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Darts & Laurels: Keep an eye on tourism bill

Dart or at least some puzzlement to the filing of a local occupancy-tax bill, House Bill 444, that would leave out unincorporated areas of Rowan County. For several years, the tax has been 3 percent in the county and a total of 6 percent in Salisbury. Rowan’s tourism board voted to seek a uniform rate countywide, as well as the ability to spend a portion of proceeds for tourism-related capital projects. (Currently that is allowed only in Salisbury.)

Facing a deadline, state Rep. Carl Ford filed a bill that was differed from the local board’s request; it would allow a 6 percent occupancy tax only in Rowan’s municipalities, if their town boards approved it. That contradicts the goal of leveling the taxing field on both sides of the city limits. Ford says he did what he could on a tight deadline and the bill will be amended. Someone should keep an eye on that.

Laurels to people who take on the giant task of serving on a town board or council — or even running for the office. Filing for municipal boards starts in July, and so far Salisbury has one declared City Council candidate in Tamara Sheffield and one declared non-candidate in Mayor Pro Tem Maggie Blackwell. Many thanks to Blackwell for her years of service to the city.

Two years ago, the city had an abundance of candidates, but that’s a rarity. Here’s a request to community-minded citizens: Think about running for your town board or city council this year, and start preparing by attending their meetings, starting now. Too often, people only show up when they have an ax to grind. Go as a student of local government and watch how it works. You’ll either become better prepared to run or you’ll learn enough to know you don’t want to run.

Dart to the collateral damage from parents’ battles with personal demons. Some 30 million Americans are addicted to alcohol or other drugs, according to Narconon, and children often suffer the consequences. Police find little ones wandering down the street alone, buckled into car seats behind passed out parents, stranded because a parent just didn’t show up. In addition to drug abuse itself, Narconon says, addicts may also expose children to:

• Violence or verbal abuse resulting from being drunk or high.

• Sexual abuse or behavior which makes a child feel uncomfortable.

• Deception to help hide an adult’s drug abuse or alcoholism.

• Frequent, long periods alone at home alone and consistent lack of attention.

The impact of addiction spreads far beyond the addict.

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