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Opinion Roundup: N.C. legal aid programs in limbo

Posted August 23

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Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2017 -- A roundup of opinion, commentary and analysis on a small budget move that could have a big impact on legal aid, an upcoming health care change for thousands of North Carolinians, an explainer on how N.C. teachers land in the classroom and more.

RUSTY JACOBS: Small Budget Cut Deals Big Blow To Low-Income People In Need Of Legal Assistance (WUNC-FM analysis) -- A decision by the GOP-led legislature could mean Legal Aid of North Carolina and other such organizations in the state may have to turn away thousands of clients. In the $23 billion budget approved with a veto override, GOP lawmakers repealed a statute that funneled state money to non-profits providing low-income clients with legal assistance.

Legal aid crucial (Winston-Salem Journal) -- It’s hard to distinguish a worthy motive in the state legislature’s recent decision to cut funding for legal aid groups that assist the poor. It won’t help the cause of justice.

COREY FRIEDMAN: Get government out of the statue business (Wilson Times column) -- As for the statues of saber-gripping commanders, what’s so bad about moving them to private property where the First Amendment will protect their presence in perpetuity? Honor whoever you like, whether or not your neighbor approves. Just don’t force your neighbor to help pay for your tribute or house the towering statue in a public space that belongs to him as much as it does to you. Now, what could be more American than that?

MICHAEL JACOBS: Avoid the hypocrisy of selective outrage (Wilmington Star-News column) -- I, along with most Americans, condemn hate groups such as the KKK, neo-Nazis and other white supremacists. As George W. Bush and his father, who I used to work for, professed in a joint statement: “America must always reject bigotry, anti-Semitism, and hatred in all forms.” It is unfair, however, for us to brand people as racist simply because they do not favor the removal of all statues of individuals who owned slaves or fought for the South.

Alamance County commissioner calls slaves 'workers' (WRAL-TV/AP) -- Alamance County Commissioner Tim Sutton made the comments during an unscheduled discussion on Monday regarding a Confederate statue in downtown Graham, the county seat. A group appeared before the board of commissioners to ask them to consider keeping the statue.

ALLEN JOHNSON: ‘Men on horses’ concern me less than racists in polo shirts (Greensboro News & Record column) -- “I’m sorta glad that them people got hit and I’m glad that girl died. They were a bunch of Communists out there protesting against somebody’s freedom of speech, so it doesn’t bother me that they got hurt at all.”

STEVE BOUSER: Confederate Memorials: No Quick, Easy Answers (Southern Pines Pilot column) -- As a kid growing up in Carthage, Missouri, in the 1950s, I always wondered why my paternal grandmother, Frances Moore Bouser, kept a framed portrait of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee on her living room wall.

TRAVIS FAIN: Holding voted against funding for investigations targeting family's bank (WRAL-TV analysis) -- First Citizens Bank & Trust, which is controlled by 2nd District Congressman George Holding's family, was the subject of a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development inquiry into accusations that the bank discriminated against minority loan applicants.

Redistricting plan doesn't smile on Nash (Rocky Mount Telegram) -- You can usually count on a GOP-led General Assembly to tick off the Democrats whenever it puts together new legislative districts, but who knew the Republicans would eat their own?

MARK JURKOWITZ: Steinburg to run in new Dare Senate District (Outer Banks Sentinel column) -- While new North Carolina redistricting maps must still be approved by the legislature and federal courts, Republican District 1 House Member Bob Steinburg says he will run for a new state senate seat representing Dare County next year

REBECCA TROYER: N.C. infrastructure is 11th-worst in the nation (Charlotte Business Journal column) -- A new report by 24/7 Wall St. ranks North Carolina as the 11th worst among " States That Are Falling Apart." Across the U.S., politicians of all stripes are clamoring to make the nation's ailing highways, dams and bridges a key part of the nation's economic strategy.

A surprising turnabout in Afghanistan strategy (Fayetteville Observer) -- President Trump doesn’t change his mind much. And he’s especially unlikely to do an about face before a national audience. But he did just that during a Monday night prime-time broadcast, and we’re happy he did. In a televised speech, the president committed this nation to success in Afghanistan and announced that we will increase our troop strength there.

A war without end (Greensboro News & Record) -- President Donald Trump’s speech outlining a new strategy for Afghanistan raised new questions.

HEALTH
RICHARD CARVER: Blue Cross: 50,000 North Carolinians will need new health plans, many will pay more (Winston-Salem Journal analysis) -- Health-insurance plans grandfathered into the federal Affordable Care Act will not be provided by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina in 2018, the insurer confirmed in a blog post.

EDUCATION
JOHN QUINTERNO: EdExplainer: Where do teachers come from? (EdNC column) -- The inspiring teacher who transforms the life of a student is a powerful, recurring narrative in popular entertainment, largely because it is a story that rings true for so many people. It rarely takes much prompting for people from all walks of life to offer readily stories of how a dedicated teacher helped them to see the world in new ways, broadened their sense of life’s possibilities, and imparted the knowledge needed to pursue their dreams.

ALEX GRANADOS: Deans for Impact seeks to strengthen education pipeline (EdNC column) -- Ellen McIntyre, dean of the UNC-Charlotte College of Education, is part of a national organization called Deans for Impact. McIntyre joined about a year and a half ago, not long after the program itself launched in 2015. Anthony Graham, dean of the College of Education at N.C. A&T State University, is also a member. Deans for Impact is working to change the way teachers are prepared.

MATTHEW MEYER: Work the FINS to diversify revenue for programs, schools, communities (EdNC) -- “The best gifts to our college were those I never expected. I just made friends, lots of friends, anywhere and anytime, and never expected anything from any of them.” This is a quote from one of North Carolina’s 58 community college presidents when asked about raising funds and building his college’s foundation. Their strategies did not include flashy techniques or programs, but instead simply relied on hard work, persistence, and delayed gratification. I simplified successful foundations’ revenue diversification strategies into a four-letter acronym, FINS – Fundraising, Innovation, Networks, Storytelling.

ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT
A rare moment of unity (Fayetteville Observer) -- For an hour or two on Monday, many of us went outside and sat quietly, soaking up a rare phenomenon. We watched through our special glasses as the moon gradually moved in front of the sun, obscuring more than 95 percent of it in Fayetteville, and all of it not far south of here. For many of us, the solar eclipse rekindled an awe of nature.

JENNIFER ALLEN: Taste of Core Sound To Serve Up History (Coastal Review column) -- Core Sound Waterfowl Museum and Heritage Center on Harkers Island is incorporating this year’s 25th anniversary celebration with the annual Taste of Core Sound Summer Edition, a fundraising dinner and a program, set for Friday.

James Barrie Gaskill, Friend of Our Coast (Coastal Review obit) -- James Barrie Gaskill of Ocracoke, an educator, commercial fisherman, family man and advocate for a healthy North Carolina coast, died Wednesday at 74.

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