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Columns

  • Don't put all the blame on the Internet

    But the journalistic print edifice will be not be replaced - in my view, there will be no great metro bureaus, no overseas reporting staffs, no full-time investigative teams, no cop house reporters, no City Hall beat. A network of thousands and thousands of young reporters taking notes and asking tough questions —and then writing up their reports in public, for the public—at thousands and thousands of school board and town council meetings on gray Tuesday evenings all around the nation will begin to fade.

    —Tom Watson

  • Uniforms would be a good idea for local schools to take into consideration

    In the community where I grew up and later became a newspaper reporter assigned to cover education, the two public school systems—one a city district and one for the county—are known for being progressive institutions of learning.

    They have drawn a lot of attention for adopting and fine-tuning a year-round education calendar that promotes learning in ways that appear to help young people retain knowledge, without facing the “summer slide.”

    Administrators were also forward thinkers when, years ago, both districts adopted strict dress-code policies.

  • Funding or not, keep the Transition Academy open

    It’s no secret Brunswick County Schools will be short more than $5 million during the next fiscal year.

    We know this means a potential loss of jobs, programs and services the district will be available to offer. It takes money to run a school district, and when the money isn’t there, cuts have to be made. It’s unavoidable.

    What should be avoidable and not in question is cutting funding for the Transition Academy, Brunswick County’s newest school that opened last August.

  • Friends contribute to Facebook addiction

    Laura Lewis

    It was pretty silly, really, when Bubba Joe, my old high school buddy living in Illinois, invited me to become one of his friends on Facebook.

    I’m too old for this, I thought. I don’t have any decent, recent photographs to post. None of my friends are young enough to be on there—are they? And what exactly is Facebook?

  • Supply-side economics versus employee-centered economics

    President Ronald Reagan was a great proponent of supply-side economics. He believed in major tax breaks for businesses and corporations; believing businesses and corporate executives would objectively share the company’s profits with employees with little or no oversight.

    On paper, supply-side economics is a great concept. It would be the ideal business model in a fair and just world. The problem is human nature. Greed and self-centered goals and objectives caused numerous executives to unfairly enrich themselves at the expense of hard-working investors or employees.

  • In due time--It's time for North Carolina to adopt a better policy

    “In due time.” Oak Island Town Attorney Brian Edes wrote in an e-mail to Colin Tarrant, the attorney representing Brian Keese in a public records lawsuit, that he or Oak Island Town Administrator Jerry Walters would respond to a request for public records “in due time.”

    A year and a half later, this matter remains unresolved. With a June 29 trial date set, the case could drag on for months.

    “In due time.”

  • 'Substandard' bridge is major part of our lives

    The annual list of substandard bridges in North Carolina is out, and AAA Carolinas’ has named the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge—that steel drawbridge that connects Brunswick to New Hanover County—as number 10 on its top-20 list.

    AAA Carolinas’ annual study ranks bridges on structural conditions and gives extra “points” to bridges with high traffic volumes.

    According to the latest traffic counts, the bridge carries about 72,000 cars each day between the two counties.

  • Newspapers’ cutbacks, closings big losses for freedom of speech, information

    Like many other business operations in this economy, the newspaper industry isn’t faring so well.

    Across the country, newspapers—large and small—have had to make significant cuts to staffs, production and products. Pay freezes, furloughs and unfilled vacant positions are steps taken by some to keep doors open and people in their jobs.

  • Helpers flesh out flushing petitions in SB

    Laura Lewis

    In a flurry of paper rustling, stamp-sticking and good-natured gab, about 20 volunteers converged on Carol Scott’s Sunset Beach home Tuesday to help prepare petitions requesting a longer, 30-year sewer installation payback plan.

    If a majority of the town’s 4,230 property owners scattered here and about sign and mail the petitions back in a timely fashion, there’s a chance the town will be able to have the payback plan for its estimated $27 million sewer system extended from 10 to 30 years.

  • When it comes to tightening purse strings, leave arts programs in schools alone

    Seems like everyone is doing a bit of budget adjusting these days.

    The county just announced a $12 million adjustment, and the board of education learned its local and state funding would be reduced to the tune of several million of dollars, resulting in the loss of many programs, services and even teachers.

    When times get tough, it seems as if fine arts programs are first on the chopping block. Schools across the nation have cut music, art, drama and dance, and left students without a creative outlet after hours of core subjects, studying and testing.