5 years ago: Eric Bates began a two-part examination on alternative schools for troubled children. Using Durham's Morris Street Advancement Center as an example, Bates argues that on one level these schools were created to try to help "chronic disruptors" in a sincere manner, but they are also "like a prison ... torn between the contradictory goals of punishment and rehabilitation."
10 years ago: Barry Yeoman examined the bumps and grinds of strip clubs in the Triangle. Noting the shift from low-rent establishments to the multi-million-dollar complexes like Thee DollHouse in Raleigh, Yeoman concluded the differences between them were ultimately superficial.
20 years ago: The Independent took aim at golden leaf lovers everywhere with Dee Reid's analysis of North Carolina leaders' defense of tobacco farmers. While the only opponent to the then-discussed anti-smoking legislation was Republican Sen. John East, Sen. Jesse Helms, Gov. Jim Hunt and U.S. Rep. Charlie Rose all discouraged the bill. The logic was that the health concerns of smoking were a separate issue from protecting the state's family tobacco farmers.