• We welcome newly hired Kershaw County Administrator Victor Carpenter, who comes to this area from Abbeville County; we hope Carpenter can lend some stability to a position that's had too much turnover in recent years. And while we're at it, let us offer a tip of the hat to Frank Broom, former Camden city manager, who served as interim county administrator and was able to "straight shoot" with council members, partly because he didn't have to worry about their becoming angry and siding against him, a concern that "regular" administrators naturally must harbor.
With spending deficits that can't be sustained without driving this country to financial ruin, lawmakers in Washington have lots of choices before them. So far they seem to be ignoring them. But their job isn't easy, and this week's New York House of Representatives race, in which a Democrat captured a seat in a traditionally Republican district, became a referendum on cutting Medicare benefits, and voters said they didn't like that.
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.
Lawmakers in Washington have long ignored the fact that the Social Security system in this country is broken. On the brink of insolvency, Social Security needs major revamping, whether it comes in the form of benefit reductions, tax increases or both. Congress has refused to consider benefit cuts decades out in the future, even for young adults who are just now starting to pay into the system. They are turning their backs on such simple fixes as delaying the age by a year or two at which people can start receiving their monthly allotments. Bear in mind, we aren't ...
The Republican presidential field is already getting crowded, and the South Carolina GOP primary is often viewed as a bellwether for White House hopefuls. Because this is a conservative state, candidates in past years have often moved to the right while campaigning here. But a new poll shows Republican voters in South Carolina might be moving away from some of the hard-line social issues they have embraced in the past. As a side note, many political observers believe the party "had better get out of people's bedrooms if it wants to broaden its appeal."
• Last week's seizure by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) of Old Armory Steak & Seafood on Rutledge Street marks at least the temporary loss of one of Camden and Kershaw County's premier restaurants. It is an unfortunate blow to the downtown Camden economy. Each business provides potential traffic to another and the loss of any one diminishes such beneficial ripple effects. Locals cheered the Old Armory's opening in 2006 so soon after the closing of the previous tenant, The Paddock. Many people and businesses have celebrated the holidays, proms, anniversaries, engagements, weddings, birthdays and more at the Old ...
With Augusta being only a couple hours away from Kershaw County, the Masters golf tournament holds a great deal of allure for this area. The azaleas at Augusta National are famous for their popping colors and their beauty, but they're no prettier than those which are currently at their peak in Camden, we might add. But there's something magical about the Masters, which is ranked by many players as the one tournament they'd like to win more than any other.
There have been many great additions to the Camden landscape in recent years -- to name a few, the statues of Joseph Kershaw and King Haiglar at the Town Green; the Bernard Baruch and Larry Doby statuary at the Camden Archives; and the new pocket park where the former Maxway building stood. All these have added to the town's appearance and ambience.
• Congratulations to Johnny Deal and Richard Walkirch for receiving, respectively, the United Way of Kershaw County's Jake Watson and Ann Dallas awards. Deal, often known as "Mr. Camden" or "Mr. Facebook" around town, is one of many people's favorite personalities. That doesn't necessarily win you awards. What does is a commitment to community involvement, which Deal has in spades, working with the Camden Jaycees, Kershaw County Chamber of Commerce, Community Medical Clinic, Fine Arts Center of Kershaw County, the United Way and more. As for volunteerism, we can't imagine a more worthy recipient for the Dallas ...
We're not too high on elected officials who hew to positions on the fringes. Like many, we believe adherence to strict political philosophies is one of the primary reasons for the polarization in American politics today. There just aren't many lawmakers in Washington today who are willing to sit down and work things out despite their political differences, as there were for decades.
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