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‘To help as many children as possible’

Laurels to Prevent Child Abuse Rowan for working to expand its services and to two foundations for aiding that effort with big grants. This spring, the agency received $25,000 from the Woodson Foundation for a part-time in-house therapist, updated therapy room and supplies, and $20,000 from the Robertson Family Foundation to fund a part-time prevention and education coordinator. Executive Director Beth Moore said the in-house therapist will allow her agency to get children into therapy immediately when they divulge they have been abused, and the prevention and education coordinator will help try to “get ahead of abuse before it starts,” possibly through programs in schools, churches and day care centers. And this week, Prevent Child Abuse Rowan added $5,000 to the total reward for information in the case of missing teen Erica Parsons. Moore says the agency is “trying to help as many children as possible.” And there’s not a better mission than that.

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Dart to the continuing mystery surrounding the disappearance of Erica Lynn Parsons. Wednesday marked one year since Erica, who would now be 16, was reported missing by her adoptive brother. But it’s been much longer — going on three years — since anyone has seen Erica in Rowan County. Her adoptive parents, Sandy and Casey Parsons, maintain they let her leave to live with a woman they believed was her biological grandmother, but authorities and other family members say that woman doesn’t exist. Sandy and Casey, who have moved to Fayetteville, haven’t been charged in Erica’s disappearance. But the revelations led to a federal indictment this week charging them with nearly 80 counts of fraud for continuing to accept government assistance for Erica long after she’d gone missing. Hopefully, this development will lead to more, and eventually to the truth about what happened to Erica.
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Laurels to David Freeze for not only taking on a challenge most of us wouldn’t contemplate, but for finding a way to persevere after what could have been a catastrophic end to his journey. Freeze, a well-known local farmer, running guru and writer, is cycling 2,600 miles down the East Coast, from Bar Harbor, Maine, to Key West, Fla. Late this week, he’d made it largely without incident. That changed about 85 miles north of Miami, Fla., when a car hit him. Freeze said he was scratched up and sore, but otherwise OK. His bike was totaled. He’d be forgiven for calling it a trip then and there. But this is the guy who rode 4,164 miles coast-to-coast last year. So he got a loaner from a local bike shop and kept going. No doubt, Freeze will make it to Key West if he has to do it on a unicycle. Don’t tell him that, though. He might actually try it.

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