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Darts and laurels

Dart to the abuse of an increasing array of drugs and substances by people looking for a high. The arrest of two teens at Wal-mart this week for allegedly stealing cough medicine suggests a high degree of desperation, nerve or both. They couldn’t wait until they got outside to drink the Robitussin; police say they guzzled it down right in the store. In recent years, stores in many states have put behind their counters medicines containing pseudoephedrine because people were using it to make methamphetamine. Lately there’s been a push to do the same for cough suppressants containing dextromethorphan, DXM for short. This is the ingredient in several major brands of cough syrup that, when abused, can cause hallucinations. It can also cause death, if a person consumes too much. You have to wonder what other widely available and useful substance people will pervert for a drug high ó and where we should stop in trying to save teens from themselves.
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Laurel to the Lilly Center for Vocation and Values for bringing newspaper columnist Leonard Pitts to the Catawba Campus and the community at large for a visit last week. Pitts writes for he Miami Herald and has become known both as a fine writer and a man with a strong moral compass ó one that points unfailingly toward fighting poverty, racism and fatherlessness. The Salisbury Post is among the many papers that publish his syndicated column. In person, his message comes across with even greater commitment. Where does that Pitts’ strong conviction come from? Why is he so determined to save what corner of the world he can? Pitts said in a question and answer period that he realized at the age of 5 that writing would be his life. Having succeeded at it so well, and “coming from where I come from,” he sometimes feels guilty, he said. “The only way I can justify it to myself,” he said, “is to do what the movie says, ‘pay it forward.’ ”
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Dart to another consequence of North Carolina’s drought ó further delay in installation of the extensive landscaping planned for the East Innes Street interchange at I-85. Compared to the hardships that roadwork imposed on businesses in the area, the lack of roadside greenery might not seem like a big deal. But this is considered the city’s premier gateway for visitors ó the first glimpse of Salisbury many see ó and it’s hard to imagine it going barren until fall 2009, as DOT authorities say may be the case. Still, even though Salisbury-Rowan Utilities may have ample water, the city will need to follow the DOT’s timetable, especially since the state agency is footing significant costs for Salisbury’s “color canopy” of trees, flowers and native grasses. With other areas worrying about having enough water to satisfy residential users and businesses, Salisbury needs to set a good example for stewardship and conservation. Meanwhile, the city may want to haul in more mulch ó and pray for more rain.

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