Darts and laurels

  • Posted: Saturday, May 18, 2013 12:12 a.m.

Laurels to a special homecoming at the North Carolina Zoo. Aquila the polar bear recently returned to the Asheboro attraction, where workers are completing an expanded habitat for Aquila and Wilhelm, the zoo’s other polar bear. Because of the construction project, the two bears had to be temporarily housed elsewhere beginning in the summer of 2011. Aquila went to the Detroit Zoo, and Wilhelm relocated to Milwaukee, where it will remain until the $8.5 million habitat expansion wraps up. Meanwhile, zoo patrons can enjoy watching Aquila in part of his new digs while looking forward to Willie’s return and perhaps additional bears in the future. As part of the expansion, the zoo will be positioned to become a polar-bear breeding facility.

Dart to another death occurring because a child was left in a hot vehicle. Authorities said a 4-year-old Transylvania County boy died Wednesday after his grandmother dropped other children off at school and then went home, apparently forgetting that the child was still strapped in a rear seat. This is an anguishing event that occurs too often, claiming almost 40 young lives each year. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration urges people to never leave a child unattended in a vehicle, even if the windows are open, and never let children play in an unattended vehicle. The agency offers this safety suggestion for those who transport babies or young children: Keep a large teddy bear or other stuffed animal in car seats when they are empty, and move the stuffed toy to the front seat when a child is in the car seat so it can serve as a visual reminder. More safety tips: www.safercar.gov/parents/heatstroke.htm.

Laurels to Livingstone College officials and students for partnering with Isenberg Elementary School to encourage students to read. In addition to making a trip to Isenberg to read to students, the college also donates books to the school — truly a gift that keeps on giving every time a student picks up one of those books. And speaking of donating books to students, there’s still time to participate in the “Give Five — Read Five” campaign, a statewide initiative encouraging individuals and businesses to donate five books to their local elementary school. Although reading should be a year-round activity, research shows it’s especially important for young readers to continue working on their reading skills over the summer break. The “Give Five — Read Five” campaign is designed to make all students have books that they can take home to read over the summer.

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