Highs, lowswithin local,national news

HIGH: Residents of Bladenboro should be feeling pretty good about the fiscal health of their town after the recent audit, especially given the fact that, for a number of years under the previous administration, General Fund losses were common and, when there was an increase during a rare year, it was more than likely because the town board sold off assets.

A majority of those lean years were being led by Town Manager Delane Jackson, who was subsequently “demoted” to town administrator and then pushed into resignation with a $50,600 job-well-done gift officially labeled a “severence package.”

We can’t give the current town administration enough kudos for the way it has resurrected the town’s finances over the past couple of years. It has long been a mystery to us how former Mayor Livingston Lewis, an accountant, could allow the town’s finances to go awry, while current Mayor Rufus Duckworth, a self-proclaimed “regular guy,” has managed to clean up the inherited mess.

Along with Duckworth, kudos are due the rest of the board, new Town Administrator John O’Daniel and the voters of Bladenboro for continuing with a winning team — with only a minor change — after last week’s municipal election.

The future of the town looks brighter now than it has over the past decade.

LOW: A gathering Tuesday at the Bladen County Health Department by the county’s Opioid Task Force was well attended, bringing about 34 county leaders and concerned residents together to continue a mounting effort to curtail opioid abuse here.

But conspicuous by their absence were representatives from Bladen County Schools.

Much of the conversation Tuesday focused on programs aimed at school-age children, and those conversations always ended with “We’ll get with someone at Central Office to see what we can do.”

When the faith-based community sends 12 representatives, Bladen Community College sends four and nearly every other important group had someone in attendance, it is a shame that the public schools couldn’t find the time to be part of the discussion.

We hope to see the public schools represented at the Jan. 9 meeting because … well, part of the opioid epidemic is starting in their facilities.

HIGH or LOW: You should have gasped this week when the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology announced that 30 million more Americans are now considered to have high blood pressure.

The reason for the increase isn’t because so many of us have seen a rise in our BPs, it’s because these two groups have changed the thresh-hold for what is considered “high,” from 140/90 to 130/80.

It wasn’t all that many decades ago that 120/80 was considered the bar between good and bad blood pressure.

Here’s why we think y’all should have gasped: The change in numbers will allow more physicians to prescribe blood pressure medication, which will boost the sales for pharmaceutical companies manufacturing those medications — just in time to offset the potential drop in sales as the fight against opioid abuse rages on.

THAT alone should raise your blood pressure.



“It’s Friday … time to start making stories for Monday.” (Unknown)