THUMBS UP

To the gumption of small towns: They may not have the skyscrapers of big cities, but small towns such as Windsor, Wagener and New Ellenton have shown creativity and resourcefulness navigating the troubles of a slow economy.


Over the past few decades, Windsor has dealt with fires to its public school and its town hall, but continues to move forward. In the town of Wagener, Mayor Mike Miller still goes out and mows the lawn of a town park and encourages everyone to pitch in for the betterment of the community. In New Ellenton, a new convention center and revamped City Hall shows the town is following suit by making the most of its resources.


THUMBS DOWN

To kicking the can in Washington: The nation didn't go into default, but the solution engineered by members of Congress and President Barack Obama is still only short-term. While the debt-ceiling disaster was narrowly avoided, the political atmosphere in Washington remains mired in rigid ideology. With upcoming budget battles, we hope the blame game comes to a rest, but sadly, that appears improbable.


THUMBS UP

To living history in North Augusta: Two events sponsored by the Living History Park in North Augusta truly help to put a spotlight on the city's past.


Colonial Times: A Day to Remember held this weekend and the upcoming Spirits of Hallowed Eve Dinner give residents and tourists a glimpse of the story of North Augusta. North Augusta truly prides itself as a city steeped in history. Groups such as Living History Park, the Heritage Council, the Arts & Heritage Center and the Ole Towne Preservation Association, among others, carry on the tradition of the City and provide a real service to the community.


THUMBS DOWN

To increased health care costs: Implementation of the Affordable Care Act could eventually cost the Aiken County School District $300,000 to $400,000 a year, according to District Comptroller Tray Traxler. While the numbers are rough estimates, and will thankfully provide coverage to District employees, schools are already facing budget restraints. Retirement system costs are also expected to jump in the future.