Darts and laurels
Laurels to the Elks Club and the city of Salisbury for putting out the welcome mat for some big-hearted folks on big wheels. The Brotherhood Ride bicycle contingent will come through Salisbury on Aug. 31, enroute to New York for the 10th anniversary ceremonies of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The riders are EMS workers raising money for the families of the 411 public safety workers who died at Ground Zero. Show your support by attending the official welcome at the Firefightersí Memorial on South Main Street and contributing to the Brotherhood Ride fund-raising effort. (Collection points are the Salisbury Fire Station 1, 514 E. Innes St., or Salisbury Elks Lodge, 508 S. Main St.)
Dart to the increasing numbers of homeless female veterans. Homelessness is hard on anyone, veteran or non-veteran, male or female. But the increase in homelessness among female veterans is especially troubling; in addition to traumatic stress disorders and substance abuse, many of them also have experienced rape and sexual abuse. Nationally, the National Coalition for the Homeless says women account for between 3 percent and 4 percent of homeless veterans. That number is expected to grow as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan wind down. The problem is typically more prevalent in cities with large military installations, such as Fayetteville, home of Fort Bragg. The Fayetteville Observer recently reported that city had an estimated 90 homeless female veterans, although the transient nature of homelessness makes it difficult to obtain an accurate count. Officials there are worried because resources arenít increasing to keep pace with the numbers.
Dart to billion-dollar storm losses, which have piled up this year at a record pace, according to the National Weather Service. Thus far, the nation has experienced nine weather disasters that each totaled at least $1 billion in damages and losses ó triple the usual number. They range from blizzards to tornadoes to heat waves and drought, and theyíve affected practically every region of the country. Beyond the $35 billion total losses, the disasters also have left hundreds dead. While people may debate the causes of so-called ěextremeî weather events, the yearís toll provides stark evidence of the need for governments and individuals to prepare for such disasters. Meanwhile, hurricane season is about to arrive in full force, and forecasters say the Unites States is statistically overdue to take a major hit.