NRC Public Hearings, Ghost Town, Charleston Skin for a Cause 

News Blips

"We know how difficult it is to win in the swing state of South Carolina."

Ken Blackwell, Ohio's former secretary of state, suggesting S.C. GOP Chairman Katon Dawson's resume is filled with easy wins. Dawson and Blackwell are two of the six contenders for the National Republican Party chairmanship, a job that is surprisingly competitive when you consider 2008 was about as good for the GOP as it was for Lehman Brothers and celebrity abstinence (we're looking at you Jamie Lynn and Ashlee). Source: NBC News

Nuking Your Billfold

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has announced two preliminary public hearings on the construction of two nuclear reactors proposed by SCE&G in Fairfield County, north of Columbia. Scheduled for Jan. 27 and 28, the meetings are intended to seek public input and determine community issues.

The power utility, which serves much of the Charleston area, is seeking a 37 percent rate hike for its customers to be phased in throughout the life of the project.

The S.C. chapter of the Sierra Club and environmental group Friends of the Earth have opposed new nuclear power plants, taking issue with waste disposal and the potential costs to utilize new nuclear technologies. They're also concerned about the commission consulting with SCE&G about potential hearing sites.

"We expect a full explanation from the NRC to the public as to why it has been collaborating with the very company which has proposed the project to be reviewed in the EIS," says Friends of the Earth's Tom Clements. "This appears to be an effort aimed at stacking the deck in order to give an advantage to the utility at the expense of the ratepayers." NRC spokesman Roger Hannah says that communication after an application is received is completely normal and expected as information is gathered. "There's nothing secret about the process," says Hannah. "We meet with them constantly. We also talk to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and any number of corporate, government, and private organizations to try to get as complete a picture as possible." —Stratton Lawrence

313

That's how many acres a proposed landfill in southern Charleston County would cover. Within the boundaries of the ACE Basin, the construction and debris landfill would require a zoning change and amendment to the county's newly adopted Comprehensive Land Use Plan. The proposal will be discussed by the full council on Tues., Feb. 3. Source: Charleston County

257 pounds

That's the amount of food donated at the annual Polar Bear Plunge on Folly Beach on New Year's Day, according to the Lowcountry Food Bank.

3,000

That's how many people in the village of Mosovi, Dominican Republic, will soon have safe, clean drinking water. Thirty-six students at Porter-Gaud School teamed up with Water Missions International and the S.C. Maritime Heritage Foundation for a two-part excursion this January, sailing on the Spirit of South Carolina from Charleston to the Dominican Republic to install a water treatment system and educate villagers on its use. Source: Water Missions International

Ghost Town

Upper King Street, an area that had until recently been considered the city's most up-and-coming shopping district, is feeling the crunch of the economy. Last week New York-style boutique B'Zar announced that it will close its doors in February. Sister store Suite Sole will remain open. High-end home goods store Nancy Koltes, a national chain, stands empty but for a few sale tables; "80 Percent to 90 Percent Off Everything" written in red across the storefront. Fair-trade shop Global Awakening also has a "store closing" sign on the front window. John Street boutique Max Jerome is also in the process of closing. As we nervously wait for who might be next, it's hard not to wonder what will become of the Upper King Design District. If things continue on their current path, it might just turn back into the Upper King bar district. —Erica Jackson

More Charleston Skin For A Cause

Last week we spotlighted a calendar of tastefully nude locals with proceeds going to AIDS programs. Now, members of the Charleston Fire Department are displaying their pecs and abs in a firefighter hunk calendar. The Charleston Fire Department's wives club created the calendars, with proceeds being split between the MUSC Children's Burn Center and club-sponsored events for the department. Calendars are $20 and can be purchased by contacting Rachel Sheridan at rsheridan@kenchellephoto.com or (843) 860-4383. —Greg Hambrick

$100

That's the price for a new Shepard Fairey poster commemorating President-elect Barack Obama's inauguration. Fairey, a Charleston native who has received national attention for his "Hope" Obama image, actually has his own section in the shop at the inaugural website, www.pic2009.org. There are also buttons, bumper stickers, and T-shirts.


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