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Around N.C.: Water, trips and murder

Associated Press
Power over water: While some local governments argue that they are in the best position to determine how much to limit local water consumption during times of scarcity, they aren’t convincing. Most of our water resources are regional. What happens upstream in a river basin can have a profound impact on users downstream. That’s why other states have adopted regional water-management models.
Proposed legislation would give the governor and environmental officials the right to impose mandatory usage limits that correspond to the levels of drought. Private well users would also be subject to mandatory conservation measures, which is appropriate, since they draw water from a shared resource.
The question now is whether the General Assembly will enact the legislation, or go home and leave it for next year. Procrastination could be trouble, if last year’s drought levels return later in the summer. This is too important to postpone.
Pass the legislation this year, then come back for fine-tuning next year. We can’t afford to wait.
ó Fayetteville Observer
Easleys’ extravagance: Maybe they’re writing a travel guide. Something like “France on $10,000 a Day” or “See Russia the Way the Czars Saw It” or “First Class with the First Lady.” How else to explain the astonishingly bad judgment exercised presumably by Easley administration officials with regard to first lady Mary Easley and her traveling party on trips to France in May of 2007 and to Estonia and St. Petersburg in May of 2008?
Within the past 14 months, the first lady and entourages made trips to France and St. Petersburg, Russia, apparently for the purpose of cultural exchanges. Larry Wheeler, director of the N.C. Museum of Art and a participant on the Russia excursion, believes such trips might, for example, lead to exhibits at the museum.
Fair enough, but the extravagance on these trips boggles the mind, when one considers they were on the public tab. Regarding France, that included a chauffeured Mercedes-Benz ($27,000), a fancy hotel for Mrs. Easley, her assistant and a state trooper, and $10,499 in airfare. On the Estonia and St. Petersburg trip, business class airfare for the entourage was $34,388, hotels were $11,918, food and beverages were $3,667. The two trips cost a total of $109,000.
State Auditor Les Merritt clearly needs to review this trip. The state’s travel policy prohibits “excess costs, circuitous routes, delays or luxury accommodations and services … in the performance of official state business.”
When public funds are involved, restraint needs to be on the menu.
ó News & Observer
UNC student body president’s death: The death penalty hardly seems good enough for those responsible for taking the promising young life that was Eve Carson.
1. She was taken from her home, where she was minding her own business and causing no harm to anyone;
2. The young woman was forced into the back of her own SUV and taken to an ATM where she was made to give the assailants her PIN number;
3. Over $1,400 was taken from Carson’s account over a two-day period;
4. She was shot by both assailants;
5. Autopsy reports show she was shot five times, including once to her right cheek and what was termed the most vicious wound, a shotgun blast that struck her right hand before hitting the right side of her head and brain;
6. She was left on a Chapel Hill street near UNC’s campus.
We know those responsible are neither crazed nor victims, themselves, no matter how extremists might try to spin it.
ó The Sampson Independent

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