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Columns

  • Pollen is a precursor; change is in the air

    This week winter is officially over. I couldn’t be more excited as spring is in the air. The signs of change are everywhere. Daffodils have been popping up all over the place decorating the landscape with their brilliant shades of yellow. Cars are coated in the murky yellowish-green haze of pollen.

    Gone are winter hats and scarves—well, almost. Restaurants and businesses around the beach towns have reopened for the season.

  • The last of ‘Stet Happens,’ from my desk to you, farewell

    Well, this is it.

    By the time this newspaper reaches your hands, I’ll have boxed up much of the stuff in my office, passed on as many instructions and how-to’s as I can, and will be counting down the hours until I walk out of the Beacon office for the last time Friday.

    It’s hard to believe this journey, a newspaper career that has spanned countless hours for almost 15 years, is going to be over.

  • Ready to race? Maybe if you're a lucky leprechaun

    For everyone planning to run in the St. Patrick’s Day weekend Lucky Leprechaun race in Ocean Isle Beach this coming Saturday morning, I would like to say—good luck.

    If my own luck as a runner had held out, perhaps I would be joining you. But for now I must sit on the sidelines, or more likely at home swigging caffeine and listening to “Car Talk,” entertaining and plotting my next fitness strategy that apparently doesn’t include a race any time in the near future.

    I tried. I really did.

  • You don’t know what you’re missing at the county complex

    Brunswick County commissioners discussed adding video streaming and recording of their meetings during last week’s budget workshop.

    It’s an idea I wholeheartedly endorse.

    I’m not from here, but I’ve been covering local governments in North Carolina for years.   

    So I was surprised to find when I got here that video coverage of meetings had not made it to the coast. But I come here to praise Brunswick County officials, not to bury them for the delay.

  • Getting ready for goodbye: Time at the Beacon winding down

    Seven years into my journalism career, I needed a change.

    The late nights and weekends and stress of deadlines had worn me down.

    I had covered so many deaths, murders, wrecks, accidents, fires and more in my hometown I could rarely drive down a road and not recall a tragedy.

  • Story about child’s death still haunts reporter one year later

    As you enter the Shallotte Police Department, a photograph in the lobby says it all.

    A framed photo of 3-year-old Jaronn Ladale McAllister greets all who enter. Inscribed near the bottom of the photograph are the words: “Why we shall never forget; the reason we do our job.”

    And it doesn’t stop there.

    In Chief Rodney Gause’s office is another photograph of Jaronn.

    Jaronn’s murder a year ago on March 1 has touched many hearts—from the family to law enforcement officers to journalists and the community.

  • It's best to avoid any and all germ vectors like the plague

    As I sat Tuesday at another fabulous annual retreat of Sunset Beach Town Council, I pondered how much things have changed in just a year’s time.

    This time last year, I was posted next to a box of free-flowing Kleenex, having been finally taken down by some kind of terrible February bug after six years of relative virus- and bacteria-free health.

    I was really ticked, because this thing seemed to have come from nowhere—some unknown, invisible place (isn’t that where colds usually originate?)—and it had messed up my health record.

  • Still settling in: Am I missing anything else?

    So last month I picked your brains for your best-kept secrets of Brunswick County because, as you know by now, I’m not from here and I need to learn all the ins and outs of “coastal living,” even if I live a minimum of 15 minutes away from any coastline.

  • Covering communities shouldn’t be convoluted into anything other than news

    When I settled into the editor’s desk in 2007, one of my most vocal critics was Rich Cerrato, the current mayor of Sunset Beach.

    Back then Rich wasn’t an elected official. He was Average Joe Citizen who regularly attended town meetings and frequently took everyone—including this newspaper—to task.

  • When love is in the air, sometimes laughter follows

    It’s that time of year when love is in the air. But for those who are single, it’s the time of year their singlehoodedness glares in their faces.

    Recently a group of my single female coworkers and I were discussing our dating lives. It may have been one of the most humorous conversations I have had in the office.