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Opinion

  • The roster of people who die as a result of violence inflicted upon them grows longer each year. This year in Brunswick County, the number increased with a fatal stabbing, an alleged patricide and an apparent murder-suicide. A handful of other cases also bear a connection — by victim or perpetrator — to our community.

    For 21 years, residents of Brunswick, Bladen, Columbus, New Hanover and Pender counties have gathered for a candlelight memorial service organized by the 13th and Fifth District Attorneys’ Offices to honor homicide victims.

  • As we prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving, we need to recognize how many of our neighbors are struggling here and across the state.

    The Brunswick County Homeless Coalition’s recent fifth annual Hunger and Homeless Banquet called attention to the number of people in our community, including children, who have no stable residence.

  • After a successful distribution of U.S. Department of Agriculture commodities from the former pressroom at the Beacon last Thursday, Brunswick Family Assistance and its new executive director, Stephanie Bowen, are preparing for perhaps its busiest event of the year: its annual Christmas distribution.

    The abrupt, dramatic departure of Bowen’s predecessor, Lou Nistler, who resigned Aug. 19 after 48 days on the job, seems like a distant memory. It may be one we would rather forget, but the resulting lesson is something we cannot.

  • The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission and the North Carolina Alligator Task Force led a meeting in Leland last week as part of a three-meeting series along the coast to get public input on an alligator management plan and whether the plan should include alligator hunting.

    The commission earlier this year proposed a limited alligator hunting season. After receiving public comment and reviewing available up-to-date data, however, the commission opted not to establish an alligator hunting season in the state but decided to develop the task force.

  • A state of emergency was declared for Brunswick County twice in October, both times apparently because of Hurricane Matthew.

    The first was issued before the storm was expected to sweep through the area. The second was issued because of a break in the water main that carries water from the Kings Bluff Pump Station to Brunswick County-owned Northwest Water Treatment Plant.

    Officials posited flooding from the hurricane weakened the stability of the ground supporting the water line and caused the break.

  • Election Day 2016 is Nov. 8, but One-Stop voting is already under way in Brunswick County at four sites, with six more scheduled to open Thursday, Oct. 27.

    As Sara Knotts, director of our county board of elections, explained, “it’s called One-Stop voting, but is essentially absentee voting because voters are away from their election sites. You can request a ballot and vote the ballot all in one stop. That’s where that comes from.”

  • By now most people know October is observed as Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

    Here in Brunswick County, the observance kicked off with the Sea Trail Ladies Golf Association, which had its Rally for the Cure Oct. 3-5. This was the group’s 20th year of fundraising for the Susan G. Komen Rally for the Cure.

  • Few might have believed Brunswick County, with its 40 miles of beaches, would fare so much better than neighboring inland counties after Hurricane Matthew.

    Much of that can be attributed to the storm’s path, but the remainder is a credit to our people and our preparation in bracing for the worst when Matthew struck Saturday.

  • While Brunswick County sells itself on the warm-weather fun to be had on its beaches, fall festivals scheduled throughout our community keep people coming back for more.

    This past weekend, Sunset at Sunset in Sunset Beach celebrated its 10th anniversary with what organizers called its best event yet. The weekend before that, Sunset Beach Town Park played host to the second annual Paddle Fest, presented by Sunset Beach Business and Merchants Association.

  • This past Saturday, Hope Harbor Home had its fifth annual Let’s Ride Domestic Violence Out of Town Awareness Rally.

    The event is designed to raise money for Hope Harbor Home clients to pay for legal representation when seeking restraining orders and pressing criminal charges against their abusers. The process for victims seeking to reclaim their lives and personal safety does not end when they put physical distance between themselves and their abusers.

  • Along with the local, state and federal races between candidates that will appear on our ballots for the Nov. 8 general election will be a referendum about a $152 million bond for Brunswick County Schools.

  • As we conclude our observances of the 15th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, many of us feel a renewed sense of appreciation for first responders and other public safety personnel who routinely put themselves in harm’s way to spare the lives of others.

  • As students in Brunswick County adjust to the new school year that began Aug. 29, experts agree reinforcement of positive habits and a consistent routine are key elements of academic success and overall well-being.

  • Sunset Beach seems to have seen more than its fair share of turmoil in recent years.

    Yet despite being without a mayor and likely down one member of town council as of Aug. 31, the town is functioning on an even keel.

    Ron Watts resigned effective Aug. 16 as mayor after selling his house, while Lou De Vita tendered his resignation from council Aug. 8.

    Town council will vote on accepting De Vita’s resignation at the next board meeting Sept. 6 and will determine how to proceed with filling the remaining year in his term.

  • Students in Brunswick County Schools are preparing to begin the 2016-17 school year Aug. 29, perhaps with a mixture of excitement and anxiety.

    The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests reminding students they will reconnect with old friends and make new ones.

    If they feel uneasy, assure them they are not alone. “Teachers know students are nervous and will make an extra effort to make sure everyone feels as comfortable as possible,” AAP says.

  • Brunswick County suffers from two distinct drug problems: prescription and heroin.

    The former is being addressed by the Brunswick Coalition, established last year and modeled after Project Lazarus to focus on prescription painkiller, or opioid, abuse, misuse and addiction. Project Lazarus is a secular public health nonprofit established in 2008 in response to extremely high drug overdose death rates in Wilkes County.

  • The most recent data from the North Carolina Department of Commerce Labor and Economic Analysis Division show Brunswick County’s unemployment rate increased by .3 percent from May to June.

    Brunswick County Association of Realtors statistics show total sales for June were $91,171,000, a 13-percent decrease from the $105,530,000 in June last year; the average sale price decreased 9 percent from $259,916 to $236,190 between June 2015 and June 2016.

    Economic momentum, however, seems to be moving in our county’s favor.

  • North Carolina Department of Commerce Labor and Economic Analysis Division data for May show Brunswick County has 2,786 unemployed workers out of a labor force of 50,619, putting its unemployment rate at 5.5 percent.

  • Brunswick County enacted Unified Development Ordinance regulations in 2009 that put a stop to roadside stands but include exceptions that allow a property owner who grows produce on his or her property to sell the produce on site, even if it is on a roadside.

    The Brunswick County Board of Commissioners decided to revisit those regulations this year after the county’s planning board in May unanimously approved recommending text amendments to the Unified Development Ordinance designed to expand opportunities for farmers markets and farm stands.

  • After a long-term pattern of discord between members of the Brunswick County Board of Education and sitting Brunswick County Schools superintendents, it appears the rapport between current school board members and superintendent Les Tubb will result in steady progress toward improving schools in the district.