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Close Bamberg courthouse

Voters approved the penny sales tax to fix the Bamberg County Courthouse building that has been neglected for decades. The county council thought it was wiser to construct a new annex.

As a taxpayer, I do not want to again pay for restoration of a crumbling building. The building should be closed and condemned because $6 million, I believe, will only give us future expenditures. To borrow $6 million for 40 years at the stated interest rate will result, when paid off, a bill of over $11 million.

As stated in your article, we do not know what future needs Bamberg will face, but we will be obligated for 40 years and a total of $11 million. No sane person would think that during the next 40 years this old building won't again need major improvements.

I say no to borrowing $6 million and paying back $11 million because it just seems like a very poor use of hard-working taxpayers' money.

Jack Padgett

Pharmacist

Bamberg

Move away from animal ag

"Climate Change Threatens World Food Supply" is the headline wake-up alarm being sounded by leading newspapers. It was prompted by the release of a summary report by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, staffed by more than 100 experts from 52 countries.

The report details how climate change is threatening our world's food and water supplies -- turning arable land to desert, degrading soil and raising the frequency of devastating weather conditions. It concludes that avoiding wholesale starvation and mass migrations requires fundamental changes in current animal agriculture and land-management practices, which account for 23% of human-caused greenhouse gas emissions.

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The conclusions of the IPCC report match closely those by Oxford Univrsity in 2017 and Chatham House in 2015. A 2010 United Nations report blames animal agriculture for 19% of greenhouse gas emissions, 70% of freshwater use and 38% of land use. All reports recommend a massive shift to plant-based eating.

In an environmentally sustainable world, meat and dairy products in our diet must be replaced by vegetables, fruits and grains, just as fossil fuels are replaced by wind, solar and other pollution-free energy sources. Our next visit to the supermarket provides a superb starting point.

Omar Topaz, Orangeburg

Make election security priority

We’re deep in the off season for South Carolina legislators. Lawmakers won’t return to Columbia for months. As state legislators set their goals and priorities for the next session, Automated Verification and Registration should be at the top of their lists. It’s the perfect policy to begin a legislative session. It addresses a critical issue, it’s an easy policy to implement, it demonstrates responsibility, and it’s bipartisan.

Without secure voter rolls, other security improvements are only half measures. AVR ensures voter rolls are up to date, accurate and reliable, helping to prevent both foreign interference and voter fraud.

AVR requires a one-time capital investment, and then saves money. It’s a one-time fix that improves services without costing taxpayers more money.

Republicans and Democrats in 20 states have already adopted AVR. South Carolina should, too. Our lawmakers need to make AVR their top priority.

Trey Grayson, a Republican, is advisory board chair of the Secure Elections Project, former Kentucky secretary of state, and former president of the National Association of Secretaries of State.

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