Darts and laurels

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 29, 2011

Laurels to volunteers, including some from this community, whoíve rushed to provide assistance to tornado victims in North Carolina and other states. Some are working through the Red Cross and Salvation Army, while others are part of teams organized through churches and other groups ó or are simply pitching in to clean up their own neighborhoods. The devastation from this weekís storms and those earlier in the month defies comprehension. But alongside the scenes of destruction are stories of people reaching out to help others even before the winds have died away.
This is how an editorial in the Chattanooga (Tenn.) Times-Free Press described it, two days after that city and surrounding regions suffered direct hits from deadly storms: ěNeighbor is helping neighbor, and numerous civic and church groups are delivering needed supplies to the hard-hit areas. If there is a blessing to be found in Wednesdayís events, it is in the outpouring of care, assistance and concern that has been apparent …î

Dart to drivers who speed in school zones ó and that includes a majority of N.C. motorists. Even when theyíre stopped and ticketed, theyíve gotten off too leniently in the past, typically with a fine of $25 or so. Thatís about to change, thanks to legislature approval of a bill raising the fine to $250. Thatís the same penalty as for speeding in a highway work zone, and school-zone speeding shows the same reckless disregard for life. If drivers wonít slow down to avoid endangering lives, maybe they will want to avoid taking a hit to their wallet through the fine, related court costs and potentially higher insurance premiums.

Laurels to the wedding of William and Kate as they ride off into what one hopes will be a long and happy marriage. About that ride: The vintage Aston Martin that conveyed them from Buckingham Palace after the wedding at Westminster Abbey deserves a toast of its own. After all, it runs on wine. The Aston belongs to Williamís father, Prince Charles, whose environmental interests led him to convert the carís engine to run on bioethanol fuel that is distilled from surplus British wine. Informed sources tell us the exhaust has a somewhat biscuity bouquet, distinctive yet not cloying, with just a hint of Castrol.