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.
More than five million Americans have Alzheimer's Disease, the tragic malady that robs people of their ability to function mentally. Countless others -- family members and friends -- are affected by the dread disease, and researchers have been unable to make significant progress in fighting Alzheimer's. It has long been suspected that a build-up in the brain of a sticky substance called beta amyloid plays a part in the disease, but such hypotheses haven't been proved and treatment and prevention options haven't improved much.
It should come as no surprise to Kershaw County voters that when it comes to November's presidential election, money is going to be the name of the game -- specifically, money to spend on advertising, much of it negative attack ads denigrating either Mitt Romney or President Obama, whichever the case may be. Ironically, voters here in South Carolina are being largely spared the endless spate of advertising drivel because the Palmetto State is considered firmly in Romney's camp, with Obama given little or no chance of winning here. Similarly, voters in states like Vermont and Oregon, where the ...
• Having watched and participated in July Fourth celebrations, we are struck by the same thought that hits us each year on Independence Day: that despite this country's problems, even with the bipartisan wrangling that threatens to upend our political process, considering the economy that is having a hard time gaining traction, the United States is still far and away the greatest country in the world. We join others across Kershaw County in celebrating the magnificent heritage and promising future of the good old U.S. of A.
No couple in America stirs emotions like Bill and Hillary Clinton, so when she showed up at an Iowa political festival acting more and more like a presidential candidate, it caused quite a flap among those who have begun such movements as "Ready For Hillary," and also among those who'd rather see anybody than her become president. But it proved one thing: that even after decades in the spotlight of the political arena, she still commands attention.
It was another black eye for South Carolina last week when Rep. Bobby Harrell, speaker of the House of Representatives, was indicted by a Richland County grand jury on nine counts, including illegally using campaign money for personal expenses, filing false campaign disclosures and misconduct in office. Harrell suspended himself -- how's that for an oddity? -- and will now face his government accusers. South Carolina certainly doesn't have a monopoly on political malfeasance but the Palmetto State has had more than its share of governmental scandal. We say that fully recognizing that Harrell is innocent until proven guilty.
• What a boon the S.C. Equine Park has been for Camden and Kershaw County! And now, with word that a second, larger covered arena will be built -- possibly as soon as this winter -- the park should ultimately bring even more people to the area than it already does. Think on this: even with the arena already in place, the equine park has been booked an average of 30 weekends each year, with an economic impact of $4 million. Imagine if, with the second arena, the park could be booked 45 or even 50 weekends each year. How much would ...
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