Category Archives: Opinions

AARP offers scam alert map

The scammers sure have been busy. Is there no end to their creativity?

The AARP is helping us to fight back, however, with its Fraud Watch Network’s free Scam Tracking Map. You’ll find the map on the AARP website ( when you put “scam tracking map” in the search box.

Be sure to click on the widest possible search area, 200 miles, after you enter your ZIP code. Click first on AARP user-submitted reports. You’ll see colored dots where scams have occurred. Click on one and scroll down to see the details. After you view those reports, go back and click on Law Enforcement Alerts, with authorities warning about scams near you.

The wide variety of scams is surprising. One involved an alleged refund where the thieves wanted to deposit the

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Do hummingbirds really hum?

Have you ever wondered why hummingbirds will fight over access to a feeder when there’s plenty to go around? It’s almost like humans. There’s a feeder right outside my kitchen window. To refill it, all it takes is to open the window, detach the feeder from its hook, clean it and refill it.

There are eight little openings in the feeder, and in theory eight hummingbirds could eat at a time.

But even if there are but two competing for the sweetened water, they will attack each other. I read that the red dye in hummingbird water can be hazardous, so I mix my own for the feeder. When there’s a crowd out ther I’ll mix four cups,. As the population declines the amount will be reduced

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House on the farm

The year was 1943, some two years before I showed my pretty little mischievous face in this world, when George and Dessie O’Shield bought and moved to a farm in northern Pickens County. They carried their brood of eight children with them to this farm called the Old Looper Place.

It was a rather large farm consisting of 111 acres. The farm had a couple of branches running through it and was bordered on the eastern side by Twelve Mile River. It was traversed by three roads. Shady Grove Road, the highway to Pickens, was the main highway, and it was paved. Meece Mill Road, bordering on the north and west, was also paved. Red Hill Road ran between the house and river, and it was unpaved.

I remember helping my older brothers wash their cars in the small branch that ran across Red Hill Road. The property extended across a hill to encompass what is now the county

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A loss of darkness

We are losing our dark skies! It won’t be long before only the moon will be visible in the Upstate night sky.

Excessive and inappropriate artificial light has been documented to have numerous negative effects. It is harmful to wildlife and the ecosystem.

Artificial light also negatively affects humans’ circadian rhythm. It wastes energy and thus indirectly is a contributor to global warning. Everywhere humans go, we install lights.

Some argue that lights prevent crime. There have been numerous studies that indicate the contrary. Yes, there are times to appropriately illuminate an area for safety and security.

It is time to preserve our night skies before they are lost forever. The International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) mission is to preserve and protect the nighttime environment and our heritage of dark skies through

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When a veteran dies without family

When a veteran dies and there is no family to tend to the details, the cremated remains will sometimes stay in storage for years. They’re called Unclaimed Veterans. If the eventual burial takes place in a Department of Veterans Affairs cemetery, it’s called an Unattended Interment.

Sometimes these veterans are homeless; sometimes they’re in a care facility. Sometimes no one knows the whole truth unless VA paperwork is found in the veteran’s belongings.

I know of three situations in the past six months where veterans with no relatives were buried — yet hundreds and thousands showed up at their funerals. In

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A pair of Pauls, short and tall

If my deteriorating memory serves me correctly, I think it was in 1974 that first I met Paul Kitchen. At the time, I had little reason to suspect that our lives would intertwine so closely and that we would remain friends over the next 36 years of our lives.

Paul was a fireman. A fireman’s fireman, no less. He wore his uniform with pride, dignity and with sincere adoration for the fireman’s code of honor that he spoke about with such humility. His face was always adorned with a great solemn smile, as if he was glad to just be there and offer what help he could render. Although short in stature, he was one of the largest men in heart and soul that I have known.

I met Paul when he stopped by to chat with his brother, who was a draftsman with the Gwinnett County Engineering Department. I had recently begun work there after my first

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SC WINS makes technical colleges more affordable

I have never noticed billboards along our highways advertising open positions at local manufacturing plants. Until now. Their presence speaks volumes about what is happening in our local economy.

Unemployment is low. Competition for good workers is high. Local companies are expanding and creating new jobs throughout Anderson, Oconee and Pickens counties. New industries are moving into the area and creating even more highly skilled, well-paying positions.

The majority of these new jobs require education and training beyond a high school diploma, but less than a four-year degree — the type of education available at Tri-County Technical College. Our challenge is to recruit people to enroll

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Courier Letters to the Editor 7-31-19


Collins’ talk on STIB funding

Dear Editor,

When S.C. House Rep. Neal Collins began his town hall meeting on July 25, he talked about state-level issues, then transitioned to roads in Pickens County. He talked about a local sales tax as a way to pay for road maintenance, using Horry County as an example.

Horry County has more than double the population of Pickens County, and they have tourism at Myrtle Beach. Of course their local tax brings in impressive amounts of revenue, especially from tourists visiting that county. One might ask why we should want to pay an extra tax locally when we are now experiencing automatic biannual gas tax increases that are supposed to be fixing our roads.

Collins emphasized that never in the history of the State Transportation Infrastructure Bank (STIB) had

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Social isolation linked to bone loss

If you ever wanted a compelling reason to join a group or get out more, here it is: A new study shows that poor social relationships contribute to bone loss in senior women.

This wasn’t a small, brief study. In this Women’s Health Initiative, researchers studied the bone health of 11,000 women over six years and included information about social support and social functioning.

The bottom line: Over those six years, high social stress equated to lowered bone mineral density in the femoral neck (where most hip fractures occur), the lumbar spine and the whole hip. They assigned a rating to levels of “social strain,” and found that each additional point added to the lowered bone density.

There’s more to this than how many groups we meet with each week. It turns out it’s the quality of our

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The last time I plowed a mule

One Saturday, just as I was turning over to continue my morning slumber, I realized that Daddy was pounding on the wall downstairs.

Something about busting middles in the corn field. Also something about two minutes and mule was dressed and waiting at the barn. … Just as I zoomed by him, he hollered to be sure to attach the muzzle on the mule.

Now, busting middles is not the hardest thing in the world for a 15-year-old boy to do. But it is trying, especially if the mule is doing his/her best to eat the top off of every new corn plant in the field. Move forward 20

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