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Today's News

  • Coupons intended to save money burn a bigger hole in pocket

    Everyone in my family has always loved a bargain.

    My dad’s greatest joy is returning from the supermarket and announcing his greatest deal of the day. More often than not, it’s a couple of dollars saved on a gallon of milk.

    “And I didn’t even need a coupon!” he’ll say every time.

    My cousin Debbie is always swindling freebies from people, but the good part about it is she’s always willing to share. You can’t leave her house without a bag full of gourmet coffee samples or vending machine snacks.

  • North Carolina stimulus funding: more questions than answers

    RALEIGH—North Carolina is slated to receive a $6.1 billion share of the recently approved $787 billion included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

    But exactly how and when the money will be spent has yet to be determined.

    “We do not have all of the requirements set out by federal agencies,” Chrissy Pearson, Gov. Bev Perdue’s press secretary, explained.

  • Insurance commissioner asks legislators to reject bills

    RALEIGH—If North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin threw the first punch, coastal legislators wasted no time hitting back.

    On Monday, Goodwin issued a letter to members of the North Carolina General Assembly, Gov. Bev Perdue and members of North Carolina’s Congressional delegation urging legislators to reject bills introduced in the state House and Senate, which propose capping homeowners’ insurance at current rates.

  • Try creating your own sauce when sauting those chicken breasts

    Boneless, skinless chicken breasts are the ultimate fast food for family and guests—quick to prepare and low in fat. However, you can substitute chicken thighs for most any recipe calling for breasts, especially if your preference is dark meat.

    I’ve seen many articles claiming more than 100 ways to prepare chicken. I’m sure it must be at least 10 times that amount, but before I share a few of my favorites, let’s go over the ABC’s for sautéing chicken breasts for tender, juicy results.

    Sautéing Chicken Breasts

  • Starting a new trend: Southern garden chic

    During a class last week, one of the students asked me what I considered an elegant garden. Elegance is, of course, in the eyes and mind of the individual. I have visions of graceful Japanese maples, stacked-stone retaining walls, fountains and outdoor kitchens with enough BTU’s to make Lucifer envious.

  • Pruning primer: Part II, understanding the 4Ds of pruning

    Last week, we had an introduction to pruning giving you some basic reasons for pruning, what to prune and how to prune.

    There are always the 4Ds of pruning to fall back on whenever you are trying to decide whether to prune or not to prune. If you don’t need to prune, then don’t. The 4Ds are basic. You need to prune away any dead, diseased, dying or damaged tissue.

  • Choose fruit tree varieties with care

    Late fall through winter in southeastern North Carolina is a great time for planting fruit trees. There are several kinds that work well in backyard landscapes; however, not every fruit tree will grow and reliably produce in our area.

  • Can salvation be extended to include others? It is its own reward

    It was an icy cold, snowy day in the village of Valatie, N.Y. My youngest sister was returning home after long, somewhat unproductive, hours spent working in her studio/store.

    Her dream of creating pieces of art and offering them for sale in a combination workplace and salesroom was not meeting her expectations. Some saw her productions as costume jewelry, perused, commented, and left without purchase.

  • The other side of the argument: N.C. Rate Bureau justifies rate setting

    For months, county commissioners, state legislators and local officials have been hammering the North Carolina Department of Insurance and the North Carolina Rate Bureau over increases approved for homeowners’ insurance rates in coastal counties.

    In December 2008, former insurance commissioner Jim Long approved a 29.8 percent increase to homeowners’ insurance rates in Territory 42, which includes Brunswick County. While Long ordered the 29.8 percent increase, the rate bureau requested a 69.8 percent increase for Territory 42. The rates take effect May 1.

  • Short stay but great work by Walters

    The news last week in high school football was Gordon Walters’ resignation at South Brunswick to become the football coach at White Knoll in South Carolina.

    The bigger news for Walters came a day later, Feb. 19, when wife Stephanie gave birth to daughter Avery Sloane Walters.

    “Eight pounds, 12 ounces,” Walters said. “21 inches long.”

    It’s hardly surprising for a football coach to remember measurements, but at South, Walters succeeded because he blended football strategy with a family atmosphere.