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Darts and laurels

Laurels to a quarter-century of incorporation for the city of Kannapolis, which celebrated that milestone this week. Newcomers to the area may be surprised to learn that the home of the N.C. Research Campus is such a relatively young city. In reality, of course, it’s a lot older, having sprung up at the turn of the century to provide homes and a few other amenities for the workers at Cannon Mills. Just as founder J.W. Cannon had a vision for the mill town he created, so did the group of officials who pushed for the town’s incorporation in 1984. It’s hard to imagine how different things might be today if they hadn’t taken steps to ensure that Kannapolis could set its own course and take control of its own future. Now, although the textile mills that once provided its sustenance are gone, Kannapolis has a new vision arising at the N.C. Research Campus. Even as it evolves into a 21st century metropolis, Kannapolis still retains a lot of its former mill-village and character. Let’s hope that’s still the case in another 25 years.
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Dart to the damage from the blustery weather that swept across the region Wednesday, downing limbs and a few trees. Fortunately, no one was injured, but there were sporadic power outages and some houses sustained structural damages. This week’s cold, windy weather is a reminder that winter has arrived, even if the calendar says we’re still more than a week away from the solstice. With that in mind, don’t forget to perform the routine maintenance chores that can make life easier when temperatures plunge and storms arrive. Make sure you’ve closed basement or crawl-space vents. Insulate any exposed water lines, and if you use a fireplace or wood stove for heating, don’t forget to have the chimney or flue inspected. This is also a good time to make sure smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are functioning properly. Some simple precautions now can save major headaches later ó or even save lives.
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Laurels to shooting stars. You may get a chance to see some this weekend, weather permitting, courtesy of the Geminid meteor shower. The Geminids often provide one of the best star shows visible in North America. Based on the forecast, stargazing conditions locally look somewhat iffy, with cloud cover expected to move in tonight. If conditions are clear, it’s worth a trip outside to do a little sky-scanning. According to veteran stargazers, the peak viewing time will arrive Sunday night. Look toward the constellation Gemini, from which the shower takes its name. The Geminids are particularly appropriate for the holiday season, with multicolored light streaks that can range from white to yellow to blue, red and even green. The celestial display should begin around 9 p.m., peaking at midnight.

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