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Opinion

  • Local residents, as well as vacationers, braved the midday sun to stand in support of clean beaches May 21. Four of the 11 North Carolina Hands Across the Sand events were held in Brunswick County.

    Participants stood in long lines for 15 minutes starting at noon at Sunset Beach (pictured), Holden Beach, Ocean Isle Beach and Oak Island. The largest gathering was at Sunset Beach, where almost 200 people formed a chain down the beach flanked by signs reading, “Protect Our Coast” and “No Drill NC.”

  • Five local teams have given Brunswick County plenty of reasons to cheer this spring.

    First, there are the North Brunswick High School boys and girls track and field teams, who each repeated as North Carolina High School Athletic Association 2A Region champions May 13.

  • Hands Across the Sand events in Oak Island (pictured), Ocean Isle Beach and Sunset Beach took place at noon Saturday, May 21. Sponsored by Oceana, Hands Across the Sand is meant to send a clear message to protect our coast from offshore drilling and seismic airgun blasting.

  • As the General Assembly continues work to craft a 2017-18 fiscal year budget, its members are considering whether to change the way sales taxes are distributed — again.

    It seems some lawmakers have pitched various incarnations of essentially the same legislation for the past three years in a row.

  • Many who take to the water are planning to observe Safe Boating Week, scheduled for May 20-26 this year.

    This observance is part of the North American Safe Boating Campaign called Ready, Set, Wear It! It is a yearlong effort in the United States and Canada “focused on spreading the message of boating safety and the critical importance of always wearing a life jacket each and every time on the water,” according to a news release from the North Strand Sail and Power Squadron based in Little River, S.C.

  • Last week, the Brunswick County Board of Commissioners agreed to pay half the cost — $2,857,000 — for a building to expand nursing and medical assisting program classrooms at Brunswick Community College.

  • Leland officials announced the town intends to acquire the Leland Volunteer/Fire Rescue Department by July 1.

    LVFRD has not been operating under the auspices of the town of Leland; rather, it has been its own entity, operating as a volunteer nonprofit since 1958 to provide fire protection, rescue services and emergency medical care.

  • When a team from AdvancED, a national nonprofit that accredits primary and secondary schools throughout the United States, came to Brunswick County to assess the public school district in 2012, its findings revealed communication breakdowns at almost every level.

    The results also helped establish a foundation for improvement.

    Now, five years later, it seems Brunswick County Schools have not only strengthened that foundation, but also built upon it.

  • Last month, at least a half dozen people including local boat captains attended a Holden Beach Board of Commissioners meeting to share concerns they have about the Lockwood Folly Inlet, which needs to be dredged, and soon.

  • Sunset Beach annexed property where Sunset Creek Commons was built, on the town’s mainland, nine years ago at its owners’ request.

    Now its current developer, Holly Smith, wants it back out of the town because of what she claims are exorbitant inspection fees.

    Instead of taking the matter to court, as most people would have to do, Smith has called upon Sen. Bill Rabon — again — to make it happen.

  • So many problems in our society can be traced to the same roots: a lack of resources, a lack of options, a lack of assistance, and, perhaps worst of all, a lack of hope, along with an overabundance of pain and suffering. All have to be addressed in order for these problems to be eradicated.

    But before any of that can happen, the problems must be acknowledged.

    Those who work in the health, law enforcement and social services professions have been on the front lines of fighting our community’s heroin and opiate drug epidemic since it began.

  • side from becoming eyesores and creating dangerous obstacles for currents, aquatic creatures and other watercraft, abandoned boats can pollute waterways with leftover fuel, oil, battery acid and other hazardous chemicals.

    A lack of environmental consciousness has not been the only reason so many have left their boats behind to rot in our waters. In fact, the main cause likely has been a lack of repercussions or deterrents within Brunswick County ordinances.

  • While budget talks at the national and state levels have focused on cutting bureaucracy and trimming spending, Brunswick County is already leading by example with the creation of Brunswick Guarantee.

    The county and the state had been providing the same funds to Brunswick Community College until two years ago, when the county eliminated the duplication of funds. But the college — and, more specifically, its students — bore the brunt of the funding reduction.

  • It is normal to see alligators in coastal areas from North Carolina to Florida, but rarely are they orange. Brunswick County has boasted two of them in the past two months, making national news along with one sighted in Hanahan, S.C., in early February. Aside from these unusual specimens, the largest reptile in North America remains relatively unchanged since prehistoric times when dinosaurs roamed the Earth.

  • Brunswick County may be one of the largest counties in North Carolina, but it is no different than the 99 other counties when it comes to the state of fire and rescue services. All counties have fewer volunteers than before, but more costs to provide fire protection.

  • The U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics reported last December an estimated 2,173,800 people were either under the jurisdiction of state or federal prisons or in the custody of local jails at year-end 2015 in the United States.

    North Carolina’s state prison population as of Feb. 24 was 36,700 people; for the Brunswick County Detention facility that day, 290 people were incarcerated. Most of these people are likely to be released at some point, whether on bail or after serving their time.

  • The safety of students in Brunswick County Schools is as paramount as their education. The response of school district and West Brunswick High School officials to two separate threats at the high school last Friday proves it.

    We take no pleasure in reporting this kind of news. We are happy to report, however, no one was injured in either case, and the perpetrators are being held responsible for their actions.

  • It is a fact of life: All of us will die someday. With that in mind, many people focus on the journey instead of the destination, choosing to live their lives to the fullest for as long as they possibly can.

    Mike Brewer of Leland is among those people, but it is not what makes him unique.

    A decline in his health began three years ago and has been marked by diagnoses of two autoimmune diseases as well as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, then finally stage 4 prostate cancer which metastasized to his bones.

  • Those who missed the Brunswick County Planning Department Greenway, Bikeway, & Paddle Trail Plan final draft open house Jan. 30 still have time to offer feedback on walking trails, bike routes, paddle trails and resource preservation throughout the county.

  • There is no question Interim Sunset Beach Police Chief Joe Smith was the victim of a crime the first weekend in December at his home in Shallotte. 

    There is no question Sunset Beach citizens were, too.

    And if Smith and Town Administrator Susan Parker would have had their way, citizens would never have known it.