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A big thank you to the red light runners who are predicted to add 4.4 million dollars to our school system next year....

Dec. 2 Darts & Laurels

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A South Central swimmer competes in a race at Aquaventure on Nov. 17, 2017. (Molly Mathis/The Daily Reflector)

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Saturday, December 2, 2017

Darts — To a decline in mom and pop Christmas tree businesses that has led to slightly higher live tree prices this year. Since fewer trees were planted 10 years ago — and, more recently, because fire damaged some trees in the western part of the state — buyers will pay more when shopping for their fir of choice. The uptick doesn’t seem to have dimmed sales though. That should help tree farmers and sellers have a happy holiday.

Laurels — To a new partnership between Pitt County high school swim teams and a local aquatics facility that will provide a home pool advantage to county youth participating in the sport. Prior to the partnership, teams and their families had to travel to Washington, New Bern, Goldsboro and other remote locales for meets because there was no place to swim in Greenville. Let’s hope the local facility helps home teams make a splash in competition.

Laurels — To the town of Ayden for making its parks tobacco-free. The Ayden Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to prohibit tobacco products within town parks per a request by Ayden’s arts and recreation director and the Ayden Arts and Recreation advisory board. The ordinance will also help lower littering in the parks and help keep children from inhaling secondhand smoke. No butts about it — Ayden is making a healthy change.

Laurels — To a sparkling Christmas tradition that also helps families. The Greenville Convention Center for the Festival of Trees through Dec. 12. The festival is a fundraiser for Family Support Network of Eastern North Carolina, which provides emotional support and resources for families who have a child with a disability, chronic illness or those who experienced the death of a child. Every decorated tree is a gift for families in need.

Darts — To the cold and flu season. Beginning Monday, children younger than the age of 12 will be restricted from visiting patients at Vidant Medical Center due to an increasing number of Respiratory Syncytial Virus cases. This move will help limit the spread of infections while protecting patients, their loved ones and hospital staff. State officials meanwhile reported two more flu deaths this week. Time to take precautions and get vaccinated.

Laurels — To a program that helps keep families warm as the temperature dips. Social Services is accepting applications for the Low Income Energy Assistance Program, which provides a one-time vendor payment to eligible families who need help with heating expenses. Priority is given to households with an individual age 60 or older or with a person who is disabled. It’s a potentially lifesaving effort to make sure no one is left out in the cold.

Darts — To a sad end to Jeff Lebo’s coaching career at East Carolina University. Lebo, who served as head men’s basketball coach for eight seasons, announced on Wednesday that he would be leaving the job. Lebo led his team to victory in the collegeinsider.com Postseason Tournament in 2012-13, but the wins declined after that, and ECU is facing a 2-4 start to this season. We wish him good luck and hope the new coach can get the team on a winning track.

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