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Darts and laurels: Praying for an end to a plague

Dart to the gun violence that has so plagued Salisbury’s West End neighborhood it has residents worried the next stray bullet might might hit them or a loved one in their own home. That nearly happened to one of Carolyn Rice’s granddaughters when a shot fired during an early morning gunfight on nearby Grim Street ended up in their bedroom. They didn’t even know it until the next day when they found a bullet lodged in the back of a TV just a few feet from the bunk beds where the girls had been sleeping. It’s not an isolated incident. While Salisbury’s crime rate fell by 8.6 percent from 2009 to 2013, serious crime in the West End rose more than 12 percent during the same period. Three murders occurred there in 2013, and aggravated assaults nearly doubled over a two-year period.
The Salisbury Police Department deserves a tentative laurel for efforts to get crime under control in the West End, including reconfiguring patrol zones to ensure more officers are available, forming a second aggressive street crimes unit and assigning a community relations officer to build relationships with residents often hesitant to report crimes to authorities out of fear or distrust. Let’s hope it all yields results, and relief for West End residents so used to violence in their neighborhood that when one of Rice’s granddaughters heard the gunfight going on near their home — the one from which a bullet ended up in her bedroom — her reaction was simply, “Grandma, they are shooting again.”
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Laurels to the return of local farmersmarkets. Within the past week, markets in Salisbury, China Grove and Kannapolis have kicked off their seasons, and residents can look forward to visiting them throughout the summer and into fall. The Salisbury Farmers Market will be open Wednesdays and Saturdays through September — then Saturdays only through Dec. 20 — at the corner of South Jackson and West Fisher streets. China Grove’s Market at the Mill will be open each Friday through September at the China Grove Roller Mill on Main Street. And the Kannapolis Farmers Market will be open each Thursday through October at the corner of Vance Street and Dale Earnhardt Boulevard. All the markets offer fresh locally grown produce as well as baked goods, crafts and more. Be sure to visit one of the farmers markets — or better yet, all — and support local growers while treating yourself to something truly delicious.
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Laurels to local comic shops for taking part in Free Comic Book Day, which is today. Comic books are fun and fantastical, yes, but they can also speak to youngsters who otherwise might not be much interested in reading and spark a love of art and literature they carry into later life.

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