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Darts and laurels: The price of opportunity

Laurels to the N.C. Center for Public Policy Research for its in-depth study of the state’s community college system, which is used by many but fully understood by few. For example, since tuition is much lower at community colleges, it’s assumed students at four-year colleges and universities have a greater need for financial help. Wrong. The majority of the state’s 845,000 community college students are usually older, with families to support and jobs to maintain ó or search for. Mama and Daddy aren’t footing the bill any more, if they ever did. Opportunity comes at a price, and tuition and fees are often a small part of community college students’ true total cost for attending school; they’re missing work. North Carolina is the third-worst state in the percentage of community college students who have access to federal student loans ó only 47 percent. The N.C. Center for Public Policy Research is making recommendations to improve that access. Let’s hope lawmakers are listening.
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Dart to drivers who don’t know what to do when they see an ambulance, fire truck or police car in action. The solution can be summed up in two simple words: Move over. If you see an emergency vehicle parked on the side of the road with lights flashing, move into another lane if possible. If not, slow down and prepare to stop. So says the state’s “Move Over” law, which AAA and Families for Roadside Safety demonstrated Monday at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.
Drivers also seem confused when they see an emergency vehicle coming up behind or toward them. Here’s a refresher from the state’s driver manual:
– As the emergency vehicle approaches (from ahead or behind), drive to the right-hand curb or edge of the road and stop completely.
– Remain stopped until the emergency vehicle has passed or until you are directed to move by a traffic officer.
– Do not park within 100 feet of an emergency vehicle that has stopped to investigate an accident or give assistance.
– All vehicles, regardless of direction of travel, must yield right of way to an approaching emergency vehicle.
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Laurel to farmers markets and their stock of locally grown produce. The Salisbury-Rowan County Farmers Market at 300 S. Main St. has been open on Wednesdays and Saturdays for several weeks now (7 a.m.-2 p.m., April through October), and a new Campus Farmers Market opened this week on West Avenue in Kannapolis’ Cannon Village (open 4-7 p.m. on Thursdays through October). They offer fresh produce and a way to meet local farmers ó people who help put food on thousands of tables. There’s something quaint about shopping in an open-air market and connecting with growers. Whatever fruits or vegetables you buy, the trip is bound to be good for you.

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