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Trojans Are At Home I I // * * I 8 Local Youths Crowned
The West Brunswick Trojans, fresh from I M A I Eight local youths were crowned at the
a 26-7 drubbing of North Myrtle Beach, I m M i?/gMMjg ? I second annual Varnamtown Pageant
entertain southwest Onslow Friday I # rrrw I Saturday night at Shallotte Middle School.
night in their home opener. Page 8-B. | * supplement Inclufled In this Issue 7 | For the storv'see pa9e 9A
Twenty-eighth Year, Number 41 cimothe bhunswckuwcon jhallotte, North Carolina, Thursday, August 30,1990 25c Per Copy 94 Pages, 4 Sections, 2 Inserts
CONVICTED KILLER TO BE ELIGIBLE: FOR PAROLE iN 60 YEARS
Victims' Relatives Happy With Life Sentence For Tavlor
BY BOB 1IORNK
Relatives of Marion Mcci/c, Ginccr Mccl/ and
Michcllc Arnold were prepared for anything.
Perhaps for that reason, they were not disappointed
when Michael Taylor received three life-imprisonment
sentences for the October 1988 murders of their three
"I'm satisfied, as long as the boy is out of circula
tion." said Odas Rankin, of Easlcy, S.C., the father of
Ginger Mectze and grandfather of Michelle Arnold
"Maybe it will give him a chance to get his life straight
Rankin, who was carrying his daughter's worn
Bible, in the hopes "justice would be done," said he
could have accepted cither sentence: life imprisonment
or the death penalty. He did express appreciation for
Judge Wiley Bowen's decision to impose the three life
scntcnccs consccutivcly instead of concurrently, mean
ing Taylor will serve the sentences one at a time instead
of serving all at the same time. Assistant District
Attorney Poli Barefoot said the consecutive sentences
will mean it will be 60 years before the 24-year-old
Taylor will be eligible for parole. However, Bowen
ruled that a 14-year sentence for armed robbery would
be served concurrently.
"I was hoping it would be consccutive, so he
wouldn't be out in 20 years and still be a young man,"
Taylor was sentenced on what would have been
Michelle Arnold's 12th birthday, Rankin said.
Rankin's wife, Eudora, said she believes the life
scntcnccs "could be just as good or better" than the
death sentence for Taylor. "If he had received the death
sentence, there would have been appeals and appeals
and appeals," she said. "As long as he is put away
where he can't kill anybody else.
"Ihere is no way he can make
amends," Mrs. Rankin said. "He
took three precious lives. And I
know it's hard on his parents. They
still think he's innoccnl, it's going
to be hard on them to find out he's
Milliccnt Cobb, Marion Mcct
zc's sister, said, "I'd rather he died
but I'm happy" with the sentence.
V 0ETO WS "i know I'd rather be dead than in
Taylor jail for 60 years."
Assistant District Attorney Barefoot, who along
with Assistant DA Thomas Hicks was seeking the death
penalty, said, "The jury's the jury. The aggravating fac
lors were there, but you can't argue with the jury."
That same jury found Taylor guiliy of the murders
Thursday. The trial then entered the sentencing phase,
to determine whether Taylor would be sentenced lo
death or life imprisonment for shooting die three mem
bers of the Meetze family with different weapons and
then attempting to burn the house down.
The jury first had to determine if one or more aggra
vating factors existed in the deaths. The prosecution
had submitted two aggravating factors: that the murders
were committed during a robbery; Taylor also was con
victed of the armed robbery of a gun. The second ag
gravating factor submitted was that the murders were
part of a course of conduct in which Taylor engaged
and did that coursc of conduct in the commission of
other crimes of violence against other persons.
(See VICTIMS, Page 2-A)
C rJ % a
i i iuuy v-/1 i
Two people died on Brunswick
County highways last Friday, ac
cording to North Carolina Highway
Aimcc Clara Couvillon, 25, of
Shallottc, was killed in a one-vehi
cle crash early Friday morning and
12-ycar-old Anthony Noel Russ of
Lcland was killed Friday evening
when he rode his bicycle in front of
a pickup truck.
Ms. Couvillon was traveling
north on Rural Paved Road 1183 at
1 hjoh r;ilr of c-vNvt cs|i(n:'!'Vt 'it VO
mph. according to a report. Al about
2:30 a.m., her 1987 Su/uki Samurai
ran off the right side of the road
about 6.5 miles south of Ocean Isle
Beach and out of control, striking a
tree, spinning off and striking an
other tree and coming to rest in a
ditch, according to the report.
She v,'2S dc3(J a! ihc sccnc lie*
cording to the report. Trooper T.W.
Cauldcr estimated 57,(XX) damage
to her vehicle.
Russ was riding his bicycle west
on Rural Paved Road 1487 at 7:40
p.m., when he rode through a stop
sign into the path of a 1989 Nissan
pickup driven by Dale Roberts, 25,
of Leland, who was traveling north
on Rural Paved Road 1438, accord
ing to a report.
Russ was transported to New
Hanover Memorial Hospital, where
he died al 9:02 Saturday morning,
according to the report.
No chargcs were filed in the acci
dent. Trooper T.W. Cauldcr estimat
ed damages at S2,000 to the Nissan
and $75 to the bicycle.
The deaths brought the total to 11
in Brunswick County this year, two
more than the nine who died last
year through the month of August,
according to N.C. Highway Patrol
spokesperson Ruby Oakley.
STAfF mora BY DOUG HUTTCH
Scientist Becomes Sculptor
Louis Ileidel of Stephens City, Va., (right) attracted crowds at Ocean Isle Beach last week with his
magnificent sand castles. Ileidel, a soil scientist who is used to getting his hands dirty, used a shovel,
spatula and plusiic molds to sculpt the sand. He is pictured last Thursday with his sons, Matthew
and Adam. Ileidel has vacationed at Ocean Isle Beach each of the last 10 years.
Brunswick Plant Technicians Disciplined;
Unit 2 Due Back On Line
Today Or Friday
Carolina Power & Light Co. Monday took
disciplinary action against two technicians who
falsified records in an attempt to cover up an er
ror that led to the Aug. 19 automatic shutdown of
one unit of the Brunswick Nuclear Plant.
CP&L spokesman Elizabeth Bean said com
pany personnel policies do not provide for re
lease of die technicians' identities or the nature
of the action taken, hut that firing was one of the
"I can assure you it was appropriate action,"
she said in a telephone interview Tuesday. She
said the company "will not tolerate" falsification
of records or failure to follow procedures by its
This was die first instance in which a plant
technician had violated procedure and then falsi
fied documents, she had indicator! in an interview
The two technicians had first been retained
for questioning, then placed on administrative
leave pending completion of the investigation.
NRC officials will review the agency inves
tigative team's report on the incident and then
decide if CP&L will be cited for any violations,
indicated spokesman Ken Clark, lie said there
was no evidence of damage to the reactor and no
detectable release of radioactive material to the
environment as a result of the event.
Unit 2, meanwhile, was expected to return
on-line today or Friday, after employees com
plete maintenance and testing that was begun af
ter the unit shut down, Ms. Bean said.
At a news conference Saturday at the plant
near Southport, officials with the utility company
and with the Nuclear Regulatory Agency outlined
the incidents that led up to the shutdown and other
findings of their respective investigations.
The routine monthly testing of four electrical
circuits is a two-person assignment. However,
Ms. Bean said, one technician actually tested the
circuits while the other was in an adjoining room
helping to repair a piece of equipment.
When performed correctly, the circuits arc
tested in sequence, with one reset before the next
is opened. "The technician did not follow those
steps," Mrs. Bean said. "He was sending test sig
nals to two circuits at the same time."
As a safety precaution, the Brunswick plant
is designed so that a unit will shut down automat
ically, or "scram," when the plant monitoring
system detects anything abnormal.
Alter the reactor shut down on Aug. 19, the
first technician summoned the second technician
and the two falsified records to show that they
had independently verified cach step of die cir
cuit test as diey went, which they had not done,
Ms. Bean said. After investigators determined
what had actually happened, the two technicians
admitted making the mistake and attempting to
cover it up.
The NRC has two resident inspectors as
signed to the Brunswick Nuclear Plant. It dis*
patched six additional officials from its Atlanta
and Washington, D.C. offices to investigate the
Aug. 19 event and rcach a better understanding
of what had happened. CP&L also conducted its
own investigation of the incident.
At the press confcrcnce Saturday, A1 Bclisle,
leader of the NRC's investigative team and NRC
regional section chief, said each of the techni
cians had approximately seven years of experi
ence and had received adequate training. The
maintenance test is performed by well-defined
procedures with which they were familiar, but
did not follow precisely on Aug. 19.
As the reactor was cooling following the au
tomatic shutdown, another problem surfaced. Of
ficials initially suspected that several safety relief
valves had tailed to release steam at certain pres
sure levels as they were supposed to do.
However, Ms. Bean said Tuesday that one
steam valve has been sent to a lab in Alabama for
testing. In the meantime it has been replaced.
Ms. Bean said that no figures have been com
piled on the cost of the shutdown. However, she
said the scram occurred during a period of non
peak usage and when the company's other nucle
ar and fossil fuel plants were all operating. "The
(See PLANT, 1'age 2-A)
Search For Manager
ItV" BOB IIOKNK
The Brunswick County Board of
Commissioners decided Monday
night to go through the 47 four
month-old applications the county
has for county manager and begin
the screening proccss to fill that po
The decision followed a 1 1/2
hour executive session on personnel
and came just as the commissioners
were about to ad journ.
Vicc-Chairman Frankic Rabon
made a motion dial the county com
missioners look into the applica
tions for county manager "and be
gin the screening proccss." The mo
tion called for Rcgina Alexander,
clerk to the county commissioners,
to make copies of each application
and forward them to each commis
sioner promptly and to set up a
workshop for 5 p.m. next Thursday
to begin the screening proccss.
Commissioner Kciiy Hoiden ob
jected, saying, "With the time that
has elapsed, 1 feel it's imperative
that we readvcrtisc for the position
and not jump into this group."
To that, Rabon answered, "I just
don't see the time delay or the ex
pense to rcadvcrtisc." Rabon sug
gested that each commissioner
come to the workshop with his or
her top five choices, saying "we
might have five or 25," but that it
would be a starting point.
Board Chairman Gene Pinkcrton
said his father, who is in an Ashe
villc hospital, might have open
heart surgery on that day and want
ed to ensure that it would be OK if
he called in his five choices, if he
needed to. The board then approved
die motion on a 4-1 vote, with
Brunswick County has been
wiuioiit a permanent county niana^~
cr since the commissioners asked
John Smith to resign in December.
An attempt to hire William A. Kopp
as county manager without taking
applications was rescinded and
County Attorney David Clegg has
served as Interim County Manager
In an unrelated action, the com
missioncrs unamimously agreed to
award a contract to W&S Under
ground of Florence of S524.565.85
for construction of water lines for
Special Assessment Districts 7,9,16
Jay Houston of Houston and
Associates engineers told the com
missioners the price was exception
ally low and speculated that the bids
were submitted when oil prices
were at their lowest point.
"All four bidders knocked our es
timate in the head," Houston said.
However, Houston advised the
commissioners to place a ceiling on
the current practicc of lumping
SADs to lower construction costs.
"if you go much higher, you will
eliminate some of the iocai contrac
tors, bccausc of the bonding re
quirements," he said. "When you
pass a half a million, you're getting
to a different level."
The commissioners also unani
mously agreed to schedule a public
hearing for Oct. 8 at 7 p.m., as the
Utility Operations Board recom
mended, for the grouping of SADs
12,13,14,15,18,21 and 22. Rabon
explained that the public hearing
did not mean the commissioners
would combine all those SADs, be
cause the county doesn't have the
water lines to construct them yet,
In a separate action, the commis
sioners, on a 3-2 vote, approved the
hiring of a temporary planner to
help implement the Oil emergency
telephone system. The 517,906-per
ycar position is to be deleted Jan. 1,
inni mi ~ l. :
1774. unci 7ii ia iu uc implement
cd. Commissioner Kelly Holden's
motion included a stipulation that
the position be funded from contin
ue SEARCH, Page 2-A)
Chapel Roast Is On Again
BY SUSAN USHER
The roast is on again al Dixon Chapel United Methodist Church in
Vamamtown?but with a few changes this time around.
The daie wiii be moved forward and a new addition to iast year's
menu, fried fish, will remain, spokesman Marlene Vaniam said Monday.
Last Octobcr, organizers of the roast announced that, after more than
20 consecutive years, the 1989 event could well be the last They cited
difficulty in obtaining locally hoi vested oysters because of fiequeut clos
ings of local waters and smaller overall harvests.
Instead of the traditional third Saturday of Octobcr?a date that now
conflicts with the N.C. Oyster Festival?this year's roast will be held
Nov. 3, the first Saturday in November. Hours will remain at 1 p.m. to 7
"What we're aiming for is to try to get local oysters," Mrs. Varnam
said. "A later date might give us that."
Any time in Octobcr is "too risky" any more, she said. "We think
we'll fare better in the long run. The first week of the season is hectic,
with everybody trying to get oysters to take home to their families and to
their neighbors. You can't get people to sell them to you even if the river
Mrs. Varnam said sponsors won't set tickct prices until after oyster
Although roast sponsors were a little fearful iast year about offering
fried fish, Mrs. Vaniam said, the experiment was a success. "A lot of
people were tickled with the fish, because some don't eat oysters any
The oysters, which are roasted over an open fire, are served with
homemade fried bread, pickles and sauces. Soft drinks, hot dogs and
baked goods are also offered for sale.
Proceeds benefit the church.
More information about the roast is available from Mrs. Varnam,
842-6425, or from Nicky Varnam at Garland's Seafood, 842-6492.