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Columns

  • Coupon scam teaches difficult lesson

    One night I logged into my e-mail account to find 923 messages; 922 of them were junk.

    My mom said she never wanted to be that popular. But, I am thanks to a little faux pas I committed a few weeks ago.

    There I was, minding my own business, checking my 14 e-mails when something in the subject–line caught my eye. It said, “Free coupons and baby gear.”

    I couldn’t resist, so I clicked on it. The message showed a cute little smiling baby, along with the brand names Huggies, Johnson & Johnson and Gerber.

  • Some issues to consider when choosing the next president

    I am not a paid political pundit or an elected official, but I am a political observer who has studied the platforms of the remaining presidential candidates.

    After studying those platforms, I am convinced some of the most brilliant minds go unheard because society is more impressed with those who have money, prestige and status than they are with those who have common sense.

    The question every voter should ask during this election year is which presidential candidate will protect the physical safety and the economic plight of America regardless of race, color or creed?

  • Open government is good government

    The early leaders of our country held widely divergent views on many topics, but their writings reflect a common appreciation of the importance of the right to know.

    These leaders recognized that in order for the new democracy to survive, public access was essential. As James Madison wrote: "[A] people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives."

    Sunshine Week celebrates the people's right to access the records and proceedings of their government and continue a centuries-old tradition of public access in America.

  • Why doesn't 'Taliban' scare us the way 'communists' used to?

    As a kid, I knew little about politics. To me, Jimmy Carter was a man who liked peanuts and Ronald Reagan was a former actor who thought jelly beans were so cool he had some stashed away on a space shuttle for astronauts.

    I spent more time listening to First Lady Nancy Reagan telling me to “say no to drugs” than any of the president’s proposals to fix the economy or his take on the state of the union.

  • Sunshine Week: Shining a light on public information

    Public records and open meetings laws in North Carolina exist for one reason—to ensure that government is conducted in the open.

    Public business, according to state law, must be done in public.

    The public’s access to the government process, whether it’s access to meetings or to information or documents, is a right, not a privilege.

    While there are nine specific, and likely overused, provisions that allow public bodies to convene in closed session, action must be taken in open session.

  • Marine video is shocking and shameful

    A recent YouTube video shows a uniformed Marine referred to as “Motari” standing on a rocky-looking cliff, holding a small, black-and-white puppy by the scruff of the neck.

    The soldier then “trips,” and the puppy is thrown off the edge. Cringing cries can be heard as the puppy allegedly plunges to its death.

    The video is absolutely horrifying. When I first heard about it on the news, I had to change the channel. I couldn’t even watch the newscast, let alone the clip of the actual video.

  • Dirty restrooms should not be the norm

    You know that feeling. Almost everyone has experienced it.

    It happened to me recently in a Wilmington mall. I was walking along shopping, minding my own business, when my bladder sent a message to my brain saying, “Hey, you shouldn’t have slurped up that big ol’ Sprite.”

    I tried to ignore my bladder, but it was eventually screaming, “The tsunami is coming.” I knew I had to take action. I was in a nice department store and headed for the nearest ladies room.

  • Another taxing situation passes

    Lately, my favorite proclamation-day of the week is TGISGMTDBA15—Thank God I Somehow Got My Taxes Done Before April 15.

    It was no thanks to those free, do-it-yourself online tax preparation services, which got me in trouble one year for creating confusion in my head and causing me to answer a few questions wrong, according to the mighty Internal Revenue Service.

  • Cold season ain't what it used to be

    The old cold and flu season used to mean a case of the sniffles, maybe a cold here or there, and every few years an unfortunate bout with bronchitis.

    After marriage, my husband quickly informed me that, during sickness, leaving any tissues lying around the house was not healthy for him and was quite unattractive to look at. So I adjusted, making sure I had trash cans close to wherever I happened to be convalescing.

  • Responses now being taken at www.brunswickbeacon.com

    Each week the Beacon’s editorial pages are full of thoughtful, engaging letters from readers who care about what’s going on in Brunswick County. We enjoy these letters and hope the trend will continue. We’re always looking for your opinions on the issues we cover and feedback on the job we’re doing—both good and bad.

    While we’re not looking to change the way we handle letters to the editor, we’re now offering readers a new way to respond to stories that appear in the Beacon.