It’s time to do something about health care in NC

In the recent midterm elections in North Carolina, many incumbent Republicans got religion around health care and endorsed coverage of pre-existing conditions and health care policies they had previously screamed they would repeal. N.C. legislators have refused to support the expansion of Medicaid for 500,000 citizens while several states during the midterms elected to expand the program.

If our legislators are so interested in fixing health care in North Carolina, why not, for example, introduce state-level public options — actuarially sound government plans — as alternatives to private insurance? Other states like New Jersey and California have introduced successful programs that have substantially reduced premiums and provide better coverage to those under 65.

Now is the time when we as citizens can experience first hand whether our Republican legislators meant what they advertised during the midterms about healthcare.

Stephen Berg

Chapel Hill

Lagoon guests

After reading your lengthy, fact-filled article (“Even after floods, dead hogs, reckoning on NC waste lagoons is still elusive,” Nov. 24) I am left with this thought: No agreement has been reached regarding the central issue because property owners say living near the waste lagoons is unlivable, and corporate opponents say, “Oh, it isn’t that terrible at all.”

Property owners should invite corporate leaders as guests to live with them for several days. Then perhaps corporate leaders will better understand and not be able to minimize the issue. A trial judge should make this a requirement, or at least a suggestion, to the litigants.

Mark Zimmerman


Women in tech

I was quite surprised to read Patricia Baum Salgado’s article “We need more women in tech, and we need men to not be afraid,” (Nov. 21). I thought we were making progress with increasing numbers. It seems that I was wrong.

She cites reasons for decreasing numbers of women in the tech fields as lack of opportunity, pay inequity and hostile colleagues. I have a granddaughter in a STEM high school focusing on math and science. I thought she would be able to enter the tech world with ease because of the need for diversity in that industry. Girls: we’ve got a long way to go!

Phyllis Siegel



How can congressmen say someone was entrapped when two government agencies work together (“ICE agents entrapped Mexican man, 2 lawmakers from NC say,” Nov. 25)? The purpose of our government agencies is to work together to arrest people who have broken the law. The laws are applicable to all people.

Roxanne and Tom Beebe


Music history

I enjoyed David Menconi’s article on North Carolina music history (“N. Carolina’s music history gets national spotlight,” Nov. 25). We certainly have had some great musicians. The article included references to Nina Simone, Earl Scruggs, Doc Watson, James Taylor, and John Coltrane.

I want to add someone to the list that I am lucky enough to know. We attended Durham High School together back in the 1960s. Don Schlitz was inducted into the Nashville Country Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1993, and he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2017. He has won two Grammys for songwriting, and has been named the ASCAP Country Songwriter of the Year four times.

Some years ago, my wife and I took a trip to Nashville. We went to a nightclub, and I told one of the staff I had an old friend who was a songwriter. Had he heard of Don Schlitz, who wrote “The Gambler?” The man responded: “Are you kidding? Everyone in Nashville knows Don Schlitz!”

Michael Lakin


N&O panel to preview ACC basketball season

As the 2018-19 ACC men’s basketball season gets underway, a News & Observer panel on Wednesday will assess the prospects for North Carolina’s four ACC schools and offer predictions on which teams are likely to finish where.

The panelists are Luke DeCock, N&O sports columnist; Bridget Condon, ABC11 sports reporter; Chucky Brown, former N.C. State and NBA player; and David Shumate, play-by-play announcer for the Duke Blue Devils. Ned Barnett, N&O associate editor, will moderate.

This Community Voices forum — “ACC men’s basketball, this season and beyond” — will be held from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday at the N.C. Museum of History. Tickets are available at eventbrite.com. (N&O Rewards members can receive free tickets by using the promo code on the N&O website’s Rewards homepage.)