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darts and laurels

Laurels and good luck to Bill Cowan, whose last day as county manager for Rowan is Monday. A lot of people didn’t expect him to last this long. Cowan came in as interim manager in September 2005, shortly after the county’s near-meltdown over previous manager Tim Russell and his gradual assumption of excessive powers ó not Rowan’s finest moment. After proving he was interested in being more than a temporary caretaker, Cowan signed on for more than interim status. During his time here, he has brought stability and a fresh eye to county operations ó in other words, progress. The course of county government never runs smoothly, however. Cowan has had to deal with a divided board and sometimes stifling management. On to greener, less stressful pastures.
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Dart to criminals who don’t take a holiday, not even on Christmas. Earlier this week, Salisbury had a phony kidnapping-and-ransom caper, grinches who stole a woman’s presents when they couldn’t find the “guy who sells the weed” at her house and a convenience store robber who used a clerk’s scissors to ward her off. Apparently Christmas is just like any other day to people who resort to criminal deeds to fund their habits. Statistics about robberies during the holidays in the United States are hard to find. A study in South Wales found the rate of property crimes held steady throughout the holidays, but that assaults ó both domestic violence and personal assaults ó peaked around New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Considering the role alcohol plays in many New Year’s celebrations, that’s not too surprising. Let this be a warning: We could be headed into a dangerous holiday. Don’t drink and drive, and avoid people with mean streaks.
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Laurels to Charlotte-region prosperity that appears to be buffering the local real estate market from the falling values seen elsewhere in the country. Charlotte is one of only three metro areas in the nation where home prices were rising last month, and local developers and Realtors say that holds true for Rowan, too. Job growth gets the credit for Charlotte’s good fortune. In Rowan, call it job anticipation. As the N.C. Research Campus takes shape in Kannapolis, optimism about the local economy grows. Rowan has had its own good economic news in 2007, with the Toyota Racing Development project heading the list. That should bring a good boost. If this keeps up, Rowan properties might become as valuable as the tax assessor’s office says they are.

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