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Opinion Roundup: A turning point in history

Posted August 24

Barrier placed around UNC 'Silent Sam' statue

Thursday, Aug. 24, 2017 -- A roundup of opinion, commentary and analysis on the continued confederate statue debate, another big N.C. investment in solar energy, how budget cuts are moving mental health organizations toward some tough choices and more.

POLITICS & POLICY
JAMES LEUTZE: Take down the statues; Time for intolerance toward racism, neo-Nazis, alt-right (Capitol Broadcasting Opinion column) -- We have reached a turning point in our history. Black people will no longer tolerate being confronted by warning signals erected during a period of racial oppression. Southerners who honor those whom they see as defending the South and their way of life resist removing these monuments. If they truly knew the history and the temper of the times when these monuments were erected, they might better understand African-Americans' feelings.

JOHN HINTON: Pro-white group hangs recruitment sign at App State (Winston-Salem Journal analysis) -- Someone put up a recruitment banner at Appalachian State University for Identify Evropa, an organization classified by civil rights advocates as a white hate group. Chancellor Sheri Everts said in a statement that two white men posted the banner about 8 p.m. on the pedestrian bridge that crosses River Street. The banner read: “A New Dawn is Breaking, Rise and Get Active, Identity Evropa.”

Move in sight (Winston-Salem Journal) -- We’re glad to learn that discussions are underway on downtown Winston-Salem’s Confederate statue. Delicacies and legal intricacies are involved, but we think that Mayor Allen Joines and the United Daughters of the Confederacy should be able to reach a practical and acceptable resolution.

Cooper stood up for transparency; will lawmakers? (Wilson Times) -- Gov. Roy Cooper will protect access to public records his office and all executive branch agencies maintain, but in order to spread the sunshine to town halls and county boardrooms, the General Assembly must step in.

New districts; same old political manipulation (Wilmington Star-News) -- Federal courts ruled that many of North Carolina’s legislative districts were racially gerrymandered and ordered the legislators to redraw them. Well, the proposed maps are finally out. It’s clear, this time, that race was not a major concern on the Honorables’ minds -- incumbency protection was. No big changes were seen in Southeastern North Carolina.

TYLER DUKES: See how new legislative maps may affect your 2018 vote (WRAL-TV analysis) -- Enter your address to find out whether your state House and Senate districts - and your potential incumbents for the 2018 election - may have changed.

MATTHEW BURNS: Critics of legislative voting districts propose alternative maps (WRAL-TV analysis) -- The plaintiffs who successfully challenged the legality of state House and Senate districts say the district maps proposed by lawmakers create more problems than they fix.

DAN FROSCH: U.S. Judge Rejects Texas Voter Law as ‘Discriminatory’ (Wall Street Journal analysis) -- A federal judge on Wednesday struck down Texas’ 2011 voter-identification law and rejected a less-restrictive version of the measure that state legislators passed this year.

STEPHANIE CARSON: Room for Improvement in Support of NC Minority-Owned Businesses (Public News Service analysis) -- There are more than 180,000 minority-owned businesses in N.C., but growing and sustaining this business isn't easy. This long-held claim by business owners is confirmed in a new report by the North Carolina Budget and Tax Center. North Carolina Justice Center policy analyst William Munn says on average, even when they do qualify for a loan, minority-owned businesses receive half of the funds their white counterparts receive.

Civil rights pioneer C.R. Edwards dies (Fayetteville Observer obit) -- Friends say he worked for decades to improve Fayetteville and North Carolina.

ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT
Renewable energy becoming an unstoppable force (Fayetteville Observer) -- A ribbon-cutting for the opening of a new solar farm is getting to be old hat in North Carolina, which trails only California in the turning the sun’s energy into electricity. It’s a growing part of our energy mix and our utilities are getting really good at using it. And why not? Solar power is getting cheaper and more plentiful. And huge, industrial-strength batteries are being developed that will remove solar’s big drawback.

KIP TABB: The Failed Attempt to Reopen Roanoke Inlet (Coastal Review column) -- Many inlets have formed and filled in along the Outer Banks since the Sir Walter Raleigh’s colonists arrived, but the long-closed Roanoke Inlet was once so important efforts were made to reopen it.

SUSAN LADD: Solar eclipse became a mother-daughter experience (Greensboro News & Record column) -- Every now and then, we all need to put aside the practical and chase the sun.

HEALTH
TAYLOR KNOPF: Providers of Disability Services See State Budget Cuts Passed Down (N.C. Health News analysis) -- Due to state budget cuts to mental health funding, organizations that serve people with intellectual and developmental disabilities are being forced to make tough choices this year.

EDUCATION
JENNIFER MANGRUM: A tale of two N.C. Schools (EdNC column) -- In my hometown in North Carolina we have the tale of two schools that are separate but not equal. (Of course there are more than two such examples but for the sake of space, I will compare two elementary schools, 15 miles apart in the same school district.) The data to compare the two schools come from the website, www.greatschools.org.

MICHAEL MAHER & DIANA LYS: UNC-Chapel Hill, NCSU collaborating to help lateral entry teachers (EdNC column) -- A critical teacher shortage is now among the most pressing needs in North Carolina. UNC-Chapel Hill and NC State are working together to help address this problem. Our state has simultaneously experienced growing K-12 enrollments while also seeing declining enrollments in teacher preparation programs. For more than a decade, North Carolina has been a teacher shortage state, routinely relying on both in-state and out-of-state prepared teachers.​

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