Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Watch the U.S. Army Golden Knights' view of Charleston as they parachute into Citadel's Johnson Hagood Stadium

Just a little Saturday jump

Posted by Sam Spence on Tue, Sep 13, 2016 at 4:52 PM

You know what's a little cooler than seeing a precision military parachute team float onto the field before a college football game? Seeing the jump from the parachutists' view high above the stadium.

Fans at the Citadel-Furman game on Saturday, Sept. 10 were treated to the aerial maneuverings of the U.S. Army's specialized Parachute Team as they dropped into Johnson Hagood Stadium. Usually, that would be enough of a spectacle. But yesterday, the Citadel Athletic Department posted video of the Knights leaping from their aircraft from high above Charleston on a crystal-clear Saturday afternoon, giving you about as good a view of the city from the air as you're ever going to get.

The soldiers who participated in the jump on Saturday are part of the U.S. Army Golden Knights' Gold Demonstration Team. The Knights' two demo teams (Black and Gold) each consist of 12 members selected during a six-week tryout that includes hundreds of jumps and training to help the men and women in their capacity as members of the public-facing Army Parachute Team.

The Bulldogs went on to win Saturday's game over SoCon opponent Furman 19-14.

P.S. - The Citadel's YouTube channel is on a bit of a roll these past few weeks... If you haven't already, don't miss this video of the men's basketball team surprising three-year walk-on Bobby Duncan with a full scholarship.

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How Charleston’s accommodations taxes are spent

We’re building a wall

Posted by Dustin Waters on Tue, Sep 13, 2016 at 2:55 PM

The Grand Bohemian Hotel at the corner of Meeting and Wentworth streets - SHELBY DEL VECCHIO
  • Shelby Del Vecchio
  • The Grand Bohemian Hotel at the corner of Meeting and Wentworth streets
With Charleston City Council set to vote on a proposed ordinance that would establish new regulations for hotels, there’s no better time to look at how these properties factor into the city’s tax revenue — specifically, the municipal accommodations fee.

Under this special tax, 2 percent of all revenue generated by “transient lodging” (i.e. hotels) goes to the city. Local and state laws limit how this money can be spent, meaning that funds can only be used for tourism-related capital projects and operating costs. So, while this money could help build a new civic center, it’s not going to pay for any schools. For 2016, the city has budgeted for a little more than $6.4 million to be generated from this tax, but how does this money get spread around the city?

Well, $2.7 million is currently budgeted to support tourism-related salaries, most of which include paying police officers to patrol the city’s main tourism areas, with another $472,800 going toward parking enforcement officers in the historic district. So that accounts for roughly half, which means it’s time to see what big projects are being supported with accommodations fees.

Past projects that have received funding from this tax include the new Gaillard Center, restorations to the Dock Street Theatre, and the S.C. Aquarium. And with roughly $3.2 million budgeted for capital expenditures in 2016, almost all of that money is going to one thing — the restoration of the Low Battery.

Extending for approximately a mile along the north bank of the Ashley River, the Low Battery seawall is the focus of an ongoing restoration process to shore up the local landmark. In 2004, a study contracted by the city to assess the condition of the Low Battery found the structure to be in need of significant amounts of preventive and corrective maintenance to extend its “service life span to its full potential” and estimated total design and construction costs to be around $5.5 million.

According to the 2016 city budget, the renovation of the Low Battery along Murray Boulevard leading to the Coast Guard Station “will be done in sections to minimize impact to the neighborhood ... The construction will take approximately 10 years and is expected to begin in late 2016.”

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Police say second suspect arrested following alleged sexual assault of CofC student

Man charged with engaging minor

Posted by Dustin Waters on Tue, Sep 13, 2016 at 2:07 PM

  • Charleston County Sheriff's Office
  • James F. West III
The Charleston Police Department have announced the arrest of a second suspect in relation to the alleged sexual assault of a 17-year-old College of Charleston student last month. James F. West III, age 22, is charged with engaging a child for sexual performance, according to Charleston police spokesman Charles Francis. A bond hearing for West is scheduled Tuesday afternoon.

On Aug. 27, police reported to the Medical University of South Carolina around 11 p.m. There, a female victim told officers that she had been sexually assaulted by two unknown men during a house party on Ashley Avenue, according to an incident report. Days later, 21-year-old College of Charleston student Timothy Eli Seppi was charged with sexual exploitation of a minor in relation to the incident. Charleston County Sheriff’s Office records show that Seppi was booked on charges of possession of cocaine and marijuana on Aug. 28 and was released the following day on $5,615 bond. Several days after his release, Seppi was arrested for sexual exploitation charges and released the next day on $30,000 bond.

In a message to students sent last week, CofC President Glenn McConnell wrote that he would not go into detail about any specific off-campus allegations regarding a student arrest due to an ongoing investigation, but he did say that the college’s chief of police has “barred the student who was criminally charged from campus.”

He added, “While the recent allegation of criminal activity that occurred off campus was a contributing factor in the college’s decision regarding the suspension of alcohol-related events for fraternities and sororities, it was not the sole reason for the ban.”

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The Agenda: Hotel rules set to be voted down; Police stockpile data on stops; Second inland port coming

Shaw could be in line for new drone base

Posted by Sam Spence on Tue, Sep 13, 2016 at 11:38 AM

  • Flickr user maduko

The Post and Courier's latest investigative story "Watched" looks at massive stockpiles of data kept by local law enforcement agencies with little legal regulation or oversight. Source: P&C

SCE&G says it will work with a private company to build a 10 megawatt solar farm in Ridgeland as part of a plan to add 36 megawatts of total solar capacity across the state. Source: P&C

Shaw Air Force Base is reportedly a finalist to be the home base for a new drone wing which would control combat strikes across the Middle East and in Afghanistan. Shaw, located near Sumter, is already home to the nation's largest F-16 fighter jet wing. Source: The State

Looks like city leaders will vote down a proposed plan to place a temporary hold on hotel approvals downtown. Source: P&C

The state says it will build a second inland port in Dillon County to serve as a remote shipping hub serving the Port of Charleston. Source: Greenville News

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Monday, September 12, 2016

Faith groups lead Moral Day of Action at Statehouse

Hope to expand ‘moral debate’

Posted by Dustin Waters on Mon, Sep 12, 2016 at 3:35 PM

  • Creative Commons License - librarygeek
  • S.C. Statehouse
Religious leaders and faith groups across South Carolina converged on the Statehouse in Columbia Monday as part of a national effort to address how policies affect issues of social justice.

Led by Rev. Dr. William Barber, pastor of Greenleaf Christian Church in North Carolina and national NAACP board member, the Higher Ground Moral Day of Action is part of a nationwide effort to challenge religious leaders to oppose policies that the group has deemed harmful due to their disproportionate impact on vulnerable communities.

Barber, who many may remember from his impassioned speech during the recent Democratic National Convention, says it falls to voters of all faiths to stand together and call for access to quality education for every child, universal health care access, criminal justice reform, and ensuring historically marginalized communities have equal protection under the law.

“We believe these are serious times, and that our work is to look at public policy through the moral lens of justice for all and through the constitutional principle of governing for the good of the whole. Our work is to point out that extremist policies are morally indefensible, constitutionally inconsistent, and economically insane,” says Barber. “I want to say specifically that the goal of the ‘Revival: Time for a Moral Revolution of Values’ day of action ... is to directly address the fallacies of the so-called ‘ultra-conservative’ and so-called ‘religious right’ that seeks to limit the moral debate to issues like religion in public schools, abortion, and homosexuality. We are challenging that as a form of theological malpractice. We are challenging that as not being true Evangelicalism.”

In addition to the national day of action, which includes marches on 30 state capitol buildings across the U.S., organizers are also asking faith leaders across the country to “preach and teach” in their places of worship at least two weekends leading up to Election Day in November, laying out what they believe citizens should demand from candidates and elected officials from the presidential race on down to local school board members.

Joining in Monday’s national day of action was Rev. Kylon Middleton of Mt. Zion AME Church in Charleston, who stressed his belief in combating racial injustice, the need for an increased minimum wage, and improved access to health care.

“We are united and committed to join the united hearts and raise our voices with others around this state in this movement so that we might bring about change and social justice,” says Middleton.

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