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Columns

  • 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.

  • 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).

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Veterans’ Memorial unifies our community

    Most of the time, I don’t think we’d have much of a community, let alone a society, if we all always shared the same point of view all the time, but the bellicosity of some of the races in the Nov. 3 election left me feeling defeated. And while voter turnout was better than in years past, according to the Brunswick County Board of Elections, I was disappointed by the final tally of 22.98 percent. I was starting to doubt whether anything could bring us all together anytime soon.

  • What can Toastmasters do for you?

    By Mari-Lou Wong-Chong

    Guest Columnist

    Hi, I am Mari-Lou Wong-Chong, and I am a Toastmaster. How many of you have introduced yourself this way? Nowadays, I can with confidence and with comfort.

    My question is, how did I arrive at this level of comfort and confidence? What has Toastmasters done for me? More importantly, what can Toastmasters do for you? Is Toastmasters right for you?

  • Ending the chapter of another eventful weekend

    As I write this column, I’m looking forward to a Sunday full of big plans to sleep and do my laundry — hopefully as much of the former as there is of the latter, which was caused by three straight weekends of hosting family in my home.