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North Myrtle Beach Headline News

Fifty bed expansion soon to open

By Jim Hulen, North Myrtle Beach

July 26, 2011 Little River, SC – An overflow crowd attend the open house of the new Seacoast Medical Center in Little River to tour the new fifty bed medical center. The 64 thousand square foot Seacoast Medical Center is located on a 31-acre site at 4000 Highway 9 East, in Little River.  Seacoast is a part of the Loris Healthcare System, which serves northwestern Horry County, and the coastal communities of the North Strand area in South Carolina; and southern Brunswick and Columbus counties in North Carolina.

The open house marked a significant milestone long delayed and made much more costly by legal appeals from HCA the owner/operator of Grand Stand Regional Medical Center.  The for-profit HCA eventually lost its battle and the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) eventually awarded a Certificate of Need to the non-profit Loris Healthcare Center.

Representatives from SCDHEC are on site and are in the process of completing certification.  Inspections will be complete within a few weeks, according to Dr. Tracy Ray, Chair of the Board of Governors. He said Seacoast would be ready to receive patients in July.

On hand to welcome the community to the facility were members of the Loris Healthcare Board of Governors, Foundation Board Members, SC Senator Dick Elliott, SC Rep. Tracy Edge, North Myrtle Beach Marilyn Hatley, Loris Mayor Pro Tem, Michael Suggs and Arnold Green, Interim President/Chief Executive Officer.

During the opening ceremonies, North Myrtle Beach Marilyn Hatley recounted Rayford Vereen remarking that when President Washington visited the area and stayed with the Vereen family there was no hospital; when he was born, the North Strand did not have a hospital so he was born at home.  When his children were born, a hospital still had not been build.  His hope was that by the time his grandchildren were born we would have a hospital.  

Hatley went on to say that the Seacoast expansion changed all of that and created a sense of certainty, a perception of security a knowledge that local people were hear to provide a community of care.

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Local Information

Land purchased

June 23, 2011 North Myrtle Beach, SC - Pat Dowling, spokesman, announced the City of North Myrtle Beach closed today (June 23) on the purchase of about 140 acres of land west of the Intracoastal Waterway on which it will build a sports park and general recreation facility. The deeds have been recorded, and the development agreement popularly referred to as the “Sandridge Development Agreement” has also been recorded.

$373,506.61 was paid to Main Street Commercial Partners, LLC for about 8.4 acres of land, which will be used for construction of the access road to the larger sports park and general recreation facility.

$2,679,974.54 was paid to Sandridge, LLC for about 134 acres where the sports park and general recreation facility will be located.

Local Information

SAA June Fishing Report

By Chris Carbone, Seacoast Anglers Association

June 24, 2011 Little River, SC - Water temperature has reached the 80's but the fishing has been spotty at best. The reports I read say they are catching them, but the reports I get from members say otherwise. All the offshore species have opened up although the powers that be have not made up their mind about the bag number of Black Seabass that can be taken. As of this writing it is still 15 per person per day. Again, be sure to know the regulations as they can change on the fly and they do not have to notify you of the changes! Law enforcement has been out there in greater numbers than I have ever seen them. In some cases they are pulling over several boats at once!

To save fuel, many anglers have changed to fishing closer to home, inshore, in the creeks. I for one have been doing that and have noticed others doing the same. So the fish in the creeks and inshore will have more pressure put on them if fuel prices remain the same or go up. Perhaps we are seeing this trend already as many reports I get tell me anglers are coming home with empty coolers! Or it may be that we have just gone through the last two winters with record cold... I don't know, but a day on the water is still enjoyable, with or with fish.

'Saltwater' Catfish

'Saltwater' Catfish are here and there. The reports on them are also spotty. Try the ICW and maybe you'll get lucky, Let me know.

Red Drum

Red Drum have been in the creeks and in the ICW. Dunn Sound and Bonapartes Creek are among the places to look. They are about the only species that are holding their own with plenty of them in our area. I believe it has a lot to do with the stocking program that SCDNR has undertook in the past several years. I have seen them "tailin" in the creeks in the dead low tide. Some anglers have been successful using Berkley Gulp baits and a few anglers have been using live minnows. Use light tackle and very slow retrieve to get the job done. Be quiet as they tend to spook easily. Don't slam down the hatch covers or throw the anchor overboard. Doing that will guarantee that you'll have plenty of time on your hands for lunch, you will be fishing but not catchin'.

Black Drum

Black Drum should be out there in the creeks as well altho I have not heard of a single landing by our members.

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Local Information

Bachmann to visit Myrtle Beach

REVISED June 22, 2011 Myrtle Beach, SC - Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., will kick off her campaign in Waterloo, Iowa, on June 27, at 9 a.m. Central Time, according to a release from her campaign. In the days following, she will set out on a three-day tour through the early voting states: Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina.

On Tuesday, Bachmann will hold a backyard chat in Raymond, N.H., followed by a meet and greet with supporters in Myrtle Beach, S.C. Horry County Republican Party Chairman Johnnie Bellamy said the Minnesota Congresswoman will speak at 5 p.m. in front of Ripley's Aquarium at Broadway at the Beach on Tuesday, June 28. The event is free and open to the public.

Bellamy said Bachmann is the first of several GOP presidential hopefuls to make Horry County one of their South Carolina stops.

Bachman visits Myrtle Beach as the first speaker in a presidential candidate series put on by the Horry County Republican Party, Bellamy said.

After Myrtle Beach, Bachman will continue her tour of SC with a backyard chat in Charleston Wednesday morning at 9:00 am, Pierce Park Pavilion, 1801 Pierce Street, followed by a meet and greet event in Lexington at 1:00 pm,Flight Deck Restaurant, 09-A Old Chapin Road.  The next event will take place in Greenville at Magnolia Park located at the intersection
of Interstate 85, Interstate 385 and Woodruff Road, Magnolia Park Town Center. Bachmann will cap her day with a town hall meeting at Winthrop University at the DiGiorgio Campus Center – Dina's Place Room, 269 Campus Center, Rock Hill, S.C in Rock Hill on Wednesday evening.

North Myrtle Beach Headline News

Sports Complex: Itís business development

By Jim Hulen, North Myrtle Beach

June 22, 2011 North Myrtle Beach, SC –  Some residents did not welcome the 20 percent city property tax increase imposed by the City of North Myrtle Beach.  The increased tax of six mills will last for eight years and pay off a $15 million bond to build a sports tourism facility and purchase 133 acres.  The complex will be located west of the Intracoastal Waterway.

North Myrtle Beach Online talked to City Councilman Bob Cavanaugh to get his personal perspective on why the complex is a good deal for the North Myrtle Beach community.  

In his initial comments, Cavanaugh emphasized that the public should understand that residents’ total property tax would not increase, only the city portion.

NMBO: What is your view of the driving factor for a sports complex?

Cavanaugh: My perspective is not that the goal is sports tourism, it's economic development. For five years now, we have been squeezing out everything possible from the budget to keep our expenses down and the millage rate to the lowest in the county. I believe that we have gone as far as possible.

We have to reinvest if we are going to keep pace with growing service needs. A solution is to develop growth in the shoulder season, which utilizes and leverages existing infrastructure. That also means in the summer we are not putting more cars on the road, not building more beds that stay vacant in the off-season and not stressing the capacity of our beaches and public parking.

I believe there is strong support in both the business and residential community to even out economic activity throughout the year. Business gives 88% of the [city’s revenue.] The end result is that stabilizing business income can support a growing residential community.

Sports tourism is great that way to do that, at least the way we are approaching it.  We have created a special niche at the NCAA Division Two level that brings teams down, running qualifying tournaments that compete during the school year.  We are going after the teams.  The timing is perfect and we wound up with a great partner.  The income comes in the non-traditional tourism season.

Information provided by the city to NMBO shows that NMB is already the host for many sporting events.  Notable ones include the American Power Lifting Federation (APF) competition, the South Carolina Masters Swim Meet, and the United States Basketball Association (USBA) national championship tournament.  This year, according to the city, thirty-seven events are scheduled that includes NCSI Collegiate Spring Training, Southeastern Regional Wheelchair Games, AAU Youth Softball, and the Beach Blast Wheelchair Basketball Tournament among others.  

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Local Information

Chamber receives 2011 Green Plusô Award

June 22, 2011 Washington, D.C. -  North Myrtle Beach, S.C., was the winner of the 2011 Green Plus™ Chamber of the Year Award for Leadership in Sustainable Economic Development in the Small Community category. The award was made at PNC Bank regional headquarters in Washington, D.C. by the Institute for Sustainable Development, Partners for Livable Communities, and the American Chamber of Commerce Executives. After the award was made, the North Myrtle Beach Chamber CEO, Marc Jordan, was part of a panel discussion with national business leaders and public officials including representatives including U.S. Senate and House staff, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Business Civic Leadership Center.

“North Myrtle Beach’s public-private partnership to become energy independent and broadly sustainable provides an example to every U.S. community of what America needs to do be competitive in the 21st century,” said Chris Carmody, Executive Director of the Institute for Sustainable Development. “Through the North Strand Coastal Wind Team and other initiatives, North Myrtle Beach has demonstrated that national innovation starts at the local level,” Carmody concluded.

Green Plus™ is an initiative based in the North Carolina Research Triangle to help smaller enterprises and their communities with become healthier and more prosperous. The program partners nationally with the American Chamber of Commerce Executives, an umbrella network of over 1,400 U.S. and Canadian local chambers of commerce.

“We are honored to be recognized by Green Plus for our partnership with the City of North Myrtle Beach as the recipient of the National Community Award.  Our focus on sustainable development and in particular recognition as a demonstration city in promoting wind as an alternative source of energy, has received national recognition and placed our chamber and city in a position of leadership in long-term sustainable development and the ‘green economy’,” stated Jordan.

“Encouraging sustainable development and working to demonstrate the feasibility of alternate sources of energy, such as wind power, is just good old common sense,” said North Myrtle Beach Mayor Marilyn Hatley. “If we expect to remain competitive in the future and preserve our environment, we have to think outside of the box and explore new ways of doing things.”

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Local Information

Seacoast Medical Center Open House

June 22, 2011, Little River, SC - Celeste Bondurant-Bell,Director of Marketing & Business Development, announced that the Seacoast Medical Center will hold an open house on Sunday, June 26 from 2:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m.  This will be the first opportunity the community has to view the new inpatient facility.

There will be a brief ceremony at 2:00 p.m. followed by a reception and tours.

The addition of inpatient beds at Seacoast Medical Center will bring a fourth acute care hospital to the residents of Horry County.  

Opened on October 1, 2000, Seacoast Medical Center provided outpatient services, same-day surgery and 24-hour emergency care and on July 2011, Loris Healthcare System will become the only two hospital system in Horry County with the addition of inpatient services at Seacoast Medical Center.  The inpatient beds will consist of 32 medical/surgical beds, 8-bed intensive care unit and a 10-bed progressive care unit.

At a cost of $33 million,Loris Health Care added more than 100,000 square feet and outpatient services that includes diagnostic imaging, open MRI, laboratory, same-day surgery, cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation, and physical, occupational and speech therapies.

Also at Seacoast, Ambulatory surgery center will consist of 3 surgical suites and 8 recovery/observation beds. Diagnostics imaging will includes open magnetic resonance imaging, diagnostic and vascular ultrasound, OB ultrasound, CT scan, mammography, and osteoporosis screenings.

The hospital will offer general surgery, ENT, gynecology, interventional pain management, ophthalmology, orthopedics, podiatry, and urology.  

Other medical specialties that will be available on the campus are cardiology, optometry, nephrology and neurology. 

North Myrtle Beach Headline News

Annual North Myrtle Beach Chamber Chairmanís Luncheon

June 13, 2011 North Myrtle Beach, SC- The North Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce Convention & Visitors Bureau will hold the annual Chairman’s Luncheon, Thursday, June 23rd from 11:30 am – 1:00 pm at Bonefish Grill in North Myrtle Beach.

The 2010-2011 Chairman of the Board, Rachel Whitley, Vice President for the National Bank of South Carolina, will ceremoniously ‘pass the gavel' to incoming Chairman, Bubba Collins, owner, Bubba Collins Insurance.
The outgoing and incoming board members will be recognized.  Also, the 2010-2011 Annual Report will be distributed.

Chamber members are invited to attend.  Cost is $25/pp.  If you would like to attend please RSVP to Charlene Lynam, Events Director at (843) 281-2662 or email 

For more information regarding The North Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce Convention & Visitors Bureau please visit

North Myrtle Beach Headline News

How likely are shark attacks in North Myrtle Beach?

By Jim Hulen, North Myrtle Beach

June 13, 2011 North Myrtle Beach, SC – Last February, Stuart Beach Florida made headlines when a kite surfer died from a shark attack. Some responsible media included in their reporting that shark attacks are rare. Others omitted that and other critical facts and chose to hype the rate of recurrence.  However, the last fatal shark attack in Florida was in 2005, when a 14-year-old girl was killed in Miramar Beach and at Stuart Beach was in 1882.

Consolidating information about shark attacks was a project initiated by the U.S. Navy in 1958 as part of an effort to develop shark repellent. Currently, the data is maintained and updated by the Florida Museum of Natural History and consists of over 4,000 attack investigations over the 340 year period from 1670 to 2010. Growing population and recreational preferences for beach vacations have increased the number of shark attacks but the incidence of attacks per capita has basically stayed the same rare occurrence over decades.

According to the Florida Museum of Natural History data, half of the nation’s shark attacks occur in the state of Florida while the occurrence of South Carolina shark attacks are less than ten percent of that state’s.

Around twenty three shark attacks occurred in the last 10 years in South Carolina – none of which were fatal.  Media reports tended to exaggerate minor incidences. For example, last year, headlines screamed that a shark had attacked a ten year old in Myrtle Beach.  However, emergency workers described the boy as having a number of "small puncture wounds" to his calf and medical officials at the local hospital described the injury as a “small bite.”

The most recent fatal shark attacked recorded in South Carolina was in the far distant past – 1882.  A shark killed Charles Chambers while he wading ashore from a capsized vessel in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina.

The National Shark Research Consortium identifies several factors that contribute to the rate of shark attacks including beach topography, wave action, and density of food sources.
Researchers find that most attacks occur in near shore waters, typically inshore of a sandbar or between sandbars where sharks feed and can become trapped at low tide. Rivers or streams entering the Atlantic Ocean create sandbars. As the nearest rivers are  50 miles or more north or south of the city, sandbars are rare near the North Myrtle Beach shoreline.
There is, however, one exception explained further in the article by a local public safety officer. Areas with steep drop offs are also likely attack sites. Sharks congregate there because their natural food items also congregate in these areas.
The high-energy waves of the Atlantic in Florida hurl smaller fish that sharks feed upon are not present in North Myrtle Beach.  Oceanologists attribute the mild wave action to the long slopping ocean bottom that is only 12 foot deep a quarter of mile from the shoreline and, then, only drops to 30 feet 30 miles out.

Dense food sources also are not prevalent near North Myrtle Beach. The continental shelf, a rich source of food fish for sharks, is 50 miles out into the Atlantic Ocean from North Myrtle Beach unlike the east Florida Coast where it is sometimes within a mile of the shoreline. 

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North Myrtle Beach Headline News

Drama in Conway

By Jim Hulen, North Myrtle Beach

April 28, 2011, Conway, SC – In Horry County Circuit Court, a case has been pending since October of last year. Several entities had filed Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests with the City of North Myrtle Beach seeking a police car dash-cam video of an incident involving an altercation between a police officer and a private citizen on public property – the Cherry Grove Fire Station.  

After the incident, Melissa Edge, the private citizen and wife of State Representative Tracy Edge, in a public statement apologized for her actions in the incident and for the trouble the incident had caused, Jeff Senter, the police officer, has since been terminated, claiming he was terminated as a result of the incident.  His claim appeared to be supported by the city’s attorney, Linda Edwards, when she said the city did terminate Senter for a “lack of judgement” involving letting the incident go on for 45 minutes.  

While the six-month interval from filing to hearing generated many rumors of conspiracy, delays in these types of cases are most likely not intentional, according to Jay Bender. Bender is an attorney based in Columbia, SC and specializes in media law.  He further explained court dockets are just so full that judges have to establish priorities.  Hearings involving open accesses to public information have a tough time competing with cases like contract liabilities, damages property claims, forfeitures and attachment of property for debts.

Plaintiffs in the case were the Sun News, represented by Jay Bender and William Bailey represented by Ken Moss.  The defendant was the City of North Myrtle Beach represented by Attorney Linda Edwards later joined by Anita Floyd, attorney on behalf of Representative Tracy Edge.

After more than an hour, Judge Benjamin Culbertson heard the arguments from both the defendants and plaintiffs.  He concluded by saying he would personally review the video tape, the arguments from the attorneys and the list of case precedence provided by Bender. The list is important, as the judges place heavy weight upon decisions in past cases to decide the outcome in present cases. 

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