THE ... /ICK#ftACON
Thirtieth Year, Number 8 Shallotte, North Carolina, Thursday, December 26, 1991 50c Per Copy 34 Pages, 3 Sections, 1 Insert
| NEW REST AREA OPENS FRIDAY
I DOT To Study Bypass Intersection
BY DOUC; RUTTKR
A design sludy is under way that will help stale
officials decide if an overpass is needed where the
U.S. 17 Shallollc bypass crosses N.C. 130 West.
The N.C. Department of Transportation's de
sign unit is conducting the study as a result of lo
cal response to a fatal wreck al the intersection,
said N.C. Board of Transportation Member
"They have responded to us in Raleigh," said
Mrs. Williams of Wilmington, who represents
Brunswick County on the slate board. "It's not just
talk. It is being done."
Shallotte businessman Steve Smith and West
Brunswick High School student Misty Carmichael
were killed in a Nov. 1 accident at the intersection.
A log truck traveling south on the bypass al
legedly failed to stop for a red light and struck the
Smith and Carmichael vehicles as they were
crossing the bypass on N.C. 130.
There were no serious injuries in a similar acci
dent al the site Dec. 9. Another log truck traveling
south on the bypass report ally ran a red light and
stnick the front end of a car headed east on N.C.
State Rep. David Red wine said safety at the in
tersection has become the biggest transportation -
related issue in Brunswick County.
"I think everyone has a concern about the inter
section," he said at a meeting last week with Mrs.
Williams and other state transportation officials.
"Since the unfortunate accident, there's been a
" They have responded to
us in Raleigh. It's not just
talk. It is being done. "
? Marilyn Williams
N.C. Board of Transportation
lot of conversation in the community about how to
improve the situation." Redwine said.
The design study will investigate the need, im
pact and benefits of an overpass and include cost
estimates for an overpass and land that would be
needed to build it, said Doug Bowers, division en
gineer with the N.C. DOT.
Once the preliminary study is completed, it will
be up to the board of transportation to determine if
an overpass should be built and how it should be
funded. Bowers estimated that an overpass would
cost at least S2 million.
Since the fatal accident, the stale has made sev
eral improvements at the site in ordei to improve
Flashing yellow lights and signs advising mo
torists to reduce their speed to 45 mph were in
stalled on the bypass north and south of the inter
Strobe lights were added to the traffic light sys
tem, and rumble strips were built on N.C. 130 on
both sides of the bypass.
"Our approach is going to be do whatever we
tan to make it as safe as we can," Bowers said
Bowers said design studies of highway intersec
tions aren't ux> common, especially intersections
that were built to modem standards and are less
than a year old. The bypass opened in May.
"I'm certain that it's been done before," he said.
"I think it's the exception rather than the rule."
An overpass at the site was discussed when the
bypass was being designed, but the state never in
cluded it in plans bccausc it would have been cost
ly and caused a delay in construction of the by
"The rest area really had no impact on the de
sign of that intersection," Bowers said. "The fact
that the rest area's there does not preclude an in
terchange from being there."
The new rest area just south of the intersection
is scheduled to open Friday. Public restrooms w ill
be open for motorists, but the visitors information
center w ill not open until mid- or late-January.
Bowers said the rest area on U.S. 17 near
Brunswick Community College at Supply will
close early next year. A maintenance contract for
the site expires Feb. 1 .
N.C. DOT Traffic Engineer Roger Hawkins
said people using the Shallottc bypass need to take
responsibility for their own safety and the safety
"With these rural intersections people expect to
roll through them," he said. "It dciics what we ex
pect normally. I think it goes right back to driver
STAFF PHOTO BV DORl C GUHGANUS
SIIO\VI\(i OFF SOME of the bounty, Chris Ward of Hill's
Seafood in Sunset Heach said that there are plenty of oysters to be
found this year. However, he says news of disease among North
Carolina shellfish is keeping some people from buying, though in
fections among oysters do not affect humans.
Local Oyster Harvest
Said 'Best In Years'
BY DORl C.GURGANUS
Though disease and overharvest
ing may be depleting die number of
harvcslable oysters in areas farther
up the coast, Brunswick County
shellfishcrmen are boasting of a bet
ter season in 1991 than they've ex
perienced in quite some time.
"We've got more than we can
handle," said Carson Varnam, a
long-ume oyster dealer near Lock
wood Folly. "We've got more live
oysters here than we know what to
"I'm having to put limits on my
men to how many bushels they
bring in each day." he continued. "I
think it's the best harvest in almost
William Hogarth, director of the
N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries in
Morehead City, concurred.
"Brunswick has indeed been do
ing better than other counties," he
said. "Up in Pamlico and around
there, they've got high infection
rates of MFX and Dermo, plus all
that mechanical dredging for the
oysters has left them in pretty bad
MFX and Dermo are parasitic dis
eases that affect oyster growth, but
do not harm humans.
In Brunswick County, shcllfishcr
mcn use primarily the hand-harvest
ing method, which Hogarth says
doesn't harm future oyster supplies.
However, mechanical dredging,
which is utilized around the Pamlico
River area, leaves oyster beds clean,
with no seed area to grow on the
(Set BEST, Page 2-A)
STATE HOUSE. SENATE RACES ON HOLD
Filing For Local Office Opens Jon . 6
BY TERRY POPE
Candidates who want to run for the state House
and Senate races must wait, but the Brunswick
County Board of Elections plans to open filing for
local offices on schedule ? Monday, Jan. 6, at
The U.S. Justice Department's rejection of a
state redisricting plan for congressional, state
House and Senate districts last week has thrown
the 1992 election proccss ?? tv.HT*oi'
State officials have instructed local Boards of
Elections to delay filing of House and Senate
hopefuls until new district lines arc approved,
said Lynda Brill, Brunswick County Board of
The General Assembly will convene Montlay,
Dec. 30, to begin work on resolving the dispute
and to get the spring election process underway.
"They will probably go right back to the draw
ing board," said Ms. Brill. "It's a possibility the
primary might be delayed."
The spring primary is scheduled for Tuesday,
May 5. Local filing closcs Monday, Feb. 3, at
Ms. Brill said on Friday that her office has not
been instructed to delay filing for local scats.
Locally, candidates can file for the Brunswick
County Board of Education and Brunswick
County Commissioner scats in Districts 1, 3 and
4, for the register of deeds and for county coroner.
Candidates for other state officcs must file with
the state elections board.
"Until we hear directly from the state telling us
otherwise, filing begins Jan. 6 at noon," she said.
Although filing lor stale officcs has been
pul on hold, candidates for local offices may
begin filing Jan. 6 at the Brunswick County
Board of Elections office.
Some dales in the primary schedule may
change later, depending on how slate officials
resolve a dispute over legislative and congres
sional district lines.
Mon., Jan 6 Candidate Filing
Opens At Noon
Mon., Feb. 3 Candidate Filing
Closes At Noon
Mon., March 1 6. ...Absentee Ballots Available
Mon., April 6 Voter Registration Closes
Tucs., April 7 One-Stop Absentee
Tucs., April 28 Lasi Day To Apply For
Fri., May 1 One-Slop Absentee Voting
Ends At 5 p.m.
Mon., May 4 Absentee Ballots Due At
Elections Office By 5 p.m.
Tues., May 5 Primary Election Day
Thure., May 7 Election Canvass Held
Tucs., June 2 Sccond Primary ? If Needed
A plan devised by the General Assembly this
summer was rejected by the Justice Department
last week, saying the new districts weaken minor
ity voting strength as protected in the 1965 Voting
Rights Act. New boundaries are drawn every 10
years to reflect population growth based on the
The state revised the 14th House District,
which now includes Brunswick and Columbus
counties, by expanding its territory and turning it
into a two-member district. Becausc of population
growth, the state had also added a 12th congres
sional district in the Piedmont and a majority
black district from Durham to Elizabeth City.
Brunswick County's local redisricting plan set
new boundaries for the county's five residential
d'strict^ tor hoivd of cdnca'ior and Vw^rd of com
missioners and was approved by a majority ol
voters in the November election. T7io.se district
lines, drafted by Brunswick County
Commissioners, affec t residency requirements for
candidates only. Voters county wide nominate and
elect candidates from all districts.
County Manager David Clegg said he doesn't
expect a challenge of the new county redistneting
plan. The county is not among the 40 counties
that fall under the special requirements of the
Voting Rights Act, as designated by the Justice
And, unlike in Columbus County, where a
judge recently ordered establishment of single
candidate districts, "Brunsw ick County has a long
history of electing both minorities and female
candidates to office," said Clegg.
The Justice Department indicated that the
state's plan for districts favored incumbents in of
fice while "refusing to accommodate the commu
Both state Republicans and the state chapter of
the American Civil Liberties Union had asked the
Justice Department to reject the plan.
THE YEAR IN REVicW !
1991: Tightening Belts, Doing What Had To Be Done
BY THE NEWS STAFF
Across Brunswick County, 1991 was the year to do
what had to be done, despite an uncertain economy.
While tightening day-to-day operations, county and
municipal leaders moved ahead in pursuit of the infras
j truciurc needed to accommodate both steadily growing
permanent and seasonal populations ? roads, water,
I sewer, schools and improved services. They laid the
groundwork lor some projects and completed others, in
? eluding some that had been deliberately put off or inad
1 vertently delayed for as much as several yean:.
} The state was busy along the same lines. Among the
major projects completed in 1991 was the U.S. 17
Shallottc bypass, a five-mile stretch of highway that had
been on the state Department of Transportation's draw
ing board in one form or another since the early 1960s.
"1 never thought I'd see it in my lifetime," Shallotte
Mayor Sarah Tripp said just days before the long-await
| ed highway opened on May 22.
The four-lane bypass, built to relieve traffic congcs
!j tion in downtown Shallotte, was a welcome sight to res
. idents who had battled bumper-to-bumper traffic for
However, the route hasn't been without its pitfalls.
The intersection at N.C. 130 near West Brunswick High
School was the site of at least two accidents, including a
double-fatality in November.
The deaths breathed new life into a community effort
to gel an overpass at the intersection, where a regional
welcome center is expected to open in January.
Suite transportation officials added safety measures
including rumble strips, strobe and flashing yellow
lights at the intersection following the fatal wreck. But
they've said an overpass would be too costly.
While the bypass was the talk of Shallotte, it was part
, of a larger effort, to complete the four-laning of U.S. 17
? across Brunswick County and improve the flow of both
^ recreational and commercial traffic. By year's end,
(j work was under way simultaneously on segments from
BtACON File PHOTO
OYSTER SEASON opened at sunrise Oct. 15 with fishermen hoping to recover from several years
of poor harvests; by mid-season they were reporting the most abundant harvest in recent fears un
like their peers further up the Tar Heel coast.
ihc South Carolina line to Bell Swamp.
Eventually a Northern Outer Loop around
Wilmington is to link Interstate 40 to U.S. 17 north of
Wmnabow, but at year's end the exact route had not
Meanwhile the South Brunswick Islands and
Southport-Oak Island Chambers of Commerce launched
an 1-40 Blitz across the stale to focus attention on easier
access to local bcaches.
But tourism wasn't the only economic interest of the
chamber this year, its focus broadened to include
greater emphasis on public education and economic de
Also, following the earlier example of the Southport
Oak Island community, the South Brunswick area
launched a Committee of 100 to develop a broader eco
nomic base, with ihc goal of seeking small- to mid-si/c
businesses compatible with tourism.
Several major county employers announced layoffs at
mid-year, including Pfizer Inc., following its purchase
and reorganization by the Archer-Midland- Daniels con- ]
The county's Resources Development Commission
saw mixed results in its economic development efforts,
with the shut-down of several relatively new enterprises
in the north end of the county and the start-up of others.
During the 1990-91 fiscal year the office announced jj
projects that would mean about MX) local jobs and capi- 1
tal representing increased tax base of about SI 5 million. I
A tight economy and the slate money crunch also put
a damper on county government.
Bui even during a light budget year, Brunswick "
County Commissioners kept major projects ? water ex- |j
pansion and 9 1 1 ? funded.
The Department of Social Services moved into a new i
SI. 3 million building while the Brunswick County Jail ?
was expanded. However, money woes diluted further s
growth at Bolivia's government center and made a Si. 8
million solid waste budget seem bleak.
State Rep. David Redwine warned of the largest bud
get deficit "since the Great Depression," but Chairman
Kelly Holden guided commissioners through a difficult
June, opting for major spending cuts to avoid a tax in
A 3-2 vote approved the county's S35 million budget.
"Unfortunately, I think the board's divided," noted |
District 3 Commissioner Gene Pinkerton. "We're not
having any dialogue."
Hiring David Clegg as county attorney and county
manager brought stability to county government. Clegg
had served 14 months as interim county manager and
was the unanimous choice to keep that title.
But the firing of several employees in June also an
(See PROPKRTY, Pa?e 10-A)