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These zombies walk for a cause

Laurels to the organizers of the Downtown Salisbury Zombie Walk. Now in its fifth year, the event continues to grow, and that’s a boon for two organizations that benefit from it — the Humane Society of Rowan County and Mr. Mike’s Food Pantry. The walk could simply be a fun way to bring together people with an affinity for the undead — and their popularity has exploded in recent years — but the folks who put it together decided to make it more than that. In addition to the agencies it supports, the annual walk is also used to remind Rowan County residents about the importance of disaster preparedness. Those are some really thoughtful zombies.

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Dart to the seemingly endless stream of reports about teachers acting inappropriately — and often criminally — with students. This week, it was Clarence Earl “Chip” Pickard III. The 28-year-old former Salisbury High School assistant coach taught physical education at Mooresville Middle School until resigning a few weeks ago. On Wednesday, we found out why. Police charged Pickard, who is married, with taking indecent liberties with a child for allegedly sending inappropriate text messages to a student between Jan. 1 and Sept. 8. Police said they have no evidence that Pickard has had physical contact with any student, but who knows what could have happened? We have far too many examples of where flirting between teachers and students can lead, and plenty of students with a scar they’ll carry for life — and former educators with criminal records — because of it.
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Laurels to David Murdock, who this week pledged $15 million a year, in perpetuity, to the research institute that bears his name on the N.C. Research Campus in Kannapolis. Murdock, who founded the research campus on the site of the former Pillowtex textile plant in 2005, continues to put his money where his mouth is in regard to the research campus and the work being done there to improve human health and nutrition. To date, campus officials say, the Dole Foods owner has invested more than $800 million of his own money there, including a $50 million gift last year to update equipment at the Murdock Research Institute. The money pledged this week will go toward operations and hiring more top-notch scientists to work there. It’s further evidence of Murdock’s commitment, and a wise investment.

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