• Public participation allows for face-to-face feedback

    Public speaking isn’t my forte. I can do it adequately enough, but most of the time, I speak somewhat softly, I get a little nervous addressing strangers and I’m introverted person all around.

    Oh, I’m plenty friendly (I think), but it seems to take a Herculean effort for me not to be socially awkward in general — unless I’m talking about something I’m passionate about, like the work we do here at the Beacon. I’m almost always happy to talk with anyone, anywhere about that.

  • Las Vegas Night means 2016 events are soon in full swing

    While it’s true there’s always something going on and there are many things to do here in Brunswick County, some days, nights and weekends can be busier than others. We tend to experience a bit of a post-holidays lull after the first of the year, but then we get back into gear with big social occasions, usually starting at the end of January with the Shallotte Rotary Club’s Las Vegas Night.

  • You decide: Does North Carolina follow a wilder economic ride?

    By Dr. Mike Walden

    Guest Columnist

    I love the North Carolina State Fair. My wife will tell you that around June 1, I start the countdown to the opening of the fair. Everything about the fair — the farm animals, the exhibits, the food, the happy people and even the rides — appeals to me.

    Maybe my “love affair” with the state fair has something to do with my youth. My father would frequently take me to a local county fair where my favorite activity was riding the roller coaster.

  • On Campus at Brunswick Community College: Paying for college

    By Dr. Susanne Adams

    Guest Columnist

  • To all our Beacon readers, thank you

    As you’re reading this, I’ll be sorting through files at the Brunswick County District Attorney’s Office.

    That’s right. I accepted a new job.

    I can’t begin to tell you how much I enjoyed my time at the Beacon. I’ve said it time and time again, but I think your job is only as good as your boss.

    Having said that, I had two damn good ones.

  • Guard against cold-weather crooks

    By Roy Cooper

    Guest Columnist

    Falling temperatures remind us of the changing seasons, but we also need to be aware of seasonal scams.

    Winter conditions often bring an increase in reports of a particular scam that capitalizes on our fear of being cold. And after winter storms, unscrupulous businesses often prey on consumers seeking repair and clean-up services.

    In the utility cut-off scam, someone claiming to be with your utility company says your bill is past due and must be paid immediately or your power or gas will be shut off.

  • Public officials, like the press, must answer for their work

    Since I’ve returned to the Tar Heel State after nearly two decades in the Palmetto State, I’ve groused about how public records laws are much more transparent in South Carolina. I was particularly spoiled because after working with many law enforcement, public safety and court officials there for so long, many of them trusted me personally as much as professionally even though the stories I wrote often made their jobs potentially more difficult. They understood they had to answer for their work just as I had to answer for mine.

  • Changes to Medicare Part A and B

    By Jennifer Prince Sherman

    Guest Columnist

    Every year, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services reevaluate the costs for Medicare Parts A and B to determine if changes need to be made to deductibles, co-pays and out-of-pocket maximums.

    SHIIP, the Seniors’ Health Insurance Information Program, is available to North Carolina’s Medicare beneficiaries, their families and caregivers to help them understand how the coming changes will affect them in 2016.

    Part B: Medical insurance

  • You decide: Should North Carolina borrow money to build?

    By Dr. Mike Walden

    Guest Columnist

    North Carolinians are being asked to consider a big mortgage for the state. Totaling $2 billion, the mortgage would allow the state to build a variety of projects, including university and community college facilities, water and sewer infrastructure and recreational offerings.

    There are two key questions for voters to ponder: First, is mortgage financing appropriate? Second, are the projects worthy?

  • Major crime plus national notoriety equals front-page news

    After another mammoth Powerball drawing, it’s a good time to address the Beacon’s coverage of its most famous Brunswick County winner and her boyfriend.

    Go back to July 2014, when a high-speed chase led to the arrest of Kevin Jermaine Hankins of Supply in what was then the largest seizure ever of heroin — more than 8,000 bindles, or doses — in Brunswick County.