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Eight years ago, an 11-year-old Monroe girl gave a long hug to the only father she ever knew, then walked with her younger brother and sister toward a gate at Charlotte Douglas International Airport. They were flying to Guatemala to live with their mother, who had been deported.

So Randall Vater has felony convictions going back to 1989 and now is accused in the “accidental” shooting death of 13-year-old Nathan Clark as Clark was lying in the Raleigh hotel room next door to Vater’s.

Chances are good that the next automaker to come along dangling plans for a new factory will get a wallet-popping incentives offer from North Carolina.

How to send a 'Letter to the Editor' of the Observer.

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THE OBSERVER'S EDITORIAL STAFF

Taylor Batten, Editorial Page Editor
Taylor Batten became editorial page editor in 2008, the day Bank of America bought Merrill Lynch. He grew up in Miami, went to Duke and Harvard and covered business and politics before holding a series of editing and management jobs. He and his staff have won first place for editorial writing and editorial pages in N.C. Press Association competitions. Reach him at tbatten@charlotteobserver.com.

Peter St. Onge, Associate Editor

Peter St. Onge has been a member of the editorial board since 2011. A New Hampshire native, Peter came to the Observer in 1999. He has been honored with national awards in news writing, investigations, business writing, sports writing and feature writing. He lives in south Charlotte with his wife and two sons. Reach him at pstonge@charlotteobserver.com.

Kevin Siers, Editorial Cartoonist

A native of Minnesota, Kevin Siers has been drawing editorial cartoons for the Observer since 1987. He began his cartooning career by drawing editorial cartoons for his hometown community newspaper between shifts working in the local iron ore mines north of Duluth. His Observer cartoons today are distributed nationwide by King Features Syndicate. Reach him at ksiers@charlotteobserver.com.

Eric Frazier, Associate Editor

Eric Frazier joined the editorial board in 2014. A South Carolina native, he graduated from the College of Charleston and Columbia University. He has been a reporter and editor at the Observer since 1998, and has won state and national awards for coverage of issues ranging from capital punishment to child welfare. Reach him at efrazier@charlotteobserver.com.

We Americans love children.

America fancies itself the “land of opportunity,” one of the key ways we define ourselves as a nation. Politicians of all stripes like to wax poetic about how their parents came to U.S. shores with next to nothing, and now look – their kid might soon be running the country!

President Obama will no doubt clash regularly with his newly empowered partisan adversaries in Congress. But the most important struggle in American politics over the next two years will be inside the Republican Party. And the person who can play a decisive role in that battle is Jeb Bush.

Can I have the coal ash I’m paying for dumped at Duke’s front door?

It’s been a tough few weeks to be an advocate for public education. Our superintendent has left town. Yes, there are a lot of unanswered questions, and it is clear dysfunction exists at the highest level of our school district. Yes, a high school teacher made really bad choices when creating her own assignment, and this suggests major issues around teacher preparation and cultural competencies.

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Kevin Siers

Editorial cartoonist Kevin Siers, who for the last quarter century has skewered political egos across the Carolinas with the tip of a paintbrush, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize on Monday.

McClatchy cartoons for the week of 11/02/14
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