V ?40 ejri. Dedication... I A new ferry is named after the last governor from Brunswick (County. Page 7-A Thirtieth j^^or, Number 35 //?. ? Lm: Supplement Included in this Issue. 12/31/99 WO HOAG & SONS BOOK BINDERY P.O. BOX 162 SPRINGPORT MI 49284 C 1992 TMf B?oS5W C< 81 AC ON Shqllotte, North Corol Happy 4th! See Page 4-B for a calendar of N.C. Fourth of July Festival events. Scions Including, Supplement, 5 InseVts Dredging Money Is Short BY DOUG RUTTER Holden Bcach Harbor property owners will have to reach deeper in u> uicii pockcis 1 1 they're interested in having their canals dredged this fall. They only have three more weeks to come up with about 573,000 in voluntary payments for the work. Charlie Pahl, who represents Holden Beach Harbor on the town's canal dredging committee, said lot owners had paid 527,000 as of last week. Town commissioners had agreed to help coordinate the dredging, but asked property owners to pay at least two-thirds of the projcct cost in advance. They set a July 22 deadline for the lot owners to come up with 5100,000 of the 5150,000 projected cost Town officials haven't decided what they'll do it property owners don't come up with enough money by the deadline. Plans call for the dredging of all nine finger canals and the feeder and entrance canals in Holden Bcach Harbor. At its meeting last Wednesday, the town board passed a resolution setting forth plans to assess lot own ers for 100 percent of the project cost A public hewing on the prelimi nary assessment resolution is sched uled for Wednesday, July 22, at 7 p.m. in the town hall. Pahl said last week he was still negotiating with the Corps of Engineers to get the permit needed for dredging. Meanwhile, commissioners have started talking about plans to dredge the entrance canal in Heritage Harbor subdivision. "We're anxious to be in a position to get our dredging done this fall," said Heritage Harbor Property Owners Association Chairman John Broadnax. Town Manager Gary Parker and Broadnax are working on a schedule for voluntary payments from lot owners. Broadnax expects the small-scale dredging project to cost about 518,000. He has a dredging permit and said the 30 lots in the neighbor hood that don't front on a canal will not have to help pay for the project. Ted Rivenbark said the entrance channel in Harbor Acres probably won't need dredging until next win ter or the fall of 1994. Ordinance Tabled Conccms about the number of af fected properties prompted the town (See DREDGING, Page 2-A) STAfF PHOTO BY DOUG RUVTCft Surf's Up! Brett Fulford of H olden Beach catches a wave near H olden Beach Fishing Pier last Friday evening. Strong winds out of the south made conditions just right for surfers. Interest In Incorporating s Seaside Picking Up Steam BY SUSAN USHER A group of residents interested in preserving Seaside's identity as one of the area's oldest communi ties are seeking support for its incorporation as a town. A meeting will be held today (Thursday) at 7:30 p.m. in the Coastal Auction building on N.C. 179 that formerly housed Island Supply. Joe Huber, a member of the steering committee lead ing the effort, said Seaside is the oldest community in the area. Like V amain town, he said, it has a history and unique identity that warrant preserving through incorpo ration. "We don't want to lose that identity," he sa'd. Seaside is a small community along N.C. 179 that now has as its neighbors two towns, Ocean Isle Beach and Sunset Beach. Once dominated The idea has gained support in the community since serious feelers were first extended in April, mainly by word of mouth. Huber said 29 people attended the first meeting on the issue while a second meeting last month drew 37, all supporters. Proposed boundaries closely foiiow ilic area tradx tionally known as Seaside. The line begins at Seaside Road, at the N.C. 179/N.C. 904 intersection, and follows the south side of Dale Drive east, doglegging north around natural boundaries, to Kennedy Drive, then south to the waterway and back to Seaside Road. "We want to keep the boundaries simple and within the old community known as Seaside," said Huber. Steering committee members are also proposing a different approach to self-government that would pro vided more citizen involvenent-a mayor-council with town meeting format. Major decisions, such as exten sion of a new service or adoption of a budget, would have to be voted on not by the council alone, but by vote of the town's registered voters. While non-resident property owners will not be eli gible to vote, they could submit items to the council and townspeople for consideration, he said, and could attend town meetings. The town meeting format is used with success in several mountain townj in North Carolina, he said, but "is unheard of down here." Steering committee members are working with a lo cal lawyer to prepare the required documents and have met with Rep. David Redwine to find out the procedures necessary io pursue incurpuraiion through the state leg islature. Among other things, Redwine requires commu nities to hold several public meetings and then a referen dum on incorporation. Huber said the group will have at least two more meetings after today'?, with Rep. Redwine present to an swer questions. Gary Hendrix is chairman of the steering committee. In addition to Huber and Hendrix, other members arc Buck Thorpe, Edna Ludlum, Barbara Perrone, Malcolm King and Jimmy Gore. If Seaside were to be incorporatcd-someiime in 1993 at the earliest-it would become Brunswick County's 18th municipality. VACATIONERS ESCAPE Condos Damaged, Cars Destroyed In Ocean Isle Fire BY MARJORIE MEGIVERN lommy Walker and his faiiiily iitni been vacationing at Myrtle Beach, S.C., for sever al years when they decided this summer to travel from their Albemarle home to try the "family atmosphere" of Ocean Isle Beach (OIB). Their week on the beach was scarcely un der way, however, when it was interrupted by fire. A blaze beginning about 3 a.m. Monday spread from parking spaccs under their Starboard by the Sea condominium, forcing them, along with 21 others, out into the night. Others evacuated from Building 21 includ ed 13 members of the Cozart family, haling froiTi Shcibv, Salisbury, 1 11 .v." ruini and Raleigh, and Mrs. Gerry Loflin's family of seven from Sherrill's Ford. Twenty-lour hours laier, these other vaca tioners had rented cars and returned home; only the Walkers remained for the week. Their group included a daughter and son-in law, and a 15-year-old daughter and her friend. Damages to four condos in Building 21 and complete destruction of two vans and one car amounted to an estimated $250,000 value, estimated OIB Volunteer Fire Chief Terry Barbcc. Because gypsum board was used in ine ceiling of the parking spate, ilic spicuu of names was slowed. "They went up through wiring chases and the common wall," Darbee said. This con fined damage to the effects of heal and smoke in two of the units, and flames around the sliding glass doors of the living rooms in units adjoining and above the fire were quick ly extinguished. Origin of the blaze had not yet been deter mined at press lime, but Bar bee said it started "in the area of the Aerostar van parked be neath the unit" Walker, a former volunteer fireman, said | he iimi smciicu iivA wires about an hour be- I fore he awoke and heard "hollering in die parking lot." "1 looked out my window and saw smoke from underneath us," he said, "and I woke everybody up. "My wife said, 'Let me get my pocket book,' but 1 said, 'To heck with your pocket book,' and we just got out and left everything in the condo." Sleepers in the other three units were aroused by a neighbor and all escaped without (See SHAKEN, Page 2-A) BY SUSAN USHER An incident Monday morning at the Sunset Beach Bridge has Brunswick County Emergency Management Coordinator Cecil Logan concerned because of a delay there that could have been avoided. The incident also raises questions about the procedures followed in determining wh n to open the bridge to waterway traffic. Sunset Beach firefighters had just returned from assisting at a fire at Ocean Isle Beach and were at the fire station putting away equipment when a call of their own came in. At a house on Sailfish Drive, a youngster had dropped a lighted smoke bomb from the porch of a cottage. It fell into pampas grass, which ignited, said Logan, whose son, Keith, is chief of the Sunset Beach VFD. Incident Raises Questions About Bridge Openings Firefighters head out immediately, but were Krr*?i(rK? tin rK/vrt of Cnncat Doorh DriHfTA UlUUgm up kNIUti Ut UIV UWI>^v? MVMWM Under a schedule jet by the N.C. Department of Transportation, the brid getender is to open the span to waterway traf fic only at the top of the hour, for commercial vessels as needed and in the event of emergen cies. However, when the Sunset Beach YFD members got to the bridge at a approximately 8:20 a.m., said Logan, it was open, and not for a commercial vessel, but for a large, pleasure type craft The firefighters had to wait seven minutes before they could cross to the island. Normally the VFD or any local rescue unit bound for the island notifies the bridge by ra dio, but in this case they had not, said Logan, because they expected the bridge to be open to u/?hl/,u1ir traffic ? ViMrviMia m umw ? "At the fire station we had a clear view of the waterway; we knew there was no commer cial traffic waiting at the bridge, just the plea sure boat. Not a shrimp boat or tug. We didn't see a need to call." "If it had not been for a volunteer firefighter on the island grabbing a water hose, " contin ued Logan, "we could have lost that house and possibly two or three more the way the wind was blowing." As it was, only the grass burned. No one from the state Department of Transportation's bridge division could be reached for comment, but the incident nu?y re late to a shortcut some boaters are taking to get the bridgetender to open the pontoon bridge between regularly scheduled hourly openings. When asked aboul the incident after a Sunset Beach Town Council meeting Monday night. Town Administrator Linda Fluegel sa:.d boaters have learned to identify themselves as commercial when approaching the bridge. "All they have to say is, 'We sell from our boat,' she said, "and they open the bridge just like that." While favoring construction of a high-rise bridge to the island for improved emergency response, Logan wants the existing system to work in the meantime, with all parties follow ing the procedures established. For his part, he plans to call the bridge ahead next lime, whether the need is apparent or not Illegal Dumpers Force County Crackdown BY ERIC CARLSON Hew would you like to come to work in the morning and find a large pile of stinking garbage blocking the front door of your office? That's what James "Bunt" Simmons puts up with almost every day when he arrives at his job as manager of the Oxpen waste dispos al and recycling site off N.C. 130 between Shallotte and Holden Beach. "This is how it looks every morn ing," Simmons said last Thursday as he waited for a truck and loader to remove a half-ton of bagged garbage piled just outside the chain-link fence gate. Simmons works for Waste Industries Inc., of Wilmington, which is under contract with Brunswick County to haul garbage and collcct recyclable items. The company operates three solid waste transfer stations and two "conve nience centers" like the one at Oxpen. When the convenience sites were operated by the county, they were unmanned and open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Because of stricter state and federal regulations on solid waste disposal, the county decided to contract with Waste Industries to manage the trash sites. But since the county couldn't af ford around-the-clock staffing, opening hours were established to regulate when residents could de posit their household trash and recy clables. Beginning in March the convenience sites were kept open until 7 p.m., seven days a week, with varying morning hours, for a total of 62.5 hours. That's when the trouble began, said County Engineer Robert Tucker. Many residents and visitors who use the dump sites ignored the opening hours and simply left their garbage outside the locked fence. Some went to even greater lengths to keep the sites open. "The first day we put up the gate someone tried to force it open with a vehicle," Tucker said. "When they fAimrl a??? if . : - - * ? (See TRASH, Page 2-A) OPERATING HOuas Tltf THUR 10:30 -7:00 FRl y0N T:30 -7:00 $AT r& ?7;0? SUNDAY 11:00 -7:00 *TAPF PHOTO ?r t*IC CARLSON SITE MANAGER James Simmons stands amid the piles of garbage illegally dumped outside the gate at the Oxpen solid waste conve nience site Thursday morning.