Sunday sampler

It’s a good day for good journalism from the state’s newspaper front pages.

Burlington — The Times-News tackles the loooooong backlog of cases sitting in the SBI Crime Lab. This isn’t a new story, but it’s a good one to keep the spotlight on. “DNA and fingerprint analysis can take more than a year to acquire from the lab, Alamance County District Attorney Pat Nadolski said. While those results are pending, investigations can stall, with witnesses losing vivid memories of events — key to testifying before a jury.” Why is it like this? Not enough people. But never fear; budget cuts forced the lab to eliminate five positions last year.

Wilmington — The Star-News is keeping the spotlight on gun control, in this case, talking with people about whether posting armed guards at schools really makes a difference. The article doesn’t conclude anything, but it does have a strong local peg — the New Hanover school board and county commissioners agreed to station deputies in each of the system’s elementary schools.

Winston-Salem — The Journal highlights the conflicts of interest on a state advisory commission on fracking. “George Howard, the vice chairman of a state commission charged with proposing how to regulate North Carolina’s imminent dive into natural gas exploration, stands to make money on the harmful effects of the industry’s prime drilling method: hydraulic fracturing.”  The article goes on to illustrate how Howard and other state officials pretty much don’t care about environmental concerns. Excellent journalism.

Charlotte/Raleigh— The paired papers take a look at a continuing problem — state legislators who go into lobbying. North Carolina has one of the weaker laws pertaining to how quickly legislators can leave their state positions to peddle influence. As with the examples in the Winston-Salem Journal story, North Carolina residents should be embarrassed by the behavior of those selected to represent their interests.