Opinion

S.C. government needs dose of reform

There's a battle being fought in Columbia - a battle between those who want to reform state government to make it work better for the people and a "Good Ol' Boy" system that prefers things the way they are.

To my mind, government reform is an important step toward curing many of South Carolina's ills. Whenever government can improve efficiency by eliminating waste, duplication and overhead, taxpayers are able to keep more of their own money - which helps the overall economy as well as the taxpayers. And it frees up limited resources to be used where they're genuinely needed.

Many hands plant farmers' market

Dear Editor,

The Farmers' Market wishes to acknowledge and thank all the members of the Blackville Downtown Development Association (BDDA) who worked hard to advance the market from being an idea to becoming an actual farmers' market open for business.

This was no easy task.

More than a year of planning and legwork took place before the market opened in June 2008.

When I came on board as market manager in September of that year, I was fortunate to have in place many of the essential components of a successful farmers' market.

Window panes into government

There are many liberties that Americans enjoy that are wrapped up in the word "freedom." Of course, we will be celebrating that freedom this weekend with July 4.

When we think freedom, some of those liberties that comprise it include freedom to assemble; freedom of religion; the right to keep and bear arms; freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures...

The list goes on.

It might be a good exercise for Americans this Independence Day to try and list -- off the top of their heads -- the number of liberties we as Americans enjoy that are enumerated in the Constitution.

Biggest part of purity is waiting

Dear Editor,

Today, teens face so many pressures to convince them impurity is okay. They are bombarded daily from their peers, lyrics, television shows and magazines that say it is okay to be impure.

In my opinion, impurity is something teens feel will make them happier; loved, keep their boyfriend/girlfriend and make them popular.

I have decided to take a stand and convince teens that they can say no to impurity and still be accepted.

By using my platform, I have encouraged many girls to be pure.

Voting celebrates our freedom

Dear Editor,

I want to thank the voters of Barnwell County for participating in the June 8 statewide primary and runoff June 22.

Voter turnout June 8 was 17.51 percent compared to the state average of 24.11 percent, ranking Barnwell County 44 out of 46 counties. Voter turnout for June 22 was 10.05 percent compared to 15.26 percent, ranking our county at 31.

Thanks to all poll workers who worked diligently to ensure the election process was flawless. Additionally, we thank the poll workers who faced the heat.

Emergency room needs two doctors for weekends

Dear Editor,

On Friday, June 18, I went to the Barnwell County Hospital emergency room for a foot injury. I was in so much pain I had to get a wheelchair.

After getting checked in, I sat. And sat and sat. I asked how much longer I had to wait. The nurse said the rooms were full and two more were ahead of me. After sitting there for four hours, I left. A few more left after waiting six or seven hours.

Replanted market seeks better season

"To be at the crossroads."

It's a phrase that means hitting a point in a project; one's life or even, literally, a course in which one path has to be chosen and trod.

Decision time. Take this turn (or that one) and it's the path to prosperity, Easy Street ahead... or the other path, which could lead to the dark road to ruin.

The Downtown Blackville Farmers Market -- now just called the Farmers Market -- is at the crossroads now figuratively and geographically.

City hopeful on walking trail grant

City Recreation Director Emily Randell was notified by the S.C. Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism that Barnwell's request for funding for a walking/nature trail at Fuller Park has been recommended for funding of $60,725.95. If the final project review is approved by the Federal Highway Administration, State Historic Preservation Office and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The grant will be finalized and the city will be able to move forward on the project.

State earns finance award - again

The guest columnist is Richard Eckstrom, the Comptroller General of the state. The comptroller general is South Carolina's chief financial officer for the state government and handles receiving and distributing of public money. 

 South Carolina has once again been recognized for its excellent financial reporting.

The National Government Finance Officers Association (NGFOA) has presented the S.C. Comptroller's Office with a certificate of achievement for excellence in financial reporting.

Primary continues with run-off

Dear Editor,

I would like to review Barnwell County's statewide primary election conducted June 8.

First of all I would like to commend the voter registration office and all the poll workers who tirelessly worked in Tuesday's election to ensure we all were afforded the most expeditious and enjoyable voting experience.

Unless you have been a part of the preparation leading up to an election, we are not fully aware or appreciative of just how much work, training and certification goes into an election.

South would have given Charles Kuralt plenty of material for his show

I miss Charles Kuralt.

Surely you remember him. For years, he and his film crew traveled the country in a motor home, looking for stories of the common man. And then he showed up on the CBS Evening News and on the network's Sunday Morning and told those stories in his friendly North Carolina voice. Sometimes, after working all day at a newspaper, I tuned in to CBS news just for Kuralt's stories.

He's gone now, unfortunately, but if he were still around, I could help him find some really good stories.

Can't stand heat? You are not alone

It's hot.

It's very hot - not exactly shocking news, however.

The "sunny South" has its sinister side. Clear, blue skies look good from a window, but one can't feel the heat - and more importantly - the humidity until they are outside.

Just as Northerners have a healthy respect for the cold of their arctic-like winters, we should have a similar respect for our sultry summers.

Too much sun can cause more than painful sunburns; it can cause heat-related health problems.

Heat can go from uncomfortable to unhealthy to fatal very subtly, unlike the cold.

Comptroller General: Appointed or elected?

I'm often asked whether I think the position of state Comptroller should be an appointed position or remain an elected one.

My answer is that it should be an appointed position. I speak from experience.

The state comptroller is the state's chief accountant. Among other things, he or she accounts for state government's collections and expenditures, establishes controls to safeguard its financial resources, and gives accounting and financial advice to state agencies and local governments.

Off the beaten path is tourism

People are always extolling the virtues of places found off the beaten path.

And it's true.

It's also how professional travel agents make their money - revealing to novice travelers the hidden gems of a particular locale.

Sometimes those gems include a restaurant with good food and personal service; an unusual attraction endemic to that area or a shop or artisan that sells one-of-a-kind, quality products.

That's what a good travel agent does - recommend places - because they have been there and know what they are talking about.

Outside the cocoon now

Like caterpillars, four years ago high school and college students enshrouded themselves in cocoons of learning.

Now the chrysalis is breaking free.

However, one could hardly blame students tempted to retreat back into the confines of a classroom again right now.

Why?

The world is running about as smoothly as a tricycle with square wheels - and one of them is flat.

Israel amped up world tensions with its raid on a Gaza-bound humanitarian mission. The action is also sending Israeli-Turkish relations toward the sewer too.

New county program will save young drivers

Barnwell County Sheriff Ed Carroll believes in second chances, but knows not all young adults get a second chance because the No. 1 killer of drivers ages 15 to 24 is traffic crashes.

Barnwell County is adopting the National Safety Council "Alive at 25" program and in doing so hopes to bring awareness to the community and ultimately save lives.

Sheriff Carroll said, "This is a wonderful community to live and raise your children, but standing by and doing nothing when our kids are at the highest risk they'll ever be as drivers is just irresponsible."

Coonhound was kindred spirit in NYC

My wife and I were boarding the Staten Island Ferry our last time. We were going home the next day after visiting friends there.

"Just a minute," a lanky gentleman said as we pulled our luggage into the waiting area of the ferry terminal. "We have all of these jihadists running around, you know."

His dog sniffed our suitcases.

"Where are you from?" the man asked.

"Georgia," I said.

"Oh, really," he said. "This dog's from Tennessee."

Wow! What a coincidence, I thought to myself. That dog and I have something in common.

Being prepared is better than being sorry

Fresh batteries, matches and candles.

These are always good supplies to have available in an emergency.

However, it would be especially wise for Barnwell County residents to check these supplies and other emergency precautions as we head into the 2010 hurricane season, which starts June 1.

The "official" hurricane season runs from June 1 to Nov. 30. Hurricanes can occur outside this time frame, but 97 percent of hurricanes happen within this period.

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