Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Charleston County School Board gives initial approval to $14,000 pay increase for board members

Final vote set for July

Posted by Dustin Waters on Tue, Jun 27, 2017 at 11:40 AM

Charleston County School District headquarters at 75 Calhoun St. - GOOGLE STREET VIEW
  • Google Street View
  • Charleston County School District headquarters at 75 Calhoun St.
The Charleston County School Board made the first step forward in approving a substantial pay raise for themselves and constituent school board members.

Gaining initial approval from board members Kevin Hollinshead, Rev. Chris Collins, Michael Miller, Chris Staubes, and Rev. Eric Mack, board members would receive 40 percent of the base salary of a first-year teacher, which is set at $36,070. This means that trustees would earn almost $14,500 a year more than their current pay rate of just $25 per meeting attended, plus the cost of travel. The effort was opposed by board members Todd Garrett and Kate Darby. Board members Cindy Bohn Coats and Priscilla Jeffery abstained.

In addition to the annual salary for all board members, the board chair would receive an extra $1,000 per year under the new plan. The district’s constituent board members would also receive a pay hike, bringing in just over $7,200 per year.

While the new plan for pay increases will require another round of approval from the board at their July meeting, the prospect of a pay increase gained support from some constituent board members who spoke in favor of the new policy.

“I personally went out and tried to recruit candidates last year for the county school board and constituent school boards. For the first time in 20 years, if not more, we were able to have candidates for all seats ... The No. 1 problem that I had with convincing people was the amount of commitment and the fact that actually you have to invest your own personal money to fulfill your duties,” said District 1 Constituent School Board member Joe Bowers. “I think that this proposal is a modest proposal.”

Board member Chris Staubes echoed Bowers’ remarks, saying that constituent board members deserve more in the way of compensation for their time and commitment to the district. While a majority of board members who voted on the pay increase were ready to move forward with the proposal, uncertainty remained as to where the almost $500,000 in added salaries would be pulled from in the district’s operating budget.

“Where would that come from in the budget? We have a balanced budget now, so if we add this we have to cut something,” Darby said to her fellow members of the board. “I just want to say I understand why we’re doing this and I agree with what you’re saying that the compensation that we have right now doesn’t necessarily make sense with the work that is done by both the constituent boards and the county board. I do feel strongly that we should take this through the Committee of the Whole process as we do other items. We should figure out what it’s going to cost and where it’s going to come from in the budget ... and make it effective after the next election. I have tremendous heartburn, when the budget passed by five votes, that we’re now going to add $400,000 annually to the budget for our own compensation.”

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The Agenda: Graham "not gonna be the guy" to sink health care; Nuclear project could be scrapped by fall

S.C. roads named deadliest in the nation

Posted by Sam Spence on Tue, Jun 27, 2017 at 11:35 AM

Sen. Lindsey Graham speaks from his Mt. Pleasant office Feb. 13, 2017 - DUSTIN WATERS
  • Dustin Waters
  • Sen. Lindsey Graham speaks from his Mt. Pleasant office Feb. 13, 2017

Santee Cooper says it could raise rates later this year for S.C. customers to pay for a nuclear power plant project in the Midlands or decide with SCE&G to scrap the project all together. Source: The State

As it celebrates 10 years in S.C., BMW's parent company says it will create an additional 1,000 jobs by 2012 at its Greer plant. Source: Spartanburg Herald-Journal, WSJ

The Senate health plan appears to be in trouble after a CBO estimate Monday predicted that 22 million people would be left uninsured under the new proposal by 2026. U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham said the score didn't help bring in new support, but that he doesn't want to "be the guy" who sinks the bill's chances. Source: NYT

One of a pair of inmates accused of killing four fellow inmates says he did it "for nothing" in hopes that he would receive the death penalty, which he likely won't because he's reportedly mentally ill. Source: AP

A research group has named South Carolina's rural roads the deadliest in the nation. Source: P&C

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Monday, June 26, 2017

Run Into Shape honors Mother Emanuel anniversary with group run that spells out 'LOVE'

Two running paths in remembrance of two years

Posted by Kristen Kornbluth on Mon, Jun 26, 2017 at 1:50 PM

  • Run Into Shape Facebook
Run Into Shape is unique in its mission. The group sets out to explore Charleston streets and get in shape, but unlike most organized running group, this group makes it a priority to treat running like an art.

Before embarking, the group maps out a path that looks like a specific shape from a bird’s eye view; for example, their Facebook profile picture is a running route shaped like a pair of sunglasses from above.

The Love Wins! run to honor Mother Emanuel AME Church demonstrates their commitment to both Charleston and physical fitness. The run commemorates the second anniversary of the tragedy, and is centered around the theme of love. Two running paths can be followed: one in the shape of the word “love,” 4 miles long, and one in the shape of a cross, 2.5 miles long.

The runners meet tomorrow, Tues. June 27, at 6:30 p.m., beginning the run at White Point Gardens.
Event Details Love Wins: Run to honor Mother Emanuel AME Church
@ White Point Garden
South Battery and King Street
Charleston, S.C.
When: Tue., June 27, 6:30 p.m.

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Obama speechwriter recounts weighty and "hopeful" days before Pinckney funeral

"To see so many people engaged in the hard work of citizenship right now reminds me of it every day."

Posted by Sam Spence on Mon, Jun 26, 2017 at 1:48 PM

On June 26, 2015, President Barack Obama delivered the eulogy for Rev. Clementa Pinckney, one of nine killed at Emanuel AME. - PETE SOUZA / WHITE HOUSE
  • Pete Souza / White House
  • On June 26, 2015, President Barack Obama delivered the eulogy for Rev. Clementa Pinckney, one of nine killed at Emanuel AME.
Keenan (right) works with Obama on a speech in 2014 - PETE SOUZA / WHITE HOUSE
  • Pete Souza / White House
  • Keenan (right) works with Obama on a speech in 2014
For former Obama speechwriter Cody Keenan, the time between the murders at Emanuel AME and the day after President Barack Obama helped lay Rev. Clementa Pinckney to rest is "10 days in America I still think about all the time."

In a 37-tweet thread this morning, Keenan, who helped the president draft his speech in tribute to Pinckney, describes it as a time of unique humanity in the U.S., at once deeply sad and hopeful.

Today marks two years since President Obama delivered the eulogy for Pinckney, one of nine killed on June 17, 2015. But the week following Emanuel also marked historic Supreme Court decisions upholding the Affordable Care Act and marriage equality as well as Gov. Nikki Haley's forceful push to remove the Confederate flag from the South Carolina capitol grounds. As Keenan worked with the president on the eulogy he would deliver in Charleston, his team also drafted statements in response to those news events.

Here's the thread in its entirety:

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The Agenda: Tebow promoted from Fireflies; Haley booed at NYC Pride; Nuclear plant without timeline

N. Chs. investigating officer-involved shooting

Posted by Sam Spence on Mon, Jun 26, 2017 at 12:15 PM

Boy Wonder Tim Tebow has taken Columbia by storm - TWITTER.COM/COLAFIREFLIES
  • twitter.com/colafireflies
  • Boy Wonder Tim Tebow has taken Columbia by storm

Earning a promotion to the St. Lucie (FL) Mets, former NFL quarterback and University of Florida star Tim has played his last game with the Columbia Fireflies, one week after the Charleston RiverDogs "expertly trolled" Tebow at his only appearance against the Charleston RiverDogs. During his time in Columbia, Tebow helped the Fireflies climb to the top of league attendance and was even named the 25th-most powerful person in the city by Free Times. Source: P&C, CP, Free Times

U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, a member of the Trump administration cabinet, says she was the target of jeers as she walked near the NYC Gay Pride Parade was taking place on Sunday. "Our country is better than this," she tweeted. Source: The State

Republican opposition to the Senate GOP Obamacare repeal bill appears to be bubbling up after the secretly-negotiated bill was unveiled late last week and leaders push for a vote this week. The S.C. Hospital Association says the state will be 'significantly disadvantaged' because of provisions in the proposal. Source: NYT

As Congressman Trey Gowdy takes over the House Oversight Committee, he says he'll scale back the group's examination of Russia's involvement in last year's election, opting to let special counsel Robert Mueller continue his inquest. Source: P&C, Politico

A defamation suit against FitsNews.com blogger Will Folks could narrow the state's shield law as a former lawmaker says Folks made defamatory comments about him based on sources Folks has so far declined to disclose. Source: P&C

An analysis of a new study designed to assess partisan advantage in political districts, S.C. was one of the states where congressional districts showed a "significant Republican advantage." The fight has grown over who should draw political lines in South Carolina, where about 75 percent of S.C. House races lacked either a Republican or Democratic candidate. Source: AP, P&C, AP

The $14 billion project to expand a Midlands nuclear plant, partly paid for by S.C. rate-payers, has reportedly been moving ahead without an operational timeline. Most recently, the contractor responsible for the project has been in financial trouble as scrutiny grows over rising budgets and slipping deadlines. Source: P&C

And just today: "Santee Cooper eyes two rate hikes tied to ailing nuclear power project"

North Charleston police were reportedly involved in a shooting Sunday night and after being transport to the hospital, the victim died this morning. Source: P&C

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