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Darts and laurels

Laurels to local firefighters, Red Cross workers and others whoíve traveled to hurricane-damaged areas to aid in recovery efforts. Although some coastal enclaves were assuring Labor Day tourists it would be business as usual at the beach this weekend, itís a different story for the people whose homes and businesses were battered by Irene. Most of them donít own beach-front showplaces. Theyíre working-class Tar Heels who need help getting back on their feet ó and not just from volunteers offering to clear debris, put up tarps, prepare meals and staff emergency aid stations. Whether itís a tobacco farmer with a ruined crop, a small business or a homeowner, disaster victims need federal assistance, and they shouldnít become pawns in Washingtonís political wars. Get aid to these communities now; we saw with Katrina how bureaucratic dithering can worsen a disaster.

Dart to dogs that bite postal carriers, a situation that temporarily disrupted mail service for a few Salisbury residents recently. This isnít an isolated incident, judging from the 5,700 carriers who were bitten or attacked by dogs last year. The attacks occurred in more than 1,400 cities or towns, with Houston; Columbus, Ohio; San Diego; Los Angeles and San Antonio, Texas, recording the most mail carrier bites. Carriers who deliver mail on foot expect to be at the mercy of the elements ó rain, hail, sleet and such ó but they shouldnít have to use their pouches to defend against unrestrained pooches. If missing the mail isnít motivation enough for pet owners to restrain aggressive dogs, they should think about potential liabilities. Dog owners can be held financially responsible for medical treatments and associated expenses if their pet bites a carrier ó or anyone else, for that matter.

Laurels to Overton Elementaryís Mini Funk Factor Marching Band, which will be performing this weekend at the 2011 Battle of the Bands in Winston-Salem. The Funk Factor, the only elementary school marching band in Rowan County, was launched last year by Overton technology facilitator Anthony Johnson, who wanted students to experience the transformative power of music. So far, more than 100 students have gotten the beat. The band has received musical mentoring from Livingstone Collegeís Marching Blue Bears Band, as well as community support from local businesses, churches and individuals. It will be the only elementary band at this weekís event ó testimony to the big talent exemplified by this enthusiastic collection of young performers.

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