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Opinion

  • We put an asterisk in our editorial today.

    We got interested in the Tom Joyner story for a couple of reasons. We had a reader alert us, just a few days before, to the parole board hearing. It was too late to make plans to leave the county and cover the hearing in Columbia.

    Then we got a call from a woman who said she was related to the men who were wrongly convicted and executed. So when the day of the hearing rolled around, we were listening for word of what happened.

  • We attended portions of two of the 15 different public sessions held last week on the new school superintendent.

    On Monday, the school board got to hear a compilation of the things people want in a new county school leader. We apparently want and need a paragon of high virtues.

    This compilation was talked about in open session, while there had been some discussion of that being done behind closed doors.

  • Welcome to all the visitors who will be in Chester this weekend for our 18th annual festival.

    Chester’s got a pretty unique name for its fall festival, one that highlights its glorious asset. We are the city on the Hill, so we welcome all our guests to have a HILLarious time at HILLarity.

  • We don’t point out enough some of the good things and good efforts. So we’ll do it now.

    You might have seen Tom Hamilton’s name in the short series we’re doing on cancer in Chester County. He’s a former County Councilman and been in the limelight before. But that was back in the ’90s.

  • We are pleased to hear that the Chester County School Board has said it is going to engage the public in its search for a new superintendent.

    It will be a welcome addition to the process of filling this most vital role that in many ways will shape the long-term future of this county. And while we appreciated the selection of Larry Heath as superintendent, there wasn’t significant public input in that long process.

    There were some surveys done in the early stages, to be sure; Internet questionnaires to be filled out on what the community wanted.

  • We are in an industry that sometimes seems to be getting swept out from under out feet at times.

    The newspaper industry has been a vital part of our revolutionary experiment. Evolutions in freedom of thought and expressions actually came in some newspaper before the great Revolutionary War.

    In the 1735 Zenger case, a jury found that truth is a defense for libel. It is called the “germ” of the freedom movement.

  • We didn’t have an editorial page last Friday, so we didn’t get to discuss the eighth anniversary of 9/11.

    We don’t know what to call the day. Certainly not a holiday, or holy day. The day conjures many things in many people.

    Certainly it creates the feelings we describe in our headline. When the second plane hit the Towers, this country began to realize we were at war.

  • We are one of a few newspapers in the state that didn’t jump immediately for Gov. Mark Sanford to resign or be impeached.

    In June he admitted an affair, but said he wanted to retain his office and regain the trust of South Carolina and keep working for the things he believed in, things the South Carolinians who voted him into office — twice — believe in.

    Things have dragged on too long for us.

  • We have several things on our mind, and we don’t really need to delve in depth into these issues.

    • As he said he would, U.S. Rep. John Spratt is holding a health care town hall. It will be Thursday night in Rock Hill. We expect that those who attend will be considerate, even if they don’t agree with the proposal. At some of the events, people on both sides have acted more like animals than people. As we said before, show the good manners your mama taught you.

  • We sat through it all last week -- the angry shouts, some jeers and the occasional respectful questioning.

    That said, we don’t want anyone to mistake the definite tilt of opinion at U.S. Rep. John Spratt’s town hall meeting last week for anything other than what it is. Don’t think it is a majority or even a consensus.

    Spratt said at one point he represents 700,000 people. There were 650 in the large hall at the Baxter Hood Center last week.

  • We are as disappointed in S.C. Gov. Mark Sanford the last few months as anybody around.

    Despite that, we are also one of the few papers out there that hasn’t called for him to resign or be impeached. Embarrassing the state isn’t an impeachable offense. If that was the case, he would have been impeached a long time before he admitted an affair.

    The embarrassment continues, however. A recent report by the Associated Press raised questions about Sanford’s use of state aircraft and about the way he flew private aircraft when not using state planes.

  • We are in our hearts and in our core purpose a local newspaper. It’s what we love doing.

    So we keep our coverage local almost all the time. But sometimes, you can’t avoid the big story outside the county lines.

    Gov. Mark Sanford’s failures in office have long been a topic of discussion for us. But his recent, hmm, excursion and the continuing fallout from it had real, local ties.

  • You’d think, with the eyes of the world on not only the politicians involved but also the healthcare industry, because of this big emotional debate going on, an insurance company would be more careful.

    Now understand, my insurance company is saying it’s just a glitch. It will get fixed, they say. It’s getting run through the process again, they say.

    But there shouldn’t be a glitch. It shouldn’t have to be fixed. It was supposedly processed almost six months ago.

  • We don’t have a clue if the proposed healthcare reform bill is manna from heaven or another socialist plot to overturn the land of the free and the brave laying us under a tax burden that will crush not only us but our grandchildren who settle on Mars.

    The truth, we suspect, is somewhere between the extremes. But we know, as has increasingly become the pattern, that the noise on any issue is generated by the extremes — on both sides. And it’s hitting home.

  • Retiring Chester County School Superintendent Larry Heath spoke to the Rotary Club last week.

    He discussed why he is retiring now. He says he wants to spend more time with his family, specifically his youngest daughter.

    At one point laying this out, he hesitated.

    “I probably shouldn’t say this,” he said. But he went ahead and did.

    In the early ’90s, after being with the district for almost 20 years, he was promoted to assistant superintendent. He and his wife started looking at homes in Chester.

  • We think an attitude with some people in authority needs not to be changed, but eliminated.

    It’s something that happens everywhere, all the time. Just about everyone is guilty of it. We can give you three examples, two of which are recent examples.

    In Fort Lawn, a former officer is now at the heart of an investigation of town purchases. Detractors say he wrongly bought equipment from the state and federal surplus loan program run by the State Budget & Control Board.

  • There is not a more important public official in a county like Chester these days than its school superintendent.

    Educating our youth might be the one thing that will, in the long term, lift Chester County out of the economic doldrums it now faces. We have good schools. We have some schools that could do some things better. We have some schools that do cutting age things, particularly in the area of technology. One high school was tops in the area for SAT scores.

  • We are extremely concerned about changes that are coming in Chester County in the provision of certain programs for elderly citizens.

    Senior Services, Inc. has lost a federal grant that is doled out through a regional agency. That grant has been about $300,000 here locally and represents about a fourth of Senior Services total annual budget.

    The grant is put up for proposal every four or so years, but Senior Services’ Executive Director Mike Wessinger missed a mandatory pre-proposal conference, which put the grant in doubt locally.

  • I have struggled with how best to convey my regret in letting so many down, and in that regard I realize this op-ed does not do justice to the process of saying “I am sorry.” A handwritten note or phone call would ultimately be more appropriate, but given the number of people I need to apologize to, I write this to begin the journey of trying to get things more right with you and others.

  • We admit to Mark Sanford fatigue, so we won’t be joining in the chorus of voices from around the state calling for Sanford to resign.

    At our office there is no uniform opinion. Some want him to resign. Some do not.

    Those who want him out cite not his affair, but his dereliction of duty in abandoning his post for days, staying out of touch and misleading his staff so that they lied to the public.

    Some say he has lost the moral authority to govern.