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Columns

  • Shallotte teen sends message, sets example for holidays

    On Black Friday this year, the only thing many of us wanted to do was brave crowds of shoppers and find the best bargains or stay put at home, safe and sound with our Thanksgiving leftovers.

    All 17-year-old Kaitlyn Shook wanted to do was raise awareness about how good we have it and how many others — including some of our neighbors — aren’t so fortunate in this season of celebration.

  • Maps help clear path through writer’s block

    I’m not sure if it’s because I’ve got a Thanksgiving gluttony hangover or because last week’s column left me exhausted, but this week I’m facing a wicked case of writer’s block.

  • Late nights started with ‘Letterman’

    When I was a kid, the family used to do things as a family, meaning if my older sisters had some activity to go to, the parents volunteered and I got stuck going along, too.

    We didn’t bother with babysitters when I was too young to take care of myself. When I was old enough to be left on my own, it meant I was old enough to help out with whatever event we were going to — setting up, breaking down, carrying things to and from the station wagon.

  • A little froggy told me

    I heard the first frog of spring croaking just the other night, and it made me wonder if Brunswick County has its own version of the groundhog.

    I’m not from here so last year was the first time I experienced the chorus of burping that drowned out everything that I was used to hearing on a Brunswick County night.

    I can’t say I’ve adjusted to the sound yet or that I was anticipating it, but this one particular frog had decided it would announce winter was over.

  • Tis the 'tweason' to take stock of what to give up

    We are dwelling in interesting times, and I don’t mean that ironically. At least I don’t think I do.

    I don’t just mean the weather giving us something to talk about — but hasn’t that been interesting? Beach temperatures one cherished, rare winter’s day, then we’re all hunkering down for the big, rare ice storm the next.

  • I hope I didn’t scare you

    I recently had a town official tell me that they thought a story I wrote was inaccurate.

    But in describing the response to the story, the administrator said the town had received numerous calls about the issue.

  • In the season of discontent, strive to stay sweet

    The man on the telephone had clearly not rung me up to transmit a valentine.

    Interrupting my typing and toiling at the keyboard on the usual deadlines, he delivered, instead, a verbal barrage.

    He also provided unsolicited instructions on how I was to write a story from the previous night’s town council meeting (which was on the day’s to-do list, for sure).

    He certainly hoped I planned to include details on how the town’s former mayor had gotten out of line at that meeting.

  • Sunset Beach marks 150th anniversary of buried blockade runner

    One hundred and fifty years ago, a Confederate blockade runner laden with supplies and more ran aground off the coast of Bald Beach, aka the future Sunset Beach island, in the early hours of Monday, Jan. 11, 1864.

    The vessel, named the Vesta, was set on fire in 10 feet of water. It was abandoned at the beach, a casualty as it had tried in vain to flee a Yankee blockade guarding the Cape Fear River and head in a more southerly direction toward the Winyah Bay in Georgetown, S.C.

  • County board still meets twice a month

    I recently read a story about some of the Oklahoma City Thunder basketball players who had a little get together on one of their days off.

    Somebody in the group got on social media to let their followers know the teammates were hanging out together.

    Except the whole team wasn’t there. Kendrick Perkins hadn’t been invited but saw the update and from there the story took a sad turn with Perkins bemoaning being left out of the fun.

    Based on this story, I have some bad news for you Brunswick County.

  • Oh no, don’t do that! Why did you do that?

    I hate to be the one to slip a lump of coal in your stocking this year, but my Christmas column will be a decided downer.

    You’re probably familiar by now with my habit of mentioning that I’m not from here.

    I like to use that as a crutch to point out the things I come across that are unusual or unique – for good or bad – about my experiences here on the coast compared to the other parts of North Carolina where I’ve worked.