January 27, 2023

At the age of 17, Brooklyn, New York, native Vincent Simonetti enrolled in the U.S. Navy. He gave up working in his father’s grocery store and playing baseball for an even higher calling – to serve his country.

Just recently, on his 98th birthday, members of the American Legion and Oak Island Veterans of Foreign Wars recognized his GOOD service by honoring the World War II combat veteran, who now lives with his family in St. James.

His ship was unofficially credited with downing two Japanese kamikaze bombers while the bombs and gunfire above deck were just part of his daily experience.

Fellow veterans viewed it as a really GOOD opportunity to honor Simonetti with a plaque and medal, They also hosted a dinner and provided toasts all around for one of the dwindling number of World War II veterans who are still around.

Simonetti said he wants to get together again on his 100th birthday.

Read the original story in this week’s State Port Pilot.

Do you have a “happy story” about good people doing good things in the community that you'd like to share with your fellow readers? Submit your uplifting idea or anecdote for Below the Fold to

New News

Here’s what we’re working on for next week’s

Not Exactly News

The State Port Pilot’s long-running column, Not Exactly News, was a weekly assemblage of various local-interest items. They’re GOOD reminders of what life was like in our corner of the world and we’re excited to re-present them here. Enjoy!

Logo - Not Exactly News

From The State Port Pilot – Wednesday, February 1, 1950

Good to Know

Draw a Dinosaur Day
  • January 27: International Peanut Brittle Day: Some people believe that the history of peanut brittle begins in the southern states of the USA, which makes sense because that’s where peanuts were first known to be cultivated.

  • January 28: International Holocaust Remembrance Day. This day serves as a reminder to never forget the horrors of the past and to strive for a more just and peaceful world.

  • January 29: National Carnation Day. A lesser-known holiday that has been celebrated for more than a century, National Carnation Day pays honor and respect to this flower, as well as remembering US Presidents who died while in office.

  • January 30: National Draw a Dinosaur Day. Over the years, adults and children alike have fallen in love with the imagination, fantasy and history that comes along with dinosaurs. Fire up your imagination, and draw a dinosaur.

  • January 31: National Hot Chocolate Day. Enjoy a cup of steamy hot chocolate on a cold winter day! Hot chocolate provides a delicious and sweet treat that warms the body and the heart.

  • February 1: National Girls and Women in Sports Day. Historically avoided for reasons such as being “unladylike,” or myths as ridiculous as being bad for the reproductive system, sports have now been shown to provide a number of positive impacts on girls and women.

  • February 2: Groundhog Day. Even before it was official there is record of this day being observed in the US as early as 1840 as recorded in a private diary. 1866 was the first time it was recorded in a newspaper.

  • FOMO? Did you miss a previous edition of the GOOD NEWSLETTER?
    We’ve got you covered! Check out the archive

Community Focus

Reader Photo Showcase

We're excited to present three new images for your photo showcase. This week we received two shots of the contrails from SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket, launched from Kennedy Space Center in Florida on January 15th, along with a twilight shot from Oak Island featuring the ruins of what must have been a very impressive sand castle. Thanks to GOOD readers Jeff Sawvel, Lisa Everett, and Vanessa Davison for contributing these great images! We're grateful for everyone who has shared their pics with us – we look forward to showcasing more next week!

SpaceX Falcon Heavy launch_Submitted by Jeff Sawvel..

Submitted by Jeff Sawvel.

SpaceX Falcon Heavy launch_Submitted by Lisa Everett.

Submitted by Lisa Everett.

Oak Island sand castle_Submitted by Vanessa Davison.

Submitted by Vanessa Davison.

View past reader photo showcases

We're trying something new here in the Photo Showcase – no more restrictive photo prompts! We’re encouraging all our GOOD readers to send in any interesting photos you want to share – new photos, old photos, whatever you have. We look forward to seeing what you come up with and thank you for sharing your creativity with us.

Recipe of the week

Zuppa Toscana

It's soup season!
There is nothing better on cold winter days than a delicious bowl of hot, hearty soup! My favorite go-to is Zuppa Toscana because it's easy, quick, and versatile with many substitutes that work in a pinch. For example, I've used kielbasa instead of Italian sausage, spinach instead of kale, gnocchi instead of potatoes, whole milk instead of heavy cream... whatever I happen to have on hand! Paired with some crusty bread... mmm-mmm-mmm!

• 1 pound Italian ground sausage – spicy or mild to taste
• 4 tablespoons butter
• ½ onion – diced
• 1 tablespoon minced garlic
• 6 cups chicken broth
• 2 cups water
• 4 – 5 yellow potatoes – cubed
• 3 teaspoons salt – or to taste
• 1 teaspoon black pepper
• 2 cups heavy cream
• 4 cups chopped kale
• chopped bacon or bacon bits
• grated Parmesan cheese for topping – optional

Brown the sausage in a large pot and transfer to a towel-lined plate to drain, set aside. In the same pot, add butter and sauté onions until translucent. Add garlic and sauté for another minute being careful not to burn it! Add chicken broth, water, potatoes, salt, and pepper, and bring to a boil. Boil until potatoes are tender. Stir in the kale and heavy cream, add back the sausage, and simmer for 10 – 15 minutes. Garnish with bacon and Parmesan cheese.

Click here for a printable recipe card.

Pet of the Week!

This week's pet of the week is Onslow, and he is beyond cute!
Seriously, look at this picture... is it weird to keep a photo of someone else's dog in your wallet? Asking for a friend... Special thanks to Jen Newsman for sending us this adorable photo.
And don’t forget, all of you
GOOD readers out there are invited to send in your own pet photos. They’ll be featured every week right here. To view all our past pets of the week head over to the GOOD Newsletter pet showcase.

Onslow, submitted by Jen Newsman

See the complete collection in our Pet of the Week Showcase Gallery!

Play Time

Before you go, why not take a few more minutes, refill your coffee and take on our "Spot the Differences" challenge?

This week, we've taken a photo from the January 25th edition of Scales & Tales, our fishing and outdoors column by the one-and-only Capt. Jerry Dilsaver. Pictured are St. James Fishing Club anglers Craig Thompson, Sal Simonetti, Rich Badis and Tony Celeste after an offshore fishing bonanza in the Black Jack area. Read Capt. Jerry’s report at stateportpilotcom.

We’ve made eight alterations to the original image. See if you can spot the differences between the two images and test your observational skills. Click to get a closer look and check your guesses with the key at the end of the newsletter. Good luck!

Spot the Differences

Good Times

It’s Friday! Presented by Up Your Arts, here’s the weekend line-up, full of music and activities for everyone.

Up Your Arts Creative and Performing Arts Logo

Friday, January 27

  • 5th Anniversary Celebration: Matt Booth @ Makai Brewing Company (OIB)

  • Skyler @ Ocean Crest Pier

  • Mark Loren @ The Joyce (Leland)

  • Mike McManus @ Oak Island Moose Lodge

  • Port City Comedy @ Southport Tap & Cellar

Saturday, January 28

  • 5th Anniversary Celebration: The Apron Strings @ Makai Brewing Company (OIB)

  • Live music (TBD) @ The Grape and Ale

  • Scott Riley @ The Joyce (Leland)

  • The Fossil Rockers @ Oak Island Moose Lodge

  • Deep Creek Soul @ The Tiki Tavern

  • Live music (TBD) @ The Pub of Southport

  • The Doorsmen @ Second Wind

Sunday, January 29

  • 5th Anniversary Celebration: Matt Booth @ Makai Brewing Company (OIB)

  • Open Beach Jam with Dennis Walton @ The Lazy Turtle (OKI)

On a GOOD Note

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”

― Albert Einstein

Spot the Differences Answer Key

Spot the Difference answer key

1. different soda can 2. shirt color 3. pants 4. gloves 5. faces swapped 6. sunglasses moved 7. water hose. 8. Bruce!

Have a really GOOD weekend!