Darts and laurels (10-18-14)

Published 3:19 pm Sunday, October 19, 2014

Laurels to local governmental and health care organizations for making plans to treat the Ebola virus. While we have no reason to believe, or fear, Ebola is here, the smart thing is always to be prepared, and the agencies responsible for maintaining health and treating illness are doing just that. Novant Health has designated three of its hospitals — two of them in Charlotte and Winston-Salem — to treat people who show up at any of its hospitals, including Rowan Medical Center, afflicted with the virus. And Novant is “laser focused” on training medical workers who would come into contact with Ebola patients, a spokeswoman said this week. Meanwhile, the Rowan County Health Department and Rowan EMS are working with Novant on protocols to respond to an Ebola case while screening those seeking Health Department services on travel and exposure history. There have only been a few confirmed cases of Ebola in the U.S., two of them nurses at the Dallas hospital where a man received care after carrying the virus from Africa. There is no reason to believe Ebola is here. There is absolutely no reason to be frightened, but every reason to be prepared.

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Dart to drunk drivers, especially those whose criminal recklessness results in tragedy for others. Police say that was the case when a drunk driver slammed into Chris Brown on a Saturday afternoon in April. Authorities charged Mark Edward Carter, who wasn’t supposed to be behind the wheel that day after a driving while impaired conviction in 2013. Carter faces more criminal charges, while Brown, who suffered multiple severe injuries, faces physical therapy, recovery from a hip replacement and learning to walk again, as well as the emotional and financial devastation his family has experienced in the wake of what cannot be called an accident, only a crime. And while a first-offense felony for DWI may be too steep a penalty in cases that don’t involve injury, and might strain the court system, something has to be done to deter repeat offenders, who are far more likely to hurt someone, or worse.

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Laurels to all the candidates running for elected office. From soil and water district to U.S. Senate, it takes a servant’s heart and a thick skin to seek public office. You may not know all their names — or agree with the positions of the ones you do know — but all the candidates deserve respect for putting their beliefs on trial in the court of public opinion and their reputations on the line in what can often be ugly campaigns. In just a few weeks, we’ll vote for school board members, county commissioners, state legislators and members of Congress. They’ve done their work. Do yours. Educate yourself and vote.

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