• A new study shows that dementia is going to be even a bigger problem than originally thought, estimating that 135 million people will have the disorder by 2050; that's a 17 percent increase above previous predictions. Dementia -- with Alzheimer's Disease being the best known type -- has stubbornly fought the best efforts of scientists to discover a cure or a way to slow the progression. These new figures are a stark reminder that for all its advances, medicine is still an inexact science.
During a turbulent year at KershawHealth, one theme has been consistent: that patient care has not deteriorated and that the hospital's staff has continued to provide high-level medical services and compassionate care for patients. That's no doubt been made more difficult by the turmoil surrounding the facility's top management and board. Now, with a new executive having been hired to run KershawHealth on a temporary basis, it's time to focus on returning the hospital to profitability and "settling things down."
One of the many problems in politics today is that many elected officials begin to believe they are smarter than the electorate and feel they should be able to make decisions that contravene public attitudes. They justify this, of course, in a myriad of ways. The recent resignation of a Colorado state senator is the ultimate in arrogance when it comes to ignoring the voters and trying to circumvent the will of the people.
• We note with sadness the death of Kershaw County Deputy Sheriff Rob Evans, who collapsed and died as he was directing traffic at Wateree Elementary School; he had served as a school resource officer in Lugoff for seven years and was active in a wide variety of school and community functions. Evans, 50, was well liked and did a good job of establishing rapport between his department and young children.
There won't be many people in Kershaw County who'll be neutral about the South Carolina-Clemson game Saturday, as both teams come into the rivalry ranked in the nation's Top 10. It should be a great contest, with the entire nation watching. South Carolina Coach Steve Spurrier and Clemson Coach Dabo Swinney have been unusually complimentary of each other in the days leading up to the game, with both of them talking about how much they respect the other. In the past, there have been sharp words between the two, but everyone knows that part of that has ...
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) last week said it would lift its ban on cellphone conversations on airliners, but the ruling doesn't mean that non-stop jabbering will automatically be permitted; rather, it simply allows the airline companies to decide whether they want to sanction cellphone use or not. In doing so, the FCC finally acknowledged what most experts have preached for years: that the use of electronic devices doesn't actually interfere with a plane's communications and controls systems. There will no doubt be lots of passengers happy that they don't have to turn off their iPads ...
• If you're planning to visit family members in another area of the country and dread facing huge crowds in airports during Thanksgiving, consider this: within a decade, 24 of the busiest 30 airports in the nation will become as congested twice each week as they are on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. That's the prediction from a travel-industry study, and Charlotte's Douglas International Airport is among those included. So if you're flying next week, console yourself with the fact that soon, the bedlam you're facing will be an everyday affair.
If you don't believe that politics changes in a heartbeat, you need look back no further than the past few decades, when pundits and prognosticators predicted with certainty that one political party or the other had died, never again to be resurrected.
When it comes to football, most people in Kershaw County and across South Carolina get divided up into one of two camps -- either the University of South Carolina or Clemson. There's a pretty sizeable hump between the two, and fans tend to fall onto one side or the other. But since the Carolina Panthers started playing in the National Football League in 1995, it's given residents of the Palmetto State a team virtually everyone can cheer for. Of course, there are a few old diehard Washington Redskins fans left around Kershaw County from the days when that was ...
• One of the great talents of the modern musical world was Roy Orbison, who died in 1987 at age 52. Orbison's sons plan to soon release a host of previously unknown music which the multi-talented singer recorded in the years preceding his death. The sons vow these are not outtakes or junk songs, but tunes which will enhance the singer's stature rather than reduce it. Orbison, of "Oh, Pretty Woman" fame, left the earth too soon, and his fans will no doubt relish these new releases.
It remains to be seen whether Kershaw County travelers will benefit or suffer from the merger of USAirways and American Airlines, a move which was approved by the Justice Department earlier this week. Some consumer groups opposed the merger on grounds that it will reduce competition and ultimately lead to higher ticket prices. But at Charlotte's Douglas International Airport, which is used by many local travelers, USAirways already controls about 90 percent of the flights, so it's not going to make a huge competitive difference there.
The rollout of the Affordable Care Act, more popularly known as Obamacare, has become the most outrageous exercise in "I didn't know, don't blame me" that could be imagined. Meanwhile, the online registration system continues to fail, and now it's revealed that people trying to sign up for Medicaid are experiencing some of the same enrollment problems as those attempting to register for private insurance. Were it not so pathetic, the entire matter would be laughable, even as representatives of the administration continue to portray it as little more than minor glitches.
• When Blockbuster started its video rental stores in the 1980s, it was a marvel of technology -- movies available immediately, with a wide choice. Dish Network, which bought the company out of bankruptcy in 2011, announced last week it would close all remaining company-owned stores, finalizing a signal change in how people get their entertainment. Streaming video and other more modern technologies have made the video rental business obsolete. Indeed, we live in a changing world.
It's no secret that childhood obesity -- right here in Kershaw County and across the nation -- has reached epidemic proportions. And statistics indicate that obese kids become obese adults, complete with all the health complications that come with being overweight. At the same time, officials of national parks across the country are grappling with the fact that kids don't have the same enthusiasm for being outside that previous generations did. In fact, a movement called "Leave No Kid Inside" attempts to revive the spirit of adventure and exercise that is disappearing all too fast for all too many kids ...
It's been a turbulent year for the board of trustees at KershawHealth, with flowing red ink, major management changes and a transition in leadership of the board itself. Given all that, and with the future of the hospital as a locally owned institution at stake, it would make perfect sense for board members to ensure an open and transparent -- yes, that's an overused word, but it's appropriate -- process as they search for an interim CEO to fill the position of Donnie Weeks, who recently stepped down under pressure. After all, public trust in the hospital has never ...
The unemployment rate here in Kershaw County and across South Carolina, as well as the rest of the United States, remains disappointingly high. The economy is still mired in slow growth, and too many people are out of work. Yet a recent study by a national newspaper shows how ineffective government jobs programs can be and points out that many people who have tried to take advantage of them end up worse off than they were before starting them.
• Here in Kershaw County, we don't think about bridges much, unless it's the spans crossing the Lynches and Wateree rivers on U.S. 1, I-20 and other roads. Many bridges in our county are small, made of wood or pipes used as culverts. They cross streams and branches of creeks and -- according to our recent two-part story -- not in the greatest shape. Some state-owned bridges are in the process of being repaired or replaced with state and/or federal funds. But many others are owned by the county. All but two currently open bridges that cross bodies of ...
Two horrific diseases have been brought into the spotlight recently -- ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease, which has caught the public eye through an "ice bucket challenge," and depression, brought into further consciousness through the tragic suicide of actor/comedian Robin Williams. Attention in such matters is always beneficial, both in terms of raising money to fight the diseases and in making Americans more aware of the challenges of such maladies.
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