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Darts and laurels

Laurels to the early Christmas gift that Davidson County Community college received this week ó a $7.5 million bequest. The donation, the largest ever for the college and among the largest ever given to an N.C. community college, came from the estate of Christine Harris, who died last August at age 87. She was the widow of Charles Donovan Harris, a longtime executive with Lexington Telephone Co. The coupleís only son, who died several years ago, began his collegiate career at DCCC, sparking his familyís interest in the college, which they supported through previous contributions. While such an extraordinary gift would be appreciated at any time, itís especially timely as DCCC, like other community colleges, confronts state budget restraints amid several years of rapid growth. Currently, about 16,000 students take courses at DCCC, which has campuses in Davidson and Davie counties, as well as three satellite centers.

Dart to the holiday increase in scams and frauds, which seem to proliferate each year in both the virtual and real worlds. The Better Business Bureau of North Carolina recently warned of two e-mail ěphishingî scams ó one involving a bogus shipping notification and the other bogus online greeting cards. While they appear to be authentic messages, follow the links and youíll subject your computer to digital sabotage involving viruses and other nefarious infiltrators. Meanwhile, in addition to practicing vigilance online, also beware of solicitations for charitable donations sought by unfamiliar groups ó another favorite holiday scam. You donít have to be a Scrooge in the season of good will, but you should exercise some healthy skepticism.

Laurels to family togetherness, which is on the increase for a variety of reasons, according to a story in USA Today. Multigenerational families ó thatís three or more generations living under the same roof ó have increased by more than 20 percent in the past decade, the 2010 Census found. Thatís quite a switch from stories we were reading in years past that warned of increasing fragmentation of family structures as we became a more mobile society. Economic trends are driving some adult family members to share households, but social and demographic factors are also at work, including rising life expectancy (more elderly parents are living with their children) and immigration.

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