CARDIAC CREW: Hospital earns award for heart-attack care. 1C
City seeks 2nd grant to remove lead paint
October 11, 2010 127th year No. 284
MORE FUNDS: Agency announces arts and tourism grant recipients. 1B
www.hpe.com High Point, N.C.
BEAR MARKET: Chicago’s stock rises with rout of Panthers. 1D
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Wake Forest University School of Law Dean Blake D. Morant was selected for the Equal Justice Works’ John R. Kramer Outstanding Law School Dean Award. The award honors a law school dean who has demonstrated leadership in building an institution that nurtures and fortifies a spirit of public service.
BY PAT KIMBROUGH ENTERPRISE STAFF WRITER
HIGH POINT – City officials say they’ve made strides protecting young children in low-cost housing from lead paint, and they plan to continue their work. Following a recent announcement that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is making $110 million in grants available to help eliminate dangerous lead-based paint from aging homes, the city elected to seek a piece of that pie. The Community Development & Housing Department will apply for $3.1 million in grant funds to use repairing window and door frames, porch rails and other parts of homes built before 1978 with lead paint dust or chips, which can cause health problems for children under age 6. If successful, it will be the second Healthy Homes & Lead-Based Paint Hazard Control Grant the city has received in the past two years. “We’re about half way through the current grant,” said Community Development & Housing Director Mike McNair. “We have a two-pronged effort. One is to get children tested and the other is to remove lead hazards. We get called in to address the environmental issues. The (Guilford County) Health Department deals with the children.” To date, about 130 housing units with lead paint problems have been stabilized. The second grant, with a project duration of three years beginning April 1, 2011, would involve more units. “I think it’s important to point out (city officials) are talking about cleaning up 230 units. That’s a significant number,” Mayor Becky Smothers said. High Point has around 23,000 dwelling units built before 1978, when lead-based paint was outlawed. “That doesn’t mean there are 23,000 that need remediation. It’s the ones that aren’t kept up,” said McNair. The current grant also has been used to establish the Lead Safe High Point initiative, which seeks to raise awareness about the issue and offers free screenings for lead poisoning for children. For more information, go to www.highpoint.net/cd/leadsafe. email@example.com | 888-3531
SPECIAL | HPE
The $115 million, 400,000-square-foot jail annex project is the largest ever for Guilford County.
Jail project will bring $23 million to county BY DAVID NIVENS ENTERPRISE STAFF WRITER
GUILFORD COUNTY – With more than a year to go until completion, the $115 million county jail annex project in downtown Greensboro has
There were as many as 900 inmates in the county jails in Greensboro and High Point last week, said Sheriff BJ Barnes, and as many as 300 slept on the floors. pumped nearly $10 million into the economy. The eight-story complex will dominate much of a city block behind the current jail on Sycamore Street. Construction includes an underground tunnel linking the new building to the old jail and nearby courthouse.
The project, which will bring at least $23 million to Guilford County, is on schedule and on budget for a June 2012 completion. Jimmy Anderson of Charlotte-based Balfour Beatty, the county’s construction management firm, said his company has attempted to spur interest in the construction trades and local jobs by offering open houses at schools and at other sites. “Not many people today want to be in the construction trades,” Anderson told the county jail committee last week. Despite a very hot summer, recent rains and several minor worker injuries, the project has lost no time, Anderson said. “It was 130 degrees on the top deck during the hottest days,” Anderson said. “But it has gone, so far, about as smoothly as it could go.” The new jail will have 1,032 inmate beds, including an infirmary. As many as 90 beds will be built for mental health and substance abuse patients. The eight-story structure stands 123 feet tall. Plans also call for Balfour Beatty and partner D.H. Griffin of Greens-
Contractors: More than 50 subcontractors could eventually provide workers. There are as many as seven Guilford County firms among “first tier” contractors. So far, 1,374 workers have labored at the site. Daily crews total about 300. Schedules: The new annex is scheduled for completion by June 2012 and the renovated old jail, which will be used for federal prisoners, is scheduled for reopening in 2013.
boro to renovate the existing downtown Greensboro jail. Voters passed a $115 million bond referendum in 2008 to build the annex to ease overcrowding. There were as many as 900 inmates in the county jails in Greensboro and High Point last week, said Sheriff BJ Barnes, and as many as 300 slept on the floors. firstname.lastname@example.org | 888-3626
Mayoral candidates support arts, but have differences Before you read...
Second in a five-part series.
BY VICKI KNOPFLER ENTERPRISE STAFF WRITER
HIGH POINT – Mayoral candidates Jay W. Wagner and incumbent Rebecca Smothers consider themselves supporters of the arts, with Smothers ranking herself eight and Wagner ranking himself seven, on a scale with 10 as highest.
FORUM: Candidates set to answer questions Thursday. 1B
T h e y agree a strong arts scene is vital to any communiWHERE ty and that DO THEY the city STAND? should continue Local political current candidates financial and the arts support ■■■ for arts groups, at least in the near term. “If it’s a question of their survival, it’s something we have to do,” Wagner said.
“ ... I think there’s a certain amount of responsibility to ensure the good things we have don’t completely disappear in bad economic times,” Smothers said. The two differ philosophically on city funding of nonprofit arts groups. Even though Wagner, an attorney, says funding in High Point is necessary now, he is opposed to direct funding to artists because it limits artistic freedom. Rather, he would work to improve the economy.
“Taxpayers feel they have a stake in what a person produces and that they have a right to complain,” he said. “I also feel if you live in a city with a strong economy, you’ll get the support for the arts your city deserves. It’s a symptom of an ailing economy in High Point that we don’t have better support for the arts. I wish we had a strong enough economy that the city didn’t have to support the arts.” If High Point had more money, Smothers would favor increasing direct fi-
YOUR COMMUNITY. YOUR NEWSPAPER.
nancial support. “I don’t think it’s inappropriate for the city to fund the arts,” she said. “ ... We could be a partner. I don’t think we have to fund everything. People have to have ownership.” Both candidates want an arts center for High Point, but they differ on the degree to which the city should be involved in creating one. Wagner listed degree of involvement at five, and Smothers listed a 10, with 10 the
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Hickory police seek missing girl, question stepmom HICKORY (AP) – As Hickory police searched for a missing, hearing-impaired 10-year-old girl with an artificial leg, they arrested the child’s stepmother Sunday on unrelated charges. Zahra Clare Baker was reported missing Saturday afternoon about 12 hours after her father and stepmother said they last saw her sleeping in her bed, the Hickory Police Department said in a news release Sunday. Hickory police E. Baker spokesman Maj. Clyde Deal said Elisa Baker faces more than a dozen charges, including one felony, in cases unrelated to the disappearance of her stepdaughter. The charges include communicating threats, writing worthless checks, larceny and driving with a revoked license. Deal said the charges dated from 2006 through late 2009 and are from three counties. He said the warrants were found on North Carolina’s new statewide system called N.C. Aware that has been in place just a few months. Elisa Baker was booked Sunday and it was unclear whether she has an attorney. There was no telephone listing for the Bakers. Investigators said Elisa Baker and the girl’s father, Adam Baker, were interviewed about Zahra’s disappearance. The FBI also is investigating the case. Zahra was last seen wearing a camouflage Army T-shirt and black knee-length tights, according to an Amber Alert issued Saturday. She is white, 5-feet, 1-inch tall, weighs 85 pounds and has brown hair.
Funding arts center, programs FROM PAGE 1
SONNY HEDGECOCK | HPE
In for a change Inside this wet Monarch butterfly Chrysalis located in a tree at the Piedmont Environmental Center, a caterpillar is changing into an adult. The change takes 10-12 days. The adult then migrates as far south as Mexico for the winter. It requires several generations to return north in the spring or early summer.
Democrat Spratt in tough fight for 15th term in SC INDIAN LAND, S.C. (AP) – John Spratt strolled down the midway of a fall festival on a recent Saturday in the heart of the congressional district he’s served for 28 years. Hardly a head turned. At other festivals in parts of his sprawling district, the 67-year-old South Carolina Democrat is surrounded by well-wishers and old friends. But in this suburb south of Charlotte, where most of the district’s 90,000 new residents over the past decade have settled, the chairman of the House Budget Committee walked around almost unrecognized. The changing makeup of the district is one of
the challenges that the state’s longest-serving congressman faces as he seeks a 15th term against Mick Mulvaney, a first-term Republican state senator. In an election year considered unfriendly to incumbents and especially challenging to Democrats in leadership positions, Spratt’s argument for re-election hasn’t changed, even as his district gets more conservative. “It makes sense to
re-elect a seasoned oldtimer like myself who has been around the track a few times and knows how to get things done in Washington,” said Spratt, who worked as an attorney, banker and insurance company president before he was elected in 1982. Spratt is carrying the yoke of his party, which controls Congress and the presidency, and leaves him to explain what Democrats have done and failed to do in a district that has voted Republican in every presidential race after 1980. Spratt’s closest race was in 1994, when he won just 52 percent of the vote as Republicans gained 54 seats and took control of the U.S. House.
Mulvaney, a 43-yearold businessman and lawyer, moved from Charlotte across the state line in 2002 because he wanted to lower his taxes. He won a S.C. House seat in 2006 and was elected to the Senate two years after that. He has garnered favor and help from national Republicans, who have marked the race one of 39 they could win to take control of the House. Winthrop University political scientist Scott Huffmon said this year’s race is similar to 1994 for Spratt. “He is in the toughest battle he’s ever faced. That’s uncommon for John. He’s not accustomed to a toss up,” Huffmon said.
The High Point Enterprise strives for accuracy. Readers who think a factual error has been made are encouraged to call the newsroom at 888-3500. When a factual error has been found a correction will be published.
Carted off: NY police hunt for stolen wiener stand
Is your hearing current? 211 W. Lexington Avenue, Suite 104, High Point, NC
ORANGEBURG, N.Y. (AP) – Police in a suburb northwest of New York City are searching for a stolen hot dog stand. Owner Fred Martucci tells the Journal News that he’s devastated over the loss of “Fred’s Franks.” He used the 10-foot-long, 7-foot-wide
stainless steel trailer to support his family in Orangeburg for more than a year. Orangetown Police Detective Sgt. George Garrecht says the hot dog heist happened on the evening of Sept. 30. Three men pulled into a parking lot, cut the
trailer’s locks and cables, hitched it to their pickup truck and drove north on Route 303. Police have viewed surveillance footage. But they have a limited description of the suspects and vehicle, because it happened on a rainy night.
FREMONT (AP) – Three people have died and a fourth was in critical condition when their car crashed into a ditch and turned over several times in Wayne County. Troopers told multiple media outlets that 25year-old Joshua Brantley, 17-year-old Jacob Floars and 18-year-old Ashley Haskins were killed in the crash about 3:30 Sun-
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TODAY: Mayoral candidates offer views TUESDAY: Council candidate is a big supporter of the arts WEDNESDAY: Perspective from a moderate arts supporter THURSDAY: Arts should be self-funded, council candidate says
the city should finance a center. “I think the city government needs to look at the possibility of working with whatever group is going to develop an arts center,” Wagner said. “It’s easy for me to say that because the next couple years are going to be interesting, so I say that with a grain of salt. Our budget issues will be very challenging ... . “I think groups using the center need to be a partner in raising money. Every group with (a share) in the game has an interest in seeing the project come to fruition. I think it should be a partnership; bring people together to see what role each can play.” email@example.com | 888-3601
day morning. All three were from Fremont. The driver, 17-year-old Mark Pope, was injured and taken to Pitt County Memorial Hospital. A hospital spokeswoman said he was in critical condition Sunday evening. Highway Patrol Sgt. C.J. Owens said speed may have been a factor in the accident.
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Winning numbers selected Saturday in the N.C. Lottery: Powerball 2-6-32-42-49 Powerball: 35 Power Play: 3
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Winning numbers selected Saturday in the Virginia Lottery: DAY Pick 3: 8-5-7 Pick 4: 8-0-2-2 Cash 5: 6-14-20-24-29 1-804-662-5825
NIGHT Pick 3: 8-0-3 Pick 4: 1-5-7-1 Cash 5: 4-5-8-20-32 Win For Life: 4-5-15-22-23-33 Free Ball: 39
Winning numbers selected Saturday in the S.C. Lottery: DAY Pick 3: 4-0-0 Pick 4: 9-2-0-4
NIGHT Pick 3: 6-0-8 Pick 4: 7-2-0-3 Cash 5: 6-12-19-24-27 Multiplier: 2
Winning numbers selected Saturday in Tennessee Lottery: DAY Cash 3: 5-4-2 Cash 4: 9-5-3-9
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SUNDAY: Survey gauges candidates’ opinions on the arts
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT US The High Point Enterprise
3 killed, 1 injured in single-car crash in Fremont
maximum. Smothers favors public ownership of a facility, with arts groups raising money for programs and events. She doesn’t believe the High Point Area Arts Council or any nonprofit group should own a facility because maintaining property is not arts leaders’ area of expertise. “People want to see money (they’ve contributed) go into programs in which there can be participation,” rather than building maintenance, she said. Smothers said that both the city and arts groups missed an opportunity about five years ago, when a plan came before the City Council – but did not pass – to combine the parks and recreation department administrative facilities and a community arts center. The plan was for the city to buy property and a private drive to fund a building. The city also would have assumed maintenance and upkeep costs. In the current economy, Smothers said she believes keeping arts groups alive must be the priority, and she anticipates no serious undertaking soon to raise money for a center, by either the city or private sources. Wagner also doesn’t see an arts center in the city’s future, and he said he doesn’t believe
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Donor gives boost to fund for schools ENTERPRISE STAFF REPORT
HIGH POINT â€“ A fund that helps local schools meet unexpected expenses got a shot in the arm recently. The High Point Community Foundation announced that an anonymous donor put up a $25,000 matching challenge gift, which prompted five other High Point families to pool together the other $25,000. The foundation hopes this helps the Principalsâ€™ Fund become a permanent resource for local schools. â€œI am so grateful for this donor who initially put up the challenge match, and I am pleased to see others in our community stepping up to
make this gift become a reality,â€? said Vicki Miller, chairperson of the fund. â€œAs a career educator and a former principal, I understand the volume of needs that arise in our schools and in the past, there was nowhere to turn; now they can come to the Principalsâ€™ Fund.â€? The lead donor had the $25,000 challenge matched by Bill and Candy Fenn, Patrick Harman of the Hayden-Harman Foundation, Kay and Dusty Maynard, Jordan and Lou Washburn and another anonymous donor. The common theme among all of the donors was a love for education and a desire to positively impact students in High
Point, according to the foundation. â€œI believe we all have an obligation to provide for our students, our principals, and our schools,â€? said Patrick Harman. â€œAt the Hayden-Harman Foundation, we want to support communities, and what better way to do this than by investing in the education of young people which represents the future of these communities.â€? The fund is a resource that High Point Principals can turn to when unexpected needs arise in their school. In the past, many of these needs either went unanswered or the principal or a teacher just paid for it out of their own pockets. This past year, grants
from the fund included helping students who could not afford to pay for class field trips, a positive behavior incentive program, band uniforms, End of Grade testing transportation, and supporting a media center. â€œI want to thank each donor to the Principalsâ€™ Fund for supporting this effort and helping grow the fund into a permanent resource for High Point schools,â€? said foundation President Paul Lessard. â€œI have always believed that a community should be intimately involved in the local schools, and it is so exciting to see Donors who are willing to set an example that I know will inspire others to give.â€?
Associates/High Point Behavioral Health, 320 Boulevard Ave. Cost is $10 per session. To register or for information, call Tara Ayers or Molly Fowler at 8786226.
St., Archdale. Laura Stockwell, 434-5579.
day at 207 E. Main St. and Guilford College Road, Jamestown. Lynn at 4546272.
Toastmaster hosts candidates forum ENTERPRISE STAFF REPORT
HIGH POINT â€“ The High Point Toastmasters Club will host a candidates forum for the Ward 6 City Council candidates in the north High Point district from 6:30-7:30 p.m. Oct. 19 at Life Community Church, 4900 W. Wendover Ave. The three Ward 6 can-
didates are Jim Corey, James Ewing and Gerald Grubb. The winner in the nonpartisan race will succeed John Faircloth, who is unopposed in his bid to become a Republican representative in the 61st State House District. For more information, contact Adrienne Jones, vice president of membership, at 491-2392.
ON THE SCENE
MEETINGS The High Point Human Relations Commission meeets at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday in Suite 207 of the City Municipal Building, 211 S. Hamilto St. Forsyth County Genealogical Society meets at 7 p.m. the second Wednesday of each month at the Main Library, 600 W. 5th St., Winston-Salem. Service Corps of Retired Executives, a nonprofit group providing free business counseling, meets the second Monday of each month at the High Point Chamber of Commerce, 1634 N. Main St. For an appointment, call 8828625, visit the Web site www.highpointscore.org or send e-mail to contact@ highpointscore.org.
Living With Cancer, for cancer patients and their families, meets at 6:30 p.m. the second Tuesday of the month at High Point Regional Cancer Center, Cancer Resource Center Conference Room, 302 Westwood Ave. It is led by Janet Forrest, oncology program planning liaison. 878-6000, ext. 6477 Co-Dependents Anonymous, a 12-step group for men and women to recover from co-dependence and to develop and maintain healthy relationships, meets 6-7 p.m. each Thursday at Lebanon United Methodist Church, 237 Idol Drive. Jan, 882-6480 Family Crisis Center of Archdale support group sessions are held 6-8 p.m. Mondays at 10607 N. Main
Mother Baby PEP (Postpartum Emotion with Possibilities) Talks, for mothers of new babies, and afternoon tea are held at 4 p.m. every Thursday at the YWCA of High Point, 112 Gatewood Ave. Free, 8123937, e-mail motherbabyfoundation@northstate. net, online at www.motherbabyfoundation.org Triad Job Search Network of Greensboro/High Point, a group for unemployed professionals, meets 9-11 a.m. each Tuesday at Covenant United Methodist Church, 1526 Skeet Club Road. 3331677, www.tjsn.net Take Off Pounds Sensibly, High Point chapter 618, meets at 6 p.m. each Thursday at Christ United Methodist Church, 1300 N. College Drive. Rick Penn at 821-2093. Take Off Pounds Sensibly meets 10 a.m. Wednes-
Take Off Pounds Sensibly meets at 6 p.m. each Monday at Trinity Heights Wesleyan Church, 5814 Surrett Drive, Archdale. Pattie, 434-1912 Nurturing the New Mother, a support group, meets at 4 p.m. each Thursday at High Point Regional Hospitalâ€™s Outpatient Behavioral Health office, 320 Boulevard Ave. It is led by Cynthia Palmer, a marriage and family therapist. Sessions are $10 each, and they are in an open-group-discussion format. Alternate child care should be arranged. 878-6098.
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Items to be published in this column must be in the offices of The High Point Enterprise no later than seven calendar days before the date of the event. On the Scene runs Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
Better Hearing, Better You
SPECIAL INTEREST Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church, 4145 Johnson St., sponsors a program for those who have been inactive in the Church but would like to return. It meets for six week at 7 p.m. Thursdays beginning this week. Call 869-7739 or Jan Hitch at 884-5097.
FUNDRAISER Fair Grove Lions Club sponsors bingo 6:30-9 p.m. Thursday at its club house, 502 Willowbrook Drive.
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Monday October 11, 2010
JOHN HOOD: Washington borrows, and Raleigh spends. TOMORROW
Opinion Page Editor: Vince Wheeler firstname.lastname@example.org (336) 888-3517
Let’s not have this ugliness in city’s election I have been forwarded some emails from a man named Sanders Dallas III who would appear to be mayoral candidate Jay Wagner’s campaign manager or chief supporter. Frankly, I was quite disappointed that these communications had such a negative, nasty and unprofessional tone that has not been High Point’s style. Politics in High Point has never been so divisive or ugly. Imagine my surprise when I learned that Dallas doesn’t even live in High Point. He lives in Winston-Salem! But now he wants to drum up support for a group called “Comeback High Point” that is trying to get candidates he controls to take over the City Council. When I asked around, I learned that Dallas has had several real estate deals that the city did not support, and that this is all about personal political revenge. How disappointing that so many candidates, including Wagner, have become a part of his revenge machine. I know a lot of the good things that Wagner has done for the Uptowne. I appreciate his involvements, and I don’t think this is his style. I also know about the many great things Becky Smothers has done for all of High Point, including aggressive recruitment of new industries and jobs. I’m not asking High Pointers to support or oppose either candidate. I’m asking High Point to reject Dallas’s invective and the venomous style of politics that can become the norm if citizens allow it to. DIANE POPALIS High Point
I was quite disappointed that these communications had such a negative, nasty and unprofessional tone.
What will UNC actions tell us about university? In the upcoming months, the decisions that the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill program make regarding the
employment of Butch Davis will be a tell-tale sign of where both their football program and their academic standards are headed. While there is no proof that Davis was aware of John Blake’s dealings, he is not awarded a free pass to accept no responsibility over his own coaches. Davis’ own contract has a clause that states if assistant coaches are found of transgressing NCAA policy, grounds for dismissal are appropriate. It is near impossible to have a five-star football program along with five-star academic standards. No matter how long you watch college football, you won’t see Harvard vs. Princeton for the national title, which leaves UNC with two basic options. They can go on record of quick and strong action with the termination of Butch Davis to show the rest of the nation their stance on academic and improper agent related infractions. On the other hand, if UNC does not fire Davis, they prove that in such economic times, moneymaking football programs mean more then the integrity of the school. If I attended the University of North Carolina, I would rather say, “Just wait till basketball season,” when football season comes around, rather than have my school on record of being laissez-faire over the worst scandal to hit the Atlantic Coast Conference in years. Is diminishing the standards and potentially further ruining the reputation of UNC worth 31⁄2 more years of Davis and his mediocre 23-20 football record? JOSHUA KEY Trinity
Rush to judgment about UNC situation not wise Listening to and reading the media pundits’ sophomoric comments on UNC-Chapel Hill’s athletic debacle reminds me of the old spaghetti westerns when the mob screamed “Let’s give ’em a fair trial, then string ’em up!” Based upon Duke University’s rush to judgment, probably not the wisest course of action. Besides the possibility of paying restitution to students and coaches wrongfully accused of poor judgment, the university is caught between fulfilling Title IX mandates by the federal government on one hand and compliance with zealous regulators at NCAA on the other. Noah would find it difficult to navigate these waters. Not too long ago, neither Mia Hamm nor Charlie Scott would have been allowed to participate in the athletic arena at the oldest state-supported university. In this light, achieving excellence on the athletic field has not only enhanced the integrity of the university, it has justified the very reason for its existence. JOE EXUM Snow Hill
Straight Democratic vote won’t count for Davis This Nov. 2, Bruce Davis is running for N.C. Senate District 28, which includes High Point. Davis was born and raised in High Point. It is fitting that we as High Pointers vote Davis into this seat. Davis is a write-in candidate
and it will take a little more effort for us to do this. Why? Because Davis is a county commissioner, and his name will appear on the ballot twice. In the state Senate race you have to go through the ballot until you get to the state Senate portion and physically vote for Davis in District 28. You cannot vote a straight Democratic ticket because Davis is running unaffiliated for this particular seat. With all that said, let’s talk about why Davis should be our next state senator. Experience, experience, experience. He is a retired Marine who understands how to maneuver through situations, knows protocol, knows the issues and can address them properly. He has been a member of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners for some time, so he already knows what we need in this district. He can hit the ground running, without having to waste two years getting up to speed. Granted he doesn’t know everything, but he sure knows a lot about how to get things done in Raleigh. Davis has done a lot for High Point as a county commissioner and will continue to help High Point as state senator (check his credentials). I suggest that voters invest some time in researching the candidates: find out where they stand on the issues, what they have done in their districts or wards and for the people they serve. Make an informed decision, not one that someone else has told them to make. Please go to the polls and vote Bruce Davis as our next state senator! DORETTA SIMS High Point
Davis is running unaffiliated for the Senate 28 seat.
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Behind Clementi incident is story about humanity
here is another story here. That it has escaped us thus far is not surprising. After all, the primary story, the obvious one, is compelling and sad. In recent weeks, a string of teenagers have killed themselves after being tormented by classmates because they were, or were believed to be, gay. That includes 13-year-old Seth Walsh, who hanged himself, 13-year-old Asher Brown, who shot himself, 15-year-old Billy Lucas, who hanged himself. It includes Tyler Clementi, an 18-year-old freshman at Rutgers who leapt into the Hudson River after his roommate secretly “webcammed” him making out with another man in their dorm room and streamed it live. Add in the bizarre case of Chris Armstrong, a gay University of Michigan student who is the target of ongoing harassment by no less august a personage than Michigan Assistant Attorney General Andrew Shirvell, and it’s not hard to understand why the headline here is about the bullying of gay young people. In a 2005 Harris Poll, a staggering 90 percent of gay students
(versus 62 percent of straights) reported being harassed or assaulted in school. So, yes, the headline is appropriate. But separate OPINION Tyler Clementi from the others and Leonard you’ll see: there’s Pitts also another story ■■■ here. Imagine an alternate scenario. Imagine that instead of a guy, Clementi was making love with a girl when his roommate, Dharun Ravi, went to another dorm room, remotely activated his webcam, and broadcast it to the world. With the distracting filter of homosexuality removed, a troubling question emerges. Forget gay or straight. How do you do that to someone? Anyone? How do you broadcast someone’s moment of intimacy or private indiscretion for the world to laugh at? And why? As it happens, the Clementi tragedy was roughly coincident with a video that has been making the rounds in journalism circles. It takes place in a televi-
sion newsroom. As a news reader is reporting in the foreground, an intern behind her, oblivious to the live camera, picks her nose and appears to eat what she finds. A link to the video reached my inbox with a note calling it hilarious. I disagreed. After all, this wasn’t a clip from some sitcom. This was a real person, a young woman, finding herself reduced to a national punch line, a laughingstock, all because of one ill-considered moment. What she did was distasteful, yes. But the decision to share it with the whole wide world was worse. Proof that these are not isolated incidents is as close as YouTube. There is always some video going around whose calculated effect is nothing more or less than humiliation on a global scale. Technology, it seems, has unleashed an ugliness in us. In a Facebook, iPad, automated teller, self-serve, smartphone, e-mail, voice recognition kind of world, it is increasingly possible to make it through an entire day without the bother of having to interact with other human beings.
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Maybe as a result, we are forgetting how. No, there is nothing new about pulling pranks. What is new is the distance we now have from other people, this tendency to objectify them. What is new is the worldwide reach technology now affords us. And what is new is the cruelty, this willingness to casually destroy someone else with a few clicks of a mouse. It is as if we have forgotten or never knew: people are not objects. They have feelings. They have intrinsic dignity and worth. And each of us is bound to respect that. There are things you just don’t do to other people, and the fact that technology makes those things easy to do doesn’t make that any less true. So yes, there is another story here, and it is wrenching, simple and self-evident: Tyler Clementi was a human being. And he wasn’t treated like one. LEONARD PITTS JR., winner of the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for commentary, is a columnist for the Miami Herald. E-mail him at email@example.com. Pitts chats with readers every Wednesday from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. EDT on www.MiamiHerald.com.
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Monday October 11, 2010
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Roadside bombs kill 7 in Afghanistan as chief of a new peace council tasked with talking to insurgent groups. Daily violence continues unabated throughout much of Afghanistan. The focus of the U.S.-led war â€“ which entered its 10th year last week â€“ has been on the south, but coalition troops are increasingly fighting resilient militants in the east, west and north.
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) â€“ Roadside bombs killed seven people including two NATO troops in Afghanistan on Sunday, and a suicide bomber blew up his vehicle near a military convoy, killing a child and wounding two others. The Afghan government, meanwhile, named former President Burhanuddin Rabbani AP
Bastian Gallardo (right), grandson of trapped miner Mario Gomez, is helped by his mother, Roxana Gomez, as he dresses up in a Spiderman costume at the San Jose mine near Copiapo, Chile, Sunday.
Trapped Chilean miners argue over whoâ€™s out last SAN JOSE MINE, Chile (AP) â€“ After more than two months trapped deep in a Chilean mine, 33 miners were so giddy with confidence, officials said Sunday, they were arguing over who would be the last to take a twisting 20-minute ride to daylight
and the embrace of those they love. Officials have drawn up a tentative list of the order in which the 33 miners should be rescued, and Health Minister Jaime Manalich said the otherwise cooperative miners were squabbling about it, so sure of the
Israeli Cabinet passes loyalty bill; Arabs angry JERUSALEM â€“ Israelâ€™s Cabinet approved a bill on Sunday that would require new non-Jewish citizens to pledge a loyalty oath to a â€œJewish and democraticâ€? state, language that triggered charges of racism from Arab lawmakers who see it as undermining the rights of the countryâ€™s Arab minority. The measure was largely symbolic, since few non-Jews apply for Israeli citizenship. Nevertheless, it infuriated the Arab minority and stoked tensions with Palestinians at a time when fledgling peace talks are deadlocked.
exit plan that they are asking to let their comrades be first to reach the surface, probably on Wednesday. â€œThey were fighting with us yesterday because everyone wanted to be at the end of the line, not the beginning,â€? he told reporters.
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