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Category Archives: Opinions

Prayer, common sense and love

Every morning for the past few days, a thick fog has enshrouded the view outside my kitchen window. The gray skeletons of bare trees seem to be brooding over a dark, cold and very quiet world.

It’s not hard to imagine that the Angel of Death is lurking out there in the mist. It passed over us this time, but who knows what the future holds?

These, of course, are just the melodramatic musings of someone who has been virtually quarantined for the past couple of weeks, tracking the news of the spread of the coronavirus. As I write this, Pickens County has yet to be touched by the virus, but by the time you read it I expect we will have had our first confirmed cases.

I know that many of you have accepted the notion that this pandemic is basically a story that has been hyped up by the media, possibly for political purposes, or just because that’s

Help is only six feet away

One advantage to growing up in the middle of nowhere was the need to be able to make what we needed out of whatever was on hand.

There was no way to get to town until Saturday, when Mama drove in for groceries and to pay bills. If we went, we’d head for the dime store with our dimes and spend a blissful hour trying to decide what to buy.

But most of the time we’d entertain ourselves with our own home-constructed creations. This has served us all well as adults.

We can make a raincoat out of a shopping bag and a sun visor out of a folded paper plate and a shoestring. We made our own golf course out of soup cans and built our own boat. It leaked, but it floated fine if somebody bailed. We experimented with filling eight Coca-Cola bottles with the levels of water needed to make the notes of an octave when you blew across one. We

County administrator weighs in on coronavirus pandemic

As we all plan and adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic, I want all of our citizens to know that your county government is still at work. We are all receiving a flood of information (some reliable, some not so much) about the current situation in our country and our state.

Local events and meetings are being canceled, and health experts are urging preparation for when COVID-19 inevitably comes to our community. Accordingly, I felt it would be helpful to share with the public a letter I recently sent by email to all county employees addressing COVID-19.

To All County Employees:

We are all focused on and concerned about COVID-19, the new Coronavirus. With so much news coverage on this issue, and with numerous other voices speaking on the topic, it is easy to become confused or frustrated. It is important to be informed, so please only turn to trusted sources for your information, such as www.scdhec.gov/covid19. I encourage all county employees to remain focused

Government belongs to you

Here’s a shout out to South Carolina’s 98 newspapers.

It is Sunshine Week, an annual nationwide celebration of access to public information and what it means for you and your community. In these times when the media is increasingly accused of lying, it is appropriate to look at important stories S.C. readers would not likely have gotten recently if it weren’t for newspapers and their reporters:

A dogged weekly newspaper found that in Atlantic Beach general sessions court, 75 percent of the warrants were dismissed because police routinely didn’t show up for court.

Reporters at a daily newspaper exposed how sheriffs across the state lined their pockets on the public’s dime. The five-month investigation found that in the past decade, no fewer than 11 of South

Just the facts, if you can find them

By the time this runs, my hope is that testing for coronavirus will be readily available in Pickens County. And maybe that will happen. But for now, we must fall back on common sense and accurate information to make decisions.

We’re all facing the unknown, but I am confident in the ability of Americans to survive the next few months and do what is necessary to make that happen.

In February, a friend and I traveled to the Doraville MARTA station on the outskirts of Atlanta, parked the car and rode MARTA downtown. From there, we took the bus a few blocks to the orchid show at the Botanical

Legislators stepping up to the plate?

Baseball players and state legislators are the only people I can think of who can be considered successful if they fail twice for every success.

In fact, the bar for legislators is probably a little lower, even, considering that the vast majority of bills introduced never even make it onto the floor for a vote.

Anyway, with this year’s session half over and the House on spring break, I thought it was high time that we take a look and see what our Pickens County legislative delegation has been accomplishing.

The four key players on our roster — Sen. Rex Rice and Reps. Gary Clary, Neal Collins and Davey Hiott — are batting a cumulative .123, based on their success in getting their bills made into law in the two-year legislative term that ends in May.

If you add in bills that passed in one house but not in

Unraveling a mystery

When you give to the needy,” the Lord told his disciples in the Sermon on the Mount, “do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret.”

That admonition seems to have been followed very well 30 years ago when two groups of volunteers from Pickens independently journeyed to the tiny Sumter County town of Dalzell to provide much-needed food and supplies to the previously overlooked victims of Hurricane Hugo living there.

There were no news stories at the time trumpeting the mission of mercy the people of one small Upstate town undertook to help the people from one small Midlands town in the fall of 1989. There was too much horrible news in the aftermath of the biggest natural disaster to strike South Carolina in a generation to give public praise to all those who sacrificed their time, efforts and material blessings to help the thousands left destitute in the wake of the storm.

But the residents of Dalzell never forgot the kindness that was shown to them — even though the

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You get a $100 SC tax refund, and you get a $100 refund, and you … don’t

Imagine the power company decided it had too much money, so it was giving $100 credits to its customers. But there’s a catch: Only people with a power bill of at least $100 would get the credit.

We don’t mean people who owed less than $100 wouldn’t get the full credit. We mean they wouldn’t get any credit at all. So someone with a $99 bill would still owe $99 that month, while someone with a $100 bill would pay nothing. And someone with a $199 bill would pay $99 — the same as someone who used half as much electricity.

Pretty crazy, right?

Well, that’s what House budget writers want to do with our tax money: Give $100 tax credits to everybody who has an income tax bill of $100 or more — and nothing to those whose tax bill is $99

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Death of a rooster

The rooster was a Rhode Island Red, and he was a thing of beauty. When the sun shone on his feathers in the morning, he looked incandescent.

Although a handsome fowl, he was without a doubt one of the meanest roosters we’ve ever had, and gathering eggs or scattering feed was a risky business.

He didn’t have a name. Our first nameless rooster, but he knew who he was. He was a sneaky devil, a demon and a rooster with a mission.

Every living thing that moved was his sworn enemy, apart from his lovely ladies, the flock of hens.

He was old for a rooster. Most chickens don’t live beyond eight years. We’d had him a while, a gift from a friend who thought he was a pullet. But as he matured, it became clear he was another gender altogether.

He enjoyed greeting the dawn and would crow from atop an upturned bucket.

Two days ago, he didn’t crow. It has become such a part of morning routine we didn’t make note of

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Let go of hate and choose to forgive

How much grace does it take to love someone who has hurt us or offended us? Well, that’s a good question. Tragedies are occurring all around us, and it’s true we are concerned, but what happens when it involves us personally and our family is harmed?

I admit that I do not always have the character of Christ when I’m being threatened or provoked to anger. Many times, my first reaction is to retaliate, because that’s a strong part of our human nature. I also agree that people need to be punished for their evil deeds and acts of violence, but we must resist the temptation to embrace resentment.

Life is filled with challenges and situations that attempt to lure us into bad attitudes, but for the

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