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Columns

  • District 8 Senate update

    By Sen. Bill Rabon

    Guest Columnist

    Editor’s note: The Beacon has tried for two months to reach Sen. Bill Rabon by phone and email for comment about Senate Bill 215, which lists him as the bill’s primary sponsor and calls for the state “to abolish the office of coroner in Brunswick County.” Senate Bill 215 was reported favorable to the Senate’s standing committee on health care and re-referred to the Senate Judiciary I Committee on March 31.

  • Lack of ‘uber’ clarity is an editing error

    One night last week, when I was checking in with my dad to let him know I was on my way home from work, he offered his usual critique of that week’s Beacon. More often than not, my parents start by reading my column because they’re my parents, then read the rest of the editorial page.

    As most readers know, our staff writers write a weekly column on a rotating basis. Now that my folks have met each of our reporters in person, they make a point of reading their columns, too.

  • ONDBEAT: 'HOA Wars' author shines floodlight on gated communities

    Robert Stern knows the intricacies of living in a gated community.

    After all, he resided and served on the board in one of those exclusive enclaves ruled by a homeowners association (HOA) back in Henderson, Nev. Locally, Stern owns another house in Ocean Ridge Plantation, another HOA-POA community.

    A few years ago, through his HOA residency and involvement in the Silver State, Stern found himself embroiled in legal battles with what he deemed power-hungry board members who summoned their lawyer when he questioned their modus operandi.

  • Why have some states recovered faster?

    By Dr. Mike Walden

    Guest Columnist

    The economic world doesn’t treat everyone and everything equally. We clearly see this in the ongoing debates about income inequality, CEO pay, the minimum wage and taxes. Another way we see this is in economic geography. For example, in North Carolina, for several decades we have watched urban counties adding jobs and incomes at a much higher rate than rural counties.

  • District 17 House update

    This week we debated and passed at least two very controversial bills on judicial elections and abortion; we passed a record number of bills out of committees and directly onto the House floor; and we put in the longest days of the session so far, going more than 14 hours.

    The week started off in Raleigh very warm, but turned cooler as the days went on. The attitudes of the legislators were also hot and cold, depending on whether our bills were getting passed.

  • How to take the perfect fireworks photo

    After a dozen years of striving to capture just one good picture of fireworks — on Independence Day or another, lesser fireworks-friendly event, say a baseball game or demolition derby — this year I finally mastered the proper technique and I thought I would share it with our readers.

    Here it is: Put the damn camera away, break out whatever suitably smart phone you have on you, switch on that tiny little camera, aim at the fireworks and mash away on the button.

  • 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.

  • I’ve been to the big city and brought everybody a gift

    I had the chance to take a short spring vacation last week, so I am sure you can tell by my words how refreshed and re-energized I am now.

    My trip took me to the big city, New York City, and like everyone who comes south from a big metropolitan area I have brought with me a plan to fix one of Brunswick County’s flaws.

    The problem is transportation, and the solution is Uber.

  • Time for the N.C. death tax to R.I.P.

    By Congressman David Rouzer

    Guest Columnist

    We are fortunate to have so many successful small businesses and family farms in southeastern North Carolina. Many of these businesses have become an extended part of our community as they have been passed down from generation to generation. But the longevity of these family-owned and -operated businesses is threatened by a sluggish economy, onerous rules and regulations, and especially the estate tax, also known as the death tax.

  • District 8 Senate update

    By Sen. Bill Rabon

    Guest Columnist

    Editor’s note: The Beacon has tried for six weeks to reach Sen. Bill Rabon by phone and email for comment about Senate Bill 215, which lists him as the bill’s primary sponsor and calls for the state “to abolish the office of coroner in Brunswick County.” Senate Bill 215 was reported favorable to the Senate’s standing committee on health care and re-referred to the Senate Judiciary I Committee on March 31.