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Today's News

  • What you would have missed

    Ever wonder if you’re getting the whole story?

    So do we.

    But the law is on our—the public’s—side, and it ensures we have access to public meetings and records.

    When reporting on stories, Beacon reporters always strive to get all relevant information—whether that’s demanding access to open meetings or requesting public records, we always search for the whole story.

    Here are stories that were published in The Brunswick Beacon you would have missed if Beacon reporters hadn’t used N.C. Public Records and Open Meetings Laws:

  • Waccamaw student, 9, killed in funeral procession crash

    A Waccamaw School third-grader was killed in a four-vehicle crash in Hoke County on Friday after a car sideswiped the limousine she was riding in on the way to her grandmother’s funeral.

    The driver of the car was charged with death by motor vehicle and driving left of center.

    Cheyenne Thomas was killed after David Douglas Deming, 32, of Fort Carson, Colo., driving northwest on N.C. 211 in Raeford, came out of a curve, went left of center and sideswiped two limousines in the funeral procession, according to a report from the N.C. Highway Patrol.

  • More subpoenaed records released

    More documents subpoenaed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office related to the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office have been released.

    Last Thursday, county

    attorney Huey Marshall released 55 pages of subpoenaed documents to The Brunswick Beacon.

    Among the subpoenaed documents were Brunswick County Sheriff Ronald Hewett’s oath of office, several law enforcement training certificates, Hewett’s West Brunswick High School diploma and several other awards and certificates not related to public office.

  • What meetings must be open to the public: An overview of the N.C. Open Meetings Law

    Would you know what to do if during a board meeting you were told to leave because the board was going to meet in closed session?

    Do you know what laws allow board members to meet behind closed doors?

    The first step in determining whether a meeting must be open to the public is to determine if the board is a public body.

  • The Freedom of Information Act

    The Freedom of Information Act is may be the most misunderstood of all methods to access public information.

    But if used properly, the federal act ensures the public has access to records of federal executive agencies.

    People often cite FOIA for public records requests at the state and local level, for which it does not pertain. N.C. Public Records Law governs public records requests at the state, county and local levels of government.

    FOIA allows government and records access at the federal level.

  • N.C. Public Records Law

    Public records are property of the people, and the law requires its owners have full access to these records.

    Chapter 132 of the North Carolina General Statutes dictates what documents a government must make available to the public, no matter what.

    The law clearly states every citizen has the right to access public records. But you have to know what records are public before seeking access to the information. The general rule of thumb is this: all documents are public unless the agency can prove by law that they’re not.

    If you don’t know, ask.

  • Tips when making a public records request

    The most important thing to remember when making a public records request is to identify exactly what information you’re seeking.

    As part of our Sunshine Week investigation, reporters from The Brunswick Beacon visited 19 different agencies throughout the county requesting different public documents.

    The newsroom personnel did not identify themselves as Beacon employees but rather, said they were citizens requesting information. In some instances, they gave their first or full names if it was requested.

  • Commissioners amend stormwater regulations

    BOLIVIA—Brunswick County Commissioners on Monday amended two sections of the county stormwater ordinance.

    The first amendment was to change the fee schedule for annual stormwater inspections and re-inspections, if necessary, engineering director Jeff Phillips said.

  • Brunswick County Town Halls

    We visited six town halls in Brunswick County seeking information about town employees included in the public records law.

    Shallotte Town Hall

    What we asked for: Salaries for town employees.

    How they did: The town clerk immediately furnished the request at no cost.

    What they said: Not every town employee in Shallotte is trained in public records laws, but “we train the ones responsible for it,” town administrator Paul Sabiston said.

  • Fourth-grader, dad killed in wreck

    A 9-year-old Belville Elementary School student and his father, an Iraq war veteran, were killed Friday in a motorcycle wreck on U.S. 21. The wreck happened north of Elkin. They were on their way to the mountains.