Darts & laurels: Keep iced tea on hand

Published 4:07 pm Friday, August 7, 2015

Dart to the high temperatures that have been baking the Rowan County landscape — and people — this summer. Local weather watcher Bill Poole is not certain this July was a record-breaker like the month before, but here’s some scorching data to ponder:

• June’s average low was 68 and average high was 92;

• July’s  averages were at 71 and 93.

• July had 26 days of 90-plus temps, including 17 straight.

• The month also had 12 days of 95 degrees or more, five of those consecutively.

• The hottest day was July 10, when the mercury hit 99 degrees — proof that the China Grove Farmer’s Day festival, held July 18, does not always occur on the hottest day of the year.

“It will be interesting to see how August unfolds,” Poole says. Keep your fans and iced tea handy.

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Laurels to saving money on elections —if you don’t wind up paying more in the long run. Gov. Pat McCrory wants to put a $2.8 billion bond referendum on the November ballot. Problem is, this is a municipal election year; rural polling places would have to open just to vote on the bond and nothing else.

Holding the bond vote with the 2016 primaries would save the state’s election boards a lot of trouble and expense. If that is the ultimate decision, though — things are still in flux in Raleigh — the state might face higher interest rates on the $2.8 billion. Short term savings could be wiped out by long term expense.

Then there’s the political factor. A bond on the ballot when mostly city folks are voting is more likely to pass than one in which voters from all areas are participating. Hmmmm.

• • •

Speaking of the General Assembly, dart to the continuing uncertainty over all state agency budgets, especially the schools’. Superintendents have to get everything ready for classes to start later this month, but their budgets are in limbo. Legislative sessions almost always run long; it would be more unusual to finish on time. The difference is that the predominantly Republican legislature goes for high-stakes changes. For example, the Senate wants to do away with teaching assistants and increase the number of teachers. That kind of change needs to happen in the summer, not mid-August or later. Schools cannot turn on a dime.