News Shorts 

Updates and information from around the region

"Our view is that this bill would provide an illusion of school choice."

Gov. Mark Sanford's spokesman Joel Sawyer regarding a veto from the governor on a bill that would allow students to transfer to any public school in the state, space permitting. The legislature will weigh the veto when it returns Thursday. Source: The State

Joe Riley: Centerfold

One of the highlights in the recently reopened City Hall is the balcony of the Council Chambers, where 15 portraits hang of each mayor in the city's history. Until last week, they were missing one — the long-serving Mayor Joe Riley.

Charleston artist Mary Whyte was commissioned to do the portrait after a national search. The portrait was donated to the city by a group of private citizens headed by Joseph McGee and Layton McCurdy. The funds for the portrait were raised privately.

"Few cities have been fortunate enough to have such a visionary leader guide them through more than 30 years of history as has our own City of Charleston," McGee said. "Mayor Joseph P. Riley Jr. has led the City of Charleston into an economic and cultural renaissance during his extraordinary administration."

The portrait will hang on the west wall of the room beside the marble tablet which holds the engraved names of every chief executive of Charleston since 1795. —Greg Hambrick

Cool Cats

Philanthropic website expanded to Charleston last week, partnering with local marketing firm Trio Solutions. The site hooks people up with little things they can do to better the community. Last week they featured a Love Inc. rummage sale and a Pet Helpers pancake breakfast. A "5 Minutes of Caring" daily feature also offers tips and hints to improve your life — last Friday they offered guidance on finding the main water valve in your house or apartment, a good bit of knowledge if a pipe ever starts gushing gallons from under your sink. "Our ultimate aim is to connect willing individuals with great nonprofits," says company founder Sam Davidson. Even for the überbusy, taking five minutes every day to do something worthwhile sounds like a solid idea. —Stratton Lawrence

$7.4 billion

That's the budget amount approved by the state legislature last week. It includes income tax cuts and the elimination of sales taxes on groceries.

"Thomas Ravenel in the news. Hoo boy."

That's the message that popped up last week at after his indictment on charges of possessing and distributing cocaine. Ravenel could face up to 20 years in jail and a $1 million fine if found guilty. The site had originally been an effort to recruit Ravenel to run against Sen. Lindsey Graham in 2008. The clock on the site continues to countdown to the election, but Ravenel's picture has a big "X" over it.

15 minutes

That's how long the in-office, nonsurgical Essure procedure takes, an unobtrusive alternative to tube-tying surgical procedures for women seeking permanent birth control. Source: Charleston Obstetrics & Gynecology

"While some drinking places may have been hard hit by the ban, overall the industry appears to have been able to adapt."

A statement by Washington's Department of Revenue regarding the state's first full year under a smoking ban, noting that lost patrons seem to have been replaced in part by those seeking out the smoke-free environment. The City of Charleston's ban will begin July 23 and the town of Mt. Pleasant approved a smoking ban last week that will begin in September.

$500 million

That's the cost for a proposed ethanol plant that is weighing whether to locate in Charleston or in Virginia. International Bio Energy says that it may end up building facilities in both regions because of ample access to the ports. Source: The Virginian Pilot


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