News and Announcements

Public news and announcements are brought to you by the Horry County Public Information Office.


Horry County News and Announcements

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Two Family Farms Designated as Century Farms

Conway, South Carolina — The South Carolina Century Farms Program announced that the Vereen Farm and the Worley Farm in Horry County have been designated as Century Farms. The Century Farms Program was created to honor families who have owned and farmed on the same land for at least one hundred years. 

The Vereen Farm, located in Brookville, was purchased by the family in 1902 and has been continuously owned by the family since then. The Vereen Farm is currently owned by Marilyn and Paul Stallings of Wilson, North Carolina. They farm corn, wheat, cucumbers, tobacco and soybeans. 

The Worley Farm, near Loris, was purchased by the family in 1881 and is currently owned by Faye Worley of Nichols, South Carolina. They make high quality hand-crafted goat milk soaps and SCDA certified farmstead cheeses. 

Other Horry County Farms that are Century Farms include the Stevens Farm, Horace Hammond Farm, Ralph Hammond Farm, McNeill Farm, H.G. Bullock Farm, Bellamy Farms and the Hendrick Farm. The Century Farms Program was created in 1974 for Anderson, Oconee and Pickens Counties. In 1976, the South Carolina Legislature expanded the program into a statewide program. Since its inception, 350 properties have been designated as Century Farms. 

The Century Farms Program is administered by the Pendleton District Commission in Pendleton, South Carolina. This designation places no restrictions on the farm, nor does it offer legal protection. There is no cost to apply. For more information, please contact Pendleton District Commission at (864) 646-3782 or centuryfarm@pendeltondistrict.org.



Internet Predator Pleads Guilty

 

GEORGETOWN, SOUTH CAROLINA – On Thursday, October 3, 2013, before The Honorable Edward B. Cottingham, Defendant Ryan Sean Bowlen plead guilty to one count of Criminal Solicitation of a Minor and one count of Attempted Dissemination of Obscene Material to a Person Under 18 Years of Age.   

These offenses stemmed from an investigation that occurred when Bowlen placed an ad on Craigslist.com that solicited sex from a minor child.  Through e-mails and text messages, Bowlen communicated with and sent images of his penis to a minor whom he believed to be 14-years-old.  After communicating for several weeks, Bowlen traveled to meet the minor, where he was then arrested.  Subsequent to his arrest, Bowlen consented to the forfeiture of his seized computer.  Criminal Investigator Ginger Pop, with the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit (Horry and Georgetown Counties), made this case.   

For each offense, Bowlen was sentenced to concurrently serve 10 years suspended to 5 years of incarceration followed by 3 years of probation.  Additionally, during Bowlen’s guilty plea, the State and Investigator Pop demonstrated that Bowlen’s actions were for the purpose of engaging in sex with the minor or getting the minor to perform sexual acts in his presence.  Therefore, once Bowlen is released from incarceration, he will be required under South Carolina law to register as a Sex Offender for the remainder of his life. 

Prior to his guilty plea, The Honorable J. Michael Baxley sentenced Bowlen to serve 90 days in jail for Criminal Contempt of Court, after testifying during a bond revocation hearing.  The 90-day sentence must run consecutively to the 5 years he will serve on these charges.    

The Fifteenth Circuit Solicitor’s Office would like to thank our local Investigator, Ginger Pop, local law enforcement, and the Attorney General’s Office for their hard work.  For questions, please contact the Criminal Prosecution Division of The South Carolina Attorney General’s Office.   



Horry County Veteran's Affairs to Close for Mandatory Training

Conway, South Carolina – The Horry County Veteran’s Affairs Office will close at 12 p.m. on Tuesday, October 8, 2013, and remain closed through Friday, October 11, 2013, for mandatory training.  The office will reopen at 8 a.m. on Monday, October 14, 2013.   

Should immediate assistance be needed, citizens can contact the Veteran’s Administration Call Center at 1-800-827-1000.   

For more information, contact Horry County Veteran’s Affairs at 843-915-5480.



Horry County Weekly Update for 10/7-10/11/13

Click HERE for a PDF of Horry County Government's Weekly meetings and events for October 7 - October 11, 2013.


Results from First Season with WestJet

Conway, South Carolina – On May 2, 2013, WestJet began new twice-weekly, non-stop service between Toronto (YYZ) and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The airline’s first season serving Myrtle Beach International Airport (MYR) concludes October 23, 2013. 

Over the past several years Porter Airlines has served MYR during the spring and fall season.  WestJet is the first Canadian air carrier to serve the market during Myrtle Beach’s peak summer season.  

Based on passenger numbers, as reported to the airport by WestJet, the airline has flown over 3,200 passengers to the Grand Strand (May through August).  During August 2013, the airline flew more people to the market than any previous month; almost 1,060 passengers or the equivalent - of having 85 of every 100 seats occupied (85 percent load factor).[1]  

“The airport regularly monitors westjet.com to ensure airfares being offered are reasonably priced.  Our latest evaluation, based on travel between October 10 and October 17, 2013, found that a person wanting to visit Myrtle Beach can fly round trip between YYZ and MYR for as low as $424.29, including all taxes, fees and charges, or less than $0.32 cents per flight mile” said Kirk Lovell, Marketing Director for Horry County Department of Airports.[2]

To obtain air service from WestJet, Horry County entered into a Revenue Guaranty Agreement, ensuring the carrier would receive a 15 percent profit margin on operations directly related to service on WestJet to MYR for a period of 6-months, with a maximum exposure not to exceed $1 million.   Based on internal forecasting by the Horry County Department of Airports (HCDA), it is currently projected that the County will owe WestJet approximately $570,000 under the agreement.  The official tabulation of the amount due WestJet will not be available until late December 2013. 

“Although this first season was not as strong as we had hoped, WestJet did open Myrtle Beach to new markets across Canada,” said Chris Eldridge, Horry County Administrator. “The relationship between MYR, WestJet and the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce is one that can be used to enhance the diversification of our tourism base and flight services. Horry County is currently exploring alternate means of funding the agreement with the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce.  Any future financial arrangements will be directly between WestJet and the Chamber.” 

In an attempt to understand passenger trends related to the new service, the airport surveys WestJet’s passengers prior to departing MYR.  The airport has learned that: 

  • 59 percent of passengers flying WestJet have never visited the Grand Strand – first time visitors;
  • 63 percent of first time visitors stayed in the Grand Strand for more than 7 days;
  • 54 percent of first time visitors reported having a household income in excess of $100,000;\
  • Based on MYR surveys conducted on WestJet passengers, it is estimated that first time visitors had a $6.64 million economic impact in Horry County;
  • While visiting in Myrtle Beach first time visitors enjoyed the beach, miniature golf, dining, shopping, the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk, area amusements and more. 

"Our community has benefited immensely through WestJet's promotion of our destination brand as well as the incremental economic impact, which is substantial,” stated Brad Dean, President & CEO of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce. “We continue to work with WestJet to optimize their 2013 passenger count and have begun the planning process for what we expect will be even better results in 2014." 

“Despite the slow start we are optimistic WestJet will return for its second season starting May 2014,” said Pat Apone, Interim Director of Airports for Horry County Department of Airports. “While WestJet has not confirmed it will return, we believe the airline will be back as tickets for May 2014 service are now available for purchase at westjet.com.” 

About WestJet  WestJet is Canada's most preferred airline, offering scheduled service to 85 destinations in North America, Central America and the Caribbean. Powered by an award-winning culture of care, WestJet pioneered low-cost flying in Canada. Recognized nationally as a top employer, WestJet now has more than 9,000 WestJetters across Canada. Operating a fleet of more than 100 Boeing Next-Generation 737 and Bombardier Q400 NextGen aircraft, WestJet strives to be one of the five most successful international airlines in the world.  

About the Myrtle Beach International Airport (MYR) The Myrtle Beach International Airport is a full-service facility that serves as the gateway to the Grand Strand. The Myrtle Beach International Airport is owned by Horry County and operated by the Department of Airports. MYR is served by Allegiant Air, Delta Air Lines, Porter Airlines, Spirit, United Airlines, US Airways and WestJet offering non-stop service to over 25 cities.   

[1] It is important to note that load factor is a capacity indictor, which reports how many seats are occupied during flight.  85 percent load factor is calculated using total reported passengers divided by total seats; stated load is an assumption based on available information. 

[2] Source: WestJet.com; fares pulled Oct 2, 2013, for round trip travel between YYZ – MYR, with travel originated YYZ; YYZ- MYR leg was $310.30 and MYR-YYZ return was $126.75 (“Sale”).



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