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County commissioner says naming N.C. 242 overpass for Conner ‘would be an insult’

Revised on: 12.7.2018 at 04:08 p.m.

Posted on: 12.7.2018 at 01:10 p.m.

By Allen Turner

The Columbus County Board of Commissioners Monday morning heard a plea from Commissioner Giles E. “Buddy” Byrd that the board not push for the N.C. 242 overpass at U.S. 74 to be named in honor of fallen N.C. Highway Patrol Trooper Kevin Conner because Byrd feels that Conner’s memory can be more appropriately honored.

Commissioners passed a resolution on Nov. 17, exactly a month after Conner’s death, asking that the N.C. 242 overpass be named to honor his memory, but on Dec. 3 passed another resolution asking that, instead, the overpass at U.S. 701 and U.S. 74 be dedicated to him instead because of its more central location on a more heavily traveled road. However, the N.C. Department of Transportation subsequently advised commissioners that the bridge was already named for Hezekiah Pridgen and, for that reason, cannot be named for Conner.

“I think it would be an insult, with Kevin’s goodness and his attitude and the way he presented himself, to name the 242 bridge over 74 for him, because it’s just half a cloverleaf,” Byrd said. “I think it should be something greater in the county. It should be somewhere in the central part of the county on a main road. I was in support of naming the U.S. 701 bridge over U.S. 74 for him. We need to slow down and do Kevin justice.”

Commissioners took no actions on the remarks by Byrd, who was excused from the meeting after speaking in order to embark on a planned out-of-state trip.

In other action, commissioners:

— Approved a contract for $196,000 for Inland Associates, Inc. for appraisal services for the 2021 property tax revaluation;

–Approved an amendment to the land use ordinance to permit temporary relocation housing for people displaced as a result of natural disasters;

–Approved expenditure of no more than $75,500 to pay for design costs associated with extension of county water service to the new Helena Chemical site on Midway Road; the money would come from already budgeted economic development funds;

–Approved a $289,750 professional services agreement for Terracon to provide environmental services for a Brownsfield grant awarded the county by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency;

–Approved a basic engineering services agreement with Municipal Engineering Services for design work for the $2.21 million infrastructure project at International Logistics Park;

–Heard a monthly administrative update from DSS Director Algernon McKenzie;

–Attended to several housekeeping matters always required during the board’s organizational meeting each December, such as approving surety bonds required by law for several elected and appointed officials and authorizing signatures on county bank accounts; and

–Cancelled their Dec. 17 meeting. While commissioners usually meet twice a month, it has become almost routine for the board not to hold the second meeting in December because of its proximity to Christmas. 

–As reported in Tuesday’s edition of The News Reporter, the board also received a study in which a former N.C. Superintendent of Public Instruction recommended against a merger of the Columbus County and Whiteville City school systems. The story is available at 

Here is how McMillan, Bullard and McDowell answered The News Reporter’s candidates survey prior to the election. 

Staff photos by Allen Turner

Jerome McMillian; his pastor, the Rev. Nathaniel Scott of Olive Grove Baptist Church; Judge Ashley Gore.


Bullard’s pastor, the Rev. Donald Conway of Chadbourn Pentecostal Holiness Church; notary public Waitus Greene (administering the oath); Bullard’s son, Matthew; his wife, Judy; his daughter, Ashley B. Wilson; Ricky Bullard.


Charles McDowell; June Hall, clerk to the board of commissioners; Judge Ashley Gore.


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december, 2018

10dec6:00 pm8:00 pmCounty Candlelight EventEntertainment and more at Vineland Station

10dec(dec 10)7:00 pm21(dec 21)10:00 amColumbus County Schools Holiday Concert Schedule

13dec4:00 pm7:00 pmFree pajamas for birth to 5 yrs oldColumbus County Partnership for Children

15dec2:21 pmChristmas on Lake TaborVisit Santa, Cindy Lou Who and the Grinch and Christmas flotilla

17dec7:00 pmSoutheastern Oratorio SocietyPerforming Handel’s Messiah

31dec01janColumbus Regional Healthcare System Healthy & Happy Hometown New Year's EveChildren's games and activities, DJ, ballon drop, ball drop at midnight. Plus, Taste of Columbus

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