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There’s value in reaching voters

Laurels to Chris Cohen, Raymond Coltrain and Gene Miller for having the wherewithal to go about collecting 4,000 signatures of registered voters who want to see them on the November ballot as independent candidates for Rowan County commissioner.
It’s a gargantuan task, and Coltrain was the first this week to cross the finish line and make the magic number. Word is that Miller and Cohen are likewise on their way to being official candidates and bypassing the primary.
The trio, who are not running as a coalition, actually may have helped themselves through this process. Never have they been more visible, attending every event where they know many people will be.
Never have they, or the people working for them, been able to meet so many voters in such a short amount of time. There has to be value in that as candidates. The time it takes for them to ask for a signature also has to be time enough for a conversation, dialogue or discussion to start.
You have to think Cohen, Coltrain and Miller have heard plenty in their travels across Rowan County and are wiser, more prepared candidates for it.
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Dart to Alison Michelle Ernst, 36, who faces criminal charges for throwing a shoe at former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in Las Vegas.
Throw barbs, throw a fit, throw insults or even throw up, but throwing a shoe just lacks sole — and makes Ernst a real heel.
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Laurels to the Rowan/Kannapolis Alcoholic Beverage Control office for bringing in Joe Gibbs’ “Game Plan for Life” to high schools this week.
The program featured several former National Football League players giving good life advice, especially about the bad decision often associated with alcohol use.
Other moments were just plain inspirational. South Rowan High seniors met, for example, Richie Parker and Perry Tuttle, both Clemson University graduates.
Parker, who was born without arms, earned an engineering degree from Clemson and, for the past nine years, has been a chassis and body component designer for Hendrick Motorsports. Parker, 30, fills an important job, drives his own car and lives on his own in Harrisburg because he and his parents would not allow his birth defect to keep him from success.
Tuttle, who now serves as the Charlotte Bobcats’ chaplain, made the cover of Sports Illustrated after making the winning catch for a national championship in the 1982 Orange Bowl against Nebraska.
When he was struggling in the third grade, his teacher recommended that Tuttle should be placed in a special education class. Not too long after this wake-up call for the young Tuttle, a mentor, “Coach Pete,” told Tuttle he could play football in the NFL one day, but only if he buckled down in the classroom.
Tuttle took the advice, starred at North Davidson High and was recruited by all the major football powers. At Clemson he became an All-American, he led the team to a 12-0 finish his senior year, and his last catch in college football was that winning reception in the Orange Bowl.
The Buffalo Bills chose Tuttle in the draft, and he played in the NFL, as Coach Pete said he would. Today, Tuttle and his wife of 25 years have six children, and he’s writing his fifth book. He sure would like to talk with his third-grade teacher again.

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