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Features

  • What began as a senior project for West Brunswick High School seniors Ainsley Wood and Meredith Cox turned into a life-changing experience for an autistic 9-year-old boy and his family.

    Wood and Cox each began their projects with a different subject area of research—Wood focused on autism and Cox on the therapeutic benefits of horseback riding.

    “I thought it’d be interesting to know about [autism],” Wood said.

  • CAROLINA SHORES—Bill Woods is naturally bearded and jovial.

    Small surprise, then, that the affable, retired FDNY lieutenant has been playing Santa Claus for the past quarter-century.

    This Christmas, the retired Carolina Shores resident and his wife, Carol, planned to hitch up their sleigh and journey to their native New York, where Woods was to visit with children at firehouses where the couple’s two sons now serve.

  • It’s that time of year when you are most likely to be hosting a party with friends or family.

    Make that gathering a little more festive and special by extending the holiday spirit to the drinks and refreshments you offer your guests.

    Here is what you need to prepare some of the more popular traditional holiday cheer and a few more.

    Wassail Bowl

    Drinking Wassail is an age-old winter custom. It is drunk at Christmastime, New Year’s and the 12th Night.

  • Every year about this time, I grow a bit weary of all of the holiday stuff and the typical cool and wet weather of our winters. The only solution to this is to get out and get a little bit of dirt under the fingernails. Of course, purists will recoil at the mention of dirt.

    Yes, I know, the stuff we grow plants in is soil, but even though I’m quickly closing in on the big Five-O, I’m still that kid pushing those Buddy-L and Tonka bulldozers and dump trucks around the sand pile.

  • Camellias bloom late fall, winter and early spring when few other plants do and have beguiled southern landscapes for more than 100 years. Camellias are usually thought of as a southern plant; they have been adapted to extend as far north as Long Island, N.Y. They can generally withstand winter temperatures as low as 10 degrees; they can be grown anywhere if you protect them and keep the roots from freezing. Camellias are shallow rooted, like the shade, and do the best in loose, fertile soil that is slightly acid. They do not like poor drainage.

  • Are you naughty or nice to your plants? The old adage applies here, “Too much of a good thing can kill you.”

    People who have purchased Christmas trees which can be used as landscape trees after Christmas must make sure they are properly cared for while in the home during the holidays. Too much or too little water plus exposure to indoor heat are common problems associated with Christmas tree short life. Try having the decorated tree only in the house for a minimum time and plant as soon after Christmas as possible.

  • Christmas arrives in a flurry of anticipation and dashed expectations. Weeks of hype, whispered hopes and circled desires swiftly end in a heap of torn paper and crushed bows.

    Gifts hoped for were not received. Unexpected presents did not always match desires.

    Children, overwhelmed by the abundance of toys, cannot express their gratitude in the face of such bounty. Despite our best efforts to ignore the feeling, I think we all sense the death found in birth, the cross that shadows Christmas.

  • Most builders can be seen with ladders and other tools of the trade in the beds of their pickup trucks, but members of the Brunswick County Home Builders Association recently loaded a truck with food bound for local food pantries.

    “When our association decided on a food drive as a community outreach project, our goal was to collect enough food to fill the back of a pickup truck, and we did,” said Tim Gallimore, president of the Brunswick County Home Builders Association.

  • Holiday events continue in coming days in Brunswick County and the surrounding area, including Christmas Eve and Christmas Day services. The schedule includes:

    •Nights of a Thousand Candles, 3-10 p.m. Dec. 18, 19, 20, Brookgreen Gardens, Murrells Inlet, S.C. Thousands of lights sparkle from live oak trees and illuminate garden paths as musicians perform, carolers sing and visitors experience the enchantment. Non-member tickets are $15 for adults and $6 for ages 6-12. (843) 235-6000 or 1-800-849-1931; www.brookgreen.org.

  • Christmas Eve and Christmas Day services are scheduled throughout Brunswick County and the surrounding area this week.

    •Candlelight Christmas service, 5 p.m. Dec. 24, Bethel United Methodist Church, 3909 U.S. 17 Business, Bolivia. Come dressed as you are. Brief Christmas service to include singing Christmas carols, a message and communion. For more information, call the Rev. Mark Murphy at 617-3245.

    •Christmas Eve candlelight service, 5 p.m. Dec. 24, Seaside United Methodist Church, 1300 Seaside Road SW (N.C. 904), Sunset Beach. 579-5753.

  • Who invented meatloaf, why and when? Food historians tell us from ancient times to the present cooks have been mixing ground meat with minced bread/rice/vegetables, spices, thickeners and serving them with sauce. But for what reasons?

    My best guesses are 1) to distribute meat to more people (protein economy); 2) to conserve resources (use it up, don’t throw it out); and 3) to make tough meat more palatable (aid digestion).

  • Isn’t it amazing how we can be wishing to turn 16 and get a driver’s license and then wake up a short time later and 30 years have disappeared? Something about this time of year always kicks the nostalgia into high gear, so bear with me as we look back on Christmases past.

    The first 10 years of my life were spent in a white, wood-framed house that was completed in 1912. It had the typical high ceilings, no insulation and was oriented just right to catch a summer breeze.

  • It is a wonderful thing for a gardener to find an exotic and interesting plant that is easy to cultivate. Pitcher plants are a rare and unusual carnivorous plant that are easy to incorporate into the garden and are especially amenable to container planting; however, their cultural needs differ from most plants, and it is necessary to understand the lifestyle of pitcher plants so you can give them a proper home in your garden.

  • Economically, these are tough times. People everywhere are hurting from a painful trickle down effect.

    Loss of money at the top of the scale has had its negative effect all the way down to those who had the least from the beginning.

    Charitable, nonprofit organizations are feeling the pinch along with their clientele. Fueled by financial deficits and exacerbating anger, abusers are even more violent.

  • More yuletide events will light up the season in coming days in Brunswick County and the surrounding area. Activities slated in coming days include:

    •“A Holiday Tribute to the Nightmare Before Christmas,” 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 11, and Friday, Dec. 12, at West Brunswick High School theater and 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 13, at New Beginnings Community Church, 730 Whiteville Road. Admission is $5 and $3 with two non-perishable food items.

  • Staff report

    Comedian Jon Reep will be the featured headliner in the first “Stand Up For Charity,” a fundraiser sponsored by the Shallotte Junior Women’s Club set for Saturday, Jan. 3, at Odell Williamson Auditorium at Brunswick Community College.

    Doors open at 7 p.m., and the show starts at 7:30 p.m.

  • Santa can’t be everywhere—that’s where area animal shelters, rescue and support facilities come in.

    They provide food and care for homeless pets until, it is hoped, someone steps in to offer a loving heart and a good, forever home for an adoptable dog or cat, puppy or kitten.

    Now might be a good time to pay one of the facilities a “Santa visit” of your own.

    Most facilities in Brunswick County are filled to capacity and welcome visits from all who may be in search of the perfect canine or feline companion.

  • Santa can’t be everywhere—that’s where area animal shelters, rescue and support facilities come in.

    They provide food and care for homeless pets until, it is hoped, someone steps in to offer a loving heart and a good, forever home for an adoptable dog or cat, puppy or kitten.

    Now might be a good time to pay one of the facilities a “Santa visit” of your own.

    Most facilities in Brunswick County are filled to capacity and welcome visits from all who may be in search of the perfect canine or feline companion.

  • Mixing sour cream with one of those dry onion soup mix envelopes was a staple at parties at our house a decade or so ago. It was a cheap and easy way to make a pretty yummy dip. And, with a bag of nacho chips and a bottle of wine, the dip would make the occasion festive.

    Then one day, I read the label on the onion soup mix envelope. The company suggested mixing their onion soup with ground beef for an onion meat loaf. It really added some zest to it. I decided to ask some friends what they used it in.

  • For those of you suffering from an overdose of family, friends and holiday cheer, there’s another way to warm up on the short, chilly days of December. Get out and play in the dirt.

    Purists (and soil science professors) bristle at the mention of “dirt,” but “playing in the soil” doesn’t roll off the tongue. The stuff we grow plants in is soil. Once it’s under your fingernails or you track it into the house, it’s dirt.