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Safe travels, bus drivers

Laurels to the bus drivers who safely transport precious cargo to and from school each day. In the movie, “Forrest Gump,” the same school bus driver greets Forrest Jr. on his first day of school that greeted his dad on his first day of school more than two decades earlier. Good school bus drivers are like that — constant and dependable. They rise early in the morning to take on a responsibility not many people would want, picking up children on the side of the road, sometimes in darkness. Then they get to ferry children home at the end of the school day, when kids can be tired or ready to let off some steam. Yet buses are by far the safest mode of travel for children during normal school travel hours. We can thank them by respecting the law and giving buses plenty of room. Help them protect their young passengers; don’t pass stopped school buses.

Dart to the misuse of campaign funds that led former state Sen. Fletcher Hartsell to plead guilty in a Winston-Salem federal court last week. The Concord Republican had been a powerful state senator, serving 13 terms in Raleigh. Popular among Republicans and Democrats, Hartsell was known for his pragmatic style. Unfortunately, bad judgment became his style with campaign funds, and he was accused of spending more than $200,000 for personal expenses such as hair cuts and family vacations over about a seven-year period. Under a plea deal, Hartsell pled guilty to federal fraud and tax charges. No matter how powerful or popular people may become in the General Assembly — or any other office, for that matter — they are not above the law.

Laurels to early spring, which seems to be bursting out all over — flowering daffodils, crab apple trees and more are brightening the winter landscape. The actual first day of spring is still a month away, but it would be hard to beat the warm, sunny weather of the past weekend. This week is expected to bring more of the same. In the back of our minds, though, we fear the unseasonable warm spell is temporary. Winter is bound to sock us at least one more time before the risk of frost passes around April 15.

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