- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Recent editorials from South Carolina newspapers:

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Feb. 13

The Times and Democrat of Orangeburg on heart health knowledge:

It could be said that a study is getting to the heart of the matter during February’s Heart Month.



The national survey conducted by MDVIP, a national health care network with more than 950 primary care physicians, and Ipsos found that while seven out of 10 Americans acknowledge heart disease as the number one killer of both men and women, people still worry more about cancer (62 percent) than they do a heart attack (55 percent).

Nearly two-thirds of Americans (62 percent) failed the “Heart Attack IQ” quiz, proving a lack of knowledge about heart disease, the risk factors and prevention. Less than 1 percent of Americans got an A on the quiz, with 3 percent getting a B, 12 percent getting C and 23 percent scoring D.

“The health care community has made important strides in raising public awareness about heart disease, yet our research shows a significant gap in how much people understand about the disease and their own risk for a heart attack,” said Dr. Andrea Klemes, chief medical officer of MDVIP. “Considering that at least 80 percent of cardiac events are preventable, primary care physicians are a first line of defense in helping prevent, and potentially reverse, the disease through more comprehensive risk assessment, better education and health coaching that together lead to long-term lifestyle changes in patients.”

The survey reveals many Americans are uncertain, if not ill-informed, about the risk factors for a heart attack and what increases a person’s odds for having one.

Online: https://thetandd.com/

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Feb. 10

The Post and Courier of Charleston on federal transit funds:

The federal Highway Trust Fund is going broke. The trust fund, which is the main source of federal money for highways and public transportation nationwide, has been operating in the red for over a decade now.

That’s a problem for states like South Carolina that depend heavily on federal funding to shore up their transportation budgets - about 42 percent of South Carolina’s Department of Transportation funds come from the federal government - and plan for long-term projects.

According to a report released last month by the Congressional Budget Office, the Highway Trust Fund spent an incredible $115 billion more than it took in between 2008 and 2018.

Congress has periodically patched things up with infusions of cash. But the fund will be completely broke again by 2022 based on CBO projections.

The problem is that the trust fund gets most of its money from the federal gas tax, which hasn’t been raised since 1993. That revenue isn’t worth nearly as much as it once was by simple virtue of inflation, and vehicle fuel efficiency has dramatically improved on average over the past few decades as well.

Raising the federal gas tax by at least a few cents ought to be up for consideration, although that’s not likely a long-term fix. Lawmakers should also push to make sure existing roads are brought up to safe standards before building anything new.

And mass transit funding should be a much higher priority given that so many communities nationwide are years or decades behind in providing alternatives to car dependency.

Right now, only about 1.5 percent of the South Carolina DOT budget goes to anything other than car-focused infrastructure. Nationally, the number is closer to 20 percent, based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

In other words, South Carolina spends only about $37 million in state funds per year on buses and pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure, which isn’t nearly enough to keep the state’s existing bus systems running much less invest in something more transformative.

South Carolina, however, is relatively well positioned to handle uncertainty at the federal level. Lawmakers voted to raise the state gas tax by 12 cents per gallon in 2017, which will bring in about $600 million per year in new funding once it’s fully phased in.

The new gas tax money is supposed to pay for repairs and maintenance. That shouldn’t change. But South Carolina could easily afford to put far greater priority on public transportation.

South Carolina could double or triple its investment in non-car transportation by shifting a modest amount of money away from new road projects, without unduly hampering the state’s ability to build new highways.

And the federal government ought to shore up its Highway Trust Fund while demanding a stronger focus on mass transit.

Charleston and most other South Carolina communities are largely car-dependent in part because the vast majority of state and federal transportation money goes toward car infrastructure. For safer, more effective transportation options, we’ll have to rearrange our priorities.

Online: https://www.postandcourier.com/

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Feb. 10

Index-Journal of Greenwood on Virginia:

South Carolina gets picked on a lot, and sometimes we deserve it.

Our statistics are high in the domestic violence arena. All other states know of our public education plights. We are home to one of the most horrific racially driven mass shootings when nine people were gunned down in a historic Charleston church. We once proudly flew the Confederate battle flag atop the Statehouse, as though we were yet members of the Confederate States of America, but then placed the flag on the Statehouse grounds. Removal of the flag at the behest of then-Gov. Nikki Haley caused great rancor and division.

But hey, at least we are not Virginia, right?

We have heard more than a few South Carolinians refer to its neighbor to the north as something less than a southern state. Those folks need to venture out a bit. Or read some history books.

South Carolina can lay claim to the first shot fired at Fort Sumter, with Abbeville’s place in history being the Confederacy’s cradle and grave, giving our state high rank in “the cause” known as the Civil War, the War of Northern Aggression and War Between the States. But that doesn’t take away Virginia’s role. After all, Gen. Robert E. Lee was Virginia born and bred, as were a number of Confederate generals, such as J.E.B. Stuart, George Pickett and A.P. Hill, to name a few.

A visit to Richmond, the City of Monuments that memorialize the Confederacy’s military leaders will quickly dissolve any notion that Virginia is anything but a true southern state.

Still, despite its deep roots in the Confederacy, Virginia has made great progress. Like so many states, it has become a melting pot, a diverse state in terms of industry and people. In fact, Virginia can lay claim to having the first black governor since Reconstruction, Doug Wilder, who served from 1990-94.

Fast forward, however, and Virginia now finds itself in a quandary. It’s current governor, Ralph Northam is trying to keep himself afloat as he deals with calls for his resignation over a yearbook photo that includes a person in blackface beside another in a KKK hood. …

Its white Democrat governor is in the eyes of many setting the state’s progress back by decades. Its black Democrat lieutenant governor has estranged himself from a party that largely lays claim to women’s rights and the #MeToo movement. Its Democrat attorney general, who is also white, figuring it would surface anyway, stands pale-faced as he admits to putting on brownface and, thus, possibly ending his political career.

If this trio finds itself out of office, the role of governor would then go to a conservative Republican…

To say Virginians have a hot mess is an understatement. We don’t make light of the state’s situation, but we cannot help but be relieved this is not happening in the Palmetto State.

Online: http://www.indexjournal.com/

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