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Noted and passed - May 5, 2014

Posted: May 2, 2014 9:09 a.m.
Updated: May 5, 2014 5:00 a.m.

• After months of work by KershawHealth employees, administrators and trustees -- and a lot of speculation by the public -- the KershawHealth Board of Trustees voted a week ago to adopt a new strategic plan it hopes will stem a long-running tide of red ink. The plan does not call for any cutbacks in service, but rather the opposite: new facilities in Elgin and Camden in order to expand and strengthen existing services. Some may be surprised that KershawHealth leaders are willing to move forward to transform the former Burndale Plaza shopping center or that a new Karesh Long Term Care facility might be built at the old Pine Tree Hill School site, not to mention possibly adding assisted and independent living services. Less surprising is a plan to add a new “performance health center” at Elgin, which is, of course, close to Richland County. The strategic plan is definitely ambitious, counting on forming “strategic partnerships” with groups of or individual physicians and other healthcare organizations. Details some people expect from a strategic plan were missing, most notably how much these endeavors may cost and how much revenue KershawHealth expects to generate from them. And, while not as wide as some may fear, the door is still open to either merging or selling the hospital. We applaud the hard work and cooperative spirit formed by the effort, but must cautiously wait for more information before saying for sure whether our public hospital is heading in the right direction.

• Most of our readers likely know what an honor it is for a young person to attend one of our country’s armed forces military academies. For those who do not, it’s not just a matter of having good test scores -- although that’s important -- and just filling out an application. To attend the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y.; U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Md.; U.S. Air Force Academy at Colorado Springs, Colo.; U.S. Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, N.Y.; or U.S. Coast Guard Academy at New London, Conn., you have to be nominated -- by a U.S. congressman. Even then, there’s no guarantee. Only about 1 percent of applicants are accepted. So, we join his mother, Beth, and grandparents, Max and Judy Ford, and the rest of the community in applauding Camden High School senior Zack Watson’s appointment to the Air Force Academy in Colorado. It is an important and major accomplishment and we wish Zack the best as he heads to Colorado not long after graduation.

• A lot of people appear to have been smiling after seeing our recent story on a special education prom teacher Renee Thompson and her husband, John, put together at a building on South Broad Street. Readers and others also seemed to like our Localife spread of additional pictures from the dance. Several people shared the story and pictures on Facebook, thanking and expressing pride in the Thompsons for organizing the dance. One of the nicest things to take away from Localife Editor Haley Atkinson’s article is that teacher cadets and other students from all three high schools helped out to give special education students a fun night to remember. Here’s to the Thompsons and all who pitched in and to the thought that this might become an annual event that will grow and grow.

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