Students: Embrace opportunities in the upcoming school year.

Another school year has arrived, overflowing with endless possibilities and a fresh new start. This time of year is always invigorating in the education world, and I want to share a few words of encouragement with the students of Spartanburg County.

Someone recently described your generation as technology-reliant, edgy, diverse and even lazy. The truth is, it will be your generation who finds a cure for cancer and builds the first settlement on Mars.

You have more knowledge available at your fingertips than any previous generation could have ever imagined. I would argue that collaborative, innovative, persevering and connected are more accurate descriptors of today’s youth.

You are fortunate to live in the greatest country in the world, where despite your socio-economic background, the doors of opportunity are opened through education. Living in Spartanburg County, you are blessed with top-notch schools, high-quality educators and a thriving, supportive community.

I encourage you to work hard, stay focused and embrace the opportunities that will come your way over the course of the upcoming school year. Be willing to step outside of your comfort zone because that is where the fruit of your success lies.

I encourage you to surround yourself with people who love and support you, and give back to your community when you can. May the 2018-2019 school year be the best yet!


Ronald W. Garner, superintendent, Spartanburg School District 1


Over the edge

This time our president has gone too far.

When he insulted John McCain, a true American hero whom I admire greatly, I almost bailed out of the Republican Party. When he separated children from their families in the immigration debacle, I again felt like jumping ship. I gritted my teeth and stayed the course, thinking the thriving economy proved that it wasn’t all bad.

But insulting LeBron James has pushed me over the edge.

LeBron grew up without a father or a college education. He married his high school sweetheart and is still married to her. He has never been arrested.

He is a good father to three children and has sent more than 1,100 children to college fully paid for. He recently opened a school for underprivileged children, tuition free, uniform free and a bicycle for getting there.

This is a man who deserves our respect and admiration, not insults from our president.

Maybe this time I WILL jump ship. I just wish I knew where to jump to.


Pat Burton, Spartanburg


Dangerous behavior

The Republicans elected a man who vilifies the U.S. intelligence community one day, then tries to defend his actions the next. Many love him for it. He calls special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation a witch hunt, and they buy into it.

He fights with and runs down our allies and cuddles up to the Russians. He imposes tariffs on several things from other countries, hurting the very same people he said he would help. That is, the people of the United States.

Bear in mind that some of these items are aluminum, steel and farm products. Next time you are in the store, you might look and see just how much metal is used on our canned and drink products. When the cost goes up, do not blame the producers.

I read the other day an article in Fortune magazine about Coca-Cola raising its wholesale prices. It stated that it was partly the blame of the tariffs placed on aluminum. But his base loves him.

Now the latest: He gets on a stage in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., and runs down and vilifies the very institution that is a bedrock of our democracy. I am referring to the freedom of the press.

He says they are not treating him fairly. I guess he forgot the lack of respect Fox News and the conservative press gave our last president. His base loves him for it, never thinking that it is his own words and deeds the press write about. I wonder how many in the press corps cringe and wonder who may get killed before his hatred of the press ends.

The sad part, in my opinion, is the silence of the Republicans. That is, in my view, dangerous for a democracy.


Dennis Dechant, Gaffney


Renewable energy

The recent Herald-Journal article “Pacolet Milliken announces $12M solar project in Union” was extremely exciting to read. South Carolina’s growing renewable energy industry is a source of inspiration.

Fossil fuels are polluting our air, water and land, and you don’t have to be a scientist to know that a big shift to clean, renewable energy is needed. But there’s cause for hope. Every day we see more evidence that powering ourselves with clean energy is within reach.

According to a new report released by the Environment America Research & Policy Center, South Carolina ranks 25th for solar and 40th for number of electric vehicles in the country. This is incredible progress; however, in the years ahead, we must continue to accelerate our use of clean, renewable energy.

We have made incredible progress with renewable energy. Why slow this progress now?


Audrey Davis, Environment America, Charlotte


Not a nuisance

Recently it was reported that a new and perhaps dangerous species of tick, the East Asian Long Horned tick, was found on an opossum in Polk County, N.C. There now might be an assumption that the opossum is in some way responsible or guilty by association. Please do not consider the opossum a dangerous nuisance.

Some fun, interesting facts about our backyard neighbors:

1. Just one opossum eats up to 5,000 ticks in a season, and they do not carry Lyme disease.

2. They also eat small rodents, snails, insects and carrion (dead stuff). This makes them nature’s pest control and cleanup crew.

3. They are generally immune to rabies and are not vectors of human disease.

4. They are known to be fastidious groomers and keep themselves very clean.

5. They play dead when they are frightened. It can last minutes to hours.

So remember, ticks are a nuisance and can be dangerous to all of us, but the presence of an opossum inevitably means fewer, not more, ticks around you!


Belynda Veser, Columbus, N.C.


Helpful, courteous

I appreciated the recent article about Spartanburg County. As a professional working for a local utility, I have experienced firsthand the professionalism of many of the departments at Spartanburg County. They have all been very helpful and courteous.

Furthermore, when I recently contacted the Roads and Bridges Department about a couple of potholes in my street in Wellford, it had them fixed within a week. Way to go, Spartanburg — keep up the good work!


John Baron, Wellford


Objective reporting

At a time when national media are being accused of “fake news,” I would like to commend staff writers Samantha Swann and Bob Montgomery and the city desk’s Jason Spencer of the Herald-Journal for accurate and objective reporting of local issues.

Our community is indeed fortunate to benefit from their high level of professionalism.


Jody Traywick, Spartanburg