Public news and announcements are brought to you by the Horry County Public Information Office.
On October 7, 2013
in Public Safety
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.
On October 7, 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.
On October 4, 2013
in Weekly Update
On October 4, 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).
“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.
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:
"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.
 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.
 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”).
On October 3, 2013
in Public Safety
On October 2, 2013, Detectives with the Horry County Police Department’s Narcotics and Vice Section initiated an investigation and operation into illegal prostitution utilizing a website known for that activity. Deals for sexual acts were made in exchange for money and parties agreed to meet at predetermined locations in the Myrtle Beach section of Horry County. As a result of the operation, a total of nine (9) arrests were made.
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