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Darts and laurels

Laurels to some great recognition for Rowan Countyís ětrain town.î Of course, that would be Spencer, which is the subject of an informative, as well as appreciative, article in the May edition of ěOur Stateî magazine. The article by Cornelius-based free-lancer Lori K. Tate offers an entertaining mix of anectdotal reflections about the heyday of Spencer Shops, as well as descriptions of the N.C. Transportation Museum and its role in preserving history and helping to boost interest in Spencer.
ěI think in some ways having the museum here has given the town an opportunity to show itself to people from outside just the local county,î says Elizabeth Smith, the museumís executive director. ěI think the museum has helped people across the state recognize where the little town of Spencer is and more importantly that our heritage is the railroad. Weíve kept that heritage alive.î
Thereís also a short sidebar by museum historian Walter R. Turner.
If you canít still find a copy on news stands (the June issue is now out), you can access the article through the archives at www.ourstate.com.

Dart to a state auditorís conclusion that failure to collect court-ordered fines, fees and restitution payments is costing North Carolina millions of dollars each year. The Office of the State Auditor blames outdated computers and inefficient administrative procedures for the problems, which it said left more than $40 million uncollected in 2008. Judge John Smith, director of the Administrative Office of the Courts, disagreed with the findings, saying the audit set an unreasonably high rate of collections. But Smith also blamed lack of legislative funding for hampering the collection process, a tacit admission that the rate could improved with more resources. Given how governments are scratching for every extra nickel and dime, upgrading collection procedures would be a worthwhile investment.

Laurels to this yearís recipients of the Elizabeth Duncan Koontz Humanitarian Award ó Roy Leazer Sr., Dorris D. Wright and Sandra Reitz. These individuals represent decades of volunteer work and public service dedicated toward improving human relations in the community. Their efforts have touched countless lives in many different areas ó from education to community planning to working with troubled youth. We all benefit from the work they and many others do behind the scenes, without fanfare or any thought of personal aggrandizement.


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