Sunday sampler

Many of the Sunday newspapers have front page stories about the impact of the legislature’s budget negotiations on their communities: teacher assistant jobs being cut, community college tuition increases, how sales taxes will be distributed, etc. That’s good. People should know what kinds of mischief are being discussed in Raleigh. There are other stories, too.

Asheville: The Citizen-Times continues its string of interesting, out of the ordinary stories. Today’s is about two suicides in the same jail, four months apart, and what the jail – and the SBI – is saying about them. There is no smoking gun right now, but a good newspaper shines light into dark corners, and it writes about the poor and struggling. That’s what this story does.

Durham: If you were a pastor of an AME church, would you think twice about a white person joining the congregation? If you were a pastor of a “liberal” church, would you think twice about a new face entering the sanctuary? If you were a pastor of any predominantly black church, how worried would you be today? The Herald-Sun visits the issue of security at churches in the wake of the deadly Charleston shootings.

Raleigh: Want to know how bad government works? Read the News & Observer. This week’s story is on inefficiency and possibly corruption within the state Department of Health and Human Services. Again. This time involving Angie Sligh, who is in charge of the state’s Medicaid billing system. “Sligh was responsible for at least $1.6 million wasted over three years through excessive pay to temporary employees, paying temp agencies instead of the state’s less expensive in-house service, paying unjustified overtime and giving holiday pay to ineligible employees. At least 15 people with personal connections to Sligh had been hired in her office, at least seven of whom were not qualified for the job or were paid higher than the established pay scale, sometimes both.”

Winston-Salem: Know the leading cause of death in Forsyth County in 2013? How about 50 years earlier? Or 100 years ago? They were all different. Society changes in many ways: sometimes the courts do it, as they did this week; sometimes science does. This is an interesting story in that it tells you how we have changed. Oh, it’s cancer in 2013, heart disease in 1963 & TB in 1913.