Laurels and Darts - Sept. 25

Laurels to Catawba County citizens who have so much interest in local politics that they organized and presented a candidates forum for political races important to this community. Likewise, laurels to the political candidates who took time to make their platforms known during this great opportunity to reach voters.
Jennifer Bandy and a group of her friends and relatives wanted to learn more about candidates seeking election in Catawba County, so they orchestrated a pair of non-partisan political forums and invited candidates hoping to represent area voters.
The first forum was Tuesday, and the event received a solid turnout of voters as well as candidates. Another forum will be on Tuesday, Sept. 28, at 6:30 p..m. at St. John’s Lutheran Church, and candidates who didn’t participate in the first event are invited to participate next week.
In each forum candidates are able to spend a few minutes discussing their background, their beliefs and the challenges that face the office they seek. While the forum isn’t a debate of the issues between competing candidates, it does deliver voters with information about the men and women seeking office.
As we approach an important election in November — and we believe every election is important — the most essential duty of all American citizens is to research the races up for election and the candidates seeking office. A responsible citizens learns about political races that affect their lives, then they make informed decisions in the polls.
Laurels to the folks who work to help educate voters about elections and candidates and laurels, too, to the politicians who go the extra mile to make sure citizens have an opportunity to make informed Election Day decisions.

Laurels to good police work by officers in Newton and Conover as well as deputies with the Catawba County Sheriff’s Department on Wednesday.
Wednesday night, Newton Police caught an armed thief in the act of robbing a convenience store on North Main Avenue. In fact, after a clerk at the store made a call for help while locked inside the business’ restroom, it took NPD 1 minute 20 seconds to arrive on the scene. When they did, they found the shotgun toting criminal, as well as his haul of loot, arresting him in the process.
Also on Wednesday, a man broke into Radio Shack in Conover. Again, police investigators were quick to the scene, interviewed witnesses and collected details about the burglar’s get-away vehicle. When a “be on the lookout” alert was issued, a Catawba County sheriff’s deputy recognized the vehicle description and was familiar with its normal location. The knowledge quickly led police to the culprit, and just like the robber from Newton, he was quickly apprehended.
Good work by the men and women in law enforcement agencies serving our community who landed two criminals in jail and recovered stolen money and merchandise. Laurels to that.

Laurels to educators who are putting energy efficiency into practice, and, in doing so, saving thousands of taxpayer dollars that can be invested elsewhere in the community’s education systems.
At Bandys High, Eiliene Corcoran helped initiate a battery recycling program, as well as efforts to recycle other materials. That has helped reduced waste going from the school to the landfill, and that means saving money — as well as the environment.
Likewise, at Newton-Conover High School, where energy efficiency and recycling have been science teacher Corey Nunley’s charge for several years, the savings are a little more concrete. In fact, by turning off classroom lights and computers at the high school, $15,000 in energy costs were saved during a three-month period, according to a recent survey Nunley’s class completed.
We salute Corcoran and Nunley and other teachers like them who are working throughout Catawba County to not only teach young people the value of energy efficiency, conservation and recycling, but they are putting these lessons into practice. In doing so, the students — as well as their families and their school systems — are able to realize the value of turning off a light switch or recycling a plastic bottle. Hopefully that knowledge will mean that these young people will adopt earth-friendly practices into their lives — practices that will benefit our community in many ways in the future, from reducing landfill needs to cutting energy costs.