Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 24, 2007
Laurels to Salisbury City Council for insisting RoMedical put something more decorative than a black-coated chain link fence atop the retaining wall that will stand between the growing medical practice and the residential neighborhood nearby. They say he who has the gold rules, and RoMedical has the right to do what it wants on the property it owns ó to a point. In this case, though, the council came down on the side of Fulton Heights homeowners who have fought encroachment on their neighborhood for years. The RoMedical facility and its parking lot have grown despite neighborhood resistance every inch of the way. The city has tried to walk a fine line between being friendly to a growing business and preserving a flourishing and historic residential neighborhood. The decorative aluminum fence RoMedical must erect along its border is one small victory.
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Dart to all this fuss over the chairs Rowan County Commissioners sit in. Granted, chairs that cost nearly $1,000 each boggle taxpayers’ minds, but most taxpayers don’t go out and buy this kind of furniture often, if ever. People have paid that much and more for leather recliners that will not be expected to last as long or look as stately as the commissioners’ meeting room requires. Low-budget chairs are not going to cut it. This shows how penny wise and pound ridiculous officials can get as they try to keep campaign promises about cutting government waste. An inordinate amount of time and emotion has gone into this non-issue. It has made the Rowan County Board of Commissioners look more like a sideshow than a serious, decision-making body capable of leading this county into the future. What happened to promises about that?
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Laurels to the fuel economy standard included in the energy bill the Senate approved Thursday: 35 miles per gallon for cars and SUVs, vans and pickup trucks, compared to the current 27.5 mpg standard for cars. While recalcitrant members of Congress forced considerable dilution of the original energy bill, the 35 mpg standard still represents a 40 percent increase over current requirements. This doesn’t mean every vehicle on the road will get at least 35 mpg; the requirement is applied to fleet averages for manufacturers, which leaves considerable wiggle room. Still, this is the first change in the car standard since 1989, and it puts SUVs, vans and small trucks under the same regulation as passenger cars. Consumers may pay the price through more expensive vehicle design, but getting a handle on the nation’s gasoline consumption is a higher priority. If the House weakens this measure, citizens should revolt.
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Dart to the N.C. General Assembly’s approval of an earlier cutoff date for children to enter public kindergarten. Starting in fall 2009, a child will have to turn 5 before Aug. 31 to enter kindergarten, instead of the current Oct. 16. Proponents argued that this would delay the entry of immature 4-year-olds, but maturity does not magically arrive at the age of 5, whenever a child reaches it. Countless studies prove the value of early childhood education practically from the womb. What a shame that North Carolina will delay untold numbers of today’s 21/2-year-olds from entering kindergarten in two years. A six-week change in the cutoff date will delay their education an entire year.