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Local News

  • Commissioners consider capital improvement projects

    BOLIVIA—Brunswick County commissioners will decide on several potential capital improvement projects and how to finance them for the upcoming fiscal year in the coming months.

    During county commissioners’ two-day budget and goals retreat last Wednesday, Feb. 15, and Thursday, Feb. 16, Brunswick County Finance Director Ann Hardy presented commissioners with a list of possible projects.

  • Commissioners OK changes to employee, spouse healthcare benefits

    BOLIVIA—Brunswick County commissioners have agreed to tweak the county’s healthcare coverage for county employees and their spouses to keep healthcare costs in line.

    During their two-day budget retreat last Wednesday, Feb. 15, and Thursday, Feb. 16, county human resources director Debbie Barnes presented commissioners with options to curb rising healthcare costs.

    Since the county went to a self-insured model last year, Barnes said commissioners could enact policies or changes to stabilize rising healthcare costs.

  • Brunswick County loses out to Georgia in Caterpillar deal

    Brunswick County has come up short in luring another major industry to the county.

    Just months after losing the bid for Continental Tire and its estimated 1,300 jobs to Sumter County, S.C., in October, Brunswick County lost a bid for Caterpillar Inc. and its estimated 4,000 jobs. Caterpillar Inc. will locate in Georgia.

    Brunswick County Economic Development Director Jim Bradshaw said Brunswick County was eliminated from Caterpillar’s search Feb. 7.

  • Attorney disputes DA’s claims about officer shooting

    Attorney Mark Lewis has taken issue with a press release District Attorney Jon David issued last week, clearing a sheriff’s deputy of any wrongdoing in a December 2011 shooting.

    Last week, David cleared Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Brian Tully, saying his actions in a Dec. 26, 2011, shooting were justified and “the need for deadly force was authorized.”

  • VIDEO INCLUDED: Open meetings violation one cause for Warren’s removal

    BOLIVIA—Of the items considered for DSS chairman and county commissioner Charles Warren’s removal from the DSS board Monday night, commissioners heard evidence about the DSS board’s open meetings violation on Dec. 13, 2011.

    At that meeting, board member David Grimes read, at Warren’s direction, a statement saying the reason for going into closed session was N.C. GS 143.318(a)3 and (a)6, to consult with an attorney and to discuss personnel, respectively.

  • Beacon to honor community members with First Amendment award

    SHALLOTTE—In honor of Sunshine Week, The Brunswick Beacon will honor a community member or members for commitment to freedom of information and the First Amendment.

    Sunshine Week is an annual event created by the American Society of News Editors. This year, it will take place March 11-17, and, in keeping with the Beacon’s commitment to freedom of information, we want to recognize a community member who has stood up for freedom of information.

  • Southport man killed in wreck on N.C. 211

    A Southport man was killed Sunday when his vehicle was struck head-on by a police cruiser on N.C. 211 near Oak Island.

    North Carolina State Highway Patrol 1st Sgt. Troy Pope said Jack Ferguson Kirkland, 73, of Southport, was killed Sunday when his van was struck head-on by a Southport Police cruiser.

    The Southport Police officer, Joshua Wesley Gaughf, 22, of Bolivia, was not at fault, Pope said.

    Pope said Gaughf was traveling north on N.C. 211 about a half a mile from Oak Island.

  • VIDEO INCLUDED: Warren booted from DSS board

    BOLIVIA—The tables have turned and it was county commissioner Charles Warren’s turn to be removed Monday night.

    During Monday night’s county commissioners’ meeting, commissioners voted four votes to one to remove Warren from the DSS board for, among other things, removing fellow board member Pat Sykes and a Beacon reporter from a December 2011 DSS board meeting.

    Warren cast the lone dissenting vote.

  • Jury selection in drive-by murder trial to begin Monday

    BOLIVIA—Jury selection for a murder trial in which a Calabash man was killed in a 2008 drive-by shooting began Monday afternoon in Brunswick County Superior Court.

    Matthew Lee Baber, 28, of Sunset Beach, has been charged with murder, felony conspiracy and discharging a weapon into an occupied dwelling or moving vehicle.

    Baber is represented by Shallotte attorney James Payne. Assistant district attorneys Lee Bollinger and Caitlin Richards are representing the state, and Superior Court Judge Christopher Bragg is presiding.

  • Commissioners chairman to manager: ‘Hold the tax rate’

    BOLIVIA—After several hours of presentations over two days, Brunswick County commissioners set one major goal for the upcoming fiscal year—hold the line on taxes.

    In fact, when Brunswick County Manger Marty Lawing asked commissioners for a direction in the upcoming budget process, commissioners chairman Bill Sue replied, “The direction is, hold the tax rate.”

    Commissioners Scott Phillips, Phil Norris, Marty Cooke and Charles Warren all agreed.