• 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.

  • The laws of Traffalysis: The four-way stop is not negotiable

    I believe I’ve mentioned I’m not from here, so I’m still learning about the place.

    Since I moved to the area one thing that is continually reaffirmed is how nice people are here—almost to a fault.

    No, I don’t think people need to get ruder. There’s plenty of places I could move if I wanted to fill that void in my life.

    But I can’t help but notice people are too nice in one particular area—at the four-way stop sign.

  • Christmas money buys free meals for hungry customers

    “It’s my Christmas present,” Betty Brown says of the free holiday meals she cooked for two days and gave out last Thursday to customers at the Minuteman convenience store in Sunset Beach.

    For the past seven years, Brown, who manages the store, has taken the money her husband Tom gives her for Christmas and uses it to buy food she cooks to serve customers.

    This year’s big day was Thursday, Dec. 20, at the store at the corner of Beach Drive and N.C. 904.

  • A nation at war with itself marks a tragic year of shooting deaths

    Twenty children. Six adults. One deranged shooter.

    I am in shock. How could something like this happen at an elementary school? This is an act of war, a crime of terror.

    Twenty kindergarten and first-grade students.

    Their biggest crimes in life couldn’t have been much worse than not making a bed or taking out the trash when their parents asked.

    Photos of the slain bring tears to my eyes. There is nothing more precious than an innocent child, and they became lambs to a slaughter.

  • Veteran recalls Pearl Harbor Day on its 71st anniversary

    CAROLINA SHORES—Art Paige clearly remembers Dec. 7, 1941.

    It was his first day on the job as a Marine recruit returning to base at Camp Lejeune. Then the announcement came over the radio.

    The Japanese had just bombed Pearl Harbor, launching World War II.

    “As soon as I got [to the base], I was given live ammunition and told to stand guard on the beach,” recalled the 90-year-old, seated in his home last week in his Marine uniform that still fits.

  • ’Tis the season to become a better person and to enjoy life more


    It’s my favorite time of year. The Christmas season has officially begun in Brunswick County.

    Once the turkey is carved and gobbled up, it’s time to light the Christmas tree and turn on the holiday music.

    I am thankful to live in a community where the Christmas season is celebrated at every turn. Last weekend I had the pleasure of spending the day getting in the spirit at Ocean Isle Beach.

  • Lure of Black Friday so enticing, it's set for Thursday

    I swanny, Black Friday Frenzy is bearing down on us again.

    Just when you thought you and all the other turkeys had to wait until Thanksgiving for the usual thick sheaf of newspaper ads offering sneak-peeks into Black Friday sales to be served, retail mavens this year have pulled some fast appetizers.

    Apparently, they’ve been accidentally-on-purpose “leaking” peeks to bargain-shopping websites like BradsDeals.com.

  • True companionship: Goodbye to my little friend O.E.

    He wasn’t the most sociable. He had one person he trusted, and I was lucky enough to be that one.

    O.E.—short for orange eye—was a true companion and friend for five-and-a-half years. His life was cut short this week. I woke up on Monday morning prepared to get him to the vet as soon as it opened, but it was too late.

    O.E. had a tender spirit. He hid every time someone came to my house. He hid when the vacuum cleaner ran. He hid if I made a loud noise. He even hid from me just because he wanted to at times.

  • Restaurant to the rescue when Sandy rains out beach wedding plans

    It was supposed to be a dream wedding for Natalie Gilbert and her fiancé Jeremy Palin.

    Then a lil’ol, I mean big ol’, hurricane named Sandy interfered.

    Hickory resident Cindy Williams, aunt of the bride-to-be, said they’d never dreamed a hurricane would descend like an uninvited guest and try to crash their plans.

    The Indiana couple had been planning their Ocean Isle Beach ceremony for months.

  • Hanging onto the bottom rung: Living in the collapsed economy


    I don’t usually get political, but ’tis the season.

    I am tired of watching hard-working, honest people lose their jobs, remain unemployed and fight to save the things they have worked for all their lives.