Darts and laurels

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 11, 2008

Laurels to the concerned folks who showed up at West Rowan High School Thursday night to see results of a land-use study and ask questions. For months, a committee appointed by county commissioners has been collecting every available statistic or piece of information about the western part of the county and considering the best way to direct growth there. Its study uses words like “consider” and “encourage” a lot; the idea is to give direction. It’s up to county commissioners to decide what if anything they want to mandate. This is the beginning of a process, and it could be a rocky one, according to rumblings from the homebuilding industry, which so far has had its way with Rowan County farmland. Before taking a side, be sure to read the study, which is available on the county’s Web site. Just go to www.co.rowan.nc.us and click on “land use steering.” Don’t depend on rumors. For instance, one commenter on the Post’s Web site said the study will make people share their land for a public greenway. Not so. In fact, the study specifically states, “No public trails should be proposed across private lands, or farmlands, unless the property owner voluntarily consents to them.” Check it out. Another session is coming up Tuesday, from 5 to 8 p.m. at South Rowan High School.
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Laurels to the avoidance so far of the low lake levels that plagued this area during the 2002 drought. High Rock Lake looked more like a golf course than a reservoir. One of the improvements that came out of that bad experience was the development of the Yadkin Drought Management Team to protect lake levels, public water intakes and downstream flows. The team is supporting Alcoa’s request to federal officials for permission to keep more water in the Yadkin lakes by reducing the volume of water it releases from them by almost 30 percent. The answer will probably depend on how that reduction would affect the folks downstream, especially municipal systems that draw water from the Yadkin-Pee Dee. Let’s hope Alcoa’s plan is workable for everyone.
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Laurels to another step in improving enforcement of U.S. immigration laws. A federal grand jury indicted a top manager at a House of Raeford Farms poultry plant in South Carolina, charging that she instructed employees to use fraudulent eligibility forms. Those employees were illegal immigrants ó the type of worker the plant was said to prefer because they were less likely to complain about working conditions. They were afraid of losing their jobs or being deported. That’s exploitation of desperate people, and far too much of it has gone on in this country. This is another example of how U.S. citizens encouraged or enabled illegal immigration over the past decade.