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Category Archives: Opinions

Double-dipping no answer to state’s teacher shortage

With pay raises that aren’t high enough to convince already-frustrated teachers to stay in the classroom, and the Senate’s failure to pass any other measures that might delay their retirement, there’s going to be a lot of pressure on the Senate to go along with a House plan to entice retired teachers to return to work.

It’s a terribly unfair idea: It means that teachers who haven’t retired — even some who are eligible to retire — could suddenly find themselves making significantly less money than the teacher in the classroom next door. And it could end up making the situation even worse, by persuading even more teachers to go ahead and retire.

So if the Senate goes along with the plan — and we’re not at all convinced it should — it must extract some significant concessions to prevent people from retiring when they’re still young enough to continue working.

At issue is a very smart state law that limits double-dipping — that is, retiring from state employment and then returning to a new job (or even the same job) while collecting a pension. The 2012 law doesn’t prohibit people from coming back to work, but it cuts off any additional pension payments in any year in which they earn $10,000 in state salary. Note that they still can collect their full salary and part of their pension, just not all of it.

Besides the problems double-dipping creates with morale among people who haven’t retired and returned, the practice helped contribute to the unsustainable unfunded liability in the state government retirement system. That deficit has already forced the Legislature to raise pension payments from state employees and state and local governments to uncomfortably high levels, and more

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The visitors

Each year in mid to late November, you would see them walking toward the house from mid-afternoon until just before dusk — generally one or two at a time, and sometimes more.

Some wore their work clothes, while others wore some type of camo or dull clothing. They all wore boots or work shoes, and none were hatless. Occasionally, you would see a man bringing his son.

I don’t believe we had zombies back in those days, but if we did, these men and boys surely would have set the mood. They all carried firearms — from shotguns to pistols, and here and there a small-caliber rifle, with lots of ammo swinging in a bag at their waist. Each bag had a large opening for quick access to more ammo.

These people did not speak — at least not loudly. They all had stern, driven looks on their faces. Some were there smoking,

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Courier Letters to the Editor

Thank God for atheists

Dear Editor,

I’d like to say thank God for atheists. Say what?!

Seriously, they’re helping to keep God’s existence fresh in the minds of the people. If it weren’t for the atheists continually harping on God with such things as taking down the 10 Commandments or trying to remove prayer from school, He’d probably be forgotten by now. I know it isn’t intentional, but thank you anyway.

If we had to rely on so-called Christians to keep God alive in the memories of all, He would have been forgotten long ago. Many Christians go to church once a week and listen to several hymns and a sermon, then leave and probably never mention or think of God again until next time they’re in church. The way some

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Praying and waiting on our miracle

I received a letter the other day from a reader who wanted to know more about praying for miracles and how long a person should keep asking. My first response is to ask, “Just how serious are you about receiving your request?”

I realize the subject of faith is actually more complex than it seems and one that I have attempted to address in my new book, “Convictions and Considerations,” which will be released this summer.

There are many people, including myself, who are seeking and

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I believe Dot would be proud

The world lost a wonderful writer, and Pickens County lost an ardent advocate for preserving and celebrating what’s special about our corner of Appalachia, when Dot Jackson died two and a half years ago.

More than that, many of us lost a dear friend.

But Dot left behind an institution that she hoped would carry on her spirit of creative homespun expression — the Birchwood Center for Art and Folklife.

So I was saddened when I heard that the nonprofit organization she had founded had shut down recently.

And I wondered what would become of the nearly 200-year-old house near Pumpkintown that her group had bought and had been working to restore.

I was relieved to learn, though, that Dot’s legacy will live on and the work of the Birchwood Center will continue, through the good graces of another nonprofit that shares the same vision, the Holly Springs Center.

Abby Baker, executive director of the Holly Springs Center, said

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Crazy, hazy recuperation days

I recently had surgery and am now recuperating at home. I’m glad it’s over and very glad I don’t have to do it again anytime soon.

From what I’ve heard, everything went well in the hospital. I must ask others who were present for details, as there are three complete days missing from my memory.

That’s due to a reaction to pain medication that didn’t agree with me.

Although few details are clear, due to the hallucinations, I have been told of some the things I did and said while in the land of lunacy.

According to sources close to the matter, I called my cousin

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My best buddy

Joe was my best buddy in my preteen and teen years. We put a lot of miles on each other, or something like that. Joe was the only boy in a family of four girls. He lived about a mile from our house on Meece Mill road.

I remember walking home from Twelve Mile Elementary School with Joe on many occasions. One April afternoon, we were strolling along headed home from school and — for no reason apparent to me, at least — Joe hauled off and threw all his books in the Twelve Mile River. I asked why he did that, and his reply was that he was tired of studying them, and besides, they were heavy. When I told him that he would have to pay for them, he jumped into the river and retrieved the now-waterlogged books.

The next day, the books were dry and about three times as thick as the day before. When asked what happened, he shrugged and said something about the oven being too hot.

When we were 16 or 17, Joe and I once joined a proposed lake

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Courier Letter to the Editor

Prayin’ in Pickens

Dear Editor,

Nothing gives a parent more pleasure than to see their adult children gathered around the dinner table, enjoying the food and each other. Although our children are individuals, and some relationships may be a challenge, we, as parents, love our children and we want them to love one another. Why? Because we are family.

The same is true for God. Nothing gives Him more pleasure than to see His children (the body of Christ) gathered together, enjoying His Word (the food of life) and each other. And while we are individuals and some relationships may be challenging, God loves us and wants us to love one another. Why? Because

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Building a ladder to your dreams

There are certain spiritual laws similar to the natural law of gravity that may be difficult to understand, yet they are true and important keys to victorious living. The power of words falls under this category and are an excellent addition of knowledge and wisdom to our spiritual life.

We can learn that words are much more than simple communication, and when spoken in accordance with God’s desires they actually carry the power to motivate, inspire and

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New development, don’t spoil the view

It used to be that one of the best views of the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains from Easley was behind City Hall at the “convenience center” — the place where you could drop off your trash if you forgot to put it out by the road in time.

That grand view is still there, although, unfortunately for people like me, they closed down the convenience center a few years ago.

Now, it’s just a muddy field covered in weeds.

But that’s going to change. City officials are now reviewing proposals from two developers to transform that field — and the rest of the 12.5 acres the city is vacating downtown with the relocation of the streets and sanitation department — into new stores, restaurants and places to live.

As the deadline for proposals passed April 5, CC&T, a Charleston-based real estate company, and Realti Trust of Greenville had put in proposals that, according to city planner

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