Mnni ""j 'si?? rji: nrii/^fMi BRL... r. - . -ft BEACON Twenty-ninth Yeor, Number 22 ?? ??w? ?e*co? Shollotte, North Coroling, Thursdoy, April 4, 1991 25<t Per Copy 30 Pages, 2 Sections, 2 Inserts STAFF PHOTO BY SUSAN USHER DESPITE THE EARLY MORNING CHILL, more than 300 people gathered on the strand near the Sunset Beach Fishing Pier Sunday to celebrate Christ's resurrection. It was the first beach service offered by the recently-established Calabash Presbyterian Church. The worshipers huddled in layers of spring clothing, beach towels and blankets. Merchants Give Easter Weekend Mixed Reviews BY DOUG RUTTER The 1991 Easter holiday weekend received mixed reviews from local businessmen, some of whom speculated that cool weather and cloudy skies kepi some visitors away from the coast Several local real estate companies reported that most or all of the available beach cottages and units in the South Brunswick Islands were rented for the week. A heavy rainstorm greeted visitors who ar rived Friday night High temperatures stayed in the 50s and low 60s Saturday and Sunday, be fore sunshine broke through and a wanning trend started Monday. Despite the unseasonable start to the holiday week, hundreds of homeowners and even more visitors found their way to the southeastern North Carolina coast for the first big beach weekend of the year. Mary Barnes if Lcxir^ttjn, S.C., who is visit ing Sunset Beach with her family for the week, said Sunday thai the cool weather made no dif ference to her. "It was jusl nice to gel away," she said. But there were conflicting reports about what the influx of visitors meant to local businesses. Some merchants said they were pleased with weekend business, and others said it was down from past years. Ouida Hewctt of the South Brunswick Islands Chamber of Commerce said she didn't hear any negative comments about the Easter weekend from merchants or visitors. "Everybody I've talked to has been real pleased with the weekend," she said Tuesday. 'They've all said that business has been good." Mrs. Hewctt said several restaurant owners in Calabash told her the cool weather kept some people away Saturday, but business picked up Easter Sunday and Monday. Several store managers, however, said busi ness was slower than they had hoped for and expected. They said unfavorable weather fore casts probably kept some people away. "I had a decent weekend but it wasn't great," said Millie Pcnsmith, who manages the Cockle Shell gift shop at Ho'den Beach. "I think the weather left a lot to be desired." Jim Buie, a manager at Hill's food ston; in Shallotte, called the holiday weekend "pitifui." "It was not what we cxpccted it to be. We're hoping it's because of the weather," he said. "We were prepared for a big one so we've got a lot of back stock. It just didn't happen." Police departments at the suddenly-crowded beach communities reported no criminal activi ty "It's been very mild," Ocean Isle Beach Police Chief Curt Pritchard said Tuesday. "It's been quiet as far as crime is concerned." As usual, hundreds of motorists headed for the South Brunswick Island beaches ran into a traffic jam on the north side of Shallottc on Good Friday. Southbound traffic on U.S. 17 slowed to a crawl several miles north of town. The bypass related detour from the main highway to Red Bug Road funnclcd more traffic than usual onto Holdcu Beach Road. Marine Pfc. Jacob Gillens. who was on his way from Camp Lejeunc to South Carolina Friday afternoon, was among those stuck in the lineup. Wailing in bumpcr-to-bumper traffic, Gillens (See WEEKEND, Page 2-A) State Sets Public Hearing On Town Creek Crematorium BY TERRY POPE Town Creek residents angry about a pet crematorium planned for their community will have a chance to voice their concerns at a state public hearing later this month. The N.C. Division of Environ mental Management (IDEM) will hold a public hearing Tuesday, April 23, at 7 p.m., on an air quality control permit filed by Ron Currie, who wants to build a pet crematori um on Town Creek Road about two miles west of U.S. 17. The hearing will be held in the Public Assembly Building at the government complex in Bolivia, said County Manager David Clegg, who was notified of the hearing last Thursday. Currie, who plans to operate Southeastern Pet Cremation at the Town Creek site, said Monday that he will attend the hearing in Bolivia. "The public hearing will clarify a lot of things that came out wrong from the beginning." Currie said. The New Hanover County ani mal control supervisor said he was wrongly portrayed by local media as trying to mislead residents in the Town Creek community about the proposed crematorium. Town Creek residents packed Brunswick County Commissioners' chambers March 4 to protest Cur ne's plan to build the crematorium in a residental neighborhood. They told commissioners their concerns about possible damage to air and water quality should an incinerator be built there. Just days after the meeting Clegg revoked a county building permit issued earlier to Currie. The permit stated the building was to be a resi dential workshop rather than a com mercial business. As of last week, Currie had not applied for another building permit at the Brunswick County Building Inspections Department Currie said Monday that his attorney is now in charge of that matter. Commissioner Gene Pinkerton, at the March 4 meeting, asked that all board members attend a state public hearing if one was sched uled. Southeastern Pet Cremation would cremate cats and dogs and bum car casses from research laboratories, slaughterhouses, animal pounds and similar sources. Veterinarians and pet owners who would like to have their pet cremated would also use the fa cility. The permit would allow a maxi mum of 75 pounds of waste per hour or 78 tons yearly to be burned by natural gas. A preliminary review of Currie's air quality permit has determined it can be approved and a DEM air permit issued if certain conditions are met, according to DEM's public hearing notice dated April 1 . DEM Director George Everett has determined, the notice said, that it is in the public interest that a meeting be held to receive public comments on whether to issue or deny an air permit for Southeastern Pet Cremation. The crematorium air quality per mit will be explained at the hearing and Currie will be allowed to speak. County residents can also sign up to speak. If their comments will last more than three minutes, they are also to provide written copies. Those not wishing to speak may submit written statements or data tor the agency s ccosidcwuion. To be considered as part of the hearing record, the material must be turned in before the close of the hearing. Copies of the draft air permit, an application by Southeastern Pet Cremation and other materials used by DEM to evaluate the permit arc on file for public inspection at the Leland Branch Library beside the old Leland School Park on Village Road during regular business hours. For a fee, copies may also be ob tained from the N.C. Division of En vironmental Management, P.O. Box 27687, Raleigh, N.C. 2761 1-7687. The proposed crematorium also sparked discussion about a need for countywide zoning. Chairman Kelly Holden said zoning laws could keep crematoriums out of a residential area. . - ? Ash Teen Sought In Brother's Death BY TERRY POPE Harold Allen Graham, of Route 1, Ash, spent his 18th birthday Sun day in the woods near his home, hiding from local law officers who want to charge him with the murder of his brother. As of Tuesday morning, Graham had not been found after a two-day search of a large wooded area along the Waccamaw River in southern Brunswick County and liccnse checks on local roadways. He is accused of shooting his brother. Lacy Franklin Graham, 28, twice in the head with a ,32-caliber pistol Saturday around 3:20 p.m. The victim died at New Hanover Regional Medical Center in Wilm ington around 2 p.m. Sunday. Brunswick County court records show Graham was charged with an other shooting last fall. He was indicted by a Brunswick County grand jury Feb. 18 on a charge of assault with a deadly wea pon inflicting serious injury. In that incident, Graham is accused of shooting Wade Bliss Ashley, a stu dent at Shallotte Middle School, in the right leg with a .22 -caliber rifle on Ocl 8, 1990. In Brunswick County District Court Dec. 5, 1990, Graham wavicd his right to a probable cause hear ing, sending the ease to Superior Court. The case is still pending and a trial date had not been set, said Lisa Aycock, courtroom clerk. The Graham brothers lived in the same house along Ash-Little River Road (S.R. 1300). A Brunswick County sheriff's detective, Lt. Don nell Marlow, said a motive for the shooting has not been determined. A warrant has been issued for Graham's arrest on murder charges. It lists two witnesses to the shooting. "We will charge him with mur der," Marlow said. "It'll be up to the courts to decide if it's first-degree or second-degree." Graham was found lying on the shoulder of the road about 60 feet from a driveway to his house, ac cording to Deputy Robert Hoag land, who was the first officer on the scene. Graham was transported to the Brunswick Hospital in Supply by the Calabash Volunteer Rescue Squad and later transferred to New Hanover Regional Medical Center. According to Hoagland's report, an altercation was reported between Graham, his brother and another witness. It is believed Graham fired one shot into the air and two at his brother, hitting him twice in the head, the report states. Marlow said a police bulletin lists Graham as armed and dangerous. "If anyone in the Ash area sees him, they should contact the sher iff's department," Marlow said. County Will Garnish Wages To Collect Property Taxes BY TERRY POPE Some Brunswick County property owners are still holding out on pay ing taxes, but if they don't pay up soon their paychecks could shrink. Commissioners voted 4-1 Mon day to take advantage of a state law that allows counties to gamish wages of residents who refuse to pay their taxes. "I think it's lime to collect," said District 5 Commissioner Donald Shaw. Commissioners hope to collect the estimated $4,154,000 that is still owed the county in unpaid ad val orem taxes over the past 10 years. Chairman Kelly Holden made his motion near the end of the commis sioners' meeting Monday. District 4 Commissioner Frankie Rabon voted against it, saying he was concerned about residents on fixed or low in comes. As required by Jaw, the county will advertise the names of people who still owe 1990 property taxes in local newspapers this month. County Manager David Clegg said approximately S2 million is still owed the county in 1990 taxes. The collection rate is close to 92 percent, he said. A rate below % percent can hurt the county's bond rating. "I think we should utilize what ever means is possible to get that money," said Holden. By state statute, counties can gar nish the wage of taxpayers as long as the sum does not exceed 10 per cent of any single paycheck, Clegg said. The collection method would work similar to one used to collect child support payments. Clcgg said the county cannot gar nish Social Security or retirement chcck3 since that money is not con sidered earned wages. "My motion is for wages and salaries, whether that person works for GE (General Electric), Bruns wick County, the board of education or whatever," said Holden. Prime (See WAGES, Page 2-A) Spring Forward If you plan to get to church on time Sunday, you'd better roll the clocks ahead one hour Sat urday night as Daylight Savings Time (DST) kicks in. The shift province on <**? ro hour of daylight in the afternoon in lieu of one hour of daylight in the morning for a period of sev en months. Officially the time to make the switch is 2 a.m. Sunday, but most people will change their clocks Saturday night. Congress passed its first DST law in 1918, "an Act to save daylight and to provide Standard Time for the United States." Later versions were often con cerned with energy conserva tion. The current schedule was adopted in 1986, amending the Uniform Time Act of 1966. DST begins the first Sunday in April and continues until the last Sunday of October every year. New Business Announcements Offer Economy Shot In Arm BY SUSAN USHER The Shallotlc area economy got a shot in the arm this week with announcement of plans for a Wal-Mart discount department store, a 20-lane bowling alley and a medical services center to locate here. Both Aldermen Jody Simmons and Wilton Harrelson said the new businesses should help draw more people to the town's business district as well as adding jobs to the local economy and increasing the town's property tax base. Simmons said the Wall-Mart store should en courage county residents to shop in Shallotte rather than going outside the county. The bowl ing center should also keep in the county bowlers like himself who now travel to lanes in Horry County, S.C., he said last week. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. plans to begin construc tion this month of a store on a 15-acre site at the intersection of U.S. H and Holden Beach Road. Previously owned by Henry Carter, the tract presently is the site of Pinewood Manor Homes. Simmons, of Village Pines Properties, was the broker for the transaction. The work is expected to be completed by early 1992. Wal-Mart expects the store, its first in Brunswick County, to create approximately 180 jobs for nearby residents. While some local businessmen have expressed concern about the effect of the Shallotte bypass on downtown business, Harrelson said he hasn't shared that doubt. "It doesn't surprise me that the bypass is not going to scare people off," said Harrelson. He said he thinks that routing through traffic around the town will actually improve access for local shoppers. Also, he said, most people traveling to local beaches will still be traveling through town. Wal-Mart's decision to locate in town, he said, should be beneficial to the store and to the com munity as a whole. "It will hurt some individual businesses. The business pie can't be cut but into so many pieces," he continued. "But you have to be optimistic. I think it will eventually help draw more people to Shallotte and there will probably be some spin-off busi nesses. Hopefully, established businesses will benefit too." Wal-Mart spokesman Kristen Stehben said last Thursday that the square footage of the store had not been decided at that time. Plans call for a gar den center, pharmacy and snack bar in addition to the chain's usual varied line of merchandise. Wal-Mart Stores Inc., founded by Sam Walton, is based in Bentonville, Ark. The company owns about 1,600 discount department stores in 35 states, including approximately 50 in North Carolina. It also owns 176 Sam's Club stores and four superstores. For the year that ended Jan. 31, the annual re port shows sales of S32 billion and profits of SI. 29 billion. Bowling Center A groundbreaking ceremony is planned Monday, April 8, at Village Pines office complex on N.C. 179 for the Brunswick County Bowling Center. Construction is expected to be completed in time for an August opening, said General Manager Wayne "Barney" Bamhill, who is working from an office at Village Pines until the center opens. The project will also includc the Spare Time Restaurant and Lounge and a snack bar, he said, along with a nursery and game room for use by bowlers' children. The center is owned by the Williams Group of North Myrtle Beach, S.C. Bamhill, formerly director of bowling opera tions at North Myrtle Beach Bowling Center, is a certified bowling instructor and coach. (See NKW IIUSINKSS, Page 2-A) STAf f PHOTOS BY SUSAN USHlt WAL-MART plans to build a discount department store at U.S. 17 and Uolden Beach Road.