• Steer clear of their cast

    By Mike DeFranco

    Guest Columnist

    The combination of swimming and fishing at the beach has become a very real and dangerous threat at many North Carolina beaches.

    Three of the five shark attacks occurring in Brunswick, New Hanover and Pender counties this past summer were within very close proximity to their respective piers and popular fishing areas. Baitfish and chum are exactly what attract sharks, and adding swimmers into this environment creates a tragic scenario of mistaken identity.

  • You decide: Should we modify or end the Federal Reserve?

    Few institutions generate more mystery and controversy than the Federal Reserve, or “Fed” for short. It has already become a topic in the current presidential campaign. Some see the Fed as absolutely necessary to the function and protection of the financial system. They credit the Fed’s strong actions in 2008 and 2009 as preventing another Great Depression.

  • Some holiday programming notes

    The holiday season is in full swing here in Brunswick County, what with all the festive events taking place now through the end of the year. It’s overwhelming — almost too much to keep up with.

  • On Campus at Brunswick Community College

    Every fall, Brunswick Community College (BCC) welcomes student athletes on campus. Hailing from North Carolina, South Carolina, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and as far away as Maine, Colorado and California, these students come to BCC to continue their education while playing a sport on the collegiate level. While at the college, however, these individuals generate campus spirit, excellence in the classroom and support for our community at large.

    Campus spirit

  • Seeing the bright side through the Browns

    It’s after midnight, just a few minutes into Tuesday, and I’m pushing my column deadline harder than I have in a long time. I blame my beloved Cleveland Browns for this.

    See, they got my hopes up and threatened to push their Monday Night Football game at home into overtime against the Baltimore Ravens (who I despise except for their general manager Ozzie Newsome, a Pro Football Hall-of-Famer tight end for my Browns who’s still my childhood hero).

  • Shop local on Small Business Saturday

    By Gregg Thompson

    Guest Columnist

    Every year, Gallup asks people how much confidence they have in various institutions. The results aren’t surprising. Only 8 percent had “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in Congress. Big business scored 21 percent. That’s no better than TV news.

    Small business, on the other hand, came in second with 67 percent of respondents considering it trustworthy. Only the U.S. military scored higher.

  • You decide: How can North Carolina use economic trends?

    By Dr. Mike Walden

    Guest Columnist

    As I travel the state giving presentations about the economy, there’s one common trait I find regardless of where I am: People are anxious about the economy.

    Although there’s been economic improvement since the Great Recession, I sense uneasiness among many people about how long the gains will last. Many believe the economic future is no longer in their hands and it is subject to forces and actions beyond their control.

  • Give thanks for humor and understanding

    There’s a website I visit from time to time and follow on Facebook called Overheard in the Newsroom. The point of it is to deliver “the best overheard comments and conversations in any newsroom.” I find it’s always good for a laugh.

    Since about a third of my friends are current or former journalists, I stumble across many snippets of conversations on this site that are eerily similar, if no identical, to conversations I’ve either taken part in or overheard in newsrooms where I’ve worked going on 25 years now.

  • ONDBEAT: Veterans' recognition continues after Nov. 11

    After Veterans Day this past Nov. 11, even after all the pomp of attending a ceremony the following day when their hero Army son received a critical piece of medal at the White House, Klara and Larry Groberg had more honors awaiting upon their arrival back home in Brunswick County.

    Neighbors had festooned their home in the Oyster Harbour community near Holden Beach with flags, miniature ones marching up the driveway and encircling their mailbox.

  • Showing up should count for something

    I was sitting in a meeting last week mulling over how quickly the seasons can change. This had nothing to do with the weather, I was thinking about how the stores made the abrupt switch from all things pumpkin spice to all peppermint.

    It made me wonder if the jump from harvest time to Christmas overlooks other holiday events that could provide the next great new shelf stuffer that can keep the economy growing.