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Opinion

  • Some people around this area told me they dream of a white Christmas.

    If I had lived in 70-degree December weather for most of my life, I might be one of the dreamers, too. But living in a place with inches of snow and negative-degree wind chills for my entire childhood no longer leaves me with winter weather desire.

    If it snowed back home, it was usually after the New Year. February or March was more likely to be victims of blizzards than November or December.

  • They may be small in stature, but Brunswick County schoolchildren have proven they have big hearts and can make significant contributions to this community.

    During the last few months, students at schools throughout Brunswick County have been doing good deeds by taking part in selfless acts of giving to others.

    There are too many school-wide projects to mention them all, but among some of the many, many projects completed by students just before and during the holiday season are:

  • I promised I’d be back with more “best and worst” of the year. This time, I’ve decided to take on the trends of 2008.

    From “going green” to vampire books and movies, and from presidential slogans to penny-pinching, it was definitely a memorable year—for both good and bad trends.

    Best: I’m all for the trend of making good movies for kids and adults. “WALL-E” was one of the best movies I’ve seen in years, and it was highly entertaining for my daughter as well.

  • To the editor: This is a reply to the Gastonia reader’s letter last week about rising rental rates at Holden Beach.

    First is my disclaimer: I once rented my beach property at Holden Beach, but I haven't done so in more than 10 years, so I gain no benefit from higher rentals.

    Costs of owning beach property have risen dramatically. A vacuum sewer system has been installed for our convenience and the significant cost has been passed on to the homeowners for installation and higher water bills.

  • In the spirit of the holidays, knowing many readers have faced difficult times during the past year, we reprint “Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus,” to spread Christmas cheer.

    Eight-year-old Virginia Hanlon penned the original letter, and it appeared in the New York Sun in 1897.

    Veteran newspaperman Francis Pharcellus Church wrote the response. Since it’s creation some 111 years ago, the piece has become history’s most reprinted editorial.

    “Dear Editor: I am 8 years old.

  • To the editor:

    This year’s gift to give to you,

    Has no ribbon, wrap or bows.

    There’s no box or tissue to discard.

    There’s no “dust collector” to show.

    This year’s gift I give to you,

    Can be kept and given away.

    It’s something that you can’t leave,

    But take wherever you go or stay.

    This year’s gift I give to you,

    It’s a wonderful eternal treasure.

    I received it quite a few years ago,

    I happily regift it, with pleasure.

  • Some view disappointments as a prelude to failure; others view disappointments as stepping stones to success.

    Most major achievements are born out of failure and disappointments. The space program failed many times before it succeeded. Experimental space rockets crashed and fell back to earth before a reliable space carrier was developed.

    Most medical cures are products of multiple test tube failures.

    The Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers failed before they succeeded. Michael Jordan spent six years in the NBA before he won his first championship.

  • To the editor: If you’ve been reading the Beacon recently, you must know that the Ocean Isle Museum Foundation and Ingram Planetarium are in the midst of a capital campaign that we are pleased to report has received broad based community support.

    Dozens of individuals, organizations, businesses, the county, our school system and other municipalities have endorsed us, and in many cases, provided funding. I mention this because at some recent Sunset Beach town meetings, comments were made that implied the community was not supporting our efforts.

  • To the editor: With all the negative publicity Shallotte Middle School has received, I was considering sending my child to a private school. Not wanting to separate her from friends, I decided to give it a try, while keeping the private schools on the back burner.

    Although we are only four months into the school year, I am pleased with my child’s repertoire of teachers.

  • To the editor: My name is James Saunders. I’m writing to you in regard to the many inmates being held here in the Brunswick County Jail for weeks, even months at a time, after being sentenced to the N.C. Department of Corrections.

    [At the time of writing this letter], I will have been here for 17 days waiting to be shipped.

  • To the editor: I am responding to a recent letter to the editor titled, “Tough times in Brunswick County.” It’s clear Mr. Pruitt never owned a business in a tourist area or he would better understand local merchants.

    My husband and I own a restaurant, so I will only respond to that grievance. Over the past two years, one bag of wheat flour jumped 300 percent; ditto for raw chicken, corn and countless other food items.

    Insurance rates have doubled (and are on the rise again), utilities have doubled...the list goes on and on.

  • To the editor: I would like to respond to the letter to the editor by Mr. Thomas J. Stocker of Gastonia in the Dec. 18 issue. He is concerned the “middle-income people are being priced out by overpricing the rentals by the owners and landlords” at Holden Beach.

    It is interesting this letter is in the same issue of the paper that has front page headlines insurance for coastal property may go up 50 percent and an op-ed piece by the president and CEO of Carolinas AAA saying that beach insurance premiums should increase by 80-120 percent.

  • To the editor: I had the pleasure to visit the Calabash Elks Club at its annual Christmas party for boys and girls from 3-11 years of age.

    The weather was a balmy 65 degrees—a welcome change from the frigid North Pole. I have many other duties in life and I only do this visit once a year, but I want to convey what a precious time it is to visit these children.

    After pizza, Cokes, ice cream and chasing piñata candy, the kids line up to see me. The Elks supply some of these kids with the only gifts they will see this year.

  • As I prepare to celebrate Christmas, I’d like to take some time to reflect on the past year. Here are a few of the things I learned in 2008:

  • If the Jolly Old Elf is out there, and his reading time happens to include a few moments with The Brunswick Beacon before he loads his sleigh this year, I hope he knows I’ve been a pretty good girl.

    I’ve made mistakes and been far from perfect, but I’m pretty sure my name would ultimately end up on the “nice” list, rather than the “naughty” one.

    So if Mr. Claus is wondering what a gal like me might be wanting for the holidays—it’s all about the roads.

  • To the editor: Well, 16 years of the Brunswick County Motorcycle Enthusiasts Christmas Toy Run has come and gone. I just want to thank everyone who has sponsored us year after year and all the volunteers who have helped us put this program together. Without their support this could not happen.

    I cannot list all the names—it would take too much space. But you and the Lord know who you are. May you all be blessed for your efforts to help others in need.

  • When I was a freshman in high school, my younger brother brought home a small, black slobbery puppy.

    We didn’t have a dog growing up, so his pleas must have resonated with our parents, not wanting to hear 10 years later we were robbed of precious childhood memories of the quintessential family dog. So they caved and let her become part of the family.

    A little less than 14 years later, this past Saturday, surrounded by her favorite people and a few tennis balls, Sadie, our family dog, died.

  • Calabash commissioners recently made a brilliant decision to start their monthly meetings an hour earlier—6 p.m. instead of 7 p.m.—because their sessions have been running so late.

    One commissioner said he liked to get home early enough to tell his kids good night.

    That sounded like a good plan to me, since commissioners meet on Tuesday nights, which are major deadline nights for the Beacon newsroom.

  • It’s that time of year again folks, and I don’t mean Christmas/Hannukah/Kwanzaa.

    I’m talking about the time of year when people who write smarty-pants newspaper columns, blogs and magazine articles like to haul out their “best and worst of the year” lists.

    I, of course, am not immune to this trap, mainly because I’m one of those who loves reading these lists.

  • Crime does not pay

    —1935 Radio Program

    One of my old FBI associates recently wrote a letter to the editor in which he mentioned structured sentencing. That triggered my mind into the reminiscing and reflection modes. Here are my thoughts.

    My jail time

    I served about seven months in the Los Angeles County Jail—not as an inmate, but as a deputy sheriff.