ASSISTANT PRINCIPAL Eugene Bowden drapes Chris Byrd
with his valedictorian's medallion. Salutatorian Perry Culpepper
received a similar medallion.
West Seniors Urged To
Make Their Lives Count
BY SUSAN USHER thank those who made sacrifices to
A surprise guest showed up for their graduation possible. He urged
West Brunswick High School's seniors to live determined "to make
commencement last Thursday night, each day better than the one before."
making the Class of 1991 part of a Thursday's graduation differed in
first in Brunswick County education at least one other respect from pre
annals. vious ceremonies, with ingenuity
His visit makes Bob Etheridge coming to the rescue for a group of
the first state superintendent of pub- seniors whose Trojan green caps
lie instruction to participate in a and gowns did not arrive in time.
Brunswick County High School Faculty members shed their tradi
graduation, according to school of- tional black academic robes, which
ficials. were donned instead by the 30 hon
"You really arc the success story or graduates. The honor graduates,
of the North Catolina schools," the in turn, gave their green mortar
state superintendent told tiie class. boards and gowns to classmates
Etheridge suggested they take whose outfits had not arrived.
time before the night was over to (See WEST, Page 3-A)
GRADUATION AND AWARDS COVERAGE INSIDE
North Brunswick High School Page 7
Shallotte Middle School Page 8
South Brunswick High School Page 9
County's 68.5 Cents Per
Budget Has Few People
BY TERRY POPE
About 30 people attended a brief
public hearing on the proposed
1991-92 Brunswick County budget
Tuesday night, but only four spoke.
They called for increased funding
of the county's Emergency Medical
Services program. Southeastern
Mental Health Center, Brunswick
Adult Day Care and the Brunswick
The hearing lasted just 20 min
The S35 million budget is based
on a property tax rate of 68.5 cents
per $100 in valuation, the same as
However, 50 currently funded po
sitions will cither be cut or reduced
in work time and the Clean County
department eliminated under the
Veronica Manlove, an adminis
trative assistant for Clean County,
told the board she learned she
would lose her job by reading the
"I'm very sorry to see it come to
an end the way that it has," said Ms.
Saying Brunswick County needs
the program, she questioned if it
was necessary to dissolve Clean
County. Its head, Terry Munn, will
transfer to the county engineering
department to oversee county recy
cling. The Keep America Beautiful
board will be affiliated with the
parks and recreation department.
"I'd hate to see it go, just like
this, without any sincere thought to
it," she said.
Dr. Harry Johnson, medical di
rector of the Brunswick County
EMS, said the county should fully
fund the EMS program because of
the need for advanced medical care
for a growing elderly population.
The county has budgeted
S594.247 to begin its EMS pro
gram, but it had planned to budget
more than SI million. Of the funds,
5207,000 will buy two ambulanccs
and S2 18,272 to pay for salaries of
emergency personnel to staff the
rescue units 24 hours a day.
Johnson said the county should
explore other ways to fund the pro
gram, such as district fees or
charges for services.
He also criticized culs in budget
requests for the Southeastern Men
tal Health Center. The department
will receive 75 percent of its re
quest, which will still be an increase
over last year, from 5229,088 to
"They are hanging on by their
teeth and doing the best they can,"
said Johnson of the center's em
Brunswick Adult Day Care will
get what it got last year, S5,000, but
the centei is now expanding to in
clude two locations, one in
Southport and another in Shallotte,
said Jean Marshall, its executive di
She asked the county for SI 0,000
"Because of Ihe second site, I do
wish you would reconsider," she
Edith Tillman, a member of the
Brunswick County Library Board,
said the Leland Library has the
funds needed to build its new build
ing, but none to help pave a parking
She visited other libraries to see
what they have that Brunswick
County libraries do not have.
"I don't want to go visiting any
more bccause it makes me sick,"
she said. "We are generations be
hind other library systems."
Brunswick County's libraries will
rcccivc SI 25,000, an increase from
SI 10,000 last year. The Leland
Library will get S30.000 from the
county to help build the S192.000
Among those attending the hear
(See BUDGET, PAGE 2-A)
DOT MAKING CHANGES
Motorist Killed On Bypass Approach
BY DOUG RUTTKR
Following a singlc-car accidcni in which a lo
cal man died, the N.C. Department of
Transportation has placed orange barrels along a
curve leading to the U.S. 17 Shalloue bypass and
plans to build a service road.
Michael Frances Steltcr, 35, of Ocean Isle
Beach died last Wednesday morning after driving
a 1987 Buick station wagon off the road on a
curve on Business 17 near the north end of the
new bypass, which opened to traffic the previous
Trooper W.H. Thompson of the N.C. Highway
Patrol said the fatal wreck wi. one of two acci
dents that occurred last week on that approach to
Nobody was injured in the sccond accident In
both cases, Thompson said the driver didn't no
tice the curve in the road.
The fatal wreck occurred at 12:30 a.m. last
Wednesday on U.S. 17 just north of Shalloue,
said Highway Patrol spokesperson Ruby Oakley.
Steltcr was traveling north on U.S. 17 when
the Buick ran off the right side of the road in the
curve about 120 feet east of the bypass.
Ms. Oakley said the car went down an em
bankment and overturned, throwing the driver
from the vehicle. The car came to rest on its top
in a ditch on the northbound side of the highway.
Stelter died at the scene.
"He just didn't sec the curve," Thompson said.
"He went right over the hill."
Thompson said Stelter was not wearing a seat
bell and probably would have survived if he had
been wearing one. There were no passengers in
As a result of the fatality, the state has put bar
rels along side the curve to make sure people see
it, said Dave Boyleston, resident engineer with
the Department of Transportation in Wilmington.
Boyleston said roadside arrows known as
"chevrons" were put up before the road was
opened to traffic. He said Stelter wouldn't have
missed the curve if he had been observant.
Within the next two weeks, Boyleston said the
state plans to build a new service road off the
curve to provide access to several businesses
north of Shallouc.
"We're going to start that just as soon as we
get through work on the south end," Boyleston
Construction of the service road will create a
more gradual slope that there is now on the north
side of the curve, Boyleston said.
Thompson indicated in his accident report that
the driver was exceeding a safe speed. The speed
limit along that stretch of roadway is 45 mph,
and Thompson estimated the car was traveling 45
Thompson said there was 12 feel of skid mark
on the highway and that if Stelter hadn't been ex
ceeding a safe speed, he wouldn't have gone off
the road and down the embankment.
Ms. Oakley said the fatality was the fifth of
the year on Brunswick County roads. Five deaths
also had occurred through May of 1990.
Damage to the Stelter vehicle was estimated at
County Merit Pay Plan
Gets Mixed Reviews From Commissioners
BY TF.RRY POPE
Brunswick County Commissioners ap
pear divided over a plan that would reward
county employees with pay raises for excel
lence in job performance.
Merit pay would give workers who excel
on their job evaluations a 5 percent pay in
crease and those who score above expected
a 2.5 percent pay raise, as opposed to across
the board pay increases to all employees.
Commissioners on Monday tabled discus
sion of the plan until June 17, when the
board will reconvene at 4 p.m. to discuss the
County Personnel Director Starie Grissett
headed a committee that drafted the
"Brunswick County Performance
Evaluation Policy" and presented it to com
missioners May 27.
"We feel like the project needs to be im
plcmcnted," said Ms. Grisseit. "It's lime
now for those employees who are excelling
on their jobs to be rewarded for their excep
Across the board pay raises, she said, do
not "go over too well with employees after
However, District 3 Commissioner Gene
Pinkerton said he's not sure if he likes the
merit pay plan.
"I've had an awful lot of negative re
sponses from the employees themselves,"
He said employees are concerned that
persons from outside departments will have
a hand in their evaluations.
The policy states that an employee's su
pervisor is to evaluate the worker and then
forward the forms to the Performance
Evaluation Review Board, composed of
five department heads or supervisors, three
non-department head employees and the
"I find it would be very hard to imple
ment this year anyway," said Pinkerton.
The plan calls for it to begin July 1.
Employees would be evaluated on the an
niversary of their employment date.
At an earlier meeting, District 4
Commissioner Frankie Rabon requested the
board table the matter until the board's bud
get workshop. He said he favors an across
the board increase for all employees.
Increases in insurance deductibles to help
the county save money will be a burden to
all employees, Rabon said.
"It's going to be just as costly for the per
son making 510,000 as it is for the person
who makes $40,000," said Rabon.
Rabon said he is also concerned about
employees receiving a fair evaluation.
"I don't agree that a person out of the so
cial services department could properly
evaluate someone out of the finance depart
ment," said Rabon. "We could implement it,
but it would take a year to see if it works."
The personnel policy committee has
worked on the plan for more than two years,
said Ms. Grissett. On that committee were
Public Utilities Director Jerry Webb and
County Manager David Clegg.
Kelly Holdcn, board chairman, said he
believes merit pay would end a lot of the
county's morale problems. Across the board
pay increases also reward mediocracy on
the Job, he said.
"1 think we're on the right track," said
Holden. "I do think it's something we des
According to the policy, its goals arc:
?to reward employees for excellence in job
performance and to identify employees who
are not meeting job standards;
?to encourage and improve communica
tions between employees and their supervi
?to provide employees with clear direction
on what they must do to be effective on the
?to provide information for future person
nel actions such as training opportunities.
Persons who are performing at the ex
pected level or whose scores indicate they
need improvement would not receive a pay
An unacceptable performance score
would place the worker on a 90-day proba
tion period. A second poor evaluation
would result in a transfer or demotion for
SiNKiNG REMAINS A MYSTERY
Sailors Tell Of
Rescue At Sea
BY DOUG RUTTER
The lone survivor of a boating
accident last week probably
wouldn't have made it to shore if
two sailors visiting Holden Beach
hadn't been in the right place at the
Thai's the story as told by
Wayne Carter and Mike Efremov,
who transported Gary Richardson
of Greensboro to the beach follow
ing the accident last Tuesday that
claimed the life of his three com
Brunswick County Coroner Greg
White identified the drowning vic
tims as Eugene Crowdcr, 28; Don
ald Braxton Smith Jr., 35; and Jack
Lamont Owens Sr., 61, all of
Holding tight to a ripped life
jacket, Richardson floated in the
ocean for about three hours before
Carter and Efremov found him
about a half mile off the beach.
The two men, who were sailing
on Carter's 16-foot Hobie Cat, said
in an interview last week that they
first thought something was wrong
when they saw a gas can floating in
Shortly after that, they saw full
Coke bottles, beer cans and a base
ball cap in the ocean. They knew
then that a boat had capsized.
Richardson and the three victims
had been fishing aboard Owens'
24-foot boat about a mile off
Shallotte Inlet when the boat sank
in rough seas between 1 p.m. and 2
p.m. Richardson was the only who
grabbed a life vest before the boat
Carter, who lives in Raleigh, said
(See SINKING, Page 2-A)
, STAFF PHOTO BY DOUG RUTTCR
EMERGENCY PERSONNEL carry the body of one of the three drowning victims over the dune at H olden Reach last Tuesday.