Local News

  • Commissioners slash capital spending, agree to tap into fund balance to keep jobs

    BOLIVIA—An $8.4 million budget deficit looming over commissioners’ heads ignited passionate debate, which hasn’t been on display since the board assembled after the November election.

    After receiving a bleak budgetary forecast, county commissioners slashed future capital expenses, OK’d dipping into fund balance, and agreed to make more cuts to balance next year’s budget in hopes of leaving county employees’ jobs and paychecks intact.

  • Commissioners OK additional funds for drug court, domestic violence programs

    BOLIVIA—Arlington Johnson spent the last 20 years of his life on a perpetual drug binge—with no job, no car, no driver’s license—teetering on the brink of society.

    But six months ago, after being arrested for the first time during his decades-long binge, he entered Brunswick County’s Drug Treatment Court—a move he said saved his life.

    On Monday night, Johnson was before county commissioners, asking for the continued support of drug treatment court, started by Superior Court Judge Ola Lewis in July 2008.

  • Judge rules in favor of department of insurance

    It’s official—Brunswick County homeowners will see a nearly 30-percent increase in their homeowners’ insurance bill when they renew their insurance policies.

    A battle between the North Carolina Department of Insurance and coastal homeowners and representatives has been waging since last December, when former N.C. Insurance Commissioner Jim Long approved a 29.8-percent rate increase for Brunswick, New Hanover, Onslow, Pender and Carteret counties.

  • Developer, public officials among delinquent taxpayers

    Mark Saunders’ development dynasty includes large-scale luxury developments like Ocean Ridge and Seawatch at Sunset Harbor. It also includes a hefty tax bill.

    According to the Brunswick County Tax Department, Saunders owes more than $1.3 million in county property taxes on 37 accounts, each of which includes multiple land parcels and a $3.2 million share in an airplane. Saunders’ May 6 tax balance was $1,313,094.

  • Former mayors blast current leader in Carolina Shores

    CAROLINA SHORES—Two former mayors spoke out against recent actions by Carolina Shores Mayor Stephen Selby, charging he is going beyond his role and interfering too much with town staff.

    Former Carolina Shores mayors Dan Mann and Jack Elliott spoke at Tuesday’s monthly commissioners meeting amid a full-house crowd of residents, many of them supportive of Selby.

  • Dog adoptions resume at county shelter

    BOLIVIA—The Brunswick County Animal Services Shelter has resumed all services for dogs, including adoptions.

    Dog adoptions resumed at the shelter Tuesday morning, a shelter employee said, following a five-week suspension.

    The shelter suspended dog adoptions March 31 after several dogs developed a respiratory illness that lab results confirmed as distemper.

    The suspension period originally was for two weeks but was extended to prevent spread of the canine distemper virus and ensure it had been halted.

  • Sunset Beach council approves per-parcel sewer assessment, 10-year payback plan

    SUNSET BEACH—Town council drew applause and a few cheers as members voted to have sewer assessed on a per-parcel basis Monday night.

    The vote came after nine residents voiced concerns about the estimated $35 million project slated to get under way by Brunswick County later this year.

    Council also voted to keep the sewer payback period at 10 years rather than extending it to 30 as had been favored by more than 80 percent of property owners in a recent petition drive.

  • Food Lion to open next week

    Food Lion in Shallotte will have its grand opening at 7:45 a.m. Wednesday, May 13, at its new location on South Willis Drive.

    The event will include a ribbon-cutting ceremony and a chance for the public to get to know the management team and tour the store. According to a Food Lion spokesperson, grand opening festivities will continue throughout the weekend.

    The night before the grand opening is “dignitary night,” which will allow the mayor and other town leaders to get a preview of the new store, including product sampling and door prizes.

  • Southport, local Audubon Society set Ibis Fest

    The Cape Fear Audubon Society and the city of Southport are sponsoring Ibis Fest, a five-day event May 12-16 featuring workshops, field trips, music and speakers highlighting the natural resources of the Lower Cape Fear and Southport region, including Battery Island, an Audubon sanctuary for white ibis.

    Classes and presentations will cover the topics of birding, nature writing, photography, native plants and invasive species, while various field trips will take participants to special wildlife areas, according to organizer Sally Buchanan.

  • Unemployment numbers dip slightly due to seasonal hirings

    Brunswick County’s unemployment rate dropped slightly in March, going from 12.4 in February to 11.4.

    The local N.C. Employment Security Commission manager attributed the decrease to seasonal employment opportunities.

    The numbers are up over last year.

    In March 2008, the state paid slightly more than $1 million in benefits to Brunswick County. This past March, county residents received more than $2.74 million in unemployment benefits.