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Local News

  • Magazine names Sunset Beach top retirement destination

    Sunset Beach is one of eight coastal Carolina towns chosen as a top retirement destination by Where to Retire magazine.

    The Brunswick County beach town is featured in the latest May-June issue of the magazine in an article, “8 Coastal Camelots in the Carolinas.”

    Other North Carolina towns featured are Southport, Beaufort, Emerald Isle, and Wilmington. South Carolina coastal communities are Murrells Inlet, Georgetown and Beaufort.

  • WBHS guidance counselor Mary Blackburn dies after two-year cancer battle

    Mary Blackburn, career development and special populations coordinator at West Brunswick High School, has died after a two-year battle with pancreatic cancer.

    Blackburn, 68, died peacefully at her North Myrtle Beach, S.C., home surrounded by family Monday, April 13.

    In an interview with the Beacon in December 2013, Blackburn said the cancer was discovered after a colleague noticed she seemed to be losing weight.

    In April 2013, doctors diagnosed Blackburn with inoperable stage 4 pancreatic cancer, and her life was turned upside down.

  • Rabon's animal welfare bill calls for hotline

    Proposed legislation sponsored by state Sen. Bill Rabon, a Southport veterinarian, calls for establishing a hotline to report animal cruelty.

    Rabon is one of three primary sponsors of Senate Bill 209, titled “Responsible Breeding/Prevent Cruelty.”

    The other two sponsors are state Sens. Trudy Wade, who is also a veterinarian, and Andrew Brock.

    The bill, introduced March 10, passed first reading March 11 and has been referred to the senate committee on rules and operations.

  • Beaver bounty considered for 2015-16 budget

    BOLIVIA — The Brunswick County Board of Commissioners has been asked to consider a beaver bounty for Brunswick County.

    Stephanie Lewis, director of operation services, proposed putting $10,000 into a pilot program to remove beavers and clear their dams that cause trouble throughout the county.

    Lewis said the county has paid $4,000 a year for the past few years to participate in the Beaver Management Assistance Program (BMAP), a federal program that provided participating counties with an agency to call for beaver problems.

  • Fire departments ask county to make up difference from collected fire fees

    BOLIVIA — Brunswick County fire fee payments to fire departments could be restructured for a second consecutive year.

    At an April 9 budget workshop, the Brunswick County Board of Commissioners discussed a request presented by Fire Marshal Scott Garner from some of the departments to receive 100 percent of the assessed fire fee rates, with the county making up the difference from fees that can’t be collected.

  • Unemployment rate down to 7.5 percent in February

    Brunswick County’s unemployment rate decreased in February to 7.5 percent after soaring to 8 percent in January.

    The rate had fallen to 6.3 percent in December 2014.

    The county had an 8.3 percent unemployment rate in February 2014.

    Unemployment numbers are released through the North Carolina Department of Commerce Labor and Economic Analysis Division, which reported the state’s unemployment rate fell to 5.7 percent in February, down from 5.9 percent in January.

  • Brunswick County debt rating raised

    Brunswick County’s general obligation debt rating has been raised from AA to AA+ and its appropriation-backed debt rating raised from AA- to AA in Standard & Poor’s Ratings released this week.

    Brunswick County’s series 2015A and 2015B limited obligation bonds were also given a rating of AA by Standard & Poor’s, and a rating of Aa3 by Moody’s Investors Services this week.

  • Man pleads guilty in fatal 2014 crash

    A man charged in the death of a motorcyclist in St. James more than a year ago has pleaded guilty to misdemeanor death by motor vehicle, court records show.

    Kevin C. Zell, 29, suffered serious injuries in the head-on collision that killed 39-year-old Sonia Vowls of Wilmington on Feb. 16, 2014, N.C. State Highway Patrol Trooper K.E. Herring said.

    Vowls and another motorcyclist were headed east on N.C. 211 when Zell, who was driving a 2011 Volkswagen Jetta, crossed the center line and hit Vowls, who was thrown from her 2002 Harley Davidson motorcycle.

  • Man convicted of killing 3-year-old Shallotte boy

    BOLIVIA — It took a jury less than an hour to convict a Wilmington man of first-degree murder in the death of a 3-year-old Shallotte boy more than three years ago.

    Minutes later, 29-year-old Montey Andrea Murray was ordered to serve the rest of his life in prison without the possibility of parole.

    Murray also was convicted Tuesday, April 14, of felony child abuse inflicting serious bodily injury in the 2012 death of Jaronn Ladale McAllister, as well as felony fleeing to elude arrest and two counts of assault with a deadly weapon on a government official.

  • Testimony continues in Murray murder trial

    BOLIVIA — Six witnesses testified in Brunswick County Superior Court on Thursday, April 9, in the trial for a 29-year-old man accused of killing a 3-year-old Shallotte boy more than three years ago.

    It was the 11th day of the first-degree murder trial for Montey Andrea Murray, who also faces a felony child abuse charge in the March 2012 death of Jaronn Ladale McAllister.

    Of Thursday’s six witnesses, five were emergency department personnel with Novant Health Brunswick Medical Center.