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Darts & laurels: Schneider’s plans change

Laurels to Schneider Electric for withdrawing its WARN notice for a pending layoff and deciding instead to keep its Salisbury plant open. The announcement in June that the company would move its local manufacturing jobs to Schneider plants in other U.S. cities was a blow to Rowan County, both in real jobs lost and symbolically. Schneider is exactly the kind of company this community needs. Though its workforce here is not huge — about 63 jobs — Schneider has a big footprint when it comes to community involvement and improvement, doing everything from building a house for Habitat for Humanity to assembling bicycles for the One Church One Child program. And then there are the Schneider positions — steady jobs that pay well. Whatever prompted Schneider to stay, we hope this change of heart lasts a long time.

Laurels to Brandi Wrights’ public comments about overcoming opioid addiction. Wrights is the young woman who, along with her boyfriend, passed out in downtown Salisbury on Aug. 11 after overdosing on heroin. It happened in the middle of the day, and Wrights’ 5-year-old son was with them, so the incident attracted widespread attention from people downtown and in local media. Fortunately, first responders were able to revive the two with Narcan. The story could end there, with both going into hiding and hoping never to be seen again. Wrights chose to take a more public path, though, posting about her experience on Facebook and declaring herself 46 days clean. She said she wanted to give people something more to know about her than her addiction. At the same time, she could inspire others struggling with drug addiction to make a clean break. It’s not an easy decision, and it’s an even harder thing to stick with. Wrights showed gumption by speaking up for herself and refusing to hide. Let’s hope she overcomes her addiction for good.

Dart to ongoing signs that Cardinal Innovations Healthcare Solutions executives are more focused on corporate structure and executive pay and perks than on dealing with mental illness, substance abuse and developmental disabilities. The mega-agency in charge of these needs in Rowan and 19 other counties came under fire this week in Raleigh for generous severance packages available to its CEO and 10 other employees. State Sen. Tommy Tucker, R-Union, called the severance packages a “further abuse of public dollars.” He said “further” because lawmakers earlier took issue with the quasi-governmental entity’s generous pay and perks for its CEO. Though Cardinal handled $587 million in Medicaid money and $88 million in state mental health funds in 2016,  its quasi-governmental status seems to also make it quasi-accountable. The state has too many unmet needs to tolerate this.

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