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Darts and laurels

Laurels to the Covenant Community Connection for encouraging discussion about immigration and immigrants in Rowan County. The upcoming forum (7 p.m. Tuesday at Rowan-Cabarrus Community College) is especially timely given the release of recent census figures that reflect the communityís growing Latino population. Thereís a tendency to view as ěoutsidersî those who are different from the purported mainstream, whether by virtue of having a different accent, practicing a different religion or holding to different cultural traditions. The CCCís annual ěMeet Your Neighborî forums encourage us to move beyond ěoutsiderî stereotypes and learn more about the different people around us. As organizers note, the forum isnít designed to make a political statement but to encourage human connections.

Dart to an apparent resurgence in methamphetamine labs in North Carolina. After the state tightened oversight of peudoephedrine sales a few year ago, meth busts dropped. But a report in the Fayetteville Observer says that encouraging decline appears to have been short-lived. Authorities disrupted 235 meth labs in 2010, up from a low of 157 in 2007. Authorities think meth-makers have altered their techniques, devising new ways to get over-the-counter ingredients and disguise their dangerous, drug-making operations.

Laurels to Clevelandís Freightliner plant for receiving state recognition of its environmental enhancements. The N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources recognized Freightliner and GKN Sinter Metals in Conover as new members of the Environmental Stewardship Initiative. Businesses earn the recognition through programs that save water, reduce waste, lower energy consumption or help reduce air emissions (as Freightliner has done through its use of solar energy to generate electricity). More than 100 sites now participate in the ESI program. From 2004-2009, ESI members saved more than 2.5 billion gallons of water, 208 million British thermal units of energy, 211 million gallons of wastewater, 352,000 tons of landfill waste, 1,150 tons of air emissions and 759 tons of hazardous waste. By embracing more sustainable production practices, those businesses also benefitted economically, saving more than $33 million.

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