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Opinion

  • A lot of times when I read columns and someone writes, "The other day I was thinking about …" I usually assume it's something they've been thinking about for a long time and they just use that phrase for convenience's sake. But in this case, for this column, I really mean it.

  • The good news is Brunswick County reduced its premature death, prostate cancer death and colon cancer death rates last year.

    The bad news is its number of injury/accidental deaths, obesity and low birth rates increased in 2015.

    As for physical activity, the number of uninsured citizens and violent crime in our county, rates remained about the same. That can be considered good or bad news, depending on one’s point of view.

  • Nearly five children in the United States die every day as a result of child abuse, according to Childhelp, a national organization dedicated to child abuse prevention. Childhelp’s position, and ours, is any number is too many.

    Brunswick County has not escaped this terrible problem. Just two months ago, a Leland man was charged in an updated indictment related to the death of a 15-month-old boy he is accused of killing last year.

  • It should not be news to anyone Brunswick County is in the throes of an epidemic caused by prescription drug and heroin abuse, but perhaps more people are beginning to realize how close to home the problem hits.

    The Brunswick Coalition is working to fight it and needs your help. All it requires is a few minutes of your time to fill out a quick questionnaire, “Brunswick County Partnerships for Success Grant Community Survey,” which is available online at surveymonkey.com/r/JCX5D8g.

  • In a crisis, many people think of law enforcement officers, firefighters and paramedics as their first responders.

    But more often than not today, before they arrive at a scene, it is the dispatcher who answers the 911 call upon whom we must rely for determining the appropriate course of action.

    Sight unseen and with lighting speed, these telecommunications professionals serve as a lifeline not just for those immediately facing an emergency, but also for the public safety personnel who respond to it.

  • Social media was abuzz last week about theN.C. Governor’s Highway Safety Program’s latestcampaign to crack down on motorists who speed on state roads.

    “Obey the Sign or Pay the Fine” was billed as an enforcement blitz scheduled between March 24 and April 3 to target drivers who violate speed limits.

  • Last week, residents of and visitors to the East Coast received word the Obama administration’s newest version of a proposed five-year plan for offshore oil and natural gas drilling does not include plans for oil and natural gas leasing activity in the Southern Atlantic region.

    While the decision certainly helps preserve the ecological integrity of North Carolina’s shoreline, the issue of maintaining and renourishing Brunswick County beaches must remain a priority at the local and state levels.

  • It is perfectly reasonable for the parents and guardians of children who attend Brunswick County Schools to expect students to be able to learn in a safe, nurturing environment.

    What happened last Wednesday, March 9, at West Brunswick High School, when five students caused a racially charged disruption using a Confederate flag, shows that is not always the case.

  • It appears Brunswick County has taken a page from Gov. Pat McCrory’s playbook on public information and government transparency.

    A little more than two years ago, McCrory’s staff interpreted a one-sentence clause in North Carolina’s public records law as providing broad authority to assess a so-called special service charge on any records request taking more than 30 minutes for an employee to process. The fee forces taxpayers to pay twice for information that already belongs to them.

  • With several municipalities in Brunswick County boasting signature annual events, such as the North Carolina Oyster Festival in Ocean Isle Beach, Festival by the Sea in Holden Beach, Leland’s Founders’ Day, Navassa Homecoming and Sunset at Sunset in Sunset Beach, it is long past due for the Seafood Capital of the World to have its own.

    The time has finally come this year, with plans announced for the inaugural A Taste of Calabash festival April 16 and 17. The weekend event will take place in Calabash Community Park and at local restaurants.

  • Two weeks ago, we published an opinion that Gov. Pat McCrory’s $2 billion Connect NC bond proposal does not do enough to meet the needs of Brunswick County.

    Our opinion requires clarification and corrections.

  • My dear friend Shane died once before, on an operating table when he was very young and undergoing surgery for his heart defect, long before I’d met him.

    When he died a second time Nov. 9, 2014, of that same condition, it was final, and it broke my heart. The plans we’d made just a few months earlier for him to visit me here in Brunswick County, for us to go camping with our circle of friends, for us to spend more time together doing nothing in particular, never came to pass.

  • It seems fitting for the 250th anniversary of the Stamp Act resistance to fall so close on the calendar to North Carolina’s 2016 primary election March 15.

    In Brunswick County, the milestone holds extra significance. Brunswick Town, situated along the Cape Fear River, north of where Sunny Point Military Ocean Terminal is today, offered the first successful armed rebellion against the British Empire.

  • Although various studies indicate most people who try to quit smoking or using tobacco products do so cold turkey, they also indicate gradual cessation is a more successful strategy.

    The latter is the same approach Brunswick Community College is taking toward becoming a tobacco- and smoke-free campus by the fall semester of 2017.

  • It is easy to consider how members of our military put themselves in danger each time they enter a war zone, where casualties are not unexpected. We do not often realize how frequently they put themselves in harm’s way by training for that experience, even if they never engage in combat, until an accident happens.

    We do not often come to that realization unless such a tragedy strikes someone we know.

    Sgt. Adam Schoeller was one of us — not just because he was a Marine, but also because he married into our community.

  • In this week’s edition, in addition to a regular weekly column by Calabash veterinarian Dr. Ernie Ward, we profile a new program at Novant Health Brunswick Medical Center in Supply that brings canine comfort to visitors. Called Wagging Welcome, it uses specially trained and groomed canine volunteers to meet and greet people at the hospital every weekday and shows the positive impact pets can have on people.

  • Often when people consider the concept of volunteerism, they think of it in terms of serving charities, like Habitat for Humanity, and civic organizations, like Kiwanis. It may not occur to them they can put their spare time toward guiding their local government and the direction of the communities in which they live.

    Within the past month, the Beacon has published appeals from Shallotte, Leland and Holden Beach for volunteers to serve on various municipal boards and committees.

  • Those who seek and are elected to public office, in most cases, should be praised for keeping their campaign promises.

    John Fletcher, Peter Freer, Kim Isenhour and Ashley Royal each vowed to revise Holden Beach’s noise ordinance if elected to the town’s board of commissioners in November. Eight days after taking their oath of office Dec. 8, they did exactly that.

  • Whether you plan to attend the New Year’s Eve Celebration sponsored by the Beacon at Brunswick Senior Resources Inc. in Shallotte or ring in 2016 with the annual events in Calabash, at Shallotte Moose Lodge or Sharky’s in Ocean Isle Beach, please make sure your plans including getting home safely and without putting others at risk.

  • Eight-year-old Virginia O’Hanlon wrote a letter to the editor of New York’s Sun, and the quick response was printed as an unsigned editorial Sept. 21, 1897. The work of veteran newsman Francis Pharcellus Church has since become history’s most reprinted newspaper editorial.

    “DEAR EDITOR: I am 8 years old.

    “Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus.

    “Papa says, ‘If you see it in THE SUN it’s so.’

    “Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?