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Opinion Roundup: Assessing the crippling Outer Banks power outage

Posted August 2

Lawsuit filed on behalf of businesses losing money during OBX outage

Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2017 -- A roundup of opinion, commentary and analysis on the ongoing power struggles along the Outer Banks, the subsidy that gives Congress a big health care break, a wish for N.C. to end its gerrymandering ways and more.

NEEL KELLER & MARK JURKOWITZ: Midsummer disaster -- Gauging damage from ‘devastating’ power outage (Outer Banks Sentinel analysis) -- As the power outage that crippled Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands on July 27 moved into its second week, repair work to restore power continued, the governor visited the scene, a class action lawsuit was filed and the economic damage continued to pile up.

Outer Banks power outage could cripple economy (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot) – Ocracoke Island boasts a reputation as a wild and untamed outpost, owing to its remote location and its history as a haven for pirates who prowled the coast.

MIKE McHUGH: Lost OBX power is Bogue Banks’ gain (Kinston Free Press analysis) – As portions of North Carolina’s Outer Banks remain without power forcing visitors to find lodging elsewhere, towns along the Crystal Coast are illuminating the “Vacancy” and “Welcome” signs catching an unexpected windfall on top of an already busy season.

Congress’ exception to Obamacare rules must come to an end (Wilson Times) -- When it comes to soaring health care costs, U.S. senators aren’t feeling your pain. They don’t mind dallying, dithering and dragging their feet. Unlike millions of Americans, they don’t have much to lose.

Our enduring, but not endearing, Gerrymander Follies (Fayetteville Observer) -- For some members of the General Assembly, August is going to be busier than they expected. A panel of three federal judges just handed lawmakers a Sept. 1 deadline to redraw 28 of the state’s House and Senate districts, although they left the door open for a two-week extension if the mapmaking is showing good progress.

SARAH KRUEGER: Committee OKs plan to halt pro bono legal work by UNC center (WRAL-TV analysis) -- A center founded at UNC-Chapel Hill to help the poor and disenfranchised moved one step closer to losing its ability to file lawsuits.

GARY ROBERTSON: North Carolina legal aid gets cut again, it's unclear why (AP analysis) -- Poor people who need help fighting a landlord or keeping government benefits can get an attorney for free through North Carolina legal aid programs, but new state budget cuts mean fewer may have that option.

CHARLIE SAVAGE: Justice Dept. to Take On Affirmative Action in College Admissions (New York Times analysis) -- The Trump administration is preparing to redirect resources of the Justice Department’s civil rights division toward investigating and suing universities over affirmative action admissions policies deemed to discriminate against white applicants. There are several pending lawsuits challenging such practices at other high-profile institutions including the University of North Carolina.

SUSAN LADD: Trump's speech to police was irresponsible and dangerous (Greensboro News & Record column) -- President Donald Trump's urging officers to "rough up" suspects undercuts law enforcement's move toward de-escalation and procedural justice.

The Reynolds merger (Winston-Salem Journal) -- The sale of Reynolds American Inc., which is now a U.S. subsidiary of British American Tobacco PLC, was inevitable, as we said in January. And now it’s here.

CINDY ELMORE: N.C. should welcome energy windfall (Greensboro News & Record column) -- Whoosh ... whoosh ... whoosh. We were standing maybe 50 yards away from one of the 104 turbines in North Carolina’s only wind farm, and despite the slowly turning blades, Craig Poff’s normal conversation was easy to hear.

JOSEPH BEBON: N.C. Gov. Signs Solar-Friendly Bill, Fights Wind Moratorium (Solar Industry Magazine column) -- Citing the importance of the solar industry, Gov. Roy Cooper signed a comprehensive energy bill expected to help boost N.C.'s solar sector. While it also establishes a moratorium on new wind farm permits through 2018, Cooper signed an executive order to direct DEQ to continue recruiting wind energy investments and to move forward with work to bring wind energy projects online, including reviewing permits and conducting pre-application reviews.

MARK HIBBS: Dick Bierly and the Business of Environmentalism (Coastal Review column) -- He’s a retired corporate executive who moved to the beach and became a coastal environmental activist, meet Dick Bierly.

KIM GRIZZARD: Former VOA site opens to the public as game land (Greenville Daily Reflector column) -- The Henslow's sparrow is an inconspicuous bird with a song so faint that it sounds more like an insect. So perhaps it was fitting that when the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission opened the rare bird's breeding habitat to the public, it was done quietly and without fanfare.


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