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Opinion

  • It’s hard to call the sentence handed to North Carolina Sen. R.C. Soles Jr. “justice.”

    Last week, Soles, who has admitted to shooting Thomas Kyle Blackburn at Soles’ Tabor City home last August, entered a guilty plea to a charge on one count of misdemeanor assault with a deadly weapon.

    After failing to call the police at any time during which he felt threatened at his home, and then shooting a fleeing man in the back of the leg, Soles will get no jail time.

    He won’t be on probation.

  • It’s not about the person; it’s about the process.

    Unfortunately, it appears the Shallotte Board of Aldermen never had a clearly defined process to hire a new town administrator.

    That’s shortchanging constituents whose taxpayer dollars are used to run the town.

    The town received about 100 applications for the job. Two weeks ago, some board members were ready to hire Albert Hughes, even though aldermen Michael Pease and Larry Harrelson said then they hadn’t even looked at the applications.

  • Last week, the Shallotte Board of Aldermen made an appropriate decision to cut short their hiring process and award the position to interim town administrator, Albert Hughes.

    They recognized they had a unique opportunity in promoting Hughes to the position—an opportunity not always available to elected officials who serve in the hiring role for the town’s top paid position.

  • Brunswick County District Attorney Rex Gore has admitted a mistake was made last week when a press release was sent from his office announcing his plans to run for re-election.

    The misstep was immediately reported to officials, and it was later determined it did not violate election laws.

    However, the issue can serve as an important reminder to all those seeking political office. Now is the time to educate yourself about the state’s campaign laws.

  • Almost 200 intoxicated drivers were taken off Brunswick County roadways in 2009 thanks to the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office Aggressive Criminal Enforcement Team.

    The team, which receives funding through a Governor’s Highway Safety Program grant, targets intoxicated drivers and other driving-related offenses.

    Through their efforts, some 3,328 driving, drug and alcohol-related citations were issued in 2009, a significant increase over previous years, according to the sergeant who oversees the ACE team.

  • Through Lower Cape Fear Hospice & LifeCareCenter, Brunswick County residents and their families are helped with the decisions and emotions related to end-of-life care.

    While many benefit from in-home services, those needing inpatient care have had to travel outside the county. But soon, important, essential inpatient hospice services will be offered right here in Brunswick County.

  • There are countless milestones young people encounter as they transition through high school. However, none of them may leave more lasting memories than prom.

    For many Brunswick County girls, the costs associated with getting a prom dress and all its related accessories can be so high, it can completely eliminate the dream of a teenager’s rite of passage.

  • It appears, finally, the towns of Oak Island and St. James are ready to come to an agreement about Midway Road property both towns had intended to annex.

    The proposed annexation sparked outcry from residents and sent lawsuits into Brunswick County courts.

    Now, it appears the towns are ready to settle the matter.

    It’s about time.

  • Brunswick County commissioners have made it clear they would like to see the current Brunswick Community Hospital become a Veterans Affairs facility in the future.

    The current hospital will become vacant when the new Brunswick Novant Medical Center opens in 2011.

  • When the 7.0-magnitude earthquake hit Haiti on Tuesday, Jan. 12, thousands of people were killed and even more were injured.

    With little sound infrastructure in place, it was immediately clear rescue and relief efforts originating beyond Haiti’s borders would be key in survival for a country devastated by this natural disaster.

    Here in Brunswick County, many residents wanted to know how they could help. Some took to aiding national organizations, like the American Red Cross, with fundraising efforts aimed at assisting those in need.

  • We’ve editorialized several times in the past year about how the economy has affected Brunswick County families.

    From residents losing jobs, to those who are having difficulties making ends meet, many residents have found themselves in need. Some need help with food and clothing; others need help paying bills for life essentials like housing and electricity.

    The weather recently has added an additional strain on some of the county’s cash-strapped residents.

  • Last week we said we were waiting to see what would happen next for North Carolina Sen. R.C. Soles Jr.

    We were quick to find out.

    Soles, North Carolina’s longest serving legislator, was indicted Thursday, Jan. 7, for the Aug. 23, 2009, shooting of Thomas Kyle Blackburn at Soles’ Branchwater estate in Tabor City.

    He was indicted on one count of assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury. Soles has maintained the shooting was in self defense.

  • 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.