Even the most casual sports fan in Kershaw County can get caught up in the hoopla of March Madness, the NCAA basketball tournament that is arguably the best sporting event in the country. It's difficult to understand how college sports officials can continue to resist a football play-off system when you consider the interest drawn by the hoops tourney each year. And in this year's games, there have been lots of down-to-the-wire contests, generating more excitement than ever before.
• Kershaw County residents have a special reason to pull for Wofford's basketball team, as the Terriers are coached by Mike Young, who's married to the former Margaret Green, daughter of Davis and Gege Green of Camden. Young led Wofford to their second consecutive NCAA tournament appearance this year after winning the Southern Conference championship, with the Terriers making the "Big Dance" field despite being one of the smallest schools in the country to play Division I basketball. In the first round, Wofford played BYU valiantly before falling; nevertheless, it was another great season for Wofford and we offer ...
Say what you will about Gov. Nikki Haley, but don't say one thing: that she's bashful.
In a perfect world -- in a political system that functioned more as our forefathers intended rather than how it actually does -- elected officials in Washington would take on issues based on the importance of those matters rather than how the politicians would be affected at the ballot box in their next re-election campaign. But, of course, it's not a perfect world, and sometimes lawmakers can be most productive when they can plow ahead without having to worry about repercussions at the voting booth.
• We see through news reports that a sizeable percentage of newly elected U.S. Congressmen have decided to sleep in their offices, partly due to the high cost of real estate in the Washington area. That brings back memories. Rep. Ken Holland, formerly of Camden, was one of the first to become an "office snoozer" when he was elected to Congress from the Fifth Congressional District in 1974. Holland, a lawyer by profession, served eight years before leaving Washington -- one of the few who didn't become intoxicated with the power of Washington -- and now lives in Gaffney
The state appears on the verge of legitimizing a traffic ticket system that has existed on the gray market for years in many municipalities -- writing tickets and collecting fines while not counting the violations against people's traffic records, thus saving them the higher insurance premiums that often result with speeding violations. A bill in the House of Representatives would allow police to write a warning ticket to speeders who are going less than 10 miles per hour over the limit, with the state and cities sharing the revenue.
We all like to think that when we go to the polls to elect our leaders that we're casting our ballots for people who will make bold decisions; few voters ever mark the box next to the name of a candidate they consider timid. Camden City Council has indeed made some bold decisions recently, the latest one being to buy the former Mather Academy property, with the purpose of building a new recreational complex to take the place of the aging Rhame Arena.
• It's difficult not to like the candor of Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, the plain-spoken chief executive who's grappling with the Garden State's problems in a way that residents of that state have seldom seen. Christie lets the criticism of the media and special-interest groups roll off his back while he pile drives into the massive issues facing his state. Recently, Christie said he was not running for president but added that he knew he could win if he did. Few politicians are so bold or, as his critics say, brash. It will be interesting to ...
The nation marked a milestone earlier this week when Frank Buckles of West Virginia, the last surviving U.S. World War I veteran, died at the age of 110. Buckles passed away peacefully, according to his daughter, and remained until the end somewhat bemused by his singular status as last survivor.
The drama that's been playing out for a couple weeks in Wisconsin over public sector unions has moved to Ohio, and it's almost certain that the issue of public unions isn't going away. While union membership has been declining for years in private business, that hasn't been the case with public unions; in 2009, for the first time in this country's history, a majority of unionized workers were in government jobs rather than private ones. And the percentages are even more striking: while only 7 percent of private workers are unionized, 36 percent of government ...
• We're glad to see Kershaw County Council moving toward a ban on smoking in county-owned vehicles. Employees have the right to smoke if they wish, of course, but the prohibition on puffing in vehicles merely extends the present policy which bans smoking in county buildings. Cigarette smoke odor lingers in vehicles, and non-smoking employees shouldn't have to put up with it.
With April 15 approaching, Kershaw County taxpayers are bundling their records together and preparing to report to Uncle Sam. In most cases, they'll be hiring someone to prepare their tax returns because the tax code in this country is so blindingly complicated that a layman has no chance of understanding it. Many tax professionals can't even understand it. But in Washington, there's finally talk of comprehensive tax reform. That, of course, doesn't mean our elected officials in the nation's capital will accomplish anything, but conditions are ripe. We have a Republican-controlled House and a Democratic-controlled ...
Most people here in Kershaw County and across the country believe that despite political differences, there's a sense of fair play that should come into effect when philosophical problems arise in government. We certainly haven't seen much of an atmosphere of compromise in the last few years, but the brouhaha in Wisconsin over the governor's efforts to end a portion of public unions' collective bargaining rights has prompted two actions that we believe most people -- even those who don't agree with Gov. Scott Walker's plan -- will think violate a sense of fair play.
• A simple but efficient system is helping prevent meth production in South Carolina. A computer tracking system that went online in early January monitors purchases of the cold remedy pseudoephedrine -- a key ingredient in meth -- as they are made and thus prevents lawbreakers from going from store to store to buy large supplies of the over-the-counter drug. Nearly 6,000 sales have been prevented in the month since the system went online; some of those certainly would have gone into meth. It's a good system that is apparently doing exactly what it was designed to accomplish.
Camden City Council made the wise move some time ago to prohibit people from sending text messages while they're driving, a practice that is unquestionably dangerous but is common, especially among teenagers. Now it appears that the General Assembly might pass a statewide ban on texting despite the fact that there are still several senators who feel such a prohibition would be an infringement on drivers' rights. But making that argument makes no more sense than saying that speed limits pose a similar danger on the rights of individuals.
• Property rights vs. community pride is a conflict as old as civilization itself. In recent months, we've reported on two attempts to regulate the appearance of properties in an effort to clean up our communities. Back in October, Kershaw County Council rejected, 3-4, third reading of an ordinance which would have given the county authority to demolish uninhabitable dwellings deemed a nuisance to neighbors or the community at large. More recently, Bethune Town Councilman John Fulmer proposed an ordinance which, if passed in December, would fine owners of blighted properties if they don't clean them up after being ...
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.
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