Youngsters bag summer books

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 15, 2013

Laurels to the businesses and individuals who supported two recent programs to encourage young readers — the “Give Five, Read Five” campaign and last weekend’s summer reading festival at Patterson Farms. The statewide “Give Five, Read Five” initiative, designed to put books in the hands of elementary school students over the summer break, set the goal of sending five books home with each student to promote summer reading. Based on the response here and in other communities across North Carolina, it was a resounding success. Although the local school community didn’t reach the goal of 46,110 books, the nearly 25,000 books collected was an impressive number — and enough to make sure each elementary student received at least one book. More young readers got books to take home at the reading festival, which was sponsored by the Altrusa Club of Salisbury and featured fun reading and writing events for youngsters.

Dart to designated drivers who don’t take their responsibilities seriously. A recent University of Florida study found that up to a third of designated drivers may be drinking before getting behind the wheel. The study included more than 1,000 bar patrons observed leaving drinking establishments in the college town of Gainesville, Fla. Researchers identified individuals who had been declared the designated driver and asked them to voluntarily take a Breathalyzer test before leaving. Of the designated drivers who were studied, 35 percent had consumed at least one drink before getting behind the wheel. Half of them registered blood alcohol content levels above .05 percent. Although that’s below the legal limit in most states, research shows a BAC of .05 can affect driving ability, and the National Highway Transportation Safety Board has recommended that states adopt .05 as the legal limit. The takeaway: If you’re relying on a designated driver to get you home safely, make sure the driver understands exactly what that means.

Laurels to some good news about young Americans and debt. Credit-card debt has declined by about a third for the 18-29 age group over the past five years, according to credit score provider FICO. While the average credit-card holder in that age group still has about $2,000 in credit-card debt, that’s down from about $3,000 in 2007. Analysts attribute the drop to budget tightening related to the recession as well as an increase in the use of debit cards. Some of them also may be cutting up the credit cards so they can focus on paying off student loans.