Local News

  • County elections board answers to state board and laws



    The chain-of-command is pretty simple and clear-cut for the Brunswick County Board of Elections.

    “We answer to our board, and the board answers to the state,” board director Greg Bellamy said.

    The existence of county-level elections boards throughout North Carolina and rules governing them are spelled out in state laws, specifically N.C. Chapter 163-30.

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

    “Sunlight is said to be the best disinfectants; electric light the most efficient policeman,” former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis said more than 75 years ago.

    Brandeis’ words are just as powerful today as in 1933, and are backed by the U.S. and North Carolina Constitutions.

    Article 1, Section 18, of the N.C. Constitution states, “All courts shall remain open.”

  • North Carolina Public Records Law: Property of the people

    Public records, by law, are property of the people, and the law requires the people have access to what is theirs.

    Chapter 132 of the North Carolina General Statutes governs what documents government agencies must make available to the public.

    The law clearly states everyone, not just the press, have access to public records. But you have to know what records are public before seeking access. The general rule of thumb is this: All documents are public unless the agency can prove by law that they’re not.

  • Shallotte board retreat: Aldermen take steps toward vision plan

    Shallotte aldermen want to come up with a process for implementing the vision plan adopted two years ago. The plan will be used to facilitate future improvements to Main Street and the downtown business district.

    That was one of the main topics of discussion at last week’s town daylong board retreat to discuss future projects.

    Town planning director Allen Serkin told board members the town needed “one or two more levels of specificity” to put the plan’s goals into place.

  • Aldermen want Sunnyside School building for a community meeting place

    Should the restored Sunnyside School building in Shallotte be a town museum, a community meeting room or a combination of both?

    Town aldermen said at last week’s board retreat the town should definitely use one of the two main classrooms as a meeting room to rent out to the public, although the Save Old Sunnyside Committee seems to have other ideas.

  • Home and Garden Show this weekend at West Brunswick High

    Check out plants, find “green” products and learn the basics of timber framing a house at the Eighth Annual Brunswick Island’s Home and Garden Show, set for this Saturday and Sunday, March 20-21, at West Brunswick High School in Shallotte.

    The two-day event is presented by the Brunswick County Chamber of Commerce and will feature a variety of classes, demonstrations and exhibitors. Hours are 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday.

  • Shallotte considering de-annexing outlying properties

    Now that Brunswick County is providing sewer service to former Shallotte customers in areas the town previously annexed, is it time to consider de-annexing those properties?

    Shallotte Town Administrator Albert Hughes asked aldermen that question at last week’s town board retreat. Aldermen agreed the town had nothing to offer those property owners anymore but wanted more information on the process of de-annexing before making a decision.

  • Realtors reveal political agenda, 2009 numbers

    This election year, Brunswick County Realtors are supporting state candidates who oppose any increase in the privilege tax, oppose any tax on real estate services and are in favor of allowing terminal groins on beaches.

    Locally, they want to work with the county on its upcoming property revaluation, be involved in the discussion about involuntary annexation, support “fair distribution of sales tax” and support the preservation of natural vegetation.

  • 'Turbo-tourists' a key to county's economy; Hall predicts end of downturn

    Tourism leads to more people choosing to live permanently in their vacation destinations, which is a key factor in the economy of North and South Carolina, particularly in coastal areas like Brunswick County.

    That’s what Patrick Mason, co-founder of the Center for Carolina Living, said at last week’s Joint Economic Growth Summit at UNC Wilmington. And if an economic forecaster’s prediction of an economic turnaround is correct, 2010 is a good time for

    Brunswick County to capitalize on this trend.

  • N.C. Open Meetings Law: Shining the light on public business

    All public bodies in North Carolina are subject to the N.C. Open Meetings Law, N.C. General Statute 143-318.11.

    A public body is defined by N.C. General Statute 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.”