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Opinion

  • Halloween is a holiday meant to be equal parts fun and frightening for all who observe it, but celebrations have the potential to turn tragic. Whether participating in traditional trick-or-treating with children or costumed revelry with adults, it is important to be safe and responsible.

  • If Brunswick County were to ever to become the home of a theme park, the type Rube McMullan plans to make a reality is the ideal kind.

    McMullan is using a parcel along the Shallotte River he purchased from First Bank as the springboard for what he hopes will become Shallotte River Swamp Park, opening by May 1, 2015.

  • History has taught us not to let our guard down during hurricane season, which is in full swing with fall’s arrival. This year marks the anniversaries of four of the most devastating storms to strike our community in the past century.
    Many can still remember exactly what they were doing just before Hurricane Hazel made landfall 60 years ago Oct. 15 as a Category 4 storm at the Carolinas’ state line. Hazel killed 95 people in the United States and 100 more in Canada.

  • Nearly all of us have done it: A friend, a family member or a coworker mentioned he is suffering from a headache or muscle sprain or anxiety attack, and you offered him a pill from one of your personal prescriptions — not because you meant to break the law, but because you did not want to see someone suffer pain.

    If you were lucky, that is as far as it went, a one-time solution to an immediate problem. But even if you not realize it, chances are you know someone who is addicted and needs help.

  • Service as an elected official requires a certain degree of sacrifice. Apparently, Brunswick County Board of Education members forgot that when they tried to give themselves a raise Aug. 28.

    It is difficult to believe, given their combined 57 years on the board, they did not know only the Brunswick County Board of Commissioners can give them a raise.

    It is astounding that they would try this in a year when teachers across the state had to fight so hard to secure an average 7 percent salary increase from the General Assembly.

  • Most Americans can remember exactly where they were and what they were doing 13 years ago today. At the same time, for many of us, the day was a blur.

    The day we simply call 9/11, now observed as Patriot Day, was marked by four separate but coordinated attacks that established this timeline:

    Hijackers crashed the first plane into the World Trade Center’s North Tower in New York City at 8:46 a.m.

    The second hijacked plane hit the South Tower at 9:03 a.m.

    The third hijacked plane struck the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., at 9:37 a.m.

  • On the surface, Venus flytrap poaching may seem like a victimless crime. The valuable vegetation adapts to being held in captivity as a houseplant, after all. But the reason lawmakers pushed this year to make stealing the plants from their native land — which includes Brunswick County — a felony is because our heritage is the true victim of this crime.

  • Two news items in this edition are cause for concern.
    One is the report that the North Carolina House defeated a bill last week that could have secured economic development funding linked to Brunswick County’s effort to bring a new business into one of its industrial parks.
    The other is the report that the Brunswick County school district has lost 181 of its 840 teachers in the past school year.

  • Sunset Beach town leaders are pushing for a change to allow swimming pools on the oceanfront.

    The change is on a list of proposed Unified Development Ordinance amendments reviewed by the Sunset Beach Planning Board at its Aug. 7 meeting. The proposal is to add swimming pools as a permitted use in all town zoning districts except mainland business MB2, which could pave the way for a public swimming pool.

  • Traveling along our roads lately has become more treacherous thanks to persistent rainy weather. It creates an added risk in Brunswick County, where it seems motorists are surrounded by waterways at all times.

    Although water is often visible on the surface of the road during and after a heavy rainfall, what motorists do not or cannot see is where the real danger lies.

  • While every month seems to be designated as the official observance for a particular cause, we would like to call attention to August as American Artist Appreciation Month.

  • This time next year, Brunswick County Schools will likely have a new superintendent.

    We hope that person matches Edward Pruden’s caliber. While we have not agreed with everything he has done during his tenure as the school district’s leader for the past four years, it is obvious he genuinely cares about students and their success. It is the most important character trait a school system leader should have.

  • It might have been easier for Edward Mannon Gore to simply live in the shadow of his father, who founded the town where he spent most of his life.

    Instead, Ed Gore chose to not only build upon the legacy of Mannon C. Gore, but also leave his own mark on Sunset Beach, Brunswick County and North Carolina.

    After graduating from what is now East Carolina University with a bachelor’s degree in business administration, the Longwood native served our county in the Air Force where he monitored Russian radio transmissions during the Cold War before returning home.

  • Any journalist with an ounce of compassion does not delight in reporting an event like the death of former Brunswick County Sheriff Ronald Hewett.

    Hewett’s story is familiar to most long-time residents. When he first became sheriff in 1994 at age 31, he was the youngest to be elected to the office in North Carolina. Hewett’s leadership heralded a new era for the sheriff’s office, which was stinging from Herman Strong’s resignation following his conviction on federal drug-smuggling and conspiracy charges.

  • According to the American Pet Care Products Association, people are expected to spend more than $58 billion on their pets this year alone. And regardless of whether they are millionaires or living on the street, most people these days treat their pets as members of the family.

    People were not as educated about spaying or neutering their pets as they are now. They did not understand that not only did it spare their four-legged friends from life-threatening illnesses and improve their quality of life, but it also reduced the number of strays who become homeless nuisances.

  • Consider how life could be without the freedom we enjoy as Americans.

    We know citizens in North Korea, for example, live under a totalitarian regime that deliberately keeps them ignorant of world affairs. Many of us have read about Meriam Yehya Ibrahim, the pregnant woman sentenced to death in Sudanese court for renouncing Islam. Fewer of us may know that Buddhist extremists are driving Rohingya Muslims out of Myanmar with threats and acts of violence.

  • While Wilmington serves as the setting for most of the movie and television productions in North Carolina, several cross the New Hanover County border and make their way into our community.

  • All seems forgiven between West Brunswick High School Principal Brock Ahrens and Brunswick County Schools Superintendent Edward Pruden.

    Ahrens rescinded his resignation at Pruden’s request in a choreographed scene during commencement exercises Saturday, June 14, that bore little resemblance to the meeting before the West Brunswick High faculty and staff less than 24 hours earlier.

  • Last month, a bill was introduced in the General Assembly to ensure public records laws that apply to the state’s public schools include charter schools.

    Last week, that proposed bill was altered in the Senate education committee to “remove the provision that the charter school and its board of directors are subject to public records and open meetings laws.”

  • We in Brunswick County pride ourselves on the tranquility of our beaches, which are the destinations of so many every summer. In fact, our tourism development authority’s marketing slogan touts our community as offering “more beach for your blanket.”

    The prospect of enjoying peace, calm and quiet along the shore is what draws most people to our area every season.

    And yet we are holding our collective breaths that this summer proves to be far less eventful than last when four people lost their lives in rip currents in less than 36 hours.