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Opinion

  • Brunswick County’s economic development leadership has been in a state of flux for too long.

    In 2015, following an examination of discrepancies revealed during the budgeting process and subsequent resignation of every member of the Economic Development Commission’s board, county commissioners dissolved the EDC, made economic development a county department and put it under the auspices of the county planning department.

  • We do not know the cause of the blaze that destroyed a Navassa residence this past weekend, but we know the risk of household fires increases when temperatures outside drop.

    Last month, the Office of the State Fire Marshal urged all North Carolinians to check their smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors to make sure they function properly. “Working smoke alarms cut the risk of dying in a home fire in half,” N.C. Department of Insurance Commissioner and State Fire Marshal Mike Causey said.

  • This Friday, Brunswick County will begin accepting applications for the Low Income Energy Assistance Program, or LIEAP. The annual program provides a one-time annual vendor payment to help impoverished households offset winter heating expenses.

    It also serves to remind us that while we are preparing to celebrate the holidays, many of our neighbors are struggling to survive.

    Black Friday, Shop Small Saturday and Cyber Monday were followed this past week by Giving Tuesday, a day meant to encourage charitable giving across the globe in the season of goodwill.

  • Nov. 25 will make the seventh anniversary of Shop Small Saturday, which follows Black Friday and precedes Cyber Monday and was established through the efforts of the U.S. Small Business Administration and American Express.

  • The story of an embezzlement scheme that began more than 17 years ago has finally ended in a court of law.

    Harry Simmons, former Caswell Beach mayor and chairman of the Brunswick Beaches Consortium, was sentenced to serve at least six years in prison, with credit for time served, after pleading guilty Nov. 8 to embezzlement and obtaining property by false pretense.

  • Union Elementary School received national attention recently, and for one of the best reasons: On Oct. 26, the school in Shallotte was named the 2017 North Carolina National Title I Distinguished School.

    Union principal Vickie Smith said a Title I school is one where more than half of the student population applies for and receives free or reduced lunch. She said Union has about 63 percent who apply for it.

  • Voting is a right too many citizens continue to take for granted in our country.

    It is a right that was not granted to people of color, including former slaves, until 1870.

    It was not granted to women until 1920.

    It has been one of the rights for which our military services members fought to protect, just as much as the ideals the American flag symbolizes, just as much our right to freedom of speech and peaceful protest.

  • October is observed annually as Domestic Violence Awareness Month, but this societal ill knows no season.

    Here in Brunswick County, we are fortunate to have a resource like Hope Harbor Home helping to address, treat and eradicate the problem. Since it was established in 1988, Hope Harbor has offered round-the-clock response to domestic violence victims and their children. It operates a shelter that is staffed at all times and can house as many as 15 women and children.

  • The North Carolina Department of Transportation last week issued its annual autumn warning about the increased chance for deer-vehicle collisions.

    It happened to a member of our Beacon staff Sunday; thankfully, she and her passenger were unscathed and the deer that had jumped in front of her pickup bounded away, but not before it caused about $2,000 in damage.

  • By now, most are aware of the growing opioid epidemic in Brunswick County. Opioids cover a range of highly addictive substances including prescription painkillers, synthetic opioids and black tar heroin, and are abused by no specific age group, class, gender or race.

  • We have barely begun October, which is observed as Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and hundreds of generous people throughout our community have already contributed to the cause in some way.

    Last Wednesday, Sept. 27, Sandpiper Bay Golf and Country Club finished hosting its 10th Annual Pretty in Pink Golf Tournament and Auction, which followed a fashion show the previous Sunday. We are happy to report the events raised more than $22,000 for the Pretty in Pink Foundation and Brunswick County residents diagnosed with breast cancer who have limited or no health insurance.

  • As controversy churns over professional athletes kneeling during the national anthem at sporting events and what it says about our country’s values less than a month after we marked the 16th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, it is very likely far too many Americans failed to observe Sept. 15 as National POW/MIA Recognition Day.

    Members of VFW Post 8866 in Holden Beach and VFW Post 7288 in Calabash were among the local residents who made sure our prisoners of war and service members missing in action were not forgotten.

  • Even before Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma wrought their devastation, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season has the potential to be extremely active — maybe the most active since 2010. In the first nine weeks of the 2017 season, which runs through Nov. 30, there were six named storms — twice as many as would typically form by early August.

  • Gov. Roy Cooper on June 30 signed Senate Bill 155, called the “brunch bill” because it allows the sale of alcoholic beverages starting at 10 a.m. Sundays with local government approval, into law.

    The North Carolina Restaurant & Lodging Association lobbied hard for passage of the bill, touted by its sponsors as an added boost to the state’s hospitality and tourism industries.

  • Tragedies have dominated the news as summer draws to a close.

    We mourn Edward Michael Mylod and his teenage son, Casey Mylod, who died in a fire at their Oak Island home Aug. 24. We share collective dismay that the Coast Guard had to call off its search for Steve Chaney and David Hambrick, cousins who went missing Aug. 27 while fishing off the coast of Oak Island.

  • Classes for the 2017-18 school year just kicked off this past Monday for most Brunswick County schools, but already students and teachers can expect to harvest the fruits of success that took root during the inaugural Teacher Academy.

    Brunswick County Board of Education member John Thompson planted the seed for the program last fall to address three issues: teacher pay, accountability for student performance and changes in the educational system.

  • For all the questions in recent weeks surrounding the Waterfront Market at Sunset Beach in Sunset Beach Town Park, certain details are clear.

    No one dislikes the market.

    No one wants it to be discontinued.

    No one believes Waterway Markets LLC, consisting of market managers Chris Wilson, Susan Bradford and Carol Corbett and market partner Emily Shea, does a poor job of operating the market.

    No one has said Wilson, Bradford, Corbett and Shea are bad people; rather, they are viewed as savvy businesswomen.

  • The first day of classes for Brunswick County Schools students is not until Aug. 28, which means it is not too late to prepare for the start of the 2017-18 school year.

    Brunswick County Sheriff John Ingram provides important safety tips for motorists to follow all year round, not just when school is in session, in his Sheriff’s Corner column this week. Following is a compendium of other helpful back-to-school hints we found.

    For parents, from the U.S. Department of Education:

  • This past weekend, the North Carolina Coastal Federation recognized Navassa Mayor Eulis Willis with a Pelican Award for his work on Kerr-McGee wood treatment Superfund site cleanup “that benefits the entire coast and state of North Carolina.” The plant, which operated from the 1930s to the 1970s, shut down in 1980. Creosote and sludge left on the site entered the marshes adjacent to the Brunswick River and Sturgeon Creek, which flow into the Cape Fear River.

  • Last month, members of the Brunswick County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to transform the South Brunswick Island Center into the new Hickmans Crossroads Library.

    The county will take possession of the SBIC (not to be confused with the South Brunswick Interchurch Council) from Brunswick Community College in January, having agreed May 1 to buy it from the college for $1.7 million. The price reflects its listed tax value for 2015, but County Manager Ann Hardy said a much more recent rough estimate for the current value is about $1.2 million.