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Darts and laurels

Dart to predictions of an above-average hurricane season for the Atlantic this year. This is not what you want to hear while recovering from an early spring storm system that swept across the South, pummeling Rowan County and other parts of the Carolinas.
The hurricane forecast issued annually by the storm experts at Colorado State University foresees 16 named storms this season, with nine becoming full-blown hurricanes and five escalating to the ěmajor hurricaneî category.
It also says the probability of a major hurricane making U.S. landfall is about 140 percent of the long-term tracking average. Sounds like reason enough to check the battery supply and stock up on bottled water, but no need to rush. The hurricane season doesnít officially begin until June.

Laurels to a small but noteworthy step toward lessening the influence of politics in state judicial appointments. The change comes courtesy of Gov. Bev Perdue, who last week signed an executive order creating a statewide panel that will make recommendations for replacements when unexpected vacancies occur in Superior Court, the Court of Appeals and N.C. Supreme Court. Previously, governors have acted unilaterally in appointing judges to fill those positions when they become vacant through resignation or death. The move is supported by the N.C. Bar Association, which is also the primary sponsor of a measure (Senate Bill 458) that would establish a commission to nominate judicial candidates who would then be elected through nonpartisan contests and undergo retention elections for subsequent terms.

Dart to another recycling crime trend ó a surge in the theft of auto batteries. As the price of copper has dropped, authorities say thieves are now targeting batteries, which can be sold to recycling plants. Police in Charlotte are the latest to report a surge in the theft of batteries from cars parked in driveways, on streets, at businesses and even in church parking lots. Along with individual owners, dealerships and used-car lots are also targets. Rogues recently made off with 25 batteries taken from vehicles on a used-car lot in Akron, Ohio. Best battery protection? Have a working alarm system and avoid parking in isolated areas.

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