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dizaman

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mrshllt

Did you get this???

No More Myrtle
Council wants to be rid of rallies
Mayor: We don't need them
By Lorena Anderson - landerson@thesunnews.com

Furious and frustrated after the weekend shooting of a 20-year-old Coastal Carolina University student, Myrtle Beach City Council members said Tuesday that they do not want motorcycle rallies in the city any more.



A group of local ministers and a bike-rally event promoter spoke to the council at a morning workshop Tuesday and implored the city to help them "do something" about the behavior they witnessed during the past weekend.



Other groups have complained to city officials in previous years after the Atlantic Beach Bikefest biker rally and the Harley-Davidson spring rally.



"I experienced something ... enough is enough," the Rev. Tim McCray told the council on Tuesday. He said he and others had not slept for the past four days during the Atlantic Beach Bikefest, staying up to get a firsthand look at the parties that have for years concerned residents and prompted complaints. "They were up there partying, doing things they shouldn't be doing.



Grand Strand Connection is an umbrella group that is trying to help solve "issues that threaten the harmony of Myrtle Beach," said McCray, the group's founder.




The group is bringing together local officials, clergy, hotel owners, restaurants and other groups that plan and hold events geared toward bikers to make the spring and fall bike rallies more organized.




McCray said he witnessed public sex acts and other behavior, not among the sport bikers who traditionally have come to the area during Memorial Day weekend, but among the 16- to 20-year-olds who arrive by the carload to party during weekend rally.




"We know the NAACP has you locked down," McCray told the council. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People has sued the city and area businesses for what it has called racist behavior during the Atlantic Beach Bikefest, which is visited predominantly by blacks and happens around Memorial Day weekend.




Others argue that those who come to the Atlantic Beach Bikefest - whatever their race - don't behave properly, don't respect the city and its residents and cause more trouble than they are worth financially.



The NAACP has monitored the Bikefest and the Harley-Davidson spring rally to make sure people are treated fairly at both events.




Myrtle Beach Councilman Mike Chestnut, who appeared visibly upset by the weekend shooting of CCU student Corey Brooks, asked McCray and the others what they expect the city to do to make bike rallies more successful.




"Why should we invest in this event when we don't in any other?" Chestnut asked. "Let me tell you what's going to happen. The City Council is going to shut it down. We're not going to have a 20-year-old shot because someone is too cheap to pay for a $20 parking space.




Police have not confirmed a motive in the shooting.




Hakim Harrell, an event promoter, said he understands the city's concern, but hopes more organized activities scattered throughout the city would draw people away from Ocean Boulevard.



"We don't care which rally it is, we'd just as soon stop them," Mayor John Rhodes told the group.



"We don't need them," Rhodes said.

"We can fill all the hotel rooms without bike weeks