Friday, we published a guest column from Kershaw County Sheriff Jim Matthews detailing several recent, violent incidents to which deputies responded. Matthews said deputies respond to such incidents, patrol our communities and respond to other emergencies while making a starting salary of only $31,500. Furthermore, he said 11 of the 22 deputies who have left the department since Jan. 2015 have done so for higher salaries.
People all over Camden are talking about the city's new district, historic marker and street signs. As well they should. They are not merely new -- something which, in and of itself, would have been nice -- they are attractive and, as promised, tie into each other by design.
With the passing of the Memorial Day Weekend, Kershaw County and the rest of the state moved into the unofficial start of the summer season. From now until mid-August when our kids go back to school, we will be engaged in various summertime activities: vacations, camping trips, baseball games, swimming at the beach or a pool and so on.
The holiday weekend which ended yesterday marked two significant observances here in Kershaw County: Graduation day on Saturday for the county's public high school seniors (Camden Military Academy [CMA] graduates matriculated a week ago Sunday). Monday, of course, marked Memorial Day.
Along with a rather contentious debate on exactly how to fund some extra items in the county's proposed Fiscal Year 2017 budget, Tuesday's Kershaw County Council meeting came with some very good news: unanimous passage on second reading of an option agreement with Ernest Health to purchase 8.63 acres at the Wateree Business Park to, ultimately, build some type of rehabilitation hospital.
Camden is fortunate to have a wealth of equine events for both spectators and participants, alike -- the Carolina and Colonial cups, the many events at the S.C. Equine Center, the Camden Hunt and much more, including Aberdeen Polo, held just a few days ago.
As we report on today's front page, a majority of the Kershaw County Board of School Trustees voted against a motion to provide the North Central area's three elementary schools -- Baron DeKalb (BDK), Bethune (BES) and Mt. Pisgah (MPES) -- $12.7 million for renovations. This is the same amount which would have been used to consolidate BES and MPES. The vote, which essentially affirmed one taken two weeks ago, will keep BES and MPES open for now and provide all three schools with $1 million each for renovations.
One of our readers posits some pointed questions in a letter to the editor concerning President Barack Obama's administration letter Friday to all public school systems across the nation to let transgender students choose to use bathrooms matching the gender with which they identify.
A small piece of today's coverage of Tuesday's Kershaw County Council meeting touches on an exchange between Chairman Julian Burns and Kershaw County School District (KCSD) Superintendent Dr. Frank Morgan concerning funding for school resource officers, or SROs. The issue of who should supervise SROs, where they should be assigned and how to pay for them has been an on-again off-again issue for our community.
Today, we feature the April 28 Junior Leadership Kershaw County (JLKC) graduation dinner, honing in on Outstanding Student of the Year, Cadet Thomas Azrelyant from Camden Military Academy (CMA). Not long ago, we featured the annual Upchurch & Jowers All-County Academic banquet.
Today, we report on two recent overseas trips taken by Kershaw County Council Chairman Julian Burns and County Economic Development Director Peggy McLean. According to County Administrator Vic Carpenter, McLean's trip to China cost the county between $8,000 and $10,000. Burns' trip to Europe fell in the same price range, but, except for airfare, was paid for by the Central South Carolina Alliance.
Today's announcement the Kmart in Camden will close by the end of July is very unwelcome news. It is not surprising, however. Simply driving by on even the heaviest shopping days in recent years shows far fewer shoppers there than at Walmart across West DeKalb Street.