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Opinion

  • Brunswick County government made a good step toward operating as an open and transparent government when it decided to install a computer terminal at the county complex where government e-mails can be accessed by the public.

    The public e-mail computer terminal is in the lobby of Building I at the county government complex in Bolivia. Business hours are 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

    By using the computer, citizens can have access to correspondence that takes place within the county’s e-mail system.

  • In a time when a difficult economy marks many cutbacks, declines and belt-tightening, it’s good to see some growth in an important part of our community–Brunswick Community College.

    Registration is now under way at BCC and through its early registration period, student numbers have already exceeded last year’s total fall enrollment numbers.

    BCC President Stephen Greiner said the school would not turn students away. Its first priority will be to fill all seats in its classes, then, if needed, add more classes to accommodate the community’s needs.

  • Good news came to the Ocean Isle Beach Police Department recently.

    Last week, it was announced the department would receive a grant from the Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services. The $145,288 grant will be used to hire a new officer and cover that officer’s salary for the next three years.

    By receiving the grant, the town will receive an additional officer and additional protection without additional taxpayer expense for the next three years.

  • Brunswick County athletes have proven they have a lot of heart.

    Recently, the Brunswick County Debs earned a chance to play in the Dixie Debs Softball World Series. They finished their World Series championship bid in the top six, ending the series 2-2.

    This is the second straight year the Debs have earned a spot in the World Series; they finished fifth. Last year, they were 0-2 in the series.

  • It appears some elected officials have forgotten or don’t care about who they work for—the people of Brunswick County.

    In Carolina Shores, the commissioners (elected officials) feel it’s their place to censure town mayor Stephen Selby (another elected official), and they think they have the right to do so without hearing what citizens think.

    On Friday, commissioners told the people of Carolina Shores they didn’t care about what they had to say by announcing the board would not take public comment during a special meeting.

  • Waterways in Brunswick County are often busy, but they can get hectic and dangerous this time of year.

    Last week, at the beginning of the Fourth of July holiday weekend, people were injured in a boat wreck near Holden Beach. How sad it is that the wreck appears to have involved alcohol and a law enforcement official who, if what he is charged with is true, should have known better.

  • This week, a Calabash town commissioner confirmed current town administrator Jeremy Cribb is being investigated by the town’s personnel committee. Tuesday night, the board of commissioners decided to extend his probationary period for 90 more days.

    Even though the town’s personnel policy requires a background check of applicants, one was not done before Cribb was hired, and now questions about his experience and criminal record have surfaced.

  • Citizens of Calabash, is this how you want your community represented?

    First, the men and women you elected for Calabash Board of Commissioners ignored town hiring policy and hired a person—for its lead administrative position—without doing any educational, work experience or criminal background checks.

  • Hats off to all the folks in and around Calabash for putting together a successful Fourth of July event on Friday, July 3.

    With music, giveaways and more, an estimated crowd of about 10,000 gathered around the docks and waterfront in Calabash for its first fireworks display. The show was a good one, with patriotic music playing while red, white and blue pyrotechnics exploded over the waterway. Launched from Devaun Park, the fireworks lit up the sky and sent the crowd into cheers.

  • The roads and beaches are bustling in Brunswick County, signifying one of the busiest weeks of the season is here. With visitors coming into the community, it’s an important time for all of us to remember to have fun but be safe this Fourth of July weekend.

    If you’re looking for some free family fun, several communities—from Bald Head Island to Southport and south down to Ocean Isle Beach and Calabash—will have parades, fireworks and more.

  • Last week Frank Iler was sworn into the N.C. House of Representatives as a replacement for Bonner Stiller. He assumes responsibilities for House District 17 that serves Brunswick County.

    With Iler’s background in regional politics, we’re hopeful he has a good foundation on which to start the long journey ahead.

    Iler joins the General Assembly at a difficult time. It’s a time when senators and representatives must find great resolve in listening to the will of the state’s people while enduring difficult financial times.

  • Congratulations to Jayne Mathews and all those involved with the Brunswick County Volunteer Center for the recent honor of being named a “Best Of” winner by the National Association of Counties.

    For its work with the Computers for Kids project, the center won an achievement award in the children and youth category.

    Supported by county government, with guidance of the volunteer center, the project donates computers that are no longer being used by the county—and that have been rehabbed by volunteers—to local schools.

  • Laura Lewis

    Now that summer’s (almost) here, I hope to catch up on my summer reading, starting with the stack of books I’ve accumulated by local authors.

    Yes, I’d like to brush up on my summer tan or sunburn as it were, but personally I find nothing is more boring than “laying out,” as my friends always called it. (Though I suppose “lying out” is more grammatically correct.)

  • Summer is here and with winter coats long since put away, many people are thinking more about suntans than they are the chance of getting the flu.

    But just because cold weather has gone away, it doesn’t mean the chance of getting the flu has passed us by. While the seasonal flu season is almost over, residents can still contract the H1N1 virus.

  • When Carolina Shores commissioners decided recently to change the town’s form of government from mayor-council to council-manager, the decision didn’t sit well with some residents. Rather than accept the change some say they don’t want, some residents decided to take action.

    Resident Joe Lowry researched North Carolina General Statutes and found out citizens had the right to seek out residents’ signatures for a petition that could force the town to have a referendum about the future of its form of government.

  • It’s been a rough year for nonprofit agencies in Brunswick County. Late in 2008, the Beacon reported financial strains felt by Brunswick Family Assistance could have led to the agency’s closure. However, community members stepped up and through the influx of food and money, the agency has been able to continue to serve residents.

    That’s a good thing on many levels, especially with the announcement the agency will once again this summer participate in a feeding program that will provide free meals to children throughout Brunswick County while school is on break.

  • Those who knew Vernon Ward well say he was a kind man, who was willing to help without asking for anything in return.

    Ward made his mark on Brunswick County after moving to Shallotte in 1980. He got settled in the community by teaching at Brunswick Technical Institute (now Brunswick Community College).

    While Ward may have made his first impressions at BCT, he spent the next almost 30 years dedicating his life to selfless service of others.

  • In April, The Brunswick Beacon requested access to e-mails generated to and from county government administration department heads.

    The county promptly responded to the request, providing the newspaper access per N.C. Public Records Law. Often we have good responses to public records requests from the county.

    However, following our most recent request, at a May 20 county government department heads’ meeting, extended discussion took place about the state’s public records law and the federal Freedom of Information Act.

  • In just a few weeks, Brunswick County students will throw their mortarboards in the air and say goodbye to high school and hello to the real world.

    Most of those students will embark on a journey to a college or university, while others will jump right in to the working world. What many of those students don’t realize is graduation may be the last time they see some of the people that have been part of their lives for the past four, eight or 12 years.

    For those students going to college, here are a few tips to help make the transition easier:

  • Brunswick County residents mark your calendars for June 1 and get ready to batten down the hatches.

    In just a few days hurricane season officially begins and weather watchers will be keeping their eyes on systems developing off the coast.

    The folks with Brunswick County Emergency Services (BCES) are getting prepared. They’re developing a new Web site with crucial emergency information resources like emergency alerts, maps and more.