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26th annual Little River Blue Crab Festival a huge hit by Angela Barwick

May 22, 2007 - More than 35,000 people made their way to the Little River waterfront this weekend to enjoy the 26th annual Blue Crab Festival.

What started as a small local fest decades ago is now a major event for the area, drawing locals and visitors from all over the East Coast. The festival ran Saturday and Sunday and featured local food, arts and crafts, entertainment and fun. The event featured a 5K run, free throw basketball contests, a Harley poker run, helicopter rides, a special kid's area and a concurrent fishing tournament.

Daily entertainment added to the atmosphere as local bands thrilled visitors to the celebration. Bands setting up in the big tent to show their talent were Donny and Susan Trexler, the Hitchhikers, Sea Cruz, the Coastline Band, the Craig Woolard Band, the Shakers and eight year old singing phenom Gabbie Rae.

The crowds were so heavy both days that parking was at a premium. Residents of the waterfront area showed their entrepreneurial spirit, offering their lawns and properties as "paid" parking lots. Some of the more enterprising residents offered a golf cart ride to the front gate for those who parked in their lots. The festival also offered shuttle services from three locations in the area, with folks lining up to hitch a ride to the gates.

Traffic stretched for miles heading into the area, but moved along at a brisk pace with little or no hold ups.

With more than 175 vendors on hand, the event offered something for everyone. Local artisans displayed their wares, as food vendors vied for the hungry. The waterfront was redolent with the aromas of seafood, smoked turkey legs, roasted corn, pizza, gyros, kettle corn, barbecue and scores of other delicious offerings for any palate. The food row of the event was the most popular, as people wandered about enjoying the flavor of the area.

Chris Efaw of Chris' Pizza in Little River was one of the food vendors, enjoying his first year at the festival. Efaw said "This certainly won't be our last year to participate. This has been great exposure for our restaurant". Food demonstrations were also a part of the show, as a cooking demonstration took place non stop both days. Representatives of Silver Coast Winery were also on hand to offer adult festival-goers a wine tasting.

Debra Kordiac of the Winery was enthusiastic about the crowd, stating "this is just wonderful. Not only does this give us a chance to educate folks about wine, but we also have made some great contacts. This has been great for our business".

Local merchants would probably agree with that sentiment. Waterfront restaurants enjoyed lines waiting to get in both days, and increased business. Craig Hill, organizer of the Festival, was pleased with the turnout. Hill said, "This is the biggest crowd I have seen. I don't have totals yet, but we think we had 25,000-30,000 people on Saturday and about 15,000 to 20,000 on Sunday". "The weather has been perfect. Most of our vendors did very well. The restaurant and food vendors did fabulous. This event is definitely good for the Little River business community," added Hill.

Though he declined to estimate a dollar figure for the economic impact on the area, Hill did say that "this helps give our businesses a chance. Hotels and restaurants in the area, and along the waterfront, have been sold out this weekend". Hill was also quick to credit the more than 200 volunteers for making the festival a success.

Local philanthropic organizations were on hand to take advantage of the huge crowds to get their messages out. Involved in the festival were the North Strand Optimists Club, the Little River Fire Department, the Little River Rotary Club, the Lions Club of Little River and the Elks of Little River. The groups interacted with festival-goers and their net proceeds will be given to various charities in the area.

The mood was festive and attendees were smiling. The traffic and parking issues were worth the effort, as they crowded the food area and shopped in the arts and crafts section, enjoying perfect weather and listening to live music.

The Jones family has just moved to the area from New Jersey and was impressed by the festival. Dad Willy Jones said, "This is really nice. This is our first time, but we really like it". Folks traveled across the state to attend the event as well.

Casey Pyke of Columbia came to the area with friends for the weekend, and made sure the Blue Crab Festival was part of their itinerary. Pyke stated, "we came here last year and loved it. The food is really great and it just fun a lot of fun. We definitely will be back again next year". For more pictures of the festival click here!

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On the Passing of Lou Mauney - by Jim Hulen

When my wife came to me on Sunday and told me that Lou had lost his valiant battle with cancer, I felt a tremendous loss -¯ not only because he and I were friends but also because of the loss to the North Myrtle Beach community. There were, of course, the many volunteer activities and charities he and Betty supported and those will be missed by the community. Though those were tremendous gifts, I feel the loss goes way beyond those activities.

In contemplating what he was in the community, the first thing that came to my mind was that Lou was a character - and I mean that with all affection. But what did that mean in Lou's case? First off, he was among the most opinioned persons I ever met and, still, at the same time always enjoyed being around. He could say the most outrageous things, write the most caustic articles in the North Myrtle Beach Times, offend hundreds in the community, but somehow got away with it. If you and I said the same things, we might be ridden out of town on a rail.

But everyone knew that, not only could he dish it out, he could and was willing to take it as well and always with humor. At a recent party, he said something outrageous and I told him gas was escaping from both his ends and he shouldn't sit too close to the fireplace. He was endangering lives! Undeterred, Lou, laughing, continued opining and delighting the crowd around him, including me.

He got away with it because he was a character with "character." Nothing Lou ever said was personal, just observations he made about the world within which he lived. Those observations he would opine about through the lens of a value system formed from his upbringing, his immediate family and his military career.

Lou never hesitated to share his observations and people listened. Lou had something many would call "command presence." He would walk into a room and people would notice. This aura of "command presence" was most felt when he held court at parties or gatherings. Unique to Lou, he could convene court just walking along Main Street with Betty during a festival. People sought him out because he was informative, entertaining and intellectually challenging.

He got his points across always with a sharp but not biting wit. People might disagree with Lou, but they would come away laughing, chuckling, shaking their heads and more informed than when the conversation started. A conversation with Lou always challenged me. He and I disagreed on many political and social issues, but Lou forced me to rethink things and look deeper into how my own opinions were formed. In the community-at-large, some of the things he said and wrote about forced some segments of our community to really face up to the image their actions were creating. Way to go Lou!

Some people make a difference in your life and in the community within which they live. Lou was one of those. He is the type of person everyone wants in their life. He'll be missed. I will miss him. And I know the community will miss him and his many conventional and, sometimes, unorthodox contributions.

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January 11, 2010 LORIS, SC - “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” traveled to Loris, South Carolina to meet Amanda and Derrick Suggs, a young couple who had just started their own family when they adopted Amanda’s younger siblings to prevent them from being separated in foster care.

When Derrick and Amanda got married, they moved into the home Derrick inherited from his grandfather. Built by his grandfather in 1953, the home came with a long list of repairs required to make it livable: a leaking roof, outdated and exposed electrical wiring, rotting foundation, and broken and cracked asbestos siding on the outside of the house.  In just seven days, team leader Ty Pennington, the design team, and the entire community will build a safer, stronger home that will protect and support this incredible family.

Click hear for more information.

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Scholarship opportunities expanded for Horry grads

NOVEMBER 28, 2009 CONWAY, SC - The Horry County Higher Education Commission 2009_Scholarship_Recipients(HCHEC) has established a new scholarship program for local high school students who plan to attend Coastal Carolina University.

The HCHEC Academic Excellence Scholarship is the newest program that rewards the top graduate from each eligible Horry County high school who chooses to enroll at CCU the fall semester following graduation. This award may be received in addition to other HCHEC scholarships.

The HCHEC also provides scholarship support to recent Horry County graduates through the Leadership, Visual and Performing Arts, and the International Awareness scholarships. The deadline to apply for the these scholarships for the 2010-2011 academic year is March 1, 2010.  

Recipients of 2009-2010 HCHEC Academic Excellence Scholarships are:

Sydni Donellan – graduate of Carolina Forest High School majoring in middle level education
Kevin Kern – graduate Conway High School majoring in applied physics
Taylor LaPierre – graduate of Green-Sea Floyds High School majoring in biology
Pooja Patel – graduate of North Myrtle Beach High School majoring in biology
Michael Primrose – graduate of Aynor High School with an undeclared major
Casey Stevens – graduate of Loris High School with an undeclared major
Alfred Tomlinson – graduate of Loris High School majoring in exercise and sport science
Angela Webb – graduate of Myrtle Beach High School majoring in music
Hannah Widdifield – graduate of St. James High School majoring in English

The Horry County Higher Education Commission was formed in 1959 by the South Carolina General Assembly to oversee the use of county tax millage for Coastal Carolina. Today, there are 16 members of the commission who are appointed by the Governor of South Carolina and recommended by the Horry County Legislative Delegation to represent Horry County.

For additional information about the HCHEC scholarships, contact Coastal Carolina University’s Scholarship Office at 843-349-2308 or scholar@coastal.e

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AQ Center celebrating anniversary, waving membership initiation fee

Aquatic and Fitness CenterThe North Myrtle Beach Aquatic & Fitness Center is celebrating its 4th Anniversary November 30- December 6th. There will be an Open House December 1 and December 3. On those two days you can participate in classes (Come try ZUMBA) and use the facility for FREE. Additionally, the joining fee of $100 will be waived on annual memberships that week. (November 30 - December 6).  For more information on the Aquatic & Fitness Center go to

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