Under the Dome

Radio ad for eye exams brings back memories

Staff WritersSeptember 15, 2006 

Have you heard a public service announcement promoting eye examinations for young children?

The radio ad sponsored by the American Optometric Association, brings back memories of the recent legislative fight over a new law -- now changed -- that would have required all children to have comprehensive eye exams before starting kindergarten in North Carolina.

But Max Raynor, president of the N.C. State Optometric Society, said he didn't know anything about the ad.

The state optometric society wanted the eye exam requirement but went along with a change that calls for establishing standards for vision tests children already get.

"We're very happy with the compromise," Raynor said.

A spokeswoman for the American Optometric Association said the announcement was distributed last year to 2,500 radio stations across the country, but she didn't know any were still using it.

"We had no recent reports that they've even run in North Carolina," said spokeswoman Susan Thomas.

The ad is not connected to any state or federal legislative proposal, Thomas said. "Those spots reiterate what our recommendations are for the frequency of eye exams for children," she said.

The long-form of the ad features a song with the line: "Put this on your things-to-do list. Visit your friend, the optometrist."

Subpoena for Black

House Speaker Jim Black and three of his legislative staffers have received subpoenas to testify at a federal trial scheduled to begin next week involving fraud charges against one of his appointees to the lottery commission, according to Black's office.

The subpoenas of Black and other prominent state officials are not unexpected given their involvement in the startup of the state lottery.

Black, a Mecklenburg County Democrat, appointed public relations executive Kevin L. Geddings to the lottery commission a year ago.

Geddings had not disclosed on required financial interest forms his ties to Scientific Games, a major lottery company that had paid him $24,500 last year, much of it to help gain the lottery's passage.

Geddings, 41, formerly of Charlotte, resigned from the commission shortly before Scientific Games disclosed the payments. Black has said he had no knowledge of Geddings' involvement with Scientific Games and chose him for the commission post after Charlotte attorney Bob Cordle told Black he could not serve.

Black's staffers who have been subpoenaed are legislative counsel Dianna Jessup, communications director Julie Robinson and policy analyst Angie Whitener.

Robinson declined to comment about whether she, Black and the other staffers would testify. She referred those questions to their attorneys, who could not be reached for comment.

Friends find flags

State House candidate Alex Warner is trying to ease the American flag shortage in Cumberland County classrooms.

Warner, a Republican who is running against Democratic incumbent Rick Glazier, bought 100 flags for classrooms in his Cumberland district after learning from a local newspaper article about the shortage. A new law requires schools to offer the Pledge of Allegiance daily, even though some classrooms don't have flags.

Warner said he's getting the flags two to a package for $1.86.

"I bought one Wal-Mart out completely," he said.

Warner is a former Democratic House member who changed his party affiliation in 2004 after he lost a primary to Glazier. Warner said at the time that he quit the Democratic Party because it had become too liberal.

Bonner can be reached at 829-4821 or lbonner@newsobserver.com.

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