Darts and laurels
Laurels to turning off the TV from time to time and exploring other worthwhile pursuits like taking for a walk, reading a book, listening to music or going out. Next week is a good time to start, during TV-turnoff Week, sponsored by the Center for Screen Time Awareness. It’s unrealistic and unwise to advocate that people get rid of their television sets; television is part of our culture and does have valuable programming. But TV viewers might be surprised to realize how much time they spend watching the tube. According to Nielsen Media Research, the average person watched TV for four hours and 34 minutes a day during the 2006-07 viewing season. A lot of research has pointed to the negative effects of excessive TV-watching on children ó cutting into family time, harming their ability to read and contributing to obesity. Unfortunately, watching television is also the primary activity of a lot of senior citizens; the TV is their only companion, in many instances. Then there are all the folks in the middle, who will zone out in front of the TV to watch just about anything after a hard day’s work. We should all try what the center calls A Lifestyle for the 21st Century ó less TV and more real experiences with real people in real time.
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Dart to the showdown that’s coming over water rights, a clash highlighted this week by the naming of the Catawba River as the most endangered river in the United States. The advocacy group, American Rivers, names 10 different “most endangered” rivers each year. The designation is more political than environmental and has nothing to do with water quality. It means the river’s future is uncertain and may be determined in the coming year. The Catawba definitely is at a crossroads, with the U.S. Supreme Court set to consider South Carolina’s challenge of North Carolina’s interbasin transfer law. The court’s decision and the water-management policies that spin off it could have repercussions across the country. If the court sides with South Carolina, cities like Kannapolis and Concord will have to learn to do with less water instead of drawing water ó or “stealing” it, in American Rivers parlance ó from another river basin. The president of American Rivers, Rebecca Wodder, says water will be the oil of the 21st century. She’s right when it comes to how precious the commodity has become. However, it’s one thing to struggle against OPEC and another for state to fight state over a resource they already share.
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Laurels to those who organize the Senior Games to involve as many of Salisbury-Rowan’s 55-and-older residents as possible. More than 200 people competed in everything from bocce to tennis this week. Organizers even extended the program to include rockathons, wheelchair races and walks at nursing homes. While the urge to compete is strong for some, the need to be active is universal. Promoting a healthier lifestyle among older citizens is the single most important factor in maintaining physical and mental wellness, according to researchers. A report jointly released by the Centers for Disease Control and the Merck Institute of Aging & Health says that despite the proven health benefits of physical activity, one-third of older adults do not take part in any leisure-time physical activities. The many people and organizations who make the Senior Games happen are helping local seniors avoid that pitfall.