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• We welcome newly hired Kershaw County Administrator Victor Carpenter, who comes to this area from Abbeville County; we hope Carpenter can lend some stability to a position that’s had too much turnover in recent years. And while we’re at it, let us offer a tip of the hat to Frank Broom, former Camden city manager, who served as interim county administrator and was able to “straight shoot” with council members, partly because he didn’t have to worry about their becoming angry and siding against him, a concern that “regular” administrators naturally must harbor.

• Major League Baseball is no longer the national pastime, as it used to be, but this season is producing some of the most competitive races in decades. As of last week, there were 24 teams in the six divisions of the leagues within five games of first place or the wild-card lead. Teams with low payrolls are in many instances outperforming the large-market teams which have shelled out untold sums of money for their players. Even the normally hapless Baltimore Orioles are only a few games out of first. Of course, most folks in Kershaw County are interested in the Atlanta Braves, and though they haven’t set the league on fire, they’re lingering only a few games out of the division lead.

• We occasionally refer, half-jokingly, to the long traffic-light stops at the corner of Broad and DeKalb streets, but of course traffic in Kershaw County doesn’t approximate that of urban areas; that’s one reason people like to live in an area like this. Now comes more evidence of why less traffic is not only less stressful but more healthful: researches say the pollution and emissions caused by traffic congestion cause more than 2,000 deaths a year. That makes the light traffic in Camden and surrounding areas seem better than ever.

• Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich, now running for the Republican nomination for president, says he’s “totally mystified” why people are looking with raised eyebrows upon his spending up to $500,000 at New York jeweler Tiffany’s. Gingrich is right when he says he can spend his money the way he wishes, but he shouldn’t be surprised when the average American looks at half a million bucks worth of bling and asks, “What world does this guy live in?”