Coastal Carolina University students to pay more tuition in the fall


Students attending Coastal Carolina University in the fall will notice a less than three percent tuition increase for the 2017-2018 school year.

CCU Officials said in-state tuition would increase $162 per semester. Out-of-state tuition will increase $376 per semester. The rise in tuition is because of an increase in funding for the state’s pension, health, and dental insurance.

“The costs are a result of the state pension reform bill,” said David A. DeCenzo, president at Coastal Carolina University. “We eliminated more than $2 million from our operating budget by cutting future nonfaculty positions. The budget cuts will not require any personnel layoffs or furloughs.”

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Coastal Carolina school officials approve a tuition hike for the 2017-2018 academic            school year.           Photo: Sharon Tutrone

DeCenzo says the school board did agree not to raise housing fees. However, some meal plans will increase between $10 and $35 per semester depending upon the meal plan selected by the student. For the first time, meal plans will be offered to faculty and staff.

Aramark, the University’s food service provider, is the recipient of the meal plan fees.

Despite the tuition hike, students are paying less this year than they did six years ago, that is according to outgoing board chairman D. Wyatt Henderson.

Henderson said in 2011, tuition fees which include housing and meals for an in-state, full-time student cost $17,500. Add in inflation over the last six years; students would be paying $21,300 to attend CCU in 2011.

In 2017, tuition fees which include housing and meals for an in-state, full-time student cost $19,800. That is $1,500 less per year to attend now than it did six years ago.

The board gave the green light to a $270,000 discretionary fund for DeCenzo for the 2017-2018 fiscal year. The money allows the president to promote the University and raise funds for the institution.

New officers were elected to the board. They will begin their two-year term on July 1.

With two shark bites near Myrtle Beach, is it safe to go in the ocean? 

It’s a sign summer is here. The smell of salt in the air, children playing on the beach, and shark bites dominating local news headlines.

So far, there have been two shark bites off the coast of Myrtle Beach. The first was last month near Pawleys Island. Investigators say a man was bitten on the foot during a morning swim.

A few weeks later a 36-year-old woman was swimming off the coast of Folly Beach, which is just south of Myrtle Beach when she was bitten on her left foot.

Both victims have recovered.

Dr. Dan Abel, a marine biologist at Coastal Carolina University, says most of the time sharks have no interest in humans. But he says, there are some things you can do to prevent a trip to the hospital.

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Sign informing swimmers of beach warning flags at 48th Ave.               North in Myrtle Beach.             Photo: Sharon Tutrone

“Don’t swim at dawn or dusk. That is when many sharks feed,” said Abel. “Avoid swimming near piers where people are fishing and if you see a school of fish, get out of the water.”

What about that fin above the water line, does that mean a shark is coming after you?

“No, that does not mean they are coming after you. Most of the time people see a wave or a dolphin,” said Caroline Collatos, a graduate student in the marine science department. “Sharks rarely do this, and when they do, they’re coming to the surface to eat a piece of fish scrap, or they may be chasing prey that swam up to the surface.”

There is a small chance that a shark will bite you, but if you do go in the ocean here are some tips to make that risk even lower.

  1. Swim in a group. Sharks usually bite someone swimming alone.
  2. Don’t swim too far from shore. Doing so places you away from help.
  3. If you are bleeding, don’t enter the water. Sharks can smell blood, and trace it back to its source.
  4. Keep shiny jewelry at home. The reflection of the light looks like shining fish scales.
  5. Don’t swim in waters containing sewage. Sewage attracts bait fish, which attract sharks.

For more beach safety tips click here.

Research unravels the mystery of sharks and what brings them to Myrtle Beach

(The lines are baited with Mackerel, as Coastal Carolina University students set out on a shark tagging trip on Winyah Bay. Photo: Sharon Tutrone)

Shark research off the Myrtle Beach coast reveals valuable information on the movements of these ocean predators and why they like the Carolinas.

“We have seen up to 10 different kinds of sharks in Winyah Bay,” said Dr. Dan Abel, a marine biologist at Coastal Carolina University.

Abel, who started the research program more than 15 years ago, takes a group of undergraduate and graduate marine biology students out to Winyah Bay to study Juvenile Sandbar Sharks.

“One of our aims is to simply look at the demographics of shark populations,” said Abel. “How stable are they? What factors influence the presence and absence and the diversity of sharks in ecosystems.”

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Coastal Carolina Marine Biology students bait the hooks on a recent shark tagging trip to Winyah Bay. Photo: Sharon Tutrone

The process of tracking sharks is tedious and precise. Abel and his students bait 25 hooks on a line that is 150 meters long. The line has floats and anchors at both ends. Once the lines are in the water, they soak for 30-45 minutes. The students then hand pull the line in, hoping they have a shark on one of the hooks.

“We typically catch as many as zero to 10 sharks per long line,” said Abel. “When we do catch a shark, depending on its size we usually identify and measure it in the water, then we tag and release it.”

This type of tag-and-release research can tell a lot about different shark biology.

“We learn possible migration movements, growth rate estimates, habitats they utilize, and possible population estimates,” said Caroline Collatos, a graduate student in the marine science department.

Depending on what the group’s goals are, Abel said, they put a tag in the shark’s dorsal fin or place acoustic telemeters in the abdomen of the shark.

“Acoustic telemeters are little pingers,” said Abel. “We make a two-inch incision in the abdomen and put a double A battery-sized instrument inside, sew it back up, and it will ping every 60 to 90 seconds. In order for us to get information on where the shark is, it has to go by an acoustic receiver. Fortunately, there’s a ray of receivers up and down the coast and worldwide.”

Acoustic tagging allows CCU students to track the movements of return visitors to Winyah Bay.

“Acoustic tagging has shown Juvenile Sandbar Sharks return to the bay for up to a month at a time. We think they use the bay as a seasonal habitat to feed, grow, and escape predation from larger sharks,” said Collatos.

Collatos says Winyah Bay is a habitat for mostly Juvenile Sandbar Sharks.

Atlantic Sharpnose sharks, Finetooth sharks, and Blacktip sharks also visit the area.

To learn more about the Coastal Carolina shark research team’s findings, click here.

Lawmakers come together to reopen Golden Mile parking to public

The battle at the beach over paid parking along the Golden Mile is headed to the South Carolina State house.

South Carolina Representatives Kevin Hardee and Jeff Johnson, who both represent Horry County, have filed a bill that would limit the reach of the ordinance.

“Lots of bills get filed in the General Assembly but never see the light of day,” said Mark Kruea, a public information officer for the City of Myrtle Beach.

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Bill filed in SC Statehouse to limit the Golden Mile parking ordinance in Myrtle Beach. Photo: Sharon Tutrone

Last year Myrtle Beach implemented parking regulations along the Golden Mile between 31st and 82nd Avenues North.  Tourists and residents who live outside the city limits pay $2 per hour or $10 a day to park. The fees are in effect every day from 9 a.m. to midnight and drivers can pay the parking cost on their cell phones through the Parkmobile system.

“The city instituted paid parking in that area because residents there complained of visitors parking in their yards and disrupting the neighborhood,” Kruea said.

According to the bill, parking privileges for Myrtle Beach residents that are not available to non-city residents would have to be approved by state lawmakers.

“This would seem to contradict the idea of Home Rule since it takes decision-making power away from local governments,” Kruea said. “Such a broad bill that proposes to move those decisions to Columbia would affect more communities than just Myrtle Beach. ”

Calls and emails to the two legislators who filed this bill have not been returned.

While the two sides continue to throw jabs, others are hoping a compromise can be reached.

“There are less than 2,000 houses along the Golden Mile. That is what this fight is about they want a private beach, and we want to use the beach,” said Rich Malzone, a spokesman for Make Myrtle Beaches Free, Clean and Safe.

Malzone formed the advocacy group, Make Myrtle Beaches Free, Clean and Safe, after the parking ordinance went into effect.

Malzone is hoping the city will compromise by offering a $100 non-resident parking pass, which will be valid for all residents outside the city limits and part-time residents.

“We are the good neighbors, we don’t want us verse them, we support this city. They need our money, you can’t have our money if you don’t let us come,” Malzone said.

The parking ordinance is in effect until October 31.

Myrtle Beach may have to go on a diet

Myrtle Beach is known for beautiful beaches, good food, southern hospitality and now as the 16th most obese out of a list of 100 cities, according to a study just released by wallethub.com.

“I am not satisfied with my current size, and it is hard to love myself when I constantly get negativity from the people closest to me,” said Kaley Larimore, a college student.

Many like Kaley will try to shed the pounds by dieting or exercising. But for some teenagers, it is the parents who are taking a proactive approach.

“Usually the parents are aware the kids aren’t getting much physical activity in schools anymore,” said Cameron Sanders, a personal trainer.

Sanders feels the rise of technology is a contributing factor in the battle of the bulge.

“With social media and technology, you don’t ever have to leave the house to go anywhere or do anything,” Sanders said.

Sanders says parents taking the initiative is a good thing but presents a challenge for the trainers.

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Cameron Sanders works with Kelly      McRae at the YMCA in Myrtle Beach.   Photo: Sharon Tutrone

“As a trainer, we have to find a way to motivate them to want to do it for themselves and not because their parents want them to do it,” Sanders said.

Sanders faced his own challenges growing up, and he remembers those struggles as he coaches his clients.

“When I was a middle school teenager, I was obese,” Sanders said. “I was a fat kid who loved his ice cream. That was all I ever had.”

He said he is glad when a client comes to him asking for help. He tried to help himself when he was a teenager but ended up doing more harm than good.

“I didn’t have anyone there to help and teach me,” Sanders said. “I taught myself out of magazines and books. But I suffered a lot of injuries because of it. I had no idea what I was doing. Now here I am in my mid-20s with a bad back, two bad shoulders. So, I just want to help them and be able to teach them.”

Sanders says the biggest challenge a teen working toward a better lifestyle might have to overcome is themselves.

“You have to tell them that what they are doing is going to help them overall. As they increase their appearance their motivation increases, as their motivation increases, they do well in all aspects,” Sanders said.

Washington is also taking notice of the obesity problem. The Treat and Reduce Obesity Act of 2017 was introduced in both the Senate and House.

According to www.obesity.org, The Treat and Reduce Obesity Act addresses the obesity epidemic in the United States by providing more funding and better treatment options for healthcare professionals.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over a third of US adults, 36.5 percent are obese.

The top 20 fattest cities on the WalletHub list were located in South Carolina. Columbia, S.C. ranked Number 11, followed by the Greenville-Anderson-Mauldin metropolitan area.

The Augusta-Richmond County metropolitan area – which includes parts of the Palmetto State – held the number 19 spot.

Parking fees along the Grand Strand in Myrtle Beach go towards improving the boardwalk district

(Location: Myrtle Beach Access 47th Ave. North. Photo: Sharon Tutrone)

Myrtle Beach Parking Wars

Paid parking along the Golden Mile in Myrtle Beach. It is a big hassle to some and big money for the city. But where does that money go?

“Money from paid parking goes back into the area from which it was generated,” said Mark Kruea, a public information officer for the City of Myrtle Beach.

Last year Myrtle Beach implemented parking regulations along the Golden Mile between 31st and 82nd Avenues North. Residents who live outside the city limits and tourists pay “$2 per hour or $10 a day to park.” The fees are required every day from 9 a.m. to midnight and drivers can pay the parking cost on their cell phones through the Parkmobile system.

“The city instituted paid parking in that area because residents there complained of visitors parking in their yards and disrupting the neighborhood,” Kruea said.

That is not sitting well with some.

“We are not a political group, we just want to go to the beach,” said Rich Malzone, a spokesman for Make Myrtle Beaches Free, Clean and Safe.

Malzone formed the advocacy group, Make Myrtle Beaches Free, Clean and Safe, after the parking ordinance went into effect.

Malzone is hoping the city will compromise by offering a $100 non-resident parking pass, which will be valid for all residents outside the city limits “and part-time residents.”

“As non-residents, they live in the unincorporated part of Horry County and do not pay city property. Living in an incorporated municipality comes with both taxes and benefits,” Kruea said.

As the fate of the parking ordinance idles; here is a look at where the fees collected are going.

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Myrtle Beach Boardwalk district is one of many projects to receive parking revenue to maintain the area and fund entertainment events. Photo: Sharon Tutrone

“The parking revenues have been used to help fund the streetscape improvements throughout the boardwalk district, which includes funding events and activities, maintaining the boardwalk and provide additional parking,” Kruea said.

Kruea also said that parking fees are part of a $10 million line of credit that is used to demolish dilapidated buildings and the purchase of Superblock properties.

And what about those parking meters? Well, it turns out they benefit you.

“They identify which spaces are public so that you know you can park there; they encourage turnover so that spaces are not monopolized, allowing more people to park,” Kruea said.

Several emails and calls to Horry County officials on this story have not been returned.

The parking ordinance remains in effect until October 31.

Free parking advocates take a stand against Myrtle Beach regulations

(Location: Myrtle Beach Access 47th Ave. North. Photo Courtesy: Sharon Tutrone)

 

It’s David versus Goliath when it comes to free parking in Myrtle Beach.

“I call it a parasitic relationship. They want our money but they don’t want us,” said Rich Malzone, a spokesman for Make Myrtle Beaches Free, Clean and Safe.

Malzone formed the advocacy group, Make Myrtle Beaches Free, Clean and Safe, after Myrtle Beach city officials implemented parking regulations along the Golden Mile, which stretches from 31st Avenue North to 82nd Avenue North.

Parking fees are in place from 31st Avenue North to 53rd Avenue North. Residents who live outside the city limits and tourists “pay $2 an hour or $10 a day” to park on this stretch of road.

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Location: Myrtle Beach        Access 47th Ave. North    Photo Courtesy: Sharon Tutrone

Mark Kruea, a public information officer for the City of Myrtle Beach, said “As non-residents, they live in the unincorporated part of Horry County and do not pay city property. Living in an incorporated municipality comes with both taxes and benefits.”

The city instituted paid parking in that area because residents there complained of visitors parking in their yards and disrupting the neighborhood.

The fees went into effect last July. Drivers can face fines and could have their car towed if they violate the new rules. To make the parking process easy, drivers can pay the parking cost on their cell phones through the Parkmobile system.

County residents protested the move, saying they should not have to pay to park along the Golden Mile.

“We want fair access to the beach and we want the city to back down from making the Golden Mile a private beach,” Malzone said.

Kruea responded by saying “Parking is a commodity, and payment for parking is essentially a user fee. You’re using the space, so you pay to park there. Non-residents still can go to the beach in the Golden Mile, if they so choose. All they have to do is pay to park there.”

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Location: Myrtle Beach Access 47th Ave. North Photo Courtesy: Sharon Tutrone  

Malzone is hoping the city will compromise by offering a $100 non-resident parking pass which will be valid for all residents outside the city limits “and part-time residents.” Malzone said that pass should also be valid for all city metered parking spaces.

“We spend money all year long; this city can’t survive without us in November, December, January, and February,” Malzone said.  “We believe that we should have a non-resident decal, which will allow us to park at those beach access lots and will give us access to 400 spots that we don’t have now.”

At a recent City Council meeting, Myrtle Beach Mayor John Rhodes said he must think about those living in the city of Myrtle Beach.

The mayor added that he doesn’t see any change in the rules for non-resident parking passes. But he says it will be up to the council to decide whether some revisions should be made.

“The city has put a wall up and started an “us versus them.” If you look at the sheer numbers, there are 28,000 people in the city… 210,000 other ones in the county. So, 28,000 people have gone to war with 210,000 over 400 parking spots,” Malzone said.

The parking ordinance remains in effect until October 31st.

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For a map of where the parking fees are in effect, click here 

Courtesy: http://www.cityofmyrtlebeach.com/boulevardparking.html
Infographic created by: Sharon Tutrone
Software used: Animaps 
http://www.animaps.com/edit.html

Myrtle Beach Parking Wars

To see a map of the Golden Mile where parking fees are in effect click on the linkhttp://www.animaps.com/pb/323940001/567/Golden_Mile#c=true;e=true
Courtesy: http://www.cityofmyrtlebeach.com/boulevardparking.html
Infographic created by: Sharon Tutrone
Software used: Animaps http://www.animaps.com/edit.html

To see a map where the Pavilion Parking Garage is located click on the link: http://www.animaps.com/pb/335060001/7711/Pavilion_Parking_Garage#c=true;e=true                                                                                      Courtesy: http://www.cityofmyrtlebeach.com
Infographic created by: Sharon Tutrone                                                                                       Software used: Animaps http://www.animaps.com/edit.html

 

Temperatures aren’t the only thing heating up in Myrtle Beach. Tempers are flaring over a move made by the Myrtle Beach City Council that will affect everyone who visits or lives near the beach.

A parking ordinance now in effect means anyone who parks in a beach access spot from 31st Avenue North to 82nd Avenue North, also known as the Golden Mile, will have to pay $2 an hour “or $10 a day.” Parking in the beachfront lots will remain free for handicapped drivers and disabled veterans.

Parking used to be free, but according to thestate.com, the new parking fees were put into place because beach-goers parked on both sides of Ocean Boulevard, which officials say created problems for traffic and pedestrian safety.

Fines will be given to anyone who violates the new rules and some cars could even be towed. To make the process easier, drivers can pay the parking cost on their cell phones through the Parkmobile system.

Another option for those visiting the Grand Strand is to buy a $30 week-long parking pass from Lanier Parking. That pass allows you to park at the Pavilion Parking Garage near the Skywheel.

It’s not just the tourists who are being affected by the new parking rules, though. Residents are finding themselves in the crosshairs. Those who live along Ocean Boulevard will be allowed to park on those roads if they have a parking decal. Residents’ guests will also need to have a guest placard hanging in their cars in order to park in the area for free.

Living in a beach community, some residents use golf carts to get around. The City of Myrtle Beach also took notice of that and made several changes to the Code of City Ordinances, so now residents will have to get their golf carts registered.

Not everyone is happy with the new rules. Efforts are underway to stop the parking ordinance in its tracks.

Make Myrtle Beach, Free, Clean and Safe is an advocacy group that is working to convince city officials to reduce the cost of parking in the Golden Mile. According to the group’s Facebook page, it is encouraging residents to go to the city council meetings and speak during the public forum.

Those against the ordinance are also going online to obtain support. A petition has been started through Change.org.

Another controversy over the fees started to brew when officials announced the parking fees will be used for beach renourishment. Horry County officials questioned whether that violated the city’s contract with the US Army Corps of Engineers that prohibits taxpayer dollars from being spent on sand renourishment projects.

Sean McBride with The US Army Corps of Engineers, Charleston district, said that the government reviewed the parking rules and determined they do not violate the agreement in place for beach nourishment.

The parking fees remain in effect until October 31st.

 

 

Blue Star Mothers pack boxes of love for troops overseas

 

Love is in the air! The Blue Star Mothers of Coastal Carolina join forces to make sure our men and women serving overseas feel the love from America on Valentine’s Day.

“They just remind you that you are not forgotten,” said Melissa Dion, a retired staff Sgt. U.S. Army.

More than 30 volunteers spent a chilly Saturday morning packing over 100 boxes that will head to our servicemen and women who are away from home.  Each box contains toiletries, candy, magazines, soup, and lots of love. Although the boxes won’t bring families closer together, they will provide some familiar comforts.

“Maybe the military gives them exactly what they need, but we try to give them what they really want and that is a piece of home,” said Carol Dion, vice president of Blue Star Mothers of Coastal Carolina.

Blue Star Mothers of Coastal Carolina is a non-profit organization made up of parents who have children serving our country in the Armed Forces. The group frequently gets together to pack boxes to send to our troops. Their reason is simple.

“All we want people to remember is that some of our kids are out there and they are fighting for your freedom,” said Dion. “They are keeping it so that we don’t have another 9-11.”

Some of the boxes will head to Afghanistan, Iraq, Korea, Kuwait and Germany.

Dion says packing boxes with other mothers whose children are deployed is a form of therapy.

“We stick around because there is always going to be another mother who needs us when her kid deploys,” said Dion “Nobody knows what is it like when the phone rings in the middle of the night and you just crawl right out of your skin because you have no idea.”

Melissa Dion served 22 years in the U.S. Army as a medic. She remembers the excitement when she learned a package was waiting for her.

“You open this random box and you see a beautiful handmade card. You go through the box and you are so happy because there is so much good stuff in there,” said Dion. “If there are families out there that can’t afford to send a box, then they need to look for a Blue Star Mothers group.”

The Blue Star Mothers of Coastal Carolina are always looking for names of deployed troops to send boxes. For more information, just visit their website at www.bluestarmothersofcoastalcarolina.com

Cue the JAWS music, gifts from the sea are spilling onto our shores

Call it a game of cat and mouse or being in the right place at the right time, but either way you look at it, shark tooth hunters all share a common goal: to find a piece of ocean history.

“Shark’s teeth are more than a collector’s item, they tell a story about each shark that swam in the waters off our coast,” said Peter Brimlow, a shark tooth collector.

Walking the shoreline in Myrtle Beach, it was a cold morning; a winter storm was brewing and the sun was just cresting over the horizon. Brimlow was focused on the sand, carefully looking before taking his next step. He was walking on glass. Each step was so gentle and careful. He didn’t want to miss a tooth waiting to be discovered.

“A friend introduced me to shark tooth hunting several years ago right here in Myrtle Beach,” Brimlow said. “I was addicted to searching for them instantly.”

He said he has been collecting shark’s teeth for several years and has more than 11,000.

For others, shark tooth hunting is “Something to do in between sun-tanning, body-surfing and people-watching,” said Mark Kruea, a shark tooth collector.

Kruea said he has been collecting shark’s teeth for several years and has thousands. He said he got into the hobby because of the thrill of the hunt.

“You know they exist, but can you find them?” Kruea said. “It’s like a miniature treasure hunt. Each discovery is satisfying.”

Even though he has never found a big tooth “The search and the find are satisfying enough,” said Kruea.

Shark tooth hunting is a serious hobby.

It requires getting up sometimes before the sun and hitting the beach during low tide. That is the best time because the tide lines or the lines of debris are exposed. According to Danielle’s Dive Blog, walk that line and look for black triangles. These are the sharks’ teeth.

Brimlow said it’s something about the jet-black shine of the teeth to the thought of where they came from that fuels his passion.

“Were they here offshore or have they traveled the oceans for years and finally presented themselves for me to find,” said Brimlow.

According to chemistry.about.com shark’s teeth start to turn black after being buried in sediments. The teeth  absorb surrounding minerals, turning them from a normal whitish tooth color to black, gray, or tan. The fossilization process takes at least 10,000 years, although some fossil shark’s teeth are millions of years old

Here’s another piece of shark tooth trivia for you. If you do find a tooth, take a close look at it. Look for serrations or little ridges running up and down the side of the tooth.

“Serrations on a side of a tooth tell us that tooth was a shearing tooth,” said Dr. Daniel Abel, a marine biologist at Coastal Carolina University.  “A shark would approach its prey from the bottom, perform a slashing cut into the animal and let it bleed out, then will eat it.”

So, as the tables have turned and we are now hunting the hunter, remember this piece of shark tooth hunting advice. Get out there and start looking for your gift from the sea.