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Opinion Editorial

Relief organizations across the globe are working to offer aid to the country of Japan, which was devastated by an 8.9 earthquake on March 11. The quake spawned a tsunami that slammed into the nation’s east coast, leaving a path of devastation in its wake.

Nuclear catastrophe currently threatens the island nation, as a result of the quake and tsunami. President Barack Obama has released a a statement sending his “deepest condolences” and promising support the the stricken country.

Japan has often donated when other countries have experienced disasters, such as when Hurricane Katrina impacted the United States. The response of disaster relief efforts have been slower around the world than when Haiti was devastated by its earthquake. Below are organizations that are working on relief and recovery in the region. Those interested in contributing to Japan’s relief efforts can refer to the list below.



One of my favorite message t-shirts reads “I hiked the entire width of the Appalachian Trail.” This is the underachiever’s answer to the Chinese philosopher Lao-Tsu who said that “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

The 2011 Appalachian Trail season has begun and hikers can be seen locally making their first trail stop along this 2,175 mile passage. The thru-hikers goal is to complete the entire trail while section hikers intend to travel (you guessed it) only a section with the possibility of combining sections over a period of years to compose the entire trail. There are other hikers who straddle the ridge line without making a commitment either way.


A lot of the news lately from the General Assembly has been about proposals to wildly expand charter schools, deny loans to community college students and allow guns in bars and restaurants, but deliberations about the state budget are proceeding too, mostly at 8:30 every morning.

That’s when budget subcommittees are reviewing not only the spending recommendations from Governor Beverly Perdue, but also “options” presented by legislative staff to help lawmakers find another $1.5 billion to cut beyond the reductions Perdue proposed.

Legislative leaders continue to refuse to consider raising new revenue to avoid draconian cuts and have also ruled out continuing the 2009 temporary tax increases for two more years. Perdue’s budget leaves ¾ of the one cent sales tax increase in place.


From the Office of Rep. Phil Haire

Budget writers in the General Assembly rolled out their broad budget proposals this week and have introduced a plan that will set back our state by firing teachers and state employees and limiting our children’s education options.

While Gov. Perdue offered a balanced approach that protected all teacher and teacher assistant jobs, this plan makes no such assurances and calls for cutting education spending by $760 million — 6.5 percent — from the governor’s budget. Their suggestions for doing this include shutting down preschools and keeping more people out of our university systems, even as our population continues to grow.



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