ONDBEAT: Holdin' on to hot topics in Holden Beach

Just when I thought I had enough town meetings to cover (just ask the towns I cover), I received a bonus assignment last week to go to Holden Beach.

I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve covered Holden Beach meetings in the past, including last Tuesday night. The last time I was there, according to my best guesstimate and The Brunswick Beacon archives, was in January 2012 when the town was pursuing a terminal groin for its east end. (Update: Five years later, there’s still no groin grounding the inlet as yet.)

A few months later, I wrote about a cat rescue and management program and Town Manager David Hewett (who’s still the town manager) disputing a rumor the island had rats.

Neither of these were mentioned last Tuesday night, but plenty of other things were, as what turned out to be a two-and-a-half-hour-long meeting kept me and the audience glued to our seats until 9:30.

Fortunately, Holden Beach had a sense of humor in the midst of all this town busy-ness.

Police Chief Wally Layne, citing a prior five-week lull in town break-ins, said the culprits must’ve gotten back out of incarceration because there had recently been more break-ins.

There was talk about what is now Holden Beach’s famous half-sunken shrimp boat, Southern Lady, who is apparently no lady as she’s been marring the town waterscape on the mainland side for close to six years now, hurting the environment with her gas spillage, wearing out her welcome and getting on everybody’s nerves.

Like her or not, Holden Beach Mayor Alan Holden said county commissioners are taking action to impose penalties on operators who just rudely dump big broken-down boats like that. Holden was anxiously waiting to see what county commissioners had passed and what they’re going to do about these abandoned boats’ liabilities.

Maybe rats and old boats aren’t welcome in Holden Beach, but most kinds of birds are. Holden said he’d seen his first purple martin the previous day, urging anyone who could to install purple martin houses in the next two weeks to keep at bay the seasonal onslaught of mosquitoes, another annoying critter not wanted at the beach, but purple martins like them just fine.

Plenty of concerns were expressed about Lockwood Folly Inlet, which has dredging issues. Town commissioner Kim Isenhour thanked local captains for their alert about the shallow inlet, which she said is used extensively by vacationers.

She said she can’t imagine what it’s going to look like and people don’t know how shallow it is. If something isn’t done soon, she said there may be a lot more abandoned boats that just couldn’t get through. They’ll be keeping company with the Southern Lady.

During public comment, Holden recognized one man speaking about dredging while proudly attired in his garnet-and-black University of South Carolina Gamecocks shirt. Interesting shirt, Holden said, speaking with authority in his home state where Carolina blue and Blue Devil Duke permeate this time of the year.

“You can sit down now,” Holden added, drawing laughs.

Laura Lewis is a staff writer for the Beacon. Reach her at 754-6890 or llewis@brunswickbeacon.com.