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South Carolina editorial roundup

July 17, 2019

Recent editorials from South Carolina newspapers:

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July 16

The Times and Democrat on taking care of pets in the summer heat:

These are the “Dog Days” of summer — that period characterized by unusually hot and sultry weather conditions.

According to Webster’s Dictionary, the Dog Days are defined as the period between early July and early September when the hot weather of summer usually occurs in the northern hemisphere.

Various explanations have been extended as to why this period of summer is called Dog Days.

One is presented by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

The original Egyptian calendar, consisting of 360 days, begins its New Year festivals when Sirius, the Dog Star, rises. This occurs annually during mid-summer when temperatures are the highest, accompanied by decreased precipitation. So, the wordage “Dog Days” emerged as a phrase to refer to the long stretch of extreme summer weather and it has been handed down through generations.

A second explanation, somewhat different but still relating to the “dog star”, Sirius, is also common.

In prehistoric times, various groups of people in different parts of the world, especially in those countries bordering the Mediterranean, drew images in the night sky by “connecting the dots” of stars. The images were determined according to the group’s culture and identity. These pictures, now called constellations, were images of bears (Ursa Major and Ursa Minor), twins (Gemini), a bull (Taurus), dogs and others.

In the summer, during late July, Sirius, the “dog star” rises and sets with the sun. People in ancient times believed the star’s heat in conjunction with the heat of the sun created an extended period of hot and humid weather. They identified this stretch of time, from 20 days before the conjunction to 20days after, as Dog Days after the dog star.

The conjunction of the sun with Sirius alters somewhat with differences in latitude and the precession of the equinoxes. The gradual drifting of the constellations means that they are not exactly in the same place in the sky as they were originally. Even though this period has proven to be the warmest part of the summer, the heat is not due to additional radiation from a star.

Today, Dog Days are considered the period between July 3 and Aug. 11 and no matter how they got their name, dealing with the heat is a reality for humans — and dogs and other animals.

It’s not a new topic but one that we reinforce today. Appropriate emphasis frequently is on stopping people from leaving children alone in a vehicle, but the same danger applies to dogs and other pets.

The temperature inside a car can skyrocket after just a few minutes. Parking in the shade or leaving the windows cracked does very little to alleviate this pressure cooker.

On a warm, sunny day try turning your car off, cracking your windows and sitting there. It will only be a few short minutes before it becomes unbearable. Imagine how your helpless pet will feel. On an 85-degree day, for example, the temperature inside a car with the windows cracked can reach 102 degrees within only 10 minutes. After 30 minutes, the temperature will reach 120 degrees. At 110 degrees, pets are in danger of heatstroke. On hot and humid days, the temperature in a car parked in direct sunlight can rise more than 30 degrees per minute, and quickly become lethal.

Dogs are designed to conserve heat. Their sweat glands, which exist on their nose and the pads of their feet, are inadequate for cooling during hot days. Panting and drinking water helps cool them, but if they only have hot air to breathe, dogs can suffer brain and organ damage after just 15 minutes. Short-nosed breeds, young pets, seniors or pets with weight, respiratory, cardiovascular or other health problems are especially susceptible to heat-related stress.

Law enforcement officers are authorized to remove a person or animal left in an unattended vehicle that is exhibiting signs of heat stress. Police can use the amount of force necessary and shall not be liable for any damages reasonably related to the removal. The car owner may be charged.

Don’t let the Dog Days be fatal — to anyone, including your dog!

Online: https://thetandd.com

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July 16

The Aiken Standard on the outlook for the city’s horse racing community:

When we learned of the passing of 1993 Kentucky Derby winner Sea Hero last weekend it marked another of the greats from Aiken we have lost in recent months.

In October, we lost the great horseman Cot Campbell, a legend who was elected to the Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame last August. Campbell, owner of Dogwood Stable in Aiken, had winners in Palace Malice who won the 2013 Belmont Stakes and Summer Squall, winner of the 1990 Preakness.

Last month, we lost Gustav Schickedanz, a Canadian owner and breeder and member of the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame. And in the Aiken area carriage driving community, Katrina Becker, owner of Katydid Farm, passed in May.

These were great legends of Aiken’s horse community, and we were saddened by their passing.

While the community is in a transition period, we should look forward to the good things on the horizon.

In April, Chad Ingram was introduced as the new chairman of the Aiken Training Track. Ingram grew up in the New Holland community of Aiken and is the president and CEO of the Garvin Oil Company. But more importantly, Ingram has a vision to add more events to the Aiken Training Track.

Even Cary Frommer, president of the Aiken Training Track, has resigned and the position went to longtime horsewoman Alice Knowles.

The Aiken Horse Park Foundation is already making a mark with new events when it added the inaugural LiftMaster Grand-Prix Eventing showcase in early March. It was a big success, drawing thousands of spectators. When the event returns next year, residents will probably get a chance to see Olympians who will represent their countries in Tokyo in August 2020.

Adding the Grand-Prix marks the start of five weeks of horse-related events in Aiken that make the city so special. In addition to the eventing, we have the Bruce McGhee Memorial Harness Races, the Aiken Trials, the Aiken Spring Steeplechase, Pacers and Polo and the Horse Show in the Woods.

Even the Aiken Steeplechase Association is actively looking for a bigger venue for the annual events by spring 2021.

Aiken horses are on their way to following the path of legends as two thoroughbreds who trained in Aiken enjoyed success earlier this month.

Henley’s Joy won the $1 million Belmont Derby Invitational Stakes and Concrete Ross won the $750,000 Belmont Oaks Invitational Stakes at Belmont Park in New York on July 6. Both were grade I races that were run on the grass.

We have lost some great legends, but the future of Aiken’s horse community will always be bright as others step up and take their place amongst them to be part of this community’s historic tradition.

Online: https://www.aikenstandard.com

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July 12

The Post and Courier on fighting offshore oil exploration in the Southeaster Seaboard:

State opposition to seismic testing along the Southeastern Seaboard should be reason enough for the Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management to deny a permit for offshore oil exploration. But if it isn’t, the surveying firm should withdraw its application, as should the other companies with pending permits.

The Trump administration’s five-year plan for opening the Atlantic Coast and other federal waters to drilling is hung up in the courts and might never go forward. That would render whatever data is gleaned from the survey useless.

So why put the cart before the horse?

...South Carolina’s Department of Health and Environmental Control formally objected to the proposed survey, joining North Carolina’s sister agency in opposition. Georgia, Virginia and Maryland have also registered their objections. In all, 10 Atlantic Coast states are fighting offshore oil exploration.

WesternGeco, which uses sonic blasts to look for oil and gas deposits, has had its permit pending for years in the on-again, off-again effort to further open up federal waters for oil and gas exploration. And at this point, the company probably has more to lose than to gain in pressing its case. Should BOEM deny its permit, WesternGeco could appeal the decision via the Commerce Department.

If the permit is granted, thousands of sea mammals, including critically endangered North Atlantic right whales, could be injured, disoriented or deprived of food by unrelenting blasts in a swath of ocean 19 to 50 miles offshore stretching from southern Maryland to northern Florida, according to an “incidental take” permit issued by the National Marine Fisheries Service. Emerging science also suggests seismic testing, which produces blasts up to 260 decibels, can kill fish eggs and plankton, the very building blocks of the ocean food chain.

The majority of residents up and down the coast oppose testing and drilling. Out of 1,700-plus public comments recently received by DHEC, not one person voiced support for seismic testing.

No significant gas or oil reserves have ever been found in the region, and there’s no indication Big Oil is anxious to drill in the Atlantic.

Test wells drilled between 1947 and the early 1980s never panned out. In 2012, BOEM estimated the entire Atlantic continental shelf might contain about 3.3 billion barrels of oil (enough to last the nation for about a half-year) and 31 trillion cubic feet of natural gas (about a year’s supply).

In June, the U.S. House approved several measures aimed at protecting the Atlantic Coast from offshore drilling for at least a year. The S.C. Legislature also approved a one-year proviso that would block any public agency from investing in onshore oil-related infrastructure.

U.S. Rep. Joe Cunningham, D-S.C., is also pushing a bill that would permanently ban offshore drilling in Atlantic and Pacific federal waters.

So it seems ludicrous that BOEM would continue to process seismic testing permits. An overwhelming majority of coastal residents oppose the idea. Political opposition is growing. And while there’s no clear path to drilling, there are plenty of proven risks to sea life and the environment.

BOEM should deny permits to WesternGeco and the five other companies seeking surveying permits. But it would be much simpler if the companies would simply withdraw their applications.

Online: https://www.postandcourier.com

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