Sunday sampler

Maybe it’s the threat of snow. Maybe it was losing an hour of sleep. Whatever, it’s a good day for journalism from the front pages of N.C. newspapers.

Fayetteville: The Observer has two good ones. First, it continues keeping a watchful eye over the victims of Hurricane Matthew. It’s been five months. “Many others, including state and local governments, are still rebuilding. FEMA extended its deadline for people to seek assistance several times. It ended registration on Jan. 23 with 14,794 people from Cumberland County registered for assistance. Statewide, 774 families are being housed in hotels because they can’t return to the damaged homes or apartments.”

Its second story is yet another about an immigrant facing deportation for reasons that are unclear. I write “yet another” because since President Trump’s immigration order there have been numerous stories about people who are not “bad hombres” caught in the net. “She came to the United States legally, as a teenager, leaving the violence of her native Guatemala. She got a work permit and has been employed for years. She is married, raised four children in Harnett County and is expecting a fifth in May. She has no criminal record.In less than a week, at age 33, Cardona-Perez could be deported back to a land that, in her words, she hardly remembers.”

Greensboro: The News & Record, which some readers have accused of being in the bag for the $78 million performing arts center, tells a damning inside story about delays and justifications by the center’s planners. And as is usually the case, there is more smoke than light in the explanations.

Raleigh: I told a friend on Friday that I wasn’t going to read the N&O’s story on Woody Durham’s declining health. I knew that reading about the longtime Tar Heel announcer’s silenced voice would make me sad. But he told me how good it is so I read it and don’t regret it. “In the 13 months since his diagnosis, changes arrived large and small. Woody didn’t want to play golf anymore. He didn’t want to slow his friends down. He reduced his driving, only short trips around town, and then decided in February to surrender his license, which made Jean proud. For a while she noticed something different almost every day. Every morning she asked herself: How is Woody today? Is he different than the day before? It’s the first story in a series.

Asheville: Being an artist anywhere means you’re going to have a hard time making ends meet. Asheville is known as an art-welcoming city. Is that culture endangering artists? It’s a great question for a newspaper to ask. “Amorastreya spent eight years in Austin, Texas, and 10 years in San Francisco. And sadly, she said, ‘I watched the same pattern happen: The artisans who create the culture of a place make it desirable. Wealthy people move in … and, too often, rents rise and the artists get pushed out, leaving yet another yuppy town — Anywhere, America — full of the same old corporate chains.'”

Wilmington: Some people like the idea of building a wall 2,000 miles away. Others wish those billions could be spent on infrastructure closer to home, like repairing and replacing the 2,000 endangered dams across the state. “A high-hazard potential dam is defined by North Carolina as one that, in the event of a breach, would cause the probable loss of at least one life, lead to at least $200,000 of economic damage, and re-route more than 250 vehicles daily. Should an intermediate-hazard dam fail, models indicate it would cause between $30,000 and $200,000 of damage and result in the interruption of service for between 25 and 250 vehicles per day.”

Forest City: I had wondered what the Daily Courier would do with the outrageous story of the Word of Faith Fellowship treatment of its parishioners. It has a story on the front page today, but I can’t find it online, which probably doesn’t matter as the paper has a paywall. The story is about the departure of the assistant DA’s who are accused of helping the church.


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