COLUMN: Thumbs up, thumbs down
To holiday entertainment – We are so blessed in Aiken County to have so many wonderful holiday events going on. There’s something for everyone to enjoy.
To Savannah River Nuclear Solutions – SRNS officials last week announced the company has pledged $150,000 to Aiken Technical College’s nuclear training center. SRNS donated $50,000 and pledged another $100,000 toward the construction of the ATC Center for Energy and Advanced Manufacturing.
To lottery winners – There were two winning tickets sold for last week’s $500 million Powerball. Just what would you do with that much money?
To Debra Day – The Aiken Red Cross volunteer has spent the past month in Far Rockaway, N.Y., helping with relief efforts from Hurricane Sandy. She’s one of 9,000 Red Cross volunteers helping with the recovery.
To pedophiles – A pedophile who is serving 40 years in prison for attacks on two 7-year-olds had more than 17,000 images of child pornography when arrested. Robert Vernon Patnoude, 28, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court last week to one count of possession of child pornography. With his plea, a more serious charge of distribution of child pornography will be dropped. Patnoude faces up to an additional 10 years in prison. He is currently estimated to be released in 2051.
To scammers – South Carolina Electric & Gas is urging customers to be aware of a scam during which individuals are posing as SCE&G employees in order to obtain personal information. A number of customers have reported instances of individuals portraying themselves as SCE&G employees over the phone. On several occasions, the alleged scammers are requesting immediate payment of the customer’s SCE&G bill and threatening service disconnection if payment is not made.
To the flu – South Carolina health officials reported the first flu death of the season – someone in nearby Barnwell County. Officials say the flu season has started earlier than usual. Widespread cases of the virus have been reported across the state with the peak of flu season still three months away in the heart of winter. Health officials said there is still time to get a flu shot, but people should hurry because it takes two weeks to build to full immunity.
To climate change – An area of Arctic sea ice bigger than the United States melted this year, according the U.N. weather agency, which said the dramatic decline illustrates that climate change is happening “before our eyes.” The report released last week said the Arctic ice melt was one of a myriad of extreme and record-breaking weather events to hit the planet in 2012. Droughts devastated nearly two-thirds of the United States as well as western Russia and southern Europe. Floods swamped West Africa and heat waves left much of the Northern Hemisphere sweltering. Ice cover had reached “a record low” in the area around the North Pole and that the loss from March to September was a staggering 4.57 million square miles, according to the report.