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Columns

  • The need for a new Oak Island bridge becomes all too clear

    Last Wednesday, I backed out of my driveway on Oak Island and drove toward N.C. 211 to make the daily commute to Shallotte.

    As I crossed the Oak Island Bridge, my phone rang. It was a colleague calling to warn me about an accident on N.C. 211. A tanker had overturned spilling its contents over the roadway.

    Because Hazmat teams were already hard at work cleaning it up, I only expected a slight delay.

  • Transportation one of our biggest state issues

    Sitting in traffic Tuesday morning waiting for the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge to lower so I could get moving, I was mulling over column ideas.

    I was listening to parents call and complain about the failing public schools system in North Carolina on local talk radio. But I didn’t feel like writing about the school system.

    As traffic finally began moving again, I was still searching the inner corners of my brain for an idea. My goal was to have my column all but written by the time I arrived at work. If only I could find the inspiration I needed, I would be set.

  • Finding kindness more difficult in crueler world

    Is it me, or is the world getting meaner?

    I mean, I don’t mean I’M getting meaner—although my mall-shopping, cell-phone-gabbin’ teenager may beg to differ. But a lot of other people in our community and world seem to be—getting meaner, I mean.

    All you have to do is scan through some of the local crime reports from this past week to start wondering what’s up:

    Assault in Shallotte—Bubba Joe conked Willie Earl on the head with a beer bottle, and there’s a good chance alcohol was involved. Nice.

  • Tax time a headache even for those who think ahead

    April 15 has now come and gone, but even though I filed my taxes well in advance of the deadline, it caused me more pain and anguish than I thought possible.

    Not being any kind of math genius or finance guru, I decided to take my taxes to a local professional this year. I chose a nationally known tax service, thinking it might cost a little bit but it’d be easy and hassle-free.

    During the past year, I spent time working in both Kentucky and North Carolina, so I had two sets of W2s.

  • Providing assistance to those in need is compassion, not socialism

    Believing in needed government assistance doesn’t make a person a socialist.

    There is a consensus among many Americans that a person is a socialist or has socialist ideas when there is mention of government help for a person or a family who truly needs financial assistance.

    A major illness or a prolonged loss of employment has the potential of forcing high-income, well-educated, super religious, ultra liberal—and even my fellow conservatives—to seek assistance from the government or other agencies when survival is at stake.

  • A special day to honor a special man

    Longtime Shallotte residents and town officials want to honor one of their own.

    The mayor and board of alderman have proclaimed May 2 “Jerry Jones Day” in Shallotte in honor of former alderman and mayor Jerry Jones, who also served as a Brunswick County commissioner for six years.

    In fact, Jones was the board chairman when I arrived at the Beacon.

    More recently, he came back to his “roots” by serving as alderman again until, due to health concerns, he decided not to seek re-election last year.His service will not soon be forgotten.

  • Uncertainties can affect trust in law enforcement officers

    When you’re a victim of a crime, and you feel the investigation into it hasn’t been handled at its best, it can make it difficult to fully trust law enforcement.

    After a college student who had been drinking killed my mother, I had more questions than answers about the investigation.

    Although I had spent years as a journalist building relationships with law enforcement officers, when I was suddenly thrust on the other side of things, distinct lines of trust blurred.

  • Future fisherman begins adventures with outdoorsy family

    Last week I came home from work, and my dad was excited. He wanted to tell me that Levi, my 5-month-old son, picked up a fishing rod for the first time.

    When I was about six months pregnant, my dad went out and bought two little tiny fishing rods, one with a spinning reel and bait casting reel. He was so proud Levi chose the bait cast reel, unlike his mom who prefers the spinning reel.

  • Sandifer leaves a legacy of service, sacrifice

    Brunswick County suffered a great loss last week. We lost a true champion for Brunswick County.

    County commissioners chairman David Sandifer, who died last Friday, was a tireless leader, who always had the best interest of the county in mind.

    He loved this county, and he said so often.

    With every vote he cast, he ran the risk of making half the county unhappy with him.

  • Flights of fancy pondering airlines

    I don’t know why our airlines are in so much trouble.

    But it might have something to do with, “What flies around—in the form of a strict no-refunds policy—flies back around in the form of bad press.”

    I recently learned that lesson the hard way when I had to reschedule two cross-country flights a month earlier than planned.