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Columns

  • 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.

  • Nothing's worse than a room that's bugged

    I had just lain down when a menacing dark blob high on the mango-hued wall caught my weary eyes.

    Even in the dark, my sixth-sense bug-detector went off. Is thatee? I wondered, snapping on the lamp and squinting toward the ceiling.

    Yep, it was.

    An August “palmetto bug” had decided to pay a less-than-August, uninvited visit into the living room—my living room. He was staring down at me from his lofty perch, giggling and daring me to take action.

    “Catch me if you can,” he snickered.

  • Reader feedback can sometimes be puzzling but is often valuable

    Thanks to those of you who have taken time to respond to the call I put out last week for feedback about our television listings.

    Readers have called, mailed and e-mailed suggestions about what we can do to make our television listings more user friendly.

    I’m collecting all the suggestions and soon we’ll take those comments and evaluate our current product. The goal will be to determine what, if any, changes we need to make or if we need to continue to offer the service at all.

  • Downtown Shallotte keeps moving ahead

    At this month’s pre-agenda meeting, Shallotte aldermen will hear consultant Allison Platt’s report on the 10-year town vision plan she put together with the assistance of town officials, residents and local business owners.

    If all goes well, the board will vote on the plan at its regular board meeting Sept. 2.

    A vision plan for downtown Shallotte is long overdue. The hodgepodge of styles, pedestrian-unfriendly sidewalks and lack of access to such a great potential asset as the Shallotte River have limited the town’s appeal and possible improvements.

  • A sudden jolt of electricity leaves me wondering how tough I am

    I learned this week I am not as cool as I once thought I was.

    I always thought of my self as tough—I’ve swum countless miles for countless hours, ran stadiums until my feet bled and tore my MCL after a mishap on a slippery pool deck.

    Year after year of swim practice, cross-country practice and just about every other sport’s practice, I assumed that made me tough.

  • Sitting 'criss-cross applesauce' wishing for Oreos

    Last week the Beacon’s education reporter returned from covering one of her stories and was talking about some of students. She described them as sitting “criss-cross applesauce.”

    Say what?

    While I thought this must mean they were sitting in a criss-cross pattern in giants bowls of applesauce, she explained this was the new way to describe sitting “cross-legged” or what we used to call “Indian style.”

  • True happiness is not found in materialism

    In today’s fast-paced world there is an over- emphasis on material possessions. A desire to keep up with Joneses is a national obsession for many men, women, boys and girls.

    Some people are convinced their neighbors and friends are blessed with an abundance of material possessions and they desire to possess the same level of materialism. They fail to realize some people are in debt and have no idea how they will maintain a pseudo delusion of wealth acquired by high interest credit cards.

  • FBI motto: Fidelity, bravery and integrity, begin early

    As I trudged up the dirt driveway after school toward our little house, I spotted a strange car parked near the front door. What happened inside during the next hour set the stage for a dramatic change early in my 11-year-old life.

    It was 1949 in Arcadia, Calif., and Mom and Dad did not have much money to raise us three growing boys. Dad had trouble with arthritis in his right shoulder. That was a real hardship for a house painter.

  • Suggestions for our TV listings

    Here at the Beacon, we’re constantly evaluating what we’re doing and how well we’re doing it.

    In the past year, we’ve made a number of content and design changes to better serve our customers. As we continue to grow and develop, we’re always looking for feedback from our readers.

    This week, I ask you to take a look at the two pages of television listings that appear on 5C and 6C. The pages feature a sampling of televisions channels offered by local cable companies, as well as broadcast channels.