President Obama's plan to expand early-childhood education on a massive scale sounds at first blush like a great idea. After all, who can argue with the fact of helping kids -- especially disadvantaged kids -- get a break early in life, thus helping them gain valuable skills and leading productive lives? The only problem is that the government itself -- the Department of Health and Human Services, in particular -- has found that programs such as Head Start don't work on a long-term basis.
• People here in Kershaw County are getting a bit tired of the cold weather, and with good reason. While South Carolina has a mild climate and certainly doesn't experience the extreme cold of New England and the Midwest, it's been much colder than normal this year, and those days when the temps don't rise out of the 30s or 40s have become too common. We find ourselves longing for the blooming of azaleas, and we imagine we're not alone in that.
An interesting and moving project is taking place from Virginia up into Pennsylvania, where 620,000 trees are being planted along roadways to honor those who gave up their lives in the War Between The States, the bloodiest military conflagration in this nation's history. Oaks, maples, cedars and dogwoods are being placed in the median and in groves along the historic highway that links Charlottesville, Va. and Gettysburg, Pa.
The change jangling around in your pocket might be looking different soon, as the U.S. Mint is exploring ways to change the composition of metals it uses to make quarters, dimes and nickels. It now costs almost a dime to make a nickel -- that's in metal costs alone -- and combined with the excessive cost of the penny, it's costing the mint more than $100 million each year. Changing the mix of metals has drawn protests from vending machine operators, who say the new coins could foul their machines, but mint officials are said to be working with ...
• The concept of balanced reporting in today's national media is pretty much a joke. Fox News isn't going to hide its favoritism of right-wing politicians, while MSNBC (and virtually all other national broadcast outlets, including the three major networks) cannot abide anyone who isn't a liberal. Pundits have had a field day with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and the so-called Bridgegate affair. The general response from analysts on the left has been, "Well, he says he didn't know about it and we are going to take him at his word, but if he did know ...
Camden and Kershaw County have had a long, pleasant relationship with the College of Charleston. Countless students from this area have attended school in the Holy City, and there aren't many people who have gone there and not liked it. So it was particularly interesting when Lt. Gov. Glenn McConnell announced he would not seek re-election but would instead throw his hat in the ring to become president of the College of Charleston.
Since we're still in the early part of 2014, there are undoubtedly many people here in Kershaw County who are still sticking to their new year's resolutions, whatever they might be. And people who read this newspaper regularly know that we often write of the benefits of exercise when it comes to maintaining good physical and emotional health. Trying to increase fitness and trying to lose weight are two of the most common resolutions made in this country.
• Nobody understood why Liz Cheney, daughter of the former vice president, jumped into a Wyoming race for the U. S. Senate, a seat held by popular Republican Dick Enzi. Cheney moved from the east coast to establish residency there, then caused a family rift with her comments about gay life; her sister, Mary, is a lesbian. It was a quirky, inexplicable move which ended earlier this week when she dropped out of the race in the face of nearly certain defeat. Politics is a strange business, indeed.
It was quite a college football season here in Kershaw County and South Carolina, with both Clemson and the University of South Carolina turning in sparkling seasons. And the final BCS championship game of history -- there will be a four-team playoff starting next year -- might have been the best championship game ever played, with the Auburn Tigers and Florida State Seminoles scoring four times in the waning moments of the game.
As of today, three public officials have decided not to seek reelection. Several days ago, Kershaw County Councilman Stephen Smoak said he would not run again. Today, Kershaw County Coroner Johnny Fellers and Kershaw County Probate Judge Harriett Pierce announce they are not running for reelection, either.
• The concept of energy conservation has never been stronger, as the amount of electricity consumed in U.S. homes fell in 2013 for the third straight year. Usage is at the lowest level since 2001. Several factors are involved, in addition to Americans being more conscious of saving power: homes are better built; appliances and gadgets are more efficient; insulation has become better and cheaper; and there are nifty new devices such as smart thermostats. It's all a good thing, of course, for this country.
The people of Kershaw County and South Carolina will be the big winners as a result of an agreement that will leave a huge piece of land near Lake Wateree protected from development forever. Sen. Vincent Sheheen deserves a great deal of credit for making the deal happen, as he was the point man, and he says it was the culmination of a years-long dream for him.
The beginning of a new year is a traditional time for people to try to improve parts of their lives with which they're not satisfied. New year's resolutions aren't always kept, but they're a step in the right direction, and they often revolve around people determining to take better care of themselves. It's long been know that exercise cuts the risk of heart disease and a host of other physical ailments, including diabetes. Researchers are now finding that fitness has a long-term effect upon brainpower and can play a crucial role in staving off dementia.
• Yes, we know South Carolina is a strong second-amendment state, and we're surely aware that this is an election year. But Gov. Nikki Haley's posting on Facebook of her Christmas gift, a Beretta PX4 Storm pistol, took posturing to an extreme.
Congress finally made some semblance of an effort to work together a couple of weeks ago in passing a two-year budget agreement which will preclude the possibility of another government shutdown this year. That's the good news. The bad news is that with the agreement completed, lawmakers in Washington appear to be done with serious deficit reduction for the foreseeable future. Those members of Congress who believe the country needs to address the horrid deficits plaguing the country apparently have little leverage against their colleagues, who are apparently satisfied with the plan cobbled together by Republican Paul Ryan and ...
With the April 15 tax filing deadline having past earlier this week, Kershaw County residents can breathe a sigh of relief – except for those who filed for an extension, of course. But a more important day, when it comes to your money, is Tax Freedom Day, which is the day the average South Carolina resident finally earns enough to pay his or her income tax bill. This year it was April 9; because of South Carolina's tax structure, which is lower than some states, Palmetto State residents pay their share earlier than the nation as a whole, which is ...
Easter. Go ahead and let the word resonate in your mind. Let all the memories and fond associations come rushing over you. Easter is such a lovely holiday. The Biblical story behind it teaches people to be hopeful, that there is the possibility of redemption, unconditional love and eternal life. The natural season is a time of blooming and birth and renewal. The earth wakes up from its winter slumber and the air feels softer and warmer.
It was good to see dedicated volunteers and staff members recognized at last week's annual United Way of Kershaw County dinner. While there are many, many people who push together to make the United Way the superb organization that it is, a few special people were singled out for recognition. Dr. Frank Morgan, superintendent of the Kershaw County School District, received the Jake Watson Award, and Camden Deputy Fire Chief Phil Elliot was given the Anne Dallas Volunteer of the Year award. Other plaudits for volunteer efforts were given, and staff member Margaret Lawhorn was singled out for her ...
• The news that the city of Camden plans to install an elevator at Camden City Hall is quite welcome. It is especially so to the city's disabled citizens who have found it difficult to come to court or attend Camden City Council meetings, both of which take place on the second floor. Many years ago, the city installed a chair-lift system attached to a railing of the building's main stairwell. It hasn't always worked and some people find its appearance a bit daunting. Installing the elevator -- which will also allow employees and visitors to reach offices and ...
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