Fresh on the heels of Clemson University claiming a national championship, the doors opened to a new research facility where human genetics research will be championed. A project years in the making has come to fruition on the campus of Greenwood Genetic Center with Wednesday’s official ribbon-cutting ceremony at the university-sponsored Self Regional Hall. There, researchers will delve into substantial and potentially groundbreaking research into genetic disorders. Right here in Greenwood County, for example, research will be conducted that could bring an end to such disorders as autism. Of course, this collaborative effort among the Greenwood Genetic Center, Clemson University and Self Regional Healthcare warrants more than a thumbs up, but it certainly has to rank right at the top of this week’s list.

State Rep. John McCravy, R-Greenwood, gets a thumbs up for his support of a more transparent and more responsive government. McCravy threw his support behind a House bill that would bring much needed reform to the state’s Freedom of Information Act, making access to public information easier and generally quicker. Reform to the state law has been talked about and talked about for several sessions now. It is good to see a fresh face from Greenwood recognizing the need for meaningful reform that has the public’s best interest in mind.

On the topic of the state’s Freedom of Information Act, we have to give a thumbs down to public officials, elected and appointed, who either do not grasp what constitutes public information or, perhaps worse, don’t really care as they prefer to decide for themselves what belongs in the public purview and what does not. Classes on FOIA are typically offered for incoming elected and appointed officials. For example, newly elected sheriffs recently spent nearly a week in training provided by their statewide association. The session included details about FOIA. The Municipal Association of South Carolina regularly provides articles about public information in its magazine that is distributed to municipalities and also provides coursework and training.

Moreover, the S.C. Press Association readily provides a handy guide to the law, complete with explanations in plain English. This newspaper and others across the state have provided copies of the booklets to elected governing bodies as a courtesy and with the realization that a well-meaning resident who seeks and wins public office might not be well-versed in the law’s nuances.