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Too close to call in race for Senate seat

RALEIGH — Incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan has been running hard for re-election for more than a year. Republican nominee Thom Tillis, the speaker of the North Carolina House, has been campaigning against Hagan for nearly as long. Republicans, Democrats, and independent-expenditure groups have already begun their battle over control of the state legislature.So far, there isn’t much evidence that any of these actions and expenditures have made much of an impressi...

1 days 7 hours ago | | | Email

Strong planning needed for prosperous economy

To the Editor,A year ago I penned a letter commending the Robeson County government on its excellent credit rating but also warning of upcoming financial storms. County Manager Ricky Harris and finance Director Kelli Blue should be commended on a job well done as they manage our county finances. However, the lack of a short- and long-term economic growth and development plan will eventually threaten our county’s budget process.

2 days 7 hours ago | | | Email

Vouchers not about helping poor kids

After Superior Court Judge Robert Hobgood understandably ruled last week that the sketchy unaccountable private school voucher scheme created by the 2013 General Assembly was unconstitutional, voucher supporters responded almost in unison with a single talking point, that somehow the judge had “trapped underprivileged children in failing schools.”The claim may be offensive and disingenuous but it’s not new. It’s been a common refrain among school privatizati...

2 days 7 hours ago | | | Email

No margin for error with the death penalty

There are a lot of reasons to oppose the death penalty.In no particular order, here are ours:— If there is any societal value in the death penalty, it would be as a deterrent. But there is no study that has ever shown that the death penalty acts as a deterrent. That would happen only if it were administered swiftly, but that will never again be the case in our litigious society.

3 days 7 hours ago | | | Email

Economic activity gets better measure

RALEIGH — The Obama administration has been implementing new ways to measure economic activity in the United States. Although not exactly front-page news, this initiative deserves praise from anyone, regardless of political party or economic views, who believes policymakers are more likely to make wise decisions if they are provided timely, valid, and informative data on economic performance in their states and regions.

4 days 7 hours ago | | | Email

US must answer threat posed by ISIS

Winston Churchill once said, “However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.” Over the past several months, the world has watched with great concern the events unfolding around the Middle East and Eastern Europe. The escalating tensions stemming from these events threaten to destabilize the world at large and serve as a chilling reminder that evil does exist.

6 days 7 hours ago | | | Email

Session revealed legislators’ disdain for public education

The chaos that was the 2014 of the General Assembly finally ended, though there are rumors that Gov. Pat McCrory may call lawmakers back to town to pass more economic development legislation and maybe tackle Medicaid reform.But the House and Senate have gone home for now. and the last few days of the dysfunctional session provide a perfect window through which to understand what this summer was all about.The House and Senate battled back and forth in the final days over ...

6 days 7 hours ago | | | Email

Self-interest or the public good?

The prevailing belief in Robeson County that nepotism and cronyism supersede qualifications when it comes to landing jobs with the local government became more entrenched with the revelations at the Robeson County Housing Authority.On the surface, they are more a molehill than a mountain, but we worry about what remains in the dark.Commissioner Roger Oxendine says he didn’t realize that his wife’s sister’s husband would be considered “immediate fa...

7 days 7 hours ago | | | Email

Judges takes away school choice

RALEIGH — For many years, state education and political leaders promised increasing our “investment” in public schools was the key to raising student achievement for disadvantaged students. And invest we did, increasing inflation-adjusted per pupil spending by nearly 25 percent in the last 20 years alone.Yet, two decades later, disadvantaged children in North Carolina public schools continue to struggle. Last year, only 28 percent of low-income students in grades ...

7 days 7 hours ago | | | Email

A double dose of bad news

The news that Robeson Community College has about 1,000 fewer students enrolled for the fall semester this school year than it did in the fall semester of 2012 could easily be misinterpreted as meaning the local economy is on the rebound and people are leaving the classroom for a paying job.That would be a colossal misread. The decline in enrollment is bad news that promises to get worse.Mark Kinlaw, vice president of Instruction, told the board of trustees on Monday nig...

9 days 7 hours ago | | | Email

Department needed to eliminate waste

There should be a department to eliminate waste, coordinate redundancy and monitor the rule of law in Washington. It doesn’t exist. But it should. While no one wants another department, this one is different.Congress has no disciplined method to force laws, regulations and rules to fit together. Government makes laws. It really has no way of amending or taking them away. The layers are stifling a once freer nation. Not to mention it has created a bureaucracy where no one is r...

9 days 7 hours ago | | | Email

Former Pirate thankful for lessons taught by Coach Ruff

To the Editor,As a kid growing up in Lumberton and being a part of Lumberton High’s 1986 Southeastern 4A Conference Championship team, there were many life lessons learned on the gridiron. For me, never fulfilling that dream to play at the collegiate level, I have grown to realize that although football was my first love, I now have more love in my life than I could ever have imagined.

9 days 7 hours ago | | | Email

Mother says UNCP camps were valuable experience for daughter

To the Editor,Last month, my daughter attended two camps at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke and both were outstanding. I would like to commend the university and more specifically the Regional Center and Givens Performing Arts Center for a job well done.The first week was a Sports Camp that was organized by the staff of the Regional Center. My daughter had the opportunity to learn about a variety of sports, being a part of a team and how sports can be fun an...

9 days 7 hours ago | | | Email

The battle to save downtown

Vibrant downtowns in small rural towns have gone the way of the slinky. They really don’t exist anymore.But Lumberton’s continues to put up a good fight.Forever gone are the days that city residents would flock to downtown Lumberton in large numbers to shop for clothes, buy lunch at locally owned businesses, or stop by The Robesonian newspaper to drop off a wedding announcement. Those businesses long ago shut down because they couldn’t compete with larg...

10 days 7 hours ago | | | Email

Medicaid at top of list of GOP mistakes

When you consider all the bad choices made by the General Assembly and Gov. Pat McCrory in the last two years — and there have been too many to mention — the one that may make the least sense was the decision not to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act and provide health coverage for more than 400,000 low income adults who are currently uninsured.That was point was reinforced dramatically recently by a national report that quantified how much federal funding st...

10 days 7 hours ago | | | Email

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