by Jordan Green

Items from across the Triad and beyond

Healthcare votes fall along party lines in Triad delegation

Votes by members of Forsyth and Guilford counties’ delegations in the US House of Representatives on the historic healthcare reform bill on Sunday broke down along party lines, with Democrats Brad Miller and Mel Watt voting for it, and Republicans Howard Coble and Virginia Foxx voting against it. In other parts of the state, conservative Democrats perhaps fearful of losing their seats to Republican challengers crossed party lines to vote against the legislation. The Democratic defectors included Larry Kissell, Heath Shuler and Mike McIntyre. The Republican primaries in Kissell and Shuler’s district’s each list six candidates, while three Republicans are vying for the nomination to take on McIntyre.

Democrat Miller explained his support in a prepared statement before the vote, saying, “In America, we have the best healthcare in the world: the best doctors, the best hospitals and the most significant technology. Despite this, we spend twice as much on healthcare as other prosperous nations, and Americans don’t live as long and aren’t as healthy. Currently 47 million Americans are uninsured and most Americans are at risk of losing their insurance if they get sick, lose their job, or get sick and lose their job. Health insurance reform is essential in ensuring coverage and controlling healthcare costs, now and in the future.”

Both Miller and his Republican counterpart, Howard Coble, said their constituents came down on both sides of the issue. But in District 6, represented by Coble, “the vast majority wants nothing to do with it.”

“Make no mistake about it,” Coble said in a prepared statement on the House floor. “This bill will put the government in control of our healthcare. It is a train wreck waiting to occur and considering our current economic morass, we need no train wrecks. It is with the best interests of all my constituents, their children and future generations that I will oppose this legislation.”

Recovery funds used for roads in Greensboro

Thomas-Arthur Paving & Construction, a local company, was scheduled to begin resurfacing three streets in Greensboro on Monday with federal funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The $1.5 million grant to the city will pay for resurfacing on Cone Boulevard from Elm Street to Summit Avenue, on Friendly Avenue from Aycock Street to Wendover Avenue, and on Smith Street from Battleground Avenue to Eugene Street.

Mental health support line created in Greensboro

The Mental Health Association of Greensboro has set up a peer support “warm” line for persons in need of counseling but not at the point of requiring crisis assistance. A recent press release from the association explains that “a phone call to the warm line will provide the caller with encouragement, reflective insight and referrals to other community resources, all with a compassionate understanding of mental illness and associated symptoms.” The line is staffed by persons who themselves have a mental health diagnosis. Persons in need of peer support may call 336.272.2121 Thursday and Friday from 4 to 10 p.m., Saturday from 3 to 10 p.m., and Sunday from 3 to 9 p.m.