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Darts and laurels

Laurels to author John Hart and his loyal fans here. About 400 people showed up at the Literary Bookpost this week to see the Salisbury author, who was signing copies of his fourth novel, ěIron House.î Hart, a former attorney, tells the story of asking his wife several years ago to read a draft of his first novel. Quit practicing law and start writing more, she said. Since the publication of that first book, ěKing of Lies,î thereís been no looking back for Hart. It was good Wednesday to see Salisburians showing their loyalty and appreciation for Hart ó and being received warmly by him. Hartís fans will get another chance to see him Sept. 29 when the Seventh Annual Summer Reading Challenge presents An Evening with John Hart at Trinity Oaks. Mark your calendar.

Laurels to the N.C. Department of Transportation grant to Salisbury that will fund improvements in the North Lee Street area targeted for redevelopment. You might not think of wide, smooth sidewalks as an economic selling point, but a cityís sidewalks have a significant impact on its overall appeal, for better or worse. Just as the ěbroken windowsî theory links urban decay to higher crime rates and reduced opportunities for economic development, narrow, crumbling sidewalks can have a similar impact. Thanks to the $290,000 grant, the North Lee redevelopment district should soon have streetscape improvements that will enhance North Lee and greatly improve the walkability of the Rail Walk district.

… But dart to the misuse of funds that has cost East Spencer a significant grant that was to help finance anti-gang efforts. Although thereís no indication anyone sought personal gain from the funds, the state auditorís finding revealed several instances in which town officials either didnít fully understand the grant guidelines or deliberately ignored them. Either way, itís damaging for East Spencer as well as for local efforts to counteract gangs and prevent younger children from falling under their influence.

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