Welcome to a special edition of the Sampler focusing on the results of budget cuts throughout the state.
Burlington: You think you’re busy? “Last year, the four judges for District 15A, Alamance County, heard all or parts of 30,426 criminal and traffic cases. Another 2,562 civil District Court cases were filed. Those figures yield an average of 8,247 cases per judge.” The Times-News doesn’t bother to speculate on the possibility of a fifth judge assigned to the county — ain’t gonna happen. But it needs to.
Fayetteville: People in the county jail get sick, right? So, you know who takes care of them? “Jail health care is the most expensive Health Department program funded by the (Cumberland) county. It accounts for more than 12 percent of the department’s budget. Those costs have risen dramatically, from $1.6 million in 2012 to a budget of more than $2.6 million for the current fiscal year ending June 30.” The Observer does a good job of detailing the problems facing the county and how it is trying to cope.
Greensboro: Every community of any size has a section of town that is wracked by poverty, unemployment and undereducated citizens. Zipcode 27406 is that one in Greensboro. The News & Record details both the problems and writes about a United Way program that aims at helping the residents of that zip get the services they need.
Wilmington: The Star-News has what looks like a good piece on the reshaping of the North Carolina coast. Groins, replenishing, sandbags — we do what we can to keep what we got. Most don’t work for long, but we keep at it. I say that it “looks like a good piece” because I hit my limit of complimentary page views and can’t read it beyond the front page. (The Star-News has an annoying site that divides each story into four or five pages so that each time you click to continue reading, it counts as a visit.)
Charlotte: I have a fondness for libraries and librarians so this Observer story about the elimination of librarians in the Charlotte-Meck public schools caught my eye. The superintendent has a justifiable reason for using staff members rather than librarians to run school libraries. It reminds me of the reason that newspapers layoff the most experienced journalists, too, with the justification that less experienced people can do the job. (It’s about the money and to hell with the experience and institutional knowledge.)