Raising Taxi Rates, Project Bluewater, Barbecue Pundits 

News Blips

"It was hard for me to believe the scores that my daughter had, knowing the struggles she was having."

Sanders Clyde Elementary parent Tanika Bausley on the investigation of the school's unbelievable test scores. Bausley told the New York Times that her daughter had a "borderline learning disability."

Raising taxi ratesin Rough Times

Charleston City Council debated the merits last week of a rate increase for taxis, while recognizing it may be the exact worst time for consumers. The debate may be a prelude to similar talks among municipal bodies across the region as costs go up and tax and other revenue collections decline.

Metered cab operators had asked the city for a rate increase to offset the rising cost of gas. The drivers currently charge $2 for the first fifth of a mile and then 35 cents for each fifth after that. In an effort to pull more money from short-distance customers, the drivers were requesting a $5 flat rate for the first two miles. It would be a slight cut for riders who take the full two miles, but it would increase fares for those who just ride down the street a few blocks.

Council members struggled over the request before agreeing to a $4 flat rate for the first two miles. Councilman Wendell Gilliard, who is expected to leave the council for the Statehouse in January, voted against the rate hike because he said these fare increases should be considered during good economic times.

"Everybody is hurting on all sides," he said. "Elected officials will get calls from constituents who depend on cabs for travel."

But the rest of the council voted in support of the $4 rate as a compromise.

"Any position we take tonight will put us in an economic quagmire," said Councilman Louis Waring. —Greg Hambrick

Project Bluewater

The mysterious codename for a business looking to put 160 jobs and $55 million in investments into the area. The county won't make the name of the company public until final approval in December. Our top guess is that it's a new reality show hosted by Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn as they look for the next great 2,000 Flushes toilet bowl cleaner. Source: Charleston Regional Business Journal

$4.3 million

That's how much Charleston County Council approved recently for Greenbelt projects in 2009, including the purchase of 118 acres on Morris Island, and new parks in North Charleston, Mt. Pleasant, and Awendaw. Source: Charleston County

Barbecue Pundits

In the run-up to election day, campaign signs are a way for candidates to get their names out there and a general way for them to ask for your vote. But the minute that polls close, the signs are nothing but roadside litter.

Sticky Fingers RibHouse is offering a coupon in exchange for campaign signs. The offer is for a free appetizer (up to $7.99) with the purchase of a meal. Before you go cleaning out the roadway to rack up the coupons, it's only one coupon per person.

"Just think of those leftover campaign signs as giant roadside gift certificates for free food at our restaurants," said Sticky Fingers CEO Jim Balis. "It's an easy way to help the environment, clean up our neighborhoods, and provide a little economic relief to our loyal customers." —Greg Hambrick

200

That was the predicted estimate of the number of voters per voting booth on Election Day. That means each voter had 3.6 minutes to squeeze in their decisions. We've taken longer to pick out a pair of socks in the morning (half the time was spent finding a match, but you get the picture). Source: News 2

"Some people might not want to see your underwear — I'm one of them."

Barack Obama on the rash of saggy pants bans popping up around the nation. Obama said he doesn't like the fashion statement, but wouldn't support laws against it. The City of Charleston essentially rejected a saggy pants ban earlier this year. Source: Time.com, MTV News

$7,000

That's how much Wando High School's science classes received as the recipients of Lowcountry Earth Force and the Sustainability Institute's 2008 GREENS Fund. The money will be used to build a campus greenhouse to study carbon sequestration and the benefits of urban forests on air quality. Charleston is on the verge of exceeding EPA air quality standards for particulate matter. Source: Sustainability Institute


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