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Columns

  • You decide: Are low oil prices good or bad for the economy?

    By Dr. Mike Walden

    Guest Columnist

    I’ll be honest, I didn’t think I’d see it in my lifetime. I’m talking about gas prices being under $2 per gallon. It’s one of the true “good news” items in the economy.

  • Medicare Advantage enrollment periods

    By Jennifer Prince Sherman

    Guest Columnist

    The annual Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period runs from Jan. 1 through Feb. 14. During this time, Medicare beneficiaries enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Plan may leave their plan and return to Original Medicare.

    If you switch to Original Medicare during this period, you will have until Feb. 14 to also join a Medicare Prescription Drug Plan to ensure you will have drug coverage in 2016. Your prescription drug coverage will begin the first day of the month after the drug plan gets your enrollment form.

  • 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