Darts and laurels
Laurels to Livingstone College’s Christmas extravaganza, which provided a sumptuous meal for 150 guests last Sunday, followed by the musical and theatrical treat of a “Miracle on Monroe Street.” College President Dr. Jimmy Jenkins Sr. said he wanted to give the public something extra with this year’s Christmas program, and the college certainly delivered a memorable gift to the community. In a season of sharing, the program showcased the musical and stage talents of students and faculty, while dinner guests got a firsthand taste of the good things cooking at the school’s culinary arts program. Expect demands for an encore performance next year.
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Dart to the increasing number of people with mental health issues who’re waiting in hospital emergency departments because there’s no place else to go. In 2012, there were 17,000 more visits to N.C. emergency departments related to behavioral health issues than in 2010. The average wait before transfer to a mental-care facility is three days, but some patients may wait several days or even weeks. A new initiative, the Crisis Solutions Coalition, met this week in Raleigh to brainstorm about solutions. For now, the coalition’s ideas are focused on better use of existing resources, such as making information on available psychiatric beds more accessible to ER staff; expanding crisis facility hours; and improving communication with families regarding crisis centers and emergency care options. If the coalition is successful, it would have a double benefit — better outcomes for the mentally ill, and a reduced burden on hospital emergency departments. The coaltion — which includes service providers, hospitals, families and government agencies — will meet again next month.
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Laurels to Woodleaf Elementary’s creative program that teaches basic economic concepts to first-graders by letting them earn, save and spend “money” (not the real stuff, though) through classroom-oriented exercises. It’s never too early to learn about making smart money choices. The Woodleaf program makes it fun by assigning students jobs and then letting students make decisions about how they’ll spend or save their income. Economics is called the “dismal science.” For these students, however, it’s about connecting choices with consequences and learning to think beyond immediate gratification — lessons their elders often wish they had learned earlier.