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Opinion

  • 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.

  • While a man is dead and the officer who used fatal force against him continues to recover, our community can take comfort in knowing the Dec. 9 shooting in Leland was handled in the best way possible under the circumstances.

    Leland police Officer Jacob Schwenk and Brent Quinn, both ex-Marines, were each shot six times during their confrontation on Bridgeport Way.

  • It has been said that in order to shape our future, we must appreciate our past.

    Brunswick Town/Fort Anderson State Historic Site offers one of the best ways to accomplish that.

    As a location for field studies and the host of programs throughout the year, the site is designed to bring history to life. Culturally significant finds here help us understand how our county, our state and our nation came to be.

  • The American Red Cross anticipates fewer blood donations during the holidays and pleads accordingly for all available donors to give what they can when they can each winter. But bad weather in other parts of the country combined with bad timing and seasonal illnesses to create a blood shortage that puts us in crisis right now.

    The Red Cross issued an emergency call for blood and platelet donors after about 37,000 fewer donations were given in November and December than expected, including nearly 950 in the Carolinas Blood Services Region, which includes Brunswick County.

  • While computer and Internet use has made communication faster and often easier than ever, users are as susceptible to criminals in the virtual realm as they are in the real world.

    Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office incident reports routinely document victims who have been conned out of money through various schemes. Sheriff’s office Detective Ed Carter says scammers have ripped off some of our neighbors to the tune of millions of dollars within just the past 10 years.

  • The state Supreme Court’s dismissal of the Nies v. Emerald Isle case Dec. 14 appears to have ended a five-year legal battle over beach access.

    Emerald Isle beachfront property owners Gregory and Diane Nies first sued the town in 2011 over access to beach property in the “dry sand,” or between the highwater mark and the dunes. When the property owners lost in Carteret County Superior Court and then the state Court of Appeals, they took the case to the state Supreme Court. Neither the Nieses nor the town requested the Supreme Court’s dismissal.

  • 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?

  • It seems all who visit the Sunset Beach island want to call a piece of it their own, even if only for a few hours.

    Beach goers typically stake their claim with towels, chairs, umbrellas and, in Sunset Beach, cabanas or large tent-like canvas-and-metal canopies.

    More often than not, the strand has room for them all, even on a first-come, first served basis on holidays like July 4.

  • Based on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s seasonal forecast, Brunswick County is likely to have a drier and warmer winter than normal — the opposite of what we experienced last year.

  • 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.