School Board Likes Center Idea,
Says 'No Thanks' To Lead Role
BY SUSAN USIIKK
Brunswick County Board of Education members
Monday night endorsed the concept of a regional edu
cation center, but balked at requests that would thrust it
into a leading role in a project initialed by a single
"We need something in writing that reflects the
consensus of and shows who is involved and what
their combined reflections arc," suggested member
Doug Baxley. "We're need to start building some doc
umentation of what we're about."
Another member, Polly Russ, suggested the
Brunswick County Education Foundation should take
the lead role. Slockctt rejected that idea, saying the
school board had the "clout" needed to get things done.
Following a lengthy status report on the center pro
posal, member Robert Slockctt Monday asked fellow
board members to give their general approval for such
a center, to be located in Brunswick County and built
without the use of tax dollars, he said.
He also wanted the board to approve a scries of six
preliminary items that would require funds from either
the school system or the Brunswick County
The request, eventually denied, launched a circular
d'-batc that brought the board closc to its starting point
several motions later.
In the end, with the board supporting the general
concept of the center, board Chairman Donna Baxter
suggested Slockctl check with Superintendent P.K.
Hankins on what should be the next step "with the
teachers," then and get back to the board.
Slockctt, who first proposed the center, also helped
found and serves in an ex-officio capacity on the
loosely-organized Brunswick County Education
Foundation. He also helped create the Science
Alliance, a "core" group of live or six county math/sci
ence teachers plus school system administrators in
volved in the center effort and related innovations in
the existing curriculum. The group recently surveyed
about 70 science teachers on their training- and class
Slockctt described the proposed center Monday as
a project of a "triumvirate" made up of the board of
education, school administration and Brunswick
County Educational Foundation.
However, Superintendent Hankins, who Slockctt
said was the Alliance's spokesperson, said the group is
unorganized at present. The Education Foundation is
also in the process of reorganizing.
Slockctt had proposed a lollow-up meeting with
the "core" Alliance teachers and a visit by them to a
model teacher center at the University of South
Carolina at Aiken; direct contact with area schools and
colleges and industries "to cement support"; a meeting
with IBM officials regarding tlieir interest in the pro
ject; and completion of a resource guide.
As Mrs. kuss noted, most hoard members were
concerned at the prospect of giving die proposal "a
blank check" without evidence that the project has the
sponsorship of some other entity.
Rather, she said, die board should be reviewing and
approving each phase of the project "bit by bit," while
Slockctt questioned if organizers needed to ask the
board's approval even to breathe.
Mrs. Kuss also expressed concern over being asked
to endorse items that would require funding, while
Slockctt insisted S7,5(X) had been budgeted by the
school txxird for BCEF paperwork. "That's news to
me," replied Ms. Baxter.
A check during the meeting confirmed that no
funds had been budgeted lor the year, though expenses
were incurred at the end of the last fiscal year for mail
ings and stall time related to an informational meeting.
Members accepted a new version of Slockeu's mo
tion for general support, as proposed by Doug Baxley.
ITiey agreed with ihc concept, but did not authorize
school system expenditures at this time. Each time a
commitment by the board is required, a request would
have to come before the board for approval.
'ITic board rejected Slockett's list of action items in
whole, not considering the items individually.
Saying he wasn't going "to beg," Slockett contin
ued, "I'm not asking a lot at all. I'm just asking for
Mrs. Russ, who said she was impressed with a re
cent presentation on the center, told Slockett: "My con
cern is that we need ? you don't like to hear this ?to
follow proper procedures."
Silent through most ol the hour-long debate, Innird
member Yvonne Bright suggested the board "abandon
this whole thing" if it cannot support Slockett as its
In turn, Slockett asserted, with the chairman
protesting his assumption, "If you tell me 1 can't do
what I think is good and proper, then you're asking me
to leave the board."
During a recess of liic meeting. Slockett first asked
Ms. Baxter to have the board replace him as its repre
sentative to the BCEF, then changed his mind.
Schools To Screen Some
Employees For Drugs
Brunswick County Schools be
came the first in the region Monday
night to adopt a mandatory drug
testing policy for a specific group of
Voting unanimously, the board
agreed to require pre-employment
and random selection drug testing
for any position authorized to oper
ate or maintain vehicles used for
student transportation or mainte
nance operations and of candidates
for those positions.
The policy was adopted on sec
ond reading with little discussion.
At earlier meetings the board had
expressed its full support for drug
testing, but asked for revisions in
the policy on the recommendation
of attorney Glen Peterson. Funds
for the program have already been
approved in the budget.
The policy applies to employees
such as school bus drivers, teachers
and coaches designated to drive stu
dents to activities such as athletic
events and field trips, vehicle me
chanics and school maintenance
A similar policy relating to bus
drivers has been approved at the
state level, but state funding is un
certain at this time, according to
William Turner, assistant superin
tendent for operations.
The board reserved the right to
amend its policy later to include
similar testing of all other school
Applicants will be screened for
drugs as part of a mandatory, rou
tine employment related medical
exam. If an applicant's sample indi
cates an unexplained positive on
testing and rctcsting, he or she will
be rejected for employment.
Vehicle operators will be ran
domly selected on a monthly basis
using a random selection computer
After being notified of their selec
tion, they will have two days to re
port to Medico Urgent Care Facility
in Wilmington to provide a urine
sample. If the sample tests positive
initially and on confirmation testing,
the employee can provide a physi
cian's statement regarding prescrip
tion or non-prescription medication
that could have caused the positive
test result and/or have a portion of
the sample tested at : own ex
pense at another qualified iab.
After those steps, if a positive
reading remains unexplained, the
employee will be terminated.
Where "reasonable suspicion" of
inappropriate use exists, testing can
also be ordered.
Under the county's employee drug
use policy, vehicle operators who arc
believed to be using or possessing il
legal drugs on or off the worksite
and on or off duty, are to receive dis
ciplinary action "of at least a final
written warning up to and including
termination". They will be referred
for mandatory screening.
Similar procedures will be fol
lowed for vehicle operators be
lieved to be using or possessing al
cohol at the worksite, on duty.
If the testing confirms presence
of illegal drugs or alcohol, they will
be referred for appropriate asses
mcnt and/or rehabilitation. If subse
quent random testing is positive, or
if employees refuse testing, assess
ment or rehabilitation, they will be
Employees have a right to appeal
their termination through the sys
tem's usual channels.
Drug screening tests will not be
come part of any employee's per
sonnel file and will remain confi
dential. Positive test results to be
used only to dtermine employment.
Simmons Named Assistant
Principal At Union Primary
Tom Simmons has been named
Union Primary School's assistant
principal, a position he has held for
the past year on an acting basis.
Tlie appointment came during ap
proval of routine personnel items by
the Brunswick County Board of
Education Monday night.
A Boiling Spring Lakes resident,
Simmons is active in the North Caro
lina Association of Educators. He
previously taught physical education
ai Union Primary. He is a graduate of
N.C. State University and has 18
years of experience in education.
In other personnel action, the
? Hired Margaret Toomes of Wilm
ington for the school term as teach
er leader for the school system's pi
lot Reading Recovery program, a
joint project with the University of
North Carolina at Wilmington; and
hired Ronald Pcndcrgraft of
Wilmington ot tcach carpcntry at
North Brunswick High School.
?Acccptcd the retirement of Norma
Deal of Mars Hill, West Brunswick
High School science teacher, and
?Accepted the resignations of
Sherryl Johnson of Wilmington,
child nutrition director; Ann Bes
sent of North Myrtle Beach, S.C.,
guidance counselor at Waccamaw
Elementary; Katherine Peed of
Sunset Beach, eighth grade teacher
at Shallotte Middle; Kelley Vaughn
of Calabash, special education
teacher at South Brunswick Middle;
and Brenda Tagert of Wilmington,
spccch and language pathologist at
MAC Salutes Holden Beach's Nezu Treasure Island
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Pet Crematory Permit Likely To Face Appeal
BY TERRY POPE
Winnabow residents say they will continue to
fight a pet crematory proposed for their neigh
borhood, even if the state issues an air quality
control permit for the project.
As of Monday, the N.C. Division of
Environmental Management's Air Quality
Section had not made a final decision on
whether to issue Southeastern Pet Cremation a
permit to build an incinerator along Town Creek
Director George T. Everett is expected to
make a decision this week, said DEM
spokesman Jim Sheppard.
Roy Davis, who presided over DEM's public
hearing held in Bolivia in April, has recom
mended that the permit be issued.
If a permit is issued, Winnabow residents say
they will file an administrative appeal in Wake
County Superior Court.
Brunswick County Commissioners Monday
voted to send a resolution to DEM opposing the
location of the crematory. The board asked for a
public hearing. Held in April, it was attended by
about 75 people who complained that the incin
erator would damage the environment and sur
rounding property values.
Commissioners also sent a letter in April op
posing the permit.
Ron Currie, New Hanover County's animal
control director, plans to build the propane gas
fired incinerator that is capable of burning up to
75 pounds of pet carcasses an hour.
Such a project should be built on an industrial
lot, said District 4 Commissioner Frankie
Rabon. He said he's not opposed to the project
but doesn't want it located next door to homes
"This man's got us pretty upset," said resident
Steve Wall. "We're not against his industry. We
just feel it's in die wrong place."
Wall asked the county to take whatever avail
able steps it can to keep the incinerator from be
ing built. The county should also be concerned
about the company's plan to install a 3,000-gal
lon propane lank in a residential neighborhood.
"We're begging your help," said Wall. "We're
not through l ighting."
Zoning laws or an ordinance requiring that
earthen benns be built around the propane lank
are needed, he said.
The use of large propane tanks so close to
homes is something the county should examine,
said Commission Chairman Kelly Holdcn.
If Winnabow residents appeal the permit,
they must do so on their own, said County
Auorney David Clegg.
"Any appeal the county would file would be
dismissed on a lack of standing," said Clegg. "I
do believe the residents have standing."
The county has gone on record twice opposing
the project, he added.
If a permit is granted, it's imperative for the
residents to move swiftly with an appeal, Clegg
No new information surfaced from the April
public hearing that indicated the crematory
would violate state law. The conccrns expressed
at the hearing were primarily zoning issues, ac
cording to Davis.
Davis recommended that the permit be issued
but under the condition that the facility use be
restricted to the burning of cat and dog carcass
es, that quarterly operation reports be filed with
the Wilmington DEM ofTice and that a written
operations and maintenance manual be submit
ted to DEM prior to opening of the crematory.
Jury Rules Suspect Didn't
Enter Sunset Beach Homes
BY TKRRY POPE
One of three men charged with a
string of break-ins at Sunset Beach
in January faces a maximum of 10
years in prison, instead of 40 years
as prosecutors had hoped.
Bobby Lynn Walts, 23, of White
ville, was found guilty last week by
a Brunswick County Superior Court
jury on one count of breaking or en
tering. However, the jury ruled there
was no evidence that Watts had en
tered the homes during a rash of
break-ins on the island.
Sentencing has been continued
until a later court session.
Watts was charged Jan. 27 by
Sunset Beach police officers with
36 counts of second-degree burglary
and four counts of breaking and/or
entering ocear.iront homes on the
Two other defendants charged in
the break-ins did not face trial last
week. They are Albert Lee Soles,
36, and Roger Dale Godwin, 34,
both of Route 1 , Clarendon.
Both arc charged with 36 counts
of second-degree burglary and 16
counts of breaking and/or entering.
They may face trial at a Aug. 5 ses
sion of Superior Court.
District Attorney Rex Gore said
he picked the state's best case
against Watts for second-degree bur
glary and tried it before a jury,
which returned 24 minutes later with
a guilty verdict of breaking or enter
Watts cannot be tried on the re
maining charges, he added.
"We would have liked 10 have
gotten second-degree burglary,"
Each count of second-degree bur
glary carries a maximum sentence
of 40 years in prison, he added.
Evidence must show that someone
broke into and entered an unoccu
pied home at night to justify sec
ond-degree burglary charges.
"Apparently, they were not satis
fied that anyone had entered (the
homes)," said Gore. "The jury
reached its decision. Usually, jurors
reach right decisions."
Watts and the other suspects were
arrested by Sunset Beach Police Of
ficer Lisa Moagland alter she spot
ted a vehicle with an unfamiliar li
cense lag near a vacant home. Thir
teen homes on the island had been
broken into the previous night.
The men arc accused of breaking
into homes along East Main Street
by breaking off locks from doors on
the occanfront side so they would
not be seen.
Goods taker, from the collages
were piled behind a single house and
ihen picked up. Items allegedly
seized on the beach and at the sus
pects' homes in Columbus County
ranged from electronic equipment.
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such as microwaves and televisions,
to liquor and a cast iron Dutch oven.
"We presented our best case,"
said Gore. "We had officers that did
a good job of testifying."
Gore said he must pick the best
cases against the remaining suspects
and try those during a later session.
He did not know for ccrtain if the
cases will be docketed for the Aug.
5 session of Superior Court.
In another Superior Court case last
week. Judge B. Craig Ellis granted a
mistrial in the ease against James
Henry Fierce, of Route 1 , Lcland.
A key witness for the defense had
to undergo emergency surgery, ac
cording to courtroom clerk Lisa
Pierce is charged with first-de
gree sexual offense and taking inde
cent liberties with children.
A jury was selected last Wednes
day and the state began presenting
evidence. The mistrial was declared
The case will be rescheduled for
a later court session.
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