NEWS SHORTS 

"How can 59 million people be so dumb?"

That's a line from the rousing opening number of Bush is Bad: The Musical to Cure the Blue-State Blues. Charleston County Democrats will be bringing the musical to the 920-seat Charleston Music Hall for a fund-raiser on Oct. 3. Dems are also planning a Nov. 1 rally downtown with barbecue, oysters, and a lot of campaigning. "It's an opportunity to get out there and whoop it up about being a Democrat," says county party Chairman Waring Howe.

Ernesto, you jerk ·
A lot of the news you'd have found on this page got swept away by that pesky tropical storm that didn't even make it to Charleston's shores. A one-on-one interview with Newt Gingrich — cancelled. The Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce's meet and greet for young professionals — put off until next Thursday. A candidate forum for school board hopefuls hosted by the South Carolina Coalition for Black Voter Participation — cancelled. You get the picture.
But a few good tips have come out of the show stopper. For instance, the City of Charleston will house your vehicle in city garages for free through a storm event. CARTA will run the bus system as long as sustained winds are under 35 miles per hour. Of course school closings are important to watch out for, but police and the state Department of Transportation also notify the media of impassable roadways and bridges, so it's important to monitor news outlets, even without school-aged kids. Special medical needs centers are for those with medical needs that require electricity or special monitoring only. Good advice from the city: clean out gutters in advance of storms so you're not swimming through your neighborhood.
During a storm "event," the Charleston County hotline is 202-7100 and the Spanish line is 202-7191. —GH

62%

That's the percentage of Americans who have purchased candles or flashlights in case of an emergency. The survey, by American Media Services, was expected to gauge preparedness after Hurricane Katrina. Only 21 percent of Americans say they have taken no precautions. Source: American Media Services

Clyburn takes on Katrina repsonse ·
Congressman Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., visited New Orleans on the anniversary of Katrina's landfall with sharp criticisms for the administration's work in repairing the communities there. He says he first visited the region in March and that things are progressing, but not nearly fast enough.
"We need a new direction to the recovery," he says, including more local contracts for the cleanup and rebuilding. "There is still no local buy-in to the effort."
After visiting prayer meetings and community forums, Clyburn said people have mixed emotions about the progress.
"Everywhere we went, people were still hopeful," he says, noting residents are optimistic the attention to the anniversary will help jump-start stagnant recovery efforts.
There's some indication they may be right. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has announced they will reopen public housing in New Orleans and work hard to bring former residents back to the area, according to the HUD release.
"Our charter, here at HUD, is to ensure access to affordable housing for those who need it most," says Secretary Alphonso Jackson. "This past year in New Orleans, I am ashamed to say that we have clearly failed to do this."
The new plan will include increasing funding to $3.8 billion dollars for renovation and opportunity-creation contracts in the affected communities. —Greg Hambrick

Do not pass go, head straight to court ·
A lot of familiar faces came out winners in last week's elections for the leaders of James Island. Mary Clark, who led the island's last two attempts to incorporate, easily won the mayor race with 1,750 votes —the other three candidates got a combined 730 votes.
Out of the eight candidates looking to fill four seats on the town council, experience seems to have been the driving factor for voters. Former council members Joe Qualey, Bill "Cuddy" Wilder and Parris Williams won seats on the council again. The fourth seat went to Leonard Blank, a planning commissioner during the last incorporation. All the winners have said they'll fight the challenge by Charleston Mayor Joe Riley, who says the incorporation of the island was based on specific legislation for James Island and should be invalidated. —GH

"The Charleston City Paper is a rag."

Wallace Scarborough (R-James Island) told The State in a Sunday news article regarding accusations in divorce filings that he had an affair with a fellow Statehouse legislator. The accusations were first published in the City Paper. "The Charleston City Paper has always been a rag. It's like the (supermarket tabloid) National Enquirer. The Charleston City Paper has been against me every single time I've run."

Power of attorney primer ·
The South Carolina Bar Pro Bono Program will sponsor two free legal clinics on health care power of attorney, living wills, and do-not-resuscitate orders in the Charleston area. The first will be Tuesday, Sept. 12, from 10-11:30 a.m. at the Charleston Senior Citizens Center on Meeting Street and the second will be Sept. 19 from 6-7:30 p.m. at the Cooper River Memorial Branch Library on Rivers Avenue in North Charleston. The seminars are free. For details, call 800-395-3425, ext. 158.

2400

That's the perfect score that one Charleston County teen received on the new Standardized Achievement Test. Alex Romanczuk of the Academic Magnet High School is the big kid on campus. Charleston County's reading and math scores were at a combined 973, a 14-point drop from 2005.

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