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Columns

  • National, international public service beckons Americans

    On Sept. 11, 2008, Barack Obama and John McCain appeared at Columbia University and talked candidly about the need for more public service despite the great personal sacrifices required to practice it.

    It is relevant in its national and international forms.

    Obama spoke about his experience as a community organizer and McCain about his experience as a military officer. Both, in their own way, had practiced public service early in their careers.

  • The more things change

    Last week’s story about Varnamtown’s residents celebrating the 20th anniversary of the town’s incorporation had me curious about what other goings-on the local community paper reported 20 years ago.

    Here at the Beacon office, going through old papers can get a little addictive.

    Around the same time Varnamtown was officially proclaimed a municipality, the beach towns were doing their best to clean up their acts, with 380 people volunteering for the annual Beach Sweep.

  • Bring back the classics

    I wrote a story this week about a group of church members who took it upon themselves to buy enough advanced tickets to ensure a movie would be coming to our local theater.

    Brad Ferguson at New Beginnings Community Church rallied his congregation as well as leaders from other churches in the area to bring “Fireproof,” a Christian drama, to Coastal Stadium in Shallotte.

    “We have a good number of tickets we can distribute around the community to other churches that didn’t put up money up front,” Ferguson said.

  • More focus should be on prevention rather than cures

    We are living in a time when cures are emphasized more than preventions. Medical and drug industries are more reactive than they are proactive in dealing with health issues.

    Sanitarian workers are in the business of preventing diseases, and they are some of the lowest paid workers in America. Preventive sanitarian services are essential for the health and well-being of the general population.

  • Quality background investigations can reveal secrets

    Persons applying for sensitive jobs, like at the airport, hospital, school, financial institution or in law enforcement, must submit to a detailed background investigation. Consequently, many people do not apply, knowing they will be washed out.

    Among those who do apply, a significant number are rejected at the conclusion of the investigation. Derogatory information may be developed when a criminal history is revealed, a poor credit record, past employment problems or disqualifying information from a reference, relative or neighbor comes to light.

  • Out with the old--new campaign, new issues, new misunderstandings

    The Bush doctrine is the new global warming.

    Few people understand it, yet everybody seems to want to talk about it. But, unlike the Bush doctrine, global warming has become last campaign’s issue. At least Al Gore can take a break for a while.

    In the wake of Gov. Sarah Palin’s first sit-down interview with ABC’s Charlie Gibson last week, politicians and pundits have been scrambling to define and address both Palin’s and Gibson’s understanding of the Bush doctrine.

  • Trying to hold out in the run for gas, hoping to avoid empty

    The CNN headline Monday afternoon made my stomach flip, “Developing Story: President Bush says Hurricane Ike has put ‘a pinch’ on nation’s energy supply.”

    As if things weren’t bad enough.

    On Friday, as gas prices in some places across the nation skyrocketed higher than $5 a gallon, I kept an eye on local prices. On a few occasions when I left the office, I noted increasing costs of gas, with lines growing longer and longer at local pumps.

  • Looking back and realizing how much has changed

    About three-and-a-half weeks ago, I came home from work and found it sitting in the middle of my kitchen table. It was an envelope—a card-sized envelope with a fancy font in the corner announcing my 10-year reunion.

    Oh boy. What did I do now?

    I stared at the envelope for a long time before I opened it. I knew this event was coming—after all it has been 10 years since I graduated from Statesville High School.

  • Remembering the good that emerged out of darkness, evil

    On the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, I wandered away from my desk in the newsroom where I was working, likely looking for something to eat or caffeine to jump-start my day.

    On the way back, uneager to get the morning’s work started, I strolled through the front office and stopped to chat near the front door. Above the main desk, a television was showing live images of a smoking high-rise in New York.

    “A plane hit one of the towers,” the receptionist told me.

  • Smile—you too might be on YouTube

    I wasn’t about to forget O’Neal “Knot” Varnam’s annual birthday backflip dive into the Lockwood Folly River this year (see story page 18A of today’s Beacon).

    I couldn’t forget, because there it was on YouTube: “Dad’s 65th Birthday Flip in Varnamtown.”

    This was a video dating back to 2002 and posted by Varnam’s daughter—“The 65th Birthday Leap,” it was titled.

    People say you can find just about anything on YouTube these days. Well, it’s just about true.