the border into southern
Ontario, to a nature preserve on a
l()-mile-long peninsula near Leam
Point Pelee National Park is a ma
jor sanctuary for migratory birds and
a "remnant" of Carolinian (yes, as in
North Carolina) forest. Scientists
have several theories of how it hap
pens to be where it is, but I was nev
er really interested. I went there be
cause the place looks, sounds and al
most smells like home.
For Canadians, Point Pelee is ex
otic, to some even disgustingly
weird. But for homesick me its
plants and animals were comforting
ly familiar. Pelee has black snakes,
poison oak, prickly pear cacti and
giant mosquitoes. It has a cattail
marsh with a boardwalk for bird
watching. Its beaches on western
Lake Eric are sandy instead of the
more common pebble. The wood
lands have vines so thick you could
swing from the trees on them, trees
whose names it seems I have always
A few hours or a weekend there
and I would leave mentally and spir
itually refreshed, cured of "home
sickness," better equipped to appre
ciatc and cope with urban life.
Sanctuary comes in many forms,
but there's no doubting that all of us
need it in our own time.
As Brown suggests, the time is
now to be thinking of ways to pre
serve green space for the future,
while there's land available in south
western Brunswick County.
>SM9A001 ui *S>i:
By George, I Think He's Got It!
What a crazy week in sports.
On the weekend before Election
Day, three people dropped dead
while competing in cross-country
running events. (And those are just
the ones we. know about.)
At the same time, a 45-year-old
minister climbed into a boxing ring
and won the World Heavyweight
Like most sports fans, I would
much rather see a religious leader
punching it out than to watch almost
anyone running, except maybe those
animated bathing-suit mannequins
jogging down the beach on
"Baywatch." (Or is it "Babe
People think boxing is a danger
ous sport? Tell that to the two guys
who had heart attacks and died
while running in the New York
Marathon. Or the New Hanover
high school student who went into
full cardiac arrest during a race in
Then take a look at George
Foreman, the bald and grinning,
junk-food gorging street preacher,
actor and muffler hustler who
named his four sons George,
George, George and George.
Foreman is not only alive and
well after three decades of boxing.
He just won a heavyweight title by
scoring a legitimate lOth-round
knockout against a champion fighter
19 years his junior.
In so doing, he certainly gained
the respect of this graying 43-year
old columnist, who recently re
newed his health-club membership
2nd quickly Hisr/ivered how fast
your stamina fades at this age afier a
couple months without exercise.
I would be hard pressed to go
three rounds with Strom Thurmond
at this point. (Actually, that might be
The fact is, no sport taxes the
body like boxing. If you don't be
lieve me, try bouncing up and down
on your toes and shuffling around in
circles for a half hour, talcing a 60
second break every three minutes.
Next, punch a heavy bag non-stop
for 30 minutes, being sure to keep
your thick, leather gloves up in front
of your face between blows.
Now try doing both of those
things at the same time while a 222
pound monster pummels every inch
of your face and upper body with a
sock full of BBs. Are you having
Then imagine hitting the guy in
the nose hard enough to knock him
to the canvas. Good luck.
At its best, boxing is arguably the
greatest sport on earth, the undiluted
essence of athletic competition.
Football, basketball, baseball, ten
nis, even chess and checkers are
merely civilized ways of pitting one
person or group against another
without actually beating each other
Watching Muhammad Ali battle
Joe Fra/ier or Roberto Duran's first
fight against Sugar Ray Ixonard or
any other bout between a well
matched pair of legitimate champi
ons can be a human drama of the
Unfortunately, boxing at its worst
frequently pits the skilled contender
against the unskilled "punching
bag," or the up-and-coming new
comer against the punch-drunk,
overweight old man with a former
Tnese so-called matches are sad
spectacles that make promoters a lot
of money but don't do much for the
Which is what boxing fans fear
whenever some once-great fighter
like Ali or Duran or Larry Holmes
or George Foreman announces he
wants to "try for the title one more
Nowadays there are several
"world championship titles" that are
bestowed by different boxing associ
ations and federations, so many that
it's hard to keep up with them all. So
not too many people had heard of
Michael Moorer, who had earned
two such titles.
But anyone who took a passing
interest in the hype surrounding the
fight knew that he was 26 years old
and in the prime of his career.
Foreman, on the other hand, had
been starring in a failed situation
comedy, advertising auto parts and
preaching at his Houston, Texas,
Twenty years earlier. Foreman
was the most powerful puncher of
the day. Some say he was the hard
est hitter of all time, having knocked
out Joe Frazier to win the title. Then
he got heal by Ali and the little
known Jimmy Young, which sent
him into a fit of deprevsion and se
Foreman wasn't taken very seri
ously when he announced his quest
for another title, especially after los
ing to the mediocre Tommy Mor
rison last year. But with few inspir
ing fighters in the heavyweight divi
sion these days, Moorer knew that a
match against the well-known TV
pitch man with the big grin would
bring in a big paycheck.
And then a miracle happened.
Foreman actually knocked the guy
out! He didn't win by a Controver
sial split decision or with a question
able punch. He landed that old pile
driver right hand on Moorer 's nose,
and down he went!
Now everyone is wondering what
George will do next. He's likely to
make millions on commercials and
endorsements, even if he never
fights again. Which is probably a
good idea, since any attempt to hold
on to his title will eventually pit him
against former undisputed heavy
weight champion Mike Tyson, the
convicted rapist with a bad attitude.
How would you like to be first
guy to step into the ring with him af
ter gets released from prison next
Please don't do it, George.
You've proven your point. An
nounce your retirement. Go to Dis
ney World. Get your face on the
Wheaties box. Do a few movies.
Have an athletic shoe named after
you. Sell some more mufflers.
Get rich. Stay pretty.