NEWS SHORTS 

"You know that old Beach Boys song, 'Bomb Iran'? Bomb bomb bomb ..."

Sen. John McCain, singing to the tune of "Barbara Ann" on a recent visit to South Carolina in his campaign for president. Source: Georgetown Times

Johns Island Planning

Johns Island walkable? Don't laugh. If city planners have their way, the island could get some new gathering places and a couple of roads to go with it.

The city is focusing on the portion of the island cordoned off for urban development as agreed to by the city and the county. It's only 17 percent of the island, but it's where the bulk of the development is heading, said city planner Christopher Morgan. The urban district isn't small, though. It could potentially hold two of the downtown peninsula.

High-density development should focus on three gathering places: one at Rivers Road and Maybank Highway; one at Maybank and Bohicket Road; and one between the two on Maybank. The focus in these areas will be walkability, with all areas in the high-density nodes within a five-minute walk to the center. Construction would then thin out the further you get from the gathering place, with land left largely rural in the outlying areas.

The plan would also include streamlining zoning districts, reducing the 19 currently on the island to about five. The move may be a test scenario for future consolidated zoning in other areas of the city. The city also hopes to provide workforce housing incentives for developers.

The changes for Johns Island could include improvements to Maybank Highway while adding ancillary roads to reduce the load on the few existing roads on Johns Island. Morgan stressed that road concerns will be second for Johns Island.

"Trees and people first," Morgan said. "Roads second." —Greg Hambrick

Making Orphans Smile

Over the summer of 2006, local comedian Michael Fechter drove across America in a 1965 Mustang convertible, gathering signatures from celebrities and notable people along the way. He hoped to one day sell the car to benefit Orphan Productions, the organization he began to help third-world orphans of AIDS. The decorated automobile, with autographs from celebrities like Jay Leno, Hank Aaron, Jimmy Carter, Will Ferrell, Jon Stewart, Al Franken, and Regis Philbin, will be auctioned this June at New York's International Car Show. "I think it's the only collectible in existence that is signed by both Jeff Foxworthy and Spike Lee," says Fechter. Check out www.experimentingratitude.org for info on how to bid. After the sale, Orphan Productions kicks off another cross-country tour, this time in hybrid, electric, and alternative fuel vehicles. We'll miss our Jew-Gooder columnist in his absence, but trust he'll stay busy making the world a happier, funnier place. —Stratton Lawrence

$240,000

That's Maria Goodloe-Johnson's annual salary in her new position as superintendent of Seattle Public Schools. Source: The Post and Courier

click to enlarge nazi9.jpg

The Neo-Nazis Visit Columbia

America's largest neo-Nazi group rallied at the Statehouse on Saturday. While they were voicing their vehement opposition to immigration (um, I mean illegal immigration), conservatives were trying to distance themselves while others prepared a civil counter-protest to the rally.

About 200 people were expected to participate, but The State reported that only about 80 showed up. Members wore brown shirts with swastikas on the sleeves and carried banners and flags.

The Sons of Confederate Veterans sent out a release earlier last week disavowing the rally and the group's past use of the Confederate flag.

"The NSM's misuse of this time-honored symbol that we hold in the highest regard is blatantly offensive and totally disrespectful to the citizen soldiers of the Confederacy, especially the more than 25,000 South Carolinians who courageously fought and bravely died under this flag," said Randall Burbage of the SCV.

Meanwhile, the state House of Representatives approved a resolution supporting the group's right to assemble, considering the event a good "opportunity to express our opposition to the aims and words of this group."

The State reported that there were twice as many protesters opposing the neo-Nazi rally on Saturday then there were participants.

One of those groups was The Coalition Against Bigotry, an ad hoc coalition of churches, civil rights groups, immigrant rights groups, and anti-racist groups, who planned to organize a peaceful counter-demonstration at the state Supreme Court building across from the Statehouse.

"While CAB strongly supports the right to free speech, we feel it is our duty to make a statement against hatred and bigotry," a release stated. "CAB refuses to remain silent while these hate groups march through our Capital. ... CAB will counter their hateful rhetoric with a message of love and silent prayer." —Greg Hambrick

7.2 %

That's the alcohol percentage of Stone Brewing Company's Arrogant Bastard Ale, one of hundreds of delicious brews that may soon be available in S.C. if Gov. Sanford approves bills passed last week by the Senate and House to eliminate the archaic five percent cap on beer alcohol content. 


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