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Local News

  • Shallotte suffers 23.62 percent tax decrease

    SHALLOTTE—For at least the last six months, the town of Shallotte has been preparing for a 25 percent decrease in 2011 net taxable value.

    Last week, a comparison study between 2007 values and 2011 values was released that caused town officials to choke on their morning coffee.

    The study showed Shallotte with a 1 percent increase in total value.

  • Brunswick County Schools ready to ‘attack’ achievement gaps

    BOLIVIA—Although Brunswick County Schools fares better than the state average when it comes to achievement gaps, superintendent Edward Pruden said administration will work diligently to “attack the gaps” recorded among various student groups.

    Statistics outlining such gaps were presented Tuesday at the Brunswick County Board of Education retreat.

    “Achievement gaps is something we didn’t talk about so much in education,” Pruden said.

  • Brunswick County Schools considers using hospital facility for vocational school

    BOLIVIA—Brunswick Community Hospital will soon be vacant, and Brunswick County Schools is considering moving in.

    Brunswick Novant Medical Center is slated to open this summer, leaving the current hospital’s 72,000-square-foot facility empty and ownership reverted to the county.

    Brunswick County Board of Education member John Thompson said the empty building, in Supply off U.S. 17, might be the perfect location for a career and technical education (CTE) middle and high school.

  • Superintendent forms committee to help determine budget reductions

    BOLIVIA—Superintendent Edward Pruden anticipates Brunswick County Schools will have to find about $8 million worth of reductions in the school system’s budget for the 2011-2012 fiscal year, and he’s asking for help in determining where those reductions will come from.

  • Yours for the taking—What you’re entitled to at every level of government

    Public records are property of the people, so here’s a list of what’s yours for the taking (at every level of government.)

    Municipal

    •Employee job descriptions and salaries

    •Budgets

    •Meeting minutes

    •Minutes of closed session meetings after the reason for the closed session is resolved

    •Government contracts and bids on government contracts

    •Correspondences, including e-mails, between board members and town staff

  • Public terminal available for public viewing, inspection of county e-mails

    BOLIVIA—Have you ever wondered what county officials and department heads were up to?

    There’s now an easy way to find out.

    North Carolina General Statute 132-1 states records are public “regardless of form,” which includes electronic records—meaning those e-mails about public business are public records.

  • What you would have missed: A look back at the stories that shaped the year

    Editor’s note: For the fourth consecutive year, in honor of Sunshine Week, the Beacon takes a look back at some of the top stories we brought you, which, if not for public records and open meetings laws, you would have missed.

    It’s been a very busy year for Beacon reporters.

    The ongoing saga at the Brunswick County Board of Social Services has been a persistent open meetings and public records battle for the Beacon behind the scenes.

  • Judicial sunshine: Access to courts and court documents in North Carolina

    BOLIVIA—The courthouse can be an intimidating place, even if you don’t find yourself in the defendant’s chair.

    But the law provides that Lady Justice’s courts are open, as are her records.

    In fact, former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis said more than 75 years ago, “Sunlight is said to be the best disinfectants; electric light the most efficient policeman.” Brandeis’ words are just as powerful today as in 1933, and are backed by the U.S. and North Carolina Constitutions.

  • County starts advertising for new health director

    BOLIVIA—Advertising is going out this week for applicants to fill retiring Brunswick County Health Director Don Yousey’s position.

    Yousey, speaking at the county board of health meeting Monday night, said if all goes according to schedule, interviews should be conducted in May and June. He said he would like for a new hire to be in place by July so he can work with the new person before he retirees at the end of that month.

  • Packed Carolina Shores meeting (mostly) says no to county recycling

    CAROLINA SHORES—A packed, standing-room-only group of Carolina Shores residents is just saying no to countywide curbside recycling and its accompanying fees.

    That was the turnout at a specially called town meeting with county officials at the Calabash Fire Department, where a number of the 150 residents in attendance came armed with plenty of questions about the program county commissioners are considering.

    Assistant county manager Steve Stone said it would be up to the town to decide about services, which he said could be flexible.