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Hidden agenda

Dear Editor,

During the past couple of years, I have been saddened, dismayed, and filled with regret, at the attacks on our county Hospital and its' Board of Trustees. Operating a successful hospital in a small, rural county is a challenge. I know many of the members of our Hospital's Board of Trustees and admire the intelligence and skill that they bring to their job; a job whose only reward for a job well done is an occasional meal in the Hospital's cafeteria, and the satisfaction of having done their best for the Bamberg Community. They are from ALL parts of Bamberg County and do an excellent job of keeping out Hospital not only running, but most importantly, seeing that we have the best in health care affordable to our area residents. Members of my family and I have been recipients of the fine care available to us, so I know first hand of the abilities of the staff. Although attacks might not have been the intention of some parties to the suits, just consider the effect that so much negative publicity might have on any business...the result is the same. You have jeopardized the future and recently the results of these law suits have shown up and decreased they would in any business. The Hospital Administration has had to make some very hard decisions in terminating some essential staff, simply to be fiscally responsible.

I'm told by people in Tourism and Business Development, that a prime objective for prospects, potentially interested in moving to a new area, is the availability of health care. So not only has our Hospital been put at risk, because of all the negative publicity, but we have put, at risk, our attractiveness as a potential location for retirees or interested industries. Bamberg County lies near the bottom of the economy ladder in South Carolina and we can ill afford the polarization and petty bickering that has taken place.

Before the decision on the placement suit, given by the administrative law judge, I called one whom I considered a friend in Denmark. This man was a leader in the County Ministerial Association. I urged that the Association give leadership in organizing a service of prayer and healing for the two communities; one that might be held on neutral ground, perhaps in Ehrhardt. Instead of helping to forward healing, I got excuses. We missed a good opportunity to knit together fraying public sentiments.

I read, with interest, and attended public meetings when the earlier suit was in progress and it always had two startling failings. First, nowhere in the proposals was there funding for the site on US 78, and there was no supporting infrastructure, so it seemed to me a very ill conceived venture. With such glaring shortcomings, I began to wonder if there might be a hidden agenda, having nothing to do with placement location, being sought by some of the parties to the suit, and that the Mayor and Council of Denmark may have been used as puppets to further this hidden agenda.

I am a life-long member of the Bamberg community. When growing up and attending High School in Bamberg, though there was always a competitive rivalry with Denmark-Olar, I enjoyed friendship with many of my contemporaries in Denmark. As an adult, I have shopped in Denmark for many items; groceries, clothing, gifts, appliances and furniture. When the Denmark Community Theater was active, and considered changing its name, because so many county citizens were taking part, I raised objection because I felt that Denmark had begun the project and should be recognized in the name and found agreement.

In this latest suit, being brought against the Hospital Board, again I'm wondering about the remaining hidden agenda, and are we again watching the Mayor and Council of Denmark being used as puppets for some Denmark leadership? Knowing the members of the Board as I do, I cannot believe that they would secure services related to the building of our new County Hospital through any but appropriate procedures. These are, again, people of intelligence, skilled, and well versed in proper practices for a Hospital building program. They have been in much contact with those who grant approval at DHEC and Housing and Urban Development. They would not risk so great a responsibility.

I'm told that "not everyone in Denmark" agrees with these actions, but in attending the public meetings and reading the accounts in the newspapers, I have been saddened at the lack of response by people in Denmark who should have risen to speak to their leaders, who are, in effect, speaking for them. There is an old axiom - "Silence, when there is a duty to speak, implies consent." Please, somebody of reason....speak to them now!

Joel Hand, Bamberg

Toys for Tots huge success

Dear Editor,

The Toys for Tots program sponsored by the Bamberg County of the American Red Cross was a huge success again this year, thanks to the great Volunteers and leadership of Beth Pregnall, Chair of the event. Over 300 kids had a happy Christmas because of their efforts.

We would also like to thank the donors of toys - and hope they will be back again next year.

A big thank you to Mayor Alton McCullum and the City Council for use of the wonderful Civic Center. Toy distribution was much easier than in previous years.

The Advertizer-Herald and Times Democrat helped to get the word out for which we are extremely grateful.

Bamberg County is a GREAT county with GREAT people!

Harvey Kling, Bamberg, SC

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