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Guest editorial: Another in depressing string of closings

The Dispatch of Lexington
The news is all too familiar: Another manufacturing plant is shutting down in Davidson County. This time Stanley Furniture Co. announced it would shutter its Lexington plant and move production to Robbinsville. About 350 people will lose their jobs; 20 who work in a warehouse here will remain. State officials are already helping those who will become unemployed in the next two to three months.
Lexington was once known as a furniture town, but now only one ó Linwood Furniture ó remains. The closing is a blow to the affected families, the city and many other businesses and nonprofits that will experience a ripple effect from the loss of that many jobs. The closure shows just how critical it remains for the city and county to continue efforts to diversify the employment base. And furniture-making recedes further into history.
One agency that has experienced the effects of job loss on two fronts is Crisis Ministry of Davidson County. At the same time it serves more homeless people, fewer residents are able to donate. The bleak financial picture could have forced the agency to close its shelters this summer, but community donations, including $23,000 given anonymously, have eliminated that possibility.
Another agency desperately in need of donations is the American Red Cross. Blood donations typically fall off in the summer, and this year is no exception. With five blood drives scheduled through the remainder of the month, individuals should consider making time to give blood.
Law-enforcement officers removed 31 drunk drivers from county roads during “Booze It & Lose It: Operation Firecracker.” It’s scary to think how many impaired drivers may have been on the roads and avoided arrest. Strict enforcement sends the message that impaired drivers need to stay off the highways, where they can kill or injure innocent people.
The addition of the N.C. Incident Management Assistance Patrol to I-85 and U.S. 52 would also make the roads safer. The patrol helps stranded motorists and aims to quickly remove disabled vehicles. The state transportation board should approve the funding that would allow the patrol to begin in Davidson County, especially since Interstate 85 is such an important route in the state.

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