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Horry County Schools to reopen September 6, possibly include hybrid learning

By Ruben Lowman During a virtual board meeting held on Monday, June 13, Horry County Schools (HCS) officials announced they would be delaying the beginning of the upcoming school year by three weeks as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The 2020-21 school year will officially begin on Tuesday, Sept. 8. There will be 180 days on the calendar and the last day of school is scheduled to be June 16. HCS Chairman Ken Richardson had previously stated that he intended to push back the start date to give him and his reopening task force more time to evaluate and …

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North Myrtle Beach extends state of emergency act

By Ruben Lowman North Myrtle Beach City Council extended the city’s state of emergency ordinance for two months during an emergency council meeting held last Wednesday, July 8. The ordinance, which the city had initially declared back in March when the earliest measures were set in place to counteract the spread of the coronavirus, is now set to expire on September 6, unless city officials deem it necessary to rescind it or extend it further. They previously passed an extension to the ordinance when it was due to expire in May. The state of emergency grants City Manager Mike Mahaney …

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Local hospitals see rising hospitalizations as positive COVID cases increase

By Ruben Lowman Hospitalizations have been climbing in the area due to a sharp increase in patients being admitted who are infected with COVID-19, local medical systems have confirmed recently. There have also been some issues with staffing at hospitals along the Grand Strand as positive cases continue to increase. As of press time the zip codes of North Myrtle Beach, Little River and Loris each have a little over 340 confirmed positive cases and around 2,100 estimated cases. This is a significant jump from last week, when the numbers were roughly 280 confirmed and 1,700 estimated for each jurisdiction. …

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Atlantic Beach cancels Bikefest, approves mask ordinance

By Ruben Lowman The Town of Atlantic Beach made the decision on Monday, June 6, to cancel its annual motorcycle rally and pass an ordinance requiring the use of face masks in public places. The event, officially named “The Black Pearl Cultural Heritage and Bike Festival” but commonly referred to as “Black Bike Week”, attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors to the Grand Strand every Memorial Day, when it has been held since 1980. Town officials previously rescheduled the bike festival for Labor Day, as a result of the effects the coronavirus pandemic has had on the area. Mayor Jake …

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NMB mandates face masks in public amid virus increase

By Ruben Lowman During an emergency meeting last Tuesday North Myrtle Beach City Council approved an ordinance mandating the wearing of face masks in public places to prevent the spread of COVID-19. North Myrtle Beach was the first municipality in the county to pass facial covering legislation, which took effect last Thursday, July 2, at noon, followed closely by the councils of Myrtle Beach, Horry and Georgetown Counties and Atlantic Beach. This comes amid an alarming acceleration in positive confirmed coronavirus cases along the Grand Strand since the Memorial Day weekend. Previously, the numbers for new positive tests in Horry …

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NMB City Council passes budget delaying major projects, increases property taxes

By Ruben Lowman North Myrtle Beach City Council unanimously approved second and final reading on this fiscal year’s $89 million amended budget, as well as a 7.9 mils property tax increase within city limits, during a council meeting held last week. City officials have been left reeling financially by the effects of the coronavirus pandemic since March and as a result, have been forced to cut around $30 million from the projected budget that emerged from their annual retreat in Pinopolis in February. When passing the ordinances last Monday, June 29, Mayor Marilyn Hatley acknowledged the challenging choices those officials, …

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NMB City Council approves amended budget, property tax increase

By Ruben Lowman North Myrtle Beach City Council unanimously approved the first reading of a $89 million amended budget on Tuesday that raises property taxes within city limits. The proposed budget would cut a little over $30 million in major projects and carry a tax increase of 7.9 mils, bringing the city’s rate to 45 mils. At a workshop last week Councilman-at-large Hank Thomas was the only member to voice opposition to the proposed increase, saying he was concerned about the impact it would have on businesses and second homeowners. After deliberating with the rest of the council this week, …

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Runoff elections set for Tuesday

By Ruben Lowman The primary elections for Horry County Council District 9 and Horry County Auditor were close enough last week to necessitate a runoff between the top two candidates in each race. Mark Causey and Terry Fowler will compete for the District 9 council seat, while R.A. Johnson and Beth Calhoun will vie to be the next county auditor. Both individuals who currently hold these seats are retiring after long and illustrious careers serving the public from these positions. Paul Prince is retiring after nearly two decades as the district’s councilman and hoped to pass the baton to his …

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City of North Myrtle Beach gives concerts update

The city of North Myrtle Beach has been unable to hold their two summer concert series, Music on Main and the Sounds of Summer, so far this summer. Currently, concerts are not permitted by Governor McMaster and if/when he does eventually allow them the city will then make the decision whether to proceed with the performances. City spokesperson Pat Dowling said the city is stressing the importance of wearing masks and maintaining social distancing while in public to prevent the spread of COVID-19, which is rising in our area. “These small precautions are known to reduce and sometimes halt its …

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North Myrtle Beach City Council discusses budget amid COVID-19 cuts

By Ruben Lowman North Myrtle Beach City Council held a workshop on Tuesday to evaluate the ways in which they can remedy the issues with the city budget resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. The council initially proposed $119 million in expenditures in February at the annual budget retreat in Pinopolis, which is $27 million more than the previous year. City officials are now looking at a projected $30 million shortfall and will take the next two weeks to deliberate before voting on an $89 million budget. The key issue during the workshop hinged on whether or not to temporarily increase …

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