Darts and laurels

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 17, 2011

Laurels to Davidson College for using one of natureís best weed-eaters to gnaw away at a kudzu problem. The college recently recruited 30 goats to help clear away kudzu vines that had overgrown parts of the campusí ecological preserve, including its popular cross-country paths. The goats, which are rented out for such purposes by Wells Farm of Horse Shoe, consume 12 to 18 pounds of kudzu per day, according to an Associated Press report, and will spend about two months chewing over the problem. Goats have been used for similar ground-clearing operations by municipalities, and Tallahassee, Fla., recently brought in a herd of sheep to deal with a kudzu problem. The four-legged maintenance crews are more environmentally friendly than chemical herbicides ó and a lot quieter than power tools.

Dart to the apparently gang-related vandalism that left graffiti scrawled across a house and customized automobile on Scales Street in Salisbury this week. Perhaps we should consider the victim lucky neither he nor his family was injured. Gang-related shootings are an all too common occurrence. But itís scary to think you can be minding your business, bothering no one, and come home to find that gang members have decided to use your house as a billboard to showcase their ěcolorsî and gang symbols. Somebody has information that could help the police track down the perpetrators. Witnesses and others are often reluctant to come forward, often because they fear repercussions themselves. But the only ones protected by silence are the gang members.

Laurels to managers who recognize a bad decision and then act swiftly to correct it. Such was the case with the attempt to move Rowan Regional Medical Centerís switchboard operation to NovantHealthís centralized call center in Winston-Salem. To put it mildly, a lot of missed connections apparently ensued. But credit RRMC President Dari Caldwell with recognizing the cost-cutting move wasnít working as planned and quickly bringing back the switchboard operators who, many now realize, arenít simply routing calls but have an important role in coordinating medical care. In this economy, people can understand the need for corporate cost-cutting, but not at the expense of patient care.