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Darts and laurels

Laurels to Thelma Luckey and everyone who helped start the Frontier Coffee Shoppe. Housed inside Luckey’s restaurant — Thelma’s Down Home Cooking at West End Plaza (the former Salisbury Mall) — the coffee shop debuted this week. What’s noteworthy about the Frontier Coffee Shoppe is not so much what it serves as who it serves: men and women who have served this nation. Each Tuesday, between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m., veterans can come in for free coffee and, even more valuable, fellowship. The Frontier is modeled after Richard’s Coffee Shop in Mooresville, where veterans have gathered for years. Just a couple miles from the Hefner VA Medical Center, though, Luckey’s shop provides a place for veterans who might not make it to Richard’s, like those from the VA who attended the grand opening Tuesday. Richard’s chaplain Leo Fahey said could become a place of healing, which many veterans need. It will certainly be a place of appreciation, which all veterans deserve.

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Dart to the agonizingly slow process for the Rowan County Board of Commissioners and Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education to come to an agreement about the school system’s capital needs — a process that’s dragged on even after the two boards seemingly came to a consensus. In February, the two sides reached an accord that appeared to end years of wrangling. But the school board adopted a plan that commissioners later said didn’t reflect what they’d agreed upon, and sent a document back to the school board with a dozen changes. School board members met Friday and decided they needed an attorney to clarify some of the changes, and another meeting with commissioners. That’s set for Monday. Let’s hope they work this out soon and move on. There must be other things to work on.

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Laurels to the Catawba College baseball team for drafting Caleb Stewart onto the squad. The 9-year-old shortstop, who goes by the very cool nickname “Big Puma” on the diamond, has cystic fibrosis. But that doesn’t stop Caleb from taking part in everything with the Indians. He practices with the team. He’s their bat boy. He helps push the batting cage off the diamond before games. And, probably most importantly, he inspires. Before Caleb joined, the Indians were a dismal 1-7. Since his arrival, they’ve gone on a 23-8 tear. Coach Jim Gantt doesn’t think that’s a coincidence. He thinks maybe his players realized that compared to what Caleb lives with every day, “running home to first isn’t that difficult.” It’s a home run for Big Puma and the team.

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