Commuter rail, Sandi Engelman, Pedaling Against Pollution, Smoking ban 

News Blips

"(Sarah Palin's) primary qualification seems to be that she hasn't had an abortion."

S.C. Democratic Party Chair Carol Fowler's admittedly "clumsy" assessment of the GOP's vice presidential pick. Fowler apologized to those who were offended by her remark. Source: Politico.com

Train Whistle Haunts Joe Riley

Passengers taking the light rail from Summerville to Charleston at all hours may not be in the cards (yet), but Charleston Mayor Joe Riley is pursuing a commuter rail system that would serve the same purpose — but only during the high traffic hours associated with the daily commute.

"Commuter rail is the first step," Riley says. Some additional tracks will be needed for passing lanes and rail car storage, but most of the infrastructure is already in place for the passenger trains to use existing cargo rail lines, either from Summerville or Moncks Corner.

It's an effort in conservation, Riley says. "That means an automobile isn't on the highway."

The region's recent success with an express bus system that shuttles downtown workers from large suburban parking lots is proof that a commuter line has potential, Riley says. "That's gotten people used to this," he says.

The next step will be feasibility studies and a concrete investment from potential partners, including the railroad companies and municipalities responsible for development around the tracks. —Greg Hambrick

Sandi Engelman Back on Ballot

Infamous former Charleston County School Board member Sandi Engelman is one of five candidates running for three seats on the James Island Public Service District.

Engelman was voted out of her spot on the school board after she said that the district's then-superintendent was running on CPT. Engelman argued that it did not mean "colored people's time," as it's commonly known. Instead she said that it meant "certain people's time." Ruth Jordan, the black woman who replaced Engelman on the board, noted in the run-up to the election that "we'll be on time on election day." —Greg Hambrick

$22 million

That's the impact Hanna had on tourism in the Myrtle Beach area, according to a Coastal Carolina study reported on SCBizMag.com. While the state may not be ready for "so gay," the Grand Strand should at least consider going bi to replace those lost tourism dollars.

5

That was the ranking of the Charleston Farmers Market, according to a reader survey by Travel and Leisure magazine. Granted, the readers of Travel and Leisure visit the same seven cities every year, but we're still proud. Source: ABC News 4 Charleston

Pedaling Against Pollution

It's not a quest in the epic scene where the hero sets out to slay monsters or save kingdoms, yet Aaron Hicks and Jessica Kapicka hopped on their bicycles at the Battery last month and set out to save the world. Calling themselves The Tactical Adventure Club, the two are on a 40,000 mile bike ride around the world, hoping to raise awareness about environmental issues while also training for the 2012 Olympics.

After selling all their worldly possessions including furniture and clothes to help fund their journey, they kept only their bikes and their unwavering faith in the generosity of strangers. They've braved the winds and rains of Hurricane Gustav and Fay, crossing the Misissippi River and breaking the 1,000 mile mark. Just 39,000 more to go. For more information check out www.myspace.com/tacticaladventureclub.

Those two aren't the only ones pedaling for a message. Charleston local Patricia Carson is also making a two-wheeled journey, participating in the 2008 Brita Climate Ride. Carson will be riding her bike from New York City to Washington D.C. where she will meet with politicians to talk about climate-related issues. —Myles Hutto

Take that Puff Outside

Restaurants and bars better be prepared to spring for space heaters for their smoking sections this winter. The South Carolina Supreme Court ruled in favor of Sullivans Island's smoking ban. Like the Greenville decision earlier this year, the court called for a reduction in the fine, but most municipalities had already moved to conform with the previous ruling. The court again laid the future of local smoking bans in the lap of the legislature.

"We find nothing in our State laws regarding workplace safety indicating the legislature intended to preempt the regulation of indoor tobacco smoke in the workplace," the court's opinion read. —Greg Hambrick

"Every child is more than a test score."

A sign at Sanders-Clyde Elementary. The district revealed last week that it's requesting an investigation of the school's award-winning turnaround under the leadership of MiShawna Moore over the last few years. Moore left the school earlier this year after the district closely monitored the latest round of testing. Results indicate the school is on-par with other at risk, low-performing schools. Source: The Post and Courier

That was Charleston's rank among metropolitan areas in terms of job creation and retention, according to the nonprofit Milken Institute. Key to the region's success was tourism, the port, area hospitals, and the fact that locals can easily understand an analogy involving lipstick and a pig. Source: The Post and Courier


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