To all who behaved (define that as you will) in welcoming the new year, a thumbs up. But more important, a thumbs up goes out to all who remained steadfastly on the job at a time when others were celebrating and revelling.
In particular, we give a thumbs up to those in the public safety ranks. While most people were simply having a good time welcoming the new year, others were overdoing it or up to no good. And that means the night of Dec. 31 and early morning hours of Jan. 1 can be particularly difficult for those in the public safety sector. That's police officers, state troopers, sheriff's deputies, and fire and rescue personnel. A nod also to the good folks who report for duty at area hospitals. During the holidays especially, that can prove to be a tough role.

Congratulations and a thumbs up to Heather Porter and Ryan Baysden on the birth of their son, Stanley Teagen Baysden, our area's first baby of the new year born at Self Regional Medical Center.
We wish them the best with this addition to their family and we hope young Stanley grows up safe, secure and into a young man who makes his parents proud.

We'll aim the thumb downward to all the senseless criminals out there who have graced our news pages and website. Come on, people, have a little more self-respect, respect for others. By that we mean have respect for others' lives, property and rights. It's tragic how some people behave, and that certainly includes mothers who leave their children in cars while they shop and expose their children to drugs, a problem that seems to be growing, not shrinking. Sometimes we find ourselves just shaking our heads in amazement and disgust.



For now, as they prepare to return to Columbia and the great chambers beneath the Statehouse dome, we will give our lawmakers a thumbs up. Hey, it's a new year, a fresh start, an opportunity for them to produce meaningful accomplishments. And we want to give them the benefit of the doubt they will do just that.
We've been around long enough to know there will be disappointing moments in Columbia, but the opportunity is there for good to be done. South Carolina could stand as a beacon to other states and to our U.S. Congress by setting aside partisanship to the extent possible in an effort to focus on and accomplish those things that are beneficial to the state as a whole, and not to one particular party.
Of course, this is an election year and even suggesting this as a possibility might lead some people to think we've just returned from a recreational smoking trip. In Colorado.