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Columns

  • 15 helpful tips for voting in 2014

    By Bob Hall

    Guest Columnist

    As an independent watchdog group, Democracy North Carolina receives all kinds of reports on our hotline at (888) OUR-VOTE. We encourage voters to review the candidates at www.ncvotered.org and call the hotline if you have any problems as you vote.

    Here are 15 tips to make your voting experience easier, which we’ve vetted through the State Board of Elections:

  • Trying to be everywhere at once

    Remember how I wrote the other week about how great it is we have so much going on in Brunswick County at this time of year?

    I take it back. It’s not as great as I thought it was, and here’s why: We apparently have a minimum of four big events happening on a given weekend and I’ve got three reporters on staff. And as spectacular as they are, they can’t be everywhere at once. Plus, my repeated (some might say ridiculous) requests for a device to clone them continue to be ignored.

  • Football fanaticism feels like home

    I suppose it had to happen eventually: Until this past Sunday, all of this season’s losses for my beloved Cleveland Browns, the pro football team for my hometown, were by fewer than five points. Until the previous Sunday, they’d won all their games this season by five or fewer points, too.

  • Annual Halloween (sugar) cravings get (dental) brush-off

    Just in time for Halloween, my teeth, which are still all naturally mine somehow, paid a visit to my favorite, friendly dental office last week.

    Or, rather, I should say “Doctor Brush” (not his real name, but what a great one for a dentist) and his skilled staff paid a memorable drop-in visit to me and my six- and 12-year-old molars, which are older than that now.

  • Brunswick County people are busy doing great things

    I’m so happy autumn is finally here. It’s not only the time of the year when I celebrate my parents’ birthdays, their anniversary and my kid brother’s birthday, but also enjoy cooler weather, many fall festivals (hello, funnel cake — and welcome back, layered clothing to hide the evidence) and my favorite holiday, Halloween.

  • You decide: Should we go for it?

    By Dr. Mike Walden

    North Carolina Cooperative Extension

    When I was a youngster in the 1950s, there were two things I eagerly awaited in the fall. One was the debut of the new TV shows and the second was announcement of the upcoming year’s auto lineup and styles. After a couple weeks of study, I could name every new brand and model from a football field’s length away.

  • What makes news and why is no secret

    Pssst! You! Yes, you!

    Look closer! I want to tell you something — the secret to keeping your name out of the Beacon.

    Ready? OK, here you go: Don’t do anything newsworthy.

    Nothing amazing. Nothing unusual. Nothing generous. Nothing humble. Nothing heart-wrenchingly brave. Nothing monumentally stupid.

    Basically, don’t do anything anyone would care to read about.

    Disappointed? Well, if you expected more, I’m sorry. But honestly, it’s that simple.

  • Compare, choose Medicare plans from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7

    By Jennifer Prince Sherman

    Guest Columnist

    Health needs change from year to year, and the benefits and costs of your health plan may change each year, too. That’s why it’s important to evaluate your Medicare choices every year.

    The annual election period is the one time of year when all people with Medicare can change their Medicare health plan and prescription drug coverage for 2015. Take advantage of the annual election period, and save money, improve coverage or both.

  • Ads, news are two different branches of the same newspaper tree

    It happens once about every two or three weeks: I get a message on my voicemail here at the office from someone who wants to “put an ad” in the Beacon. Trouble is, I’m not in the ad department; I lead the Beacon’s news department. And ads and news items are two very different things.

  • Caffeine overdosers unite: There's a lot to learn in the middle of the night

    Free coffee on National Coffee Day this past Monday, Sept. 29, must’ve been caffeinated bliss for addicts who don’t have to be mindful of overdoing it.

    All a coffeeholic had to do was venture up U.S. 17 for a free or reduced-price fix every five or so miles. And that’s just in consideration of all the Kangaroo stores and Mickey D’s dotting the roadside.