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PAGE 4-A, THURSDAY, JULY 18, 1991
Towns Find More Than One
Means To Support Tourism
Various community leaders throughout the South Bninswick
Islands have different ideas on the most appropriate ways for lo
cal beach tow ns to use their accommodations tax revenues.
The accommodations tax is a levy by the town of no more
than three percent of the gross receipts derived from the rental of
rooms or other lodgings by a hotel, motel, inn or rental house.
The money is to be spent only for "tourism-related expendi
tures," which are broadly defined.
Beach renourishment, sewer studies, promotional brochures,
signage of various types, as well as increased levels of police
protection and garbage pickup during the main tourist season are
just some of the ways the money is being spent by local commu
But some of the tourism advocates think a greater proportion
of the accommodations tax money should be used to help draw
tourists to the area, as opposed to enhancing the ability of towns
to provide for tourists once they arrive.
These parties appear to be miffed that one or more of th<*
towns aren't investing fully in cooperative tourism promotion
packages, such as those coordinated by the South Brunswick
Islands Chamber of Commerce and the Brunswick County
In effect, they think someone might be getting a cheaper
ride, if not a free ride, benefitting from promotional efforts with
out contributing their share of the cost.
Not too subtly, they've hinted at efforts to repeal or change
the law that allows levying of the tax and at possible lawsuits.
But they are fussing about the wrong thing.
While Holden Beach ? a town singled out recently at a
Sunset Beach Town Council meeting ? may not be the "team
player" fellow resort towns and some of its own leading busi
ness owners would like, the community appears to be spending
its accommodations tax revenues within both the bounds and the
spirit of the law.
Quoting that law. "the term 'tourism-related expenditures'
includes the following types of expenditures: criminal justice
system, fire protection, public facilities and utilities, health facil
ities, solid waste and sewage treatment, and the control and re
pair of water front erosion."
It continues: "These funds may not be used for services nor
mally provided by the town on behalf of its citizens unless (em
phasis added) these services promote tourism and enlarge its
economic benefits by enhancing the ability of the town to attract
and provide for tourists."
The law speaks for itself.
Advertising to attract tourists isn't the only way a town can
appropriately use its accommodations tax revenues.
Fact is, the law doesn't even mention it.
Enjoy The Ocean, But Play It Safe
How did you spend the Fourth of July?
Maybe you went to boutlport for the parade, festivities and fire
works. Or maybe you played it
cool, ate hot dogs and sipped
I happened to be relaxing on
the beach, just reading a book and
soaking up the sun, on the after
noon of the Fourth. It was a holi
day for me, too.
I went into the ocean for a
quick dip. I wasn't really swim
ming. I was more or less jumping
in the waves, struggling to keep my balance. I was only in the water a
few minutes and decided I had better get out.
I had just gotten comfortable on my blanket ? the lumps of sand
were just right ? when two rescue squad members trotted by with radios
in hand. 1 knew something was up, and that my holiday was about to
Reluctantly, I followed them down the beach. I walked west and
soon found a crowd of people gathered with binoculars to their eyes.
Cecil Logan was in his truck. A visitor on a Jet Ski wa:; searching in the
Everyone was looking for a young boy who had disappeared about
two hours earlier. He was on a raft, playing with two other boys, when a
wave knocked them into the sea. Two of them came right back up, but
one never surfaced.
The body of the 12-year-old boy was pulled from the surf some 19
hours later, five miles down the beach.
Because of the drowning, Holdcn Beach officials plan to designate a
swimming area and hire lifeguards to protect it. A more complete water
saieiy program, with a water rescue unit, may be developed in the fu
It's a shame it takes the death of a young boy to raise our awareness
of the potential danger that exists in the ocean. For the most part, the
ocean is an inviting place that can turn ugly at times.
But nobody can blame the town or the fire and rescue volunteers for
this drowning. The simple fact is, no one should have been playing in
the ocean with the conditions as they were.
Cecil described the surf as "extremely terrible," and he's seen his
share of drownings. "It was not a day for anybody to be in the
ocean ? not just playing around," he said.
The Fourth of July drowning at Holden Beach served as an ominous
warning for coastal residents and visitors as the summer season heals
Perhaps it was Mother Nature's way of reminding us of her dark
side. That side of nature is easy to forget when all we look at are the
beautiful sea shells on the warm sand or a formation of pclicans flying
It was probably fitting that this drowning occurred on the biggest
day of the year for beach-lovers.
Hopefully, some lessons were learned from this tragedy. Maybe
some more people will use common sense the next time they go to the
Enjoy the occan, but play it safe.
Meeting The Challenges Of Water Safety
I learned to swim when I was 18,
because I had to.
Along with orientation material
from Chapel Hill came a note in the
middle of summer about the fresh
man swimming requirement. It
shocked the devil out of me.
1 had lived in Brunswick County
my entire life. Water, water every
where. I had made saltwater fishing
a hobby, but something had always
frightened me about slicking my
head under the water. You can't
breathe under there.
i He university s policy stated that
all freshmen were required to take a
swimming test, which consisted of
two laps around a pool and staying
afloat for the remainder of 10 min
utes. You could swim the entire 10
minutes if you wanted to.
There were no guidelines about
how you could swim or stay afloat.
You could swim on your belly, side,
back or dog paddle your way to suc
cess. Also, there was good news for
those who couldn't swim. The uni
versity offered beginner swimming
classes that could fulfill the fresh
I / ^ i
man physical education requirement
You have as many chances to pass
?h?? euiimminn lr?vl *?c von liVr* rit'hl
u,v * t? u,5? ?*? ;?M ????- ? "o?
up to your final senior semester. As
August grew near, I grew nervous
about my freshman year, but not be
cause of academics. 1 thought I'd be
the only fool in college that couldn't
swim. But I was wrong.
Looking back, I never questioned
what would happen if a person who
has a true phobia of the water re
fused to take the college's swim
ming test. Did they not get their de
gree? I dccidcd to lace my fear
1 chcsc to enroll in the beginner's
course anil to put all thoughts about
not passing the test out of my inind.
I challenged myself to do it. There
were eight of us that left North
Brunswick High School that year to
enroll at Chapel Hill. A couple of us
couldn't swim a lick.
At first, I was angry at the uni
versity for slicking its nose in my
business. Today, I look back and see
the wisdom behind it all. It's an op
portune time to make sure that stu
dents leave a college campus with a
little more than a piecc of paper that
indicates they have successfully
completed 120 hours of classroom
'Unit's not to say that if dumped
ink) the ocean miles offshore with
out a life jacket, that I'd be able to
save myself. But falling into a pool
or lake doesn't horrify me anymore.
I passed lite swimming tesi on
my back. 1 backstrokcd my way
around the pool for 10 minutes
while the instructor walked along
the edge of the pool with an alu
minum rod, ready to prod it into the
water to pull me out if I fell myself
When test lime came around,
there was snow on the ground. The
indoor pool was heated, but my
goose bumps didn't tare.
Ten of us had entered the class
with a fear of holding our heads un
der the water. We grew close to one
another that semester as we shared
those fears and worked to help one
another overcome an obstacle that
had haunted us all our lives. I'm
sure the confidence that we built in
that class carried over into many
other aspects of our lives.
I wish I hadn't waited so long to
finally learn how to swim, but I
needed that extra push, it seems.
Maybe it was intended to work out
this way. I had often hid my inability
to swim because I was embarrassed.
When you read the newspaper to
day, there is no shortage of news
that stresses the need lor water safe
ty and a respect of the water here in
coastal Brunswick County. Tell
your local town representatives and
emergency personnel that you sup
port their efforts to help save lives.
Summer Fun -for Crufftdceans
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Beoch Has No Handicapped Accessway Because It Doesn't Have To
To the editor
With great sadness I read about
Holdcn Beach's search for a place
to build one handicapped accessway
for residents and visitors. The town
council said that the state originally
"insisted" but withdrew the "re
quirement" after looking at the nar
rowness of one place. (A bridge
provides accessway for all across a
very narrow waterway, doesn't it?)
In spite of all the wordy searches,
there is one reason Holdcn Beach
doesn't have a handicapped access
way. It doesn't have to.
This narrow-mindedness was evi
dent more than a year and a half ago
when this same governing body was
asked to place a state-mandated re
cycling collection center on the is
land before the 1990 summer sea
Thus ensued a reaction of poorly
disguised gagging at the ugliness of
and a time-consuming "search" for
a hidden place for the trailer that
would have recyclable materials.
With no action taken, concerned cit
izens from both sides of the bridge
launched a successful volunteer ef
fort at a donated site off the island.
Today, there is a collection trailer
on ihe. island, hut there arc no signs
to indicate what or where it is.
Holden Beach town board ignored
and actively resisted such a display
of concern for our shared environ
ment until recently. You see, until
recently, it didn't have to.
Accessways for handicapped res
idents and visitors and a recycling
collection center are but two very
different examples of provisions a
town board should initiate lor its
community. These types of deci
sions show awareness of personal
and global needs.
There arc many basic, decent de
cisions a board can make because it
"chooses" to do so-led by hearts
and conscicnccs and simple com
passion-nol because its members
are told they have to.
During this recent meeting, the
board asked ihc town manager lo
find out the cost of hiring an archi
icci to design a landscape plan for
Surely, this was a joke-sick, at
best-during the consideration of
such a serious matter as beach ac
cesses for handicapped. Pardon me,
commissioners and mayor, but 1
can't choke out even a chuckle.
Perhaps, sincc I'm on Holden
Beach's consecrated sand, I'll just
follow the lead and wait to laugh at
all your jokes-when I have to.
Carole D. Rogers
To the editor:
From the land of darkness comes
news of 13 break-ins or larcenies
plus one ease ol' arson during the
month of June.
This information was not part of
the commissioners' minutes, but is
carried as a separate report and not
available to the newspapers.
We probably will never know if
security lights would have prevent
ed the current crime wave?
H. D. Pollard
W rite Us
The Beacon welcomes letters
to the editor. All letters must be
signed and include the writer's
address. Under no circum
stances will unsigned letters be
printed. Letters should be legi
ble. The Beacon reserves the
right to edit libelous comments.
Address letters to The Bruns
wick Beacon, P. O. Box 2558,
Shalloue. N. C. 28459.
Hyde Farmers Seek 'Sweet' Success
Watch out, southeast Georgia.
Move over. South Texas.
There's new competition in the
southern gourmet sweet onion mar
ket ? and it's from coastal North
For most of us, Hyde County is
better known as a waterfowl hunt
ing destination on Pamlico Sound
than as farming country. But it docs
have farmers, farmers who have tra
ditionally depended upon com and
soybeans for their livelihood. But as
grain market conditions continued
their downturn, the farmers began
looking at other promising crops.
They wanted to diversify.
Voila, the sweet onion, by way of
the N.C. Cooperative Extension
In the South the phrase "sweet
onion" conjures up visions of Vidal
ias, the tasty sweet Granex-type
trademarked onion grown in 20
southeastern Georgia counties. So
sweet and mild it can be eaten raw
like an apple, the Vidalia pops up
baked, grilled, in casseroles, pics,
soups and relishes and stuffed with
other veggies for lunch. As one
Georgia grower's been quoted as
saying, "You don't cry until they're
It was back in 1930, in Toombs
County, Ga., that a farmer named
Moses Coleman decided to try
growing onions. The following
spring he received a sweet sur
prise ? onions that were mild, not
hot as he had anticipated.
When they began fetching a pre
mium price, other farmers lit the
area followed Coleman's suit, sell
ing iheir onions through the state
farmers* market at Vidalia for ship
ment across the Southeast. Now I'd
guess the Vidalia name is as well
known across the South as Chiquila
More recently. Southern Living
magazine reported a few issues
back, farmers along the Rio Grande
River in Texas have started coming
on strong with a sweet onion of
their own, the Texas 1015 Super
Sweet. They're working hard not
only to nibble away a share of the
sweet onion market, but also to re
fine the 1015 through breeding.
At N.C. State, an extension horti
culture specialist at N.C. State had
been researching onion cultivars,
too, trying to find out which ones
grow best in the far Heel slate.
Alter checking out more than 100
cultivars he found five that could
stand the winter and not bloom. He
came away convinced that North
Carolina funnel* ..ould make inoiny
in the onion market, particularly in
the high-end sweel onion market.
Five Hyde County farmers took
on the challenge, planting not the
typical five-acre demonstration plot
but 1 50 acres their first year ? fields
of Williametle Sweet, Sweet Winter
and the more pungent Buffalo.
After battling low soil pH, weeds
and disease, things still look good.
An ag agent in Hyde County.Mac
Gibbs, says he expects growers will
harvest 3(X) to 4(X) 50-pound bags
per acre, at a market price of $16 to
SIX per bag. "I think we may have
something here," he told a writer
with the N.C Department of Agri
Meanwhile, the llyde County
farmers arc taking business lessons
from their neighbors to the south.
They've formed a growers' associa
tion, lined up some brokers and de
signed their own trademark logo to
go on cartons and stickers.
The rest is up to us, so keep your
cyei peeled lot Mattainuskcct
Sweets. ITiey'rc looking g(x>d.