• 15 helpful tips for voting in 2014

    By Bob Hall

    Guest Columnist

    As an independent watchdog group, Democracy North Carolina receives all kinds of reports on our hotline at (888) OUR-VOTE. We encourage voters to review the candidates at www.ncvotered.org and call the hotline if you have any problems as you vote.

    Here are 15 tips to make your voting experience easier, which we’ve vetted through the State Board of Elections:

  • Football fanaticism feels like home

    I suppose it had to happen eventually: Until this past Sunday, all of this season’s losses for my beloved Cleveland Browns, the pro football team for my hometown, were by fewer than five points. Until the previous Sunday, they’d won all their games this season by five or fewer points, too.

  • Annual Halloween (sugar) cravings get (dental) brush-off

    Just in time for Halloween, my teeth, which are still all naturally mine somehow, paid a visit to my favorite, friendly dental office last week.

    Or, rather, I should say “Doctor Brush” (not his real name, but what a great one for a dentist) and his skilled staff paid a memorable drop-in visit to me and my six- and 12-year-old molars, which are older than that now.

  • Stop worrying and learn to love the zipper

    “The Zipper” is happening.

    For some of you, that’s all you needed to hear to have already figured out what I am talking about and are equally excited as I am.

    Others are perplexed, but I will let you in on my shorthand so you can join the rest of us in spreading the good news.

    The NCDOT has embraced, or should I say finally embraced, the zipper, which is only the simplest, easiest most obvious way to get stalled traffic moving along on highways, city streets or anywhere vehicles travel.

  • You decide: Should we go for it?

    By Dr. Mike Walden

    North Carolina Cooperative Extension

    When I was a youngster in the 1950s, there were two things I eagerly awaited in the fall. One was the debut of the new TV shows and the second was announcement of the upcoming year’s auto lineup and styles. After a couple weeks of study, I could name every new brand and model from a football field’s length away.

  • Brunswick County people are busy doing great things

    I’m so happy autumn is finally here. It’s not only the time of the year when I celebrate my parents’ birthdays, their anniversary and my kid brother’s birthday, but also enjoy cooler weather, many fall festivals (hello, funnel cake — and welcome back, layered clothing to hide the evidence) and my favorite holiday, Halloween.

  • Compare, choose Medicare plans from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7

    By Jennifer Prince Sherman

    Guest Columnist

    Health needs change from year to year, and the benefits and costs of your health plan may change each year, too. That’s why it’s important to evaluate your Medicare choices every year.

    The annual election period is the one time of year when all people with Medicare can change their Medicare health plan and prescription drug coverage for 2015. Take advantage of the annual election period, and save money, improve coverage or both.

  • What makes news and why is no secret

    Pssst! You! Yes, you!

    Look closer! I want to tell you something — the secret to keeping your name out of the Beacon.

    Ready? OK, here you go: Don’t do anything newsworthy.

    Nothing amazing. Nothing unusual. Nothing generous. Nothing humble. Nothing heart-wrenchingly brave. Nothing monumentally stupid.

    Basically, don’t do anything anyone would care to read about.

    Disappointed? Well, if you expected more, I’m sorry. But honestly, it’s that simple.

  • It pays to beware of scam artists

    Charlatans have plagued society throughout most of human history. While their methods have evolved with modern times, their goal remains unchanged: to swindle as much money as they can from honest people. Their victims, unfortunately, include many Brunswick County residents.

  • Where is your happy place?

    By Miranda Michelle Parkstone

    Guest Columnist

    There are many places I could regard as my “happy place,” but there is only one certain place where I am most content. This place would be at the beach — Sunset Beach, specifically — right at the beginning of summer. Because vacationers generally do not begin their retreats to the beach until early August, crowds are typically rather thin at this time of the season.