This past Saturday, a Myrtle Beach tourist from Lumberton, N.C. put a prayer request on Facebook for her mother, who fell deathly ill after visiting Myrtle Beach.
According to the post by Mrs. Beal, the city of Myrtle Beach reached out to the tourist and insisted she change (edit) it. Her response to the city of Myrtle Beach and the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber shown above was posted on Facebook last night. *The City Of Myrtle Beach’s response can be seen at the bottom of this article below.
Mrs. Beal’s original prayer request went viral, which caused Brad Dean, C.E.O. of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce to question her post and the truthfulness of her claims.
“We got just a few calls and we’re not aware of any cancellations, but it certainly has sparked a lot of discussion along social media, some questioning the accuracy of what’s been provided, others simply wanting to know is the water in the Myrtle Beach area okay,” Dean told the local media in Myrtle Beach. The Myrtle Beach Chamber also informed news channel WPDE: So far, the chamber said it doesn’t think the post has affected business in Myrtle Beach. The prayer request of this paying tourist from Lumberton, N.C. was picked up by the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Fox News, and a total of 80 media outlets.
However, WMBFnews T.V. in Myrtle Beach was one of the first to cover the story. Mrs. Beal says in her post response last night that WMBFnews reported the story inaccurately. She states a gust of wind blew the balcony chair into her mother’s leg.
The family stayed near 24th Avenue North, where one of eight volatile Myrtle Beach swashes, with highly fluctuating bacteria storm-water run off is located. The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control asks all tourists to never swim within 200 feet of either side of that toxic storm-water drainage area. Tourists say legally mandated DHEC warning signs at the eight infected areas are often turned facing the ocean and are not conspicuous enough.
MyrtleBeachSC.com reported on Myrtle Beach testing issues yesterday with a video of Dr. Rachel Noble, of the University of North Carolina, the world’s leading beach bacteria testing expert. Calls for more frequent, consistent beach bacteria monitoring systems and better ongoing communications with tourists when spikes occur have been requested by environmental groups, like the Coastal Conservation League.
“Water should be clean and safe for everyone all of the time. When you have 14 million tourists a year coming to swim, as is the case in Myrtle Beach, it ups the ante on any sort of gamble that could jeopardize water quality. It seems the responsible action to take in light of recent unfortunate events involving Myrtle Beach medical mysteries is to carefully scrutinize possible water contamination in real time. There are ways to do this with fairly simple devices, but they do cost money. Elected officials should get honest about what investments are best for Myrtle Beach’s future. Surely clean water is one of them,” said Lisa Jones Turansky, Chief Conservation Officer, Coastal Conservation League.
As we reported yesterday, the Myrtle Beach bacteria issue is completely fixable, but experts say the fix would cost around $200 million in order to eliminate the 8 infected areas in the 9.9 mile city beach of Myrtle Beach.
As Myrtle Beach is operating near its debt ceiling with $220 million in total city debt, the funds would likely need to come from $32 million the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce collects annually in tourist taxes. These taxes are used by the chamber to promote Myrtle Beach. It is unlikely that Mr. Dean, Myrtle Beach Area Chamber C.E.O. would support that financial solution for fixing the bacteria spike issues.
UPDATE: As of 1:29 p.m., August 3, 2017 City of Myrtle Beach Spokesperson Mark Kruea told the Sun News the following: “We have not asked her to put anything in particular in it,” he said. “We have asked for additional information, but no, we have not suggested or told her to modify her post in any way.”
Mr. Kruea is the same city employee who posted the following on the City Of Myrtle Beach website when news stories about Myrtle Beach Water Bacteria issues first became public in 2016.
MyrtleBeachSC.com has written extensively on this issue over the past two years.