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Columns

  • Recommended state health plan premium increase hurts government retirees in N.C.

    By Richard Rogers

    Guest Columnist

    The board of trustees for the state health plan has approved a 2018 benefit design change that imposes a $50 monthly premium for non-Medicare retirees enrolled in the 80/20 plan, a significant increase from the $15.04 per month they pay now.

    That’s $600 in premiums over the course of one year — more than a 330 percent increase on current annual payments.

  • District 17 House update

    By Rep. Frank Iler

    Guest Columnist

    Last week in the North Carolina House of Representatives, we met almost every hour March 28 and 29 with committees and visitors, we worked on the budget early each morning and we passed a repeal and reset of the controversial House Bill 2.

  • You decide: Why did we move away from self-sufficiency?

    By Dr. Mike Walden

    Guest Columnist

    I recall my late, paternal grandmother telling me how much she looked forward to the third Friday of each month. This was the day her husband — my grandfather — took her from their small farm into town. For all the other days of the month, my grandmother worked on the farm. She made her own bread, harvested and canned vegetables raised in the garden and even helped butcher, dress (remove unwanted parts and divide the kept parts) and cook the pork and poultry raised on their land.

  • District 17 House update

    By Rep. Frank Iler

    Guest Columnist

    Last week in the North Carolina House of Representatives, we voted to override the governor’s veto for the first time this session, we introduced many local bills and we welcomed visitors from Brunswick County.

    Last Wednesday, March 22, we had the first bill vetoed by Gov. Roy Cooper come back to the House and Senate for possible override votes.

  • You decide: Are we asking too much of the Fed?

    By Dr. Mike Walden

    Guest Columnist

    The Federal Reserve — for short, the Fed — is again front and center in the news. With the economy improving and the stock market soaring, the Fed is expected to increase short-term interest rates several times in 2017.

    Yet the Fed and its policies have not been held in high regard by many. Some say the Fed has been trying to do too much. Indeed, some even say the Fed’s policies have been harmful. Let me try to explain and then let you decide.

  • Spring is the perfect time to get reacquainted with our wildlife

    My favorite season is fall, but since I’ve lived here in Brunswick County, spring has become a close second.

    Spring’s arrival a week after my birthday and on my Grandma Torok’s birthday means the cold weather is gone until next fall, my car is getting coated with yellow-green pollen and my cats begin the seasonal shedding of their winter coats.

    Achoo!

  • My Michigan turn tutorial

    I understand from my colleague Laura Lewis that construction in the south end of Brunswick County is almost complete on a new set of Michigan turns.

    So to the Sunset Beach, Calabash and Carolina Shores crowds joining the fraternity of drivers not allowed to make a left turn onto U.S. 17 without making a right turn and driving the wrong way first, I want to be the first to publicly welcome you to slot track racing.

    Covering the northern end of Brunswick County gives me lots of opportunities to slingshot around the Michigan turns in that area.

  • District 17 House update

    By Rep. Frank Iler

    Guest Columnist

    Last week in the North Carolina House of Representatives, we heard the State of the State address from Gov. Roy Cooper, we introduced and passed several important education bills, and we introduced more local bills for Brunswick County.

  • No matter how it’s reported, truth doesn’t have to make sense

    Mark Twain famously said, “Truth is stranger than fiction.” I can’t help but guess whether he came up with this quote based on the newspaper experience had had in his storied career.

    I wonder what he would have thought of this doozy of a situation I dealt with the other week.

    I came to the office to find a message that a man came to the Beacon wanting to talk to a reporter. He’d left his phone number.

    Since all our reporters were on assignment, I took it upon myself to give him a call.

  • District 17 House update

    By Rep. Frank Iler

    Guest Columnist

    Last week in the North Carolina House of Representatives, we passed tougher penalties for felony death by boating, we made changes to the selection of judges, we met with a coastal advocacy group and we continued to work on local bills.