Thumbs up:To expanding educational opportunities at MTU:

Graniteville-based plant MTU America should be seen as a great corporate neighbor with its efforts to provide apprenticeships to local students. Three students at the Aiken County Career and Technology Center will graduate from their home schools this week, and will have the opportunity to continue their education at the manufacturing facility. The program was created two years ago for high school students and was modeled after the popular program used at MTU’s lead company in Germany. This kind of program certainly has potential at industries throughout the state.

Thumbs down:To MOX audit showing uncontrollable costs:

A Department of Energy audit showed rather unfavorable results for the National Nuclear Security Administration and the MOX contractor after it indicated they have been “largely unsuccessful” in controlling the costs and the construction schedule of the Savannah River Site’s Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility.

While the project has experienced cost overruns and delays, it still was envisioned as the future for reducing nuclear waste. It was also part of an agreement with South Carolina and an international pact with Russia. Finding the best path forward for disposing of nuclear waste is vital for South Carolina and the entire country. Despite ongoing issues, totally scrapping MOX with no alternative could prove irrevocably detrimental.

Thumbs up:To boosting funding in the state budget for Marines:

The state budget could provide $200,000 to a program that seeks to boost the Lowcountry’s economy by helping exiting Marines find jobs in the local economy. The S.C. Senate’s spending proposal designates money toward the Transitional Workforce Education Assistance Collaborative, which was launched in 2012 to assist those leaving the military. This is a wise step forward because it helps to repay those who have served our country. The transition out of the military isn’t always an easy one, but providing these funds will help that process.

Thumbs down:To losing the service of Fleming and Smith on the school board:

Two members of the Aiken County School Board recently announced they will not be seeking re-election in November. Ray Fleming, a two-term Board member from North Augusta, and Dwight Smith of Graniteville, elected to the Board in 2010, will not be returning, but their service to the community should be commended. Smith retired as a school principal and continued to work in other roles for a few years before seeking the seat on School Board. Fleming was a volunteer at North Augusta Elementary School and was a member of the School Improvement Council.

Both School Board members have contributed significantly to improving Aiken County, and we hope they continue their excellent public service after their terms come to a close.