Al Parish, Harris Teeter, Santee Cooper, Starbucks decline 

News Blips

"Tyson Homosexual was a blur in blue, sprinting 100 meters faster than anyone ever has."

A news story from the Associated Press on Olympian Tyson Gay, altered on the website of a Christian news service which was programmed to replace any reference to "gay" with "homosexual." Source: Time

Al Parish: Marked for Death?

In doing their best to get Al Parish a reduced sentence for bilking investors out of more than $66 million, defense attorneys painted a dire health picture. Days before he was given more than 24 years, Parish was admitted to the hospital for unknown reasons. In filings with the court, attorney Andy Savage noted the defendant's obesity, heart condition, and family history of heart disease in hopes that it would be considered during sentencing.

"Al Parish, who will be 51 in August, likely has less than 18 years to live," Savage wrote. "Any extended sentence of incarceration ... becomes a life sentence for him."

But, hold on. This obese, heart-ailing criminal is entering a controlled environment with accessible health care. Should we really be painting the chalk outline on the prison cell floor?

Prisoners with recognized heart conditions are referred to cardiologists as needed and those with serious health concerns can be seen on a daily basis by physicians, if necessary, says Federal Bureau of Prisons spokesman Mike Truman. There's also a menu with heart-healthy foods, along with encouragement of diet and exercise for overweight prisoners. The bureau is also pressing preventive health care measures that may differ slightly between facilities.

So, fear not Al, follow the instructions and keep appointments with your doctor and you just might be hopping back into a leopard print convertible in a little more than two decades. —Greg Hambrick

Harris Teeter plans in W. Ashley move forward

Developer Kimco Realty broke ground last week on the $20 million redevelopment of the St. Andrews Shopping Center on Savannah Highway, home of the Coburg cow. The plans include demolishing some 70,000 square feet of the existing center and building a Harris Teeter grocery store (a commodity in a community with few alternatives) by fall 2009. The purchase and redevelopment of the shopping center became a campaign issue last November in a race between then-City Councilwoman Anne Frances Bleecker and Timmy Mallard. Bleecker and the city were accused of sabotaging the project by requiring that new buildings sit just off the street, potentially serving as a traffic calming device. Bleecker and city staff stressed the importance of the project and a compromise was reached that set the Harris Teeter in the back of the lot, with smaller buildings up front. Mallard won the seat. —Greg Hambrick


That's the number of Starbucks expected to be shuttered under restructuring. The company said most of the stores are in newer locations opened since early 2006. Charleston has seen several new Starbucks since that time, including locations on James Island, at the Francis Marion Hotel, and two in North Charleston. Source: The Associated Press

Santee Cooper greenwashes mercury pollution

Electric utility Santee Cooper continued its $600,000, Rawle-Murdy-led push last week to convince South Carolina citizens the utility is green, and they got some help from The Post and Courier in the process. "Santee Cooper gets even greener" read the headline last Tuesday, reporting that "in a bid to replace coal," the company has committed to purchasing an additional one percent of their power from sources that burn yard waste and natural materials.

"I think our people are talking to a whole lot of people," said company spokesman Mollie Gore, in reference to the lack of a deadline or contracts signed to bring that change about. The following day, the company submitted its plan to DHEC on how its proposed new coal plant near Florence would meet the Clean Air Act, which includes reducing annual mercury output from 69 to 57 pounds per year. It subsequently introduced an education initiative titled "The Real Story on Mercury," which downplays the impact of U.S. coal plants on mercury emissions, instead blaming Chinese plants and volcanoes. "Just last week, a similarly sized plant (in Virginia) was given a permit to emit only 4 pounds of mercury, or ten times less than what Santee Cooper says is the 'maximum' it can do," says Blan Holman, an attorney for the Southern Environmental Law Center, pointing out that the company is already the largest mercury polluter in S.C. "We don't need any more mercury in the fish that South Carolinians catch and eat. No amount of public relations lipstick will make this pig pretty." —Stratton Lawrence

"As far as I know, 70 is the state law, so that's all I know."

Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer, a notorious speeder, when asked how fast his hybrid Smart Car can go. Source: The Post and Courier

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