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Good for Nicholas Sparks, good for North Carolina

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D.G. MARTIN Syndicated Columnist “My books are all different,” Nicholas Sparks, the No. 1 New York Times best selling author who lives in New Bern, told a group of 500 fans at UNC-Chapel Hill’s Alumni Center last week. Except, he says, for two things. One is that there will always…

Family takes center stage in governor’s race

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When Attorney General Roy Cooper officially announced his bid for governor in 2016 last week, he didn’t steal the show at the event in his honor in Rocky Mount. His three grown daughters did. And if that wasn’t by design, it should have been. Hilary, Natalie and Claire warmed up…

Six trends to shape 2016

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JOHN HOOD Syndicated Columnist “Prediction is very difficult,” said physicist Niels Bohr, “especially if it’s about the future.” This sounds like a Yogi Berra-style quip. But Bohr was making a serious point about prediction — one that would-be political forecasters ought to take to heart. If you would predict the…

Teachers exit from NC continues

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The most recent data shows that the number of teachers leaving public systems for other jobs or other states continues to rise. More than 1,000 teachers left North Carolina for other states last year. Another 1,200 chose to change professions. Western North Carolina fared better that the state as a…

A win for election integrity

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PATRICK GANNON Syndicated Columnist Republicans seeking to require photo identification for North Carolina voters uttered the words “election integrity” and “integrity of the ballot box” countless times in recent years. Protecting election integrity – making sure only eligible voters get ballots – was the main talking point used to support…

How our underfunded courts are bringing back debtor’s prison (and what to do about it)

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TAYLOR HASTINGS Guest Columnist The United States of America is home to 4% of the world’s population. It meanwhile is home to 25 percent of world’s jailed population. The Washington Post recently reported on the dire consequences for a man caught red-handed after his hunger led him to steal $5…

Editor’s Note — Doug Mayes was inspiring

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The first time I received a note from Doug Mayes, he was writing to me about a column I’d written, during the 2014 Senate campaign season, about the way former Sen. Kay Hagan was distancing herself from President Barack Obama, who she had supported in the past, for no other…

Legislative statistics don’t lie

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PATRICK GANNON Syndicated Columnist Do you want to know how often your state House and Senate members voted with the majority of others in their chambers in the 2015 session? Or how often they voted the opposite way of the outcome of votes? Or who cast the most votes in…

Rising NC infant mortality underscores need to expand Medicaid

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ROB THOMPSON Guest Columnist The word “consistency” suggests stability, predictability, normalcy. It implies that we can move on and not worry. When the State of North Carolina announced our 2014 infant mortality data this week, the official release said “the 2014 statistics are consistent with previous years.” But for our…

Reader’s Forum — Republicans were unprepared at forum

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Republicans were unprepared at forum I attended the Chamber of Commerce forum on Oct. 13, for
the question and answer session among the candidates for city council and mayor in the upcoming election. Republicans and Democrats alike should have been appalled by the lack of knowledge about our city that the…