Letters to the editor for Nov. 1
Thank you, Dr. Watson
Last Wednesday morning I informed our three granddaughters about Dr. Watson's death, and we also heard the sad news on the radio en route to Paul Knox Middle School. They shared their sadness about the death of one they had loved and known primarily as an usher at Grace Church for so many years. As the announcer spoke of some of Dr. Watson's accomplishments, one of the girls commented, "He is now with God, and God is proud of him." Dr. Watson served as a wonderful example for all of us, and to hear him say the words, "I am proud of you," was the one of the greatest compliments anyone could receive. I give thanks to God for a life well lived. Thank you, Dr. Watson, for your life of Christian service.Joe Lusk
In support of Sunday alcohol sales
During 2011, North Augusta 2000 conducted a community survey of approximately 1,000 citizens to update our 5-year Strategic Plan. One of the issues the citizens of North Augusta continue to express is that they want more upscale restaurants in the North Augusta Area. In order for upscale restaurants to consider locating in North Augusta and compete with neighboring communities the City must allow Sunday alcohol sales.
North Augusta 2000 established a new initiative in our current 5 year Strategic Plan "The Vision Continues" that states that North Augusta 2000 will collaborate with the City and the Chamber to promote a friendly environment to secure new businesses, including restaurants.
With this initiative in mind, the North Augusta 2000 board of directors supports the Nov. 6 referendum concerning Sunday alcohol sales in North Augusta.Tom Greene, Chairman
North Augusta 2000
Councilman favors change in government
The upcoming election can give Aiken County a chance to change the form of government from the current Council/Administrator to a Council/Manager. I fully support the referendum to change Aiken County's form of government to Council/Manager. This is a long overdue reform, and I'm proud to stand with the County Council majority on behalf of this important issue.
Under the current system, there is no oversight of either the county treasurer or the auditor. Voters elect these officers every four years, yet they remain independent of the rest of county government. In a sense, they report to everyone, while they report to no one at the same time.
The Aiken County Council, which is ultimately responsible for all aspects of county government, is powerless to make changes in these offices. Even worse, if an auditor or treasurer winds up being completely unqualified, there's no form of redress until the next election. We could have the county tax bills and the county finances in incompetent hands for up to four years.
A change to the Council/Manager form of government would provide the needed oversight beneficial to the efficient function of county government. The citizens of Aiken County need to have qualified and professional individuals filling these important roles. I support this referendum and encourage my constituents to vote for it on election day.Sandy Haskell
Aiken County Council District 5
Vote for alcohol sales on Sunday
While the Nov. 6 election certainly has important implications nationally, there is also a local referendum that will have an impact on business in the City of North Augusta. This referendum is whether or not to allow Sunday alcohol sales. A "yes" vote to the local question would allow restaurants in North Augusta to sell beer, wine and liquor on premises "by-the-drink" on Sundays. This referendum would also allow convenience and grocery stores to sell beer and wine on Sunday, as well. This referendum in no way allows liquor stores to open on Sundays, as they are governed by the State of South Carolina, which prohibits them from opening on Sundays statewide.
We have longed for more dining options for some time in North Augusta, and most of the restaurants sell alcohol as a large piece of their business. While some are opposed to the consumption of alcohol at any time, most of these people still eat at restaurants that serve alcoholic drinks and choose not to consume any. They can simply choose to do this one additional day of the week.
Passage of this referendum would not bring new restaurants overnight, but it would remove a competitive disadvantage our city has when compared to the City of Aiken or Augusta, which currently allow the sale of alcohol on Sundays.
While the wording of the referendum specified by state law is somewhat confusing, we encourage you to read it before going to the polls and to vote "yes" on the Sunday alcohol sales referendum.Terra L. Carroll,
Greater North Augusta Chamber of Commerce
Issues with Sue Roe
In July, I know that Sue Roe put her campaign website online, and it listed the courthouse telephone number to call for volunteering on her campaign or to get a yard sign. I called to volunteer and was told that the courthouse mailbox address is where my contributions were to be sent and made out to Judge Roe.
After thinking about it, those comments and actions did not seem right to me. I don't think it is right for Sue Roe to use the taxpayers' money to win re-election. I found out that both of these actions are violations of State Law and Campaign Ethics. Later I learned from family members that Roe had also used the Probate Court database to get campaign support from families she had probated cases for over the years.
I began to think that if Sue Roe truly had lots of experience, she would not make these kinds of ethics errors. As I continued to research Sue Roe, I found out that in 2003, she refused to comply with County Council's performance reviews and efficiency evaluations. And that she told people that she would retire in 2008. She collects a retirement check and a pay check for doing the same elected job. With this economy and unemployment, people that collect retirement should retire so the unemployment rate will go down and new people can start working.
After learning all of this, I can no longer support Sue Roe for Probate Judge. Nor do I believe that she has the capacity to continue in the office. I do not support Double Dippers. I believe it is the duty of Elected Officials to answer to the electorate and to work within their abilities to save taxpayers money. Aiken needs to eliminate the entrenched system of entitlement and complacency that appears to have infested the Probate Court.
I will be voting for Thompson on Nov. 6.Bryan Treadaway
Supporting Thompson for probate
I have worked along side Jane Page Thompson. I have been in her company many times. From a personal viewpoint I have been impressed with her character and her integrity.
Jane Page Thompson has worked endless hours to support Aiken's community projects. She has freely given her time and her financial support.
When Jane Page Thompson gets involved in anything she gives 110-percent commitment. If you hear her speak to voters, you will hear a program to bring the Probate Office up to 2012 standards. Her plan is to broaden the services of the office and improve the budget of the office. She is aware that other counties have made theirs more efficient and more cost productive.
Jane Page Thompson is qualified for the position. She will work endless hours to prove to the voters that they did the right thing when they voted for her, giving her the opportunity to serve all the Aiken citizens.Judge D. Rembert
It's time to make a lasting difference
It is not often that our actions can have a positive impact on future generations. Especially when there is so much bad news surrounding our national economy, it is hard to think about anything other than how we are going to make it from day to day. However, as residents of Aiken County, we are blessed to live in such a great region. We enjoy the benefits of a solid local economy, a low cost of living, terrific weather, super people and the greatest communities. We have stable and healthy communities because of the sacrifices of generations before us. If we want to keep Aiken County great, we must recognize that additional sacrifice is required of us. Otherwise, what we enjoy could easily slip away.
Throughout history, Aiken County Schools have been a vital part of our communities. Our education system has played a significant role in the development of our young people as productive citizens as well as successful leaders in our cities, state, and nation. To keep our students competitive in the future, our schools must keep pace. In particular, our school infrastructure must become a competitive advantage for our students if we want to ensure the growth of our economy and maintain the quality of life we enjoy.
The North Augusta High School (NAHS) School Improvement Council (SIC) believes in NAHS, its faculty and its students. We are a dedicated group of students, parents, community leaders and faculty who are advocates of NAHS and public education. Our objective is to identify and track the progress of NAHS improvement initiatives. We are committed to doing all we reasonably can to help NAHS prepare for future generations.
NAHS is preparing for phase one of a long range plan capital improvement plan to replace its aging facilities. This long range plan includes eight phases that are currently expected to take 40 years to complete, based on present infrastructure funding levels. The SIC believes steps must be taken to accelerate this schedule in order to address the growing needs of NAHS and our community. To bring attention to the infrastructure needs, the SIC recently invited state, county and local elected officials to visit NAHS. Tours were given by students in the National Honor Society, and lunch was prepared by the culinary arts students. We are grateful for the time and investment of elected officials who seek to understand the needs of students in our public schools. This event provided the opportunity to discuss with them how the benefits of a 1-cent sales tax could accelerate our capital improvement plans. This issue, if allowed to come before the voters of Aiken County and if approved by the voters of Aiken County, could serve to accelerate capital improvements not only NAHS, but also at schools throughout the district. While this will require our residents to sacrifice in the near term, better preparing our students to become contributing members and leaders of our communities is vital if we are to sustain and improve the overall quality of life we enjoy in Aiken County.
We want to publicly thank those who attended this event: Rep. Bill Hixon, Rep. Tom Young, Sen. Shane Massey, Aiken County Council Chairman Ronnie Young, along with County Council members Chuck Smith and Sandy Haskell, North Augusta City Council members Jimmy Adams and Pat Carpenter, as well as Aiken County School Board members Ray Fleming and Keith Liner. We also appreciate Todd Glover, our NA City Administrator, and Will Williams of the Aiken/Edgefield Development Board for their presence at the event.
The SIC welcomes and encourages the suggestions and involvement of anyone interested in the betterment of our schools. The SIC believes that investing in NAHS is one of the best investments we can make for our community and the young people of North Augusta.
Will Barnes, Chair, NAHS SIC
Freddie Grimm, Vice-Chair, NAHS SIC