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Darts and laurels: A project made of love and giving

Laurels to Sydney Lewis, who turned her senior project at North Hills Christian School into a boon for Rowan Helping Ministries and the people it serves. For her project, which includes a service-oriented leadership segment, Sydney set out to collect 500 cans of food for the Rowan Helping Ministries food bank. She asked the congregation at her church to help, and others pitched in, as well. When the donations were all collected and counted up, Sydney’s efforts had yielded not 500 cans of food, but 1,500 cans. “I was excited,” she said. “I was really happy.” Sydney was born with Down syndrome, but her mother, Alesia Lewis, said that doesn’t prevent her from being outgoing and social. And, her mother said, the response “shows how much she is truly loved.” With her huge effort on behalf of Rowan Helping Ministries, she is surely loved by even more people now.

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Dart to the low-down scammers who would besmirch even the good name of Santa Claus to steal from you. The Better Business Bureau has already issued warnings this year for consumers to watch out for scam sites and identity theft when shopping for Christmas gifts online, along with tips on avoiding those snares. Just this week, the organization said there is a new effort to use the holiday spirit as a swindling tool: letters from Santa. In this one, you get an email offer for a handwritten letter from Santa to your child. Clicking the link takes you to a website, where you’re asked to pay $19.99 by credit card. Give them your credit card number, and you could end up losing a lot more than $19.99. Another version offers the letter free of charge, but asks for your name, address and telephone number, information that can be sold to spammers. Sure, little Johnny would love a note from Old St. Nick, but don’t let that get you snowed. For more advice, go to www.bbb.org

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Laurels to the ‘Walk With a Doc’ program and to the MURDOCK Study and Sanger Heart & Vascular Institute for creating it. Based at the North Carolina Research Campus in Kannapolis, the MURDOCK Study aims to better understand health and disease through long-term research. But the people running the study are not only seeking knowledge, they’re promoting it in the community. As the name suggests, the monthly ‘Walk With a Doc’ program gives local residents a chance to take a stroll with a physician and ask questions. This month’s edition, which starts at 9 a.m. today at Les Myers Community Park in Concord, focuses on heart arrhythmias and features cardiologist Dr. Tom Christopher. For more about the MURDOCK Study and the ‘Walk With a Doc’ program, visit www.murdock-study.com

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