• What I know about the Charleston shooting

    Last Wednesday night, I was checking in with some of my friends on Facebook when I saw posts indicating something bad had happened near Charleston, S.C. Many of my friends are former colleagues who still live and work in South Carolina, where I’d spent most of my career.

  • A lucky day in retirement land

    By Mike O'Hare

    Guest Columnist

    I’ve had some great days since I retired three years ago, but this one is worth sharing.

  • District 17 House update

    By Rep. Frank Iler

    Guest Columnist

    Last week in the North Carolina House of Representatives, we honored legendary UNC basketball coach Dean Smith, we passed a controversial bill on zoning and aesthetic control by towns and we voted to override the governor’s veto on the magistrates’ recusal bill.

    The weather in Raleigh got hotter as the days wore on. The debate in the House also heated up as the days wore on. We started the week with bills we all could agree on and finished with a shocking override vote.

  • Telling the story of Calabash Volunteer EMS

    By Troy Thorup

    Guest Columnist

    How do you tell a story that is almost 35 years long, one that is written in not words, but the countless hours of selflessness given by so many over the years? One that tells the story of a community coming together, to stand watch over their neighbors in a time that predates our current county-based EMS system? How do you summarize the contributions of so many over the decades? You can’t.

  • Swamp park adventures, part II

    To bring you up to speed, two weeks ago a few of my Beacon coworkers and I were granted a preview of a zip line course at Shallotte River Swamp Park, which had its official grand opening last Friday. My colleagues completed the entire 10-line course, while I managed to finish 1¾ of it, having gotten myself stuck on my second effort because of vertigo, short arms and a sudden panic attack.

  • You Decide: Are there timeless rules for investing?

    By Dr. Mike Walden

    Guest Columnist


    A milestone was set in January of this year. No, it wasn’t in sports, entertainment or politics — although there may have been some records established in those areas I missed. Instead, it was a milestone in our collective personal spending. For the first time, Americans spent more on eating out than on eating in. Specifically, we spent $50.475 billion eating in restaurants and other food outlets that month, compared to the $50.466 billion we paid for food in grocery stores and supermarkets.

  • Fighting against ‘waters of the United States’ rule

    By Congressman David Rouzer

    Guest Columnist


    Last month, the Obama administration announced it would move forward with a rule that redefines the waters of the United States to potentially include any body of water, no matter how small or how temporary. This new definition would extend the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) regulatory reach to seemingly any body of water — including that water puddled in your ditch after a rain storm.

  • District 17 House update

    By Rep. Frank Iler

    Guest Columnist


    Last week in the state House of Representatives, we considered override votes on two bills Gov. Pat McCrory had vetoed, we passed a major Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) bill and we discussed a major gun bill.

    The weather in Raleigh last week was cloudy and rainy, while the General Assembly had the clouds of two vetoed bills hanging over it. One veto override vote was successful, while the other bill has not yet been considered.

  • Swamp park adventures, part I

    The fine folks at Shallotte River Swamp Park were kind enough to let a few of my coworkers and me take a spin — or rather, zip — on one of the zip line courses there last week.

    While my colleagues zipped through it with relative ease, my experience was more of a zap, like an insect making a beeline directly into a bug light.

  • A direct lesson in dealing with roundabouts

    I understand there is a little bit of controversy with the new, and future, roundabouts in the area.

    As I have heard it, some folks don’t like traveling through it or haven’t gotten the hang of roundabouting, yet.

    There’s good news though. I’m here to help. I have been through this before.

    Once upon a time, eight or nine years ago, I lived and worked much closer to Raleigh, the epicenter of this roundabout outbreak.