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To continued progress in New Ellenton:

It’s a positive sign to see construction of a new conference center and renovations to the city hall in New Ellenton moving forward. The projects should hopefully helping to stimulate activity in the small Aiken County town. Combined with the opening of the town’s library in 2012, they will spotlight the community’s ongoing improvements. That progress should help to attract new business and contribute to a bright future for the community. The conference center, which can be used for local meetings as well as classroom facilities, will be able to accommodate 270 people. Currently, the center is about halfway complete, and city hall refurbishments are about 70 percent, according to New Ellenton Mayor Vernon Dunbar. These projects were sorely needed and were also approved by voters through a Capital Projects Sales Tax referendum.

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To cuts to food stamps increasing health care costs across the country:

It’s a topic that’s garnered needed debate, but proposed cuts to food stamps – aimed at reducing the program’s impact on the national debt – could backfire, according to medical experts.

Doctors warn that if Congress approves cuts to the program, higher Medicaid and Medicare costs could follow, according to the Associated Press. The impact may not be felt immediately, but over time, costs could increase if the poor end up in doctors’ offices or hospitals because of higher rates of diabetes and developmental problems for young children.

Cuts to food stamps, also known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, certainly warrant sensible deliberation, especially with long-term cost concerns existing on both of sides of the debate.

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To increasing organ, tissue donations:

A statewide effort announced Wednesday should give hope to South Carolinians needing organ or tissue donations.

The initiative is aimed at doubling the number of donors in the state and erasing our 1,000-person waiting list for life-saving transplants. South Carolina ranks 45th in the nation when it comes to donations, according to the Associated Press, with a donor designation rate of only about 20 percent. S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley, along with administrators of the Department of Motor Vehicles and the organization Donate Life South Carolina, are promoting the campaign across the state in order to encourage residents to become donors.

The more people who donate, the more lives that can be saved. Such a mission should motivate residents across the state to become organ and tissue donors.

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To increasing concerns generating from the Target hacking:

Target now says that personal information – including phone numbers and email and mailing addresses – was stolen from as many as 70 million more customers as part of a data breach that occurred in December.

The company’s original estimate was that 40 million customers’ information was hacked. Credit cards and debit cards were stolen as part of a data breach that occurred between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15. It’s understandable that Target’s stock has dropped since the incident because consumers undoubtedly are weary of shopping at any of the company’s stores or on its website.

The retailer has explained that the numbers are not part of a new breach, but were discovered during its ongoing investigation. With the company altering its statement, it’ll certainly take even longer for shopper’s concerns to subside.