THUMBS UP

To Fresh Market opening in Aiken — The upscale grocery opened Wednesday to a packed house - so many, in fact, that the management opened an hour early to let the long lines of people inside. Now that's a fine welcome.


To the USC Aiken men's basketball team — The Pacers defeated Barton 82-75 in the championship game of the Division II NCAA Tournament Southeast Regional to advance to the Elite Eight in the big dance for the first time in program history. The next stop for the scrappy team that until last week wasn't even ranked: March 28 in Louisville, Ky. We hope to see them in the national championship game in Atlanta on April 7. Go Pacers!


To a Geography Bee champ — Olivia Boice, an eighth-grader at Kennedy Middle School, is heading to a state-level geography competition. She's one of just 100 students in South Carolina to make it to this level.


To planning ahead — It will be about a year before the new Aiken County government complex on University Parkway is ready for the more than 200 employees who will move in, but county officials are already working to figure out how to manage such a mammoth move. That's one job that shouldn't wait until the last minute.


To the Statue of Liberty ­— Lady Liberty, closed since Superstorm Sandy damaged the island where it stands, will reopen to the public by Independence Day. The statue itself was spared in the late October storm, but its surrounding island was badly damaged. Railings broke, paving stones were torn up and buildings were flooded. The storm also destroyed boilers, sewage pumps and electrical systems on the island.


THUMBS DOWN

To computer hackers and bad security — As if it wasn't enough that South Carolina taxpayer information was hacked in a security breech, now we find out that personal information of 12,000 Savannah River Site employees may have been compromised.


To Mark Sanford — The disgraced former governor, who embarrassed the state by admitting to cheating on his wife with his Argentine “soul mate,” was the top vote-getter in a 16-way Republican primary to retake the House seat he held before he was governor. It hasn't been determined who he will face in the runoff on April 2, but the winner of that race faces Elizabeth Colbert Busch, the Democratic candidate who won that primary. The election was needed to fill the seat vacated by Tim Scott, who was appointed to fill Sen. Jim DeMint's seat when he resigned.