Thursday, March 23, 2017

Proposed upper King Street development dealt setback from BAR

Board defers final approval

Posted by Dustin Waters on Thu, Mar 23, 2017 at 10:32 AM

A view of the proposed development at King and Spring streets looking west - LS3P
  • LS3P
  • A view of the proposed development at King and Spring streets looking west
Plans for a seven-story mixed-use development on upper King Street were sent back to the drawing board Wednesday as Charleston Board of Architectural Review deferred final approval for the proposed project.

Set for construction at the corner of King and Springs streets in downtown Charleston, the new development would include more than 70 residential units and ground-floor retail space. Gaining initial approval from the board in September, the project returned for a final approval this week only to be met with harsh words from the BAR.

Acknowledging the prime location of the property — directly across from the U-Haul property where city officials would one day like the see a public park — city staff told developers that the plans presented to the board lacked the refinement and detail needed to gain approval. Board members echoed this sentiment, opting to defer final approval for the project due to inadequate submission information and lingering design issues.

“Unfortunately, it seems like this project has stumbled sideways,” said board member Jay White, who added that he was “frankly shocked” that the board was considering deferral following what he believed to be great progress on the design.
A proposed view of the 595 King Street development surrounded by the six phases of the Evening Post Industries' Courier Square project and a hypothetical park - LS3P
  • LS3P
  • A proposed view of the 595 King Street development surrounded by the six phases of the Evening Post Industries' Courier Square project and a hypothetical park
The proposed project at 595 King St. would neighbor the redevelopment efforts of Evening Post Industries, parent company of the Post and Courier, who have already begun construction on phase one of their Courier Square project. Plans for construction on the 12-acre site surrounding the newspaper’s King Street office include apartments, office and commercial space, as well as a parking deck currently in the works.

Recognizing the future growth in the immediate area, board member Jerome Clemons told the team behind the 595 King St. project, “This is going to be a marquee presence in what is known as Midtown. We’d like for it to achieve elegance.”

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Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Mayor Tecklenburg taken to hospital following dizziness (Update: Released)

Get well soon

Posted by Dustin Waters on Tue, Mar 21, 2017 at 2:58 PM

Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg - DUSTIN WATERS
  • Dustin Waters
  • Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg
Emergency vehicles rushed to City Hall early Tuesday afternoon to evaluate Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg.

According to a statement from city spokesman Jack O’Toole, Tecklenburg experienced a “bout of sustained dizziness” while working in his office. As a precaution, the mayor was transported to a local hospital for an assessment, according to the city’s statement.

Mayor Tecklenburg was later discharged from the hospital at 3:30 p.m. with a diagnosis of mild vertigo. He is currently resting at home with his family, according to O’Toole.

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Joey Meek sentenced to 27-months for concealing knowledge of Emanuel AME shooting

Judge: ‘On that horrible night, he knew what had happened’

Posted by Dustin Waters on Tue, Mar 21, 2017 at 2:54 PM

Meek wrote letters to the families of each of the Emanuel AME worshippers his friend Dylann Roof shot and killed. - COURT DOCUMENTS
  • Court Documents
  • Meek wrote letters to the families of each of the Emanuel AME worshippers his friend Dylann Roof shot and killed.
Standing in the same courtroom where Dylann Roof was handed down the death penalty, Joey Meek was sentenced 27 months in a federal prison for concealing knowledge of Roof’s crimes and calling on others to remain silent.

Dressed in a well-fitted suit and breaking down into tears as he addressed the court, Meek appeared as a polar opposite to his childhood friend who murdered nine parishioners during Bible study at Emanuel AME Church. Throughout Roof’s capital trial, the white nationalist who had hoped to ignite a race war, refused to express any sign of repentance or emotion.

A week before the shooting, drunk on vodka, Roof told Meek about his desire to lead an attack on a church in Charleston. Dismissing these comments as drunken rambling, Meek said he didn’t give much consideration to Roof’s words that night. It was days later, when news of the shooting in Charleston spread, that Meek came to realize that Roof had acted on his plans. But as the gunman drove across the state, Meek remained silent. And when a friend convinced that Roof had played a role in the attack said he would contact police, Meek persuaded him to keep quiet. That is the moment that U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel said Meek broke the law and endangered others.

Leading up to Meek’s sentencing hearing, federal prosecutors announced their intentions to pursue a lengthier penalty for the 22-year-old. While his charges — misprision of a felony and making false statements to investigators — carry a maximum penalty of eight years in prison, Meek had pled guilty to his crimes last April in hopes of a reduced jail time. Sentencing guidelines provided to Meek’s attorney, Deborah Barbier, by prosecutors placed his expected punishment between 27-33 month in prison.

During Tuesday’s hearing, Barbier attempted to show the judge a worst-case scenario of what a prison sentence might be like for someone linked to Roof’s crimes — from the threat of violence from his fellow inmates to the likelihood of solitary confinement.

James Aiken, a 45-year career veteran in corrections, was the first of two witnesses called to testify by the defense. A stern-looking man with a gray beard and booming voice, Aiken said that there is a high chance that Meek would be killed if placed into general population with other inmates aware of his association with Roof.

“Mr. Meek is in a very precarious situation,” Aiken told the court, suggesting that Meek would likely be held in solitary confinement for the duration of his sentence.

Judge Gergel refuted the defense’s argument, saying that the notorious nature of Meek’s crimes cannot simply excuse him from confinement. If the possibility of solitary confinement was enough to preclude a criminal from being sentenced to prison, Gergel said, then he would never be able to send someone to jail.

For Gergel, the partial basis of Meek’s sentence is that his punishment serve as a deterrent for others who may find themselves in his position — torn between whether to contact authorities regarding knowledge of a crime or looking out for their own personal interests. It is this self-centered view of the world that Meek’s psychiatrist, the second witness to take the stand, said had dogged Meek his entire life.

Described as the product of a broken home and a dysfunctional upbringing, Meek’s chaotic early life is when he developed an “every man for himself” mentality, said Dr. Thomas Martin who has been meeting with Meek for the past 17 months. In addition to anxiety and depression, Martin said that Meek has the coping skills of a two-year-old. Learning to lie to avoid conflict at home, Martin claimed that Meek was often the target of threats from his father.

“When we first started to meet, he would lie to me just like he lied to federal agents. That’s why he’s here,” Martin said. “He just never learned that he wasn’t good at it.”

Since he began to seek treatment for his emotional problems and drug abuse, Meek has been able to hold down a full-time job at a restaurant. Martin said that Meek has been clean and kept himself out of trouble in the months following his indictment. But for Judge Gergel, Meek’s recent rehabilitation do not make up for his actions on the night of the shooting at Mother Emanuel.

“On that horrible night, he knew what had happened ... He didn’t just shut down. He stopped someone else from reporting it, while Roof was still on the loose. Thankfully, nothing happened,” Gergel said.

In a final plea to the court, before his 27-month sentence was handed down, Meek told the court that he was sorry from the bottom of his heart. He’s been working. He’s been going to church and spending more time with his family. While Meek’s dreams of joining the military were no longer within grasp, he said he wanted to one day become a firefighter.

“I feel like I am on the best track I’ve ever been on in my life,” he said through the tears.

But Judge Gergel recalled another person in Meek’s life who was on the right track — the young man who said they should call the police when they learned of the shooting in Charleston. And on that night, it was Meek who stood in the way of doing what was right.

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The Agenda: Summey delivers Meals on Wheels; Gowdy drills Comey on leaks

Senn comes out against gas tax bump

Posted by Sam Spence on Tue, Mar 21, 2017 at 11:21 AM

North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey volunteered on Monday for Meals on Wheels, a federal program that's set for elimination in President Donald Trump's proposed budget - COURTESY OF CITY OF NORTH CHARLESTON
  • Courtesy of City of North Charleston
  • North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey volunteered on Monday for Meals on Wheels, a federal program that's set for elimination in President Donald Trump's proposed budget

A proposed method to stabilize the state pension system could force local governments and schools to reduce services. Source: Spartanburg Herald-Journal

SB Nation headline: 'NCAA moved March Madness out of North Carolina because of HB2, only to run into Confederate flags in South Carolina'

Dylann Roof's friend Joey Meek will be sentenced today after lying to the FBI about what he knew about Roof's mass murder at Mother Emanuel in 2015. Source: AP

S.C. Congressman Trey Gowdy pressed FBI Director James Comey hard on Monday in an attempt to gain insight on how the federal agency was handling leaking of potentially classified information to the media. Source: USA Today, P&C

Gowdy and U.S. Sen. Tim Scott will hold a joint telephone town hall for 4th District residents this afternoon. Source: Greenville News

Former Gov. David Beasley told the P&C this week that Gov. Henry McMaster should consider cutting ties with embattled consultancy headed by Richard Quinn, whose business was named in a surprise ethics indictment last week of S.C. Sen. John Courson. Source: P&C

Meals on Wheels may be on the chopping block in President Donald Trump's proposed budget, but it sure seems like North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey, a Trump supporter, isn't on board with that plan. Summey delivered Meals on Wheels yesterday, leaving a spokesman to say "Mayor Summey always has supported Meals on Wheels, and he's going to continue to do that." Source: P&C

Charleston GOP state Sen. Sandy Senn: "Gas tax hike a bad deal for urban drivers who pay the most"

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Ask Ta-Nehisi Coates questions via social media in advance of his sold-out lecture tonight


Posted by Mary Scott Hardaway on Tue, Mar 21, 2017 at 11:02 AM

Ta-Nehisi Coates - PROVIDED
  • Provided
  • Ta-Nehisi Coates
Tonight, writer, journalist, and educator Ta-Nehisi Coates speaks at TD Arena to a sold out crowd; the highly anticipated lecture, "A Deeper Black: Race in America," was rescheduled from October.

In advance of the lecture, attendees are asked to post questions to Facebook or Twitter using the hashtag #CoatesatCofC. Coates will answer some of the questions tonight.

The Baltimore native has been examining issues of racial injustice his whole life from his time at the alt-weekly Washington City Paper, to the publication of his second book, Between the World and Me (July 2015, Spiegel & Grau). Coates is a 2015 recipient of the MacArthur Genius Grant, and was named one of Times 100 Most Influential People. As a writer, Coates challenges his readers to face, head-on, what it means to be black in America, regardless of how uncomfortable facing that truth may be.

Didn't secure a seat in the arena? Be sure to read Coates' comprehensive and illuminating essay for The Atlantic, My President Was Black. [event-1]

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