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Noted and passed -- April 2, 2012

Posted: March 30, 2012 9:25 a.m.
Updated: April 2, 2012 5:00 a.m.

• Camden and Kershaw County and, indeed, the state are fortunate to count Sibby Wood among their citizens. Raised in a family which fostered the arts, Wood has pursued a mission to provide access to the arts to all, with a particular focus on integrating arts into education. In May, the S.C. Governor’s School of the Arts and Humanities will recognize Wood, who was instrumental in plans for the Greenville-based state residential school, with the presentation of the J. Verne Smith Leadership Award. Wood’s support of the arts is well-known in the Camden community; this well-deserved honor embraces the broader range of her commitment to sharing the arts.

• All music fans should be happy to hear that Aretha Franklin, the incomparable diva whose voice can send chills up and down one’s spine, is reuniting with famed music producer Clive Davis. Franklin, 70, belted out pop hits in the 1960s and then made her first comeback in the 1980s. Her voice is still a zinger, and a new album will no doubt be a treat.

• We’re not sure what’s going on with the airline business, but there have been lots of disturbing incidents in the air recently, two of them involving crew members. It’s difficult to imagine the stress passengers felt on a Jet Blue flight last week when the captain had some sort of breakdown and raced through the cabin screaming incomprehensible warnings. Flying these days is stressful enough without enduring incidents from the guy who’s in charge of the cockpit.

• Newt Gingrich says the fact that he’s laying off a third of his campaign staff isn’t a sign that he’s giving up on the race for the Republican presidential nomination. And Rick Santorum admits he’d take the second spot on a Mitt Romney ticket. Looks like the bottom of the ninth inning in the GOP race.

• Starbucks is catching heat from vegans -- people who eat no animal products whatever, including cheese and eggs -- who are angry that the coffee giant has begun using a natural substance to color its strawberry frappucinnos. Starbucks thought it was going in the right direction by eliminating an artificial colorant as the chain tries to make its products more natural. Turns out the new substance is ground-up cochineal beetles, which is a government-approved natural food substance. Vegans make up an infinitesimal percentage of the population, and we’ll bet most Americans prefer the new natural substance. Sometimes the greater good must win.

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