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It wasn’t small … or smart

Laurels to the cell phone, which debuted in commercial form 40 years ago this week. The Motorola DynaTAC weighed in at roughly 2 pounds, was 9 inches tall and took 10 hours to recharge. It also cost $4,000 — and that didn’t include a data plan, because there wasn’t any data. Nowadays, it’s hard to imagine how unwieldy those early mobile phones were — and how limited operationally. All you could do was talk on them — and not for long. While getting smaller, smarter and cheaper, cell phones have helped connect the world. Currently, there are about 6.8 billion mobile connections worldwide, and the number is likely to reach 9.17 billion over the next five years, according to an industry trade group.

Dart to news that the disease decimating bat populations across the eastern United States has spread to another North Carolina county. A case of white-nose syndrome was confirmed in a dead bat found at the Nature Conservancy Bat Cave Preserve in Rutherford County. At least six other N.C. counties have previously reported infected bats, a disturbing sign for populations of these nocturnal feeding mammals that help keep down insect populations. Since its initial discovery in a New York cave in 2006, white-nose syndrome has spread to 21 states, killing an estimated 5.7 million bats.

Laurels to the Price of Freedom Museum in China Grove for its recent tribute in the Congressional Record. Although many local residents and school children are aware of the treasure trove of military artifacts collected over the years by Bob Mault, Frank Albright and others, the museum now housed at the former Patterson School off Weaver Road deserves broader recognition. It now has a permanent citation in the nation’s capitol, thanks to the efforts of Rodney Cress, a veteran and advocate for veterans issues, who contacted Sen. Richard Burr’s office to get the ball rolling. If you haven’t already paid a visit, the museum is open Sundays from 3-5 p.m.

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