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Hits and misses
HIT Return to space
Before noon Friday, the last space shuttle blasted off from Cape Canaveral, 30 years and three months after the first. Carrying supplies, Atlantis headed toward a rendezvous with the International Space Station. It also carried the aspirations of Americans who - for decades now - have been able to look heavenward to find the next unexplored frontier. Those hopes will be on hold for three years, if not longer, as the next generation of NASA rockets is developed, spacecraft that one day might allow man to travel beyond the moon.
MISS Another sign
As if Americans needed another sign that the economic recovery is losing momentum, numbers Friday showed just 18,000 jobs created across the nation in June. That boosted the unemployment rate to 9.2 percent and did further damage to already fragile consumer and business confidence. Two years into the recovery, it's harder and harder to find signs - in the numbers or in American lives - that the worst is indeed over.
HIT Preserving a rich history
The campaign to convert the soon-to-be-vacated Fort Monroe into a national park took a step forward this week with the National Park Service's call for public comments on the proposal. With legislation pending in Congress and the president reportedly pondering a quicker route - invoking the Antiquities Act to declare the fort a national monument - now is the time for supporters to speak up. There are multiple options: Visit the website http://parkplanning.nps.gov/fortmonroe, send email to email@example.com or attend meetings from 2 to 4 p.m. or 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. July 19 at the Hampton Roads Convention Center.
MISS Wheels are wheels
They have a point. If the city is going to let bicycles and in-line skaters travel on bike paths at the Oceanfront, there's little reason to bar skateboarders. Last weekend a bunch of skaters showed up to protest a law that singles them out for prosecution. Most of the protesters rode longboards, which are designed for comfortable transportation rather than tricks. It's time for the Beach to reconsider a law that makes a distinction between the kind of wheels someone rides rather than how those riders behave.
The latest report on obesity in America showed more Virginians are packing on pounds and putting themselves at greater risk of significant and costly health problems. The report, released this week by the Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, noted more than one out of four Virginians - 25.9 percent - was obese last year. That's up from 14.2 percent in 1995. Other states fared worse, and the South had the highest rate of obesity in the country.