Darts and laurels (5-10-14)
Laurel to Rowan County educators and everyone else who takes part in the Give Five — Read Five campaign. In its second year, the program aims to send at least five books home with every elementary school student in the state. The effort not only provides books for children who might not otherwise have access to them at home, it could help stem the regression of reading skills that many students experience over summer break. That’s important in a district that has placed a renewed emphasis on literacy at a time when only 38.3 percent of third-graders tested proficient in reading last year. For more information about the campaign, read education reporter Jeanie Groh’s May 8 article, ask at your child’s school or check in with the Rowan-Salisbury School System.
Dart to the low turnout for this week’s primary elections. Out of 91,526 registered voters in Rowan County, only 16,353 cast ballots, for a turnout of 17.87 percent. While that’s higher than the turnout in the last non-presidential election year — 15.41 percent in the 2010 primaries — it fell short of county Elections Director Nancy Evans’ hoped-for 20 percent. And isn’t it sad that 20 percent was a goal? With more than a week of early voting opportunities at multiple locations (it’s called “no excuse” voting for a reason) in addition to 13 hours of open polls Tuesday, anybody who cared to vote certainly could. If you didn’t vote and your candidate lost, you really have no right to complain.
Laurel to the U.S. Postal Service and its letter carriers for once again taking extra time to collect food as they deliver the mail. The annual Stamp Out Hunger National Food Drive takes place today. Sponsored by the National Association of Letter Carriers, the drive is the largest one-day food collection of its kind and has accounted for more than 1 billion pounds of food collected since its start in 1993. Local organizers hope to round up 18,000 pounds of food for distribution to Rowan Helping Ministries, the Salvation Army and Main Street Mission in China Grove, which in turn will give it to needy residents. It’s easy to help. Just place a bag of non-perishable food by your mailbox. Your letter carrier will do the rest.
Dart to the circumstances that forced leaders of the Human Relations Council to drop “Salisbury-Rowan” from the group’s name. They made the decision a year after Rowan County commissioners withdrew from the organization and earmarked funding for only one Human Relations Council event, the annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. breakfast. In spite of one commissioner’s argument that the group doesn’t represent all the county’s citizens, its efforts including Meet Your Neighbor forums are meant not only to represent all residents, but to bring them together. Human Relations Council leaders say this was a painful decision and that they hope the county returns and the name is restored. So do we.