To the Realtor of the Year – Laraine Clark was named 2012 Aiken Realtor of the Year last week during the Aiken Board of Realtors holiday party at The Willcox. She works for Coldwell Banker.

To Carolina Outdoors – The local provider of lawn equipment, firearms, ammunition and hunting apparel, has opened a second location in Aiken in the former Phelon Motorsports building on Richland Avenue.

To Tom Moore – For 30 years Moore has been the head professional and general manager for Palmetto Golf Club, the oldest, continually operated 18-hole golf course in its original location in the Southeast. He's retiring and last week was honored for his service.

To Beth Everitt – The Aiken County schools Superintendent received a glowing review from the School Board last week, and an additional year added to her contract, extending it until 2016.

To bravery in the face of danger – Capt. Marty Sawyer, Sgt. Craig Burgess and Officer Steve Miano were awarded the Medal of Valor by the S.C. State Law Enforcement Officers Association at an award ceremony last month. They were honored again by Aiken City Council last week. The medal honors “an act of outstanding bravery performed in the line of duty at imminent personal hazard to life under circumstances demonstrating a disregard of personal consequences.” The incident the officers were honored for involved a domestic dispute in which authorities say a man shot his ex-wife, shot himself, then fired on the officers who entered the home after hearing gunshots.

To another trip to Mars – NASA said it wants to launch another mega-rover to Mars modeled after the wildly popular Curiosity.

The space agency said last week the spacecraft will be built from spare parts from Curiosity. It would also use the novel landing system that delivered the car-size rover to Mars in August. The new mission is scheduled for 2020 and is estimated to cost about $1.5 billion. But scientists haven't hashed out exactly what the rover would try to accomplish on Mars. NASA said it's another step toward eventually sending astronauts to the red planet in the 2030s.

To Scott Beck – The former North Augusta Councilman and state representative has been appointed as Chairman of the South Carolina Workers' Compensation Commission. Beck, who has been a commissioner since June 30, 2008, has been serving as interim chairman for more than two years. On Wednesday, Gov. Nikki Haley appointed him to a full two-year term at the helm of the panel.

Thumbs down

To the flu – Local doctors and health officials are warning residents to vaccinate themselves against the flu as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have reported the virus as “widespread” in South Carolina. Health officials say suspected flu cases also have jumped across five Southern states, and the primary strain circulating tends to make people sicker than other types.