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Noted and passed - Jan. 19, 2015

Posted: January 16, 2015 11:54 a.m.
Updated: January 19, 2015 1:00 a.m.

• A major tip of the C-I hat to newly installed District 5 Kershaw County Councilman Dennis Arledge, briefly hospitalized in recent days and, therefore unable to attend his first council meeting. It would have been easy for anyone in his situation to ask to take his oath of office at council’s next meeting. Instead, he arranged to take the oath, with his wife at his bedside, from former Councilman Gene McCaskill on Jan. 13. Later that afternoon, at the official swearing-in ceremony, those gathered to see others take their oaths applauded enthusiastically when shown a picture of Arledge taking his oath at the hospital. The events prove two things, in our minds: Arledge was definitely committed to getting his service to his constituents underway as soon as possible, and Kershaw County -- while a “small” community to some outsiders -- has a big heart.

• Kershaw County Council’s vote to create a “business park” out of all of KershawHealth’s real estate -- one of many steps in converting the healthcare organization from non-profit to for-profit under Capella Healthcare -- makes sense. As a for-profit entity, Capella should not be exempt from at least fees in lieu of taxes, if not taxes themselves. Either way, after the deal closes, the hospital must be treated like any other company in Kershaw County in council’s eyes. We are, however, disturbed at learning Capella may not be communicating much with the county. If true, this needs to be remedied as soon as possible. County Administrator Vic Carpenter and former council Chairman Gene Wise participated in KershawHealth Board of Trustees executive session with Capella and competitor Duke LifePoint. Still, further communication between Capella and Kershaw County would not be a bad thing. Meanwhile, we knew some level of “local control” would be lost; we’ll have to see how Capella’s “local board of trustees” will work, both in terms of running the hospital and in its relations with the community.


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