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Darts and laurels (1-24-15)

It would be easy to throw a dart at the New England Patriots, who are (once again) suspected of cheating to gain an edge over their NFL opponents. But an awful lot of people are already doing that. So instead, let’s throw some laurels at the people who do it right, and especially those who teach the next generation to do things the right way. From youth sports through high school athletics and the programs at our local colleges, Rowan County is blessed with many men and women of integrity who are interested not just in wins and losses, but in what kind of people the youngsters in their charge ultimately become. And it’s not just on the fields and courts. From Scouts to church youth groups to classrooms, our young people interact with positive role models every day. So while they may see trash-talking, possibly cheating millionaires on Sundays, those role models — and all of us — can have far more impact on their lives.

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Seems Brandon Rumple could have used some of those role models. Dart to whatever it was that led Rumple to become what authorities called a “drug kingpin” when he was yet a teenager. Rumple pleaded guilty this month in Rowan and Cabarrus counties to a bevy of drug-related charges. Investigators say Rumple, now 20, was trafficking in heroin when he should have been learning to drive and getting ready for prom. Now he’ll be in prison for at least 11 years. Hopefully, that will be enough time for him to learn what he obviously didn’t growing up.

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Laurels to the businesses and individuals who showed what true friendship and community truly mean by pooling their time, talents and resources to help Sue File. For four years, 65-year-old Sue had walked three quarters of a mile twice a day to get to her car. It was a necessity because the dirt road leading to her house had become impassable by vehicle. When her co-workers at Novant Health Rowan Medical Center — where Sue has been a housekeeper the past 20 years — heard about her plight, they wouldn’t let it continue. They enlisted the help of friends from local businesses who donated materials and labor. And when supplies of gravel ran low, the hospital’s foundation chipped in to buy more. In all, the project is worth an estimated $50,000. That’s quite a gift, but as happy as Sue is with the new road, she says she got a lot more. In fact, she says, she won the lottery “in friendship.”

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