Darts and Laurels: Two better than one for Empire Hotel

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 27, 2022

Laurel to the news that two former competitors are joining forces to make the Empire Hotel redevelopment possible.

Brett Krueger, a Charlotte developer who was chosen by the city of Salisbury to lead the redevelopment, is teaming up with Josh Barnhardt, a local developer, to transform the long-vacant hotel into a jewel of downtown. They previously submitted competing proposals to redevelop the site.

Krueger says Barnhardt has been helpful in making community connections and they’re talking through potential tweaks and designs with local architect Pete Bogle.

Two heads are better than one, and the resources at the disposals of both also will be a boon for the chances of the Empire Hotel redevelopment finally getting to a construction phase. All of Salisbury should root for the success of the Empire because it will also bring new businesses and activity to the downtown area.

Dart to the Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education for barely sparing a thought for educators or staff members in school buildings during a spike in COVID-19 cases.

When voting against a mask mandate, the few board members who spoke were laser-focused on the chance that children might become seriously ill. Others didn’t share a single word, except to vote against masks.

It’s understandable that children might be the focus of a debate about how a pandemic affects public schools, but schools do not function without teachers, staff of all types or administrators. If too many staff members become sick or come into prolonged contact with COVID-positive people, RSS may need to involuntarily close more schools — as it did with Hurley, Isenberg and Knollwood earlier this month.

As we’ve learned from more pandemic experience, being vaccinated or contracting COVID-19 once does not prevent people from testing positive later. And mild or moderate symptoms still require people staying home to recover.

Please consider the hard workers who make quality public education possible in Salisbury and Rowan County.

Laurel to recent 1,000-point scoring marks by Mary Spry and Rachel McCullough, seniors at Carson and Salisbury high, respectively.

The milestone requires years of hard work, dedication and a special talent on the basketball court.

They’re unlikely to be the only ones who reach the milestone this year. South Rowan’s Bethany Rymer is well on her way. So is Salisbury junior Kyla Bryant, who could contend for an all-time scoring record in her senior season. North Rowan senior Hannah Wilkerson already has topped the 1,000-point mark and is looking to take her place among the all-timers.

Laurel to the work of retired wildlife agent Anthony Sharum, who volunteered a sonar system usually used for fishing to help find a car struck by a train and knocked into the Yadkin River.

Crews searched for hours, but Sharum’s system picked up the car quickly. He was able to direct crews to the exact site where the car sat — just below the railroad bridge near U.S. 29. A couple days later, the car was on dry land. It may be a worthwhile investment for fire or rescue crews regularly responding to incidents at the river to consider investing in the same high-quality technology.

For the moment, attention is on finding the man to whom the car was registered, William Head, who was reported missing in the Greensboro area.