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Columns

  • What’s worse: Smith Avenue extension or new congressional maps?

    If there’s one thing people hate more than the complex labyrinth of wasted stimulus money known as the Smith Avenue extension project, it’s the new congressional districts recently adopted in the General Assembly.

    Just as the new route traversing Shallotte is a dismal failure lacking any rhyme or reason, so are the new congressional districts, or at least the 7th Congressional District, where we live.

    Everybody hates the new 7th District. It was sliced and diced to span from the coast to the outskirts of Raleigh.

  • Lower Cape Fear Hospice celebrates 30 years, expands in Brunswick

    On July 15, I met some of the great people who, during the past 30 years, have made significant contributions to ensure people in Brunswick and surrounding counties have access to quality end-of-life care.

  • Oil companies are only winners in fluctuating 'gas market lottery'

    I pulled into a South Carolina gas station on manic Monday morning ready to fill up—again. Seems like it was déjà vu all over—again. Because, in fact, it was.

    I’ve been jumping through hoops on this gas-gigging, dog-and-pony routine on a weekly basis all summer. It’s sweltering outside, after all, and my car has been thirsty.

    Besides, I have the kind of reporting job that requires me to rove around Brunswick County—one of the largest in North Carolina.

  • Readers call, write to express equal frustration about road changes

    I’ve gotten a lot of reader feedback regarding recent columns about the Smith Avenue extension project. Some people are taking it in stride, offering comical solutions for traffic hassles or jokes to pass along to NCDOT. Others are generally frustrated and can’t figure out how to get where they are going.

  • Slightly-above-average couponer shares some inside (and money-saving) tips

    In case you haven’t noticed, coupons—or as I like to refer to them, beautifully perforated money-saving gems—returned to the Beacon this week.

    That’s right, this week’s Beacon marks the return of the much-requested coupons back into your weekly newspaper. I doubt there’s anyone out there more excited than me.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m no professional couponer—yet. But I’d consider myself at least slightly above average.

  • Parking changes have made a crowded island potentially dangerous

    As much as I would love to be an island homeowner, I have to settle on living in a more affordable inland area and day-tripping to local beaches.

  • Summertime good for reviewing (un)mannerly behavior at the beach

    As crowds gather at the summertime coastline, so do their manners—or lack thereof.

    TripAdvisor, a travel website, recently brought that revelation to light with release of results from its latest beach and pool etiquette survey of more than 2,000 U.S. travelers.

  • Old parlor game, art expression have been made new again

    •The red twister
    twists the
    hippy dancer.

    •A sneaky-spooky Colleen
    forgot the
    promiscuous cowgirl.

    •The ravenous landscape
    undulates a
    hairy spy.

    No, I wasn’t enjoying libations when I typed those, although technically I could have been.
    While the lines may appear to be a misguided attempt at poetry or haiku, they’re actually derived from an almost 100-year-old parlor game called Exquisite Corpse.

  • Mosquitoes can kill

    Every Monday morning and most Tuesdays since early May, I arrive to work with calamine lotion dried on both my ankles. Most days it is dried in a nice drip pattern extending below my ankle line down across the tops of my feet and in between my toes. This adds an extra special touch to my flip-flop clad feet.

    It seems on the weekends I am a buffet table for various biting critters, especially mosquitoes. It is nothing for me to have anywhere from 10-20 new bites. I have found the only thing that keeps the itchiness away is the calamine lotion.

  • Construction of hospital great indicator of things to come in Brunswick County

    As a reporter there are certain stories you become attached to. I try not to, but it’s human nature.

    Most of the stories I have become emotionally attached to involve some of the saddest and most horrific elements of humanity, and the people who are left in its wake.

    Such is the life of a crime reporter.

    But this time—this story—is different. Trust me, it’s a welcome reprieve.

    For five years, I have been diligently covering Novant Health’s quest to bring a new, state-of-the-art hospital to Brunswick County.