The area has a couple of big anniversaries coming up later this month. March 12 we celebrate the 75th anniversary of Myrtle Beach. At the end of the month comes the 20th anniversary of the closure of the Myrtle Beach Air Force Base. We've got reporters working on multiple stories about both of these, so keep an eye out. In the meantime, anybody have any good memories to share? If you've been in the area for a couple of decades or more, what's the biggest change you've seen? And has it been a change for the better?
everybody connected to Coastal
we mourn the senseless death of sophomore Anthony Liddell, shot Tuesday night at
a college residence hall.
to hunt for his killer and we expect more details will emerge in the coming
days. In the meantime, we shudder and recoil at the violence that continues to
touch our area and take our friends and neighbors from our grasp.
Thursday’s second editorial urges the
state Department of Insurance to open a new investigation into the activities
of salesman Rick McDavid, whose exploits were chronicled by David Wren this
It was hard to read reporter David
Wren’s article this past Sunday, detailing the financial ruin of dozens of
local seniors in a complex insurance and mortgage plan, without becoming
outraged and angry. Where was the state? Aren’t those selling insurance
supposed to be regulated? Why was this allowed to continue for so long?
The state Department of Insurance, in
fact, opened two investigations into the actions of salesman Rick McDavid, who
it must be said has not been convicted of any wrongdoing and maintains he did
nothing illegal. Both of those investigations – one in 2011 and one in 2012 –
were dismissed quickly after McDavid said he didn’t do anything wrong.
In closing the second case, the
investigator said that the matter was ended at least in part because of a lack
of supporting documentation. That’s perhaps understandable, if frustrating. It’s
hard to prosecute or investigate wrongdoing if you’re not sure what exactly is
being alleged. But some of that blame may lie with the Insurance Department,
which it appears never asked for more information beyond the standard complaint
form before dismissing the cases. Now that reporter David Wren and attorney Sid
Connor have done the hard work of pulling these stories together and
illustrating their common threads, we hope the Insurance Department will
rethink its former summary dismissals.
Clearly, something went very wrong
for the many victims involved in this saga. McDavid’s purported actions were at
the very least immoral, financing a lavish lifestyle by taking advantage in
many cases of vulnerable seniors willing to trust a person referred to them by
a fellow church member or relative. Nevertheless, it may yet turn out that he
actually did nothing illegal. If that’s the case, the legislature should get
work on laws that would prevent future unscrupulous copycats. The first step,
however, should be another probe by the Insurance Department, and soon, this
time giving McDavid’s activities more than a cursory glance.
Meanwhile, if nothing else, the story
reminds us once more of lessons that are never too old to be learned again: If
it sounds too good to be true, it is. Read it before you sign it. Don’t let
yourself be bullied into signing anything you don’t understand, especially when
it affects your personal finances. And don’t put all your faith in a handshake
and a smile.
Pre-election campaign finance reports were due a couple of days ago in the Horry County Council chairman race. Not surprisingly, Mark Lazarus is far, far in the lead when it comes to fundraising, reporting more than $68,000 in total contributions. He's also spent more than $40,000, which is more than his four opponents combined have even raised.
But if you're just interested in the main numbers: Mark Lazarus: Raised $68,048, spent $40,317.57 Debbie Harwell: Raised $29,900 (including $12,500 of her own money), spent $27,223.84 Al Allen: Raised $4,124.27 (including $2,100 of his own money), spent $2,588.70 Liz Gilland: Raised $1,000, spent $515 (just filing fee) Fonzie Lewis: Raised nothing, says his only expense was filing fee.
A whiz at
math and business and need something to do with your extra time? Consider
volunteering to help low-income folks with their tax returns:
volunteers, a frustrating situation could be improved at Horry County sites of
the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program at three public libraries in
Conway, Myrtle Beach and Surfside Beach where the shortage of volunteers causes
about as many folks to be turned away as receive assistance.
of volunteers is “our biggest drawback,” says Utocqua Grissett, who helps
organize the VITA sites as coordinator for the Horry County Financial Literacy
Coalition. It is a collaboration of entities including the United Way,
Horry-Georgetown Technical College, Coastal Carolina University, the Salvation
Army, Alpha Sorority Inc. and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity. The coalition has
been organized for about 10 years, Grissett says. VITA is a national program
sponsored by the Internal Revenue Service for four decades. Horry County has
had a VITA program since the 1990s, Grissett says.
Can a conversation between community
leaders about violence help cut down on the problem in our area? Well, it sure
can’t hurt, and Tuesday’s editorial gets behind one effort to hold talks:
Much attention has been paid since
the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown,
Conn., to the dual issues of gun
violence and mental health.
The Horry County
school board has discussed policies and proposals to ensure the safety of our
just finished hosting a campus safety conference that drew college leaders from
across the state. We are all asking how we can keep our communities safer.
But guns and mental health issues are
indisputably only two components of a much larger conversation, one that
involves everything from socioeconomic status to school bullying to a lack of
opportunities for those trying to turn their lives around.
Now local activist Bennie Swans wants
to convene a larger meeting of local leaders to develop bigger solutions to