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Wednesday, December 1, 2010 | 50¢ Christmas Happiness closes in on $20,000 Spencer museum may have to charge Logging off? BY SARAH CAMPBELL Donating to the Christmas Happiness Fund has become a tradition for the Saints and Sinners Sunday school class at Organ Lutheran Church. “It’s just something we always do,” said treasurer Darrell Simpson. “We’ve always thought it was a good cause.” The fund, which will help provide needy families with Christmas presents, is nearing the $20,000 mark, but is still far from last year’s total of $62,000. Simpson said there are several educators in the class who have witnessed the need first hand and wanted to contribute. “We really wanted to try to help kids get toys or whatever else they need,” he said. “I hope it makes them have a happier Christmas.” The group recognized that need has grown due to the recession’s toll on families. Simpson said their original donation of $25 about 20 years ago has increased to $100 in recent years. “I hope we can help people who really need help,” Simpson said. Applications for Christmas Happiness are available on the Rowan County Department of Social Services website. Completed forms must be received by Social Services by Dec. 6. Eligible families will receive a $25 voucher per child, with a maximum of $100 per family. Last year, 2,857 children received gifts. Applications will be processed on a first-come, first-serve basis until funds are exhausted. For questions about the application process, call Social Services at 704-216-8330. Contributions to the Christmas Happiness Fund can be brought to the Salisbury Post, 131 W. Innes St., between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays or mailed to The Salisbury Post Christmas Happiness Fund, P.O. Box 4639 Salisbury, NC 28144. Make checks payable to the Christmas Happiness Fund and indicate how you want your donation listed. Donations will be accepted through Dec. 24. • In honor of our great grandsons Mason and Porter by Bob and Katie..$50 • In honor of Rowan County DSS foster parents by Carla and Jim Mallinson ..................................................$50 See CAMPAIGN, 2A Local officials fear state budget woes may hurt town BY EMILY FORD JON C. LAKEY/SALISBURY POST The Golden Nuggett Internet cafe and sweepstakes business in the Salisbury Shopping Center off South Arlington Street was still closed an hour after the posted opening time Tuesday. Ban affects Internet cafes, gaming businesses BY KARISSA MINN A new state law is forcing many local sweepstakes cafes to shut their doors — at least for several hours today — but managers, owners and state officials still aren’t sure how the law will be enforced. The law, which bans electronic sweepstakes games, is one of several in North Carolina to take effect today. It is now a misdemeanor “for any person to operate, or place into operation, an electronic machine or device to... conduct a sweepstakes through the use of an entertaining display, including the entry process or the reveal of a prize.” “Entertaining display” is defined in the law as “visual information, capable of being seen by a sweepstakes entrant, that takes the form of actual game play, or simulated game play.” Lawmakers have argued that the games are effectively illegal gambling. Consumers who visit sweepstakes parlors or convenience stores buy a product that gives them the opportunity to uncover potential cash and prizes with a few mouse clicks on a computer screen that resembles a casino-style game. Retailers or standalone parlors make the payouts. Sweepstakes machine operators argue the games are entertainment, not gambling. Cus- D& manager Linda Walker helps a customer sign in before playing games on one of the computers. tomers are given a pre-determined sweepstakes entry when they purchase Internet or phone time, and the games are simply a fun way to reveal whether or not someone is a winner. Linda Walker, manager of D& off of Jake Alexander Boulevard in Salisbury, said Tuesday she doesn’t know much about the new law. As far as she knew, she also would be back in operation today. She pointed to a message from VS2 Marketing Group, who makes the sweepstakes games D& uses, telling North Carolina cafes to close by midnight Tuesday until they are contacted with more information by 10 a.m. today. Other than that, Walker said, she doesn’t know what to expect. “I’m waiting on the news to tell me,” she said. “One guy said something about confiscating cafe equipment tomorrow ... but Rowan County ain’t said nothing about it.” She said people like her just want to know whether or not they will be able to reopen their stores and keep their jobs. “It’s Christmastime,” Walker said. “I’ve got grandkids, you know?” According to the law, prohibited displays include video ver- SPENCER — The N.C. Transportation Museum, one of the largest tourist attractions in Rowan County, would have to charge admission if the state cuts $1.12 million in funding. Faced with a projected $3.5 billion budget shortfall next year, Gov. Bev Perdue’s administration is considering deep cuts proposed by various state agencies. One proposal would eliminate state funding for the N.C. Transportation Museum, forcing the free attraction to become self-sustaining. “We would have to raise that money on our own,” said Mark Brown, public information officer. The loss of state funding would mean admission fees and other changes at the museum, Brown said. State legislators would have to work out the details, he said. “There are still a lot of maybes and possibilities that are involved,” he said. “Nothing is in any way set in stone.” The proposed cuts are the first step in a lengthy process that will culminate sometime next summer when the new Republican legislature passes a budget. Although the museum has run preliminary numbers, Brown said he could not speculate on how much admission might cost. It would take time for visitors to accept the idea of paid admission, he said. “The expectation of locals is that it’s a free museum,” Brown said. But others are already willing to pay to visit the museum, which features an authentic train depot, antique automobiles and 37-bay roundhouse with 25 locomotives, dozens of rail cars and other exhibits. “Every day, we also have people coming to the museum, reaching for their wallets and asking what the admission is with an expectation to pay,” Brown said. Each year, about 100,000 people visit the museum, including 30,000 who come to see Thomas the Tank Engine. While entrance to exhibits is al- See GAMES, 5A See FEES, 2A Art goes unseen as group marks World AIDS Day Rowan County AIDS Task Force Local advocates are putting art under a shroud to cast a spotlight on AIDS. For World AIDS Day today, the Rowan County AIDS Task Force is working to acknowledge those living with AIDS in Rowan County. The task force has borrowed an idea pioneered in the country’s major cities. Hundreds of artists, designers and entertainers died of AIDS in America’s cities in the late 1980s. As a memorial, many nationally prominent museums and galleries shrouded art works on World AIDS Day for a Day Without Art. With the cooperation of the city of Salisbury, the AIDS Task Force is planning its own statement. Art objects included in the 2010 Salisbury [|xbIAHD y0 0 1rzu Sculpture Show will be shrouded — covered with black cloth — today. So will pottery, paintings and art work in or around various shops and art galleries in Salisbury. Twenty-five Blue Masque students at Catawba College will wear black Wednesday and AIDS awareness signs. The largest work of art to be shrouded will be the massive Livingstone College Bear sculpture on the school’s quadrangle. Shrouds were placed over the works Tuesday and will be removed Thursday. “We hope A Day Without Art will raise awareness of AIDS in Rowan County,” said Dr. Gordon Senter, president of the Rowan County AIDS Task Force. “When you see a familiar work of art covered in black on Dec. 1, remember those in our com- Today’s forecast 52º/25º Clear, with a cold night ahead. munity who live with HIV/AIDS every day and those who have died of the devastating disease.” With HIV/AIDS no longer in the daily headlines, the Task Force says, many assume the disease has been conquered. AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) has not been cured. But like diabetes, it is now controlled with medications. Today, more people in the United States are living with AIDS than dying from it. In other parts of the world, the situation is not as encouraging. Less than half of those needing treatment in sub-Saharan Africa receive it. In Rowan County, 101 people receive case management services for HIV/AIDS. A total of 215 people in Deaths JON C. LAKEY/SALISBURY POST Livingstone College’s Bryant Lewis works with other HIV AIDS peer eduSee AIDS, 5A cators to cover the large bear statue on campus on Tuesday. Milton S. Ruble Ramona C. Clay Alene A. Hughes Contents Bridge Classifieds Comics Crossword 11B 5B 10B 10B Deaths Horoscope Opinion Food 4A 11B 10A 8A Second Front 3A Sports 1B Television 11B Weather 12B

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