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Local News

  • 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.

  • Streetscape beautification mulled in Sunset Beach

    SUNSET BEACH—Town council mulled landscaping and color at a specially called meeting last Friday to review a report by the town streetscape committee.

    Tim Cate, a Sunset Beach resident and landscape designer who serves on the committee, advised council to prioritize areas it wants to do.

    “The first step is to make it look nice [at] the entrance to the bridge,” town councilman Bob Bobinski said at the March 11 meeting.

  • FOIA: Shining light on a limited part of federal government

    The Freedom of Information Act: It sounds so powerful, as if muttering the term will grant you immediate access.

    Unfortunately, that is not always the case with Freedom of Information Act, more commonly referred to as FOIA.

    FOIA is to the federal government what the state’s public records law is to North Carolina, with several exceptions, that is.

    The president, most notably, is exempt from FOIA. So are his cabinet and immediate staff.

    So is Congress, both House and Senate. Even the Supreme Court is exempt from FOIA.

  • The true cost to be governed: A look at commissioners’ compensation

    Though they ditched the $50-per-meeting fee many residents thought was wasteful back in September, just how much does it cost for county commissioners to govern Brunswick County?

    In honor of Sunshine Week, the weeklong celebration of freedom of information and the public’s right to know, the Beacon requested extensive information pertaining to costs associated with county department heads and county commissioners.

  • Calabash leaders OK with siblings on P&Z board

    CALABASH—Town commissioner Jody Nance says he did nothing improper last week when he voted for his sister to serve on the town planning and zoning board.

    Mayor Anthony Clemmons, whose brother chairs the P&Z board, says the same thing on Nance’s behalf.

    Nance said Monday he didn’t feel it necessary to announce at commissioners’ March 8 meeting that Sonia Climer is his sister prior to voting for her to serve one of three vacancies on the P&Z board. The vote for Climer was 3-2, with Clemmons casting a tie-breaking vote.

  • Calabash keeps 'the property' for appraisal under wraps

    CALABASH—What property is the town of Calabash eyeing for appraisal and possible purchase?

    That’s what The Brunswick Beacon asked after three town commissioners emerged from a closed session last week and voted to direct interim administrator Kelley Southward to pursue appraisal of “the property.” Commissioner Mary Knight cast the only "nay" vote.

  • A look at North Carolina’s Open Meetings Law

    You, as a member of the public, have a right to attend an open meeting.

    It’s the law.

    As defined in North Carolina General Statute 143-318.10, official meetings of public bodies are open to members of the public.

    A public body is defined by N.C.G.S. 143-318.10 as “any elected or appointed body, committee, commission, board or other group that is composed of two or more members who are authorized to exercise legislative, policy-making, quasi-judicial, administrative or advisory functions.”