• Founded in 1933 during the Great Depression, Newsweek became a journalistic force of the 20th century; its weekly wrap-up of the news events affecting the world was required reading for those who wanted to be in the know. When the print woes that have affected the entire magazine industry, and much of the newspaper industry, became too severe, it switched to a sort of combination print-online publication. But last week, facing mounting losses, Newsweek gave up the ghost and cancelled its print edition. It's a sad occurrence, but a sign of the times in the magazine business.
• A belated tip of the Chronicle-Independent hat to State Rep. Laurie Slade Funderburk for being awarded the "Green Seal of Approval" from the Conservation Voters of South Carolina back in September during the organization's annual Green Tie Awards banquet. She earned the honor along with fellow State Rep. Paul Agnew and State Sen. Ray Cleary for their continued "championing (of) funding for the Conservation Bank and they have also promoted clean energy initiatives." The group said Funderburk and Agnew were "instrumental in upholding the Atlantic Compact that ended the nation's use of South Carolinas as its nuclear waste ...
Kershaw County Council made a reasonable decision earlier this week in limiting to 10 minutes the amount of time people have to speak when addressing issues during public hearings. Having the right to be heard is fundamental, and it's important that council didn't attempt to do away with that, but anyone who's ever attended hearings before -- or any type of public forum, for that matter -- knows that some people can get carried away with the sound of their own voices.
It's a fun time to be a college football fan in Kershaw County. While the high school teams in this area are going through a rough patch, the state's two flagship football programs -- South Carolina and Clemson -- are having banner seasons that could lead to the ultimate rivalry game Nov. 24 when the two teams will meet.
• We start with a tip of the Chronicle-Independent hat to Jim and Pat Watts for their giving ways in helping the Fine Arts Center (FAC) of Kershaw County construct and open a new performing arts wing at the center. The new 3,876-square foot-wing, dedicated in their name at the FAC's recent annual meeting, will allow the center to expand its theater arts education and performance programs. It's a great addition to the FAC campus for which we say, "Bravo!"
Nobody's really sure whether or not presidential debates actually influence voters' decisions, although the so-called experts say the small minority of undecided voters are indeed subject to what goes on when candidates stand behind lecterns and fire bombs at each other. If that's indeed true, then the contest between President Obama and Mitt Romney got a bit tighter Wednesday night, as even the staunchest liberals conceded that Romney got the best of the president in their first debate.
We doubt that many Kershaw County residents are waiting in breathless anticipation for the presidential debate tonight. After all, mirroring the normal path of politics over the last few years, this year's contest between President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney has been more of a mud-wrestling contest than a serious forum over the many difficult issues facing the United States.
• Singer Andy Williams, who died last week at the age of 84, had one of those soothing voices that left people feeling better about everything. His signature song, "Moon River," came from the 1961 movie "Breakfast At Tiffany's" and carried him to stardom, though he had many other hits. He was one of the original acts in Branson, Mo., and performed until shortly before his death. He will be missed in the music world.
People here in Kershaw County and South Carolina take their football seriously. Though the Carolina Panthers are based in nearby Charlotte, the college game still reigns supreme here, but Sunday afternoons still attract plenty of fans who like to watch the National Football League games. Some of those contests have been thrown into disarray by substitute officials who have taken the place of the league's regular officials, who were locked out by team owners in a labor dispute.
In a day when Democrats and Republicans will argue about what color the sky is or whether the wind blows, the latest controversy comes along with South Carolina's new voter registration statutes, which have been challenged by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, who says the move could disenfranchise black voters. The S.C. law would require voters to show at least one kind of proper identification, something that Palmetto voters did for years. But opponents say requiring such a measure would punish people who don't have ready access to such documents.
Few crimes have attracted the attention and fascination of the public like the gruesome 1970 murder of an Army wife and her two young daughters at Fort Bragg, N.C.; the husband and father, Capt. Jeffrey McDonald, a Green Beret physician, was subsequently convicted of the murders and has been in prison since 1979. For all these years he has maintained his innocence, claiming the murders were committed by four mysterious people who invaded his army post home, stabbed him and killed his family during a drug-induced rampage.
As President Obama and Mitt Romney batter each other and each other's parties ad nauseum, voters in Kershaw County and across the country continue to be subjected to the same bitter partisanship that keeps Congress and the White House from getting much achieved. In fact, we were struck by another newspaper's recent focus on a book entitled "The Parties Versus The People," by former U.S. Rep. Mickey Edwards, a Republican of Oklahoma. "We have to reclaim our democracy, not from an invading army but from the parasitic destruction waged in the name of partisan interest," Edwards wrote.
• As the teachers' strike unfolded in Chicago and protesting educators swarmed city streets, we watched with interest as one teacher explained, with a straight face, why they were going out on strike. "We want to make sure all the children in Chicago get the kind of education they deserve," he said. We've noticed that whatever the location, teachers who shut down schools always mouth the party line that they are doing it for the kids and not for themselves. We hope nobody actually believes that.
College athletics has become too big and too important, a behemoth that sometimes seems to control the academic process rather than the other way around. But that is what it has come to, and with the huge amounts of money being tossed around for TV rights to college football and basketball games, it's hard to see it going the other way.
Don't be surprised if some member of the S.C. General Assembly reads of the new 85-mile-an-hour speed limit in Texas and decides that would be a good idea for the Palmetto State. We hope that won't happen, but we'll never be flabbergasted at any proposal that includes a higher driving speed, which to some lawmakers equates with motherhood and apple pie.
Tomorrow is Independence Day, the Fourth of July, when this country celebrates its birthday. This year, July 4 marks the 239th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence -- the document which signaled to the world the original 13 British colonies were breaking away from Mother England.
During the last week, we have published two reports on KershawHealth. The first, growing out of the hospital's most recent board of trustees meeting, focused on its market share. It is relatively healthy, thanks to KershawHealth's being the only hospital in all of Kershaw County. More people living in the county turn to KershawHealth for emergency care than anywhere else. However, the report -- broadly speaking -- noted a decrease in market share in outpatient services and only slight increases for inpatient services.
Kudos to our various law enforcement agencies for working together to get some folks off our streets who needed to be stopped. At the top of our list are Bethune Police Chief Joey Cobb, Kershaw County Sheriff's Office (KCSO) and U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for arresting two people (and there may be more to come) for the June 23 armed robbery of Sandhills Bank in Bethune.
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