• The day of the 2014 primary election, Tuesday, May 6, is almost upon us, but voting is already under way for six contested seats and an advisory referendum on a proposed quarter-cent Brunswick County sales and use tax.

    The purpose of the primary is to nominate a candidate to represent a political party in the Nov. 4 general election.

  • The relatively young Brunswick County town of Leland is experiencing a growth spurt, as reflected in the many building projects under way.

    Town staff and police are in the process of moving into a wing of the long-awaited new town hall.

    An 18,000-square-foot building that sits off U.S. 17, at 1212 Magnolia Village Way, is being transformed into a highly anticipated cultural arts center. Plans are being finalized for a much-needed new senior center. And work has begun to create the first public water access at Sturgeon Creek Park.

  • On Thursday, a jury of 53-year-old Richard Hugh Grissett’s Brunswick County peers convicted him of first-degree murder and other charges related to the Nov. 12, 2012, slaying of 86-year-old Linnie Mae Ward.

    Under state law, Judge Wayland Sermons had no choice but to order Grissett to spend the rest of his life in prison with no possibility of being released.

  • Just when you think controversies in the southwest end of Brunswick County have come to an end, or at least quieted down, another one is raised — this time, on a flagpole.

    Less than a handful of Beacon readers have called and commented — under condition of anonymity, naturally — about the Chinese flag now flying at Sea Trail in Sunset Beach. All of the calls and comments have been negative.

  • While spring has been slow to start here in Brunswick County, as it has been elsewhere in the state and country, the telltale sign of its arrival has been proclaimed not just by the yellowish-green haze on vehicles, but also by the sniffles of allergy sufferers.

    Allergy experts told Time magazine the record-setting snowfall in some regions and the lingering below-freezing temperatures could mean a late flowering for trees. A quick look anywhere in our community shows this to be the case.

  • By the time many readers see this editorial, Sunset Beach officials, dignitaries and residents will have gathered to seal a time capsule commemorating the town’s 50th anniversary.

  • Most public information is filed away, but all of it should be easy to find and see. Ultimately, the information you want and require should be close at hand — especially because it belongs to you.

  • Students at Brunswick Community College often worry whether their credits will transfer to a four-year university within the University of North Carolina system.

    They will not have to worry about that this fall, as the State Board of Community Colleges and the UNC Board of Governors revised an agreement between the two systems, making college transfer options more defined and easier to follow for prospective transfer students.

  • Come September, Calabash will be the site of the Lions Club’s Oktoberfest. The event, planned for Sept. 20, will feature music, a beer tent, people and food. During their Feb. 13 meeting, the town board of commissioners agreed the town could assist with the club’s needs like tables, a stage and donated maintenance time.

    The event promises to be a good time in the town, but it belongs to the club, not the town.

    We think it is time Calabash had a festival to call its own, and a proposed seafood festival is a splendid idea.

  • Law enforcement and public safety personnel, such as firefighters and emergency medical technicians, often serve as our first line of defense in any crisis.

  • During the past two months, residents in Carolina Shores have rallied to defend town recycling center employee Jerry Franklin,who they feel is being treated like trash.

    The residents say it all started when Franklin received a reprimand from town maintenance supervisor Tom Donlon based on a single complaint: Someone told Donlon that Franklin failed to provide proper assistance at the recycling center.Now, they say, Franklin is no longer allowed to assist residents with their garbage and anyone who needs assistance must alert him by pointing at their bag of garbage.

  • Some Brunswick County animal advocates did not play fair by recording a Jan. 16 meeting with state Sen. Bill Rabon and then releasing it to the public, so the Senate is taking its ball — legislation passed by the House to regulate puppy mills in the state — and going home. It is an immature reaction to the childish behavior of one of its own who also happens to be one of our own.

  • The National Weather Service forecast early last week for Brunswick County was dire. Meteorologists guaranteed a dusting of snow to cover about an inch or more of ice that would not only blanket the area, but also not thaw completely in 48 hours of mostly below-freezing temperatures, beginning Jan. 28.

  • The greater a school district’s enrollment, the more money it will receive from taxpayers for operations. This principle is apparently at the heart of a battle between Brunswick County Schools and Roger Bacon Academy, which is preparing to open its second charter school in the county this summer.

    The opening of charter schools means fewer students will be served by the public school system, but local school districts are still responsible for funding the charter schools.

  • The insurance hits just seem to keep coming for homeowners in Brunswick County.

    Thanks to the federal Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act passed in July 2012, flood insurance premiums rose by an average of 10 percent with policy renewals after Oct. 1 last year. That was coupled with a Federal Emergency Management Agency surcharge on policies amounting to 5 percent of those premiums. North Carolina’s legislators at both the state and federal level are still trying to resolve the unintended, unreasonably expensive consequences of the Biggert-Waters Act.

  • One of the side effects few considered in the wake of last week’s polar vortex was the impact on the availability of blood.

    According to the American Red Cross, 280 blood drives across 25 states were canceled because of the snow and extreme cold. The blood drive cancellations resulted in a shortfall of nearly 8, 400 blood and platelet donations since Jan. 2.

  • One of the side effects few considered in the wake of last week’s polar vortex was the impact on the availability of blood.

    According to the American Red Cross, 280 blood drives across 25 states were canceled because of the snow and extreme cold. The blood drive cancellations resulted in a shortfall of nearly 8, 400 blood and platelet donations since Jan. 2.

  • At the start of the 2013-14 year for Brunswick County Schools, the students in 11th and 12th grade Advanced Placement courses and their parents were required to sign a syllabus that agreed to the terms of the course. “The Color Purple” was among books on the reading list, which was part of the syllabus.

    Those opposed to it seem to have forgotten or ignored this fact, and that is far more offensive than any of the questionable subject matter in the award-winning novel.

  • The end of 2013 signaled the deadline for people to make charitable contributions of cash or property in time to claim it on their next tax filings.

    The recently released 2012-2013 North Carolina Secretary of State Charitable Solicitation Licensing Division Annual Report shows charities collected $32,160,894.49 from North Carolinians as reported by professional solicitors during the 12-month period.

    The annual report does not look at all charitable and nonprofits operating in North

  • The Coastal Resources Commission in February is expected to re-examine a proposal to lift a hazard designation for Mad Inlet near Sunset Beach.
    Mad Inlet closed naturally in 1997, ending a watery separation between the Sunset Beach island and Bird Island, and is not expected to re-open, according to a news release issued Oct. 31 by the North Carolina Department of Environmental and Natural Resources.