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home : opinions November 25, 2013

From the State House
It was heartwarming to participate in Veteran Day celebrations for our many women and men that served our country. Mayor Bobby Davis and the City of Marion put together a tribute to Marion area veterans with a ceremony held at Veterans Memorial Triangle on South Main Street. It was truly a honor to present SC House certificates and resolutions to approximately 150 veterans and their families. Senator Kent Williams joined me in making these certificates available through the General Assembly. It was touching to see the Mayor present special awards to the families of fallen soldiers Oneal Rush and David Bullard. Reverend Larry Williams provided the music and gift bags for the veterans in attendance. I know I speak for all of us that know that no one has done more for our country than our veterans. Many veterans wore their jackets and hats with symbols that reflected their branch of service or conflict on which they served. We are proud of our many veterans and those who currently serve us throughout both at home and abroad. Marion County Veterans office sponsored their annual Veterans Day parade this year held in downtown Mullins.
Thursday, November 21, 2013

Remembering veterans more than one day a year
With Veterans Day approaching, we stop and remember our veterans who have given us so much and all those who are presently serving. John F. Kennedy once said that “as we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” We should not only show appreciation for our brave men and women one day a year but each and every opportunity that we get. One way to do so is to fully appreciate and take advantage of the freedoms that so many have given their lives to protect. For Americans, liberty is our freedom. It is what separates our great nation from the rest of the world.
Thursday, November 7, 2013

IRA distributions for charitable donations
This is the time of year when many IRA holders over the age of 70 ½ are making their Required Minimum Distributions (RMD). Annual RMDs are considered taxable income, but an IRA holder can take advantage of an opportunity to donate assets in an IRA to qualified charitable organizations and, if done correctly, the distributions are tax free and satisfy the RMD requirement. This provision, written into law under the Pension Protection Act of 2006, was originally available only through December 31, 2009. However, provisions in various tax legislation since then have extended the charitable donation benefit through 2013 under certain eligibility and donation limits. IRA holders must be at least 70½ years of age on or before the actual day of making the donation, and the maximum IRA charitable donation is limited to $100,000. Any distributions in excess of this limit will not qualify for the tax exclusion benefit and will be treated as ordinary income. 
Wednesday, November 6, 2013

A spiritual currency
Most people always envy athletes for their fame and money, but really they should envy their work ethic. Now I know they have it great, they play a game for a living and make millions of dollars, but it takes a lot of blood, sweat, and tears to get there. Unlike many in society, they have to earn their success based on their merits, they weren’t given anything. Serena Williams is number one in the world again, becoming the oldest woman in the history of tennis to do so. She won her first U.S. Open title in 1999 as a teenager, and to think that almost fifteen years later, she still has the motivation to dominate the sport, is quite unique to the sport. Women’s tennis is famous for stars retiring early like Justine Henin and Kim Clisters, or plummeting from the top of the world ranks because they got comfortable. To stay on top for years in any sport is counterintuitive to human nature, and that is why it’s so impressive.
Wednesday, August 28, 2013

127 years ago: The Great Charleston Earthquake
Saturday marks the 127th anniversary of the Great Charleston Earthquake. David Hamilton, owner of Hamilton House Antiques & Interiors and a history buff, has been reading Richard N. Cote’s book “The Great Charleston Earthquake of 1886, City of Heroes.” He shared some information  he discovered about the generosity of the people living here at that time. Roaring out of the night of Aug. 31, 1886, the earthquake was felt from Toronto to Cuba and from Omaha to Bermuda. There were 124 deaths and over 140 injuries attributed to this disaster. The damage from the quake left 40,000 of the 60,000 residents of Charleston homeless. The residents of the small village of Florence reached out to assist the homeless Charlestonians. In his book, Cote’ includes the following from a  Sept. 10, 1886 article in the Charleston News & Courier: “Though the people of Florence, the county seat were terrified by the quake, which cracked walls and threw down chimneys there, they expressed their love for the people of Charleston by quickly offering free board and lodging for five hundred refugees.” Checking the Sanborn Fire Insurance Company maps of 1884 and 1888, I discovered  the population listed for the City of Florence in 1884 was  2,000 residents.

311: What is it and why should I care?
My neighborhood association is one of many organized by the City of Charleston to help residents stay in touch with the city’s activities and promote good communications. They do a good job for folks all over the city. This morning, I got an email from them telling me about some upcoming events, a police report of what to be on the lookout for, times that the street sweeper would be on my street, etc. And there was contact info for some city departments at the bottom of the email. All good stuff and I was happy to get it. By coincidence, just last evening, two city firemen knocked on my front door and sat on the front porch for a few minutes and chatted with me and my wife about fire prevention and some other neighborhood activities. They gave us some literature and mosied on down the street to the next house. Two guys from the police department came by and did the same thing a few months ago. It was all very pleasant and had a bit of the small-town feel of Sheriff Andy Griffith stopping by for a visit in Mayberry.
Wednesday, August 28, 2013

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