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Column: Quotes sum up recent developments

What happened in our area in 2006? Some choice quotes tell a lot of the news. See if you recognize any of these:

1. “We’re all talked out.”

2. “You come here to bless them, and they bless you.”

3. “He would have wanted his story shared.”

4. “I can become more accepting without accepting their acts.”

5. “This is just the beginning.”

6. “You are cute; you are likeable.”

7. “We had to bury her hopes and dreams with her.”

8. “What they did was just like sticking a knife in everybody in Rowan County.”

9. “Rowan goes looney for Clooney.”

10. “Quite frankly, I’ve heard good things about your superintendent.”

11. “I’ve cried so many tears you could take a bath in them. … I’m not throwing stones, but the Bible says let he who is without sin, cast the first stone.”

12. “I want to go into the Marines so I can be somebody. Some people say I can’t. I’ll show them.”

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1. Michael Young, chairman of the Salisbury Historic Properties Commission, at a hearing on the fate of the West Fisher Street Buildings. After months of often rancorous debate over whether First United Methodist Church should tear down the buildings it had bought, their fate boiled down to one thing: money. Preservationists could not come up with enough funds to move the free buildings to a donated lot.

2. Volunteer Jim Duncan, after returning from a hurricane relief trip to Pascagoula, Miss. Countless Rowan groups traveled had similar experiences in 2005 and 2006 after Salisbury adopted the Gulf Coast city.

3. Dicy McCullough, talking about the depression that led her father, John Smith, to jump from an I-85 bridge to his death.

4. Floyd Bost, at Faith Baptist Church, after hearing a speaker talk about how the church can respond to those living gay or lesbian lifestyles. The theme came up repeatedly in 2006 — after the Post published a front-page feature about a gay couple, when students at South Rowan High School tried to win approval for a Gay-Straight Alliance, and again when a Salisbury native was honored in Connecticut for her work to win equal rights for gays and lesbians.

5. David Murdock, at the ground breaking for the N.C. Research Campus. Forbes magazine ranked the California billionaire as 57th on its list of the richest Americans, and he’s pouring millions of that wealth into the biotechnology center.

6. American Idol’s Simon Cowell, talking to contestant Kelli Pickler of Albemarle as she makes it to the top 16. Pickler did not win the grand prize, but she came close, and by the end of the year country stations were giving good play to her song, “In My Red High Heels.”

7. Debbie Rowe, talking about the death of her 7-year-old daughter, Holtzapple, in a drunken driving accident. Stepfather Brandon Rowe was convicted of second-degree murder in her death and is serving a 12-year sentence in prison.

8. Jim Foltz, Rowan County’s parks and recreation director, on the arson that destroyed Dan Nicholas Park’s petting barn and killed dozens of animals. That was a low point for the park, but the community quickly started raising money and offering animals for a replacement. The project is being rebid after coming in $200,000 high. The death of the animals was the one sad note in what otherwise has been a big year for the park, with the opening of new animal habitats and other features in Rowan Wildlife Adventures, an improved learning center and the Cheerwine Freshwater Aquarium. Even the escape of a red wolf turned into a positive as the wolf was found and replaced and a park staffer penned a ballad about “Ramblin’ Red.”

9. Salisbury Post headline after actor George Clooney was spotted dining at the Wrenn House while looking for a movie location. Subsequent stories led readers to complain that the Post had gone looney. But the actor-director will be working on “Leathernecks” in North Carolina and may be sighted here again.

10. Belinda Black, coordinator of No Child Left Behind for the state, commenting on Rowan-Salisbury Schools’ chances of improving test scores and avoiding sanctions. Rowan-Salisbury was one of 11 systems that will receive visits from a state assistance team, prompting officials to say it was in “the bottom 11.”

11. Shirley Austin, mother of the man charged in a drunken driving accident that nearly killed Tiffany Woodie on Christmas Day 2005 — Michael Ray Self. He had previous convictions and was awaiting trial on another pending DWI charge, prompting community outrage. Problems with repeat offenders made the news over and over in the state this year, prompting the General Assembly to tighten the screws on offenders with changes in the law. Friends and relatives of Tiffany were among those lobbying for change. Though she suffered severe injuries, Tiffany was able to walk across the stage to receive her high school diploma in June.

12. Nathan Elrod of Rockwell in a sophomore paper titled, “My Legacy.” He went on to become a lance corporal in the Marines, but a roadside bomb cut short his military career on Oct. 21; the essay was read at his funeral. Elrod was 20.

* * *

Elizabeth Cook is editor of the Salisbury Post.

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