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Florence Living

home : opinions October 20, 2014 

The new museum is now open
On a mild and sunny Saturday morning, under a beautiful cornflower blue sky, about 100 of us waited anxiously during the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the official opening of the new Florence County Museum. We were treated to remarks by Pulitzer Prize winning author Jon Meacham, executive editor, Random House and former editor of “Newsweek.” During his remarks about the importance of our local history, he was interrupted briefly by the whistle and rumblings from a nearby passing train, and he paused to remind us that it was the railroad that started our town.
Wednesday, October 15, 2014


Best places to retire
With more Americans delaying their retirements because of the poor economy and financial insecurity ­and a fifth of them having no money saved for retirement – the personal finance social network WalletHub conducted an in-depth analysis of 2014’s Best and Worst Places to Retire. To help American retirees find the best and most wallet-friendly places to call home for their Golden Years, WalletHub analyzed the retirement-friendliness of the 150 largest cities in the United States. They did so using 25 key metrics that range from cost of living to job prospects for workers aged 65 and older to the availability of recreational activities. 
Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Thanks for supporting Marine Corp League barbecue

The Marine Corps League Julian D. Dusenbury Detatchment #410 would like to take time to thank all those who supported the Membership Drive and Schoolhouse BBQ fundraisers. Your donations, purchasing a dinner or giving of your time made these events a success. Your support is greatly appreciated and allows us to help many others through our programs such as Toys for Tots. We are always looking for a few good men. Any honorably discharged Marine or new recruit. Let us know when you are graduating from boot camp and you may just see us at your graduation. For more information call Commandant Don Jones 843-667-9697. Check us out on Facebook. Charlene Keating, Marine Corps League Detachment #410

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Two party system is killing America
The tale of Ferguson, MO, is in many respects the tale of two cities, one-half white overwhelmingly Republican and conservative; the other half black overwhelmingly Democratic, and at least nominally liberal. In a perfect world, such a community would never come into such stark and intense opposition. An ideal political process would have mediated those differences long before their anger engulfed them. Perhaps the zero sum game of partisanship followed by gridlock is the best the Two Party System has to offer at this point, but as a society we deserve much, much better. On the black, largely democratic side of the Ferguson divide you have a triumph of symbolism over substance. Record turnout of black voters in Presidential elections enabled Democrats to achieve stunning victories.
Wednesday, October 15, 2014

What were they thinking?
There is an old saying, people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. While I don’t live in a glass house, I have spent my career working with newspapers, so I know how easy it is to make a typo or mistake, especially under deadline pressure. I have certainly made my share. However, a recent email of a collection of “accidental” headlines sent by friend Licia Stone are too much fun not to share. 
Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Florence Shelter celebrating 25 years
It was a cold, snowy winter day as I drove through Florence on my way to purchase the traditional “milk and bread.” I was enjoying the snow when suddenly, out of the white, there stood this beautiful sign: “For Sale,” it read. It was strategically placed in front of “the house” – the house the staff had dreamed about and envisioned in their minds as a perfect home for abused women and their children. Even more importantly, it was in the perfect location to meet the organization’s needs. And thus began the process – a walk-through, dreams, and negotiations. The Board of Directors, led by its president, Pat Singleton Parr, was “on board” and a steering committee was formed to begin the process. 
Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Praises for Officer Thomas Luther

Traveling to vacation and celebrate our 42nd wedding anniversary at Myrtle Beach on Aug. 26 we ran over an object on the highway that thankfully did us no harm but damaged our vehicle. It is still in Hartsville as I write this letter to the editor. We feel it necessary to allow your fine community knowledge of a wonderful highway patrol officer who never left our side as duties needed to be done to get us back on the road to the beach. After calling 911 we were connected with Highway Patrol Officer Thomas Luther. This fine gentleman took control of our situation and stayed with us giving every ounce of attention and help needed. My husband and I agree he surely went beyond the call of duty. How proud your town, county, his family, and state must be of officers of this deep compassion of others. We will always remember Hartsville and Trooper Thomas Luther. Wayne ad Judy Phillips, Morganton, NC

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Why a hike in the gas tax is a terrible idea
The issue of road funding – or, to put it slightly differently, the question of how South Carolina should fix its broken road system – is now a constant topic in politics and the media. A fair number of state lawmakers have therefore begun to advocate what politicians always advocate when they don’t want to make tough decisions about the budget: raising taxes, specifically the fuel tax. The lawmakers who support an increase in South Carolina’s fuel tax apparently believe the only thing keeping the state from possessing an excellent road system is a lack of funds. In truth, there are systemic issues with how South Carolina manages its roads that cannot be addressed by simply dumping more money into the Department of Transportation or the Infrastructure Bank.
Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Investing through
As we travel through different stages in our lives, our goals and needs change. And as our goals change, our financial plans and investments must coincide with those changes. As young adults, investors have a lengthy time horizon and, therefore, can assume greater risk than those nearing or in retirement. However, most people at this age are trying to save for the down payment on their first home, which makes it difficult to concentrate on long-term investments. Investors in this age bracket may opt to take advantage of short-term fixed income securities when saving for a house, while taking advantage of contributing to their company’s 401(k) plan for their long-term goals. As investors approach their mid-thirties, their income is likely to put them into a higher tax bracket. Tax-advantaged investing, such as contributing to a 401(k) plan or an IRA, may be one of their better options. 
Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Puns for 'educated minds'
Many of you readers enjoy puns, so I thought you might enjoy these sent to me from my friend Charlie Howle: 
Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Transparency movement sees progress,
One of the keys to quality government is the ability of citizens to see how decisions are made and how tax dollars are spent. It’s that notion that drove me several years ago to establish a special website showing itemized expenditures by state government, and to later launch an ultimately successful initiative to encourage cities, counties, universities and school districts to publish spending details online. I still spend much time following news stories on transparency-related matters – from open-meetings laws to online finances – to monitor national trends and developments. Across the country, ordinary citizens are waging an uphill battle to pull back the curtains of government. And they’re celebrating small victories. For example, the Forsyth County, Georgia court system recently sided with a citizen who was wrongly prohibited from video-recording a meeting of her local city council. The court ruled that the city of Cumming, as well as its mayor, must each pay $6,000 for violating the state’s open-government law.  The ruling is significant because violations of open-government laws are rarely prosecuted.
Wednesday, October 1, 2014

GEAR UP important to S.C. Business
Last week, Sept. 22-26, was National GEAR UP Week. A nationwide program, GEAR UP connects businesses and schools to improve academic achievement, parental involvement, graduation rates and post-secondary/college/career readiness. GEAR UP is doing great things in your community, and it is very important to South Carolina businesses as we prepare the future workforce. The South Carolina Chamber of Commerce, the state’s unified voice of business, utilizes its GEAR UP grant to focus on the I-95 corridor. Here, we use our resources and business partnerships to serve 7th graders, and then follow them through high school graduation and into their first year of college. SC GEAR UP focuses on 22 high schools in 15 school districts and serves 4,000 students.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

GEAR UP important to S.C. Business
Last week, Sept. 22-26, was National GEAR UP Week. A nationwide program, GEAR UP connects businesses and schools to improve academic achievement, parental involvement, graduation rates and post-secondary/college/career readiness. GEAR UP is doing great things in your community, and it is very important to South Carolina businesses as we prepare the future workforce. The South Carolina Chamber of Commerce, the state’s unified voice of business, utilizes its GEAR UP grant to focus on the I-95 corridor. Here, we use our resources and business partnerships to serve 7th graders, and then follow them through high school graduation and into their first year of college. SC GEAR UP focuses on 22 high schools in 15 school districts and serves 4,000 students.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Welcome back fall!
Fall is here! The fall season officially began Monday evening at 10:29 p.m. For many of us, fall is a welcome reprieve from the high humidity of summer. We are ready for cooler temperatures which makes enjoying the outdoors more comfortable. Fall also ushers in spectacular color displays from our trees and shrubs. According to the University of Illinois Extension, fall color starts in September with poison ivy and sumac, and ends in November with the larches and weeping willows. Frost and freezing temperatures stop the coloration process and blacken the leaves. 
Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Lessons from Hurricane Hugo
It’s been a quarter century since South Carolina felt the wrath of Hurricane Hugo, but it remains a defining moment for our state. Shortly before midnight on Sept. 21, 1989, a category 4 hurricane made landfall near Charleston, battering our coastline, destroying homes, and downing power lines.  Many coastal residents evacuated their homes, either taking refuge at shelters established at schools and community centers or scrambling further inland to get away from the coast. Those who stayed behind emerged the next morning to the scene of uniformed troops from both the S.C. National Guard and S.C. State Guard patrolling a scarred landscape resembling a war zone. 
Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Ten at the Top: a big idea for S.C.
This week more than 800 movers and shakers from 10 Upstate counties gathered in Greenville. It was an amazing event because of (1) what they said, (2) what they did not say, and (3) what it means for the rest of the state. First, who are they? Ten at the Top, or TATT as they like to call themselves, is made up of community leaders from the 10 county regions we generally call the Upstate who have come together to creatively tackle their common problems. They don’t really care where the county lines are, what the divisions between government and business are, or which non-profit group does this or that. 
Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Popular sayings take 'the limelight'
A friend sent me some popular sayings and how they came to be. For instance, people in the public eye are said to be “in the limelight.” Ever wonder about a limelight? Well, a limelight was produced by burning a cylinder of lime which created a brilliant light. Around 1825, it was used to light the stage of theaters. So, in the theater, a performer “in the limelight” was the center of attention. Why are many coin collection jar banks shaped like pigs? Long ago, dishes and cookware in Europe were made of dense orange clay called pygg. When people saved coins in jars made of this clay, the jars became known as “pygg banks.” When an English potter misunderstood the word, he made a container that resembled a pig and it caught on.
Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Shop locally and improve your community
The benefits of shopping locally can’t be overstated. When we spend our money at locally-owned businesses, we’re often reinvesting in our community. The dollars spent at local stores, shops, restaurants, garages and other businesses tend to remain in local circulation, boosting the local economy and keeping many people in jobs. Various studies have tried to quantify the benefit. The York County Regional Chamber of Commerce estimates that 45 cents of every dollar spent at a local business stays within a community, compared to just 15 cents of every dollar spent at national chains and other non-local businesses.  And when we support our local businesses, they often return the favor by giving back to the community.
Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The very strange world of race, politics in S.C.
In November, South Carolina will make history by electing its first African American to the US Senate. And, if the polls are to be believed, it will be Republican Tim Scott. Ironically, he will be elected without significant African-American support on the Republican ticket – the party that is widely perceived to be indifferent, if not hostile, to African Americans. Scott’s opponent, Columbia City Councilwoman Joyce Dickerson is also African American, so if by chance lighting did strike and she won, our US Senator would still be an Africa American. There are two other African Americans on the statewide ballot. Thirty-year-old Democrat Bakari Sellers is running for Lt. Governor in a race that he characterizes as David vs. Goliath – he’s David. And Democrat Tom Thompson is in a very tough race for Superintendent of Education. Including this year’s primary elections, there were seven African Americans running for statewide office in 2014 and most predict that the only one who will prevail is a Republican.
Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Paper dolls and Sears catalog
Like me, Betty Boykin, who retired this year from the Pee Dee State Farmers Market, enjoyed playing with paper dolls as a young girl. She remembers a time when less than $1 could buy hours of happiness and limitless imagination playing with paper dolls. “I probably had about every book of paper dolls from the five and dime that money could buy,” she told me, “but I enjoyed others such as Katy Keene and Betsy McCall when I could get them.” The most fun, she said, was when her cousins taught her how to cut entire families of paper dolls from the Sears catalog, as well as clothes for them and everything the paper doll family needed, including furniture, toys, etc.
Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Time to put prayer back in schools
Much has been said both for and against prayer in schools; however, there are indisputable statistics that tell us that the downward spiral in behavior started about the time of the Supreme Court decision to remove prayer from the public school system. The removal of prayer from public schools was an official stamp on the removal of God from a very crucial part of our society. It was simply one large step among many small ones, which has contributed to the moral and spiritual disintegration of the United States. The court’s decision was a leap across the narrow chasm separating a God-fearing moral country to the chaotic ‘everything goes’ situation that we find ourselves in today. The message the Supreme Court sent to the country on that day when they voted to remove prayer from our public schools said that it was okay to ‘remove’ God from his rightful place.
Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Help Veterans Resource Center help veterans
Most of you know we opened a Veterans Resource Center in Florence in April. It is called the Veterans Resource Center of Florence and Lighthouse Ministries was gracious enough to offer us an office to help us get started. We are located in the Lighthouse Ministries building at 201 East Elm Street in Florence and are open Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. The phone number is 843-629-0830, Ext. 18. The resource center was established as a one-stop referral source for any honorably discharged veterans. Sometimes veterans don’t know where to go for help or who to talk to. That would then be our job if they so desire. We work with any local, state or federal resources for the full benefit of the veteran.
Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Good news: Marriage is challenging
I like good news, except when the good news turns out to be false. Recently it has been reported that we have been misled by social scientists for decades about the divorce rate in the United States. Some are writing that the divorce rate has never been close to 50 percent and that the actual divorce rate is near 20 to 25 percent. If it were true that marriage is in much better shape than previously thought, it would indeed be very good news. But it simply isn’t true and making such claims put people at risk.
Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Fundamental and technical analysis
When investing in the stock market, investors can approach their stock selection by using two methods: fundamental or technical analysis. Research firms, market analysts, and financial commentators use these methods to determine the potential value of a company’s stock. The use of fundamental analysis may be considered the more traditional of the two methods. By closely examining a company’s financial statements, analysts hope to gain insight to the company’s growth rate, financial strength, and management effectiveness in order to estimate the organization’s future potential for growth and profitability.
Tuesday, September 2, 2014

State rankings for women's equality
Monday, Aug. 26, was Women’s Equality Day. To gauge the scope of gender-based disparities in the United States, WalletHub ranked each of the 50 states based on 10 key metrics. Following are some statistics about how women are faring: In every state, women earn less than men. Arizona has the lowest pay gap, with women earning just 13.2% less. Wyoming has the highest, with women earning 34.5% less. In every state, male executives outnumber female executives. Utah has the highest gap, with 73.48% more males. Alabama has the lowest, with 25.52% more males. Men have longer average workdays than women. 
Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Who is speaking out for those who the media has forgotten?
In the past few weeks, the mainstream media has been consumed with the tragic events that continue to unfold in Ferguson, Missouri. An unarmed 18-year-old American named Michael Brown was shot at least six times by a Ferguson police officer. Needless to say, the media has a lot to talk about. A white police officer shot an unarmed American who happens to be of African decent. Members of the press were detained by the police. 
Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Galloway Mosley
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