Last week, Sanford Herald editor Billy Liggett and the paper's editorial board pulled the plug on Ann Coulter's syndicated column in response to remarks Coulter made during a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference. "I was going to have a few comments on the other Democratic presidential candidate, John Edwards," Coulter said to a risible crowd of conservatives, "but it turns out you have to go into rehab if you use the word faggot, so I'm kind of at an impasse." To Coulter's apparent surprise, conservatives aren't laughing at her over-the-top provocations as much as they used to. "I don't think a lot of conservative people—who she thinks she's reaching out to—really use the words she uses," says Liggett, who started editing the 12,000-circulation community daily less than a month ago. The Herald was at least the seventh paper to pull Coulter's Universal Press-syndicated column since her remarks. "A public statement like the one she made about Edwards would have canned anybody in our office," the paper said in an editorial. "The Herald prides itself on being a voice for our community, and when a representative of our newspaper offends a particular race, religion or lifestyle, we feel action needs to be taken."
Once again, Durham's water department has neglected the city's citizens. The city received notices of violation from the state's Department of Environment and Natural Resources for failing to test water for volatile organic chemicals at two of its treatment plants, according to a statement released by the city on March 9. Like all public water providers, Durham is required to conduct yearly tests for a certain class of carbon chemicals. The city did not conduct the test in 2006. The statement said that over the years, the contaminant levels of the chemicals have been below the maximum levels or non-detectable and that people were never in danger. But the lapse is a continuation of mismanagement at the department. In December, The N&O reported that the city submitted false test results that didn't disclose the dangerously high levels of lead in some residents' water. Bottled water, anyone?
You're more likely to see Mary Easley than the governor these days. The state's first lady spoke on March 12 at the advance showing in Raleigh of HBO's Addiction, a groundbreaking documentary series that argues that drug addiction is a treatable brain disease. More than 23 million Americans are hooked on some drug or another, but the vast majority receives no treatment. The documentary shows how current brain imaging technology makes it possible to see inside the brain of an addicted person and pinpoint the regions affected by addiction—potentially revolutionizing the treatment options for substance abusers.