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Darts and laurels

Laurels to another lively run for the Rowan County Agricultural & Industrial Fair, which concludes tonight. Although the final attendance tallies won’t be in for a while, the economic downturn didn’t appear to decrease the crowds showing up for the traditional mix of rides, exhibits, food vendors and games. In fact, with more families looking for affordable entertainment close to home, the fair may have been even more popular than usual.
This was the 58th year for the event, which makes it one of the more enduring traditions in Rowan County. Let’s hope it’s around for at least another 60 years or so. While county fairs trace their manure-rich roots to a time when we were a much more rural and agriculturally oriented land, they’ve managed to evolve with the times. Dazzling new rides and games co-exist with displays and contests involving traditional mainstays such as cows, flower arrangements and canned preserves. In a Facebook world, the fair continues to be a great place to socialize face-to-face. If you haven’t checked out this year’s version, it isn’t too late to get your fill of funnel cakes or take a fast swing on the “Vertigo” ride. Gates open today at noon at the fairgrounds on Julian Road. The fair closes at 11:30 p.m.
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Dart to torrential rains that have hit parts of the Southeast, causing at least 10 fatalities in Georgia and Alabama. While this storm may pale in comparison to the Gulf Coast’s devastation from Hurricane Katrina, for those who’ve suffered loss of homes, loss of businesses or even loss of life, it’s a catastrophic event. Like that earlier disaster, it also underscores the need to have a solid network of responders who can help minimize damage and provided needed resources during the recovery period. In this case, by most accounts, emergency management services were on top of the rising water, and Red Cross volunteers, along with others, were quickly on the job afterward to provide shelter, food and other necessities for displaced families.
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Laurels to continued expansion of public transportation services in Rowan County. East Rowan is set to become the next beneficiary, following the Board of Commissioners’ approval of extending daily bus services to Granite Quarry, Faith and Rockwell. The service expansion, which depends on approval of funding from the N.C. DOT, would follow expansion of service to other parts of the county through Rowan Transit’s express bus network. For those who own their own vehicles and do their own driving, having daily bus service available to connect towns and cities throughout the county might not seem like such a big deal. But Rowan has many residents who don’t drive ó either because of age, because of physical infirmities or simply because they can’t afford to own and maintain a car. They have to find other ways to get to the grocery store, to the doctor’s office, to the library or to work. For these people, a bus line can be a life line.

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