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Features

  • Looking for something to do during the long Christmas holiday weekend?

    Even in December, aquarium activity abounds both north and south of Brunswick County.

    The North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher just a ferry-cross over the Cape Fear River from Brunswick County.

    In Myrtle Beach, S.C., Ripley’s Aquarium is showcasing “holiday wishes from 9,000 fishes.”

  • My folks didn’t raise me to be sentimental. They were pre-teens and teenagers when the Great Depression descended upon the country, so they knew about hard times and how to survive. Their expectation was we would tough things out and move on. When I haven’t allowed myself to fall prey to self-pity and remembered those lessons, it has served me well.

  • Heavy winds whipped across southeastern North Carolina recently, waking homeowners and leaving downed trees and limbs behind.

    Strong weather is common in southeastern North Carolina, and so is cleaning up after it. But there’s a way to do it safely and wisely.

    Prioritize your chores by starting to work on trees that endanger buildings and fences first.

    Don’t attempt to handle trees that overhang or touch power lines. Call local utility company professionals for assistance in removing these trees.

  • For many years, I have announced I am not a Christmas person. I say to all who care to hear this is not my holiday. My words have caused some to look askance at me. It is likely I am raining on their “happiness parade,” bringing a negative note to their Noels.

  • Lydia F. Hewett’s children and grandchildren fondly recall spending Christmas at her house in the Boone’s Neck community, stringing popcorn and eating home-cooked meals to celebrate the holiday season and Hewett’s birthday each Dec. 15.

    Her most recent celebration was the ultimate milestone birthday. Hewett turned 100 years old last week, and several of her children and other family members visited her at Autumn Care of Shallotte to honor her years of love, caring and wisdom.

  • Shallotte Presbyterian Church will host a "noontime mini concert" Tuesday, Dec. 22, at the church.

    A "bring your own lunch" will follow in the fellowship hall. Beverage and dessert will be provided.

    The public is invited to attend.

    For more information, call 754-6929.

  • Katie Stewart has childhood memories of visiting Southport during the holidays.

    “We would all pile in the car and drive around and look at the beautiful Christmas lights,” she said. “Gramps would turn on the Christmas carols, and we would all sing off-key.”

    Two-and-a-half years ago, Stewart decided she wanted to help families create memories of their own. She decided to use her business, Old South Tour and Carriage Company to do it.

  • SUNSET BEACH—Seaside United Methodist Church Choir presented its annual Christmas cantata in two full-house performances on Dec. 13.

    The cantata, performed by 95 choir members, was “One Small Child” by Tom Fettke, choir director Kathryn Parker said.

    A 12-piece orchestra, some from the Wilmington Symphony, provided accompaniment for the 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. performances at the church at 1300 Seaside Road in Sunset Beach.

    The ensemble also included a harpist from Southern Pines, Parker said.

  • After being rained out Friday and Saturday, Beach Assembly of God presented Bethlehem Live for the first time on Sunday,     Dec. 6.

    About 500 people attended Sunday night despite the cold. The church had more than 2,500 people make reservations to attend one of six      performances.

    Performances are set for Friday, Dec. 11, Saturday, Dec. 12 and Sunday,     Dec. 13.

    To make reservations, or for more information, call the church at 579-9701.

  • Plant nerds and even casual gardeners always want to be the first on the block to have the latest, greatest plants. As your resident plant nerd, I feel compelled to offer my list of some must-have plants for the coming growing season.

  • All it takes is a little light, warmth and water to coax an amaryllis bud out of the big bulb’s belly. No ultimatums required. Pop up the softball-size bulbs now so the immense, trumpet-shaped flowers will grace your holiday décor. The bud rides upward 1-2 feet on a hollow but thick-skinned stalk before bursting into spectacular bloom.

  • We’re almost there. Christmas is just around the corner. Many of us are so focused on what is not yet here we miss the reality of the present moment and the wonder of all that has occurred in the past.

    Advent helps us to embrace the three stages of our faith journey: Christ has come. Christ will come again. Christ is here now.

    It is difficult to embrace those three “presences” simultaneously, unless we remember our own human lives are filled with that trinity.

  • Morning rain didn’t delay Shallotte’s annual Christmas parade, which proceeded down Main Street promptly at 10 a.m. Dec. 5.

    The rain clouds parted just long enough to allow the hour-long procession to continue as scheduled from Lowe’s Home Improvement Warehouse onto Main Street.

    “I think there was a lot of praying going on,” said parade organizer Cindy Babson with the town of Shallotte.

  • Calabash's Christmas tree lighting Dec. 4 was a life-size rendition of the cozy ceramic villages sold at Callahan's, the local store where the annual event took place.

    As holiday music played, townspeople gathered outside the gift shop to await the golf cart parade, which proceeded down Beach Drive and River Road to the delight of children and adults gathered on the sidewalk.

    Folks lined up for free popcorn from an old-timey vendor. There also were hot dogs, coffee and cocoa.

  • No holiday would be complete without a performance of “The Nutcracker.”

    But in Brunswick County this holiday season, that calls for tradition with a bit of a twist—performances by the newly formed Brunswick Ballet Company dancing nimble steps to a coastal version called “Nutcracker Under the Sea.”

  • SUNSET BEACH—Seaside United Methodist Church Choir will present its annual Christmas cantata in two performances this Sunday, Dec. 13.

    The cantata, to be performed by 95 choir members, is “One Small Child” by Tom Fettke, choir director Kathryn Parker said.

    A 12-piece orchestra, some from the Wilmington Symphony, is providing accompaniment for the performances set for 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. at the church at 1300 Seaside Road in Sunset Beach.

    The ensemble also includes a harpist from Southern Pines, Parker said.

  • The Shallotte Junior Women’s Club will present its second annual Stand Up For Charity benefit comedy show featuring comedian Bobby Collins at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 2, in Odell Williamson Auditorium at Brunswick Community College.

    Collins’ brand of humor is described as heartfelt and witty, engaging audiences with a “clever blend of characterizations and hilarious observations.”

  • For little ones wishing to receive a response from Santa Claus by Christmas, they’re asked to bring their letters to Santa of the North Pole Mailbox at the Museum of Coastal Carolina by Dec. 18.

    Scott Kucera, executive director the Ocean Isle Museum Foundation, which includes the Museum of Coastal Carolina at Ocean Isle Beach and Ingram Planetarium at Sunset Beach, says children who bring their letters by the museum by Dec. 18 will be able to have their letters sent to the North Pole and back, all in time for Christmas.

  • For Mary Brown, becoming a minister was a journey from a life of poverty, drugs and incarceration to a new life.

    That’s what led the West Virginia native become active in ministry in Shallotte and to move beyond her old life into a new one—starting a small church and providing inspiration to those in need.

    Two years ago, Brown started House of Deliverance Worship Ministry on Tryon Road in Shallotte, and although the church has a small number of regular visitors, she continues to do what she feels God has called her to do.

  • Winter is on the way. Autumn is fading. If you look around, you will notice the trees have shed their bright fall colors and the grass is turning brown.

    Birds are once again visiting backyard feeders for a meal. Christmas decorating is at a frenzied pace with everyone decking the halls.