• You decide: How can a business stay afloat?

    By Dr. Mike Walden

    Guest Columnist

    Operating a business is tough. Meeting payroll, hiring qualified workers, attracting buyers and complying with regulations are just a few of the challenges faced by business owners. Statistics show 44 percent of new businesses shut down within three years. Opening a business is no guarantee it will be a success.

  • Moving this summer? Protect yourself by planning ahead

    By Attorney General Roy Cooper

    Guest Columnist

    Moving is hard work, and many of the millions of Americans who move between May and September hire professionals to help. If you’re planning to move this summer, learn what steps you can take to make sure it goes smoothly.

  • Bragging rights and a policy update

    My two-year anniversary at the helm of the Beacon newsroom was two weeks ago. With it came a renewed sense of pride in all we have accomplished as a newspaper thanks entirely to our small but mighty staff, coworkers who I’m fortunate to call friends.

  • How do I become eligible for Medicare because of disability?

    By Jennifer Prince Sherman

    Guest Columnist

    The services of SHIIP, the Seniors’ Health Insurance Program of the North Carolina Department of Insurance, are not only for people 65 and older. SHIIP also provides free counseling about Medicare to people on Medicare because of a disability.

    Before you can receive Medicare because of a disability, you must apply, be approved and have received Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) for a period of time.

  • Freedom to offend and be offended

    After a wild whirlwind of national events the past few weeks, I needed some time to process everything before trying to convey my thoughts in these columns. It was a little strange not being in the thick of it all as I once was when I worked in daily newspapers, but I feel there are no less important issues here in Brunswick County that need my attention — and yours. And it’s no less fascinating to see how national events affect our own neighborhoods and daily lives.

  • You decide: Can we remake ourselves?

    Some troubling news about North Carolina’s economy made the headlines recently. Numbers for an economic concept called gross domestic product, or GDP, were released for 2014. While North Carolina’s GDP increased in 2014, it rose much less than in the nation. The comparison was a 1.4 percent gain for the state versus a 2.2 percent improvement for the nation. Does this mean it’s time to worry about the state’s economic rebound?

  • Rooting for the underdogs and undercats

    The 51-year drought of no national titles for any of my three Cleveland sports teams continues with the Cavaliers’ loss in this year’s NBA finals.

    My hometown is desperate for a winner and disappointed by the outcome of the six-game series, which ended in Cleveland on June 16. Even with about 30 seconds left in that last game, the team came back to within two possessions of tying the score and never gave up.

  • ONDBEAT: Calabash & Co. could celebrate new, improved riverfront

    Along one portion of the waterway is Sunset Beach with its recently opened 5.22-acre town park where residents have been debating its pros, cons and costs for the last five-and-a-half years.

    Apparently, it sometimes costs a couple million greenbacks to preserve a smidgen of green space.

    Just down the river is Calabash, where town leaders seem divided on the merits of improving access to their own riverfront in North Carolina’s Seafood Capital.

  • ECU researchers track North Carolina sharks

    By Eric Johnson

    Guest Columnist

    The news this summer of several shark attacks on the North Carolina coast came as a surprise to many marine scientists. Severe shark attacks are extraordinarily rare; far more people are killed by cows each year than sharks.

    But while attacks are unusual, sharks are more common than most people realize. North Carolina waters are a rich environment for the apex predator.

  • What I know about the Charleston shooting

    Last Wednesday night, I was checking in with some of my friends on Facebook when I saw posts indicating something bad had happened near Charleston, S.C. Many of my friends are former colleagues who still live and work in South Carolina, where I’d spent most of my career.