The city of Camden is blessed with a rich cultural heritage and an appreciation for the arts, so it comes as good news that a new statuary monument -- a tribute to one of Camden's long-time business and civic leaders -- is going to grace the new Town Green. This comes not long after the announcement that the Camden Archives grounds will be the site for statues of Bernard Baruch, a Camden native and international financier, and Larry Doby, who broke the color line in the American League.
• We had hope that the "Gang of Six," a bipartisan group of U. S. senators which was examining ways to cut the deficit by trying to overcome the political logjam in Washington, could make progress. But Sen. Tom Coburn's decision to leave the group -- he and other members have been vilified by the far left and right, depending on whose ox was getting gored -- reduces the chance of success. Meanwhile, elected officials in the nation's capital continue to rail against each other while the deficit grows and threatens the fiscal survival of the nation. It's pitiful.
Layoffs and employment cutbacks have become an unwanted but common occurrence since the economic downtown began about four years ago. Nobody likes them, and they have caused untold grief for millions of American families. But in some cases, they have been necessary for companies and governmental entities to survive, and that's the sad fact that appears to be true about the recent layoffs at KershawHealth.
In the last few years, the public has come to better appreciate the efforts and sacrifices made by law enforcement officers -- those who serve in small towns, large cities and rural areas across the country. That makes it difficult for everyone when an officer steps outside the bounds of acceptable conduct, as former Kershaw County Deputy Oddie Tribble did in beating a handcuffed prisoner in August of 2010. Tribble was sentenced earlier this week to serve more than five years in prison for the incident.
• Kudos to the Kershaw County Library for joining a network that allows patrons to download audio books and e-books onto their computers and other electronic devices. As trends shift away from the printed page, the library isn't being left behind and is making changes necessary to continue as a relevant entity in a changing world. The local library has always been outstanding, and this is just one more development in a proud history.
A couple weeks after Navy commandoes killed al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, Kershaw County residents are no doubt still celebrating with their countrymen his demise. Americans are by nature a compassionate people and not attuned to celebrating death; in this instance, it is justified in every way and a cause for joy, for bin Laden will endure in infamy as one of the most cold-hearted murderers the world has ever known.
Following the city of Camden's recent purchase of a portion of the former Mather Academy property, we commented that we favored the move and that if the city chose to replace the outdated Rhame Arena, then the Mather property could certainly be a suitable site. Though we didn't say so at the time, we felt all along that the city would be justified in replacing Rhame Arena, perhaps with updated amenities, but that the city didn't need to get into the business of offering a full-fledged gym or fitness center; that's better left to private enterprise ...
• Congratulations to the high school seniors recently recognized as members of the All-County Academic Team. For 16 years Upchurch & Jowers Insurance Agency Inc. has honored a select group of students for their academic achievements. This year, 31 youth from Camden, North Central and Lugoff-Elgin high schools joined this team for excellence. Well done, students!
We were glad to see recently that a 10-year-old girl from Batesburg-Leesville near Columbia is making progress in recovering from an attack by a vicious pit bull in which the dog almost tore her right arm off. She has undergone a series of operations, according to news reports, and could have been killed on the day of the attack if a deputy had not responded quickly and killed the dog. According to that same report, since November there have been six separate violent incidents in South Carolina involving pit bulls, including two in which the victims died and four others ...
Newspapers are generally in the forefront of free speech issues; along with trying to keep government meetings open and accessible to the public, first amendment rights usually are pretty sacrosanct in the newspaper business. Yet as the Supreme Court pondered the case of Kansas' Westboro Baptist Church a few weeks ago -- those are the kooks who show up at military funerals with all sorts of distasteful protest signs -- we had settled into a feeling of, "If the justices can find a way out of this without allowing those horrid people a right to spew their venom, we'll be fine ...
• Anheuser-Busch, from its founding in the mid-19th century, has been an iconic American brand, its primary product being the industry behemoth Budweiser. For many, it was unfortunate when the company was sold in 2008 to Brazilian-Belgian brewing giant Inbev. It was recently revealed that August Busch IV, the last of the founding family to play an active role, is stepping down as a director, leaving a Busch-less company for the first time. In business, things change quickly, but it is nevertheless a bit sad to see this longtime company now without a member of its founding family.
We don't always agree with everything that Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina says. We like his conservative principles but sometimes think he's a little dogged, in that compromise is necessary to accomplish much in Washington. But there's one issue on which we're in total agreement with DeMint: it's time for public funding of the Public Broadcasting System and National Public Radio to end.
For decades, presidential administrations have come up with budget figures that don't always jibe with those which are compiled by the Congressional Budget Office, the federal agency that provides budget information to Congress. Not surprisingly, White House spending and deficit figures usually differ on the optimistic side from those of the CBO, which takes a more rational, business-like and non-partisan view of spending in the United States.
• Southwest Airlines has been flying out of Greenville-Spartanburg and Charleston airports for several weeks now, with good apparent results. Travelers are booking trips for the unique airline's lower fares and lack of add-on fees. It's too bad that Columbia's airport can't attract a quality nationwide low-cost carrier, for as airline prices continue to soar, Kershaw County travelers will be joining others across the country in seeking the lowest fares.
The recent furor in Wisconsin over Gov. Scott Walker's decision to eliminate some of the collective bargaining rights of public unions has died down somewhat, but the issue over public unions isn't going to go away anytime soon. Across the country, people are taking a hard look at unions populated by people who are paid with taxpayer dollars. In Wisconsin, as you'll remember, Democratic members of the state Senate fled into neighboring Ohio, thus meaning a quorum could not be present for Senate business and Walker's plan could not come to a vote. Republican senators found ...
• We are comforted when justice is served, and we believe that happened Thursday afternoon when a jury found 33-year-old Willie Thomas Starnes, of Bethune, guilty of armed robbery and murder. The jury found Starnes guilty of deliberately using his vehicle a year ago to knock Alan Thomas Robinson, 67, also of Bethune, off his moped, stealing and loading that moped onto his vehicle and then turning around and running Robinson over. Robinson died the next day. Starnes is then accused of selling the moped for money he used to buy drugs. In fact, Starnes was under the influence of drugs ...
Whenever the subject of guns is brought up, it engenders strong opinion on both sides -- from those who believe in absolute Second Amendment rights, and from those who believe that nobody should be allowed to own a gun in any circumstances. Like most people, we fall somewhere in the middle, solidly on the side of Americans to own firearms but a bit dubious about why it makes sense for people to own Uzis and other automatic weapons that are made with the express purpose of killing people.
We comment on sports issues in this space on a regular basis, because athletics are so ingrained into the culture of Kershaw County and South Carolina. This week marks the kick-off of college football season in the Palmetto State, and several developments highlight the changing culture of the pigskin pastime here.
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