Darts and laurels

  • Posted: Saturday, April 13, 2013 1:10 a.m.

Laurels to the “Sold Out” assembly program that uses current and former pro athletes to talk to young people about avoiding drugs, working toward goals and establishing a foundation for success. The program, launched by former pro football player Roman Gabriel III, visited Rowan and Kannapolis middle schools last year. Now, it has returned to deliver the message to high schools, with Gabriel and Panthers punter Brad Nortman visiting several campuses this week. While parents and teachers provide positive examples for children, pro athletes inevitably exert an outsized influence in our culture, and not always in a good way. By taking the time to share their life experiences with students, the athletes working with “Sold Out” can make a difference. They don’t simply tell students to avoid bad decisions but also offer inspirational stories of how people can reach their dreams through hard work, determination and believing in themselves. It’s all a part of developing a winning attitude.

Dart to the fish consumption advisory issued for Lake Norman because of PCBs found in striped bass. PCBs, or polychlorinated biphenyls, were used for decades to insulate and lubricate products such as transformers and capacitors. While banned since 1979, they persist in the environment and, in high levels, can hurt neurological development and cause cancer. The consumption advisory recommends that pregnant women, nursing women, women who may become pregnant and children under age 15 should not eat any striped bass or largemouth bass from Lake Norman, and other people should limit consumption of the fish. A similar warning regarding catfish and largemouth bass has been in effect at Badin Lake since 2009.

Dart to the 122 domestic violence homicides recorded last year in North Carolina, a 15 percent increase from the previous year. Law-enforcement authorities can’t explain the increase, but they and domestic-violence experts can readily identify what will help reduce the numbers: First, more resources to help domestic violence victims, especially women trying to escape abusive relationships; improved enforcement of laws and court orders against abusers; and, finally, increased awareness of, and engagement with, this problem by the community at large.

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