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Opinion Roundup: Another rural N.C. hospital's future hangs in the balance

Posted July 14

Friday, July 14, 2017 -- A roundup of opinion, commentary and analysis on another rural hospital facing financial struggles, a political scuffle over the safety of a chemical in our drinking water, a voter ID bill that could be decided by voters and more.

ROSE HOBAN: Eden’s Morehead Hospital Seeks Debt Reorganization in Bankruptcy Filing (N.C. Health News analysis) -- Morehead Memorial Hospital joins other North Carolina rural hospitals with significant financial problems, begging the question of survival of institutions in small towns with economic problems.


Ailing rural hospitals (Greensboro News & Record) -- If a hospital falls in Phil Berger’s hometown, will anyone hear it in Raleigh?


CATHERINE CLABBY: More Scuffles Over Hexavalent Chromium (N.C. Health News analysis) -- Critics assail Cooper administration standard for Duke Energy water filters for coal ash neighbors. But wait! It may change.


JEFF TIBERII: N.C. lawmakers consider another voter ID bill (WUNC-FM analysis) – North Carolina legislators are working on another voter ID bill – an amendment to the state constitution -- that would be taken to voters.


LAURA LESLIE: Lawmakers leave federal military money on table (WRAL-TV analysis) -- Legislative leaders talked often this session about the importance of protecting the state's military bases. But their final budget appears to have omitted matching funds for a $9.2 million federal grant for that purpose.


TED BUDD: Congress owes voters real results (Greensboro News & Record column) -- The first time Gallup polled the approval rating of the U.S. Congress, the year was 1974, and over the course of that year, it was about 40 percent.


Opioids’ child victims (Winston-Salem Journal) -- Among the most tragic victims of opioid addiction are the children of addicts. Whether by direct abuse, neglect or the pain of seeing their parents in a consistently diminished capacity, their worlds are filled with sorrow. And now more are winding up in foster care.


State’s school leader likes working in dark (Wilmington Star-News) -- State school superintendent Mark Johnson might be in the wrong job. Instead of in Raleigh, perhaps he should be in Washington, handling White House security. We doubt there’d be any leaks on Johnson’s watch -- or any other kind of information.


Charity game nights under fire as lottery gambling continues (Wilson Times) -- Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed a bill authorizing charity game nights, fearing the gambling law carve-out would become a Trojan horse for video poker operators. Lawmakers ought to override Cooper’s veto in order to take N.C. nonprofits that hold game nights out of legal limbo. While they’re at it, they can end the superficial sanctimony and rank hypocrisy of a gambling ban in a lottery state.


And behold, an island rises (Fayetteville Observer) -- Oceanfront communities along North Carolina’s coast regularly pay millions of dollars to have sand dredged up off the ocean floor and pumped ashore to rebuild their beaches. So imagine the envy when Mother Nature creates a new beach — and a new island — for free. But as far as we know, nobody’s filed a subdivision plan yet for what Cape Hatteras residents are calling Shelly Island.


JEFF HAMPTON: UFO house owner at odds with Dare County over saving strange Outer Banks sight (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot column) -- The unoccupied UFO house draws hundreds of visitors each year who gawk at the strange sight in the middle of Frisco. It’s also at the center of some controversy. Leroy Reynolds and owner Jim Bagwell want to turn the house into an art and music museum, but county officials are requiring an examination to certify what it would take to bring the plastic-and-fiberglass structure into compliance with modern building codes.


CHUCK KELLY: Key to better pay? Government, not so-called free markets (Charlotte Observer column) -- The pay gap between CEOs and low-paid vital workers is driven by government policy, not free market.


NATALIE ENGLISH & TYLER NEWMAN: Toxic headlines cloud GenX issue (Wilmington Star-News column) -- Over the past several weeks, our community has had a robust discussion about the health of the Cape Fear River. Historically, the river has served as critical infrastructure supporting shipping, the port, power generation, jobs and water needs, while serving as a centerpiece for Wilmington’s downtown and recreational activities.


TIM BASS: GenX headlines are not the problem (Wilmington Star-News column) -- In “Toxic headlines cloud GenX issue” (July 12 Op/Ed), Natalie English of the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce and Tyler Newman of Business Alliance for a Sound Economy recommend a disturbingly passive response to the presence of GenX in the Cape Fear River.


BRAD RICH: Our Coast’s People: Bland Simpson (Coastal Review analysis) -- A UNC professor, author, musician and lifelong steward of the coast, Bland Simpson has been actively involved with the North Carolina Coastal Federation for much of its 35-year history.


RICHARD CARVER: WSS supporters criticize new appointee to university trustees (Winston-Salem Journal analysis) -- The NCGA's appointment of Ken Raymond to the Winston-Salem State University board of trustees has drawn criticism from some alumni who question his ability to put students’ interests over what they call his political agenda. Raymond, a Republican and WSSU alumni, is the chairman of the three-member Forsyth County Board of Elections.


Why don’t some black people want help from white churches? (Charlotte Observer) -- White churches need to give more than money. They need to understand that racism is embedded in all of our structures.

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