Sunday sampler

Today is a good day to spotlight how government work, or doesn’t work, as the case may be.

Greensboro — 82,000 tons — TONS! — of toxic coal ash spilled into the Dan River last week. It’s an environmental hazard from here to the coast, and Duke Energy has apologized and said it will make good on the damage. The News & Record tries to sort out the issues, given that Duke, the state and environmentalists are saying different things about what happened and how bad it is.

Raleigh— Every politician who talks about the importance of education, yet ignores the state’s teaching crisis — I’m looking at you governor and General Assembly — should be forced to sit down and explain what precisely they are doing to head off the looming problem the N&O writes about today. “North Carolina’s teacher pipeline is leaking at both ends. Public school teachers are leaving in bigger numbers, while fewer people are pursuing education degrees at the state’s universities. It may be too soon to predict a shortage, but the trends could spell trouble for public school classrooms.”

Wilmington — As elected officials let the mental health system collapse, local police, courts and jails are forced to take up the slack. It’s not a pretty picture, the Star-News reports. “Of the 566 inmates detained at the county jail one late January day, 124 were taking psychotropic drugs – that’s 20 percent of the inmate population, which closely mirrors the rate of mental illness among the general public. However, a contract proposal by the county for medical services at the jail showed that on a daily average more than a third of inmates took psychotropic drugs during the 2013 fiscal year.”

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