PILOT LIGHT: Coble Seeks Probe On VA Hospital
Congressman Howard Coble is one of three North Carolina members of Congress who have asked the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs to investigate conditions at the veterans' hospital in Salisbury.
The 6th District congressman was joined by Congressmen Melvin L. Watt and Robin Hayes in asking the committee to broaden its oversight to include problems at the W.G. (Bill) Hefner VA Medical Center in Salisbury. Coble, whose district includes Moore County and Salisbury, and Hayes, who represents the 8th District, are Republicans. Watt is a Democrat and represents the 12th District.
In their letter, the three U.S. representatives cite reports prepared by the VA medical inspector and the VA Office of Inspector General.
'INADEQUATE' -- "These reports confirm that recent revelations of inadequate facilities and service to wounded soldiers at Walter Reed Hospital are not unique to this U.S. Army flagship facility, but also exist at the W.G. (Bill) Hefner VA Medical Center in Salisbury, North Carolina, if not throughout all parts of the VA service system," their letter says.
The letter says that the inspector general's inquiry resulted in allegations that inadequate care has led to patient deaths at the Salisbury hospital.
"Our veterans deserve appropriate top notch services and facilities at the flagship Walter Reed Hospital as well as at all other facilities serving them," the trio wrote.
The Salisbury facility is named in honor of former 8th District Congressman Bill Hefner, whose district at one time included Moore County.
NSP DEMOCRATS -- North Southern Pines Democrats will hold their precinct meeting Monday, March 26, at 7 p.m. at the residence of Era Mae Rickman, 195 S. Ashe St., Southern Pines.
For additional information, North Southern Pines Democrats may call Rickman at 692-5020 or acting precinct chairperson Anna Davenport at 692-3762.
BOYLAN -- State Rep. Joe Boylan is one of 96 sponsors of House Bill 878, legislation that would restrict the power of state and local governments to seize private property for anything other than a public purpose.
The 96 sponsors represent a bipartisan majority of the 120-member House. If the bill passes both the House and the Senate, the General Assembly would place a constitutional amendment on the ballot this November for voter approval.
In 2005 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the Kelo decision that local governments could condemn private property for transfer to another private owner for economic development or other "public benefit."
State House Minority Leader Paul Stam said that more than 80 percent of the American public disagrees with the decision.
"If approved by the voters, the constitutional amendment reverses the infamous Kelo decision for North Carolina permanently by forbidding government from taking private property for anything other than a true public purpose," Boylan said in a statement released Wednesday.
In addition to restrictions on eminent domain, the amendment would require prompt payment of "just compensation" in cases where land is properly condemned to construct a road, for example. The amendment would bring North Carolina in line with 49 other states by requiring a trial by jury in all condemnation cases as a matter of constitutional law, according to Boylan's statement.
Boylan, a Republican, represents most of Moore County in the state House of Representatives.
Florence Gilkeson can be reached at 947-4962 or by e-mail at email@example.com.?
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