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Darts and laurels (7-18-15)

Laurels to the selection of Kelly Alexander as the new director of the N.C. Transportation Museum in Spencer. She is the perfect choice for a number of reasons. A Spencer native, Alexander has known the former Spencer Shops rail yard that houses the museum her entire life, and her roots run deep there. Her grandfather moved to Spencer to work for the railroad in 1911, and her uncles were engineers for Southern Railroad. She started working at the museum part time 27 years ago as a Catawba College student and has since done just about everything there “except maybe crawling under a train to repair it,” N.C. Cultural Resources Secretary Susan Kluttz said in announcing Alexander’s appointment. Most recently, Alexander has worked as chief operating officer for the museum’s foundation, a job she will keep. Her dual roles and deep knowledge can only help the museum, which has been told by state government to become more self-sufficient.

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Dart to the apparent complete breakdown in communication that left members of the Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education scratching their heads this week and scrambling to raise more than $300,000 in less than two weeks. The new school system central office going up on North Main Street has been the source of a great deal of sometimes-strained back-and-forth among various parties — over its location, its cost and its name, among other things. The latest item causing consternation? A dome. The dome topping the central office was part of the original architectural plans, but was removed in a subsequent version due to its cost. This week, the school board learned that someone apparently did not get that memo. Structural steel has been put in place for the dome — at a cost of $60,000. Now the board is trying to come up with $320,000 by Aug. 1 or find another way to make that steel look like it was part of the plan all along, and not the skeleton of a phantom dome. Whatever the top of the new central office turns out to look like, it’s probably best that it not be a total surprise to the people tasked with funding it.

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