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Noted and passed
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• Congratulations to the high school seniors recently recognized as members of the All-County Academic Team. For 16 years Upchurch & Jowers Insurance Agency Inc. has honored a select group of students for their academic achievements. This year, 31 youth from Camden, North Central and Lugoff-Elgin high schools joined this team for excellence. Well done, students!

• A vision of what could be back in late 2009 has proved to be a wise investment. Since the South Carolina Equine Park (SCEP) opened at a refurbished show facility in the Charlotte Thompson community, it has booked more than 30 shows each year which attract horse owners, trainers, riders and spectators who, in turn, stay in local hotels, dine in local restaurants and shop in local store. In a state-of-the-park report to Kershaw County Council recently, SCEP leaders have another new vision which would expand the facility and increase the capacity of its schedule. An estimated 2,740 horses occupied stalls at the park in 2010, and 75 percent stayed from two to four days. Each horse was accompanied by up to three people. As a result, an estimated $2,774,250 in direct and indirect spending was pumped into the county through accommodations, dining and merchants. Camden and Kershaw County have long nurtured a unique reputation as horse country, and the South Carolina Equine Park is a fine jewel in that crown.

• It takes a special person to be an educator. It takes an outstanding educator to be selected as the best among your peers. Those honors this year go to Helen Walker, a music teacher at Doby’s Mill Elementary School, and Worth Thomasson, principal of North Central High School, who were named Kershaw County School District Teacher of the Year and Principal of the Year, respectively. These two educators and all educators deserve our recognition and our support.

• Kershaw County fans of the now-defunct television thriller “24” will be happy to know that a full-length movie feature might be in the works. Producers have been throwing out hints that Keifer Sutherland, who plays Jack Bauer, the toughest hombre in town, is on board for a “24” flick which could be in theaters by next year. You can count us in on this one.

• Gov. Nikki Haley, who has commented before on the challenges she has faced growing up as a person of Indian heritage, hasn’t been very sensitive to minorities in making her appointments to various boards and commissions. Her record of picking African-Americans is pretty poor. Part of this is political, of course, as Republicans routinely lost 90 percent of the black vote, but that’s really not a good excuse. She needs to provide more diversity in appointments.