GREENS Fund Award, Ginn's Promenade, Knowledge Sector Council, Smoking ban results 

News Blips

"African-Americans are disproportionately impacted by the effects of climate change economically, socially, and through our health and well-being."

House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, announcing a new initiative to call attention to the impacts of global warming on the black community. The South Carolina Democrat said Hurricane Katrina was a preview of what blacks can expect regarding the impacts of global warming. Source: Business and Media Institute

61 percent

That was the high school graduation rate for Charleston County in the 2006-2007 school year. Burke and North Charleston high schools had graduation rates below 40 percent. The district has stressed that those numbers do not reflect students who finish school late or through an alternative diploma program. Source: The Post and Courier

Show Me the (Green) Money

Charlestonians looking to make their communities more environmentally responsible and safe have two new pots of money to pull from. Last week, the Sustainability Institute and Lowcountry Earth Force announced the second annual GREENS Fund Award, a grant to a local high school to implement a sustainability-based campus project. Last year, James Island Charter High School received $10,000 to install a "green wall," a landscaping technique that provides natural insulation and cooling for the building, as well as a rain and butterfly garden, recycled glass pathway, and gray water capture. All Charleston County high schools may apply, with applications due Sept. 26. For the general public, engineering firm Ward Edwards is again offering their Healthy Community Grant program, funding projects that tackle environmental problems or have long-term sustainable benefits. Past causes include a rain garden for the town of Bluffton, a St. Helena organic farm offering environmental education, and the creation of a book on plants native to the Carolina coast to promote their stewardship. Applications are open to individuals or organizations and are due Sept. 10. —Stratton Lawrence

897 pounds

That's the size of South Carolina's new record-holder for the largest pumpkin. Finally, a canvas large enough to carve Karl Rove's inflated ego for Halloween. The previous record holder clocked in at 737 pounds. Source: The State

Promenade Starts From Scratch

The Ginn Development Company presented the details for its Promenade project early in the morning on July 28. The project will include the redevelopment of some 200 acres just north of the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge. Hours after unveiling their plans, Ginn designers said they all but scrapped the whole thing and started over.

To be fair, that was essentially the point of the three-day public forum: getting input from neighbors and city planners in order to shape a development that won't face as much criticism when it's time for city approval in early 2009.

Founder Bobby Ginn says he wants the project ready for use within two and a half years. Promenade is expected to include an amphitheater, waterfront access, a business district, luxury hotels, condos, and townhomes.

The company has spent over $35 million for the property. With recent purchases along Morrison Drive, the new development is the latest indication of a fresh look for the East Central area (the City Paper's hood). Other projects include New Market, One Cool Blow, and the Magnolia development planned further up the peninsula. —Greg Hambrick

"I am not a stupid person. They were telling me how to vote."

A Wal-Mart customer service supervisor on a meeting with company managers, who warned that a Democratic win in November could mean union growth, impacting profits, salaries, and staffing. Maybe they can find work at nearby mom and pop stores — oh, wait ... Source: The Wall Street Journal

New Layer of Innovative Bureaucracy

With an unemployment rate that continues to hover above the national average, state legislative leaders made the ambitious announcement last week that they were ready to take matters into their own hands. Too long has Gov. Mark Sanford sat by and let South Carolina's opportunities for high-paying jobs pass by, they say.

House Speaker Bobby Harrell and others introduced plans for a Knowledge Sector Council (an awkward name that probably sounds better in its native Klingon). The group is expected to put a sharper focus on knowledge-based jobs. Announced on the steps of the Employment Security Commission, the council will be organized by the South Carolina Research Authority, in cooperation with the Centers for Economic Excellence and the state's Department of Commerce. Thank goodness "council" was available. Nobody wants two commissions, authorities, centers, or departments tasked with the same job. —Greg Hambrick

1

That's Clemson's ranking among the happiest schools in America. It was also ranked among the top schools for job placement, which may be one reason for their joy. Source: The Princeton Review

Breathing Easier

Anyone who once tried to determine the hotness of a fellow bar patron from across a smoky A.C.'s can tell you that the city's smoking ordinance banning cigarettes in bars has cleaned up the air. But now they have a study to prove it.

An analysis of Charleston and Mt. Pleasant bars has found a 94 percent reduction in air pollution since smokers were sent outside last summer. It's proof that smoke-free legislation is effective in reducing air pollution, says study leader Matthew Carpenter with the Hollings Cancer Center at the Medical University of South Carolina.

The study also looked at smoke levels in North Charleston, which has not implemented a ban. The city also saw a drop, though by a modest 41 percent. Carpenter says that kind of fluctuation isn't unusual and that it's still far above federal Environmental Protection Agency standards for allowable air quality. —Greg Hambrick


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