Today’s editorial space takes on a “Thumbs up, Thumbs down” theme as we consider a few issues in and around Richmond County.
Thumbs up … to the Senior Games of Richmond County. Between Thursday and 5 p.m. on April 4, the Hamlet Senior Center hopes to register 200 or more senior residents to participate in this year’s slate of contests, which range from sports, arts, crafts and more. Last year, 167 people participated, 20 advanced to state competition and four qualified for the National Senior Games. Local competition begins April 28.
Thumbs up … to the Richmond County Board of Education, members of which voted Tuesday to approve the superintendent’s revised school calendar that keeps intact Spring Break, from April 21 to April 25. We can’t help but feel students, parents and staff alike appreciate the effort to do this without adding Saturday school sessions or extra time at the end of school days.
Thumbs down … to the Richmond Community College Board of Trustees, members of which voted Tuesday in Hamlet to include e-cigarettes in its no-smoking policy and, like traditional cigarettes, ban them from campus. An RCC representative told The Daily Journal the decision was made for two main reasons. First, there is a ban on tobacco products on campus, “so it’s not necessarily fair to allow e-cigs and not real ones.” Second, there “isn’t a body of research on the health effects of second-hand e-cigarette smoke. From a health standpoint, we don’t want to allow potentially hazardous behavior on campus while banning other activities that are similar.”
A couple of things don’t measure up yet. First, e-cigarettes don’t emit smoke but, instead, a vapor. Second, e-cigarettes contain only synthetic nicotine and not the 4,000 chemicals emitted by traditional cigarettes, at least 50 of which are known to cause cancer. While there is plenty of research to be done on the subject, what’s known so far is there is impact only on individual e-cigarette users, not those around them. Their use can elevate heart rate and blood pressure of the user, but so far has no known impact on others.
If entities such as Richmond Community College were to ban everything that could be a potential danger, eating fatty foods and driving wouldn’t be permitted on campus, either.
Thumbs up … to the Ellerbe Town Council, members of which voted to move the public comment period to the start of meetings. This allows residents and stakeholders to speak on agenda issues before council members vote on them — which makes nothing but good sense.
Thumbs up … to the Richmond Community College Board of Trustees, members of which voted Tuesday to rescind a request for a $15 million bond referendum to fund construction projects on the college’s main campus.
It’s not the right time, given the economic climate, said Bert Unger, chairman of the board’s buildings and grounds committee.
However, RCC is the fastest-growing community college in North Carolina and officials have acknowledged it is at capacity. We hope board members revisit this issue to let voters decide whether to support further development at RCC — a shining example of what’s right in Richmond County.