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Columns

  • Some refreshers for officials on public records laws

    Sixty-eight hundred pages deep, not including the attorney’s discovery, I waded through public records at the N.C. Department of Insurance last month.

    After poorly navigating the maze of one-way streets that makes up downtown Raleigh, I eventually wound up in a circa 1982 conference room in the Dobbs Building. For the next two days, I trudged through e-mails, memos and charts looking to shed some light on the process used to determine the controversial rate increases to homeowners’ insurance in coastal counties.

  • Understanding the reasons why we have laws

    After my junior year in college I worked on a summer job and just before leaving to return to school for the fall semester, my supervisor gave me some advice that has remained with me over the years.

    He said, “Do what’s right.”

    The only difference in my advice and his is, “Do what’s right in the sight of God.”

  • Living in a world driven by annoying little beeps

    In a world of cell phones, pagers, BlackBerrys and late night television programs like “Chelsea Lately,” we are all used to hearing a few beeps. My phone beeps several times a day signaling a missed call or voicemail. I can usually tune it out until about the 20th beep—then some form of action is required.

    But it’s not just my phone that’s beeping. Lately I feel like I’m trapped in a noisy video game with no escape. I’ve noticed more appliances and household items are coming equipped with a “beep.”

  • Hurry up, spring!

    It’s 35 degrees in March. By the weekend, it’s expected to reach 70.

    I would celebrate, but I’m afraid the meteorologists will start calling for snow if I do.

    Everyone knows that by mid-February, we Southerners are ready for the warm weather.

    And we want it to stay warm. Otherwise, our delicate systems are upset and we get sick for a week.

    Think I’m exaggerating? As I’m writing this, I’m home with a sick daughter who is rubbing her nose red and is unable to breathe.

  • Interrupting these programs for a Lenten intervention

    Laura Lewis

    The cartoon in my New Yorker desk diary this week is supposed to be funny, as are most New Yorker cartoons.

    “I’m giving up Google for Lent,” a woman announces to her husband as he’s cruising the computer in the depiction.

    Actually, it is funny. But it also correlates with what I’m seriously trying to do this week by giving up television.

  • Coupons intended to save money burn a bigger hole in pocket

    Everyone in my family has always loved a bargain.

    My dad’s greatest joy is returning from the supermarket and announcing his greatest deal of the day. More often than not, it’s a couple of dollars saved on a gallon of milk.

    “And I didn’t even need a coupon!” he’ll say every time.

    My cousin Debbie is always swindling freebies from people, but the good part about it is she’s always willing to share. You can’t leave her house without a bag full of gourmet coffee samples or vending machine snacks.

  • The power behind the people: Brunswick Electric Membership Cooperative 'going green'

    In today’s dynamic environment, climate change and green power are in the socio-economic makeup of our everyday life. To us at BEMC, its means being mindful about the state of our resources and taking care to use them efficiently and effectively to ensure we meet the needs of our future generations of members.

  • Volunteering: When we become the hands and feet of God

    “…Here am I; send me.”

    Isaiah 6: 8

    An insightful moment came to members of the Holden Beach Chapel’s Council at our monthly meeting.

    We were brainstorming on the subject of how to stimulate interest in volunteer work. Everyone had an opinion as to what it meant to become a volunteer.

    Finally, Maureen volunteered an opinion. She simply said, “Volunteering is a time when we become the hands and feet of God.”

  • Volunteering ain’t what it used to be

    Volunteering your time, talents and money to help others is one of the noblest things you can do. “Paying it forward,” everyone giving back a little of what they’ve been blessed with helps everyone.

    But with the latest generation of retirees staying busy with second careers, part-time jobs, family obligations and the like, the old ways of volunteering just aren’t as appealing.

  • Shallotte native Ellis Stanley under consideration for top FEMA position in Obama administration

    February is Black History Month. There has been a lot of talk about President Barack Obama, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks and other distinguished African-American leaders.

    Brunswick County has many prominent African-American leaders who have made their mark nationally and internationally, but none is more impressive than Shallotte native Ellis Stanley. He is the brother of Elroy, Elwood and Glen Stanley, and the son of Mae Bell and the late Lewis Stanley, who served as vice chairman of the Brunswick Community College Board of Trustees during the 1980s and early 1990s.