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Columns

  • When duty calls for a whirlwind trip to the mountains

    My plan last Wednesday was to leave the office early that afternoon, then head to my parents’ house to spend the night before driving father down Interstate 40 the next day to Asheville for my first North Carolina Press Association meeting as a soon-to-be official member of the board. My term as president of the North Carolina Association of Community Newspapers begins next Tuesday, Aug. 1.

  • If you can’t stay close, at least stay cool

    You might think I’ve come to expect worst-case scenarios, having spent the better part of my journalism career covering crime and public safety. You’d be right. But I still hope for the best possible outcomes, especially when people report their loved ones missing.

    Although we have two missing persons cases to report in this week’s edition at the moment, it seems most of the Brunswick County folks whose families lose track of them are found safe before we go to press.

  • You decide: Has North Carolina’s economy taken a U-turn?

    By Dr. Mike Walden

    Guest Columnist

    When driving, U-turns can be tricky. The driver often has to turn against oncoming traffic, and, if the turn is at a light, the driver hopes the turn can be made before the light changes to red. Even if the turn is successfully made, the driver must quickly accelerate to merge into traffic. Many times illegal U-turns are made, which is dangerous because oncoming traffic doesn’t necessarily expect the turn to be attempted.

  • My staycation offered a different view on Brunswick County

    I had the chance this past week to get a different look at Brunswick County when the entire family arrived for a few days of togetherness while vacationing on Ocean Isle Beach.

    Most of my experiences in and around the county involve town meetings, budget meetings, or the occasional accident or fire, although I get out into the community when we feature people and places in the paper or a special section.

    But I’m still on the clock for those moments even when I’m wandering the beach looking for a good photo or taking a tour of the Shallotte River.

  • Welcoming the return of long work weeks

    My calendar tells me I only worked three days last week. My body tells me differently.

    There was the Fourth of July, which fell on a Tuesday this year. Tuesdays, however, are our usual production days here in the Beacon newsroom. That meant our Tuesday was really Monday, July 3, and, man, did we hustle. We managed to get everything done early enough so that I could take in the fireworks that night on Ocean Isle Beach, which were as spectacular as ever.

  • District 17 House update

    By Rep. Frank Iler

    Guest Columnist

    Last week in the North Carolina General Assembly, we passed hundreds of bills as the session wound down to adjournment, we overrode the governor’s veto of the consensus budget, we passed several bills of local interest and we adjourned the long session of 2017.

  • My summertime playlist for the rest of the season

    A holiday means an abbreviated work week for many people. For others, like those of us in the news business, it means having to cram a week’s worth of work into fewer days and probably not getting the holiday off.

  • District 17 House update

    By Rep. Frank Iler

    Guest Columnist

    Last week in the North House of Representatives, we passed the long-awaited state budget, we passed a bill involving domestic violence and murder, and we got an idea of our adjournment date for this year.

    The negotiated state budget for 2017-19 was released last Monday and scheduled for votes in the House and Senate. The House has a rule it has to be out two days before a vote, so we voted on it Wednesday and Thursday, while the Senate voted Tuesday and Wednesday.

  • You decide: Can pro sports spur economic development?

    By Dr. Mike Walden

    Guest Columnist

    Anyone visiting my home office immediately knows something obvious about me. The multitude of red baseball hats shows I’m a big Cincinnati Reds fan. Born in that city along the Ohio River, I followed “Big Klu” (Ted Kluszewski) in the 1950s, Frank Robinson in the 1960s and then I basked in the glory days of the Big Red Machine in the 1970s. I still try to make it to at least one game a year, and on other days I avidly follow the box scores of completed games.

  • A little bit of bother, with a lot of fun and frolic

    First off this week, let me get the not-so-fun stuff out of the way with a reminder about submitting letters to the editor for publication.

    Just the other week, I was raving about how great it was to be so inundated with them they left no room for my column. The volume has since tapered off a bit, in part because I’d received some we’re not going to publish under any circumstance.