Thumbs up to S.C. Sen. Hugh K. Leatherman for passing on a chance to ascend to a statewide office as lieutenant governor so he can continue to represent the people of Florence County who have elected him again and again (and again and again and again. …). He said this week that he wants to stay where he is, which means he will remain as chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. In that role, Leatherman holds as much power as anyone in the state. Depending on how a new law passed in 2014 is interpreted, Leatherman may or may not be able to continue as president pro tempore of the Senate. South Carolina voters decided two years ago to stop electing a lieutenant governor. Rather, the governor will get to appoint a lieutenant governor. But that law is not supposed to go into effect until 2018. It could be a court has to decide who will replace Henry McMaster, who will replace departing Gov. Nikki Haley (if the U.S. Senate approves her appointment as the United States’ ambassador to the United Nations). We aren’t surprised by Leatherman’s decision. The lieutenant governor’s position is fairly powerless. Our lawmakers should fix that so we don’t end up in this situation again where nobody wants the job.

Thumbs up to the powers that be who persuaded Patheon to come to Florence. It was jarring news a little more than a year ago when Roche Carolina Inc. announced that its days in Florence were numbered. County leaders had until 2018 to find another pharmaceutical or chemical manufacturer, but it thankfully didn’t take that long. In fact, we heard hints early this year that Patheon was close to making a decision to coming here. We’re still sorry to see Roche go. Florence is losing a good community partner. We hope we’re gaining a good community partner. We’re not sure who gets the credit for making this deal. We just know many people played a role. We do know that Joe King played a big part. As the director of Florence County Economic Development Partnership/Florence County Progress Inc., King works hard to turn problems into opportunities. We’re eager to see what he and others can do next.

Thumbs up to the South Carolina Department of Transportation. It held a public hearing Thursday night at South Florence High School to explain an upcoming road project – the widening of Alligator Road – and to answer questions. Approximately 100 people attended. They had a chance to look at maps and ask questions of the many SCDOT officials who were there. By the time a formal program ended, few people made comments. One resident raised concerns about drainage. Another person spoke on behalf of bicyclists. He urged state officials to provide a lane for cyclists. This is something that should have been done when Freedom Boulevard was constructed. It’s something that should be included in future road projects, such as S.C. 51 (Pamplico Highway). Dedicated lanes on these kind of roadways would make life safer for cyclists and motorists. This might keep cyclists off more dangerous two-lane roads. Riding bicycles is good recreation, and it is growing as transportation for commutes to and from work. We support cyclists’ rights to our roadways.

Thumbs up to volunteers who are helping Nichols recover from Hurricane Matthew damage. The South Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church organized a two-day work blitz that started Friday. More than 200 volunteers from across the state and nation are participating. They are working on as many as 17 homes in the hard-hit town in Marion County. More than 90 percent of the town’s residential and commercial properties were damaged by the hurricane and flooding that followed.

Thumbs up to holiday home tours. People who enjoy this have two choices on Sunday. From 2 to 5 p.m. in Florence, they can see five homes in Florence as part of a fundraiser that will support the Florence Symphony Orchestra. The homes on the tour are at 405 S. Coit St., 1200 McIntosh Woods Road, 1616 Hillside Ave., 1410 Dorchester Road and 1817 Pineland Ave. Each participating home will have a sign in the front yard identifying it as one of the tour’s stops. For $15 in advance or $20 at the door, tickets can be purchased at Chico’s, Fisher Jewelers, Goosie Ganders, Talbots, Taylor’s Garden Shoppe and First Reliance Bank. The second tour is in Lake City. From 2 to 7 p.m., people can visit the four homes and the guest house at Moore Farms Botanical Garden. The tour is presented by the Lake City Junior Sorosis Club. Tickets are on sale at the Chamber of Commerce for $25, and are $30 the day of the tour.

Thumbs down to the Morning News and more. That comes from reader Johnny August of Darlington. “Too many thumbs up, which is great, but how about thumbs down?” he wrote. “Thumbs down to people who are demonstrating and rioting over President-elect (Donald) Trump being elected the 45th president. Give him a chance. We owe that to him. I bet those people protesting didn’t even vote. Thumbs down to all the killings of police officers across the country. Where are all the protesters demonstrating against these senseless killings?”

Thumbs up, thumbs down is a regular feature of the Morning News and appears each Saturday on our Opinion page. We seek nominations for both good and bad deeds from our readers. Send nominations to us by email at letters@florencenews.com. Be sure use the word “thumb” in the subject and include a contact number. Thumbs can also be mailed to us c/o The Morning News, 310 S. Dargan St., Florence, S.C., 29506.

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