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Opinion

  • The N.C. Association of Educators issued a list of the top 10 things every educator should know about the $20.6 billion state budget, passed last week by our legislature and signed by Gov. Pat McCrory. The list, the group says, shows how little value is placed on education.
    We take issue with some of the items the group highlights, such as cutting pay to teachers with advanced degrees. It is reasonable to expect a higher rate of pay for taking the initiative to pursue and complete higher education, in any field.

  • Summer heat is hottest when you first enter a vehicle, before you’ve had a chance to crank the air conditioning or open a window for some air.

    Now just think if you were a child or a pet, unable to get enough air circulating inside that vehicle to stay cool.

    The temperature in a closed vehicle can rise by about 20 degrees in 10 minutes and nearly 30 degrees in 20 minutes, even with the windows cracked.

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says children left unattended in parked cars are at greatest risk for heat stroke and death.

  • This year, North Carolina hurricane preparedness week was observed May 26 through June 1, the latter date marking the start of the six-month hurricane season. But while hurricane preparedness week in North Carolina for 2013 may have come and gone almost as quickly as Tropical Storms Andrea, Barry and Chantal did, it’s not too late to get ready.

  • Soon after Kwesi Sample drowned in the Lockwood Folly Inlet on May 14, Holden Beach town leaders erected a warning sign on the east end of the island and began running messages about rip currents on their local television channel 8. Holden Beach – like Caswell Beach, Oak Island, Ocean Isle Beach and Sunset Beach – already had rip current warning signs posted at all public-access areas.
    Now, with the deaths of four more people in Brunswick County being blamed on rip currents, it is clear that what has been done isn’t enough.

  • Every Fourth of July, crowds of people gather to “oooh” and “ahhh” over the area’s fireworks displays. While most people enjoy a good fireworks show, some want to recreate that sense of enjoyment in their own backyards—a big “no-no” in North Carolina.

    Fireworks are illegal in North Carolina, and shooting them can be dangerous, not just to yourself but those around you. This was evident last week as a group of vacationers decided to set off fireworks in the backyard of the house they were renting in Sunset Beach.

  • Every Fourth of July, crowds of people gather to “oooh” and “ahhh” over the area’s fireworks displays. While most people enjoy a good fireworks show, some want to recreate that sense of enjoyment in their own backyards—a big “no-no” in North Carolina.
    Fireworks are illegal in North Carolina, and shooting them can be dangerous, not just to yourself but those around you. This was evident last week as a group of vacationers decided to set off fireworks in the backyard of the house they were renting in Sunset Beach.

  • The death of a child is sad enough. But when a child dies at the hands of someone else with hardly a hint of explanation, it’s horrifying.
    Within a little over a year’s time frame, that’s exactly what has happened in Shallotte. Two small children—a 3-year-old and a 4-month-old baby—have died with little to no information provided about the circumstances leading to their deaths.

  • It is rare that I am so overcome with emotion that I cannot speak. Chatty by nature, I believe that my family sometimes screens my calls to avoid getting “hung up” in a two-hour conversation.

    But at West Brunswick’s graduation last Saturday, I experienced one of those rare moments; I was so overcome with emotion, I literally couldn’t get the words past the lump in my throat.

  • Hundreds of mortarboards will soar into the air this Saturday as students at North, South and West Brunswick receive their diplomas.
    For most students, high school graduation is a milestone and marks the official beginning of adulthood. Because we know adulthood can bring about certain anxieties and questions—such as where do I go from here?—we would like to offer the class of 2013 five bits of advice.
    First, graduation is your big day. You made it through 13 years of school to get to this point. Enjoy the day and your accomplishments.

  • We were all saddened when Kwesi Sample, a 21-year-old man from Ohio, drowned May 14 in the Lockwood Folly Inlet.
    Sample was vacationing with a large church group, he had a great smile and a muscular body, and by all accounts, he was a fine young man. Being from the middle of the country, he just couldn’t imagine the hidden dangers on the coast.
    He was trying to swim from the east end of Holden Beach across the inlet to the west end of Oak Island, a distance of about 300 yards.

  • Congratulations to Brunswick County Commissioners for not wasting $24,000 of taxpayers’ money on a search for a new county manager when the best qualified candidate was already in-house.
    Commissioners promoted Ann Hardy, the 54-year-old interim county manager to the full-time job. She had been county finance director for nine years.
    For one thing, she already knows the 26 department heads by name, not to mention all the other county employees and other Brunswick County residents she has gotten to know during her almost 20 years living in Brunswick County.

  • Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Coast Guard, Merchant Marine, National Guard.
    Those who served and died in the United States armed forces will be remembered this weekend.
    Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, was begun to commemorate Confederate and Union soldiers who died in the Civil War.
    The holiday was first observed on May 30, 1868, by order of Gen. John Logan, when flowers were placed on the graves of Confederate and Union soldiers in Arlington National Cemetery.
    Now we honor American men and women who have died in all wars.

  • April was the best month in five-and-a-half years for sales of new cars and trucks in North Carolina.
    Sales were 11.8 percent ahead of the same period last year—the best month for new car and truck sales since August 2007.
     “Vehicle sales are returning to pre-recession levels,” Robert Glaser, president of the North Carolina Automobile Dealers Association, said. “April was the best month since before the recession, and we are optimistic that sales will continue to grow over the next few months.”

  • Sometimes we don’t even recognize this country.
    This week there was plenty to make us wonder.
    •We were incensed to discover the IRS has been targeting groups and/or individuals with conservative ties.
    This is blatantly wrong, no matter what political beliefs one has.
    We don’t trust the administration to do an objective investigation, as promised.
    The sad thing is we don’t trust Congress to do the investigation, either.

  • “Iron Man 3,” filmed 45 miles up the road in Wilmington, just took in the second-highest dollar figures ever for a movie’s opening.
    The latest installment in the Iron Man series opened taking in a colossal $175.3 million, making it second only to 2012’s “The Avengers.” That movie was the predecessor in Marvel Studios’ ongoing series of superhero movies, which took in $207.4 million last year.

  • In the North Carolina General Assembly, the House passed its version of the voter ID bill last week, and now it heads to the Senate.
    This legislation was introduced a few years ago.
    One rookie legislator at the time said, “I thought we’d get to Raleigh, and all we’d talk about was jobs, jobs, jobs. Instead, we talked about everything except jobs.”
    A proposed voter ID bill was one of the things they talked about then.

  • This will probably be a good idea—once we get used to it.
    Not many people like change, not at first anyway.
    We North Carolina drivers had gotten used to getting our license tags at one time and paying our vehicle-tax bills at another.
    All that’s getting ready to change.
    The first combined tag-and-tax notices will soon arrive in North Carolina mailboxes for vehicle-registration bills that are due in July.

  • Our hearts this week are in New England, land of midnight riders and tea parties.
    Once again, we have been barraged by grief.
    Can you imagine going to a sporting event to have fun as a spectator and coming home without a leg?
    Or your life? Three people have been confirmed dead at this writing, after two bombs exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon.

  • We had to shake our heads at a bill recently introduced by a North Carolina legislator.
    State Sen. Austin Allran, a Republican from Hickory, was the primary sponsor of the Healthy Marriage Act, legislation that would make North Carolinians have to wait two years to finalize a divorce. There would also be mandatory counseling.
    Currently, the waiting time is one year, which seems a fair amount of time.

  • We had to chuckle after reading a report about a traffic stop last week on I-85 near Lexington.
    Davidson County Sheriff’s Office deputies stopped a 2005 Dodge truck on I-85 South for a traffic violation.
    According to the sheriff’s office, the vehicle displayed California registration and was driven by Dennie Andy Keophimanh, 26, of Grand Prairie, Texas.