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Aiken Standard Newspaper Archive: January 6, 2011 - Page 1

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   Aiken Standard (Newspaper) - January 6, 2011, Aiken, South Carolina                                 BOEHNER ELECTED HOUSE SPEAKER*5A  Thursday  January 6,2011  Today% WBaÜier  Vol. 145, No. 6  \ o II r ( ) c a 1 S o u r c e S i n ( c I 8 ( ï 7 555555555;  www.aikenstandard.com  5555555=  Full forecast 16C  500  Sanford bids farewell  ■ As a part of his farewell tour of the state, Gov. Mark Sanford visited the Aiken Standard to discuss time in office, future plans.  By ROB NOVIT  Senior writer  Clad in jeans, a sweater and a pull-over jacket, S.C. Gov. Mark Sanford laughed a lot during a stop in Aiken Wednesday - appearing relaxed and very much the part of a public official who will leave government next week after two terms in the Governor's Mansion and six years in Congress from 1994-2000.  During a visit with Aiken Standard editors, Sanford put oif a anxious aide concerned about his next appointment, saying "five more minutes" during «^ne ¡innparanre by the Staffer and then "I guess we'll be late" during the next.  Sanford began a farewell tour around the state Tuesday, also releasing that day his proposed budget of $5.4 billion for the 2011 S.C. General Assembly session that begins next week. The proposal includes some extensive cuts, including a five percent salary cut for all state workers except teachers.  He has drawn some criticism for producing the budget, with one consultant telling The State that it puts incoming Gov.-elect Nikki Haley in a tough position. Haley has said she doesn't have time or the resources to produce a full budget proposal and told the Associated Press that legislators would routinely toss Sanford's budgets in the trash.  However, Sanford said Wednesday he is obligated to provide a budget document.  His predecessor, Jim Hodges, "had a budget for me when I stepped in. It's a constitutional mandate, and you don't back away. We did all the budget hearings, and it's fair for  ^to (Ossili©  Barbara S. Bradshaw,  Augusta  Ryan Jameson Craven,  North Augusta  Maljcolm Norwood Dailey,  Aiken  Ronald T. Davis, Harlem, Ga.  Josephine E. P. DeMasi,  Aiken  Barbara Fields,  Gloverville  Oonnie E. Musselwhite,  Aiken  Martha Turner Palmer,  Summervllle  Douglas C Pressnell,  New Ellenton  Lance Smith, MoneUa Deaths and Funerals IG-ZA     Calendar    5C      Classifieds    4B      Crossword    4C      Comics    3C      Dear Abby    4C      Horoscopes    4C      Markets    3B      Movie Listings    5C      Obituaries          Opinions    9A      PAJzzies          Sports    IB      TV Listings    2C     staff photo by Rob Novit  A relaxed Gov. Mark Sanford visits Aiken Wednesday as part of a three-day tour around the state before he leaves office next week.  the incoming governor to do it. This is just a blueprint."  Ovesr the last eight years, Sarifbrd repeatedly cla^^ with legislators, including those of his own Republican Party. But he's proud "that we stayed true to taxpayers, challenging practices like bobtailing and bringing structural changes to the DMV (Department ■ of Motor Vehicles) and the Employment Security Commission."  Last spring the General Assembly upheld more of his budget vetoes than ever before, and he's proud of that too.  In June 2009 Sanford disappeared for five days and later admitted he was in Argentina to pursue an affair with a woman there. That relationship  and its heavily-publicized aftermath cost him his marriage and much credibility, jtoth statewide and i&tidMlly:  He doesn't talk about that anymore, but Sanford did say his biggest disappointments in oflBce, "outside Ae obvious," were his inability to get some reform measures across the finish line and the unwillingness of legislators to oppose federal stimulus fimds.  Still, the governor expects the Budget and Control Board to get some needed restructuring during the iq)coming session.  Lawmakers' time this year will be taken vp mostly witii the budget, he said. The stimulus money will run out in June, and the legislature must deal  with a shortfall of at least of $800 million. Sanford pointed out that he, too, faced revenue ' proDlaus when he took oifice in 2002.  "We've got slightly different circumstances now," he said. "There's now a constituency for financial discipline and reforms. The Tea Party phenomenon is much bigger than people realize. It's good , news that it's there now, but a number of senators and House members are concemed about being outflanked by the right."  Another difference, said Sanford, is the 24-hour news cycle and the blogs that give anyone who wants it an instant voice on the Intemet.  Please see SANFORD, page 10A  staff photo by Rob Novit  Philip Howell was formally sworn In as the Aiken Branch NAACP's first white president Tuesday night. Also pictured is Louisiana Sanders, the new first vice president.  NAACP chapter installs its first white president  By ROB NOVIT  Senior writer  When Philip Howell was installed as the Aiken Branch NAACP president by his good fiTerid,Nclson Rivers Jr., Tuesday, he dowi^layed that he is the first white person to head the organization.  "1 just want to make the NAACP in Aiken County an even more important part of this county's life," Howell said in an interview Wednesday.  He has been involved in the Aiken Branch for about two decades, having served most recently as first vice president under former president Bren-dolyn Jenkins. Howell was the second vice president for another former president, the Rev. David Walker.  "This is historic for the  branch and the state," Walker said. "Philip is one of us. He knows the association, knows the policies and the missions and believes in those missions. He's going to do an excellent job and will get the-support of the branch."  Some Aiken Branch members had filed an election challenge over a procedural decision that Jenkins was not placed on the ballot. The issue went to a committee with the national NAACP office.  The committee confirmed that Jenkins "could not be on the ballot because her membership dues were not submitted in a timely manner," said James Gallman, an Aiken Branch officer and former state NAACP president.  Please see NAACP, page 10A  Six years later, Graniteville still recovering  By KAREN DAILY  Staff writer  Recalling the Graniteville train deraihnent that six years ago today claimed nine lives and displaced more than 5,000 residents conjures up eerie images of a conununity awakened by a disaster in the early hours of Jan. 6,2005, and questions about the community's future.  The town's fire chief, Phil Napier, reflected on the mpm-ing and recalled the cra$h as a tragedy that the residents in the mill town still struggle to overcome.  "And, it's the first time (January 6) will fall on a Thursday since," he said.  About 2:40 a.m., a 42-car, three-engine Norfolk South-em train crashed into a parked two-car, one-engine Norfolk Southern train, causing the deadly chlorine spill.  Napier said he looks at the now vacant rniUs and aging water system and wonders, "What if?"  "People have tried to get over it, but you just look aix)und and see the constant reminders - the empty mills - and wonder whether or not the derailment caused it to happen," he said. ' liie hiture of Graniteville is in question, he added.  "After ttietFiuiideiailec}, we had ft lot of involyemi^ from politioians, and vtp Imve  some working on our water system, ui^r^es, but as far as the community as a whole, it seems like the town is forgotten," he said.  In the days and weeks following the collision, Graniteville gained national attention. State and federal oflScials made fly-overs as the toxic chemicals manketed the many homes, churches and schools below and polluted the waterways and destroyed vegetation.  Even attempts to clean up the environment have been controversial, Napier said.  As the result of an EPA lawsuit, Norfolk Southern was penalized almost $4 million in March because of violations of the Clean Water Act that resulted from the spill. The EPA states that $100.000 of the'sum went to planting vegetation along the banks of Horse Creek to decrease erosion and sedimentation, assistiiu in the imiTOve-ment of water quality in that stream. Another portion of the money was set aside to restock fish in Langley Pond. The remainder went to the federal Oil Spill Liability TVustFund.  Napier expressed frustration over the allocation pf the frinds and what he said was the lack of input the EPA received from t)» community.  On the flip side, Napier said the community that lived  through the tragedy has banded together.  "We have growth in the outlying areas, but the community here is the same population," he said.  The incident has changed life in Graniteville forever, he added.  For local law enforcement, the crash also impacted the policies and procedures they had in place on the day of the tragedy.  Aiken County Sheriff Michael Hunt said an agency always prepares for disaster but added that they learned a tremendous amount from the incident and the response.  Numerous safety changes to the rail system have also resulted nationwide.  Still, "for those present six years ago, Napier said there's a feeling of uncertainty.  He said he still talks with some of those who lost family members in the derailment and encourages residents throughout Aiken to remember those who lost their lives that day.  The Graniteville Community Coalition, in conjunction with the GVW Investment Corporation and Bethlehem Missionaiy Baptist Church, will hold its annual service Saturday at 3 p.m. at the churcb, 271 Bethlehem Circle.  ' Coniact Karen Daily at kda{fy%qikenstcmdard>com.  Staff photo by Karen Daily  Six ytars afttr the train dfrailmtnt in Granltevillf daimtd nint livif and dliplacad mora than 5,000 rasidantsr a marno-rial stands in tha cantar of town to remind rtsldants of tha tragady that unfbldad Jan. % 2005.   

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