Laurels and darts: Laurels to 'write-in' mayor, darts to relaxed gun laws

Laurels to former Claremont Mayor Glenn Morrison who received The Old
North State Award. The award recognizes North Carolina citizens who have offered at least 25 years of exemplary service to the state, and Morrison is certainly deserving of the recognition.
Serving as Claremont’s mayor for 12 years — without ever actually campaigning for office — Morrison has been an asset to the city and to Catawba County. In 2002, he brought a Catawba County library branch to Claremont, and the effort was one in which Morrison was personally involved. He literally rolled up his sleeves and went to work to create a library for Claremont. Now, that facility and its supporting organization “The Friends of the Library” is an asset for the town and its citizens, as well as those countywide.
Outside the library, Morrison has been a great example of the type of leader this county needs.
He is chair of Claremont’s appearance committee and president of the Claremont Branch Library. He’s been a teacher and coach at one of the county’s high schools. He’s volunteered to work with Boy Scouts and helped plan an event for the county’s junior ROTC students, in both cases dedicating himself to shaping the next generation of future leaders. Morrison also played an integral part in the helping Catawba County become part of the Keep American Beautiful program.
“It’s like a big family,” Morrison said of Claremont’s residents after the Wednesday award ceremony. “You get involved with various people here and want to make a difference.”
Claremont is lucky to have a person like Morrison in the “family,” and so is Catawba County.

Darts to more gun violence which left another Catawba County citizen dead. Unfortunately, less than 48 hours after a 19-year-old Hickory man was killed in cold blood by a gun-wielding criminal, the N.C. House took a step toward relaxing restrictions on people permitted to carry firearms. Darts to that.
On Wednesday afternoon, the House passed a measure sponsored by N.C. Rep. Mark Hilton that will allow individuals with concealed-carry gun permits to bring firearms into parks and restaurants. If signed into law, this means permitted gun-owners can have a concealed weapon at a swimming pool, basketball and tennis courts, hiking trails and picnic areas. Guns can also be concealed by permitted individuals at eating establishments where alcohol is present and served to lawful adults, including individuals in possession of a handgun.
Certainly the right to bear arms is protected by our nation’s Constitution, and individuals who obtain a permit to carry a concealed gun must fulfill specific requirements, including completion of a firearms safety course.
That’s said, even the most law-abiding individual carrying a gun can consume too many alcoholic drinks, become enraged and make a bad decision. Likewise, accidents happen, and in crowded public places filled with innocent people — like parks — if an accident happens with a firearm, someone can be injured or killed.
Possession of concealed firearms by law-abiding, permitted citizens does little to ensure the safety of others in the event a crazed criminal goes on a shooting rampage, as occurred in Tuscon, Ariz. last year, in spite of the assertion in Hilton’s bill that it permits those carrying guns to “protect themselves and their families.” Measures like this only create opportunities for more people to carry guns in more public places and in doing so, they endanger the safety of the general public.
At a time in Catawba County when shootings and murders involving gun violence seem to be an every-week occurrence, the last thing this community — and this state — needs are more relaxed laws for firearms.

April is Alcohol Awareness month, and members of the Alcohol and Substance Abuse Prevention Council (ASAP) are stepping forward to bring awareness to the dangers of underage drinking.
Laurels to ASAP and area restaurants and community members who are partnering with the nonprofit organization in its orange band campaign.
ASAP council members discovered that out of 54 merchants in the community, 30 percent of them would have sold alcohol without carding the buyer.
To thwart this, orange bands with “ASAP Partners” on them will be distributed to participants throughout the community — at schools, restaurants, community groups, merchants and local bars.
Those wearing the bands commit to refuse sale of alcohol to youth; abstain from alcohol if under 21; not to provide alcohol to youth; lock up alcohol in homes to reduce access; talk to youth about the dangers associated with alcohol consumption; and be aware of dangers and risks associated with underage drinking.
Along with other prevention efforts, ASAP strives to stop underage drinking one step at a time with the orange band campaign, along with many other activities. Join this group to protect Catawba County’s youth and encourage them to become healthy, successful adults.