• It is rare that I am so overcome with emotion that I cannot speak. Chatty by nature, I believe that my family sometimes screens my calls to avoid getting “hung up” in a two-hour conversation.

    But at West Brunswick’s graduation last Saturday, I experienced one of those rare moments; I was so overcome with emotion, I literally couldn’t get the words past the lump in my throat.

  • Hundreds of mortarboards will soar into the air this Saturday as students at North, South and West Brunswick receive their diplomas.
    For most students, high school graduation is a milestone and marks the official beginning of adulthood. Because we know adulthood can bring about certain anxieties and questions—such as where do I go from here?—we would like to offer the class of 2013 five bits of advice.
    First, graduation is your big day. You made it through 13 years of school to get to this point. Enjoy the day and your accomplishments.

  • We were all saddened when Kwesi Sample, a 21-year-old man from Ohio, drowned May 14 in the Lockwood Folly Inlet.
    Sample was vacationing with a large church group, he had a great smile and a muscular body, and by all accounts, he was a fine young man. Being from the middle of the country, he just couldn’t imagine the hidden dangers on the coast.
    He was trying to swim from the east end of Holden Beach across the inlet to the west end of Oak Island, a distance of about 300 yards.

  • Congratulations to Brunswick County Commissioners for not wasting $24,000 of taxpayers’ money on a search for a new county manager when the best qualified candidate was already in-house.
    Commissioners promoted Ann Hardy, the 54-year-old interim county manager to the full-time job. She had been county finance director for nine years.
    For one thing, she already knows the 26 department heads by name, not to mention all the other county employees and other Brunswick County residents she has gotten to know during her almost 20 years living in Brunswick County.

  • Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Coast Guard, Merchant Marine, National Guard.
    Those who served and died in the United States armed forces will be remembered this weekend.
    Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, was begun to commemorate Confederate and Union soldiers who died in the Civil War.
    The holiday was first observed on May 30, 1868, by order of Gen. John Logan, when flowers were placed on the graves of Confederate and Union soldiers in Arlington National Cemetery.
    Now we honor American men and women who have died in all wars.

  • April was the best month in five-and-a-half years for sales of new cars and trucks in North Carolina.
    Sales were 11.8 percent ahead of the same period last year—the best month for new car and truck sales since August 2007.
     “Vehicle sales are returning to pre-recession levels,” Robert Glaser, president of the North Carolina Automobile Dealers Association, said. “April was the best month since before the recession, and we are optimistic that sales will continue to grow over the next few months.”

  • Sometimes we don’t even recognize this country.
    This week there was plenty to make us wonder.
    •We were incensed to discover the IRS has been targeting groups and/or individuals with conservative ties.
    This is blatantly wrong, no matter what political beliefs one has.
    We don’t trust the administration to do an objective investigation, as promised.
    The sad thing is we don’t trust Congress to do the investigation, either.

  • “Iron Man 3,” filmed 45 miles up the road in Wilmington, just took in the second-highest dollar figures ever for a movie’s opening.
    The latest installment in the Iron Man series opened taking in a colossal $175.3 million, making it second only to 2012’s “The Avengers.” That movie was the predecessor in Marvel Studios’ ongoing series of superhero movies, which took in $207.4 million last year.

  • In the North Carolina General Assembly, the House passed its version of the voter ID bill last week, and now it heads to the Senate.
    This legislation was introduced a few years ago.
    One rookie legislator at the time said, “I thought we’d get to Raleigh, and all we’d talk about was jobs, jobs, jobs. Instead, we talked about everything except jobs.”
    A proposed voter ID bill was one of the things they talked about then.

  • This will probably be a good idea—once we get used to it.
    Not many people like change, not at first anyway.
    We North Carolina drivers had gotten used to getting our license tags at one time and paying our vehicle-tax bills at another.
    All that’s getting ready to change.
    The first combined tag-and-tax notices will soon arrive in North Carolina mailboxes for vehicle-registration bills that are due in July.

  • Our hearts this week are in New England, land of midnight riders and tea parties.
    Once again, we have been barraged by grief.
    Can you imagine going to a sporting event to have fun as a spectator and coming home without a leg?
    Or your life? Three people have been confirmed dead at this writing, after two bombs exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon.

  • We had to shake our heads at a bill recently introduced by a North Carolina legislator.
    State Sen. Austin Allran, a Republican from Hickory, was the primary sponsor of the Healthy Marriage Act, legislation that would make North Carolinians have to wait two years to finalize a divorce. There would also be mandatory counseling.
    Currently, the waiting time is one year, which seems a fair amount of time.

  • We had to chuckle after reading a report about a traffic stop last week on I-85 near Lexington.
    Davidson County Sheriff’s Office deputies stopped a 2005 Dodge truck on I-85 South for a traffic violation.
    According to the sheriff’s office, the vehicle displayed California registration and was driven by Dennie Andy Keophimanh, 26, of Grand Prairie, Texas.

  • By Sarah Sue Ingram
    Interim Editor

  • Gov. Pat McCrory has proclaimed April as Organ Donation Awareness Month in North Carolina, encouraging all citizens to consider the many organ-donation needs throughout the state.
    “According to Carolina Donor Services (CDS), more than 3,546 North Carolinians are waiting for organ transplants, and an average of 18 people die each day due to the severe shortage of donated organs,” McCrory said.
    Eighteen people a day. That’s an alarming number.
    In the future, one of those 18 could be somebody you know. Or love.

  • Marty Lawing is like vanilla ice cream—not spicy but very reliable.
    Lawing, who has been county manager for Brunswick County for the past 12 years, just accepted a position as manager of Guilford County.
    Brunswick County commissioners who hired Lawing were David Sandifer, May Moore, Tom Rabon, Don Warren and Bill Sue.

  • The increase in the number of driving-while-impaired arrests in Brunswick County is alarming.
    In the first two-and-a-half months of this year, the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office has charged 123 people with driving while impaired (DWI). In the first two months of 2012, BCSO issued just 19 DWIs.
    Last year there were 27 fatal wrecks in Brunswick County. Eight of those deaths were attributed to driving while impaired.

  • This week is Sunshine Week, a week where media outlets throughout the country join together with organizations and private citizens to shine the light on fair and open government.
    Here at The Brunswick Beacon, we frequently rely upon open records and public meetings laws to keep you, our readers, informed of things happening in your community.
    In 2008, 2010 and 2011, the North Carolina Press Association named the Beacon the Henry Lee Weathers Freedom of Information award winner for all newspapers in North Carolina with a circulation of 20,000 or less.

  • Brunswick County commissioners, we don’t envy your positions right now.
    Like many government entities, you’re being pulled in several directions, and the funding requests just keep coming.
    To make those matters worse, most often the solutions that must be found meet with public ire—cutting programs or positions or raising taxes.
    Ouch. To many taxes is a dirty, dirty word.

  • Jaronn Ladale McAllister, we haven’t forgotten about you.
    We realize we didn’t know you before March 1, 2012, but there’s nary a week that has gone by since we haven’t thought of you.
    Each time we see a picture of your smiling face, it makes it that much harder to digest what happened to you.
    Our hearts are heavy as we try to understand how anyone could harm a little 3-year-old boy.