Columbia area needs public market
Suppose there is a glut of sweet potatoes in North Carolina, an oversupply of cantaloupes, tomatoes, strawberries and oranges in Florida. Growers and shippers have always known that the public market in Columbia is a great outlet for them. They drive their trucks to Columbia, pay a fee at the market entrance, park and start selling. Local residents benefit from a large selection at bargain prices.
The state is building a farmers shed on state land in the private market being built in Lexington County, but only locally grown produce will be sold there. Large out-of-state produce growers could only sell to the several wholesalers that are part of the private market, the result being less selection and higher prices.
Richland County and the city of Columbia will lose this valuable asset if action is not taken soon to acquire a new home for the market. Produce vendors and farmers have been notified that they must vacate the present public market by the end of February.
Fortunately, there is a solution that would be good for all. The Boozer Lumber property on Atlas Road is being offered to the county for half its assessed value, which would allow affordable rents and leases for vendors, farmers and other retail merchants. The property has large buildings and sheds, the whole area is paved and fenced, and it is located six blocks off I-77, a short distance from Shop, Bluff and Garners Ferry roads. Leases, daily rentals and truck fees could pay any debt. This valuable property can be acquired by a vote by County Council. For the good of the consumers, farmers, vendors and those who will get to keep their jobs, I hope council will act favorably.
Endowed chairs benefit S.C. economy
Thank you for the Oct. 15 editorial about the Centers of Economic Excellence Program, which has enabled South Carolina to recruit internationally recognized researchers who are providing scientific leadership. Besides health care applications, endowed chairs are developing successful programs in energy, environment, information technology, nanotechnology, manufacturing and transportation.
In just seven years, the Centers of Economic Excellence program already has created more than 2,000 jobs and attracted a quarter-billion private and federal dollars.
On Friday, the endowed chairs will meet as a group for the first time to discuss how to best provide leadership, advice and coordination for the state in science and technology matters. The afternoon portion of this meeting is open to the public and will showcase progress and economic impacts of several centers. Information is available at sccoee.org/CoEEShowcase.asp.
This is a critical time in the state's development of a science-based economy, and the Centers of Economic Excellence program is essential for continued progress.
RICHARD E. SWAJA
Endowed Chair in Regenerative Medicine
Medical University of South Carolina
A reminder of U.S. heroism and sacrifice
A relative forwarded an e-mail to me this week listing our country's cemeteries in Europe. I had earlier dismissed President Obama's remarks of apology, as a "you get what you pay for" life lesson. However, American soldiers' guts, their heroism and their sacrifice of their lives never cease to cause a tear or a chill bump on my skin.
Whether it's the 9,387 American soldiers buried in Normandy or the 5,329 soldiers buried in the American Cemetery at Ardennes, Belgium or the 7,861 men buried in Sicily, America's commitment to our freedom, sovereignty and peace on this earth through its never-ending defense of liberty, and those like-minded, is forever evident and entombed in foreign soil all over this ambivalent world.
President Obama called America "arrogant and dismissive" on foreign dirt, with regard to Europe. Most of those nations haven't even had the grit to defend themselves, much less come to the aid of their neighbors, as we have. We have buried more than 100,000 soldiers over there and had countless others flown home with flags on their coffins.
How feeble of the president.
Signs point to dark days for economy
The failure of our government to support sound monetary and fiscal policy has led to the long-term collapse of the U.S. dollar. All imports will now be priced higher in our currency; witness the recent spike in foreign crude and talk of replacing the greenback as the world's reserve currency.
This higher cost of conducting business will help spell the doom of what Mohammad El-Arian has called the "green shoots" of a reviving domestic economy. With a new national health care program that will further enlarge our domestic debt, a card check system to stimulate union membership and raise labor costs together with cap and trade legislation that will increase the costs of electricity, our hopes for a stronger dollar, new job creation and improving national wealth will become chimeras.
There really is little we can do to stop the coming economic tsunami - just get ready for a much lower American standard of living and scale back our expectations for our children. But perhaps I worry needlessly. The president and Congress have everything under control.