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Columns

  • A whole new you in about an hour

    We are eight days into the new year and, from experience, I’m guessing that for many enough time has passed that those new year’s resolutions are starting to become a real burden if they haven’t been dumped outright.

    From Thanksgiving through Jan. 2 most people’s schedules get thrown off to the point that a resolution or two seem almost do-able, until we settle back into our normal routines in the first week of the year.

    It turns out it’s tougher than it appears to make those lifestyle changes.

  • You decide: How do we pay for infrastructure?

    By Mike Walden

    Guest Columnist

     

    My wife recently bought a new car. Well, not exactly “new new,” but “newly used.” Some experts say this is the best way to purchase vehicles because you get an almost-new car without paying for the excessive depreciation that occurs when a brand-new car is driven off the lot.

  • True friendship withstands losses

    Despite the fact that I got up at 5 a.m. on a Sunday to hitch a ride with my kid brother to Charlotte expressly to see my beloved Cleveland Browns, the strong showing of Toroks at Bank of America Stadium wasn’t enough to seal a victory against the Carolina Panthers on Dec. 21.

  • Holiday gifts lend perspective on new year

    I’m having to write my column this week on Christmas Eve because of our early holiday deadlines, but I can already tell you about a few gifts I’ve received for the holidays this year.

    Today, one of my favorite newsroom visitors, 9-year-old Georgia Ann Durieur, came to the Beacon with Christmas greetings and another delightful story to share. She wrote and illustrated it herself on one of our computers. Here it is:

  • All I want for Christmas is ...

    This time last year, all I wanted for Christmas was to keep everyone and everything I have. I don’t think Santa heard me or maybe he misunderstood, because we lost my cousin Lisa and one of my best friends died last month. Perhaps I should have been clearer, too. I’d have been very happy to lose some pounds; I guess I didn’t really want to keep everything. Even so, it all makes me even more grateful for who and what I still have in my life.

  • You decide this year: What will 2015’s economy look like?

    By Mike Walden

    North Carolina Cooperative Extension

     

    Economists receive much attention at the beginning of a new year. Understandably, people want some insight into how the economy will perform. Of course, no economist can predict every individual’s economic outlook. Instead, what we do is try to forecast the general trends in the economy so that households and businesses can make more informed decisions about their personal situations.

  • 'Twas the week of Christmas in Brunswick County

    ‘Twas the week of Christmas, and all through Brunswick County, people were wishing for a bountiful bounty.

     

    Not necessarily in material goods, just peace and so forth, and maybe a little snow, except for those who came here from up North.

     

    The yuletide trees had sold out at local lots, and folks shopped local stores until they nearly dropped.

     

    The stores were full, and their shelves were cleaned, of every holiday goody and everything in between.

     

  • May all your Christmases be white

    It’s Christmas time, so how about a Christmas tale?

    One of the reasons I left Florida years and years ago was to get away from the rather monotonous seasons that I grew up with.

    In Florida, the seasons aren’t based on the weather or the calendar. Instead of spring, summer, winter and fall there was allergy season, football season and spring training season.

    Oh, there is also a Christmas season.

    Throughout each of these seasons, the temperature didn’t change much, just the amount of yard work.

  • Even short stuff is subject to commentary

    When people call me short, I no longer take offense. After all, it’s a statement of fact.

    My height, officially, is 4-foot-11¾. I can’t break that 5-foot barrier without wearing shoes or at least thick socks.

  • Stumbling upon news has become second nature

    There I was in the office the other night — sitting at my desk and working at my computer, listening to Ray Charles and doing editor things — when I glanced out the window into the dark and saw a nondescript sedan heading down Smith Avenue toward U.S. 17 but slowing down for the Shallotte police cruiser, its blue lights flashing, following behind it. No big deal.