Recent settlements of lawsuits filed against Sheriff Jim Matthews resulted in a payment by the county's insurance company of $110,000 to three different plaintiffs. There are a few observations to be made:
Mitt Romney's selection of Paul Ryan as his running mate will turn the presidential campaign into one centered around economic policy, though Democrats will certainly try to make it about social issues. We hope it will stimulate serious discussion about this country's spiraling deficit and the unsustainability of the economy if the United States doesn't get a handle on its debt. Of course, how to reduce that debt is framed in different ways by the two parties, and so far there has been little effort by either to try to come to compromise. Democrats insist that taxing ...
• It's a bit difficult to believe that President Obama believes he's not gotten a fair shake from the national media. The New York Times reports that Obama is critical of the press because he thinks news media have hindered his ability to advance his political and social agenda. In reality, national newspapers and television networks -- Fox excluded, of course -- have fawned over the president for years. It's hard to figure how Obama believes he's getting a raw deal.
It comes as no surprise to sweltering Kershaw County residents that July was the hottest month ever in the lower 48 states. Weather figures indicate, too, that the first seven months of 2012 have also set a record for heat. Compounding the situation is what weather scientists call "extremes" -- events such as radical high and low temperatures, droughts, downpours, vicious storms and the like. They are on the upswing, and they're no fun for the people involved where they occur.
If we tried to count the politicians who have played fast and loose with the truth, it would be an impossible task. The art of embellishment rises to high levels when some candidates and office-holders assess their own abilities and accomplishments. But Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada, the Senate majority leader, has sunk to new levels with his completely unsubstantiated charges against Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
• It's a bit absurd that the U.S. government taxes the medals that this country's Olympic athletes win. For those who take the top prize, the gold medal, they are expected to add $675 to their taxable income and fork federal taxes over on that amount. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida will introduce a plan to abolish that tax, and it will be a miserly lawmaker, indeed, who doesn't support such legislation.
South Carolina Lt. Gov. Glenn McConnell isn't accustomed to being a figurehead. For many years, in his position as president pro tem of the Senate, he was one of the state's most powerful men. His knowledge of Senate rules and the respect he commanded in the Senate lent him unusual clout, which he was not timid about using. Then, through an unusual set of circumstances, McConnell became lieutenant governor after the former person who held that post, Kenneth Ard, ran afoul of ethics legislation and resigned. McConnell believes voters will approve a measure in November that will allow ...
Kershaw County Council Chairman Gene Wise is right in recommending to council members that they thoroughly vet people before placing them on the board of directors of KershawHealth. In the past, recommendations have primarily been rubber-stamped by the council; that doesn't mean highly qualified people weren't placed on the board, because there have been. Many county citizens have served faithfully and skillfully as the local hospital has navigated its way through a rapidly changing marketplace. But having competent board members is more necessary now than ever before because of a variety of changing federal mandates as well as ...
• We offer a tip of the Chronicle-Independent hat to the Rev. Bruce Hancock and the members of Camden's First Baptist Church, who are celebrating Hancock's 20th anniversary as pastor. It is rare that a minister remains at one church that long, and Hancock has carved out an enviable record at the county's largest church, with a great deal of growth (and spiritual nutrition) taking place.
The 2012 Olympic games begin today in London, and while there's always a touch of politics involved, the event still is inspirational as an example of international goodwill among all those who participate. The opening ceremonies have become an extravaganza over the years, but the best part is still the entrance into the stadium of the athletes from around the world, all there to compete against each other in the best tradition of sportsmanship.
We've said on prior occasions that governmental entities sometimes tend to go overboard on paying taxpayer money to hire consultants, but Camden City Council might do well to follow through on its idea to use a firm that will help conduct citizen surveys. Mayor Jeffrey Graham and council members have been bold in undertaking major initiatives but there is a perception among some that they have been unwilling to listen to those who disagree with them. Of course, we've also said that there's a difference in being unwilling to listen and in listening but not agreeing. In ...
• In the wake of the Colorado movie theater incident last week that killed or wounded more than 60 people, we mused once again on just how common mass murders have become. Our memory fades to 1966 when a drifter named Richard Speck broke into a Chicago apartment and killed eight student nurses. It shocked the world. Nowadays, unfortunately, such incidents make headlines one day and are forgotten the next because they occur so often. It's a sad sign of the times, we suppose.
A proposal by S.C. Superintendent of Education Mick Zais to bundle failing public schools into a special statewide district deserves scrutiny. Some schools have remained on the list of under-performing institutions for years while leaders say they are trying to improve things but in actuality are producing little result. Zais says the purpose of a special district composed of such schools would be to implement new measures to make the schools more effective and accountable. Zais says similar programs in Tennessee and Louisiana have worked well.
Politics is often a curious creature, and few things have been "curiouser" than Kershaw County Council's decision to create a commission to explore alternatives for a penny sales tax to help the county's recreation program, and then do an abrupt about-face, terminating the measure. The citizens who served on the commission and worked hard to come up with a decent plan must be wondering why they expended all the effort.
• Ernest Borgnine, who died recently at the age of 95, was one of the great actors of Hollywood. Borgnine could adapt to almost any role, and unlike some celebrities in show business, he was a really good guy to boot. He was a true screen icon, and he will be missed.
One of the things that keeps many people interested in politics is the fact that big decisions can turn on little details. Such is the case with control of the United States Senate in the upcoming election; Republicans want to gain six seats so they'll have a majority in both the Senate and House, while Democrats, even though they understand they probably will lose some seats, want desperately to prevent a GOP majority. The entire deal -- which party, in effect, controls the government in Washington -- could come down to Alaska, the least densely populated state in the nation. With ...
The unemployment rate here in Kershaw County and across South Carolina, as well as the rest of the United States, remains disappointingly high. The economy is still mired in slow growth, and too many people are out of work. Yet a recent study by a national newspaper shows how ineffective government jobs programs can be and points out that many people who have tried to take advantage of them end up worse off than they were before starting them.
• Here in Kershaw County, we don't think about bridges much, unless it's the spans crossing the Lynches and Wateree rivers on U.S. 1, I-20 and other roads. Many bridges in our county are small, made of wood or pipes used as culverts. They cross streams and branches of creeks and -- according to our recent two-part story -- not in the greatest shape. Some state-owned bridges are in the process of being repaired or replaced with state and/or federal funds. But many others are owned by the county. All but two currently open bridges that cross bodies of ...
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