News Blips 

"We're not paying for another baby, maybe one, but after that we're taking the baby and maybe you get sterilized. I know that sounds extreme..."

Nancy Cook, a school board member and Republican primary candidate for County Council, on WTMA's The Morning Buzz with Richard Todd. She later said she didn't know what she had said in the heat of the moment. Source: Live 5 News

Keeping the Smoke Outside

Smokers will be staying outside after a South Carolina Supreme Court ruling last week that essentially preserved a local municipality's right to ban smoking in workplaces, including restaurants and bars. The Greenville case in front of the court has largely been considered a decider on other pending cases on Sullivan's Island and in the City of Charleston.

The court ruled there's no law prohibiting local communities from enacting harsher smoking regulations than state standards. That essentially kicks the ball back to the legislature, which now must decide whether to move forward with proposed legislation that would prohibit smoking in most restaurants, while giving bar owners an out through new smoking permits.

The decision also has other municipalities considering smoking bans. In North Charleston, where Mayor Keith Summey has said he won't support a ban, other council members say they want to put it to a vote as early as next month. One wrinkle in the Greenville decision is forcing the City of Charleston to update its ordinance. Infractions in the Upstate city are met with only a fine with no criminal penalties — an important distinction for the court. Charleston Mayor Joe Riley said the local ordinance, which currently threatens potential jail time, will be updated to conform with Greenville's ordinance. —Greg Hambrick


That's South Carolina's ranking in "Geography Matters: Child Well-Being In the States" by The Every Child Matters Education Fund. The study looked at infant mortality, poverty levels, juvenile crime rates, and seven other indices. Source: The Post and Courier

One Man's Trash is Another Man's Treasure

Folly Beach has a little more in common with Myrtle Beach after the recent erection of beach supply and gift shop Treasure Island on Folly Road. Since construction began in January, Folly Beach Zoning Administrator Aaron Pope says he's received a number of complaints about the building, which features cartoonish surfboards and beach balls painted on the facade. "We had eight Design and Review Board meetings, and never had anybody from the public come to oppose the building," says Pope. "When they finally put it up, there's an outcry." Although Folly Beach meeting agendas are not available online, they are available to the public at City Hall. Pope says that nothing in the city's ordinance and building standards gave them reason to deny a permit for the store, which sits just before the border between Folly Beach and James Island. Treasure Island is owned by two partners who live outside of Charleston and wished to remain unnamed. One owns similar beach stores in North Carolina's Outer Banks and emphasizes that he is now a part of the community on Folly Beach. Pope says that a second draft to the City's new zoning code is currently being reviewed and is available at City Hall for those who wish to view it before it's sent to City Council for approval. —Stratton Lawrence

$30 million

That's the amount in earmarks made by state House members that was removed in a Senate panel version of the state's budget. If approved by the Senate later this month, the earmarks could be a point of contention as the two houses debate the final version of the budget. Source: The Associated Press

Calhoun Street Gets New Spotlight

The City of Charleston is looking to reimagine the sleepy end of Calhoun Street from Marion Square to the Aquarium. The strip hasn't been devoid of growth, but it's certainly not had the focus that King Street, Broad Street, or the City Market have received over the last few years. The City Council recently approved a $325,000 for a comprehensive plan that will include a design and parking strategy, as well as develop an advertising and market theme for the area.

"Marion Square to Aquarium Wharf needs some energy," City Planning Director Josh Martin said last month at a meeting of the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce.

The study is expected to take three to four months. —Greg Hambrick

"If it comes down to the right of people to choose their government, then we win."

James Island lawyer Trent Kernodle on the latest challenge to the town's incorporation. Circuit Court Judge Cordell Maddox Jr. is expected to rule on the case by June 1. Source: The Post and Courier


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