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Columns

  • So many choicesee luckily, a lot of time

    My daughter is still talking about being a bug scientist when she grows up and still wants me to go looking at bugs with her when it’s 150 degrees outside, but she’s also considering a second career.

    Thanks to games provided by Disney Channel and Nickelodeon Web sites, she now thinks she has developed the skills to be a fashion designer.

    Now, I don’t know about you, but I’m thinking the cutthroat world of fashion design sounds a little more dangerous than the slightly less cutthroat world of academic research.

  • High school graduates: Your life journey is just about to begin

    Last weekend, Brunswick County and other area high school students closed one chapter of their lives and began preparation to start another.

    This time of year, lots of people are going to offer you advice as you head out on your latest journey. Many of us, who’ve already been there and done that, may have good thoughts to offer, but really, what happens next is all up to you.

    Sure, the last 18 or so years of your life have been interesting, but what’s around the corner may just blow your mind.

  • Celebrate ice cream month and make memories

    The hottest season of the year is here, and July will no doubt be the worst of the hot months. Luckily, since 1984, July has been officially designated as “National Ice Cream Month.”

    As far as I’m concerned, that’s a great reason to indulge in the delicious frozen treat.

  • Professional, kind staff eases mom's worries about son's surgery

    Having surgery is never a walk in the park--worry and anxiety plague you until the day arrives. However, when it’s your child who’s having surgery, you can multiply your worry and anxiety times 100, and know you will be sitting on pins and needles until the doctor comes out to tell you he or she is ready.

    When I went to my son’s pre-op appointment at Brunswick Community Hospital, I was already terrified. He was scheduled to have his tubes replaced in both ears. The surgery was one week away, but talking about it made my eyes tear up and my voice crack.

  • Public records and open meetings victories are worth the fight

    I had yet to really be tested two years ago when I marched up to then-county commissioners chairman David Sandifer and demanded, in the spirit of the law, he open to the public a meeting to discuss lowering Smithville Township’s tax rate for Dosher Memorial Hospital.

    Anxiously, and wondering what outcome our conversation might have, I proceeded with the Beacon’s argument that, although no quorums would be met, a group of elected officials discussing public business should be open to the public.

    He disagreed.

  • Local Shriners help bring quality medical care to young people with burn, orthopedic issues

    If you haven’t met the nice folks at the South Brunswick Island Shrine Club, you’re missing out.

    Last Thursday members invited me to talk about the way Shrine generosity has impacted my life.

    Their clean, brightly lit building on Old Shallotte Road gave welcome to big smiles, handshakes, a good meal and lots of hospitality. Before I knew it I was standing in front of an attentive crowd, feeling humbled to share part of my story.

  • Get involved in your community; do your homework

    After years of working in a popular low-key retirement destination, I still never cease to be impressed by how involved the citizens of some of our local communities are in the local political issues that affect them.

    These politically active residents have made me realize being retired isn’t just about sitting on your porch and letting life pass you by. It’s just the start of a new chapter in your life—when you have time to really speak out about issues that affect you.

  • 'Luna' now the star of her own exhibit

    I recently put in a plug for the N.C. Aquarium at Fort Fisher’s albino alligator naming contest, and I’m proud to report the aquarium has opened its exhibit and named its star: Luna.

    According to the aquarium, visitors got a sneak peek at the exotic creature in March during “Scales and Tails” and immediately initiated the naming contest.

    The aquarium received 1,500 submissions both onsite and online, some from as far away as Germany and Scotland. Entries include Lilly, Allie, Pearl and Opal.

  • Recycling revives good intentions

    So I’ve finally grown concerned about all the plastic grocery bags drifting around out there—getting lodged in trees, floating aimlessly along the highway like lost balloons.

    I realized if I had a dollar for each homeless bag littering our otherwise pristine environment (except for the beer cans), my 401K and I could reconsider retirement.

    Apparently, nobody is offering reimbursement for these little eyesores and wildlife hazards.

  • Ocean Isle Beach to celebrate its 50 years this weekend

    A lot can happen in 50 years. Just ask any of the original residents of Ocean Isle Beach.

    Ocean Isle Beach was a 7-mile stretch of pure beach some 50 years ago. When Odell Williamson and M.C. Gore purchased the island in 1953, they sold only a handful of lots before Hurricane Hazel hit the following year and wiped away most if the island’s initial developments.

    Over time, the town rebuilt and grew into one of the best restored beaches in the country, according to the American Shore and Beach Preservation Association.