If you've been sniffling and sneezing and wondering when the giant clouds of yellow pollen will finally subside, take heart: the worst of it is over, and those yellow cars you see driving around Kershaw County will soon be back to their natural colors. That will no doubt be a relief to many allergy sufferers here, and it will mean that everyone can finally celebrate, without reservation, the glory that is spring in South Carolina.
South Carolinians shouldn't be surprised to see the state rank poorly in yet another survey. It seems the Palmetto State is forever being relegated to the bottom tier in all kinds of indicators. Some of them, of course, don't have much validity. But the latest one, in which only five states are ranked lower than South Carolina in susceptibility to political corruption, is particularly unnerving because it's one that could be avoided with a modicum of care from legislators.
• One more sign of a changing digital world is the demise of the print edition of the Encyclopedia Brittanica, which will no longer publish a paper-and-ink version after 224 years. The World Wide Web, including online encyclopedia Wikipedia, made the Brittanica obsolete. It was considered the granddaddy of all American reference volumes, though its livelier cousin World Book, outsold it. Time waits for no man, and certainly not for Brittanica.
It's good to see that Gov. Nikki Haley, who hasn't won a reputation for openness in her administration, has agreed to a plan which will result in better retention of records in the governor's office. Haley and the S. C. Department of Archives and History agreed to the plan, which is partly a result of The State newspaper's discovery a few months ago that e-mails and other records were being routinely destroyed.
One of the things that makes community newspapering difficult is covering painful stories. Reporters and editors who report on controversial events for metro newspapers located in large urban areas seldom know the people they're reporting on -- or their friends and family members. Conversely, in a tight-knit community like Camden, such stories take on a much more personal impact, because so many of the participants know each other.
• In the wake of revelations that some NFL teams paid bonuses to defensive players for delivering such hard hits that offensive players were knocked out of games, it would be naïve for anyone to believe this is a new wrinkle. But league commissioner Roger Goodell needs to deal with this and put an end to it, especially in light of all the recent revelations about brain damage caused by repeated blows to the head.
If there were evidence of widespread crossover voting in South Carolina primaries -- if Democrats were voting in Republican primaries just to subvert the process, or vice versa -- then it might make sense to require people to register by party before casting ballots in primaries. But there's not, and so there's no real need for a bill that has been introduced in the House of Representatives to close primaries.
There are Republicans in South Carolina -- and across the nation, for that matter -- who are amazingly adept at finding new ways to shoot themselves in the foot. But GOP officials in Laurens County went to a new level of innovation when they passed a "purity pledge" requiring those who plan to run in this year's primary to adhere to a set of rules governing their social behavior and mores. Specifically, the pledge demands that candidates must, among other things, not have had premarital sex and not watch porn. The state GOP quickly dismissed the idea, noting that it is ...
• We note with sadness the recent death of Camden's Larry Cooke, a former Bulldog basketball star who went on to have a stellar career with Virginia Tech (at that time Virginia Polytechnic Institute) and was drafted by the Atlanta Hawks. At age 57, he left this world too early but left behind a proud legacy.
The cause of centrism in the U.S. Senate took another nosedive this week when Sen. Olympia Snow of Maine stunned everyone with her announcement that she wouldn't seek another term. Snowe, who won her 2006 re-election bid with a whopping 74 percent of the vote, said she was tired of the partisan bickering in the Senate. "I do find it frustrating … that an atmosphere of polarization and 'my way or the highway' ideologies has become pervasive in campaigns and in our governing institutions," Snowe declared.
It's ironic that after years of declaring the United States' antiquated tax system needs overhauling, members of Congress now appear ready to effect substantive changes -- in the midst of the most partisan rancor that has been seen in Washington in years. President Obama has already proposed a cut in the corporate tax rate to make U.S. companies more competitive, offsetting some of the cuts with an elimination of specialized tax breaks that have been ludicrous over a number of years.
• A recent news story indicated that this year's mild winter had confused plants and animals alike. Flowering shrubs and trees seem to think that it's already spring, and humans are sniffling with allergies which don't normally show up until late March or April. But we'd wager that nearly everyone in Kershaw County has taken great pleasure in the lack of cold weather and the unseasonably warm days which have allowed people to be outdoors and enjoying themselves. By this time in February, we're usually weary of scraping frost off windshields and wearing heavy coats, but ...
Not so long ago, we remarked that this country's war on cancer, initiated by President Nixon more than four decades ago, had in many ways been a disappointment, with the death rate from various kinds of cancers still high. But in some areas, there have been great advances, and a new study released this week proved what many have believed all along: that colonoscopies are extremely effective in reducing the incidence of colo-rectal cancer. In patients tracked as long as 20 years, the death rate was reduced by more than 50 percent.
If plans proceed as anticipated, it won't be long before the former Camden Middle School at the corner of Broad and Lauren streets is torn down. That will be a positive step for everyone and will, we hope, be the final step in a saga that has dragged on for a long time, through nobody's fault. The Kershaw County School District had previously agreed on two separate occasions to sell the decrepit building, which was abandoned several years ago when a new school was built to replace it. Both groups which were interested in razing the building intended ...
• Kudos to Camden native Ford Graham, who's been chosen to lead the S.C. Department of Commerce's European office. In that role, Graham will head the state's international industrial recruitment efforts in Europe. He's been involved with business development in the state for several years and has a solid track record, and we look forward to following his successes on the continent.
We wrote recently of a change in the way KershawHealth is managing its emergency department, sending seriously threatened patients to one area for immediate, vital care while directing others who are less ill to be treated in a non-emergency system. It's cost-effective, but also provides quality care for both types of patients.
One of the problems with the expense of health care is the fact that many people tend to use a hospital's emergency room as their primary care facility, going there with normal ailments such as flu and severe colds. Emergency room care is expensive -- too costly to be used in that way. KershawHealth is no different than other hospitals in that regard, and the decision to "split" the emergency department there is a sound one.
Today, the Chronicle-Independent begins a series of articles summarizing the candidates and issues that will be on the Nov. 4 ballot, one week from Tuesday. Perhaps the most contentious race isn't between candidates but between "yes" and "no" on two referenda offered by the Kershaw County School District.
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