• The unofficial start of summer this year had not even gotten under way Memorial Day weekend when we reported our first seasonal tragedy in Brunswick County this year.

    The deaths of 51-year-old John Wernowsky of Acworth, Ga., and his 10-year-old son, Jake, who were riding a Jet Ski together when they died in Sunset Beach, happened May 27, less than a week before 24-year-old Brian Willis, of Cleveland, Ohio, was injured in a Jet Ski accident in Ocean Isle Beach on June 2.

  • Two local teams — one from North Brunswick High School and the other from Brunswick Community College — are celebrating hard-earned and well-deserved success this spring.

    Sports fans would be hard pressed to find a team as successful as North Brunswick’s boys’ track and field team, which claimed its third straight North Carolina High School Athletic Association class 2A outdoor title May 21.

    That is impressive.

    But remember: Including indoor state titles, the Scorpions have won six straight state championships.

  • Senate Bill 875 should come as no surprise to residents of state Senate District 8, specifically those in Brunswick County, who have been represented by Bill Rabon for the past six years.

    During the first half of Rabon’s tenure, he was touted as a champion for the district, especially the areas along the coast.

    In 2011, he was among primary sponsors of Senate Bill 110 to allow terminal groins to be used as erosion control devices. It was a move supported by at least one Brunswick County beach municipality, Ocean Isle Beach.

  • Plans for too many public parks in Brunswick County over the past three years have been burdened by significant delays and controversies.

    Not so in Belville and Shallotte.

    On Saturday, May 7, more than 500 visitors attended the official opening of the Brunswick Riverwalk at Belville Park trail and fishing pier. It represents the completion of the park’s first phase.

  • For most people, routine dental checkups are as much a part of their routine as brushing and flossing their teeth at least once a day. Good oral health is something we tend to take for granted. For too many others, however, it is a luxury they forego in favor of paying for food, shelter and other necessities like utilities and transportation.

  • Meet Pearl, a three-week-old cat who was tossed from a moving vehicle onto N.C. 130 last Wednesday. She suffered a broken eye socket, broken jaw and severe lacerations to her face and legs; even in a black-and-white photo, you can see the blood.

    Someone saw what happened to Pearl and rescued her. The tiny kitten made it thorough emergency surgery at Ocean Isle Veterinary Hospital hours later and, after round-the-clock foster care, joined the family of Doug and Brandi Turner of Douglas Diamond Jewelers in Shallotte who will keep her safe and loved.

  • 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.