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Columns

  • Plan ahead for severe weather; you don’t know when it might strike

    Flashlight? Check.

    Weather radio? Check.

    Cell phone complete with up-to-the-minute weather text alerts? Check.

    Twenty-four-hour-weather station tuned in so I can absorb the three-hour Doppler loop while I sleep? Check.

    Last Friday and Saturday, I huddled on the couch, watching the storms swirl through the southeastern United States heading for the North Carolina coast. No, it wasn’t a hurricane I was worried about—it was the possibility of tornadoes and lightning.

  • Child abuse prevention is everyone’s business

    April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, and local agencies are trying to raise awareness of this critical issue that affects everyone.

    Brunswick County’s Child Protection Team has scheduled its annual Flower Launch event 4-5 p.m. Wednesday, April 8, at Waterfront Park in Southport.

    According to organizers, the event will shift the focus away from the number of children lost to child abuse to recognizing the agencies and professionals in Brunswick County who work to protect children.

  • Wanted: Access to an open and transparent federal government

    Lace up the ice skates and get out the hockey sticks—hell has frozen over.

    I have a few kind words for Congress. Well, two members of Congress to be specific.

    Anyone who’s ever read my opinion columns knows I’m not the biggest fan of the 111th Congress, and the 110th wasn’t much better. But this week I find myself pleased with the recent actions of two members of Congress—U.S. Sen. Richard Burr and U.S. Rep. Mike McIntyre.

    I’m sure you’re curious about the change of heart, so I’ll explain.

  • 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.