• Some suggestions for aiding flood recovery efforts

    Trying to keep tabs on my friends back in the Palmetto State was a challenge as Hurricane Joaquin brushed the Carolinas’ coast, preceding an unusual weather phenomenon akin to aiming a giant fire hose across South Carolina and along its North Carolina state line Oct. 2-5. Even though you can count me among the folks who were stuck inside their homes for a few days, I think it’s safe to say the situation in Brunswick County was nowhere near as dire as it was, and has been, for our neighbors to the south where the death toll stands at 19.

  • Can we resolve our tax issues?

    By Dr. Mike Walden

    Guset Columnist

    Taxes are always part of discussions about government and public policy, and taxes were clearly a hot topic in the recent session of the North Carolina General Assembly. Debates occurred about taxing services, lowering income tax rates, implementing incentives for business and energy expenditures, and dividing public revenues between urban and rural counties. Legislation was passed for some of these items, but I can assure you there will be more discussion and debate in future sessions.

  • Fight fraud by guarding your Medicare number

    By M. Lee Millman

    Guest Columnist

    Health care fraud drives up costs for everyone in the health care system. Fraud schemes often depend on identity thieves getting hold of people’s Medicare numbers.

    So guard your Medicare number. Treat it as you would a credit card.

    Follow these important steps to protect yourself from fraud:

  • Making ‘Sunshine Week’ every week

    By Kevin M. Goldberg

    Guest Columnist

    The 10th Sunshine Week ended about six month ago, on March 21. This annual celebration of open government was created by the American Society of News Editors with a grant from the John L. and James S. Knight Foundation.

  • Help me help you help us

    Every week, without fail, I get dozens of emails that start out, “Can you publish this in your next edition?”
    More often than not, the answer is yes — if the email gets to me, and gets to me in time.
    If the email doesn’t get to me in time, the answer isn’t as certain. And any time my answer is no, it disappoints me as much as it does the senders. One “no” is one too many, but I’m even more beholden to deadlines than they are.

  • When it’s time to speak up, know how to play the game

    I have attended a number of public comment sessions recently and I have come to realize some public comments are better than others.

    No, I do not mean one person’s issue is better or more important than another. Anyone who is passionate about an issue that affects the masses should be encouraged to get up and speak about it to his or her elected officials and representatives.

    But some people know how to present their concerns better than others.

  • District 17 House update

    By Rep. Frank Iler

    Guest Columnist

    Last week in the North Carolina House of Representatives, we passed some major bills concerning the bond issue, farm issues, banning sale of aborted baby body parts, judicial elections and sanctuary cities; we were in session around the clock Sept. 29-30; and we adjourned the 2015 session early Wednesday morning, Sept. 30.

  • Is another recession around the corner?

    By Dr. Mike Walden

    Guest Columnist

    Much of the economic news has been rather gloomy recently. There have been wild swings in the stock market, with multi-hundred point losses on some days. The Chinese economy may be in freefall, while Europe is dealing with thousands of refugees from the war-torn Middle East.

  • District 8 Senate update

    By Sen. Bill Rabon

    Guest Columnist

    Early Wednesday morning, Sept. 30, the Senate adjourned after a long and successful session. During this session, the Senate passed crucial legislation that will foster growth and success for the future of our state. We have cut millions in taxes for North Carolina families and small businesses, remodeled our inefficient and ineffective Medicaid program, and increased funding for public education. Here are some more highlights of our accomplishments this session:

  • All it takes is one good person

    By now, Pope Francis’ whirlwind visit to the United States has come to an end, but I for one hope the impact of it will linger.