•  I love curling up on the couch tangled up in kids, dogs and cats sharing a colossal bowl of popcorn while watching a good movie. While the human family relishes the film, I’m pretty sure my dog’s main interest in movie night is the popcorn. That’s OK with me, because popcorn can be a healthy snack for cinema-loving canines.

  •  By Linda Arnold


    “Seasons change, and so did I. You need not wonder why.” Those lyrics from an old song by The Guess Who speak volumes. You may think the current change of season has to do with falling leaves, football and cooler temperatures, although there’s much more.

    Cycles and rhythms — they’re all part of nature, as well as our lives. 


    Reason, season or lifetime

  • By John Nelson

    Every now and then, the mystery plant column features something that isn’t exactly a plant — like this time. I think it’s pretty easy to recognize this thing is some sort of a fungus. That’s right. Fungi are enormously important organisms on our little planet, and everyone has had experiences with them, both good and bad (probably).

  • Renowned singer-songwriter and acoustic guitarist John Gorka is coming to Brunswick County this weekend for the next Listen Up Brunswick County concert.

    Gorka is scheduled to present the special event performance at 7 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 15, at the Southport Senior Center, 1513 N. Howe St.

    Concert proceeds will go to the Music Maker Relief Foundation, a nonprofit founded to preserve the musical traditions of the South.

  • November is the ideal month for feeding souls and addressing hunger.

    Coming up in the month of Thanksgiving are a number of events that do both.

    Holiday Craft Show for Loaves and Fishes

    Food-minded festivities kick off this weekend at St. Brendan the Navigator Roman Catholic Church at 5101 Ocean Highway in Shallotte, which is having a Holiday Craft Show from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 14, and from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 15, to benefit the hungry of Brunswick County.

  • The Friends of Leland Cultural Arts Center will present their inaugural holiday art market, A Very Merry Crafted Market, this week at Leland Cultural Arts Center, 1212 Magnolia Village Way in Leland.

    A preview party for ticketholders is scheduled from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 13, featuring live music, a cash bar, hors d’oeuvres and first dibs on art. The cost is $10 per person.

    The market Saturday will be open to the public from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and admission is free.

  •  By Linda Arnold

    ‘Tis the season — political season, that is. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve no doubt been exposed to candidate commercials, debates, sound bites or commentaries. 

    I’ve worked in the fields of politics, government and advertising, so I’m quite familiar with the competitive nature of campaigns. Timing is everything.

  •  By John Nelson

    We head up into the beautiful Appalachian Mountains for this week’s mystery plant –– so many wonderful places for a field trip and so many fascinating habitats. In the higher elevations, there has already been frost, but that is no reason for a botanist or naturalist to go out and beat the bushes. Late-season wildflowers are still with us, along with a variety of woody plants exhibiting their colorful fruits.

  •  I’ve been searching for ways to help pets enjoy longer and healthier lives my entire career. I introduced long-term medication monitoring schedules to help avoid adverse events, defined senior pet medical guidelines to catch hidden diseases earlier, and my current fight against pet obesity and the diseases excess fat causes. Uniting these efforts is the desire to enable dogs and cats to remain vigorous and vital for many, many years. A new drug, rapamycin, may also help dogs fight the effects of aging and prolong life.

  • Get ready for vendors, singers and Santa.

    The Brunswick Beacon’s fifth annual Holiday Happenings Show is set for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 7, at Shallotte Middle School, 225 Village Road SW in Shallotte.

    Admission and parking at the school are free.

    Highlights this year include more than 70 unique vendor and artist/artisan booths. This year there will also be outside vendors, event organizer Christy Williamson said.

  • On Sept. 2, 2011, Marcus Hayes Hewett, 47, died after a lengthy, courageous battle with kidney cancer.

    Two months later, the Brunswick County native’s family fulfilled his request to throw a party celebrating his life.

    It was just supposed to be a small outdoor gathering of family and friends at the live-oak-draped Hewett family farm on Goose Creek Road next to Sauce Pan Creek in Shallotte. But attendance proliferated to more than 100 people turning out to hear live music played on a homemade stage.

  •  Bloody and discolored urine is a common reason cat owners seek veterinary help. It’s incredibly upsetting to see drops of blood in a litter box on bedding, or on the floor. Sometimes you can’t see the blood until it is examined with a microscope or detected on urinalysis. Fortunately, most cats experiencing blood in their urine have straightforward causes that have relatively simple treatments.

    The two major causes of blood in a cat’s urine are cystitis and feline lower urinary tract disorder, or FLUTD.

  •  By John Nelson

    “Double, double toil and trouble; fire burn, and cauldron bubble.” (Macbeth. IV:1)


    That’s right, friends, it’s that time of the year again, when the darkness comes early, and mysterious scurryings greet us at every turn. Jack-o’-lantern goes scratchily scraping by in the breezy night and craggy owls hoot and watch us more closely. In the moonless gloom, furtive imps and amazed spirits are on the land, all answering to foul hags and their charms. It’s Halloween time!

  •  By Linda Arnold


    If you’ve already worked today’s Sudoku or crossword puzzle, try this brainteaser. 

    See if you can rank the following habits, which people say they want to quit, on a scale of 1 to 20:

  •  There have been recent reports of distemper virus in wildlife in southern Brunswick County. While discovering distemper in foxes, raccoons and skunks is no surprise to most veterinarians, many pet owners are worried by this news. I’ve been getting a lot of questions from worried pet parents about this disease. Here are the facts you need to know to keep your pet safe.


    What is distemper?

  •  By John Nelson

    “If the fruit be not ripe, it will draw a man’s mouth to much torment.”— attributed to Capt. John Smith of Jamestown


  • Living historians will demonstrate what life was like in 18th century Brunswick Town during Port Brunswick Day from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 24, at the historic site overlooking the lower Cape Fear River.

    Visitors will have opportunity to try their hand at the militia drill, visit with a colonial dentist, take a turn in the stocks and pillory, dip their own beeswax candles, stencil and quill-write, make their own tricorn hats and other assorted activities that were a way of life in the colonial settlement during the 1700s.

  • Spooky fun awaits those daring to cross over to the Old Sunset Beach Bridge during Halloween at the Old Bridge from 5 to 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 24, at 109 Shoreline Drive West in Sunset Beach. Come to the bridge with your favorite ghosts and goblins and enjoy the festivities including games and treats. If you have questions, or in case of inclement weather, go to the Old Bridge Facebook page or website, oldbridgepreservationsociety.org, or call 363-6585.

  • Just in time for Halloween, Brunswick Little Theatre is conjuring up Noel Coward’s sophisticated romantic comedy, “Blithe Spirit,” in six stage performances starting Oct. 23 and continuing through Nov. 1.

    A hilarious show launched in London's West End in 1941, “Blithe Spirit” tells the story of upper-crust novelist Charles Condomine, who commissions an at-home seance with clairvoyant Madame Arcati as entertainment and research for his next book.

  • Author J. Peter “Pete” Hoyer will be at Hickmans Crossroads Library at 1040 Calabash Road at 3 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 29, to sign copies of his new book, “Characters on the Green: Everyday Golfers are the Real Characters of the Game.”

    The book is described as witty, sarcastic and humorously captivating, showcasing “real episodes with real golfers,” and deemed “real funny.”