Edward M. Sweatt and Carolyn H. Sweatt Publishers
Edward M. Sweatt Editor
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Eric Carlson Staff Writer
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and Linda Cheers Adwrttslng Representatives
Dorothy Brennan and Brenda Clemmons Moore ..Graphic Artists
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PAGE 4 -A, THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 2, 1993
Early Prison Release
Prison Cap Must Go
It shouldn't have taken the death of a sports star's father to
draw mass attention to North Carolina's ailing criminal justice
system. But it has.
One of the young men charged in the murder of James
Jordan ? 18-year-old Daniel Andre Green ? had been freed from
jail two months earlier, after having served only 30 percent of a
six-year sentence for assaulting someone with an ax.
Here in Brunswick County, young William Earl Hill ? sched
uled to be tried this month in the death of Ronald Everett
Evans ? had been free at the time of that killing last October for
six months. Hill had served only 50 days of a three-year sentence
for common law robbery.
It does nothing to jeopardize these two young defendants'
presumption of innocence for citizens to question why in the
world they were on the street and even in a position to be charged
in these crimes. But the answer isn't very satisfying.
According to figures compiled by two Charlotte Observer re
porters with N.C. Department of Correction statistics, criminals
in prison for manslaughter in 1992 served an average of 2.3 years
on an average sentence of 22.3 years ? 30 months for taking an
In 1982, those convicted of breaking and entering served an
average of 41 percent of their sentences; by 1992, the percentage
dropped to 20.
The average time served for larceny, forgery and drug deal
ing is less than a year in prison.
For taking indecent liberties with a child, the average time
served is 1.6 years. Perhaps just as shocking is the fact that the
average sentence for that crime was on!y 5.4 years.
In 1992, the state paroled 13,472 felons, including 88 mur
derers, 37 rapists and 171 people convicted of violent assaults
that resulted in injuries to others.
The state's prison population cap imposed by the N.C.
General Assembly in 1987 is largely to blame for all this revolv
ing-door justice. The legislators did that not out of any particular
affinity for bad guys, but because it faced a takeover of its penal
system by the federal government. Inmates were filing suit
against the state because of prison overcrowding. And they were
Let 'em have it! you say. But when the feds take over and
make things nice and comfy for the cons, the state still has to pay
the bill ? no doubt a much heftier tab than it would have run up
on its own.
Statistics like these, however, demonstrate that in the interest
of justice and public safety, it is time to drop the cap, face the
challengers and work for vindication through the courts.
And, if that isn't difficult enough, to turn around the violent
times in which we live.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
NAFTA Would Keep Industry
From Coming To Brunswick
To the editor:
The lead article in the Aug. 12
edition, just received here, by Eric
Carlson, "Study Targets Eight Best
Industries for Brunswick County,"
together with the disclaimer of "edu
cation skills criticized" was not alto
gether encouraging. Yet it even may
become a far-worsening dilemma
for the American labor force and
those of Brunswick County.
The county's "location, climate,
lifestyle and wage scale," as quot
ed," are truly positive and shall re
main and probably increase as such.
But the quote that "too many people
(are) on unemployment and social
services, and that employers cannot
get them to work" is a tragic nega
tive. It has been fostered upon a
largely increasing body of poor
folks, to their actual detriment, by
30 to 40 years of socialistic liberal
ism while forgetting and disallowing
the intense work ethic that built this
country for 200 years.
Having made those observations,
we suggest to Tom Monks of the
Brunswick County Economic Dev
elopment Commission, and the en
suing Harper Study, that they recog
nize the real villain, not fully report
ed by the major media, the villain
North American Free Trade
Agreement (NAFTA). If passed by
the Congress, NAFTA will preclude
any industry from locating in Bruns
wick County when they can easily
otherwise employ labor at 58 cents
an hour in Mexico as a minimum
Please ask those in the county
who shall be willing to work for 58
cents per hour when your article has
already stated that " employers can
not get them to work" at the 750
percent higher U.S. minimum wage
(and now our esteemed Robert
Reisch is suggesting a 25-cent in
crease ? utter folly).
So many blue-ribbon companies
have already closed plants in the
U.S. and have relocated to Mexico,
hiring replacement Mexican work
ers, with the loss of some 600,000
U.S. workers' jobs thus far. Those
are the larger companies who can af
ford the move to relocate ? General
Electric, AT&T, General Motors,
etc. Yet NAFTA will allow, with tax
credits, to favorably cross the border
easily as well for much smaller com
Industry attracted to Brunswick
County? It shall only be a longing
and lost dream unless we all demand
the defeat of the NAFTA treaty in
Congress. The citizens of this once
great country may awaken too late
to save us.
Jack G. Fontaine
(More Letters, Following Page)
The Beacon welcomes letters
to the editor. All letters must
include the writer's address and
telephone number.Under no
circumstances will unsigned or
anonymous letters be printed.
Letters must be legible. We
reserve the right to edit libelous
comments and to shorten letters.
Address letters to The Brunswick
Beacon, P. O. Box 2558, Shal
lotte, N. C. 28459.
Home, Sweet Home Gone. But Not Forgotten
A Presbyterian church? In Shal
lotte, before the turn of the century?
I never knew it existed until my
grandmother, Minnie Holden Clem
mons, casually mentioned Sweet
Home in the course of a conversa
Grandmother was reared in the
Shaliotte area, the daughter of Eu
dorus Holden, a farmer and trades
man. She was a Baptist, brought up
in the fellowship of Shaliotte First
Church. She used to attend Sunday
School on the grounds of Camp
Methodist Church; that was where
many of her friends, such as the
Brooks and Mintz families, went to
church, and one of the few Sunday
1 had thought Shaliotte 's first and
only congregation of Presbyterians
was founded in the 1960s, in the for
mer Powell Funeral Home parlor,
relocating several times before set
tling into its new Main Street facili
However, the local Presbyterian
heritage actually dates back to Oc
tober 1896. according to Wilming
ton Presbytery records and contem
porary news articles.
Grandmother was the first to tell
me this, but not the only one. A
short while later, Lucille Blake of
Leland dropped by with a copy of an
old newspaper clipping about Sweet
Home, excited at her recent discov
ery. She has brought more data as
her research continues.
Marie Rourk Harrison knew
something about Sweet Home also,
referring me to her cousin, Harriett
Marlow M'X)re of Charlotte and
Ocean Isle Beach. And at Camp
United Methodist Church one recent
Sunday I asked one of its most re
spected members, Frederick Mintz
Sr., about Sweet Home.
Sweet Home organized on Sat
urday night, Oct. 31, 1896, in a cere
mony held at the Alliance Hall in
Shallotte, where the congregation
held its early worship services. The
Commissioners from Wilmington
Presbytery were the Rev. B.E.
Wallace (who preached), the Rev.
John Wakefield, and laymen Jack
Johnson and John S. Henry. Dr. John
A. McNeill and John H. Mintz were
elected as elders of Sweet Home,
while Peter Rourk and Robert E.
Lewis weie elected deacons. The
four were ordained and installed on
Sunday, Nov. 1, 18%. About 15
members were admitted at the same
time, mainly by letter.
John H. Mintz was Frederick
Mintz's grandfather. John's sister
was Mary, wife of Peter Rourk, if
I've got all these people right.
John was apparently thrown out
(the formal wording is "dismissed
from the fellowship") of the Baptist
church because of his intemperance.
According to Mr. Mintz, his grand
father apparently liked his liquor a
tad too much for the taste of the tee
That didn't stop him from wanti
ng to worship, so like many before
and since. Mintz decided to start an
other congregation. He found a de
nomination that would tolerate his
So Sweet Home Presbyterian
Church was organized, and for some
years it prospered.
A November 1896 news article bv
correspondent "J.H.M." noted that
Mr. Leonard's public school had
closed the previous Friday, and that
he began a pay school on Monday. It
also noted: "Mr. Peter Rourk is
teaching the free school at Sweet
The same issue reported that 'Mr
Wakefield preached twice on Sun
day to large and respectable congre
gations. His sermons are very plain
In a Dec. 24, 1896, article the
Shallotte correspondent wrote, "The
Presbyterian church under the Rev.
John Wakefield is prospering. Mr
Wakefield comes from Virginia,
where he graduated in July last. He
is tall and about 32 yers of age. The
congregation contemplated erecting
a new church building where the
Alliance hall is in which they now
meet. They have purchased a new
organ, which is expected from
Wilmington by the first boat, in time
for next Sunday it is hoped."
The church eventually did build,
on property provided by Mintz on a
small rise overlooking the creek that
runs just west of the county pump
ing station near Shallotte Middle
School on Village Road. That would
put it near where the former Shal
lotte High School teacherage once
But over the years the church, as
Mr. Mintz recalled, "simply ran its
course." Sometime before 1943,
Sweet Home was no more. Mintz
recollected that the church had been
unused for some time when it was
sold for use by a black congregation
and moved to a site on Bridgers
That is supported by Presbytery
records of the report of the Com
mission on Sweet Home Church,
presented at a meeting held May 24,
1943, in Wilmington. Commission
members along with "Mr. Irwin
Rourk, a son of the Sweet Home
Church," had visited Shallotte, se
cured the "rather incomplete"
church session records, and visited
members and former members.
"So far as we could discover,
there are only seven living mem
bers, the Commission reported.
When contacted by letter, only one
replied, saying the party had already
joined another church on restate
Gone but not quite forgotten.
A trace of Sweet Home lives on
in the Charlotte home of Mary
Rourk's granddaughter, Harnett M.
Moore. She still has a lamp or
lantern that was her grandmother's
and was said to have come from the
church in Shallotte. It is brass and
was designed with a wick, glass
chimney and a harp that probably
held a glass globe that reflected light
downward. The lamp could have
been hung overhead to ease the
reading of hymnbooks and Bibles.
Off To The Vineyard ? Working-Class Style
Airborne cameras pan huge
oceanfront estates ? beautiful ram
bling cedar-shingled, multi-dor
mered "cottages" with guest houses
and gate houses, swimming pools
There's Carly Simon's place.
Over there, Spike Lee's, William
Styron's, Art Buchwald's. In the dis
tance is Hyannis Port. Down there is
It's Martha's Vineyard, the presi
dent's vacation spot where, if you
believe what the TV reporters tell
you, people are so accustomed to the
rich and famous that Jackie O can
do her own shopping at the A&P
without fear of being accosted by
paparazzi or autograph-hounds.
What a difference between those
scenes and my brief trip to The
Vineyard ? working-class style.
It was two summers ago at this
time, and I was a pinch-hitter travel
ing companion of Robi*, my sister's
Robin had scheduled a car trip
northeast to scout "gradual schools"
at which to continue her computer
studies. My sister Brenda had
bought a plane ticket from Asheville
to Providence, where she was to
meet Robin for a weekend at
Martha's Vineyard. All plans had
been made far in advance of the
late-August departure date.
In the meantime, Brenda was of
fered an all-expenses-paid corporate
junket to Monte Carlo. We were
talking dream-come-true. First class.
French Riviera. Absolutely free.
I got the non-cancellable plane
It was to be a quick trip. I landed
in Providence after 10 on Friday
night and met Robin at the airport.
She drove us to Fall River, Mass. I
was tired and there was no time to
explore this hometown of Lizzie
Borden, about whom I once read a
Next morning early, we motored
to New Bedford where we had to
run, bags in hand, to get in line be
hind a noisy, sweating mass of hu
manity to board a ferry to The
Vineyard. The boat held 500 bodies,
a hundred bikes and a thousand
Taking th- car over hadn't been
an option. Vehicles went on a differ
ent ferry, tickets for which been sold
out for months. We would soon dis
cover that the lack of wheels was
not altogether a hindrance.
Our nickel tour of The Vineyard
was under way. On the ferry ride,
we saw hundreds, maybe thousands,
of vintage wooden sailboats and mo
tor yachts of all ages and design, all
impeccably maintained. We passed a
spectacular house I recognized from
the opening scene of the movie "The
World According to Carp."
Our teeming mass of day-trippers
and ovemighters poured off the ferry
and onto dozens of Massachusetts
school buses to take us to our desti
nations on island. Ours was
Vineyard Haven, which the teenage
driver informed us was "kind of a
tourist trap," and not as classy as
Edgartown, where the celebs hung
out and the restaurants were really
We checked into a turn-of-the
century hotel and were assigned a
tiny, hot room on the third floor. We
walked around town all afternoon,
rented a couple of bikes and .ode
them to the nearest public beach
several miles away.
Later, we sat on the porch at the
inn and watched the fishermen and
day sailors come back into the mari
na across the street. We had din
ner ? lobster quesadillas at a Mex
ican restaurant down the street, the
only place we could find that didn't
have a waiting line. It was a great
It was back to the inn to rock on
the porch and watch traffic back up
into gridlock. We hadn't tuned into
any television or radio, but every
now and again would overhear some
other tourists saying something
about a storm. We didn't pay much
attention; we were leaving first thing
We were out of there 18 hours af
ter we arrived and back in New
Bedford for a leisurely Sunday in
historic New England. We went
through the Whaling Museum and
stopped into the Seamen's Bethel
described in Herman Melville's
1 was back on a plane in
Providence by early evening, arriv
ing back in Asheville just in time to
hear about Hurricane Bob, which
was bearing down on Cape Hatteras
and expected to whack New Eng
We hadn't seen any celebrities,
and the outing hadn't exactly been
luxurious. We'd escaped a hurricane
we hadn't even known about.
But it was a great reminder that
sometimes, when you need it, a
quick trip on the cheap is better than
no vacation at all.
We probably had at least as much
fun as the First Family. And it didn't
cost the taxpayers a dime.
? Noise proves nothing. Often a hen who has merely laid an egg
cackles as if she has laid an asteroid.
? Mark Twain
? The death of democracy is not likely to he an assassination
from ambush. It will he a slow extinction from apathy, indiffer
ence, and undernourishment.
? Robert Maynard Hutchins
? Nearly all men die of their remedies, and not of their illnesses.