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Thirty-First Veor, Nurobe7l3 Shallow., Norm vordi^ 50* Per Copy H
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(and people who
wont to). Section D
is just for you!
Calendar of Events?J2B
Court Docket .IOC
STAFF PHOTO BY ERIC CARLSON
Song Fit For A Queen
iMrniece luineer McKoy of Winnabow sings her heart out to take the crown in the 1993 Miss
Brunswick County Scholarship Pageant. More pageant coverage is on Pages 2-1) and 4-H.
DIRECTIVE COULD MEAN JOB CUTS
Clegg Denies Hiring
Are Under Review'
BY ERIC CARLSON
Responding to complaints from
department heads who want to fill
job vacancies. County Manager Da
vid Clcgg said Monday that the
county could be facing "a massive
reduction in forcc" if he strictly ad
heres to a Board of Commissioners
directive to fill only essential posi
In fnc closing minutes of the its
Jan. 19 meeting, the commissioners
voted to approve Tom Rabon's re
quest that "all vacant employment
positions be reviewed by the county
manager prior to advertisement and
that the county manager refrain from
filling any non-essential positions."
Since then, Department of Social
Services Director Jamie Orrock
warned the DSS board that employ
ee morale and efficiency will be
compromised if he is not allowed to
fill vacancies he feels are essential.
Monday night. Health Director
Michael Rhodes told the county
health board that Clegg has institut
ed a "hiring freeze" and that his re
fusal to fill five vacancies and two
new job positions poses a "very seri
ous situation" in the health depart
Rhodes gave the board copies of a
memo he had sent to Clcgg describ
ing the essential nature of each un
filled position, including two nurses,
an environmental health specialist,
an animal control officer, a commu
nity health assistant, a social worker
and a soil scientist.
In an interview after the meeting,
Clcgg said there is no hiring freeze
in county government But, he said
hiring "will be in abeyance" until he
has complied with the commission
ers' order to determine whether each
vacant position is essential.
"If Mr. Rhodes thinks I have in
stituted a hiring freeze, then perhaps
I should delete these positions from
his budget," Clegg said. "Then he
won't be in a position to send me
any more memorandums bccausc
those positions will not exist. That is
a hiring freeze."
County Commissioners Chairman
Don Warren, also a member of the
health board, said his intent in vot
ing for Rabon's motion was not to
completely halt hiring.
"There is no freeze in county gov
ernment," Warren said. "Mr. Clegg
has been given the directive to hire
at his discretion and to fill positions
based on whether they arc essential.
If Mr. Rhodes has a problem, he
needs to talk to Mr. Clegg."
No one has been hired for a coun
ty job since the commissioners' di
rective, but not because the positions
have be determined to be non-essen
tial, Clegg said.
"I am intentionally not Tilling
them bccausc I have been assaulted
with claims that this county govern
ment is over-staffed, which in many
respects I find quite puzzling in the
light of the past two budgets, in
which we have reduced the number
employees by a significant number.
"At the same lime, we have had
two management studies show that
our departments are understaffed,"
Clegg said. "I find it easy for critics
to make blanket statements that gov
ernment is fat and inefficient when
independent third-party inquiries
make findings that arc inconsistent
with that belief."
Clegg said that since the commis
(See COUNTY, Page 2-A)
Task Group To Grapple With G
BY SUSAN USHEP may be rural in nature and a beautiful resort area, it "is
Superintendent of Schools Ralph Johnston moved not immune from the problems" experienced in school
swiftly Tuesday to address concerns regarding safely in districts elsewhere.
the Brunswick County Schools. Johnston is also talking with the Brunswick County
Early Tuesday he began putting together a "school Sheriff's Department about developing an in-service ed
safety task group" of 12 to 15 educators, law officers, ucation program for school system staff and faculty. In a
parents, court system representatives and others. Their related move, the school board will hold a workshop to
charge will be to examine ways to improve both school day (Thursday) from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the central of
safcty and communication with parents when incidents fice at Southport to consider changes in its weapons pol
or rumors of incidents occur. Johnston said he cxpccts to icy and student disciplinary code as it relates to posses
have group members selected and meeting by the end of sion and/or use of weapons.
the week. Options the group may explore ranges from The actions come on the heels of several incidents
an information "hotline" for concerned parents and oth- school officials say are unrelated. Early last week, two
ers to call to a Crime Stoppers type of program. students at South Brunswick High School were suspend
"This is a fairly new concern for Brunswick County," cd for bringing pocket knives to school. Then, on
Johnston said, and it is one shared increasingly across Thursday, rumors that a fight was going to break out at
the state and country. His four months here have been a either the high school or adjacent middle school began
learning experience, he said, noting that while the area circulating. By Friday afternoon, parents were taking
rowing School Safety Concerns
their children out of school, conccmcd for their safety, their child's attendance.
and additional sheriff's deputies had been called to the "Parents arc being critici/ed for taking their kids out
school as a preventive measure. of school, but under the circumstances what would you
On Monday, the extra officers were gone, but faculty do?" she asked. "The rumors are pretty scary and we
were briefed to remain alert to conditions and central of- have nothing but rumors to go on."
fice personnel visited both schools throughout the day. Metal detectors are being used at at least one county
Monday night, at a school board meeting at high school. North Brunswick, to screen for weapons.
Waccamaw School in Ash, parents Butch Lcclerc, Ruby However, parent Joe Bryant of Leland voiced concern
McDowell, Wendy Simon, Paula Almond and Tina Monday, not about the use of the deicctor, but the incon
Knox from the South attendance district voiced their sistent way it was used only to screen students who ar
conccms regarding safety, and said the troubles were rived at school by bus, not by private vehicle. He asked
not over. the board to develop an across-the-board policy parallel
"It's not a racial problem; it's a discipline problem to that in place at airports: screening of everyone?
and it's not over," said LcClcrc. teachers, staff, students, visitors?who enters a school.
"We're very aware this is not over." responded Weapons At School
Chairman Donna Baxter. Johnston said the board's current weapons policy
Knox said parents need more reliable information calls for a minimum 10-day suspension if a student is
than rumor on which to base their decisions regarding (See SCHOOLS, Page 2-A)
BY ERIC CARLSON
Armed wilh a court order declaring it a public nui
sance, Brunswick County Sheriffs deputies Friday pad
locked ihe door of Freeman's Place, a popular Shallotte
nightclub and ihe site of numerous shootings, fights, as
saults on police, illegal drug activities and liquor viola
After reviewing a nine-page complaint that docu
ments nearly four years of escalating lawlessness at
Freeman's, Superior Court Judge William C. Gore is
sued a temporary restraining order Friday closing the
club until a hearing can be held to decide whether it
should be closed indefinitely.
Two assistant district attorneys, several sheriffs
deputies, narcotics dclcctives, the county ABC officer
and a state Alcohol Law Enforcement officer converged
on the Mulberry Street club at around 4 p.m. Friday.
A few minutes later, a car with a front license plate
reading "Freeman's" pulled into the dirt parking lot. As
he got out of the car, co-owner and manager Freeman
Hank ins was handed a copy of the court order and a
thick stack of past felony indictments, ABC citations, ar
rest warrants and records of seizures documenting the
club's infamous history.
The judges order states that the violations "constitute
a nuisance" and that allowing the club to continue oper
ating would present "immediate and present danger of
serious and immediate injury to the State of North
Carolina and the citizens and residents living in and near
Although he was not charged with any criminal viola
tions Friday, Hankins was named in the complaint along
with Van Andrew Cobb and Lasallc Hankins Jr. as own
ers of the one-story wooden building and surrounding
"This is not an action against Mr. Hankins, it is an ac
tion against the property to abate a nuisance," said
Assistant DA Lee Bollinger, who brought the complaint
before Judge Gore in Whitcvillc.
Hankins said little as he unlocked the door and al
FREEMAN'S CALLED 'A NUISANCE'
Closing Of Notorious Shallot
Pi > - . L :i Vi ;
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STAfF PHOTO BY ?IC CARLSON
FREEMAN HAN KINS sits at the bar of his Shallotte nightclub Friday and examines the court docu
ments ordering that the establishment be closed as a "public nuisance."
lowed deputies inside to take inventory of club property. Most officers could remember nights when more than
which included rented pool tables and video games, re- 1 ,(XX) people filled the building and spilled over into the
frigerator units, furniture, musical equipment, food and parking lot and the street. One detective pointed to the
soft drinks. No drugs or alcohol were found during the spot where he was pelted with rocks and bottles while
search. trying to make an arrest. Another recalled being cor
As the deputies worked, Hankins sat at the bar and nered by an angry crowd and having to call for back-up.
poured over the court documents. Meanwhile, detectives "People used to come here from as far away as South
swapped stories of past investigations, late-night calls, Carolina and Wilmington," said Assistant DA Marion
arrests and violen' confrontations with the huge crowds Warren. "To look at, it's actually a pretty nice place,
that frequently snowed up at Freeman's. Too bad they let things get out of hand."
te Night Spot
Situated at the end of Mulberry Street's pavement on
the edge of the Green Swamp, Freeman's remote loca
tion helped make it a popular party hang-out, where pa
trons paid a cover charge for access to live music, disc
jockeys, a dance hall, pool tables and other amusements.
Almost since the day it opened in 1988, there have
been problems at Freeman's, including drug arrests,
fights and shooting incidents. Residents along Mulberry
Street often complaincd about loud noise, cars parking
on their property and trash littering the road.
Freeman's has had several types of on-premises ABC
licenses under different names, said Brunswick ABC
Officer Mike Speck. All were subsequently revoked af
ter investigators discovered liquor violations at the club.
Last summer. Speck said the building was leased to
Cobb in an attempt to obtain an ABC permit, but the re
quest was denied after Speck filed an objection to state
Since then Freeman's has served only non-alcoholic
beverages. Speck said. To avoid health department
restaurant regulations, the club has offered free food to
all who pay the entrance fee.
In recent months. Speck has coordinated the effort to
document incidents at Freeman's that were used as evi
dence in filing the civil action to close the club. (Sec re
According the complaint, Hankins was convicted in
six of the 14 ABC violations that have occurred at the
club. In one case, Hankins was sentenced to 18 months
in prison, of which he served 14 days. Speck said.
Although Hankins himself has not been implicated in
any alleged drug activities, there have been five drug ar
rests at Freeman's.
There are 17 incidents of violence documented in the
complaint, including an Oct. 4, 1992 altercation in
which Hankins himself was shot in ihe arm.
Then on Dec. 26, a crowd estimated at more than
1,(XX) people was sent fleeing alter gunfire erupted out
side Freeman's. One shooting victim had to be taken
(See FREEMAN'S, Page 2-A)