- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Recent editorials from North Carolina newspapers:

Oct. 14

News and Observer, Raleigh, North Carolina, on NC State suspensions:

N.C. State’s football team lost to Florida State this season, but it has come out ahead off the field.

That’s thanks to N.C. State football coach Dave Doeren. He suspended seven of his players Monday for participating in a potentially dangerous and damaging BB-gun game at their off-campus residence. That action contrasts with Florida State, which has ignored multiple BB-gun shootouts by its football players in Tallahassee.

BB guns may seem like a small issue, but they can cause damage. According to a New York Times report Sunday, as many as 13 Florida State players used BB guns and pellet guns powerful enough to shatter windows, damage cars and cause thousands of dollars in property damage, but there was no penalty. When such behavior goes unpunished, it sends the signal that players need not worry about their off-field behavior. And that can lead to more serious problems, such as the rape allegation against Florida State’s Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Jameis Winston.

No criminal charges were brought against Winston, but his accuser, a Florida State student, filed a complaint with the federal Department of Education that has prompted a Title IX investigation. Moreover, an examination of the case by the New York Times has exposed a culture in which coaches are lax about off-field behavior and local police often give Florida State football players a pass.

Doeren is sending a different message at N.C. State. “I believe in holding guys accountable and treating them fairly and helping them learn from their mistakes,” he said in a statement.

Losing seven players, including two defensive starters, will make it even harder for the Wolfpack to beat Louisville on Saturday. But Doeren knows that good coaching isn’t about winning. It’s about teaching, and often that teaching involves little things that make a big difference. If Doeren continues to teach well on and off the field, his team eventually will achieve a better record - and his players will become better people.




Oct. 13

Fayetteville (North Carolina) Observer on confusing voters:

The rules for elections in North Carolina were changing. Early voting was going to be scaled back, and you had to register by Oct. 10 instead of waiting until the day you voted.

Some folks challenged aspects of the new law in the courts. The partisan push to change the rules mirrored a similar effort by Republicans in other states. Several groups advocating for ethnic minorities, who tend to vote Democratic, said the real intent was to suppress minority turnout.

A trial was set for next year. One judge denied an injunction to delay implementing the new rules. But an appellate court recently reversed that decision. It appeared you had more time to register.

Then Thursday the U.S. Supreme Court weighed in - on which rules we will use this year, not the broader law - and said the new rules will apply this year. If you first read about it on Friday’s front page, you had until the end of the day to register.

The courts should have expedited actions on this matter so voters knew for certain how things would work months ago.

One criticism of the new law has been that it could create confusion and prevent voters from taking part.

The courts’ interference at this late date has done more to promote that outcome.




Oct. 14

The Herald-Sun, Durham, North Carolina, on the state fair:

For hundreds of thousands of North Carolina residents, one of the year’s most anticipated events kicks off Thursday.

The N. C. State Fair will begin its 147th run at 3 p.m. when the gates open and the midway rides crank up. The first fair, a four-day event put on by the State Agricultural Society in 1853, drew 4,000 people. It missed a few years due to wars and economic tempests, but it has been going strong every year since World War II and now draws more than 800,000 visitors a year.

The fair’s primary mission is, according to its website, to “showcase and promote the state’s agriculture, agribusiness, arts, crafts and culture.” And, with a nod toward our changing character, the fair is “an opportunity for the state’s ever-increasing urban population to learn about agriculture through educational and competitive exhibits in the areas of livestock, horticulture, cooking, folk art and much more.”

The fair is a reminder of the importance that agriculture retains in this state, importance easy to lose sight of amid the Triangle’s urban resurgence and suburban sprawl. But our agricultural industry “contributes $78 billion to the rstate’s economy, accounts for more than 17 percent of the state’s income, and employs 16 percent of the work force,” according to the state Department of Agriculture. “The state ranks seventh nationally in farm profits with a net farm income of over $3.3 billion.”

But from the start, the fair has shown off far more than our agricultural strengths. It has celebrated technological innovations that trace the advance of modernity. Electricity was first used at the fairgrounds in 1884 - and a decade late, the fair’s official timeline notes, photography was a popular exhibit.

President Theodore Roosevelt dropped by in 1905 (presidents Gerald Ford, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton would later visit), and in 1910, the fair had an airplane exhibit. In 1954, WUNC-TV aired its first broadcast from the two-year-old livestock pavilion that in 1961 would be named for long-time fair manager J.S. Dorton.

Of course, for many people a great pleasure of the fair is being able to ingest pretty much any variety of fried food - the odder, the better - without guilt. And we’re delighted that a judge’s ruling on Monday, as Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler was briefing media folks on the upcoming fair, upheld his decision to continue banning firearms. As we mused earlier, the prospect of accidental - or angry - gunshots seemed to pose a more immediate health risk than one of this year’s featured offerings, Reese’s cups wrapped with bacon, breaded and deep fried.

The fair will close Oct. 26, so there’s plenty of time to visit. It’s worth the trip.



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