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Today's Features

  • By John Nelson

    One of my favorite trees here at the university grows right behind the herbarium. It’s been there for years (the building was constructed about 1974), and is now about 25 feet tall. (I’m terrible at estimating heights of trees … but let’s just say that it’s tall enough for you to cause serious damage if you fell out of it, while climbing around. But why would you want to climb around in this tree?

  •  Everyone loves gathering for Christmas dinner. Many of us will also be sharing Christmas Eve dinner with relatives and friends. So with only a few days until Christmas, if you haven’t already, it’s time to think about that Christmas meal.

    Traditionally, most Christmas dinners consist of turkey, stuffing, ham, cranberry sauce, scalloped potatoes, macaroni and cheese, green beans or other veggies and an array of desserts. Sound familiar? Many of us have this same meal at Thanksgiving, too.

  •  Whenever I read the Matthean infancy narrative I feel the anguish of two good people who were flying in the face of the law and customs of their people. Here was an unwed mother trying to tell her fiancé that she is pregnant — but not with his child — and is, as well, still a virgin. Three facts, one more astoundingly incredible than the other, were his to swallow.

  • Brunswick School of Dance joins The Wilmington Ballet Company to present two performances of “The Nutcracker Ballet” this weekend at Cape Fear Community College.

    Show times are 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 17, and 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 18, on the Cape Fear Stage of the Wilson Center, CFCC’s Humanities and Fine Arts Center at 703 N. Third St. in Wilmington.

  • Listen Up Brunswick County is offering its audience an opportunity to save 25 percent on individual ticket prices for 2017.

    Tickets purchased before Dec. 31 for the upcoming season will include one ticket for free.

    The 2017 season of the music series consists of singer-songwriter Joe Crookston on Jan. 21, folk-newgrass-rock-classical Harpeth Rising on Feb. 19, crowd favorites The Kennedys on March 24 and Canadian troubadour James Keelaghan on April 9.

  • A lineup of llamas, horseback riders, county officials and other participants will highlight the annual Bolivia Christmas Parade on Saturday, Dec. 17.

    Parade participants need to meet for lineup no later than 10 a.m. at the Brunswick County Government Complex, with the parade launching at 11 a.m.

    The parade will proceed from the complex through Bolivia on Old Ocean Highway and will end at Bolivia Elementary School at 4036 U.S. 17 Business East in Bolivia.

    The road will be blocked off at 10:45 a.m. and will reopen at the end of the parade.

  • Four new rescued Georgia gators have been added to Shallotte River Swamp Park’s Alligator Sanctuary at 5550 Watts Road, Ocean Isle Beach.

  •  This time of year, I usually write about poinsettias, Christmas trees or something sentimental (some might say “sappy”) about family, friends and days gone by. The plant breeders have made poinsettias so good, most of the things we once discussed don’t really matter anymore. Fraser fir trees are durable enough to last well into January without becoming a fire hazard. And, for whatever reason, the sentimental stuff hasn’t kicked in yet.

    So, let’s talk about the subject that always generates the most questions in my world: lawn care.

  •  It’s getting close to the time to make some final decisions if you’re going to mail food gifts to someone for Christmas.

    Many people are interested in sending their own family favorites to friends and family. I’ve heard of a mom putting frozen sausage in a post office overnight envelope because the daughter couldn’t get a special kind where she moved. (Note: I don’t recommend this unless you take special care to send it in an insulated container with some form of ice. Thawing food at room, or mail truck, temperature is not recommended!)