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Still waiting on an airport compromise

“As The Airport Turns” aired another episode last week, the first in a few months, and it was as disheartening and confusing as the ones before it.

When last you tuned in, the city of Charlotte was fighting the legislature’s effort to have an independent commission run its airport. The FAA had punted the question to a local judge, and the judge had punted it back to the FAA.

Robert Stolz, the commission’s chairman, was optimistic in December that the city and legislators could work amicably toward a compromise. On Thursday, those hopes seemed dashed. “It is my opinion that we have now run out of opportunities to settle this,” Stolz told the FAA, “and now need for you to weigh in.”

Mayor Patrick Cannon quickly and publicly rejected that notion: “To my knowledge, Mr. Stolz stands alone in this conclusion, one with which I completely disagree. I do not believe that we have exhausted all options and remain hopeful that City and State leaders can find common ground that is in the best long-term interests of the airport.”

We’re sympathetic to Stolz’s frustration. The city and state were far apart on the airport all of last year, and apparently the two sides haven’t made much progress despite frequent talks the past two to three months. A breakthrough at this point would be surprising.

Still, if Mayor Cannon says the possibility remains for a compromise, we hope he, city officials, legislators and Gov. Pat McCrory will continue to work hard to pursue it. A settlement that all can agree to is likely to be a better outcome than the federal government declaring one side the winner and the other the loser.

Taking off the weight

You might think that childhood obesity rates should be going up, given the increasing number of opportunities technology gives children to sit on their bottoms. So it was a surprise to just about everyone last week when federal health authorities reported that the obesity rate among children ages 2 to 5 had dropped 43 percent over the past decade.

Researchers were at a loss to pinpoint exactly why. Yes, a handful of states had reported slight progress in reducing childhood obesity, but a drop so sharp nationwide?

The possible explanations: Families becoming more aware about food purchasing choices; nutritionally sound changes in the federal Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women and Children (WIC); a greater emphasis on health in policymaking from state, local and federal governments.

Notice a pattern here? While some complain about the government inserting itself into our food choices – be it through limiting availability of junk food at schools or requiring detailed information from restaurants about food – it’s possible that a long-term public emphasis on healthy food is beginning to pay off.

New nutrition labels, proposed by the FDA last week, won’t hurt. They’ll give more precise information about sugars and calories in many popular foods, including ice cream. It’s all about awareness, and it seems to be finally paying off.

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