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Opinion Roundup: Proposed new legislative districts spark mixed views

Posted August 22

Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2017 -- A roundup of opinion, commentary and analysis on the release of new potential legislative district maps, another local college considering removal of its confederate statues, the lingering questions surrounding the GenX water contamination timeline and more.

POLITICS & POLICY
TRAVIS FAIN: New legislative maps crack door for Democrats ... or do they? (WRAL-TV analysis) -- Democrats have little to no chance of wresting the majority from Republicans under proposed legislative district maps, outside analysts agreed. Whether they've got a shot of breaking the GOP's super-majority in at least one chamber - a major accomplishment that would shift political power in the state - is a matter of mixed opinion.

SCOTT CALVERT: North Carolina Lawmakers Rush to Pass New District Maps (Wall Street Journal analysis) -- As North Carolina lawmakers rush to adopt new state legislative maps not based on race, they can’t escape the very issue they are trying to remove: race.

Maps, good and bad (Greensboro News & Record) -- The proposed legislative maps for Guilford County are better for House seats than for Senate seats.

Is this the better gerrymander? (Fayetteville Observer) -- In the end, it will come down to numbers. Republican General Assembly leaders have come up with yet another redrawing of the state’s districts. Many will remain unscathed, but those that were the focus of a recent federal court case that found illegal racial gerrymandering have been significantly remodeled. For us, it means every legislative district in Cumberland County will get new boundaries.

RACHEL CHASON: After Duke incident, rival UNC considers whether to remove Confederate statue (Washington Post analysis) -- In the wake of deadly unrest in Charlottesville, activists at rivals Duke University and the University of North Carolina seemed to race toward a goal far removed from the basketball court: taking down their respective statues of Confederate soldiers.

Condemn, but protect, the speech of hate (Charlotte Observer column)-- Charlottesville shouldn’t cause us to silence speech we don’t like.

THE civil rights issue (Washington Post) -- Confederate monuments should come down, but a bigger peril remains.

MARTHA WAGGONER: 1979 Klan-Nazi attack survivor hopes for a 'justice river' (AP analysis) -- The Rev. Nelson Johnson needs no reminders of the massacre of five of his labor-activist friends almost 40 years ago — he still has the faded scar on his left arm, left by a Nazi who stabbed him as white supremacists descended on a march for workers through black neighborhoods in Greensboro.

ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT
CATHERINE CLABBY: GenX Pollution – What Happened? And When? (N.C. Health News analysis) -- Many holes remain in the known chronology of how an industrial chemical was allowed to contaminate the Cape Fear River and drinking water supplies downstream.

ERIN CASEY: Anti-regulatory General Assembly hamstrings water quality checks (Wilmington Star-News column) -- State lawmakers have a chance to help answer some serious questions regarding the protection of our health when they return to Raleigh this week. Their agenda includes a request from Gov. Roy Cooper to provide emergency funds for state agencies to investigate water quality contamination. Given that the ability of state regulators to monitor our water supplies has been severely undermined.

NEEL KELLER: Moratorium: Wind Developers Mull Options (Coastal Review column) -- Wind energy developers with projects in the works in eastern North Carolina are keeping a wary eye on the state in the wake of a recently imposed 18-month moratorium.

EDUCATION
KELLY HINCHCLIFFE: Enrollment up in UNC System teaching programs after years of decline (WRAL-TV analysis) -- After years of declining enrollment in its teacher preparation programs, the University of North Carolina System saw a 6 percent increase in students studying education last school year, according to new data released by the system. This marks the only time the system's enrollment has increased since at least 2010.

ADAM RHEW: A complex cycle: Teacher supply & demand (EdNC analysis) -- Earlier in this decade, with North Carolina’s economy broken but on the brink of resurgence and its population swelling, fewer young people wanted to be classroom teachers. Fewer mid-career adults thought it prudent to switch jobs and become teachers. Fewer educators stuck it out — for less money than their peers in most other states — in a career with heavy burdens and even greater stakes.

WILLIS CITTY: Giving future educators a head start: Charlotte Teacher Early College (EdNC analysis) -- The first students to start school on the UNC Charlotte campus this fall are not undergraduates, but 55 high school freshman. On Monday, August 7th, UNC Charlotte welcomed the inaugural class of the Charlotte Teacher Early College (CTEC), a new five-year program for Charlotte-Mecklenburg students interested in a career in education.

AND MORE
A Winston-Salem hero (Winston-Salem Journal) -- They walk into the fire. They risk their health and lives to save others in time of crisis, regardless of class, race, religion, gender or political affiliation. Firefighter John Powell, recently named the North Carolina Firefighter of the Year, is a fine example of the type of person

D.G. MARTIN: 20 years on, Cold Mountain is still hot (Winston-Salem Journal column) -- It was not a book that required following from front to back, and Inman simply opened it at random, as he had done night after night in the hospital to read until he was calm enough for sleep.

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