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Story pick: Unpaid bills and good deeds

In this relentless, unforgiving heat, the idea of going weeks without power is almost enough to make me short of breath. Bennie Dent and Martha Stewart have been living that pain for most of this summer after Pepco cut them off because the family's houseguests ran up a $1,200 electric bill.

Phillip Lucas's story in today's Washington Post chronicles the kind acts of strangers who have stepped in to try to make life somewhat more bearable for the Washington couple.

"From day to day, I make it from what I have," said Vincent Hucks, who brought Dent and Stewart a generator, cooler, food and water. "I still try to make it my effort to help other people."

Supposedly, Mayor Adrian Fenty gave the couple $200, which is very nice of him. But should such a couple be at the mercy of help from strangers and politicians? On the other hand, why should the electric company be expected to continue to provide service to a family that hasn't paid its bills? These are always tricky stories. What's the right answer?

By Marc Fisher  | July 19, 2010; 10:32 AM ET
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There are always tricky stories. The hardest ones to write leave folks with more questions than answers. The Post does a great job balancing pages of factual reporting with heart-wrenching stories. Post readers like having lots of facts at their fingertips, so your heavy-duty research work yields lots of laudable reporting. But I'm betting most readers, although unwilling to admit that they need it, LOVE the human interest slant. Thanks for keeping us on our toes here and not letting this couple turn into part of a story on Hot Weather Deaths.

Posted by: ExtraExtra | July 23, 2010 8:54 AM | Report abuse

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