The Newton clan followed the ordeal and finally the loss of 11-year-old Hannah Collins to a water-borne amoebic infection. We prayed for a miracle cure for the young girl and prayed for the family, as we could very easily have been the family being prayed for.
Our son William had done so well in the whitewater kayaking portion of his summer camp that he was invited to join a group going to the U.S. Whitewater Center near Charlotte, N.C., for advanced training.
It was several days after his return that we learned of an Ohio teen that had died from the same amoebic infection as the Beaufort girl, and it was apparently acquired at the kayaking facility attended by William and his camp group.
The incubation period of the infection is from one to around 10 days. William had been home for three days. The next week was filled with the most serious parental anxiety either Rose or I had ever endured. William took it all in stride and was off to computer engineering camp.
We seem to be in a state of constant gratitude. We have, in the last year or so, experienced this as well as two fires on our Myrtle Island property, with no injuries or displacement.
For us, the lesson is to pray for wisdom and safety for our loved ones. Sometimes our beautiful world can be a place of confusion and danger. At the end of the day, we fall back on faith and a wisdom that surpasses our human understanding.
In statehouse matters, the news is good. As I have reported, the pension system of our state needs urgent attention. The folks who manage the investment side of our multi-billion-dollar pension fund are not performing up to expectation.
The upshot is, unless changes are made, we will have to either modify our investment model or else find ourselves unable to keep our retirement promises to our state employees.
Fortunately, the Speaker has appointed a study group to address the matter. The urgency is such that the Senate has joined in the mission, so our study group will be a House-Senate affair.
I am optimistic that the outcome will be prudent and actionable for two reasons: First, there will be two members of the local delegation represented on the study group. Jeff Bradley (R-Hilton Head), my friend and colleague, is appointed to serve and will bring years of success as a financial adviser to the table.
Also, my friend Bill Herbkersman (R-Bluffton-Hardeeville) will co-chair the committee. Bill is an experienced legislator and longtime member of the House Ways and Means Committee, on which the burden will fall if the solution to the problem is not found.
In addition, the Legislative Oversight Committee, of which this legislator is chairman, has recently undertaken a programmatic analysis of the pension system. We will offer our findings and recommendations to the new study group as a possible starting point to their investigation.
It is plain that the Beaufort-Jasper delegation is hitting on all cylinders for the good of the state, as well as our local constituents.
Weston Newton is the representative for District 120 in the State House of Representatives.