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Columns

  • Weighing the facts about the Republican vice-presidential candidate

    A woman? From Alaska? But who is she? What has she done? What about Mitt?

    These were the thoughts swirling around my head Friday when Sen. John McCain announced his running mate for his presidential bid, a woman, from Alaska, who was clearly not Mitt Romney.

    After my initial reaction, which wasn’t exactly elation, I took a deep breath and switched out of voter mode and dove back into reporter mode.

    It was time to find out who this woman from Alaska was and, more importantly, what she stands for. That’s what we do, after all.

  • Mentoring is an essential process for democratic nations

    Movie celebrities and sports champions come and go, but we long remember our teachers and mentors because they reached into our lives and made a lasting difference.

    Since 2000, I have been a mentor for police officers in Bosnia, Kosovo and Iraq—cultures much different than ours. I will share some important principles I have learned along the way.

    Setting the stage

    My work as an International Police Officer with the United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) began in the fall of 2001, just as Ramadan was under way for adults in the Albanian Muslim population.

  • 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.