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Local News

  • Most Interesting: Ralph Varnam

    It has filled him with fear and taken him to foreign shores.

    It has given him pleasurable days and soot-filled nights.

    And it was literally his family’s lifesaver during the Great Depression.

    It is saltwater, and the only creatures that have spent more time around it than Ralph Varnam have gills.

    Varnam, a World War II veteran, has crossed the Atlantic Ocean more than two dozen times. And that doesn’t even take into account all the years he spent clamming, oystering, shrimping, dredging and tugboating.

  • Most Interesting: Ray Mercer

    SHALLOTTE—Ray Mercer is in his element on a sunny December afternoon, in his office at WOW Real Estate just off Main Street in downtown Shallotte.

    Mercer, 55, is hoping and praying for president-elect Barack Obama’s new administration and expressing a hopeful outlook for the real estate field he joined nine months ago.

    “It’s going to come back,” said the broker-in-charge. “Our economy is based on the real estate market.”

  • Most Interesting: Eddie Hill

    Eddie Hill knows the transforming power of religious faith.

    His faith in God has taken him from an aimless college graduate trying to find the right career path to a Duke Divinity School student to a pastor at a growing, vibrant church in Brunswick County, where he and his wife are raising their four sons.

    Since Hill and his family came to Sharon United Methodist Church near Holden Beach in 2002, the church has grown exponentially, and has encouraged mission work, prayer groups and local outreach to people in need.

  • Most Interesting: Inge Arnold and Emily Reese

    By Renee Sloan

    Staff writer

    Inge Arnold and Emily Reese are two hard-working ladies—and they’re not doing it for the money. They’re volunteers. Though they’ve reached retirement age, both ladies choose to work because they want to and they enjoy helping others.

    Inge Arnold

    Inge Arnold, 73, was born and raised Germany. A member of a family of 10, she remembers her family struggling through hard times during the war. Her family was more fortunate than others because they had a garden and chickens to provide them with food.

  • Martin Luther King Day celebrations set in Brunswick County

    Several events honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. are scheduled for Jan. 16-19 in Brunswick County, including an annual march, youth forum and roundtable discussion, as well as a speech from King’s nephew.

    The Brunswick County Chapter of the NAACP has scheduled its annual three-day event beginning at 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 16, at the ILA Hall in Southport.

    This opening event will be a youth forum to address issues related to young people and includes entertainment and refreshments. The public is invited, and admission is free.

  • Brunswick Search and Rescue seeks donations for drowning recovery equipment

    The Brunswick Search and Rescue team is seeking donations to help purchase equipment for underwater recovery.

    Canine counterparts of the Brunswick Search and Rescue Team recently assisted in the recovery of a drowning victim in the Cape Fear River, and search and rescue team chief Christy Judah said the equipment they plan to purchase would streamline the underwater recovery process.

    Judah said the team’s human remains detection dogs could detect human scents underwater, which enables law enforcement officers and divers to reduce the search area.

  • Construction under way on Brunswick’s future hospital

    First comes the elevator shaft—next is the steel.

    Construction on the future Brunswick Novant Medical Center is under way, and the first upward movement is the construction of an elevator shaft, Brunswick Community Hospital spokesperson Amy Myers said.

    While construction workers have been busy with underground work since the hospital’s groundbreaking in June, the hospital’s elevator shaft is the first above-ground structure to take shape on the construction site off U.S. 17 in Supply.

  • Charges filed in fatal bridge wreck

    WILMINGTON—The driver who police say caused a fatal wreck on the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge in November has been charged for his role in the wreck.

    William McMillian II, 55, of Leland, has been charged with misdemeanor death by vehicle, according to Wilmington Police Department spokesperson Lucy Crockett.

    On Wednesday, Nov. 19, Myia Lashae Shepard, 29, of Wilmington, died after the car she was traveling in was struck by a flatbed truck driving in the opposite direction.

  • Most interesting: Peggy Allen

    In her previous life, Peggy Allen was a pediatrician. Now, at 90 years old, she’s happily enjoying retirement with her husband of 58 years, Bob, and the newest addition to their Shallotte Point home —8-month-old Shadow.

    With cascading views of Sasspan Creek, the Intracoastal Waterway and the ocean from their porches and nearly every room in the home, it’s easy to see why the Allens left behind the hustle and bustle of Glen Cove, N.Y., for a slower pace of life in Brunswick County.

  • Gospel sing set to remember church members

    Carson Varnam and Edsel Norris were longtime members of Dixon Chapel United Methodist Church in Varnamtown who loved gospel music, particularly bluegrass.

    Both men died this past year, but their inspiration lives on, congregation members say. So Varnam’s family decided to celebrate the men’s love of music and their contributions to the church by organizing a gospel sing on New Year’s Day.