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Dancing to help protect women

Laurels to the One Billion Rising movement to help raise awareness of violence against women. Locally, participants danced in the streets in Spencer on Valentine’s Day to show solidarity and support for for efforts to end abuse that leaves women physically and emotionally battered or dead. Recent stories have illustrated the horrific scope of the problem. International outrage followed an attack in New Delhi, India, where a young woman was gang-raped and suffered fatal injuries. This week, Olympic star Oscar Pistorius was charged with murdering his girlfriend, model Reeva Steenkamp, at his home in South Africa. Domestic violence knows no boundaries, occurring in every culture, at every level of income, age and education, but its most vulnerable victims are women and children. Through a bipartisan vote, the U.S. Senate recently agreed to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act. The House should also support renewal of the law, which would strengthen and expand domestic violence programs. Such efforts make a difference. The U.S. Justice Department reported this week that intimate partner violence fell 64 percent between 1994 and 2010, with experts attributing the decline to public awareness campaigns, better training of law-enforcement officers and stronger legislation.

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Dart to British author Terry Deary’s recent comments that public libraries “are no longer relevant” and are at least partially to blame for the publishing industry’s problems. Deary, author of the popular “Horrible Histories” children series, may just be trying to stir up publicity. But if so, he’s chosen a bad target. Libraries don’t steal sales — they help nurture reading and literature, along with offering a host of benefits, from job hunts to genealogical research. While libraries do face problems — funding cutbacks being one — lack of relevancy isn’t among them.

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Laurels to some big (and under-appreciated) wheels — those conscientious folks who ferry tens of thousands of children to school each day. This was “School Bus Driver Appreciation Week,” with Rowan-Salisbury students and others around the state getting on board by saying thanks to their vigilant chauffeurs. All told, about 13,000 buses ply the state’s roads on a school day. Besides piloting buses, drivers also often serve as classroom assistants or perform other duties. Want to show your appreciation? Follow the rules of the road and exercise caution when there’s a school bus in the vicinity. Just this week, a Forsyth County youth was killed when a driver failed to heed a stopped bus’ flashing lights, according to police.

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