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Opinion Roundup: N.C. adult care home system runs afoul of federal standards

Posted July 31

NC Flag, Legislative Building, Raleigh

Monday, July 31, 2017 -- A roundup of opinion, commentary and analysis on allegations of dysfunction in N.C.'s adult home care system, research plans for the state's GenX water issues, the reason why N.C. has become a favorite for some tech companies and more.

HEALTH
FRANK TAYLOR & MICHAEL GEBELEIN: Fed case: Housing for mentally ill pits N.C. against U.S. in legal battle (Carolina Public Press analysis) -- Lawmakers created the adult care home system in N.C. as a reaction to a national movement to move those with mental illness out of institutions. But the state has run afoul of the U.S. Dept. of Justice, now in protracted litigation with the state over housing for mentally ill adults. The state is accused of violating a settlement in a variety of briefs and motions.

STEVE PEOPLES & THOMAS BEAUMONT: GOP fears political fallout after health care 'epic fail' (AP analysis) -- Republicans will be held responsible for any negative economic fallout from the current health system's failure, said Paul Shumaker, a North Carolina Republican pollster and senior adviser to Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C.

JOHN RAILEY: His long journey, and ours, may not be over (Winston-Salem Journal column) -- When U.S. Sen. John McCain of Arizona rose to speak on the floor Tuesday, part of his face stitched up from the surgery that revealed he has a particularly aggressive form of brain cancer, I was hoping the Republican known for his contrarian stances would shock the country by standing up for Obamacare.

SUSAN LADD: As long as heroin victims are alive, there's hope (Greensboro News & Record column) -- Parents of overdose victims share pain and wisdom to educate others about opioid addiction.

JEFF HAMPTON: "Gray death" drug mixture poses major threat to police officers making busts (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot column) -- A particle the size of a grain of salt can kill and it can be absorbed through the skin.

Former church member Robert Stamper match to donate kidney to state Rep. Phil Shepard (Jacksonville Daily News) -- When Robert Stamper heard four-term state Rep. Phil Shepard, R-Onslow, needed a kidney transplant, he didn’t hesitate to help. Shepard said he is scheduled for a pre-op appointment on Aug. 7 and the transplant surgery is scheduled for Aug. 15 at the medical center in Chapel Hill.

Listen to the children (Winston-Salem Journal) -- About 55 rising first- through sixth-graders marched over a mile in 85-degree heat on July 19, from Kimberley Park Freedom School on Cherry Street to Samaritan Ministries on Northwest Blvd., to raise awareness of childhood hunger.

ECU-Vidant march together into future (Greenville Daily Reflector column) -- An agreement struck to integrate ECU Physicians and Vidant Medical Group no doubt will raise questions and concerns about the transfer of public interests to a private entity, the closed manner in which the deal was developed and the future of thousands of employees.

ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT
ALLISON BALLARD: GenX Science Panel Shares Research Plans (Coastal Review analysis) — A panel of scientists familiar with the ongoing issue of GenX and other chemical contaminates present in drinking water answered questions and shared plans for continuing research to about 100 during a “Water Wednesday” hosted by Clean Cape Fear.

Judge GenX response by testable results, not money spent (Wilmington Star-News) -- Simply ‘throwing money’ at problem doesn’t guarantee best outcome.

ANDY WOOD: GenX just tip of chemical iceberg (Wilmington Star-News column) -- We’ve long known that uncountable combinations of chemicals enter the Cape Fear River.

Sun finally shines on renewable energy bill (Fayetteville Observer) -- Sometimes there really is a way to win when you find yourself stuck in a no-win dilemma. Gov. Roy Cooper found one of those little-but-significant victories last week in legislation that’s meant to speed the growth of renewable energy in North Carolina. The bill was a carefully crafted measure that helped consumers, solar and wind power developers, and the state’s public utilities in the fast-growing transition to renewable energy.

JOHN DOWNEY: Wind developer cautious but ready to continue work on large N.C. project (Charlotte Business Journal column) -- Despite a moratorium on new N.C. wind projects, Apex Clean Energy Inc. continues to “explore options” for its proposed $300 million Timbermill Wind farm.

POLICY & POLITICS
STEVE LOHR: Hot Spots for Tech Outsourcing: N.C. and the U.S. (New York Times analysis) -- For years, American companies saved money by “offshoring” jobs — hiring in India and other distant cubicle farms. Today, some of those jobs are being outsourced again — in the U.S. India outsourcing giant Infosys announced in May plans to hire 10,000 workers in the U.S. over the next two years, at centers in North Carolina and Indiana. “The nature of work is changing,” said Vishal Sikka, Infosys CEO. “It is very local. And you often need whole teams locally.”

MELISSA BOUGHTON: N.C. attorney general tries to cope with large budget cut (Greensboro News & Record column) -- In a last-minute surprise move, the General Assembly slashed the DOJ’s budget by $10 million. This amounts to roughly 37 percent of the DOJ’s legal and administrative budget — the area that legislators specifically said the cut must be made. It is, in short, a big cut that will have even bigger consequences for the DOJ and every North Carolinian remotely interested in public safety.

Dozens in N.C. await review of no-parole prison sentences (AP Analysis) – Johnny Beck Jr., now 38 and imprisoned at Franklin Correctional Center, is one of 67 former teen offenders in North Carolina serving life without parole, even after after U.S. Supreme Court decisions ordered states to reconsider whether young people should be sentenced to prison for the rest of their lives. Six of those 67 were resentenced to the same terms after the Supreme Court move.

Common sense applied to law and order (Rocky Mount Telegram) -- The N.C. General Assembly and Gov. Roy Cooper made important justice reforms this year during the legislature's long session. Raise the Age grabbed the biggest headlines – for good reason. At the dawn of 2017, North Carolina was one of only two states that tried 16- and 17-year-olds as adults. With less fanfare than Raise the Age, lawmakers and the governor also reduced the wait time for criminal record expungement for first-time, nonviolent offenders.

Punishment matters; but prevention saves lives (Wilmington Star-News) -- Killings arising from domestic violence are on the rise. Area law enforcement are investigating 16 homicides from this year, and seven were thought to be committed by intimate partners. On July 11, Gov. Roy Cooper signed “Britny’s Law” after it was overwhelmingly approved by state lawmakers. Britny Puryear, 22, was a Fuquay-Varina woman killed in 2014 by her boyfriend. Witnesses reported a pattern of abuse.

ALEXANDER BURNS & MICHAEL SHEAR: Republicans Worry That White House Disarray Is Undermining Trump (New York Times analysis) -- “There is a significant amount of justified frustration, particularly with the Senate,” said Robin Hayes, the chairman of the N.C. Republican Party, alluding to the health care defeat. “I don’t want to use any Scaramucci language this morning, but it’s their inability to function as a team, to work together and come up with a responsible win.”

CELIA RIVENBARK: Press room podium gets Greased (Wilmington Star-News column) – Not since wholesome high school exchange student Sandy Olsson dated leather-clad roughneck Danny Zuko in “Grease” have we seen a more unlikely pairing than Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Anthony Scaramucci.

FRANK BRUNI: Voters love lesbians (New York Times column) -- Data shows an increase in the number of openly lesbian lawmakers in state legislatures. There are 44 — still paltry, but an all-time high. The number of openly gay male lawmakers in state legislatures, 61, is significantly down from a peak of 72 in 2014, according to figures compiled by Charles Gossett, a professor at Sacramento State University, and the L.G.B.T.Q. Representation and Rights Research Initiative at the University of North Carolina. The number of openly trans lawmakers in state legislatures hasn’t changed over the four decades that the initiative’s figures cover. It’s zero.

Our new post-to-jobs pipeline (Fayetteville Observer) - Earlier this month, the Army dedicated its new Career Resources Center on Fort Bragg. It’s a one-of-a-kind venture, partnering the post’s Soldier for Life Transition Assistance Program and the Columbia Southern Education Group. The center helps soldiers get ready for their transition to civilian life and employment, and now it links them with local employers as well.

BOBBY BURNS: Jones stood up for consumers (Greenville Daily Reflector column) -- North Carolinians need to know that when protections for our citizens and military members from predatory lending was in jeopardy, Congressman Walter Jones was there.

CHRISTINA SANDIDGE: Town 'forgotten' as residents, jobs fall away (AP analysis) -- Tucked away in northeastern North Carolina is Bertie County —a rural, primarily black community in one of the state's poorest areas with many of its fastest-shrinking towns.

ABDUL RASHEED: Now more than ever, a need for civility, leadership (Durham Herald-Sun column) -- North Carolinians treasure their reputation as leaders in “The New South.” And we have every right to do so. Now as voters, pundits, politicians, and others are decrying the state of civic and political discourse in our state and nation, we are leaders once again as we seek solutions. Amazingly, North Carolinians started working on this problem a quarter century ago and created a model that on a small scale has been impactful.

Brunch Bill backtrack a black eye for board (New Bern Sun Journal) -- The idea of restaurants serving alcoholic beverages on Sunday mornings was so repugnant one week, New Bern Alderman Jeffrey Odham couldn’t get anyone to second his motion allowing it in New Bern. A couple of weeks later, last Tuesday night, the idea was such a boost to business, all but two aldermen voted for it. So what happened? People with clout, that’s what happened.

ANDREW DUNN: Does Charlotte need to change how the City Council is paid? (Charlotte Agenda analysis) -- Want to know how much Charlotte taxpayers spend on the mayor and city council? Look well beyond the salary. Charlotte’s elected officials also receive automatic allowances for expenses, their cars, and technology. They then can receive reimbursements at their discretion for out-of-town travel and local events. Taxpayers can end up on the hook for political events and fundraisers elected officials are invited to.

ROBERT WATSON: Could Dimple Ajmera’s Trump comments lead to secession in Charlotte? I’m serious. (Charlotte Agenda column) -- Back in 2012, a group named the South Mecklenburg Alliance of Responsible Taxpayers pushed for the establishment of a separate town in Charlotte to be named Providence, based on a concern that south Charlotte pays “way too much” of Charlotte’s budget with little to show for it in their community. Will people start to revisit this idea?

EDUCATION
TIM WHITE: Leandro at 20: We earn an F grade (Fayetteville Observer column) -- So we’re observing the 20th anniversary of the state Supreme Court’s “Leandro” decision this month. Notice that I say “observing.” We sure aren’t celebrating. In Raleigh, at the State Board of Education, they gathered to give the anniversary a proper Bronx cheer. In honor of the landmark ruling that reaffirmed the right of all N.C. children to have a “sound, basic education,” the board cut $2.5 million.

AND MORE
RYAN MURPHY & ISABEL DOBRIN: 50,000 leave Hatteras, officials assess how long to restore power (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot analysis) -- As a massive power outage affecting Hatteras and Ocracoke islands entered its third day, an estimated 50,000 visitors left Hatteras. Crews were finally able to reach the cable that was damaged in construction work and throwing peak tourist season into tumult. A 2-foot section of the cable is missing.

SEANNA ADCOX: Tourists evacuate N.C. island; local businesses hurt (AP analysis) -- A "steady stream" of tourists left a North Carolina island Saturday under evacuation orders prompted by a widespread power outage, wiping out a significant chunk of the lucrative summer months for local businesses.

MICHAEL FUTCH: Sales Tax holiday coming up in S.C. (Fayetteville Observer column) -- Gas ’er up. A drive may be in order. Four years ago was the last N.C. back-to-school sales tax holiday after the GOP-controlled General Assembly abolished it. Next weekend, North Carolinians have the opportunity to revisit those tax-free savings when purchasing clothing, footwear, school supplies, computers, printers, printer supplies, computer software, bath towels, bedspreads, bed linens and such -- by heading south of the border for South Carolina’s annual Tax Free Weekend.

I’m not a Charlotte native. You don’t need to tell me that you are. (Charlotte Observer) -- Someone tells me “I’m a native Charlottean” often. Here’s what that often really says to me.

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