Courier Letters to the Editor 4-27-16

Honoring mothers

Dear Editor,

We celebrate Mother’s Day in May. A celebration honoring women with children. A woman can be called Mother or Mama. Whatever the name is, Mother or Mama, she’s the one who raises a child or children who are biologically hers or not. If not biological, they may not have been born under her heart but in it just the same.

It has been said that the hand that rocks the cradle rules the nation. As a woman, you have a big part in the future of the world. Those things you teach a child they will carry into life. The home is the foundation of any nation. The Chinese have a proverb which goes, “when there is harmony in the home, there is peace in the nation.”

Adopted children need love as much as any other. Love is the key to happiness, no matter the situation. Do the best you can to raise your children correctly, for the world is depending on you. Children are an investment in the future planted today .

Don’t forget that woman who raised you, who comforted the pain, wiped away the tears, held you with loving arms and nursed you back to health. The one who sat up on weekends worrying and praying until you came home safe. Cooked your meals, and corrected you when you had done wrong.

Call her Mother or Mama, she deserves your best in return for she sacrificed for you to have a life. This Mother’s Day remember her not just with flowers but with your presence which will mean so much to her. She may be gone next Mother’s Day. If your Mother is gone, visit her resting place — she’d be proud of you. Living or gone from the earth, whether she were biological or adopted, whether she’s called Mother or Mama, she lives on in our hearts just the same. This woman that held our hand as we grew up and is in her hearts forever. Happy Mother’s Day.

Eddie Boggs


Thank you from Azalea Festival

Dear Editor,

The 32nd annual Pickens Azalea Festival took place with two days of good weather and started Friday night in full swing.

I would personally like to extend my gratitude to Pickens Mayor David Owens, City Council, the Pickens Police Department and the Streets and Sanitation Department crews for their assistance in making the festival a safe environment for everyone.

Thanks to the several volunteer groups and individuals who assisted the Azalea Festival board/committee, Pickens Senior Citizens, PHS Science Club and Danielle Yother for performing the national anthem.

I am grateful to Pickens High School artist Hanna Jones, winner of the competition to design this year’s azalea artwork, which appeared on official references to the festival. Thank you to Pickens Rotary Club for serving as sponsors of the azalea art contest.

The 10th annual 5K Walk/Run hosted by the Pickens Women’s Association saw a very successful event Saturday morning raising money to benefit the Beverly M. Smith scholarship.

Thank you to the Pickens Sentinel and Pickens County Courier for publishing the annual Azalea Festival insert. I would also like to thank IWANNA for the festival booklet, Grace Methodist Church and Bowers Transportation Services for donating the use of shuttle buses for the Hagood Mill tours and parking Saturday during the festival and to TD Bank of Pickens for sponsoring Friday’s appreciation luncheon. A big thank you to Amy Hawley and the Burning Brick for hosting the vendor drop-in breakfast on Saturday morning and to Upstate Jeep Legends Club and Lake Keowee Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep for sponsoring the Friday night cruise-in dash plaque.

The festival board extends our deepest gratitude to our sponsors: The City of Pickens, Hendricks Honda of Easley, IWANNA, Pickens County Courier, Pickens Chamber of Commerce, Pickens Sentinel, SC Education Lottery, Domino’s of Pickens, Totman-signs, Stockade ‘n’ Stuff, Pickens Dental Associates, South State Bank, Senator Larry Martin, Fairway Outdoor Advertising, TD Bank of Pickens, Home Depot of Easley, Cornell Dubilier, Burning Brick, Grace United Methodist Church, Bowers Transportation Services, Cannon/AnMed Health, Wendy’s of Pickens, Cassell/Hendricks CPA, PA, Mike Holcombe’s Tire & Auto, Bojangles of Pickens, Pickens Family Dentistry, Hardee’s of Pickens, Behvioral Health Services of Pickens County, Pizza Inn of Pickens, TTI of Anderson, Cherokee Foothills Realty, Pickens Dental Association, R. Carl Byars Ins. Agency, General Ins. Agency, Gym Life, The Life FM radio and Pickens County Council.

I personally want to thank a very dedicated group of people who volunteer their time and energy to make this festival a success each year, the Azalea Festival board and committee. It takes months of planning to put on an event of this magnitude.

Russ Gantt

Pickens Azalea Festival executive director


Testing questions

Dear Editor,

Today it was confirmed to me by Wanda Davis of the S.C. Department of Education that it is not the state’s mandate that the SC Ready Test be placed in front of the child on the testing dates and that the child has to verbally refuse the test.

This means that School District of Pickens County superintendent Danny Merck has lied to me.

He sent me the following message when I inquired about why the schools were telling parents in Pickens that their child will have to verbally refuse the test and their parental letter of intent to refuse on behalf of their child is not enough.

“At present, SC requires its schools to administer certain tests to students, and our state does not have a formal ‘opt-out’ provision. From time to time, we do have students who refuse to test. Refusing to test is different from opting-out of testing. Districts must make an attempt to test all students who are required to take state tests. If the student is present at school the day of the test or during the testing window, we must attempt to test. The SCDE has told us that we would have to offer the assessment to the student. Offering the assessment means that the assessment must be put in front of the student for an attempt to test. SDPC would deal with a refusal to test in the least disruptive way possible by handling each case individually based on the circumstances. In some cases, a student may be moved to an alternate location, while in other cases the student may have to quietly remain in the testing site. The school administration and testing coordinator will have to make that call based on the availability of staff members for monitoring students and administering the test. Like the email Ms. Raines received from the state said, it may not be possible for a school to provide instruction during that time due to constraints with their staffing and duties. Please note that students who refuse to test will be not receive a score for the assessment. It is important to note that in the case of High School End-of-Course Exams, the state test accounts for 20 percent of a student’s final grade and without that score, the final grade would be impacted.”

Not only did the superintendent lie to me … it is my opinion they are breaking the Safe Schools Act that was passed back during Gov. Mark Sanford’s term, which states, “Since students learn by example, school administrators, faculty, staff, and volunteers should be commended for demonstrating appropriate behavior, treating others with civility and respect, and refusing to tolerate harassment, intimidation, or bullying.”

Read that act here:

I have contacted the Thomas More Law Firm for advice.

Johnnelle Raines

U.S. Parents Involved in Education board member