• You don’t know what you’re missing at the county complex

    Brunswick County commissioners discussed adding video streaming and recording of their meetings during last week’s budget workshop.

    It’s an idea I wholeheartedly endorse.

    I’m not from here, but I’ve been covering local governments in North Carolina for years.   

    So I was surprised to find when I got here that video coverage of meetings had not made it to the coast. But I come here to praise Brunswick County officials, not to bury them for the delay.

  • Getting ready for goodbye: Time at the Beacon winding down

    Seven years into my journalism career, I needed a change.

    The late nights and weekends and stress of deadlines had worn me down.

    I had covered so many deaths, murders, wrecks, accidents, fires and more in my hometown I could rarely drive down a road and not recall a tragedy.

  • Story about child’s death still haunts reporter one year later

    As you enter the Shallotte Police Department, a photograph in the lobby says it all.

    A framed photo of 3-year-old Jaronn Ladale McAllister greets all who enter. Inscribed near the bottom of the photograph are the words: “Why we shall never forget; the reason we do our job.”

    And it doesn’t stop there.

    In Chief Rodney Gause’s office is another photograph of Jaronn.

    Jaronn’s murder a year ago on March 1 has touched many hearts—from the family to law enforcement officers to journalists and the community.

  • It's best to avoid any and all germ vectors like the plague

    As I sat Tuesday at another fabulous annual retreat of Sunset Beach Town Council, I pondered how much things have changed in just a year’s time.

    This time last year, I was posted next to a box of free-flowing Kleenex, having been finally taken down by some kind of terrible February bug after six years of relative virus- and bacteria-free health.

    I was really ticked, because this thing seemed to have come from nowhere—some unknown, invisible place (isn’t that where colds usually originate?)—and it had messed up my health record.

  • Still settling in: Am I missing anything else?

    So last month I picked your brains for your best-kept secrets of Brunswick County because, as you know by now, I’m not from here and I need to learn all the ins and outs of “coastal living,” even if I live a minimum of 15 minutes away from any coastline.

  • Covering communities shouldn’t be convoluted into anything other than news

    When I settled into the editor’s desk in 2007, one of my most vocal critics was Rich Cerrato, the current mayor of Sunset Beach.

    Back then Rich wasn’t an elected official. He was Average Joe Citizen who regularly attended town meetings and frequently took everyone—including this newspaper—to task.

  • When love is in the air, sometimes laughter follows

    It’s that time of year when love is in the air. But for those who are single, it’s the time of year their singlehoodedness glares in their faces.

    Recently a group of my single female coworkers and I were discussing our dating lives. It may have been one of the most humorous conversations I have had in the office.

  • Big trial no laughing matter, except for when it was

    Being assigned to cover a days-long trial like last week’s Lewis vs. Rapp libel case at the Brunswick County Courthouse is a mixed bag, for sure.

    On one side of the courtroom, you have a rare, fascinating case involving our own Senior Resident Superior Court Judge Ola M. Lewis, who for nearly three years has been relentlessly pursuing her day(s) in court as a plaintiff seeking justice against libel.

  • I’m still going to cry; you won’t change my mind


    I just want to clarify: I do not support gun control.

    Until the day I and every other American can lay our heads on our pillows at night and close our eyes knowing we are unequivocally safe from harm, there will never be a day I agree with disarming our citizens.

    Our forefathers fought for this right. My own family members have fought for this right. (And thank God they had guns.)

    There will always be evil in this world. Unfortunately, we can’t stop it from wielding its ugly head.

  • Brief visit to sweepstakes establishment is a sure bet

    I want to be a winner. Who doesn’t?

    It’s better than the alternative.

    Maybe that’s why I made one of my rare treks to a sweepstakes facility this past Monday afternoon. I was also doing investigative reporting about the confusing status of sweepstakes businesses in Brunswick County and beyond.

    This latest visit was to Winner’s World in Calabash, which for reasons not yet made clear, seems to be one of the last surviving sweepstakes institutions in the Seafood Capital—for now.