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Darts and laurels

Laurels to the return of a growing number of immigrants ó legal and illegal ó to their homelands in recent months as life in the United States has become more difficult for them. No one has firm numbers, but newspapers here and abroad cite anecdotal evidence that many Latin Americans no longer see the United States as the promised land. Driving factors are the shrinking pool of well-paying jobs, the government crackdown on illegal immigration and the general unease that has resulted in the Hispanic community here. The turnaround cannot be called an exodus, and new arrivals come every day ó more with work visas now. Perhaps this gradual, voluntary exit will quiet some of the more xenophobic critics of the immigrant population. The United States’ reputation seems to have shifted from land of opportunity to land of suspicion. When the economy does revive and there are more jobs, those who immigrate to work in the United States should come with visas in hand.
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Dart to the slowdown in state tax revenues. Gov. Mike Easley warned lawmakers Thursday that the government will end the fiscal year with about $70 million less in revenue than expected. That’s less than one-third of 1 percent of the state budget now under consideration, so it will hardly shut down Raleigh. But the shifting revenue picture may be an omen of things to come for the state and counties in 2008-09. As taxpayers and businesses cope with mushrooming fuel prices and the ripples they send through the economy, government should expect to feel the pinch.
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Laurels to the beginning of Faith’s Fourth of July festivities today. This is one of Rowan County’s best traditions. It started after World War II and has grown year by year, with flags and banners flying all over town. Legion Park will be open each night, from tonight through Friday, with food booths, rides and special features. The competition for Faith Idol has turned out to be a popular attraction, and this year’s Apple Ugly Eating Contest adds yet another element to the melange of activities. This is a great chance to put aside the bad news of recent months and celebrate all that is red, white and blue.

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