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Darts and laurels: One less gray area

Laurelsto state health officials for reversing their position that it was a public safety hazard for people to douse their flowers and veggie patches with recycled water used to bathe or wash dishes.
The so-called “gray water” edict, coming in the middle of last year’s drought, ran counter to widespread efforts to conserve water, as well as conflicting with common sense. At the time, officials said they were following existing state law. Now, the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources says it will draft new guidelines about how to safely use gray water, and laws that suggest gray-water use is illegal will be altered. So keep a tub under those sink taps.
Despite recent rains, annual precipitation levels are still below normal, and 60 percent of the state’s population remains under mandatory or voluntary water use restrictions, according to the state Drought Management Advisory Council.
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Dart to the findings of the Wall Street Journal’s latest economic-forecast survey. Of course, everyone knew it was coming, but hearing yet another report conclude that the United States is in a recession does not build consumer confidence. That’s as it should be. With oil prices and foreclosures at record highs, this is a good time to show some consumer caution. Getting carried away is largely what got us to this mess in the first place. The Journal report said a majority of economists surveyed said the country has slid into a recession. You wonder about the minority who disagreed. What do they know that we don’t know?
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Laurels to smart students who apply themselves academically, take leadership roles at their schools and participate in volunteer projects to improve their communities.
Three such students from this area are among the winners of this year’s prestigious Park Scholarships, which are based on academic achievement and personal qualities and pay expenses for four years at N.C. State University. Two of the winners hail from Rowan County ó Savannah Hope Larimore, of North Rowan High School, and Caitlin Leigh Cox, of West Rowan High. A third winner, Robert Betrad Brummel, is a senior at A.L. Brown High School in Kannapolis.
Meanwhile, another smart N.C. student beat out 1,600 others nationwide to win a $100,000 scholarship offered annually through the Intel Science Talent Search. Shivani Sud, 17, a senior at Jordan High in Durham, won for developing a medical model she used to identify stage II colon cancer patients with a high risk of recurring tumors. Using two public data sets containing 125 patient samples and clinical data, she identified genetic markers that allowed her to characterize the various types of tumors. You’d have to be pretty smart simply to understand what she was doing, much less devise the concept.

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