British to excavate War of the Roses graves

The Battle of Towton – fought during England’s War of the Roses – was likely the bloodiest battle ever fought on British soil, yet it it’s also one of the least known. That’s about to change.

Archaeologists believe they have located burial pits from the 1461 clash, a battle that claimed 28,000 lives, and will begin excavation this summer.

Work is to begin in June, at a site 12 miles south of York between the villages of Saxton and Towton where the battle took place. Experts have identified as many as five different mass burial sites and believe they could yield the remains of several hundred men, according to The Independent.

This week marks the 550th anniversary of the Battle of Towton, an event so bloody that almost 1 percent of the English population was wiped out in a single day. It is estimated that between 50,000 and 80,000 soldiers took part in the battle between the Houses of York and Lancaster for control of the English throne.

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SC retirement system report: lipstick vs. pig

Former Gov. Mark Sanford once described the unfunded liabilities in South Carolina’s state retirement system as a ticking time bomb. The system’s unfunded liabilities total anywhere from $13 billion to as much as $53 billion.

Whatever the number, it would appear there’s a disaster in the making because at some point, SC taxpayers are going to have to cough up the coin to cover the costs.

Earlier this week, state Treasurer Curtis Loftis attempted to delve into the retirement system’s latest actuarial report during a meeting of the state’s Budget and Control Board meeting. He didn’t get very far. 

According to The Nerve (full disclosure: my employer), the report for the last fiscal year recent arrive and the news, evidently, was not good.

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Lost Chopin letters unveiled in Warsaw

Half a dozen letters written by composer and pianist Frederic Chopin, thought to have been lost during the Nazi occupation of Warsaw, were unveiled Thursday.

Warsaw’s Chopin Museum said that it spent nearly a decade trying to obtain the letters and dozens of other documents related to the composer after getting wind of them in 2003, Agence France-Presse reported.

“The paper trial remains shrouded in mystery, with the trove acquired from its undisclosed owners by a Mexico-based Pole who donated it to the museum,” according to the wire service. “The letters, due to go on display this week, date from 1845 to 1848, a year before Chopin’s death in France.”

The letters, written in Polish, were penned by Chopin in Paris and Nohant in central France and addressed to family members back in Poland.

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Reconstruction-era leader’s pardon on hold

Efforts to pardon Reconstruction-era Gov. William Woods Holden of North Carolina, the first governor removed from office in the United States, were put on hold Wednesday because Senate Republicans aren’t unified on whether to absolve him for actions stemming from his opposition to the Ku Klux Klan.

The state Senate sent a bipartisan resolution about Holden scheduled for a floor vote two straight days without action to the chamber’s Rules Committee, where unpopular or controversial bills have been known to die over the years, according to the Associated Press.

It’s unclear whether the pardon will be considered again this session.

Sen. Neal Hunt, R-Wake, said the division comes from a small group of GOP senators. One senator represents the counties where Holden sent a militia in 1870 to put down what the governor called an insurrection.

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Troubled Tidelands delisted by NASDAQ

Troubled Tidelands Bancshares has entered into an agreement with regulators that requires it to seek prior approval before taking a number of actions, according to information filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

Tidelands, the Mount Pleasant-based parent of Tidelands Bank, must get approval from the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond before making any of the following moves:

  • Declaring or paying any dividends;
  • Directly or indirectly taking dividends or any other form of payment representing a reduction in capital from the bank;
  • Directly or indirectly incurring, increasing or guaranteeing any debt; and
  • Directly or indirectly purchasing or redeeming any shares of its stock.

Within 60 days of the agreement, Tidelands must submit a plan demonstrating its plans to maintain sufficient capital on a consolidated basis.

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The life and times of Jake Knotts

Jake Knotts is one of those big-bellied Southern politicians that folks often either love or hate.

He speaks his mind, sometimes to his detriment, can upset the upper-crust crowd with the best of them and comes across as a hero to many working class folks. 

His style, as evidenced by his now infamous remark last year in which he called both President Barack Obama and then-gubernatorial candidate Nikki Haley “ragheads,” can be a reminder of an uglier era of South Carolina history.

But Columbia Free Times reporter Corey Hutchins does yeoman’s work in presenting a multi-dimensional picture of Knotts in this profile. After reading it you may still not like the man or his politics, but you might understand him just a bit more.

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Vermont once offered a ‘major’ in Congress

The University of Vermont is one of the nation’s smaller flagship state universities, with fewer than 14,000 students. That barely enables UVM to break the top 400 in terms of enrollment among US schools.

So, one might think that the Burlington-based institution would make every effort to play up the role of the school’s significant alumni in our nation’s history. However, a glance at the university’s website shows that either UVM doesn’t fully know its history, or doesn’t seem to care about it.

Under a section titled “History and Traditions,” UVM’s highlights are far and few between, relatively speaking:

  • The school was chartered the same year Vermont became the nation’s 14th state, in 1791;
  • It was established as the fifth college in New England, after Harvard, Yale, Dartmouth and Brown; and
  • The initials UVM stand for the Latin words Universitas Viridis Montis, or University of the Green Mountains. The phrase appears on the university’s official seal as Universitas V. Montis.

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