Fair or unfair the debate continues
I thought this issue was put to rest but alas it will not die, so Mrs. Bonnoitt regarding your letter of November 9, I would like to clarify a few items.
I agree with you that these individuals have contributed to Georgetown as well as hundreds of others not singled out in your letter. The City of Georgetown's ARB has, over the years, been embroiled in many controversies, some of these avoidable such as the recent HardiePlank controversy that I feel certain you are alluding to. You mention guidelines and being supervised by the State.
Well, when the ARB members are free to disregard the guidelines in some instances and then fully enforce them in other instances that leaves the door wide open for anger and frustration. When some ARB members vote to allow HardiePlank as full replacement siding on 3 houses directly across the street from the home that was chosen to represent the District on the cover of the guidelines and two of those houses date to 1952 and one dates to 1910 and on Screven Street, very close to a 1770s home and two late 1800s homes, a 1930s home is allowed to fully use it, then, I ask you — would it not be reasonable for other persons to expect to be treated the same by many of the same members having approved it consistently from 2005-08?
When some houses are easily allowed to be demolished and others are put through years of meetings and costs of engineers, etc. and then are denied a demolition permit that leads to hard feelings. When the Temple Beth Elohim needed a handicapped ramp for some of its members and they are put through months of meetings to achieve this and the ARB consistently ignores the Americans with Disabilities Act and tries to force the Temple to send their congregants through a service entrance it leads to hard feelings and lack of faith.
Yes, these people are volunteers and yes, as some say "are doing a thankless job," but when presented with the facts, the board members continue to ignore the wishes of the property owners — respect goes away, and when the board fails to apply these guidelines to the populace in a fair and reasonable manner — respect goes away, and when the board ignores federal laws and tries to place an undue and illegal burden on an applicant — respect goes away.
So I would say your statement of "I might mention that they are unpaid volunteers are very knowledgeable of the rules and regulations of the Historic District, and understand why they should be properly applied" falls flat.
When the board splits the Historic District into components of outskirts, fringe and the heart of and apply the rules/guidelines based on these subsections instead of as a whole they are killing the district from the outside in. Terry Foley even mentioned that in one of the better parts of her presentation to the board and community.
The guidelines currently in place have been followed in some cases and thrown to the wind in other cases. This is not fair to anyone and does not represent Georgetown in a good light. When the manual specifically says on page 4 "Design guidelines provide for a level playing field for all property owners they apply equally to everyone in an historic area" and are not enforced as such then expect homeowners to walk away with resentment.
The Historic District does not have to have an ARB by law, it is allowed under certain conditions that are set by the city or locale and that city or locale should make every attempt to ensure its citizens that a quasi-judicial board such as this is operating above reproach.
In closing, I will say I appreciate all the community service the individuals you named in your letter have provided to this city; however, the police power of property rights does not fall under that category. When the individuals having the power of judge, jury and executioner can choose to steadfastly apply or completely disregard the guidelines then a problem exists. When the government doesn't abide by it's own laws how can it expect its citizens to abide by them and have any respect for the governing body?
Veteran’s Day parade
It was great having so many of our veterans participate in this year’s annual Veteran’s Day Parade along with hundreds of people who lined the streets to salute them.
Thirty three entries, waving and cheering to the crowds, displayed their red, white and blue as they marched or rode down Front Street.
Smiling and waving also was Grand Marshal Marine Sgt. Burness Britt, who was severely injured by an IED last year in Afghanistan, followed by World War II, Korean, Viet Nam, Desert Storm, Afghanistan and Coast Guard veterans.
This year’s event paid special attention to Korean War veterans who for years have been overshadowed and forgotten.
The Georgetown High School marching band took first place in band competition and Andrews High School NJROTC claimed victory for their drill and performance.
As with any event, this year’s parade would not have been as successful without the help of many. We would like to thank all those who planned, participated and performed with your time, your vehicles, your decorations, your cheers and music.
The parade committee would also like to thank Vince Weaver, Neal Britt, Zenobia Washington, the Georgetown Police Department, the Georgetown County Museum, Bill Stuckey, Jameson Hubbard, Vann Tucker, Ben Klopp, Jody Tamsberg, Brandy Rogerson, Shana Williams, Michelle Williams, Lonna Singleton, Captain McClure and Sergeants Cook and Todd for all the help and assistance they provided.
The election is over,
The election is over now for two or four years, whatever your term is. Let’s see how many are going to try and keep their promises.
We know that talking a good agenda is easier than fulfilling it, but at least they have a vision for America. The bible teaches us that without a vision the people will perish.
Now some of us have lived long enough to know what this means. It means that we might not get there all together but if we lay a path for the others to follow they would have a guideline to follow.
The country has a lot of healing to do, and I hope all will allow the healing to take place. A lot of things were said that should not have been said, but time is a healer.
With God’s love and strength they can and will heal. God loves you.
Mary Julia S. Sargent
Mojo's suggestions for Congress and the President
Mojo has followed the election, the lame duck session of Congress, and the actions needed to keep the nation from plunging over the "financial cliff" closely. He notes that members of Congress and the President are human animals and like all animals (himself included) when threatened they tend to revert to fight or flight behavior. So, as negotiations to solve the nation's immediate and long term financial crisis take place, when disagreements erupt, as they invariably will, the tendency will be to either take a bite out of the other side and bark loudly or to walk away.
Perhaps when faced with a large pit bull, those two options are appropriate. However, when dealing with the financial crisis, there is another, better option. That option is to put the mind in gear, think and respond rationally, not emotionally. That takes practice. Whether you are a human animal or a canine animal, fight or flight is an automatic response. Mojo has learned to put the brakes on and put his brain in gear. Mojo has also learned that in doing that he has found that he can focus on the challenge at hand and not on people or other dogs. Thereby, he avoids doing things that might set off the fight or flight reaction in them.
So, a possible scenario. A rational look at lowering the deficit and the national debt in the long run leads to the mathematical conclusion that expenses, particularly big ticket items like Social Security, Medicare, and military spending have to be reduced in cost and that additional revenue has to be found. That is the arithmetic of the challenge. The Simpson Bowles Commission and well-respected business leaders are among those who have made that point.
Now, getting there will be scary. It might mean that Congress and the President will run afoul of folks who are out to protect their strongly held world views. No new taxes ever. Don't touch Social Security or Medicare. Give the military a blank check even if that means developing weapons they aren't asking for.
Fear will be there automatically, just as the fight or flight response to it is. However, my hunch is that the majority of the citizens of this country expect Congress and the President to move through the fear, put their brains in gear, and solve the problem through compromise.
After I made my first jump as a paratrooper (there is no fear like going out the door of the airplane), I asked a jumpmaster who had over 2,000 jumps if a person ever gets over the fear of leaving the door. "No," he said, "And if you do, don't jump."
Mr. President, Members of Congress, it’s time to get on out the door.
The Rev. Dr. Jim Watkins
Observing World Prematurity Day
Every parent-to-be wants to have a healthy baby. But it doesn’t always happen that way. Nearly a half million babies each year are born too small, too soon here in the United States, and worldwide, that figure jumps to more than 15 million babies. Because these babies are premature, their lungs aren’t ready and their brains aren’t ready for them to be born.
We must do more to help babies be born stronger and healthier. This November 17, the March of Dimes and organizations worldwide will observe World Prematurity Day and focus attention on the serious impact premature birth has on babies and their families.
Please join me and the March of Dimes by visiting facebook.com/WorldPrematurityDay to learn more about how we can work together for stronger healthier babies.
Prematurity is the leading cause of newborn death in the United States. Even babies born just a few weeks too soon can face serious health challenges and are at risk for lifelong disabilities, such as cerebral palsy, lung problems, vision and hearing loss, and learning disabilities.
In 2013, the March of Dimes also is celebrating its 75th anniversary and its ongoing work to give all babies a healthy start in life. More than 4 million babies were born in the United States last year, and the March of Dimes has helped each and every one through research, education, vaccines, and medical breakthroughs, including many that have benefited premature babies.
Each year, nearly 9,000 babies in South Carolina suffer the consequences of being born too soon. Awareness is the first step to solving this problem. Visit www.marchofdimes.com/southcarolina to find out how you can help us continue working for stronger, healthier babies.
Chief operating officer
Georgetown Hospital System
Chairperson, 2013 Georgetown March for Babies
An open letter to every South Carolina
You have a golden opportunity to prove to your constituents that you do want to represent them, and that you do care about what they think.
The recent vote on the Constitutional Amendment gives you that opportunity. While the measure passed with less than 56% of the vote, even though it passed in the House without opposition, should tell you something. It says that there were at least some voters who read past the first sentence of the amendment. Because, if they read the rest of the amendment, then looked at the ‘explanation’ provided, they saw your attempt to bamboozle the voter.
Your explanation indicates that if the way the Lt. Governor was elected was altered, that change would then ‘as a result’ mean that his job would also require to be altered. It is clear that it is the other changes in the amendment that would ‘as a result’ in changing the role of the Lt. Governor.
While there is probably a huge majority of voters who would like to see the Lt. Governor and the Governor elected on the same ticket, they do not necessarily like the change in his role in the Senate.
The third step of changing our Constitution here in South Carolina requires you, the legislature, to pass the amendment again. I say kill this version now. And since you did not want to put this into place until 2018, then gives us another chance to vote on how we elect the Lt. Governor in the 2014 election. You can even put the change of his role on the ballot; just list it as a separate question.
GHS tennis teams
On behalf of the Georgetown High tennis teams, we want to take the opportunity to thank the DeBordieu Tennis Club for making play at the facility possible and affordable for our team this fall so that our team could play and practice exclusively at this wonderful facility.
The tennis pros, Rick and Drew, could not have been more accommodating and helpful in making sure our team had what was needed for each match. We sincerely appreciate the hospitality that was provided to our team on a daily basis. We know it was difficult to keep up at the guard gate for security at times with so many tennis fans but we do want everyone to know that it was not overlooked by any means.
Our tennis team is glad to have a place to call our home facility and to know that we have such a super facility to use here in our community. We started using this facility last spring with the boys' team, and it seems to get better each season.
We are grateful to the tennis board and tennis members as well for working to allow our team to share the courts. We can't wait for another great spring season.
The Georgetown High tennis team
members, coaches, and families
— Grace George
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