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Columns

  • Standing tall for fallen soldiers: Patriot Guard Riders provide escorts, protection

    Those of us who haven’t been in a war zone can’t imagine what it’s like. (I’m talking to you, reporters who describe every disaster scene as looking “like a war zone.”)

    Sorry, but watching “Saving Private Ryan,” “From Here to Eternity” or “The Deerhunter” does not make one an expert on the atrocities of war.

  • What legislator or candidate has what it takes to bring justice for Amy Frink?

    Every few months I receive the same letter in the mail. It always begins the same way: “In complying with North Carolina G.S. 15A-1371(3), the state Post-Release Supervision and Parole Commission is notifying you that it has approved the above-referenced case for parole...”

    The above-referenced case is usually someone who was convicted of murder; sometimes it’s a sexual offense. Sometimes they’re sentenced to 30 years; sometimes they’re sentenced to life in prison.

  • Earth Day excitement returns with nature documentaries

    Does anyone get excited about Earth Day anymore?
    I hate to say it, but I am actually a little thrilled about it for the first time in about 15 or 20 years. (The trying-to-be-a-modern-day-hippie years.)
    Between work, marriage and motherhood, I’ve tried to stay informed, but I haven’t really kept up with the latest Earth Day events. But this year is different.

  • Spring is here and so are the high pollen levels that come with it

     Spring has sprung in Brunswick County. 

    How do I know?

    Colors are bursting in our landscape. Reds, purples, pinks and whites are combining with varying shades of green.

    The brown ravages of winter are gone. 

    Birds are singing. The sky is bright blue. Temperatures are warm and everything—everything—is coated a nice shade of yellow-green. 

    It was a light dusting at first, but soon my once-white vehicle was coated so thoroughly, I thought for a moment I was getting into the wrong car.

  • Wings of Love Prom Closet made possible by an army of angels

    After being introduced to the group of volunteers at the Wings of Love Prom Closet on Saturday, a friendly lady with a warm smile quickly approached me.

    “You need a name tag,” she said, quickly giving me a blank tag and a marker.

    “And you need one of these.”

    She handed me a card with a gold guardian angel pin stuck on it. I filled out my name tag, stuck it on and pinned the angel to my shirt. It wasn’t until later that I realized none of it would have been possible without the help of a few angels among us.

  • ‘Puma Travels to Italy’ the first book (of many?) for local author, illustrator

    Ever think about seeing the world from your pet’s perspective? What would they enjoy seeing and experiencing on a trip to Europe or South America?

    OK. Maybe you haven’t thought of that, but it’s the kind of thing your kids and grandkids may daydream about when they spend time with your dogs and cats.

    So what better way to introduce them to geography, history and reading than by telling stories about far-off places from a dog’s-eye-view?

  • Reader feedback, interaction important to newspaper's growth, survival

     When newspaper people get together, we often swap war stories about things that have happened to us in the business.

    Like many professionals who are proud, we sometimes talk about things we’ve done well, awards garnered, favorite pieces written, photos we’ll never forget and people who’ve shared amazing stories with us.

  • Discerning the politics from the 'politi-facts' of healthcare reform

    I don’t know what’s more outrageous—the fact that no one who voted for it knows exactly what’s included in the healthcare overhaul or the fact anyone is surprised Congress and the president are in the proverbial dark about the legislation.

    I mean, as Vice President Joe Biden said, this is a big deal. Well, he said a little more than that, but this is a family-friendly newspaper, so I won’t repeat it.

  • Must love dogs (and cats and any other helpless animal that happens by)

    I’m a sucker for animals. The sadder they look, the more pathetic they are, the more I want to help them.

    It started when I picked my miniature pinscher Thor out from a litter about 12 years ago. He was the runt. He was smaller than the palm of my hand, and while his siblings were busy fattening up, he was by himself. When I picked him up and he nuzzled my hand with his eyes closed, I knew I wanted him.

  • Sometimes it’s just best to let sleeping children be sleeping children

    A child’s first Easter egg hunt is always an important milestone.

    In my mind I pictured little girls clad in pink dresses, their hair pinned back with pink-and-white ribbons. The boys were dressed in khaki slacks and pastel button-down shirts, and brown or black oxford shoes. The little boys and girls would wander around a yard or park clutching their baskets, giggling and looking for eggs.

    In reality, children’s Easter egg hunts are much different. It’s a free-for-all.