• Can we make sense of N.C.’s jobless rate?

    By Dr. Mike Walden

    Guest Columnist

    Economic statistics can be confusing, I know — I’ve been dealing with them as a professional economist for almost 40 years. While some say you can prove anything with statistics, I say, no, you just have to know how to interpret the statistics correctly.

  • Top tips for holiday gift returns, exchanges

    By Roy Cooper

    Guest Columnist

    While the weeks around the holidays are known as the Season of Giving, they also involve plenty of returns and exchanges. But last year, a Consumer Reports poll showed about a quarter of Americans who attempted to return an item to a retailer didn’t get their money back.

    By planning ahead and following our tips, you can make sure that gift returns and exchanges go smoothly for you and your loved ones this year.

    Read return policies carefully

  • What I want for Christmas is no secret

    One of the local events I look forward to the most each year since I’ve been here at the Beacon is Brunswick Family Assistance’s annual Christmas distribution from here at our old pressroom.

    It does my heart good to see how generous the people of our community are and how much it is appreciated by our neighbors who are struggling to get by and trying their best to improve their station in life. It’s genuinely fun to get out of the office, if only to go as far as the back of the building, and experience the holiday spirit firsthand.

  • Sound the alarm — it’s time for a safety check

    Anyone who knows me, even in passing, knows I’m not a morning person. In fact, I’m not sure I should be considered a person early in the morning because of how useless I tend to be at that time of day. When I know I have to be up and at ‘em early in the morning, like to go to an out-of-town training session, it’s almost impossible for me to get any sleep the night before because I’m afraid I’ll oversleep. It’s worse now that I have vertigo and can’t bolt out of bed the way I used to when I was running late.

  • Needy children ask Santa for little

    By The Rev. Donna Phelps

    Guest Columnist

    At this time of the year, our hearts turn to Christmas, to family and friends gathering around meals, fellowship and giving gifts around the Christmas tree. Yet for some children that is not a possibility.

    For children who do not have a stable home, getting a bed of their own or a pair of glasses so they can read is far more important than a doll, a bike or a computer game.

    Reading the Santa wish lists of children whose families were or have been homeless made me cry.

  • Tips for a safe and festive holiday season

    By Roy Cooper

    Guest Columnist

    The holiday season is a great time of year filled with fun activities and time with family. It’s easy to get caught up in the holiday excitement but it’s important to take the necessary precautions to avoid crimes, scams and accidents.

  • Now that Clemsoning has been eliminated, can Clemzinning go next?

    I’m in a pretty, pretty, pretty good mood. My Clemson Tigers just won the ACC Championship game and are on the way to the playoff game for the national title.

    And since I had to live through nine years of bad football, then 10 years of just OK before the start of a seven-year climb to good, I am going to enjoy it by spilling a couple hundred words talking about my alma mater’s success.

  • Some holiday programming notes

    The holiday season is in full swing here in Brunswick County, what with all the festive events taking place now through the end of the year. It’s overwhelming — almost too much to keep up with.

  • You decide: Should we modify or end the Federal Reserve?

    Few institutions generate more mystery and controversy than the Federal Reserve, or “Fed” for short. It has already become a topic in the current presidential campaign. Some see the Fed as absolutely necessary to the function and protection of the financial system. They credit the Fed’s strong actions in 2008 and 2009 as preventing another Great Depression.

  • 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.