News Blips 

"I don't think I should take any shit from anybody on that, do you?"

Former President Bill Clinton last week, apparently still sore over charges of race-baiting in the run-up to the South Carolina Democratic Primary. Congressman Jim Clyburn said Thursday that the Clintons were "hell-bound" to keep Barack Obama from getting elected. Source: CNN.com, Reuters

City to Buy Sofa Store Site

Charleston City Council agreed last week to spend $1.85 million to buy the Sofa Super Store site where nine firefighters lost their lives in a June 2007 fire. Mayor Joe Riley made his intentions to buy the site known soon after the tragedy, but the council's approval did not come without dissension. Timmy Mallard, who unseated Riley supporter Anne Frances Bleeker in November to represent the West Ashley district that's home to the furniture store, told council members that his constituents didn't want taxpayer dollars going to preserving the site. Councilman James Lewis also suggested that the money could be better spent on improving other fire stations. The council approved the purchase 9-2. Riley will now appoint a committee to determine how the site will be used. Popular suggestions have included a small park or a new fire station. —Greg Hambrick

Cell Phone Bill Targets Teen Drivers

The South Carolina legislature could ban 15- and 16-year-old drivers from using cell phones and texting while driving under legislation to be considered in the coming days by the state House of Representatives. Teens do tend to get in a lot of accidents, but it's unclear whether limiting their cell phone use will provide substantive results. Teens who feel that adults are coming down too hard on them can take heart that the following will still be legal:

• Applying eyeliner, lip balm, and hair gel, or adjusting a variety of piercings your parents don't even know you have.

• Driving while providing a second-by-second recap of the latest episode of The Hills to your passengers (including expressive "OMG" hand gestures).

• Screaming the latest single from Chingy or Blingy or Ringy or Dingy that's blaring from your iPod.

• Using the GPS navigation system to determine the distance from Dean's house to Carrie's house to see if that lying snake had time to make out with the class slut between soccer practice and the homecoming dance.

Greg Hambrick

10 years

That's the maximum sentence local broker Al Parish could face for a state securities fraud charge after bilking investors out of millions of dollars. Sentencing for federal charges is expected in June, when Parish will receive the lion's share of his sentence — possibly ranging from 30 years to life in prison. Source: The Post and Courier

$36,326

That's the per-capita average income in Charleston County in 2006, according to recent estimates released by the U.S. Commerce Department. Source: Charleston Regional Business Journal

"I mean, who isn't open to learning about the candidates and I'm sure that everybody's like that."

First Daughter Jenna Bush telling CNN's Larry King that she's still playing the presidential field and isn't prepared to settle for GOP candidate John McCain.

IOP Latest to Weigh Smoking Ban

As Folly Beach and North Charleston councils prepare to weigh local smoking bans, following in the footsteps of the City of Charleston and Sullivan's Island, Isle of Palms Mayor Mike Sottile says his council will also be taking up the topic in the next few months.

"I never thought we had a smoking problem," Sottile says, noting there are only four businesses that allow smoking and that most restaurants have already sent smokers outside. But he says he understands the argument made by ban supporters that the smoke could impact the health of employees.

"We'll be taking the issue up very soon," he says. —Greg Hambrick


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