Still aglow despite snow

Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 15, 2014

Laurels to when the lights stay on. This week’s snow and ice may have left a lot of motorists stranded on the highway or marooned at home, but relatively few were left in the dark, especially compared to the potential. Slightly less than 50,000 people were without electricity Thursday, at the peak outage period, according to state emergency officials. That included about 1,600 in Rowan County. The majority of the outages had been repaired by Friday evening. If you were one of those people, it was an unpleasant experience, especially if you lacked a backup generator or any kind of backup plan. But it pales in comparison to what happened during the great winter storm of 2002, when 1.8 million North Carolinians were without electricity. Some had to endure outages that lasted a couple of weeks, with frigid temperatures lingering. Those who suffered through those dark days know the difference between inconvenience and misery.
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Dart to the faulty test results state environmental officials initially released after last week’s coal ash spill in the Dan River. State officials described it as “an honest mistake” that led to a premature pronouncement that downstream arsenic levels were safe for people and fish following the spill from a retention pond at the Duke Energy facility. But when environmentalists are already questioning the McCrory administration’s commitment to strong environmental standards, this kind of mistake can seem more like sloppiness than human fallibility. It also didn’t boost confidence in Duke’s or the state’s response to learn Friday, via the Yadkin Riverkeeper, that the U.S. Justice Department has opened a criminal investigation on the Feb. 2 spill from an unlined coal-ash pond.
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Laurels to Shirley Temple Black and Sid Caesar, two American originals who died this week. Temple Black was the adorable childhood movie star who went on to serve in Congress; Caesar was the zany comedic genius whose 1950s-era variety shows helped create the Golden Age of television. They were vastly different performers, one apple-pie sweet and the other full of madcap mischief, but both provided an uplifting take on life when the country needed it. Temple Black’s career peaked during the grim years of the Great Depression, while Caesar provided great merriment for a nation struggling to emerge from the horrors and privations of World War II. These stars helped brighten and lighten many lives.