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Columns

  • Journalism integrity is worth its weight in gold

    Here it comes again.

    This time, I was eating lunch, minding my own business and trying to complete the word jumble when I couldn’t help but overhear a nearby group of lunch buddies utter the words that make most journalists’ skin crawl: “The media is just so negative about everything.”

  • Lessons from the end of a paddle left lasting impressions

    My teacher made it very clear. She was leaving the room. We were to work on our assignments and should not speak a word while she was gone.

    Knowing my penchant for jabbering—reflected in the “Stacey talks too much” that often appeared on my grade-school report cards—my teacher looked right at me.

    “Don’t talk,” she said as she headed out the door.

    I tried hard to do my work, but with the teacher gone, the impulse to talk was much bigger than my third-grade body could contain.

  • Olympic victories unite the world, give us something to cheer about

    The Olympic Games provide a brief respite from all of the turmoil going on in the world around us.

    It’s an opportunity once every four years to focus on the truly great accomplishments of our own, and others’ countrymen and women.

    It’s a time when the political conversations (save the Edwards/Hunter drama) cease for a few weeks, and we focus on what is great about this world instead of what’s not.

  • Being a mom is a tough, but fun, rewarding job

    The dump truck rolls along the bumpy ground, spilling some of its sandy load. The driver toots the horn. I study the truck’s unique paint job—bright green cab with orange around the front fenders, and a black bumper.

    Suddenly the truck goes a little off course and crashes into my beach chair.

    “Whaaaaaa,” my son cried. “Ma-ma-ma-ma-ma,” he said, gesturing toward his truck.

    “OK, here you go baby,” I said as I set the truck beside him.

  • Impaired driving invites your sudden death or worse

    Among the worst traffic accidents I investigated early in my police career was a tragedy that came my way one quiet afternoon.

    Unfortunately, the conditions that prompted it are duplicated daily right here in Brunswick County, short distances from my home.

    As I turned my police car into my neighborhood one quiet Sunday afternoon, the watch commander’s voice came over the radio assigning me to what was reported to be a routine traffic accident investigation in an intersection near my home.

  • Act on your dreams, build positive relationships with other people

    We live in a time when many people fail to achieve goals and objectives because they are prisoners within their own minds.

    Nelson Mandela, the great South African leader, spent 27 years in prison due to a corrupt apartheid legal system. He was physically in prison, but he was mentally free because freedom is a state of mind.

    Mandela endured the humiliation of being penned up like an animal with little hope of being freed. His movement was restricted, and his options were few. He could have easily given up and escaped into a world of depression and despair but he did not.

  • Mother warns of spider dangers, cautions parents to keep eyes open

    Brian Brown gave little thought to danger as he slipped on his boots and headed out for a typical afternoon of weed-eating and lawn work on a family farm Saturday.

    Shortly after setting to work, he felt what he thought was a bee sting on his knee. Thinking little of it, Brian swatted the annoyance off and went back to work.

    But by that evening, his mother Patricia Brown of Calabash recounts, Brian’s knee started to swell and streaks could be seen shooting upward from his knee to his groin.

  • Take the 'Commuter Challenge'

    Looking for ways to save money on fuel costs?

    Trying to decrease your dependence on gas-guzzling vehicles?

    Wilmington-based Cape Fear Breeze, New Hanover County’s public transportation system, which is now reaching out to surrounding counties, wants to help.

    The agency has planned its Second Annual Commuter Challenge for Sept. 15-Oct. 17 to encourage employers, employees and the general public in Brunswick New Hanover and Pender counties to take advantage of alternate methods of transportation.

  • Back to school shopping more than crayons and lunch boxes

    Preparing children to go back to school can be costly, but necessary to make sure a productive day in the classroom is possible.

    Going back-to-school shopping has been an expensive outing long before gas was $4 a gallon. Even though it was an expensive time of year, my parents made sure we had everything we needed, and most times a little more.

  • Close encounters with birth, death and beyond

    Over the past seven decades, there have been dramatic events in my professional and personal life worth sharing and reflecting, like the miracle of birth and the tragedy of death.

    Delivering the first baby

    Police officers are trained to respond to a substantial number of calls for service. I had never actually watched a live birth, let alone been the sole assistant for a young woman desperately needing help at a most critical time of her life.

    Nevertheless, I was dealt that card one afternoon as I was on patrol early in my law enforcement career.