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If the churches cared for the poor then the government would save trillions over the years. But the churches ceded that...

Dec. 30 Darts & Laurels

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Eddie Roberson smiles as he operates a Greenville Sanitation vehicle in the Langston Farms neighborhood Wednesday, Dec. 27, 2017.

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Saturday, December 30, 2017

Laurels — To the trend of after-Christmas shopping that extends retail’s busiest season a bit longer and gives businesses a needed boost. Shoppers were out in force in the early part of the week, making returns and hunting for bargains as retailers looked to clear out merchandise to make room for new inventory. Those who knew the right signs of a good deal had fun gathering goodies after the final, mad rush of Christmas. Let’s hope retailers tally many happy financial returns after this year’s selling season.

Laurels — To the weeklong celebration of African-American culture known as Kwanzaa. The holiday aims to recognize seven principles, known as Nguzo Saba, in seven days — Umoja (unity), Kujichagulia (self-determination), Ujima (collective work and responsibility), Ujamaa (collective economics), Nia (purpose), Kuumba (creativity) and Imani (faith). Various events are held to celebrate these principles. It’s a positive way to reflect on the year’s blessings and African-American history.

Darts — To bullying and the toll it takes, especially on children. For Pitt County Schools, where there were 498 recorded bullying incidents last year, the key to change is instilling character education into its students. In the countywide effort to stymie bullying, each school takes a different approach to keeping its halls as civil as possible. Among the approaches are peer mediation and using literature to illustrate lessons. We applaud these efforts and hope they create a kinder education experience for all.

Laurels — To Pitt County 911 dispatcher Melissa Henderson, who helped Winterville resident Pam Snow save her husband’s life by talking her through the CPR process when he was in cardiac arrest. Henderson just one of the many local dispatchers who regularly help people in crisis — from wrecks to crime or medical emergencies. It’s important to recognize their efforts and give them our sincere thanks. It’s reassuring to know that in our hour of need, a lifeline is only a phone call away.

Laurels — To a pastor’s life of service and devotion to the ideals of his faith. The Rev. Bill Neely retired at age 70 after 44 years of ministry, the last 14 of them at Greenville’s First Presbyterian Church. Neely led his church community in bettering the community, from raising more than $125,000 for the Neighbor to Neighbor program, which provides heating assistance for low-income households, to serving on Presbyterian Disaster Assistance’s National Response Team. Godspeed, reverend.

Darts — To the extra work that Christmas brings to local sanitation workers. An abbreviated pick-up schedule and extra trash from Christmas wrappings and boxes all add up to a heavy load for local workers. We can help ease the burden by reusing gift bags and choosing other eco-friendly options to wrap gifts, like recycled paper bags and even old newspapers. We also can make sure cardboard boxes go in the recycling bin, not the dumpster or trash can. Toss out wasteful habits for a greener new year.

Laurels — To the Pitt County Schools’ Exceptional Children’s Department after an audit showed good results in meeting the needs of the youth it serves. The program, which works with students with disabilities needing a specialized education, underwent comprehensive monitoring and was found to be at 89.66 percent total compliance with standards. Even better, the department’s director said team members are working to raise the score for every facet of the program. That an exceptional goal.

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Humans of Greenville

@HumansofGville

Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.

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