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It's that time of year again, and while
Forest Ranger Miller Calson hesitates
to predict the course of the 1990 fire
season after a "very quiet" 1989. he
wants area residents to exercise
caution when burning. Page 12-C.
The Trojans' Ricky Daniels and the
Cougars' Tessa Lee are Brunswick County's
cagers of the year, heading the list of high
school standouts named to the all -county
boys' and girls' basketball teams. Details
are on Page 7-B.
New Course Opens
Golf course architect Rees Jones was at
Sunset Beach last week to help
celebrate the opening of his new course
and a new clubhouse at Sea Trail
Plantation. For this and related stories,
turn to Pages 8-B and 9-B.
?:< -SONS BOOK BINDERY
PO BOX 162
SPR I N6P0RT MI 49284
Twenty-eighth Year, Number 19 ettwmaMUNswicx wacom Shallone, ??>...
Ina, Thursday, March 22, 1990
25c Per Copy
34 Pagss, 3 Sections
Brunswick County Commission
ers Frankie Rabon and Gracc Beas
ley were scheduled to return home
Wednesday (March 21) from a five
day national conference in Wash
Regina Alexander, clerk to the
board of commissioners, said Rabon
and Ms. Beasley flew to Washing
ton Friday to attend the annuai Na
tional Association of Counties Leg
islative Conference. Commission
Chairman Gene Pinkcrton initially
planned to attend but canceled out
Conference topics were to in
clude issues such as solid waste, en
vironment, land use, growth man
agement, water quality, highways
and airports. The association con
sists of more than 2,000 counties
"dedicated in a united, non-partisan
partnership with the sole purpose of
improving county government all
over the United States," according
to association literature.
Ms. Alexander said the two com
missioners' conference registration
tees were 5195 each. Room rates at
the Washington Hiiion were $92 per
night for each commissioner during
their five-night stay. Round-trip air -
fare between Wilmington and
Washington was $213.50 per per
son. Based on those figures, the trip
cost $1,737, not counting meal ex
The board of commissioners'
regular March 19 meeting was can
celed because of the conference.
The board's next regular meeting
will be Monday, April 2, at 6:30
p.m. in Bolivia.
Varna mtown Opponents
View Taxes As Burden
BY DOUG RUTTER
Taxes and the fear of future lax rate increases
emerged last week as two of the reasons behind a
move to unincorporate Vamamtown.
An estimated 90 people c rammed into Gospel Cen
ter Baptist Church last Thursday night to hear Rudy
Simmons, spokesman for a group looking to revoke
the town charter of Vamamtown, whose residents vot
ed a year and a half ago to incorporate.
In February, State Rep. David Rcdwinc received a
petition bearing the names of 126 people who want
"to be relieved of the burden" of being incorporated
as the Town of Vamamtown.
But at last week's rncciiug, Mayor iuuy Gaiioway
said only 68 of the people who signed the petition
were registered to vote as of Jan. 3 1 .
Town board member Ada McDonald noted that the
number of registered voters on the petition is less than
the number of people who voted against incorporation
in September 1988, when 102 voters were in favor of
Vamamtown becoming a town and 75 people opposed
Also, Mrs. McDonald said six of the people who
signed the petition don't live inside the town limits,
and some of the people whose names appear on the
petition said they didn't know their names were on
the list when contacted by telephone.
Simmons said he watched only about 10 people
sign the petition and couldn't account for the rest of
the signatures. "Nobody's arm that I knew of was
twisted to sign that petition," he said.
During last week's hour-and-a-half discussion,
Simmons was rciuctani to talk about specific reasons |
bclunu iiic move to unincorporate the town, but he
asked for a special election that would allow residents
who want !c dissolve the town
have a "different viewpoint" than people who
support the town.
"The less you have to deal with the government,
the better off you are," he said at the outset of the
meeting, which drew the largest crowd of any board
meeting held since the town incorporated in Septem
Simmons said town taxes arc a burden for some
people, and that the tax rate will likely increase in the
(See VARNAMTOWN, Page 2-A)
STAff photo nr doog huttw
RUDY SIMMONS talks about the reasons be
hind a move to unincorporate Vamamtown at
last Thursday's town meeting.
Of Beating Pets
BY RAHN ADAMS
Having lost the first round in a
Criminal CC'uil bdtuC that COu!d CCSt
him his veterinary license. Dr. Ken
neth Neal of Calabash plans to ap
peal his conviction in Brunswick
County District Court this week on
misdemeanor animal cruelty char
At the closc of a five-hour trial
Judge Jerry A. Jolly late Monday
afternoon found Neal guilty of four
counts of cruclty to animals and
sentenced him to four suspended
one-year prison terms, five years of
unsupervised probation and fines
totaling 52,000. Proceedings were
interrupted on several occasions by
scaucrcd applause and laughter
from spectators in the courthouse a?
Jolly also ordered that a copy of
the judgment be sent to the N.C.
Veterinary Medical Board, which li
censes veterinarians who practice in
the state. A board spokesperson told
the Beacon recently that the license
of 2 veterinarian who is ccvirtwj
of animal cruelty car. be revoked or
suspended after the ease is reviewed
by the board.
The maximum possible penalty
for an animal cruclty conviction is a
one-year prison term and SI, 500
Neal, 30, owner and operator of
Calabash Animal Hospital, was rep
resented by Wilmington attorney
Carter Lambeth. Assistant District
Attorney Thomas Hicks prosecuted
the case. The lengthy trial included
testimony from nine witnesses for
the prosecution and 17 for the de
The five-hour trial
nine witnesses for
* 1 ?* *
trie prosecut ion
and 17 for the
The veterinarian's lawyer gave
notice of his intent to appeal the
case to Superior Court for a jury tri
al immediately after Jolly announc
ed his vcrdicts and handed down the
sentence. Ncal ? whose only open
courtroom reaction to the judgment
was to rap his briefcase lighUy on
the counsel table ? could not be
reached for comment after the trial.
Hicks chose not to comment on the
case because of the pending appeal,
Nea! was arrested Jan. 3 1 cn the
animal cruelty charges following a
month-long investigation by Bruns
wick County Animal Control,
which is a division of the Bruns
wick County Health Department.
He was accused of beating two cats
and two dogs at the animal hospital
on separate occasions between Nov.
7, 1988, and Jan. 4.
The investigation was prompted
by the Jan. 4 incident, in which
Ncal allegedly injured a 3 1/2-year
old tabby cat owned by Grissettown
resident Debbie Somerset!. Dog
owners whose pets were involved in
the charges were S hallo tie area resi
dents A1 and Nell Harrelson, and
Teresa Inman. The fourth animal
was an injured stray cat that had
been dropped off at a branch clinic
Neal formerly operated in Tabor
Ms. Somerset! filed a complaint
with Animal Control Jan. S after
former animal hospital employee
Jane Burroughs of Shalloue Point
told her that Ncal abused the cat af
ter he had difficulty giving it a fe
line leukemia test Ms. Burroughs
quit her job of three weeks after
seeing Neal throw the cat against
the examining room wall at least
five times and repeatedly beat the
animal's head against a bathtub, ac
cording to her testimony Monday.
(See VETERINARIAN, Page 2-A)
Lockwood Folly River Opens; State Resumes
BY DOUG RUTTER
Good news for Brunswick Coun
ty shellfishermen came in two
forms this week, as the state began
an oyster relay program in Shallotte
River and reopened a section of the
beleaguered Lockwood Folly River
The oyster relay, the first in
Brunswick County sincc 1988,
started Tuesday morning in Shal
lotte River. Approximately a dozen
boats each carrying two or more
fishermen turned out for the first
day of the relay, said Rich Carpen
ter, southern district manager with
the state Division of Marine Fisher
ies, which sponsors the relay effort.
Under the program, the state nays
fishermen $1 per bushel to move
oysters from polluted areas closed
to shellfishing to clean waters
where the oysters cleanse them
selves and become safe for harvest
Oysters are being moved from a
polluted area where the growth of
the shellfish has been stunted to a
better growing area downstream
known as "The Swash."
The oyster relay will continue
tluuugh Friday and then again April
3 through 6, said Carpenter.
"Evidently it went fine today," he
"It's the section
where they all
want to work."
? George Gilbert
On 400-acre opening
said Tuesday aflemoon. "They
moved about 1,500 bushels, which
is pretty good loot."
The state suspended its popular
oyster relay program in the spring
of 1989 due to the presence of two
oyster-killing parasites, Dermo and
MSX. At the time, officials feared
that the organisms would be spread
from one oyster bed to another if
the relay program continued.
Recent tests, however, have
shown that the organisms are pre
sent in small concentrations in all
shellfish areas, and state biologists
no longer fear spreading the para
To prevent clammers from dis
turbing the transplanted oysters, the
state has closed to shellfishing the
area where the oysters are being
placed. It will remain closed to har
vesting until next oyster season,
Meanwhile, the lower section of
Lockwood Folly River was tem
porarily opened to clam harvesting
last Friday after being closed to
shell fishermen for nearly a month.
The river was closed to harvesting
Feb. 19 because of unsafe levels of
George Gilbert, assistant supervi
sor of the state Shellfish Sanitation
branch, said the area opened in
cludes about 400 acres. "Basically,
it's the heart of the river," he said.
"It's the section where they all want
County Ready To Proceed With Long-Awaited
BY RAHN ADAMS
Local contractors got their first looks last week at a
much-needed snagging and clearing project that resi
dents in one section of southwestern Brunswick
County's Cawcaw Drainage District have sought for
over two years to control flooding in their area.
Brunswick County Operations Services Director
Darry Somersett and officials with the county Soil and
Water Conservation District office showed at least four
contractors sections of the drainage district's overgrown
Shingletree Canal last Wednesday and Thursday morn
ings. Deadline for bids on the project is March 30 at
Calabash drainage committee member James
Deehan, who has pushed for Cawcaw maintenance
work over the past two years, was among several inter
ested district residents who also surveyed the upcoming
project, which will involve the six-mile canal from
Thomasboro Road to near Ash-Little River Road.
"I think it's outstanding that (State Rep.) David
Redwine's and (Commissioner) Kelly Holden's efforts
and a lot of other people's efforts are really bearing fruit
to see this job worked on," Deehan told the Beacon last
Thursday. "I'm glad the county has recognized the need
to work down on this end of the county."
Last November, the N.C. Department of
Environment, Health and Natural Resources awarded
Brunswick County a $60,000 grant for restoration of
the Shingletree Canal. Estimated cost of the project is
$90,000, with the county providing $30,000-wortli of
"in-kind services" ? work that will be done by Opera
Interim County Manager David Clegg noted Friday
that the Shingletree project is only the first phase of a
plan to restore Cawcaw's entire 16 1/2-mile canal sys
tem. Last July, the county applied for $257,849 to main
tenance of the whole district. However, the state award
ed only $468,000 for numerous water resource develop
ment projects across the state.
Clcgg saiu lie anticipates thai the county will apply
later this year for additional grant funding to cover the
remaining portions of the three-phase Cawcaw project.
In an earlier interview, he said the first phase will do
much to alleviate flooding problems in the drainage dis
trict, since studies have indicated that the canal system
needs only "remedial maintenance."
Deehan last week agreed that clearing and snagging
the Shingletree Canal should solve drainage problems
especially in the Carolina Shores subdivision where he
lives. "It'll help us immensely, because this will get the
water away from us," he said.
Both Clegg and Deehan also credited the N.C.
Department of Transportation's recent replacement of
drainage culverts under Persimmon and Shingletree
roads as having aided water flow on Shingletree Canal.
The Cawcaw canal system empties into the Waccamaw
River in the far western tip of Brunswick County.
According to Somersett, the Shingletree project
should take approximately one month to complete after
it is awarded to the low-bidding contractor in early
April. In the first phase of the project, 12-foot to 25
foot travelways will be cleared along one side of the
canal. The second phase will involve clearing and snag
ging of the canal itself.
Somersett said the county will provide the contrac
tor with equipment and operators needed to pull up
(See DRAINAGE, Page 3- A)
im v *y? j, .> -? 'j,' .
STA/F PHOTO ?r RAHN ADAMS
OPERATIONS SERVICES DIRECTOR Darry Somersett shows Calabash drainage committee
member James Deehan a section of the Shingletree Canal in the Cawcaw Swamp Watershed.