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Opinion

  • 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.

  • After going dark for the past month, Ingram Planetarium is set to light up the night sky this coming weekend when it partakes in grand opening events to mark the installation of its new high-definition digital projection system.

  • When the state’s new smoking bill goes into effect on Jan. 2, 2010, smoking will be prohibited in all state government buildings and vehicles as well as public restaurants and bars.

    The measure is a breath of fresh air for North Carolina citizens.

    While some may argue smoking is an individual right—and one the government shouldn’t get involved in—the reality is smoking in public affects far more than just the person puffing on a cigarette.

  • Last week a Brunswick County special needs student was left behind in a Wilmington park after stopping there with his South Brunswick High School class on a field trip.

    Luckily for him and his family, the Good Samaritans who found 16-year-old Tad Speidell made sure he was safely left in the custody of Wilmington police. These people are heroes in a day filled with unacceptable, unimaginable mistakes.

  • In these difficult economic times, private citizens, businesses and public agencies are looking for ways to tighten purse strings.

    From local, county and state government agencies to nonprofit organizations, everyone knows just how difficult it can be to make ends meet these days.

  • Looking for some good, free family fun this summer? You need not look much further than your own backyard.

    Thanks to the generosity of local community sponsors, towns throughout the county will treat the public to a variety of musical tunes and some movie selections—all at no cost to attendees. From opportunities to take in the coastal view, to chances to catch movies downtown on a big screen, there’s plenty to do for the entire family.

  • Calabash commissioners—Emily DiStasio, Cecelia Herman and John Melahn—are you completely ignorant of North Carolina Open Meetings Law or are you just so brazen you don’t care if you violate it?

    Last week, the three of you openly violated the law when you joined together to discuss public business—town sewer—without first announcing you were going to do so.

  • In light of revenue shortfalls and budget deficits, we’re wondering how Brunswick County Commissioners can justify tossing $20,000 in the air and allowing it to land in the pockets of five department heads in the form of “commuting stipends.”

  • We believe the Carolina Shores Board of Commissioners violated N.C. Open Meetings Law last week when it went into closed session to discuss, what we later found out, were concerns about Mayor Stephen Selby’s “behavioral pattern.”

    Following the hour-and-a-half closed session, the board reconvened in open session and agreed unanimously to have the town attorney, Holt Moore III, send a letter to Selby about his behavior.

  • In light of far too much bad news lately about education budget cuts and the possible impact those cuts will have on local schools, it is good to see a point of hope emerge recently in education—dropout rates in Brunswick County are decreasing.