Elizabeth Edwards and Kay Yow; pedestrian-unfriendly roadways; the parents of Pat Tillman | Heroes & Zeros | Indy Week

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Elizabeth Edwards and Kay Yow; pedestrian-unfriendly roadways; the parents of Pat Tillman

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It takes a lot of courage to fight cancer while living in the public eye. Elizabeth Edwards and Kay Yow get our salute for struggling for their lives without giving up on their passions. While the NCSU women's basketball team is out of the NCAA tournament now, Yow should be celebrating an incredible season—her determined spirit inspired both her players and her fans. For the Edwards family, the decision to stay in the presidential race is a clear statement: We're not backing down. And while vicious personal attacks against the Edwardses continue unabated, the couple is showing the nation they're not intimated. (Newt Gingrich take note: A real man stands beside his wife in times of crisis.)

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The tragic death of Jason Ray, the UNC-Chapel Hill senior who played Tar Heel team mascot Rameses, is the latest reminder of the senseless danger of pedestrian-unfriendly roadways. Reports say that Ray was walking along New Jersey's Route 4, returning to his hotel room from a convenience store at about 4 p.m., when he was hit by an SUV. The driver wasn't drunk, according to police. It was just an accident on a road designed for cars, not for people. Sad to say, such an accident might have happened on Raleigh's Capital Boulevard, where eight people have been killed along a 10-mile stretch since 2002. Or it might have happened on U.S. 15-501 between Durham and Chapel Hill—in fact, a similar incident did happen there in 1999, when two lacrosse players from George Mason University, in town for a match with UNC-Chapel Hill, were struck by a car while trying to get from a shopping center to their hotel room. And last year, UNC Emeritus Psychology Professor David Galinsky was killed trying to cross Fordham Boulevard on his way to a Tar Heels game and Arthur McClean was killed the same day, trying to cross U.S. 15-501 near Southern Village.

Makeshift memorials are scattered across the Triangle's dangerous intersections, even as more hotels, restaurants and shopping centers are built there. Many of those intersections are under the purview of the state Department of Transportation, for which pedestrian safety continues to be among the lowest priorities. How long will traffic engineers continue to ignore these deaths?

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The parents of NFL-star-turned-soldier Pat Tillman are rightfully calling for a congressional probe into the Army's coverup of how their son was killed. The soldiers involved have always been truthful about the incident, admitting Tillman was the accidental target of friendly fire. But nine Army officers told the family he was killed by the enemy while leading his team to help another group of ambushed soldiers. The Defense Department denies there was a coverup, but a recent report shows they're still at it. "Perhaps subpoenas are necessary to elicit candor and accuracy from the military," the family said in a statement Monday.

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