Darts and laurels

  • Posted: Saturday, March 8, 2014 12:35 a.m.

Laurels to Read Across America Day, celebrated last Monday in this community and across the nation. Many of us take accessibility to books for granted. We were fortunate to have parents who read to us, and we instilled the reading habit in our children. For many youngsters, however, that’s not the case. They may not have a single age-appropriate book in their home. Read Across America attempts to change that with book drives. Among local initiatives, more than 1,200 books went home with elementary kids, thanks to the joint efforts of students, faculty and staff at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College and the Rotary-sponsored Rotaract Club. Volunteers collected books and then visited elementary schools to help distribute them. If you didn’t participate in this drive, another opportunity is coming up — the statewide “Give Five — Read Five” campaign. That project, launched last year by the N.C. Department of Public Instruction, urges parents, businesses and individuals to donate five new or gently used books to local elementary schools. The books are distributed at the end of the school term to promote summer reading.

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Dart to the arrival of tax-fraud season. Along with the certainties of death and taxes, you can add the certainty of tax scams, which are estimated to cost the IRS billions of dollars each year in fraudulent refunds. Individuals also need to be aware of scam artists who may pose as IRS agents on the phone or via email, trying to get personal financial information. The IRS does not initiate taxpayer communications through email. There are also perennial reports of mailbox thieves who attempt to steal completed tax returns or even refund checks. Be careful when choosing a tax planner and downloading tax-related software, and never give out personal information to someone you don’t trust.

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Laurels to former state Senate Minority Leader Martin Nesbitt (D-Buncombe County), who is being remembered by his fellow legislators on both sides of the aisle as a dedicated public servant and a courageous voice for North Carolinians. The Buncombe County lawmaker passed away Thursday evening at age 67, only 10 days after being diagnosed with stomach cancer. Speaking in his soft, mountain drawl, Nesbitt was often a quiet voice of reason, steadfastly championing public education, better health care and programs to aid low-income residents.

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