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Noted and passed - Dec. 1, 2014
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• On Nov. 25, Walter Long and Willard Polk attended their last meeting as Camden City Council members. Both served Camden with distinction. In some ways, Long, first elected to council in 2006, began his political career a few years before when he began speaking out against the creation of mandatory historic neighborhood districts where all properties would be under the jurisdiction of the Camden Historic Landmarks Commission. While not everyone agreed with his stand on that issue, it proved he cared deeply about what happens here in Camden. That passion would play out as he brought forward several ideas -- some popular, some not -- we believe have positively impacted Camden: the hospitality tax, smoking ban, façade grants and the recently rescinded texting while driving ban are just some examples. Polk, many will remember, served for many years on and as the chair of what is now called the Camden Parks and Trees Commission. Even before that, he served the entire state as a S.C. State Law Enforcement Division investigator. While we have not always agreed with Polk’s stance on a variety of issues, there is no doubt that he, too, has maintained a strong passion for the city. One need only look at Camden’s parks -- Boykin, Hampton, Kendall, Kendall Lake, Kirkwood, Kirkwood Common, Monument Square, Rectory Square and Scott to name some -- to see Polk’s legacy in Camden. For these things and more, we thank Long and Polk for their service and wish them well.

• Staying with a theme of good public service, we applaud the choice of Elgin Town Councilwoman Melissa Emmons as the town’s 2014 Citizen of the Year. One of the most active elected officials -- notice we do not say politicians -- we know, Emmons is truly a part of her community, working as Blaney Elementary School’s bookkeeper. As Elgin Police Chief Harold Brown pointed out in Friday’s edition, Emmons was responsible for heading up the creation of the town’s Military Salute, is a major cog in the town’s Podunk Festival and helps out with the Catfish Stomp, works on the Elgin Toy Roundup and delivers dinners for Christmas. She even reaches out beyond the immediate Elgin community, exemplified by her work on bringing a new playground to Kershaw County West Complex in Lugoff. In many ways, Emmons is the town’s top cheerleader, providing a seeming constant update on town and other events on Facebook. She said she was inspired by former Mayor Paul Grooms’ admonition to make her goal that of becoming a public servant rather than a politician. We feel the choice of her as Citizen of the Year proves she has met that goal.