• 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.
Kershaw County Council's consideration of a noise ordinance is a positive thing that needs to move forward to a conclusion. It should set specific standards for what kind and level of noise is acceptable and what's not. Blaring music, loud equipment and yelping dogs might not bother some people at all, but it can keep their neighbors from sleeping or enjoying peaceful summer days and nights.
A significant number of people in Kershaw County probably believe -- incorrectly, of course -- that the Camden Archives is filled with musty, boring documents that only an historian could love. That's not the case, of course, and the current exhibit of Larry Doby memorabilia is a prime example. Now on display and running through the end of the year, the Doby exhibit tells the story of a man who came second behind the famed Jackie Robinson in breaking Major League Baseball's color barrier but found far less fame from doing so. The display kicks off here in Doby's ...
• With partisan bickering in Washington at an all-time high, we were glad to see Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah turn back a Republican Party primary challenge last week. Hatch is one of the few senators left in the capital who attempts to compromise and reach across party aisles to get things done. We're glad the voters of Utah put him over the top, for in that state, winning the GOP primary is usually tantamount to being elected.
Camden residents will have a chance to voice their opinions soon on two major transportation projects slated for the town -- a proposed "road diet" for Camden's Broad Street and an official truck route around the city. Both of them could have a major impact on the city for years to come, so we hope citizens who have a particular point of view will voice their feelings July 10 at Camden High School.
Recent polls show, unsurprisingly, that President Obama holds an overwhelming lead among Latino voters, outdistancing Republican Mitt Romney by almost a three-to-one margin. Part of this is because of Obama's political posturing towards Hispanics, but part is also due to the GOP's failure to offer programs that appeal to the country's fastest-growing group. It follows the same trend that holds with African-American voters, who favor Obama -- or any other Democrat, for that matter -- by almost 90 percent.
Lawyers of every political persuasion are lining up in Washington to have their say on the legality or illegality of the plan President Obama intends to implement regarding amnesty for illegal aliens who are in the United States without proper authorization, with one major network saying the president's plan to take the immigration system into his own hands "is a daring test of the limits of presidential power."
Operating under the simple premise that citizens have a right to know as much as they can about how their government officials operate, and how that affects governmental agencies as a whole, we almost always favor laws and regulations which require transparency in government. Transparency, of course, is an overused word, but it basically means that government agencies must operate in a way that allows citizens to observe what's happening, and even to have input about what's taking place.
• Once again, we mention the good work of Brian Mayes in this space. Seven years ago -- in response to the death of Camden High School student Michael Smith in Kershaw County's only gang-related shooting -- Mayes said the community had to become "a better gang than the gangs." What he meant is Camden and Kershaw County had to offer young people alternatives to gang life and choices which could land them in jail, or worse. Two events this month prove Mayes has planted good seeds we hope will bear fruit for generations to come. First, the official ribbon cutting ceremony ...
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