The west Brunswick Trojans host
the North Myrtle Chiefs Friday
night. Kick off is 7:50. West,
North teams previewed. 8-12B
Supplement Included In this issue!
Will Fish Cooperate?
Good catches are predicted for
the Labor Day weekend. Read
the latest catch reports. 14-15B
Twenty-ninth Yeor, Number 43 ?=??.. mt.?^w,c*?.AcoN Shallotte, North Carolina, Thursdoy, August 29, 1991 5QC Per Copy 92 Pages, 4 Sections Including Supplement , 3 Inserts
nv ih>i<; ruttkr
Seven members of the Calabash
Planning Board resigned Tuesday
nighi, tiling a lack of support and
guidance from the town commis
sioners who appointed them.
Chairman Tom Brendgord, Vice
Chairman Pali Lcwcllyn and board
members Warren Pienack, Frank
Chancier, Bruce Bunt, Forrest King
and Jack Hannaway threw in the
towel at Tuesday's town meeting.
All seven signed their name to a
three-page letter of resignation that
was given to the board of commis
Planning board members wrote
that they haven't received the sup
port and guidance they need from
town commissioners to function
properly and there hasn't been jpen
communication between the two
They say certain at lions ol ihc
town commission in reccnt months
suggests a "wide gap" between ihc
planning board's sense ol duty and
the policies of the board of commis
"It is obvious that Council has lit
tle laith in us and, unfortunately, we
have little faith in Council," the let
Planning txiaui >iieiiiiH.-i.s wioic
liiat they haven't been receiving in
lormation on actions taken by the
town commissioners that affect
planning board studies.
As an example, the letter says
planning board members didn't
know about plans to hire an engi
neering firm to study wastewater
treatment needs until they saw it in
Planning board members also
complained about the lack of control
they have over the S13,5(X) planning
budget for this fiscal year. Planning
studies have to be approved by com
missioners in advance.
"It should be noted that unless
there is adequate financing on a
timely basis, planning becomes
wishful thinking by a' discussion
group," the letter stales.
Planning board members also
pointed out in the letter that they re
quested a joint meeting with com
missioners Aug. 19 lo discuss their
responsibilities and duties. But only
two commissioners attended the
meeting and another arrived shortly
before the meeting adjourned.
Attached to the resignation letter
was an article from the Aug. 22 is
sue ol The Brunswick Beacon. It
quoted Commissioner Stu Thorn
saying that the planning board has
refused to listen and has been doing
what it wants.
Planning board members denied
that allegation in their letter, saying
they haven't duplicated anything
(See PLANNERS, Page 2-A)
? Mi I -4 '^'a ' ?'?>>.?
STA** PHOTO BY DOUG RUTTt*
The trawler Capt. N.C. 11 cruises east on the Atlantic Intracoastal
Waterway one evening last week, perhaps after a long day of gath
Detectives Reel In Two
Area Break-In Suspects
BY TKRRY POI'K
Dctcciivcs went fishing Friday
and pulled in a big one.
Items taken from at least three
break-ins in the Calabash and Sun
set Beach area earner this month
were reeled in from the bottom of a
pond, said Brunswick County
Sheriff's Detective Billy Hughes.
Charges arc pending against two
juveniles in the case, he said.
Among the items caught was
Sunset Beach Police Officcr Anna
Redmond's service weapon taken in
an Aug. 17 break-in at her home at
Landing 11, Hughes said.
Ms. Redmond's home was bro
ken into when someone used an ice
scraper to force open a door. Deputy
Darryl Marlow reported.
Her 9mm loaded Berctta pistol,
handcuffs and jewelry, all valued at
over S12,(XX) were taken. The
weapon was valued at over SI, 000.
Detectives and Sunset Beach
Police Officcr Ed Rudloff used a
rod and reel with special hooks to
fish the bottom of a pond near
Sunset Beach Friday to haul in the
valuables. Sheriff's Detective Kevin
Holden received a tip that someone
had stashed the goods there, Hughes
'Hie value of the property, if all is
recovered, exceeds S20,(XX), Hughes
"It looks like we will get most of
it back," he added.
Detectives arc linking the juve
niles to two other area break-ins, a
mobile home in Shady Forest own
ed by Kenneth Jackson and a car in
Landing II owned by Jack Hayncs,
A radar detector was taken from
the Haynes vehicle, according to
Deputy Richard Long's report Two
of the break-ins occurred on Aug.
17 and another on Aug. 20, he said.
'There may be chargcs against
some adults, too," said Hughes.
It took detectives six hours to
drag the pond Friday afternoon.
When the loaded weapon was re
covered, the safety was off, he said.
'They're lucky someone didn't
get killed," Hughes said.
Detectives Gene Caison and Don
Stovall arc continuing the investiga
tion and may possibly link the juve
niles to several other break-ins in
the area, said Hughes.
The names of juvenile suspects
are not printed by The Brunswick
Beacon unless they are being tried
Shallotte Cop Suspended
Amid Criminal Allegation
by doik; rutter
Shalloiic Policc Officcr Kciih
Croom was suspended from the po
lice force last week following an al
legation that he allowed minors to
possess alcoholic beverages.
Police Chief Rodney Gausc said
he suspended Croom with pay last
Thursday as directed by the town
board of aldermen. It is the second
time Croom has been suspended
since the alleged incident occurred
in early June.
The police officer will remain
suspended until Wednesday, Sept. 4,
when he has the option of request
ing a hearing before the town board.
Croom. who has worked for the
policc department about nine
months, said this week he plans to
ask for a hearing. He referred other
questions to his lawyer, James
Payne said his client will request
an open hearing before the board,
but he wasn't sure Tuesday who
would make the decision about
whether the hearing is open or
The attorney declined to discuss
the allegation, but said he doesn't
think the town board will fire
Croom. "The circumstances sur
rounding this case certainly don't
call for the discharge of an employ
ee," Payne said.
A personnel record providing the
reason for Croom 's suspension says,
"j, Vv*r| ni'rrccd th;i! you com
mitted the criminal offense of con
tributing to the delinquency of a mi
Cause said no formal charges
have been filed against Croom in
connection with the alleged inci
dent. Contributing to the delinquen
cy of a minor is a misdemeanor
punishable by a Tine and up to two
years in prison,
" The circumstances surrounding this
case certainly don't call for the discharge
of an employee."
? James Payne, attorney
The policc chicf said he didn't
rccommcnd the suspension or any
other disciplinary action be taken
last week. He said the town board
ordered the suspension.
Shallotte Aldermen met last
Wednesday, but took no action in
open session relating to the suspen
sion. Mayor Sarah Tripp said there
was no action taken during an exec
The board went behind closed
doors for an hour to discuss "legal
matters" shortly after Alderman Paul
Wayne Reeves introduced a resolu
tion calling for Croom's firing.
Reeves withdrew the resolution
immediately alter the closed session
and said later that he and the other
town board members wanted to be
fair and give the officer an opportu
nity to request a hearing.
The resolution said Croom "did
willingly contribute to the delin
quency of minors by allowing them
to possess alcoholic beverages (that
of beer) from his private stock" dur
ing the first weekend in June.
According to the resolution,
Croom admitted in the police chief
that he committed the offense, and
Gause reported it io the town board
Gause refused to talk specifically
about the allegation, but said Croom
was suspended for four days imme
diately after the incident and or
dered to apologize to the family of
The chicf said the town board
agreed with ihe disciplin;iry action
thai was taken at that time. "As tar
as I was concerned, it was over
with," he said.
However, Reeves raised the issue
at last week's meeting. "1 did this
after a lot of long deliberation and
thought," he said as he handed
copics of the resolution to the
"My grandfather told me a long
time ago if it's right you do it, if it's
not you try to leave it alone and stay
away from it," he said. "It still don't
After the resolution was distribut
ed, Town Attorney Mark Lewis told
board members it would be "real
worthwhile" to talk about the matter
in executive session before taking
Lewis said the board could de
prive the officer of "due process" if
they adopted the resolution to fire
Prior to the closed session.
Alderman Wilton Harrelson made a
motion that the resolution not be
adopted because he didn't like the
way it was "sprung" on the board.
Reeves said the problem had ex
isted since June and indicated that
the resolution shouldn't have taken
any board members by surprise.
Alderman Jody Simmons made
the motion to meet with the police
chief in executive session to discuss
legal matters. He stated in his mo
tion that the resolution was not to be
STEPFATHER HELD LIABLE
Jury Awards Child Abuse Victim $275,000
BY TERRY POPE
As a child, Ronnie Alan Gross Jr. was the victim of
abuse in a case that shocked Brunswick County resi
Now 15 years later. Gross has won an unusual court
battle against the man held responsible for the
abuse ? his stepfather.
Gross was only six when Lee Maxwell Hcwett Jr.,
of Civietown, was convicted of maiming his two step
sons, resulting in two 10-year prison terms.
He had been scalded with hot water. His back, legs
and feel were badly burned. Gross said that he and a
younger brother were held down in a bathtub of scald
ing water by Hewett, who ignored their screams for
A Brunswick County Superior Court jury last week
awarded Gross S275,(XX) for personal injuries and se
vere emotional distress. They ruled that Hewett and
his mother, Charlotte Hewett, who was convicted in
March 1977 of having been an accessory after the fact
for failing to report the abuse to authorities, should
pay for damages.
The jury listened to two days of testimony as
lawyers for Gross outlined the abuse that they say
continued over a two-year period, from 1975 to 1976.
Court officials arc calling it a very unusual case.
"1 hope it would be an unusual circumstance for
any child to be abused and treated in this manner,"
said Henry Foy of Southport, Gross' attorney.
According to court records, Hewett was given two
10-year prison sentences for "disabling the limbs and
members" of Gross and his younger brother, who was
only four at the time of the arrest in December 1976.
A jury found that Hewett had actcd with the "intent
to maim and disfigure" his two stepsons by "scalding
and disfiguring the legs, feet and toes" with hot water,
court records from December 1978 stale.
Foy said Gross could not sue for damages until he
became of legal age, 18.
In January 1990, Gross filed suit in Brunswick
County Superior Court against Hewett and Hewctt's
parents, Charlotte and Lee Maxwell Hewett Sr.,
claiming he had been permanently injured and disfig
(See JURY, Page 2-A)
Road Standards Still A Snag In County Subdivision Rules
BV TERRY POPE
Should developers be required lo pave streets in new
County officials are having a difficult lime answering
It also appears to be the last snag in the adoption of a
new county subdivision ordinance, a document that will
include stricter rules for new developments outside of
The Brunswick County Planning Board met last
Wednesday to decide on specific standards for roads,
but after an hour of debate members postponed that de
cision until the next monthly meeting.
Brunswick County Commissioners are waiting for
the planning board's recommendation before adopting
the ordinance, one that will replace the present version
written in 1980. A public hearing and first reading have
already been held by commissioners.
"The thing that bothers me," said Michael Schaub,
planning board member, "is that we wrote in very ex
plicit recommendations for roads before. You would
have thought we were starting a fire."
Public outcry at the expense of paving roads made
the two boards think twice. Rural subdivisions do not
need paved roads, some developers argued, lor the cost
would price lots out of the market.
"We've pretty much taken it all away now," said
" The drainage is the main
problem we have in 90 per
cent of the subdivisions."
? Alfonza Roach,
Planning Board Member
Schaub. "I don't see there being a happy meeting
Last month, commissioners sent a final draft of the
ordinance back to the planning board for revision.
Commissioners were not happy thai specific standards
for drainage, grading, sub-base, base and paving of
roads were not included.
The planning board has narrowed its choice of what
should be required of developers who plat new subdivi
sion streets: either a suitable base of coquina, or both
coquinaand 1 1/2 inches of asphalt.
"It's a big thing we're taking on here," said Alfonza
Roach, planning board member. "I'm very cautious
about what I think we ought to require of our people."
Commissioners want to keep unscrupulous develop
ers from selling lots in subdivisions that have narrow
and poorly-maintained streets. Residents carry their
complaints to commissioners when roads arc a problem.
Roach said ihe key lo having well-maintained streets
lies in the drainage, not in the pavement. The subdivi
sion needs a drainage plan, he said.
"The road just will not keep itself up," said Roach.
"I'm in favor of not paving any of them, unless you
want to pave them. I'd rather see a road graded and
drained than all of the marl you could put on there. The
drainage is the main problem we have in 90 percent of
County Engineer Robert Tucker, who has worked in
the asphalt industry, agrees.
"The failure of asphalt doesn't come from a failure of
your asphalt," Tucker said. "It comes from a failure in
N.C. Department of Transportation standards require
at least 6 inches of stone or coquina beneath 1 1/2. inch
es of asphalt. New Hanover County's subdivision ordin
ance requires developers to place coquina on roads
there, but gives developers an option on paving, said
"I think we all want a good road and a road that's go
ing to last a long time," said Tucker, "a road that emer
gency vehicles can use."
Some present county subdivisions have divided
streets that also have long medians containing trees,
said John Harvey, Brunswick County planning director.
The aim is lo save the uccs, bui the design would vio
late DOT standards, he said.
"What they're (DOT) really looking for is a design
that will give all-weather access to emergency vehi
cles," said Harvey.
Planners had thought of requiring the developer to
pave a street once a certain number of lots were sold in
Provisions that require developers to guarantee main
tenance or improvements in the future also do not work,
said Tucker. The trick, he said, is to keep a carrot dan
gling before their eyes.
"Once you give them the final carrot," said Tucker,
"they're going to tell you to go blow it out your car."
Tucker was instructed by the planning board to de
velop two sets of standards for review at the September
meeting, one on requirements without paving and one
with paving of streets.
Also last Wednesday, the planning board voted unan
imously to remove a clause from the ordinance that
would give the county attorney permission to approve
parts of subdivisions for recordation before final im
provements are made by the developer. That request
came at the recommendation of County Attorney David
It is Clegg's opinion that such authority could not be
given to an individual or to a board.