Darts & laurels: Foster parents always needed; Schneider will be missed

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 22, 2017

Laurels to two caring couples who have welcomed  more than 130 foster children into their homes. Now stepping away from the foster system, Mike and Ann Mitchell were foster parents to 90 children through the years, and Chris and Cindy Blaise fostered 43. In the process, they not only touched young lives, they also performed a tremendous service to the community. Children who for some reason must be separated from their parents need a safe place to land, a household where they can feel love and find structure. Supplying that home is not for the weak. Many people fear that being a foster parent means having to say goodbye over and over to children you’ve come to love, and they are right. Chris Blaise has advice on that front, though. “The thing you’ve got to remember, you give one up, there’s always 10 more waiting,” he says.

Indeed there are. Rowan County has an urgent need for foster families. If you would like to know what’s involved, you can receive an information packet by calling 704-216-7914 or emailing Jon.Hunter@rowancountync.gov. Want to help in some other way? The foster program has a need for gently used boys’ clothes, sizes 2T-6; boys’ socks; and boys’ and girls’ 4T underwear. Donations can be dropped off any time in the outdoor donation bin at the Rowan One Church One Child Assistance Center at Main Street United Methodist Church, 1312 N. Main St.

Dart to the closing of Schneider Electric’s local plant and the loss of more than 60 good jobs. Rowan County faced the prospect of losing Schneider in 2005, when the company sought incentives to expand into a new plant in Summit Corporate Center. Keith Corporation bought land from the county to build the facility and lease it to Schneider. Commissioners also agreed then to about $120,000 in tax incentives over a five-year period. The company stayed for the length of its 12-year lease with Keith but now will move on — this time without giving local officials a chance to convince Schneider otherwise. That’s sad news for the employees and Salisbury-Rowan.

In addition to providing valuable tax base and jobs, Schneider has been a strong corporate citizen. Its employees built a Habitat House and regularly volunteered for the United Way Day of Caring. Earlier this year, they put together bikes for the One Church One Child program. The company also supported the Center for the Environment. Schneider will be missed.