• District 17 House update

    By Rep. Frank Iler

    Guest Columnist

    Last week in the North Carolina House of Representatives, we honored legendary UNC basketball coach Dean Smith, we passed a controversial bill on zoning and aesthetic control by towns and we voted to override the governor’s veto on the magistrates’ recusal bill.

    The weather in Raleigh got hotter as the days wore on. The debate in the House also heated up as the days wore on. We started the week with bills we all could agree on and finished with a shocking override vote.

  • Swamp park adventures, part I

    The fine folks at Shallotte River Swamp Park were kind enough to let a few of my coworkers and me take a spin — or rather, zip — on one of the zip line courses there last week.

    While my colleagues zipped through it with relative ease, my experience was more of a zap, like an insect making a beeline directly into a bug light.

  • All are entitled to have, and share, opinions

    Of all the editorials we’ve published in my time here at the Beacon taking the Brunswick County Board of Commissioners to task, the only one that prompted the commissioners themselves to respond in writing is the one from May 7 condemning the Ku Klux Klan.

  • When it’s time to speak up, know how to play the game

    I have attended a number of public comment sessions recently and I have come to realize some public comments are better than others.

    No, I do not mean one person’s issue is better or more important than another. Anyone who is passionate about an issue that affects the masses should be encouraged to get up and speak about it to his or her elected officials and representatives.

    But some people know how to present their concerns better than others.

  • Road trip your way to happiness, if only for a weekend

    Oh, college football, how I missed you.

    It’s great to have a sane, or plausible, reason to sit in one place and watch TV from sunup until well past sundown … wait, that’s the reason to get Netflix.

    The real reason to love college football is that its true purpose is to provide an excuse for a road trip.

    Obviously you can get in your car and drive off any time you want, but your relatives are going to call it running away from your problems.

  • Did you have a memorable moment this summer?

    Watching wide receivers go down with knee injuries each week of the NFL preseason has sent me a pretty clear message.

    I should never have joined a fantasy football league. I don’t know what I was thinking.

    No, what I meant to say was it’s clear that summer is coming to an end. The signs are there.

    The fantasy drafts are coming. The college football Top 20 lists are out. Just the other day I heard someone say she was looking forward to the return of pumpkin spice flavors in … everything.

  • Next time, commissioner, don’t hold back

    It is a shame about Huey Marshall. I won’t debate marijuana laws or even hazard a guess about what year North Carolina will put legalizing it on a ballot as other states are doing. He is accused of breaking the law, which is unacceptable in his position, or former position, as Brunswick County’s county attorney.

    But I can understand why he might have done it: He had to work with county commissioners, and that can be stressful. I only have to sit through a couple meetings a month and often I could use a drink afterward.

  • How to take the perfect fireworks photo

    After a dozen years of striving to capture just one good picture of fireworks — on Independence Day or another, lesser fireworks-friendly event, say a baseball game or demolition derby — this year I finally mastered the proper technique and I thought I would share it with our readers.

    Here it is: Put the damn camera away, break out whatever suitably smart phone you have on you, switch on that tiny little camera, aim at the fireworks and mash away on the button.

  • You Decide: Are there timeless rules for investing?

    By Dr. Mike Walden

    Guest Columnist


    A milestone was set in January of this year. No, it wasn’t in sports, entertainment or politics — although there may have been some records established in those areas I missed. Instead, it was a milestone in our collective personal spending. For the first time, Americans spent more on eating out than on eating in. Specifically, we spent $50.475 billion eating in restaurants and other food outlets that month, compared to the $50.466 billion we paid for food in grocery stores and supermarkets.

  • Fighting against ‘waters of the United States’ rule

    By Congressman David Rouzer

    Guest Columnist


    Last month, the Obama administration announced it would move forward with a rule that redefines the waters of the United States to potentially include any body of water, no matter how small or how temporary. This new definition would extend the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) regulatory reach to seemingly any body of water — including that water puddled in your ditch after a rain storm.