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Darts and laurels (6-27-15)

Laurels to Nancy Barkemeyer and Beverly Pugh. The principals at West Rowan and Corriher-Lipe middle schools, respectively, retired at the end of the just-completed academic year. Each woman has been in education for four decades, and the Rowan-Salisbury School System is fortunate to have had the benefit of their experience, knowledge and passion for part of that time — Barkemeyer the last seven years at West Rowan and Pugh the past 13 at Corriher-Lipe. Students at those schools were fortunate to have two principals who understood, as Barkemeyer said, “You … have to listen to people and understand where they’re coming from,” and as Pugh said of middle school, “This period of life is so transitional.” Good luck to both of them on whatever paths their lives lead them now, and thanks to both for their dedication to Rowan County’s children.

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Rowan County got mixed reviews recently on the state of its residents’ health — particularly in the leading causes of death — meaning the most up-to-date State of the County Health Report was cause for laurels and darts. The report showed that between 2009 and 2013, deaths due to diabetes fell by nearly 13 percent, and deaths from heart disease by more than 2 percent. However, deaths from other causes increased. Those attributed to cancer, for example, rose by 17 percent. Steve Joslin, allied health manager with the county Health Department, said many of the causes of death cited in the report are preventable or less-frequent among people with healthy lifestyles. That includes many cancers, which he said “might be avoided by eating properly and just being physically active.” There’s an easy prescription for improving the county’s health even more.

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Laurels to the volunteers who work to make sure the Faith Fourth of July is the biggest and best birthday celebration a nation could want. This year’s festival — the 69th edition — spans eight days and wraps up on Independence Day with a morning parade, nighttime fireworks and lots of fun in between. The Faith Fourth celebtation is renowned far beyond our county’s borders. We’re fortunate to have such a special event, and to have the people who work so hard to make it happen.

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