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Darts and laurels

Laurels to the recent completion of two road improvement projects ó the U.S. 70 widening and the new I-85 ramp to N.C. 150 in Davidson County. The U.S. 70 project was a decade-long endeavor, and it generated some controversy over medians constructed on the Salisbury side of the project. However, motorists driving between Statesville and Salisbury on U.S. 70 today enjoy smoother and safer travels than back when this was a two-lane roadway. Increased traffic made the U.S. 70 improvements necessary, just as it drove the decision to upgrade the N.C. 150 interchange and improve traffic flow in another heavily traveled sector. The interchange redo is part of the I-85 Corridor Improvement Project that includes replacement of the I-85 bridges over the Yadkin River ó and wonít the completion of that draw cheers? While we often gauge transportation projects in terms of the impact on our daily commutes, the nationís roads are vital to the movement of raw materials and manufactured goods. These improvements will help keep commerce flowing.

Dart to the E. coli outbreak in North Carolina. As of Friday, eight cases had been confirmed, with at least five others under investigation. Because the disease has a relatively lengthy incubation period, officials said itís likely more cases will be confirmed in the following days. Unlike previous E. Coli outbreaks that were quickly linked to specific sources, N.C. health officials arenít sure where these cases stem from a common source. One possible link being investigated is the N.C. State Fair, which most of the victims attended. However, authorities caution that link hasnít been confirmed.

Laurels to the variety of Halloween-themed events taking place in the community. Whether youíre looking for spooky tales about local ghosts, family-oriented festivals and carnivals or a spirited train ride (at the N.C. Transportation Museum), you should find a suitable outing (check Thursdayís Post or our website for a listing of local events). If you think Halloween is a bigger deal than it used to be in the apple-bobbing days of yore, youíre right. The National Retail Federation estimates 68.6 percent of Americans plan to celebrate Halloween this year ó up 5 percent from a year ago. Related spending will total about $6.9 billion, up from $3.3 billion in 2005. Thatís good news for retailers haunted by fears of a decline in our appetite for candy and costumes.

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