Darts & laurels – Another try at shelter plan

Published 12:41 am Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Laurels to Rowan County officials for owning up to problems found at the Animal Shelter and devising a plan to keep the facility clean and orderly. County Manager Aaron Church emailed the county’s response to state inspectors who recently found the shelter lacking. The plan was written by Bob Pendergrass, who has been in charge of both the Animal Shelter and Dan Nicholas Park’s Nature Center for several months. In the immediate aftermath of the shelter’s failed inspection, Pendergrass’ name did not come up. Instead, the county’s new veterinarian was dismissed. At any rate, Pendergrass has now outlined a schedule for cleaning the cat wing three times a day and dog areas twice a day, and to make other improvements. Evidently these things were not spelled out clearly enough before. Now enforcement will be the key. The county needs to win back the trust of the public and of the woman who donated $1 million for the cat wing, Christine Morykwas of Winston-Salem.


Dart to the dangers of swimming in the abandoned Balfour Quarry. A 17-year-old East Rowan student lost his life in the quarry recently. The quarry is supposed to be off limits, but it has been glamorized in a GoPro video posted on YouTube this summer. The video shows four young men jumping from high above into the quarry’s water, and it includes some underwater shots. Don’t try this yourself, no matter how fun it may look. Abandoned mine and quarry accidents claim 20 to 30 lives each year, and most of the deaths are drownings. Quarry water is cold and deep; if a swimmer goes down, it’s hard for friends to get to him in time to help, and steep cliffs hamper rescue efforts. The quarry looks like a fun place on the video, but it can also be deadly.


Laurels to the shelter guests at Rowan Helping Ministries who volunteer to help keep the agency’s North Long Street property clean. Each Friday they put on neon-colored vests and get to work picking up trash and debris. These are the guests who participate in the New Tomorrows program, which is geared toward getting people on their feet so they will no longer be without a home. That means learning life skills, job skills and how to manage money. The shelter is not a dead end; it’s a place where people can get a new start with the help of case managers,  life coaches and others. Picking up trash is a start; it certainly helps the shelter and it helps the neighborhood.