The Chapel Hill News and News & Observer, our parent company, have three goals in 2008: more investigations, more storytelling and more alternative story forms such as video reports. Another way to think of investigations is as stories some people would rather not see in the paper. We have had a few good ones recently, including last week's report on the state again telling Orange County to reduce the number of federal inmates in the county jail. It's a complicated issue because Sheriff Lindy Pendergrass' practice of housing inmates past the jail's capacity makes a lot of money for the county. The commissioners, who pay for the needs of the county, support the sheriff. Pendergrass thinks we have been unfair and won't talk to us. Reporter Sam Spies has received more than 20 e-mails now about his story on UNC Professor Albert Harris' remarks on Down syndrome and abortion. That story started with a reader who copied us on an e-mail to Harris. The e-mail writer objected to the professor's telling his biology class that, in his opinion, the moral thing to do when an amniocentesis test shows a fetus with Down syndrome, is for the woman to have an abortion. We held off writing that story the first day, even though we saw that the e-mail had been sent to another newspaper. We did this so we could send Sam to the professor's class (he invited us). I think the resulting article was fair, although the professor disagrees. Look for more about the story in today's N&O Q section. Ombudsman Ted Vaden planned to write about it.In today's Chapel Hill News we have another story that some people would rather not see. Reporter Emily Matchar spent weeks reviewing public financial records of the Animal Protection Society of Orange County. The agency, which runs a shelter in Mebane, lost its license to solicit charitable donation this month because it failed to file financial information on time. In fact the last tax return we could find on the Guidestar public database was from 2005. (Disclosure: I adopted animals from and volunteered for the APS when it was in Chapel Hill.)Tax records from the past few years are troubling. They show the agency received significant loans from members of its board of directors and dipped heavily into its savings to pay the bills. The records suggest the agency never recovered from losing the county contract when Orange County took control of the animal shelter. We wanted to talk about the problems with the APS. Their top officers and staff either said they lacked access to their financial information or declined our repeated requests for interviews.