COLUMN: Thumbs up, thumbs down
To the new playground at Riverview Park — North Augusta is building a playground that’s accessible for the handicapped at the park. Now some children who couldn’t play there will be able to.
To the state Parole Board — For denying parole to former North Augusta assistant principal Stephen Coke Eubanks, who was convicted in 2010 of child molestation. At the hearing on Wednesday, he pleaded to be released as he “could never do anything like that again.” Over the course of three decades, from 1976 to 1995, Eubanks abused teenage boys and girls while he was working within the local education system. His sentence is complete in 2015 – he can wait.
To a brave Waffle House employee — Less than a week after an armed robbery occurred at an Aiken Waffle House, the restaurant was hit again by a man brandishing a knife. This time, he didn’t leave with any cash. The man walked in and demanded that the employees go to the back of the restaurant. Before the assailant could get behind the counter to gain access the cash registers, one of the employees grabbed a knife and rushed toward him. The man fled. It might have been wiser to have just handed over the cash, but fortunately it turned out OK for the employee.
To the sportscasters being wrong — After weeks of constant speculation of who would and wouldn’t be elected to baseballs Hall of Fame, the judges fooled them all and didn’t elect anyone. Better luck next year guys.
To the Crimson Tide of Alabama — Alabama won its unprecedented third national football championship in four years on Monday. The team dominated Notre Dame from the beginning and didn’t quit until the final buzzer with a 42-14 game.
To the Oscar nominees — The nominees for the film industry’s most prestigious honor were announced on Thursday. The 85th Academy Awards will be Feb. 24.
To William Kadar and his duffel bag — Kadar, a 92-year-old World War II veteran who served in France during the war has been reunited with his Army-issued duffel bag nearly seven decades after it went missing. Kadar, who now lives in Indiana, last saw the bag used by soldiers to tote their gear in November 1944, a month before he was captured by the Germans. A letter included in the package said the bag was being returned by a 16-year-old French boy who found it in his grandfather’s house.
To Michael Haley — Last week the husband of Gov. Nikki Haley left for a month of training before deploying to Afghanistan for a yearlong mission. Haley, an officer in the Army National Guard, will work with Afghan farmers to improve farming practices.
To Girl Scout Cookies — The tasty treats are on sale now. Making its debut as a new cookie is the tropical-flavored Mango Crème. This crispy vanilla and coconut cookie with mango-flavored crème filling has all the nutrient benefits of eating cranberries, pomegranates, oranges, grapes and strawberries. Find a Girl Scout and buy a few boxes. It’s for a good cause.
To nationally certified teachers — Last week four Aiken County teachers learned they had achieved the prestigious status. Congratulations to Katie Osteen, Aiken High; Kimberly Badger of South Aiken High; Lindsey Quarles of Mossy Creek Elementary; and Melissa Bauers of Wagener-Salley High.
To two brothers dying together — The brothers were killed after leading authorities on a high-speed car chase that began in Augusta and ended when the vehicle struck a tree in North Augusta early Wednesday. Derrick Darden, 23, and his brother, Deante Darden, 22, both of North Augusta, died on the scene. A deputy was trying to stop the car for speeding. Neither man was wearing a seat belt.
To biting dogs — A 12-year-old North Augusta girl was attacked by a German shepherd Tuesday while she was walking her dog near the intersection of Wildwood Drive and Landon Lane in North Augusta. The dog bit her hands when she tried to defend herself. The dog was later captured.
To broken water mains — Residents in two areas of Aiken were asked Friday to boil their water for a day after it two water main breaks.
To guns in schools — That’s something most all of us would agree on, but on Thursday, State Superintendent of Education Dr. Mick Zais said that local school districts could consider a school safety option – providing a small number of school employees with guns at schools, but only people with a high level of training and vetting. The good news is that Mark Keel, the S.C. State Law Enforcement Division chief, said he would never agree with that approach under any circumstances – a response that an Aiken School District administrator and two School Board members agreed with.