Twenty-ninth Year, Number 50
..u, Thursday, October 17, 1991
50$ Per Copy
56 Pages, 4 Sections, 2 Inserts
Forced To Close
BY TF.RRY POPK
Brunswick County's eight recy
cling stations will close alter Nov.
1, leaving county officials scram
bling for ways to deal with the sur
George Bush's Recycling, of
Florence. S.C., notified the county
Friday that they can no longer af
ford to haul goods from the county.
"It came as quite a surprise to
us." said County Engineer Robert
Tucker. "On an interim basis, it ap
pears we'll be out of the recycling
Last fall, Bush had agreed to sup
ply trailers at eight locations,
manned mostly by volunteers, at
Boiling Spring Lakes, Calabash,
Holdcn Beach, Long Beach, Shal
lottc, Southport, Sunsei Beach and
Lcland. The county agreed to pay
Bush S2(X) per trailer each lime a
loaded one with recyclable goods
was hauled away.
The company cited the distance
for hauling and a "volatile price
market for buyers" as reasons for
pulling out of Brunswick County at
the end of this month, said Tucker.
Trailers hauled away after Oct.
31 will not be replaced with empty
ones until all sites arc closed. Bush
had agreed to work in Brunswick
County on a "handshake" agree
ment rather than by contract.
"We had tried to get into some
thing long haul," said County
Manager David Clegg. "It was his
(Bush) wishes to go into something
on a trailcr-by-trailer basis."
The county began contacting vol
unteer coordinators at each station
and towns Morvday to inform them
of ihe bad news. Officials will now
seek bids from private companies
capable of operating a countywidc
Last month, Brunswick County
Commissioners instructed Tucker to
seek bids from private companies
capable of taking over the county's
garbage collection. The board wants
to sec if it can save money by con
tracting the service out to private in
dustry rather than use its county
Invitations for bids, to be mailed
this week, will now include a pro
posal for recycling service, said
His goal is to have figures ready
for commissioners within 60 days.
It may be January before the
county can have another recycling
program in place. Tucker said, per
haps operating boxes from the
county's three solid waste transfer
"That right now is open," said
Tucker. "We're not sure at this
The county has envisioned a
long-term contract with private in
dustry. The same company would
probably want both garbage collec
tion and recycling for it to be cost
effective, said Clcgg.
"It would not be cost effective to
have two vendors fighting for the
services," said Clegg.
He said Bush's decision to pull
out of Brunswick County may indi
cate bad news for recycling pro
"There is no market for the
stuff," said Clegg. "That seems to
be an emerging problem across the
Tucker said he feels certain that
the county's recycling program will
make use of the transfer stations
and convenience stations set for
construction on N.C. 904 at Seaside
and N.C. 21 1 near Supply.
"We're just reacting to the flow
of events," added Clcgg. "We only
found out about it Friday."
The sanitation company that
serves five South Brunswick Island
towns has offered to set up recy
cling centers in each community or
to provide a curbsidc service as an
Chambers of South Carolina,
which picks up garbage in Cal
abash, Sunset Beach, Ocean Isle
Beach, Shallottc and Holdcn Beach,
(See CHAMBERS, PAGE 2-A)
STAFF PHOTO BY DOUG RUTTfcR
THICK SMOKE RISES from the former V-C Chemicals plant in Navassa Monday. Firefighters from 14 departments were called to help
control the blaze.
CAUSE UNDER INVESTIGATION
Firefighters Battle Navassa Plant Blaze
HY DOUG RUTTKR
Efforts to contain u massive lire
that started Monday at an aban
doned fertilizer plant in Navassa
continued into the night Tuesday,
with authorities still unsure how the
Brunswick County Fire Marshal
Cecil Logan said the fire at the for
mer V-C Chemicals plant was under
control Tuesday morning, but he ex
pected the huge wood-frame struc
ture to continue burning at least two
"It's just smoldering around,
moving from place to place," Logan
said Tuesday afternoon. "We keep
having hot spots Hare up here and
there and we keep putting them
The blaze at the 225,000-squarc
loot building on the Brunswick
River was reported around 9:20
a.m. Monday, said Navassa Fire
Chief Bcrnic Carlisle.
Logan said a small amount of fer
tilizer and some equipment were the
only things inside the plant, which
hasn't been in operation since 1985.
"The building itself was pretty well
empty," he said.
Since the 122-year-old building
was vacant, officials decided to let
it burn instead of risking injury to
Chief Carlisle said firemen
stayed outside so they would be
protected from the fumes of burning
fertilizer and so they wouldn't get
caught inside the collapsing build
"There's nothing that hazardous
in there thai we know of," Carlisle
said. "There's no use risking lives
on something like this when the
building's no good anyway."
Logan also said there was no way
to slop the dry wood beams from
burning. "The only thing we can do
is keep it cool and try to contain it,"
The cause of the fiic was still un
der investigauon Tuesday, but
Logan said he didn't think it was ar
Because the structure was still
burning, Logan said he didn't have
an estimate on how much property
damage had occurred. The building,
which was nearly the size of three
football fields, was constructed in
Chief Carlisle said the gate in
front of Ihc old plant was locked
when Navassa VFD arrived at the
sccnc. He immediately called other
fire departments for assistance.
Logan said 91 firefighters and 13
rescue personnel responded to the
bla/e ? one of the largest fires in
Brunswick County in recent years.
About 10 fire departments from
across the couiu> provided man
power and equipment, including
two trucks equipped with ladders
that were used to knock down the
fire from above.
Brunswick County E.M.S. and
rescue squads from Lcland and
Town Creek stood by. and several
fire departments from Columbus
and New Hanover counties assisted.
Fifteen firefighters from three de
(See FIRKFKJHTF.RS, 2-A)
STAFF PHOTO BY DOUG RUTTER
A PAIR OF FISHERMEN head out Lockwood Folly River at sunrise Tuesday as oyster season opens in North Carolina.
Tide Spoils Oyster Season Opener
BY DOU(J RUTTKR
A low tide thai never got low enough for
good harvesting threw a wrench in the opening
day of oyster season Tuesday in Brunswick
But local fishermen didn't let an uncoopera
tive tide put a damper on their cxcitemeni or
keep them from gathering the first oysters of
"It looks like just a normal opening day to
me," said Carson Vamam of Varnamtown.
"Everybody got them a mess of oysters to cat
and a few extra bushels and went home."
Shcllfishermen awoke early Tuesday to wel
come the new season, which started at sunrise
around 7 a.m. The low tide also coincided with
sunrise, making opening day an early one for
Vamam, who runs an oyster house on the
Lockwood Folly River, said the tide didn't get
low enough Tuesday morning for a good open
ing day harvest.
The water stayed too high to expose some of
the best oyster flats. Varnam said poor low tides
are common this time of year bccause of caster
"As long as thai wind's out of the cast,
you're just not going to make a good low wa
ter," said Toni Chadwick of Chadwick Seafood
at Shell Point.
She said westerly winds arc better for oyster
ing because the water level drops more in the
local crccks and rivers.
Ms. Chadwick said there were a lot of fisher
men in Shalloltc River at sunrise when the sea
son officially opened.
"Here, on the binding there was probably a
dozen wailing for sunrise," she said. "They
were ready for it to open."
Ms. Chadwick said she wasn't disappointed
in the oysters. "For the first of the season they
looked pretty fair. 1 believe they're a little bel
ter than they were last year. It looked like they
Even with the poor low tide, Vamam said
opening day was pretty much business as usual
for most fishermen.
"Everybody gets really cxcitcd about that
first mess of oysters," he said. "The potential
Brunswick County commercial fishermen
arc trying to rebound from slim pickings in
1990, when they harvested only 37,633 pounds
Pollution, overharvesting and oyster-killing
parasites have been blamed for the poor har
vests in recent years.
For the second straight season, commercial
fishermen arc being limited to seven bushels
per person and 14 bushels per boat each day
during the week and stricter limits on week
Despite recent problems in the oyster fishery,
Ms. Chadwick is optimistic about the season,
which will probably end sometime in March.
"I believe the season's going to be a little bit
better than it was last year," she said Tuesday.
"They look better than last year."
Ms. Chadwick said the harvest of oysters,
clams, shrimp and other seafood would im
prove in Shallottc River if Shallotte Inlet was
"It's filled in, and they just won't dredge it,"
she said. "The food can't get in here for the
seafood to eat."
Two BEMC Directors
BY SUSAN USHKR
Co-op members, disgruntled over
a reiircmeni plan for management
begun in 1986, replaced two direc
tors and came close to booting out a
third at the Brunswick Electric
Membership Corp. annual meeting
in Whitcvilic Saturday.
Smith's Warehouse bustled with
politicking among the crowd of
more than 1,000 people, including
971 registered members, more than
the 730 needed to conduct business.
Four seals on the 12-member
board were up for election Saturday,
two each from Columbus County
and Brunswick County, with all in
cumbents proposed by the nominat
ing committee for re-election.
Dissatisfaction with the co-op's
retirement plan for director; and top
management emerged as a key issue
among Columbus County members,
who turned out in large numbers to
vote at Saturday's meeting. Critics
said ihe co-op directors should use
the money tied up in the retirement
plan to instead improve benefits for
its rank and file workers or to help
pay utility bills for elderly cus
tomers on small incomes.
"They just want everybody to
gel a fair shake," said Debra Gore
of Whitcvilic. "The directors
shouldn't be getting retirement ben
efits that arc better than those of
New directors will be seated in
January and will serve three-year
terms on ihe board of the electrical
cooperative, which serves cus
tomers in Brunswick and Columbus
counlics and small portions of
Bladen and Robeson counties.
Wriic-in candidate Leroy
Williamson of Chadboum will re
place Beasley Stnckland of District
1 1 on a 378-372 vote.
Calvin Duncan of Western Prong,
who was nominated by petition for
the District 10 seat, defeated incum
bent Bobby Jordan 443-333.
A second write-in candidate,
Edward (Eddie) Gore Jr. of Sunset
Beach, lost to incumbent Bryan K
Smith of Longwood in the District
1 1 race, 396-374.
Hubert Brittain of Bolivia was
unopposed in his bid for re-elcclion
to the District 7 seat. He received
Smith said Saturday that Bruns
wick County co-op members didn't
turn out in large numbers for the
meeting. And he said he had not
known until a few days before the
meeting that the compensation plan
had become an issue in the elec
(See CO-OP, PAGE 2-A)
"I'm not saying that it is a bad business
decision. ..but that it is a morally bad
issue" ? William David Gore