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Opinion Roundup: Keeping a rural hospital afloat

Posted January 18, 2018 8:01 a.m. EST
Updated February 1, 2018 10:36 a.m. EST

Thursday, Jan. 18, 2018 -- A roundup of opinion, commentary and analysis on the survival of a rural hospital in western N.C., a county plagued by human trafficking concerns, a new tool scientists are using to observe marine life and more.

HEALTH
ROSE HOBAN: Keeping a Hospital Afloat in Far Western Murphy (N.C. Health News analysis) -- Mike Stevenson has been at the helm of Murphy Medical Center for 30 years. He’s getting ready to leave, even as he’s preparing the institution for big changes.

MICHAEL GEBELEIN: New law enforcement, mental health effort offers treatment, not prison, to suspected drug offenders (Carolina Public Press analysis) -- Waynesville joins Fayetteville in offering alternative; others across NC may follow. A new law enforcement and mental health program is being developed in Waynesville with a goal of stopping that cycle and offering drug users treatment instead of jail time. The Haywood County town is the latest to adopt the Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion, or LEAD, program in North Carolina.

VA gets it wrong on medical marijuana (Fayetteville Observer) -- Here’s one more place where this country’s four-decade-long, trillion-dollar War on Drugs continues to fail us: veterans’ health. Despite the fact that more than a fifth of all veterans report using marijuana to treat a medical condition, the Department of Veterans Affairs refuses to conduct even the most basic research into the potential uses of medical marijuana.

MANSI SHAH, MD: Insurance restrictions on abortion coverage harm patients (Durham Herald-Sun column) -- I have come to see abortion not as a procedure that takes something away, but as one that enables mothers and their partners to parent the children they have in the most meaningful way.

REP. TED BUDD: Fighting abortions (Winston-Salem Journal column) -- Early last year during a March for Life rally in Washington, Mia Love, who’s a representative from Utah, made a heartfelt speech that describes how her parents - Haitian immigrants - made the tough decision to not abort her. "Forty-one years ago that couple from Haiti could have made the choice to abort, but they didn't.” With 2018’s March for Life happening Friday, it’s an important reminder that the fight to protect the unborn must continue in Congress and in communities around the country.

POLITICS & POLICY
MONICA VENDITUOLI: Cumberland County leads state in human trafficking cases filed (Fayetteville Observer analysis) -- More than half of all human trafficking cases filed in state court during the last fiscal year occurred in Cumberland County, according to state court data.

TAFT WIREBACK: Activists, members of Congress, other states dispute N.C. gerrymandering (Greensboro News & Record analysis) -- In no uncertain terms, activist groups seeking to reform North Carolina’s gerrymandered congressional districts urged the U.S. Supreme Court’s chief justice to reject any delay of a lower court order requiring that new maps be drawn by the middle of next week.

MATTHEW HAAG: Assistant to Goldman Sachs Executive Stole and Sold His Rare Wines, U.S. Says (New York Times analysis) – Goldman Sachs executive David M. Solomon’s assistant, Nicolas De-Meyer, stole some of his most coveted French vintage wines — worth more than $1.2 million and sold them, according to an indictment unsealed on in U.S. District Court for Southern of New York. As the personal assistant to Solomon, De-Meyer received shipments of wine at his boss’s Manhattan apartment. Using an alias of Mark Miller, De-Meyer sold them to a wine dealer from North Carolina who would pick them up.

Monuments hold a protected place (Greensboro News & Record) -- State law gives the N.C. Historical Commission the authority to accept or approve monuments, memorials and works of art. The 11 members, appointed by governors, have plenty of leeway to decide.

LAUREN OHNESORGE: N.C. economic developers make pitch to land Apple's corporate campus (Triangle Business Journal analysis) -- Hours after Apple announced plans for another U.S. corporate campus, N.C. Commerce Secretary Tony Copeland says North Carolina is a “natural fit” for the project.

LAUREN OHNESORGE: Former N.C. Treasurer Cowell's new project? A nonprofit (Triangle Business Journal analysis) -- Former N.C. Treasurer Janet Cowell says she has had a “liberating” 2017.

AMY HUFFMAN: What venture capital statistics tell about NC's entrepreneurial sector (WRAL-TV/TechWire column) -- What do the latest venture capital statistics tell us about the status of the state’s startup and entrepreneurial ecosystem? Was 2017 good or bad? What about 2018?

JESSICA SEAMAN: Cooper responds to North Carolina's miss on Toyota-Mazda (Triad Business Journal analysis) -- While in Winston-Salem visiting Wake Forest Innovation Quarter on Tuesday, the governor spoke about the recent loss of the Toyota-Mazda plant to Alabama.

LINDSAY MCKENZIE: The Evolution of the ‘Monkey Cage’ (Inside Higher Ed) -- The academic blog “Monkey Cage” was once a hobby project of a handful of political scientists. Now it is part of The Washington Post. What’s changed?

ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT
Drones are a new tool for Duke, UNC scientists. And they found oodles of sea turtles. (Charlotte Observer analysis) -- Scientists from Duke University and UNC-Chapel Hill used camera-equipped drones to count sea turtles.

JEFF HAMPTON: Young seals are sunning, resting on Outer Banks beaches for the winter (Norfolk Virginian Pilot column) -- One seal was spotted basking on the Kill Devil Hills beach on Saturday, rolling around in the sand as a photographer took pictures with a long-range lens.

PAT GARBER: Our Coast’s People - Della Gaskill of Ocracoke (Coastal Review column) -- Eighty-year-old Ocracoke native Della Gaskill has seen great changes on the island, and the recently honored preservationist shares her memories of the way things used to be.

EDUCATION
Scholars to Engage Issues of Academic Free Speech and Campus Civility at Provost Forum (Duke U. News) -- New York Times columnist David Brooks and several noted international scholars will join Duke faculty and administrators for a one-day public conference exploring the tensions between free speech, academic freedom and campus civility and community on March 1.

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