Camden City Council is wise to consider the role and development of city boards and commissions, and an overall restructuring of the process would be a good idea. City Manager Kevin Bronson, at council's last meeting, laid down several guidelines that should be followed in appointing boards and commissions, all of which made sense. But it was an off-hand remark by Council member Walter Long that perhaps was most cogent of all -- that the city is not receiving minutes from some boards because they aren't meeting regularly. And therein lies a premise: that the city doesn't need ...
• We note with sadness the death last week of veteran horse trainer Charles "Charlie" V.B. Cushman Jr., whose name is synonymous with the horse industry both in Kershaw County and abroad. A twist of fate thrust Cushman from race spectator into the saddle at the 1949 Carolina Cup as a fill-in for an injured jockey. He went on to capture third place in that spring classic, and it seemed his fate with riding and Camden was sealed. Cushman built on his expertise, riding for Hall of Fame trainer W. Burling "Burly" Cocks and training such racing notables as Explode ...
Kershaw County Sheriff Jim Matthews has been sued for the third time since taking office only a few months ago. While we aren't legal experts, we do see a few interesting developments here, the first one being that Matthews has been no shrinking violet when it comes to making statements about the way the department was run prior to his election. Of course that's not uncommon in South Carolina law enforcement circles; after all, sheriffs are elected and not appointed, and politics is part of the process. Some say Matthews continued his criticism of former Sheriff Steve McCaskill ...
It is difficult for children in Kershaw County today to even imagine the Jim Crow era, when African-Americans had to use separate bathrooms, couldn't eat in most restaurants, endured poor facilities and often had a difficult time even voting. That was just a bit more than a generation ago, and one of the towering figures who fought such injustices was Matthew Perry, who died earlier this week at age 89.
• TV personality Alex Trebek is well known for asking "answers" on "Jeopardy!" but not as much so for chasing down intruders, which he did last week after someone invaded his hotel room. Alas, Trebek suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon while chasing down the violator, and he has undergone surgery. We hope he'll soon be recovered, as we (and legions of other "Jeopardy!" fans in Kershaw County don't want to have to miss him behind the lectern of any episodes.
An anonymous group has sent a letter to Kershaw County Board of School Trustees Chairman Joey Dorton charging that the school district -- its top officials, who make employment decisions -- had decreed who would be hired, or at least which races would be hired, before interviewing began for three principal's positions in the county.
With the country on the brink of a debt default, and with elected officials in Washington locked in combat, it has never been more apparent how fragile the art of compromise is in the nation's capital. Most believe the reason is that for years, members of the Republican and Democratic parties have become more and more polarized, Republicans hewing to the hard right and Democrats to the hard left. There's lots of space to meet in the middle, but Washington pols don't appear interested. This is frustrating to many centrists who believe government shouldn't exist on ...
• Actress Jane Fonda says she's "deeply disappointed that (shopping channel) QVC caved in to insane pressure" and cancelled her recent television appearance. Fonda, as you might recall, straddled a Viet Cong anti-aircraft gun during the Vietnam war; she later charged she'd been tricked into the stunt. But people have long memories. Fonda's conduct went far beyond activism and protest, amounting instead to consorting with the enemy, and she must live with the consequences. If QVC made the decision to cancel her appearance because the company thought she would ultimately hurt business, the network had every right to ...
Author Chris Crutcher says he's shocked -- shocked! -- that his book "Angry Management" has been removed from Kershaw County School District libraries and from the district's summer reading list. Imagine that.
Kershaw County resident Reggie Lloyd has had an impressive -- some would say meteoric -- career run in his public life. After practicing law for a prestigious Columbia law firm, he was elected a circuit court judge, and then he became U.S. Attorney for South Carolina, the first African-American to serve in that post since Reconstruction. In 2008 he was appointed by then-Gov. Mark Sanford to head the State Law Enforcement Division.
• The suit filed by former Kershaw County Sheriff Steve McCaskill against present Sheriff Jim Matthews is a messy situation that will cost county taxpayers money. Libel laws are written so that people who hold themselves up to scrutiny -- in other words, almost all elected officials -- have very difficult tasks in winning such suits; they must usually prove there is malice involved, which is difficult to do. At the same time, Matthews has certainly made uncomplimentary comments about McCaskill. This matter could end up being expensive and unpleasant for lots of people.
Business leaders from across the United States -- ranging from Wall Street monarchs to small-town family business owners -- barraged Congress earlier this week with the same message that many Americans would like to send: quit arguing and get something done about the debt ceiling and then the long-term fiscal discipline of this country. News reports indicate that a concerted effort from business people across the spectrum was aimed at Washington -- ironically, much of it toward Republican lawmakers who have benefited from business contributions in the past.
Many Kershaw Countians who are past middle age undoubtedly recall with fondness former First Lady Betty Ford, who died last week at age 93. Her husband, Gerald Ford, became president upon Richard Nixon's resignation following the Watergate scandal; he had earlier been appointed to the vice presidency after Spiro Agnew resigned in disgrace.
• President Obama has started tweeting, and he might regret it. The president is now using the social-media Twitter to send out messages, but Republicans aren't letting him get off unscathed, sending in questions about the economy's performance during his administration. The city of Camden has recently undergone its own social media upheaval with its (former) Facebook account, and folks there might advise the president that tweeting might not end up all that it's cracked up to be.
Many Kershaw County residents are no doubt keeping in their minds the most-used cliché in legal circles: you can never predict what a jury's going to do. That certainly proved true again earlier this week, when 12 people found Casey Anthony not guilty of murdering her 2-year-old daughter. It was a case that had captured public opinion perhaps as no other had since the murder trial of O.J. Simpson many years ago. Both defendants were acquitted despite circumstantial evidence that seemed overwhelming. Both cases also spotlighted Americans' fascination with the legal system and with high-profile crime cases.
Lawyers of every political persuasion are lining up in Washington to have their say on the legality or illegality of the plan President Obama intends to implement regarding amnesty for illegal aliens who are in the United States without proper authorization, with one major network saying the president's plan to take the immigration system into his own hands "is a daring test of the limits of presidential power."
Operating under the simple premise that citizens have a right to know as much as they can about how their government officials operate, and how that affects governmental agencies as a whole, we almost always favor laws and regulations which require transparency in government. Transparency, of course, is an overused word, but it basically means that government agencies must operate in a way that allows citizens to observe what's happening, and even to have input about what's taking place.
• Once again, we mention the good work of Brian Mayes in this space. Seven years ago -- in response to the death of Camden High School student Michael Smith in Kershaw County's only gang-related shooting -- Mayes said the community had to become "a better gang than the gangs." What he meant is Camden and Kershaw County had to offer young people alternatives to gang life and choices which could land them in jail, or worse. Two events this month prove Mayes has planted good seeds we hope will bear fruit for generations to come. First, the official ribbon cutting ceremony ...
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