darts and laurels
Laurels to the Rev. Eric Henly and the former ARISE program for weathering a state investigation that found no criminal wrongdoing. The state auditor’s office raised questions last year about the East Spencer youth mentoring program and how it used funds from a state grant. The auditor’s most damaging finding may have been the lack of documentation for $23,000 in payments to Henley. Henley said the payments were to repay him and his wife for funds they’d spent out of their own pockets. This week’s decision by prosecutors not to file charges against Henly does not necessarily mean he did everything in accordance with state guidelines, but so far he seems to have complied with the law. This case highlights the need for better state supervision and guidance for agencies receiving grant funds, something that supposedly is now being taken care of. Too bad that didn’t happen sooner. The state could have spared well-intentioned people a great deal of embarrassment.
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Dart to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for taking so long to do something about dangerously high levels of formaldehyde in the trailers thousands of Gulf Coast residents have been living in for more than two years. Finally, this week, FEMA said it will rush to find other living arrangements for the people living in about 35,000 government-issued trailers. Poor people. First they lost their homes in Hurricane Katrina; now they learn they have been inhaling fumes that can cause breathing problems and even cancer. Of course, the reason they are still living in trailers is because they have nowhere else to go. FEMA faces a big challenge finding more temporary quarters for them. Unfortunately, the trailers themselves were not meant to be used as long as they have been. Part of Katrina’s legacy is a change in the definition of “temporary.”
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Laurel to Miss North Carolina Jessica Jacobs for focusing on literacy. Countless programs and authorities tout the importance of reading, but a woman wearing a crown might get more attention than most. And Jacobs is doing more than talking. She’s giving out free books with the help of a nonprofit organization, has founded the “Read to Me” program in Davidson and Randolph counties and hopes to take it statewide. She’s preaching to the choir when she talks to groups like Salisbury Academy students and the Salisbury Civitan Club, but they may know someone with the financial wherewithal to spur “Read to Me” along. Miss North Carolina could have chosen any worthy cause to tout during her reign. Jacobs has chosen a good one.