Lack of trust in local leaders of state’s public schools creates alarming environment | Opinion

Where’s the trust?

Legislation is pending to empower the state superintendent of education to approve all books in all South Carolina public schools.

Perhaps our new education czar learned how to do this with her degree from Bob Jones University.

Doesn’t she have a smidgen of trust in local elected school boards, librarians and administrators?

And would not the time of parents supporting this be better spent helping their children with homework?

How many more bureaucrats will have to be hired to accomplish this mammoth task?

Russell D. Mellette, Lexington

Alzheimer’s and African Americans

African Americans are twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than their Caucasian counterparts, and are least likely to have access to information, education and resources. Data bear out these inequities as it relates to African Americans and Alzheimer’s disease, but very little is being done to address this issue head on.

Well, a feature film that is well positioned to address these issues is coming to Columbia on Saturday, Dec. 16 with a film screening and panel discussion.

The holiday film is entitled “Forgetting Christmas.” It is about an African-American family fighting through loss and the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease to find hope during the holidays.

Nominated for best feature film at the 2023 Martha’s Vineyard African American Film Festival and the winner of best feature film at the 2023 Prince George’s Film Festival, “Forgetting Christmas” touches on trust, tradition, religion, faith, compassion and forgiveness and provides an in-depth look at what families experience as they journey through early-stage Alzheimer’s.

After the film screening, there will be a panel discussion and a Q & A with audience members, cast members, community leaders, and caregiver advocates.

To learn more about this holiday event, visit

Macie Smith, Columbia

Support Red Cross

Note: The writer is CEO of American Red Cross of South Carolina.

As we come together with loved ones over the next few weeks, it’s important to remember the ways we can be a beacon of hope for those who need our support and care.

I think of the families whose lives have been turned upside down by the growing frequency and intensity of disasters. In fact, 2023 is a record year of extreme climate and weather events with each causing losses exceeding $1 billion.

Year-round, 1,741 local volunteers from the American Red Cross of South Carolina answer the call to help in people’s darkest hours.

With no signs of extreme disasters slowing down, we must work together to do more.

You can help by visiting to donate, becoming a Red Cross volunteer or giving blood over the holiday season.

During the holiday season, turn your compassion into action for the families who depend on our collective support. It takes all of us to care for one another.

Rod Tolbert, Columbia

Problem resolved

I recently was blindsided and perplexed by a maintenance road fee bill I received from Aiken County for $25.

Being a 100% disabled Vietnam veteran, I’ve had a tax exemption on my house and two vehicles for some 30 years while living in South Carolina on disability compensation. I had also worked for a year to get the county to finally exempt 100% disabled veterans on the road fee, which brings me to the new bill from the county.

I learned there was a computer glitch that sent out the bills.

After over a week of emails to various authorities, I was told to contact the auditor’s office to verify my status, which took a few minutes.

I want to thank all that I contacted for getting the problem resolved.

Gregory J. Topliff, Aiken