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Opinion

  • Allowing undocumented students to attend North Carolina community colleges is a bad idea, however, the N.C. State Board of Community Colleges doesn’t think so.

    In September the college board voted 16-to-1 to allow undocumented individuals to attend the state’s community colleges. 

    They implemented a contingent—those students have to have graduated from a U.S. high school and they must pay an out-of-state tuition rate of about $7,700 per academic year.

  • State Sen. R.C. Soles Jr. announced last week he would not seek re-election.

    We think it is the right decision.

    Soles, the state’s longest serving senator, was first elected in 1968. He served as a state representative until 1976. In 1977, he began his stint as a state senator.

    During his 42 years of service, Soles has done a number of good things for North Carolina and the people of Brunswick, Columbus and Pender counties.

  • Each of their stories started with an idea or an interest, and from there they started changing lives.

    This week, the Beacon launches “Trailblazers,” a feature that takes a closer look at some of the people who are changing lives in Brunswick County and beyond.

    Trailblazers replaces “Most Interesting People,” and while it kicks off this week with 10 profiles, it is scheduled to run all year long with a new Trailblazer featured once a month in Tidelines.

  • Accountability, loyalty, respect, integrity, professionalism, teamwork, mentor, counselor and friend.

    Those are words friends and co-workers use to describe Brunswick County Emergency Management Director Randy Thompson.

    After serving Brunswick County since 2000, Thompson is poised to leave behind that position as he retires from the county agency.

  • Brunswick County is still growing, and unfortunately so is its number of unwanted, neglected, lost and abandoned pets.

    This number continues to increase because pet owners in Brunswick County aren’t getting the message: If you own a pet, you owe it to them and to society to be a responsible pet owner.

    However, far too many residents aren’t ready to be responsible for the pets they have. They’re not having animals spayed and neutered, and they’re not properly caring for them.

  • For many, the holiday season is a time filled with joy. From gatherings of friends and family to participation in religious and civic activities, the months of November and December provide much to do.

    But the holidays can also be an unfortunate time—a time when ne’er-do-wells are all too intent on dashing holiday spirits.

  • Carolina Shores Mayor Stephen Selby said recently the town is at a point of “forgiveness and forgetfulness…We’re starting new and afresh now. Those days are behind us.”

    Seems to us those days are yet behind the folks at Carolina Shores. Their antics of discussing things in closed session that should be discussed openly continue.

  • The law in North Carolina is clear. Public records belong to the public.

    We oppose any attempts by any public body to impose fees that would discourage access to public documents.

    We believe if the proposal before the Brunswick County Board of Education moves forward, that’s exactly what will happen.

    Last week, Brunswick County Schools’ Policy Committee discussed adopting fees for “excessive public records requests.” Board members will review this at their Dec. 1 meeting.

  • Brunswick County has a growing population of retired senior citizens.

    Although they’re not working anymore, you can be sure they have no plans to take it easy. From volunteering at schools and with church and civic organizations, to taking part in senior athletic leagues and games, Brunswick’s senior population is active and making important, positive impacts on this community.

  • Being a parent is a tough job, and it’s one that doesn’t come with an instruction manual. Parents learn by doing and drawing on their own experiences and from those around them. Many look for positive role models to help them along the way.

    That’s why programs like the Communities in Schools Parenting Education Program are so important.

    For 12 weeks, any parent in Brunswick County can be a part of the program that uses trained facilitators to work with parents and children. They focus on parenting, life and family skills.

  • In this difficult economy, when many Brunswick Countians are unemployed or facing reduced work hours and pay cuts, it can be difficult to find affordable medical care.

    That’s why free clinics, like New Hope and Brunswick Adult Medical Clinic, are so important.

    Last week, volunteers and officials with New Hope Clinic broke ground on a new, much-needed, larger facility. It’s a move required after the clinic has experienced an increase in the number of people who need its services.

  • When Brunswick County Schools Superintendent Katie McGee first met Bob Grimes, he left a lasting impression, she recalled.

    Since then, Grimes appears to be leaving an impression on just about everyone he meets, including his peers in the school district.

    Friday, Grimes, the North Brunswick High School principal, was named Brunswick County’s Principal of the Year.

    Grimes was bestowed the honor for a number of achievements, including leading NBHS from being a school in turnaround status to one that had the largest increase in proficiencies for 2008-2009.

  • Those who knew Carl Bazemore say he was a quiet man who got along well with others. He is noted for his public service, particularly to Sunset Beach where he served for 12 years on Sunset Beach Town Council.

    In addition to maintaining a council seat for three terms, Bazemore also served on the Brunswick Beaches Consortium and was a chair of the South Brunswick Water and Sewer Authority’s stormwater management program.

  • It’s been a difficult year for some Brunswick County residents. As the economy has suffered, many people have found themselves with reduced hours or out of work altogether.

    In Brunswick County, the unemployment rate was at 10.5 percent in September, relatively unchanged from August’s rate of 10.6 percent.

    Funding for a state program, however, is helping to breathe new life into job searches and skill creation.

  • There is a battle ongoing this election season in Carolina Shores.

    Problem is, one of the contenders being pulled into the ring isn’t even up for re-election.

    In recent months, Carolina Shores commissioner Gere Dale has made it clear he has a real problem with the way mayor Stephen Selby does town business.

  • All politics are local. It’s an old saying, but very true. Next Tuesday, residents of the 19 Brunswick County municipalities will have their opportunity to cast their votes for who will lead their communities.

    The people throwing their hats in the ring do so for various reasons. Hopefully by now, you have had a chance to meet candidates in your community and find out their thoughts on issues important to you. If not, you still have a little time remaining.

  • Brunswick County Schools Superintendent Katie McGee’s tenure has been a mix of accomplishments and contention.

    Under McGee’s leadership, dropout rates have been reduced, test scores have gone up and facilities have been constructed and improved.

    But unfortunately, many of the district’s accomplishments have been overshadowed by controversy.

  • Many residents have been wondering what will happen to the current Brunswick Community Hospital site once it relocates to its new facility next year.

    Brunswick County Commissioners have an idea—they’d like to see the site used as a Veterans Affairs facility. Recently commissioners committed to working with state and federal agencies to see if this concept can become a reality.

  • When we heard last week a Brunswick County Detention Center officer had released the wrong inmate from jail, we wanted to know how that could happen.

    Brunswick County Sheriff John Ingram had an answer. It was “careless,” he said, not an “accident.”

    Detention officer Jamie Lynn Jenrette released Rosher Rodriquez-Aguilar, 27, without properly checking his photo and identifying armband, Ingram said. The mistake ultimately cost Jenrette her job, indicating what appears to be a zero-tolerance policy for such behavior by the sheriff’s office.

  • We’ve said it before, and we’ll continue to say it until elected and government officials in Brunswick County clearly get the message—doing public business out of the public eye is wrong and violates the spirit of open meetings and public records laws.

    Last week, we took Carolina Shores commissioners to task about seeking a consensus on a public matter through e-mail, only to turn around and find out Brunswick County Board of Education members have done the same.