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For those of you who pay attention to such news, the town of Myrtle Beach has completed a three-story sand castle, complete with a pair of gargoyles, to beat by three inches the old record holder of the world's tallest sand castle. For a city that attracts tourists, I assume this is a major accomplishment.

Personally, I'm glad the city in which I reside is more concerned with setting records that significantly impact lives.

Like the Relay for Life level of donations per capita record.

Or Temple-Inland's record of 8-years without an accident in manufacturing.

Or Thomson High School student's new record scores on the graduation tests.

From a reporter's point of view, taking photos and writing a story about a 32+ foot sand castle would definitely be entertaining, but I can't imagine the structure actually changing anyone's life beyond a three-second "wow" factor. While it can spark the imagination of some artsy person, it won't cure disease, feed the hungry, keep anyone healthy, or give them a chance at a better position in life.

I am not criticizing Myrtle Beach's accomplishment, or the reporting of such accomplishments. We all need a vacation from reality in order to keep our sanity. I am just complimenting my community on putting a lot of effort where effort matters.

It would be impossible for me to mention all the worthy accomplishments, but I will mention just a few that are at the front of my mind. I think of the many successful festivals around the county, the work-their-tails-off boards, which include tourism, Chamber of Commerce, planning, development authorities, health department, public service, hospital and school. Then there are the organizations such as Camellia Partners, Leadership McDuffie, the Clarks Hill Partnership and Partners for Success that cooperate with other agencies and affiliates to improve the caliber of life for local citizens.

The more I read The Augusta Chronicle, the more thankful I am that I don't live in Richmond County. From behind the scenes, I see that everyone enjoys our festivals here - the planners, sponsors, officials, and participants.

The more I cover the McDuffie school board, the more I appreciate the job they are doing for our children. You have to appreciate Superintendent Mark Petersen and his wife, Marilyn. They moved to the county a couple of years ago specifically for his job, yet they have immersed themselves like they've lived here all their lives.

There are many such officials in McDuffie County; I just had to mention the school superintendent because he's no Larke, uh, lark.

Web posted on Thursday, June 15, 2006

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