NEWS SHORTS 

"Sure, I just was in South Carolina."

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani on Hannity and Colmes, responding to Hannity's statement that he was going to start asking some controversial questions. Source: Fox News


The smoking section

Three local businesses have filed a lawsuit against the City of Charleston's recently approved smoking ban. Touted as a measure to protect employees from the dangers of secondhand smoke, the measure prevents smoking in businesses where there is more than one employee, including bars and restaurants. A.C.'s Bar and Grill on King Street joined Kingston Tobacco and The Smoking Lamp to challenge the city's ban, expected to begin in July, claiming the city has no right to regulate the legal smoking of restaurant and bar patrons. Another concern is a provision in the ordinance that essentially allows the Club Habana cigar bar the sole right to allow smoking indoors.

In other news:

• All 20 facilities in the Roper St. Francis system went smoke-free on Wed. Feb. 14.

• The South Carolina African American Tobacco Control Network has received an $81,000 grant to promote smoke-free indoor workplace and public place ordinances, including restaurants and bars, in South Carolina through a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

"Restaurant, bar, and service workers are trying to work and raise families like everyone else. Everyone has a right to breathe clean air in public places and at work.  No one should have to sacrifice their health to earn a living," says Dianne Wilson, Executive Director of SCAATCN. "Smokers don't mind stepping outside, and business levels either remain the same or actually increase."

• The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control is holding classes to help smokers quit. Those who kick the habit could receive some of the $3,000 in prizes DHEC will be giving away in March. Classes will be at 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 14 at Mt. Pleasant Regional Library, on Feb. 15 at Johns Island Regional Library, and on Feb. 27 at the Main Library and at 2 p.m. on Feb. 17 at Otranto Road Regional Library. --Greg Hambrick


84%

That's the percentage of teachers surveyed who said that parents send sick kids to school all or some of the time because they can't stay at home. Source: NSF International

"So it took an eight-year-old child to bring 'em to their senses... That proves something -- that a gang of wild animals can be stopped, simply because they're still human. Hmp, maybe we need a police force of children."

A passage from To Kill A Mockingbird. Drama students from Wando High School collected 600 signatures supporting their production of the theatrical version of the novel after school officials said they had reservations about the piece because of racial language that "could be taken out of context." Source: The Post and Courier


$8.8 million

That's the estimated cost for the new John Ancrum SPCA shelter at 2443 Remount Road. The society will hold a groundbreaking for the 31,000-square-foot center on Thurs. Feb. 15, at 11:30 a.m.


Change in the Wind

State Senate leader Glenn McConnell (R-Charleston) introduced a bill last week expected to expand the reach of the state's existing wind and hail insurance program on the immediate coast, turning it into a hurricane insurance program that will include all of the coastal counties, providing insurance for homes, mobile homes, condos, and small businesses.

"The insurance industry is either unwilling or unable to provide adequate hurricane coverage for the coastal counties," McConnell said as he introduced the South Carolina Insurance Accountability, Reorganization, and Relief Act of 2007.

The program will be funded through premiums based on the actual expected costs of providing hurricane coverage to the coastal region, McConnell said.

"At first, the coverage may not be cheap, but it will reflect the actual risks faced in South Carolina," McConnell said.

In other insurance-related news, Gov. Sanford has appointed Sen. Scott Richardson (R-Hilton Head) to be the new director of the state's Department of Insurance. Richardson has long been an advocate for insurance reform on the coast, particularly as rates climbed over the past few years. But it's unclear how long he'll hold his new position. McConnell's bill would turn the appointment over to the voters. --Greg Hambrick


14 years

That's the sentence for one of three men convicted of robbing downtown college students in a 2005 crime wave. Source: The Post and Courier


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