• It is easy to consider how members of our military put themselves in danger each time they enter a war zone, where casualties are not unexpected. We do not often realize how frequently they put themselves in harm’s way by training for that experience, even if they never engage in combat, until an accident happens.

    We do not often come to that realization unless such a tragedy strikes someone we know.

    Sgt. Adam Schoeller was one of us — not just because he was a Marine, but also because he married into our community.

  • In this week’s edition, in addition to a regular weekly column by Calabash veterinarian Dr. Ernie Ward, we profile a new program at Novant Health Brunswick Medical Center in Supply that brings canine comfort to visitors. Called Wagging Welcome, it uses specially trained and groomed canine volunteers to meet and greet people at the hospital every weekday and shows the positive impact pets can have on people.

  • Often when people consider the concept of volunteerism, they think of it in terms of serving charities, like Habitat for Humanity, and civic organizations, like Kiwanis. It may not occur to them they can put their spare time toward guiding their local government and the direction of the communities in which they live.

    Within the past month, the Beacon has published appeals from Shallotte, Leland and Holden Beach for volunteers to serve on various municipal boards and committees.

  • Those who seek and are elected to public office, in most cases, should be praised for keeping their campaign promises.

    John Fletcher, Peter Freer, Kim Isenhour and Ashley Royal each vowed to revise Holden Beach’s noise ordinance if elected to the town’s board of commissioners in November. Eight days after taking their oath of office Dec. 8, they did exactly that.

  • Whether you plan to attend the New Year’s Eve Celebration sponsored by the Beacon at Brunswick Senior Resources Inc. in Shallotte or ring in 2016 with the annual events in Calabash, at Shallotte Moose Lodge or Sharky’s in Ocean Isle Beach, please make sure your plans including getting home safely and without putting others at risk.

  • Eight-year-old Virginia O’Hanlon wrote a letter to the editor of New York’s Sun, and the quick response was printed as an unsigned editorial Sept. 21, 1897. The work of veteran newsman Francis Pharcellus Church has since become history’s most reprinted newspaper editorial.

    “DEAR EDITOR: I am 8 years old.

    “Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus.

    “Papa says, ‘If you see it in THE SUN it’s so.’

    “Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?

  • With controversy still brewing over the Brunswick County Board of Education’s split decision to seek approval from the county board of commissioners to place a $152 million bond referendum on the November 2016 ballot, it seemed further discussion about and possible implementation of a day treatment program would be stymied until matters related to the bond proposal were settled.

  • As some people who were elected to local offices Nov. 3 prepare for their swearing-in ceremonies, filing is already under way for the 2016 primary election, March 15.

    In Bolivia, only one incumbent sought re-election and won; newcomers are filling the other three seats that were available on the board of commissioners. The story is similar in Varnamtown, where the incumbent seeing another term was returned to his seat and will be joined by two new aldermen.

  • Brunswick County’s homeless population may be better hidden than in other communities across the state and nation, but it does exist.

    On Nov. 21, the Brunswick County Homeless Coalition hosted its fourth annual Hunger and Homeless Banquet at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Southport in observance of National Hunger and Homeless Awareness. A soup and water luncheon followed presentations from various groups outlining the scope of the issue in our community.

  • While it may not be clear whether Terry Johnson’s resignation from Sunset Beach Town Council after serving two years of a four-year term was expected, it seemed most were taken by surprise when he tendered it on Election Day, Nov. 3.

  • We said in an editorial last month there was no reason to think the Brunswick County Board of Commissioners would not allow the 2016 general election ballot to include a bond referendum for Brunswick County Schools. We said there is already no doubt the school district needs money to meet the needs of its students.

    On Nov. 3, school board vice chairwoman Shirley Babson, John Thompson and Bud Thorsen voted to approve a $175 million bond referendum request.

  • U.S. Census Bureau data for 2014 show 27 percent of Brunswick County’s 118,836 residents is made up of people 65 and older. Our county has long been touted as ideal not only for vacationers looking for a quiet getaway, but also for retirees seeking a relaxed lifestyle.

    It is the senior citizen population that makes Brunswick Senior Resources Inc. so vital to our community. BSRI is the lead not-for-profit agency providing programs and services specifically designed for adults 60 and older in Brunswick County.

  • More than a year after a community coalition took its first step toward addressing Brunswick County’s heroin crisis through a collaborative multi-agency initiative, it may seem as though little headway has been made in eradicating the problem.

    Just last year, Brunswick County residents had 20 unintentional medication and drug overdose deaths — a rate of 16.8 per 100,000 people. By comparison, the North Carolina average was 9.7 people per 100,000 people, according to figures from N.C. Vital Records and State Center for Health Statistics

  • Election Day 2015 is nearly upon us. This week’s edition includes questionnaires from candidates in contested races for this year’s general election within the Beacon’s coverage area. Because no candidate forums or debates were held in Calabash or Sunset Beach, we included responses to questionnaires returned by candidates in each of those municipal races.

  • It has been nearly a month since Brunswick County prosecutors detailed the indictments against Harry Simmons, the mayor of Caswell Beach: 18 felonies related to his service as chairman of the Brunswick Beaches Consortium. He stands accused of embezzling $673,304.07 from funds earmarked for the consortium’s lobbying efforts.

  • After the possibility of inclement weather led to cancellation of this year’s Brunswick County Intercultural Festival at Brunswick Community College, it seemed massive rainfall was about to wash out the chance to celebrate Sunset at Sunset in Sunset Beach this year, too.

  • By all accounts, the rainfall that soaked Brunswick County as a result of Hurricane Joaquin and the storm system following it constituted a historic event, the likes of which we have not seen in decades. While the hurricane never made landfall, it was the first part of a one-two punch of precipitation that left many residents along our coast and farther inland temporarily trapped in their homes and caused flood damage as though the hurricane had blown through the area.

  • There is no reason to think the Brunswick County Board of Commissioners will not allow the 2016 general election ballot to include a bond referendum for Brunswick County Schools. There is already no doubt the school district needs money to meet the needs of its students.

  • Brunswick Family Assistance has been providing emergency assistance to those in crisis who are willing to help themselves since 1981 when it started as the private, nonprofit Volunteer Information Center. It offers this assistance, along with complementary programs designed to help people become self-sufficient, to qualified low-income families and individuals as a result of donated money, food, clothing and countless hours from volunteers totaling more than $950,000 in 2014.

  • With news of officer-involved fatal shootings and allegations of police brutality and misconduct being reported almost daily across the United States, law enforcement may be the most reviled profession in the nation.