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Darts and laurels

Dart to budget cutbacks at Downtown Salisbury Inc. that kept the angels of Christmas imprisoned this year. The agency says it couldnít afford the $1,000 needed to install (and later remove) the 39 wooden angels Salisburians have enjoyed seeing the past nine years. Instead, the 8-foot-tall works of art have been sitting in storage. Plans should be in the works now to make sure the angels grace Salisbury streets next year. Downtown Salisbury Inc. has quite a resource in the angels ó one that it could easily use to help the needy. Why not a ěFree the Angelsî campaign? Donate $100 to a good cause such as the Salvation Army, Rowan Helping Ministries or Christmas Happiness, and you rescue an angel from storage ó an angel you can display at your place of business. Thatís $3,900 going to charity that wouldnít be donated otherwise. Ask $200 to free each angel, and you also could cover the cost of installation and removal. There are probably better ideas out there, but the ultimate goal should be the same: Free the angels.

Laurel to free shipping. Friday was ěFree Shipping Dayî for almost 2,600 participating merchants in the United States. The promotion offered free delivery by Christmas Eve. Most of the participating stores required a minimum order of, say, $10 or more. But some others offered free shipping no matter the dollar amount of the purchase. A few companies also provided significant discounts on all items to go along with the free-shipping day. Landís End customers enjoyed 40 percent savings on everything Friday, plus the free delivery. J Crew gave 30 percent discounts on all orders. eBags had free shipping, free returns and 20 percent discounts. If our challenging economic times continue, look for free shipping to become the norm for many companies who want your business. And letís hope itís offered year-round and not just at Christmas.

Laurel to the progress being made on the two Interstate 85 bridges being built over the Yadkin River. The bridge for northbound I-85 traffic will be carrying vehicles by this coming spring. By November 2012, the southbound bridge should be ready. But as you pass this incredible construction site in coming months, keep your eyes on the road. Donít allow the distraction of progress to cause an accident.

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