News Shorts 

Santee Cooper, Henry Brown, Buist, Joe Riley, Marion Square, ipods

"We consider this dirty coal plant a Trojan Horse: Santee Cooper promises jobs, but inside this horse there is poison." 

Florence County resident Mike King at a gathering of about 30 concerned citizens at DHEC's Florence office on Tuesday, Oct. 30. The group opposes DHEC's issuing of a draft permit to Santee Cooper for a new coal power plant on the Pee Dee River, which would emit an estimated 138 pounds of mercury annually (enough to contaminate 69 million pounds of fish). DHEC currently lists the Pee Dee as an impaired waterway for mercury contamination, though it does not post public notices on any inland lakes or rivers. 

Henry Brown Asks What You Want And Wonders Whether He Should Care

U.S. Rep. Henry Brown sent out a survey to coastal voters last week asking questions about reforming Congress. It should come as no surprise that Republicans are looking to reform Congress now that they've been thrown from power (and there's little to suggest their plight won't worsen next year).

He asks about Congressional earmarks ("should I continue to fight to get our fair share of funding for needed projects"), lobbying reforms, and committee appointments (should "partisan control of committees be abolished" for a merit or seniority system), along with open questions about Congressional reform and the biggest single problem facing our nation.

Of course, many of these questions (particularly about earmarks and committees) will be major campaign issues, since a Democratic opponent could suggest that they could bring more back to South Carolina in a Dem-controlled Congress.

While it's nice to be asked your opinion, Brown then asks whether it matters what voters think anyway.

"Some feel that it is important for representatives to stand on their convictions and their own philosophy," the survey states. "Others argue that the role of a member of Congress should be to accurately represent the views of their constituents, whether or not they match his or her own views on that particular issue."

He then asks if you, the voter, agree with the former, the latter, or sort-of agree with the second one except when Brown really, really wants to shoot from his gut.

His question is, basically, did you elect Henry Brown to represent you or did you elect Henry Brown to represent Henry Brown? Gee, tough one. —Greg Hambrick


That's the number of parents on Buist Academy's naughty list. The school was plagued for years with accusations that parents were weaseling students into the county's academic magnet school with forged addresses to snag prized spots reserved for students who live on the peninsula. After national attention, county officials promised to bring the hammer down on abusers. Last week, it told 11 parents to provide proof of residence or get out. Source: The Post and Courier

"If we don't reduce emissions 80 percent by 2050, our planet could go haywire."

Mayor Joe Riley during a teleconference last week to announce an open letter from a coalition of 108 S.C. mayors asking the 2008 presidential candidates to make climate change a priority.

The Joke's Over for Colbert

Less than a week after getting a key to the City of Columbia and a promised endorsement by Charleston Mayor Joe Riley, Stephen Colbert's whirlwind run for president (in South Carolina) came to an end. He had abandoned plans to run in the Republican Primary, due to the $35,000 filing fee, early last week. He applied to be on the Democratic Primary ballot, which has a nominal fee but a difficult approval process. On Thursday, the State Democratic Party's Executive Committee couldn't stomach the joke any longer, voting 13-3 to keep him off the ballot since he's not seriously campaigning nationally.

State legislator Gilda Cobb-Hunter supported putting Colbert's name on the ballot because of the young people it might draw to the polls. She said the debate over Colbert's candidacy in the committee debate was "vigorous."

"I would love to see that kind of energy put toward party building — they were ginned up," she told MTV News, adding jokingly, "(Like,) 'We have to save the state from Stephen Colbert!' Which I think is hilarious." —Greg Hambrick

No Art for You

A dead century-and-a-half-old laurel oak tree in Marion Square, at the corner of King and Calhoun streets, generated debate last week when the city looked to remove it. Chainsaw wood carver Chris Cox, a Charleston native who has sculpted all over the country, had proposed to the city's Design and Review Board that he shape the 13-foot tall stump into three sea turtles, swimming in a vertical column. He obtained a sponsor to fund all expenses and included an agreement in the proposal that the sculpture could be removed if the city wasn't pleased with it. According to Cox, the proposal was rejected. Early in the day on Tuesday, Oct. 30, a crew arrived to remove the stump, but at press time it still stood due to archaeological findings around the tree's base. After Cox stepped up his campaign for the tree, city officials say they'll now give Cox the stump, but that Marion Square wasn't an appropriate place for a sculpture. "Any time you take something that's a natural resource that could go to the dump and turn it into something, that's conservation," says Cox. "I think the city really dropped the ball." —Stratton Lawrence

"I dare them to find the iPod on me."

That's Long Island marathon runner Richie Sais on a recent decision by USA Track and Field to ban musical devices at its official races. Source: The New York Times


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