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0 / 75
West and North Brunswick high schools held their
annual spring athletic awards banquets Monday. The
story and pictures are on pages 12-B and 14-B.
Surf and pier fishermen pulled in 14-pound bluefish,
continuing what local experts are calling a good
spring fishing season. The report is on page 11-C.
THE Br " ~K#BEACON
Twenty-eighth Year, Number 27 ciwothe bruhswick beacok Shallotte, North Carolina, Thursday, May 24, 1990 25C Per Copy 106 Pages, 4 Sections
Brunswick Nuclear Plant
Shuts Down For Retraining
BY SUSAN USHER
Carolina Power & Light Co. vol
untarily shut down both units of its
Brunswick nuclcar plant Sunday
and Monday, after a second group
of operators there failed mandatory
rcliccnsing examinations conducted
by the Nuclear Regulatory Commis
The plant will remain out of pro
duction for at least several weeks,
according to CP&L spokesman
Elizabeth Bean, while those opera
tors and their fellow crew members
undergo retraining and, where ap
plicable, retesting. In the two
rounds of testing, the NRC indicat
ed that 23 of 47 operators tested
failed at least one portion of the
three-part exam. The site has 80 li
censed operators, some of whom
are assigned to non-operator posi
tions but are subject to being placed
on licensed duty.
CP&L and the NRC agreed that
the testing area that gave the opera
tors problems was a simulated con
trol room exercise that required
them to respond as teams to a spe
cific situation. Where individuals
failed to perform adequately, their
entire team will participate in re
While CP&L is not commenting
on the failure rate pending a report
from the NRC, Ms. Bean said the
shutdown resulted because the com
pany was "concerned about the fact
that we didn't perform as well on
the group test as we should have."
Ms. Bean said CP&L docs not
expect any fines or violations by the
NRC stemming from the situation at
the plant that led to the voluntary
Meanwhile, CP&L is increasing
production at its other nuclear and
coal power plants to offset the loss
of production at the Brunswick site,
which is responsible for 15 percent
of the utility's power capability. If
demand warrants it, the company
could also purchase power from an
other utility, she said.
"We will not have any difficulty
meeting elcctrical demand," Ms.
Bean said. "Today, for example, all
our coal-fired units are operating
that arc available." CP&L operates
nuclear power plants at Harisvillc,
S.C., and in Wake County. It also
operates eight coal-fired plants and
three hydroelectric plants, including
Sutton at Wilmington.
Ms. Bean said it would be impos
sible to estimate the cost of the
shut-down, a figure based in part on
the cosi of production. The compa
ny's coal-fircd plants arc more cost
ly to operate.
Employees at the Brunswick
plant will continue to report to
work. Those in non-operator slots
will continue with their regular
work, while operators whose licens
es are valid will continue to operate
the dual control room while the oth
ers retrain. Those who are not now
due for relicensing won't undergo
additional training at the present
time, Ms. Bean said, but will "at the
Those who failed the test have
been removed from their liccnsc-re
lated duties until they pass the test.
While the NRC requires five-op
erator crew teams, Ms. Bean said
CP&L chooses to operate the plant
with teams of seven ? five operators
and two senior operators, one of
whom serves as supervisor.
The Nuclear Regulatory Com
mission, the federal agency that li
censes and oversees operation of
nuclear power plants, decided last
week to test additional operators at
the CP&L facility after an usually
high number of the plant's 80 li
(See NUCLEAR, Page 2-A)
W STAFF mora BY DOUG K UTTER
Keeping His Cool
Jody Cook of Albemarle kept his cool on the Holden Beach strand Saturday afternoon by digging a
hole in the moist sand. The crowd around him and his two American flags may have been a preview
of things to come. Thousands of property owners and visitors are expected to flock to the local
beaches this weekend to celebrate Memorial Day.
rnAiriMM Rpnrh Rrirtrr! !c Prip.rlprip^ P/^cc ? Tnv Inrr
I lUIUwl 8 UC^ULI I UUU I U 10 I ui iuui ii i vi i ivi/\ 11 ivi
BY DOUG RUTTER
Holdcn Beach property owners could be faced with
higher tax bills next fiscal year than they received this
year, thanks in part to Hurricane Hugo.
Town officials arc considering a two-cent increase
in the property tax rate in next year's budget, as well as
a one-time tax rate hike to replenish reserves depleted
following last September's hurricane and a special tax
for the canal subdivisions to pay for dredging.
Commissioners started reviewing the proposed
budget for fiscal year 1990-91 at a workshop Tuesday
morning. The board plans to resume budget delibera
tions Tuesday, May 29, at 9 a.m. in town hall.
In tlie meantime. Mayor John Tandy urged board
members to study the budget and concentrate on the
"elephants," the big appropriations that could possibly
be lowered to minimize any tax rate increase.
Town Manager Gus Ulrich said last week major
projects in next year's budget include town hall expan
sion, sidewalks, underground wiring and the paving of
Brunswick Avenue West and three shorter streets that
link Brunswick Avenue and Ocean Boulevard. Those
four projects account for S245.000 in the SI. 2 million
The two-cent tax rate hike proposed would raise
the. rate from 14 cents to 16 cents per $100 of valuation
and would mean an additional $40 in taxes for the
owner of a $200, (XX) piece of property.
Over and above that, the town board talked this
week about increasing the tax rate a few more pennies
next year to help rebuild the fund balance that was
raided when the town was recovering from Hugo.
Among other things, the town spent more than
S300.000 to reconstruct the oceanfront dune that was
flattened in the storm.
Commissioner Bob Buck suggested the board con
sider a 5-cent tax rate increase to help rebuild the re
serves, which he said the town would need in the event
of another hurricane or emergency.
The town started the fiscal year with $426,017 in
its fund balance. After using 5151,946 to balance next
year's budget, Holden Beach would be left with ap
proximately S21 1,769 in its reserves.
A one-year tax rate increase of five cents would
bring in about $110,000 in revenue, based on the
town's property valuation of $221 million.
Buck said the proposed 5-cent tax rate hike could be
written into the budget ordinance as a one-time in
crease and be dropped next fiscal year. "I'm not sure
it's a good idea to let the fund balance take a licking
for last fall and not put anything back," Buck said.
(See HOLDEN, Page 2-A)
Rose Wants State
To Consider A Vote
On Sunset Bridge
BY SUSAN USHER
Congressman Charlie Rose wants
the slate "lo give serious considera
tion" to holding a referendum to de
termine the fate of the pontoon
bridge at Sunset Beach.
In his second letter to the N.C.
Department of Transportation in a
seven-month period, Rose wrote on
May 10, "1 kindly suggest that the
slate give serious consideration to a
public referendum and allow every
interested homeowner at Sunset
Beach the opportunity to settle this
matter in an open and democratic
Approximately 10 years and two
public hearings after the controver
sial project was first proposed, the
N.C. Department of Transportation
anticipates letting bids in September
for construction of a 65-foot, fixed
span high-rise bridge across the At
lantic Intracoastal Waterway that is
expected to cost at least S8 million
In late 1989, both Rose and Con
gressman Terry Sanford wrote lo
then N.C. Department of Trans
portation Secretary Jim Harrington
asking him to reconsider the project
and look at other alternatives.
Rose's second letter, with his first
attached, went to Harrington's suc
cessor, Tommy Harrelson.
Unlike Rose and Sanford, Sen.
Jesse Helms has chosen not to get
involved in the debate over the
Legislative assistant Wayne
Boylcs said Helms' office is direct
ing all correspondence regarding
the bridge to the N.C. Department
of Transportation. "The decision
making authority in that matter is
with the state, not the federal gov
ernment," he said. "Secretary Har
relson has been so kind as to re
spond with a letter to each and ev
ery constituent who has written us."
Like Rose and Sanford, Helms
has received a large volume of let
ters regarding the bridge, most of
them in opposition to the high-rise,
Boyles said. Asked if the senator
had received letters favoring the
projcct, Boyles said, "I don't think
so, not that I can recall."
In his letter to Harrclson, Rose
said his concern about the bridge
projcct has been heightened not on
ly because of the "overwhelming"
correspondence received from prop
erty owners, but also by his in
creased awareness of the stress that
coastal development has placed on
marine resources and traditional in
dustries in southeastern North Car
He said the proposed bridge
would be one of the bigger bridges
along the coast and "would put sub
stantial development pressures on
this tiny community."
Rose refers to his work to rectify
the continuing pollution problem in
Lockwood's Folly River and the re
sulting impact on the shellfishing
industry. "Although the slate has not
yet identified the point source for
the pollution, all information indi
cates a strong correlation to coastal
development," he said.
"I feel very strongly that state
and local officials must be willing
to anticipate and address the many
problems and needs associated with
increased coastal development be
(S ?* ROSE, Page 2-A)
STAf F PHOTO BY DOUG RUTTE*
Tubing In The Surf
Jamie and Wayne Jennings of Ocean Isle Beach play with an in -
ner lube in the surf next to the Ocean Isle Heach Fishing Pier
Commissioners Set June 7
Public Hearing On Budget
BY BOB HORNE
Although expressing conccm that
the 1990-91 county budget might
not yet be streamlined and has actu
ally grown since Interim County
Manager David Clegg presented
them with a "working" budget pro
posal, the Brunswick County com
missioners Monday night scheduled
a public hearing on the budget for
June 7 at 7 p.m.
The recommended budget is
available for public review begin
ning today. Residents desiring to see
the budget may do so at the office
of Rcgina Alexander, the clerk to
the Board of County Commission
ers, in the administration building at
the county complex at Bolivia.
When he presented the budget to
the commissioners on Tuesday, May
IS, Clegg said that a final recom
mended budget should be complet
ed by May 22, so it could be avail
able for public review by May 24
(today). Commissioners took their
Monday action after discussing
those lime constraints and Clegg
told them they could continue to
work on budget changes until the
public hearing, although no special
meetings have yet been scheduled.
At their first budget workshop,
commissioners added $183,900 to
the original $35,667,194 budget.
Monday night, they eliminated rais
es for themselves, which totaled
$1,024, leaving the recommended
budget at $35,850,070 and still call
ing for a 12-ccnt increase in the
property tax rate, to 71.5 cents per
Commissioners agreed to recom
(See PUBLIC HEARING, P?Ke 2-A)
Small Tornado Hits
Causes No Injuries
A small lomado struck Hick
man's Crossroad in southern
Brunswick County Tuesday after
noon, ripping the roof from a for
mer grocery store that is now used
as a utility garage.
There were no deaths or injuries
from the funnel cloud.
"A tornado just came over and
sucked that roof right off of it," said
Wallace Hickman, who owns the
building. "My wife and grandchild
were in there. They jus: get down
on the floor, it scared them so bad."
Hickman, who said the tornado
hit about 3 p.m., was inside and did
not sec the tornado, but he de
scribed it as making "a heavy, roar
ing sound." He said it tore eight
plies of roofing felt off one corner
of his roof.
Elrich Hickman, who lives down
the road from Wallace Hickman's
building, says he saw the funnel
"I looked out the window and it
was right in my front yard," he said.
The funnel was about three feet
wide at the bottom and about 35 or
40 feet high, he said.
The tornado broke one of the
rails in Hickman's split-rail fence,
broke limbs from trees, knocked
one shingle off his roof and left a
destructive path through his garden.
"I could just hear sticks and
stones hitting the house," he said.
"It was frightening; it sounded like
a jet taking off. We were lucky."
Hickman speculated that the tor
nado skipped by the corner of his
house and then headed toward Wal
lace Hickman's garage.
A spokesman for the National
Weather Service, who declined to
be identified, confirmed the torna
do, saying the damage consisted of
the roof torn off the former grocery,
large tree limbs torn down and a
garden patch destroyed.
"It only lasted a minute or so and
then it lifted back up," he said.
The spokesman said there also
were reports of two waterspouts
sighted shortly after 4 p.m., both of
them over the Atlantic Ocean, 4-6
miles east of Carolina Beach "and
the hist wc heard, they were moving
north." He said a special marine
warning was issued because of the
Based on the description of the
funnel cloud and the amount of
damage, the spokesman said it
would be rated an F-0 or F-l on a
tornado F scale. An F-0 is the weak
est category of tornado and an F-5
Tornadoes rated 0- 1 arc described
as weak, with wind speeds of 74 to
113 mph. This category accounts
for 80.2 percent of all tornadoes, ac
cording to figures provided by the
National Severe Storms Forecast
Center in Kansas City, Mo.
The National Weather Service
spokesman described such a torna
do as "weak and short-lived." How
ever, such tornadoes have caused
deaths, according to the National
Severe Storms Forecast Center.
Tornadoes rated 2-3 arc described
as strong, with winds 113-206 mph.
They account for 18.1 percent of all
tornadoes, according to the National
Severe Storms Forecast. A storm
rated 4-5 is described as violent,
with winds of 207 to 318 mph and
the National Severe Storms Fore
cast says they account for 1.7 per
cent of all tornadoes.