"The more people we have educated in South Carolina, the better we'll all be."
Dan Ravenel, chairman of the state's Higher Education Study Committee, calling on the state to provide more scholarship money to students based on need rather than merit. South Carolina got an F on affordability in a recent national higher eduction report. Source: The Greenville News
Parking Fees To Climb
The city won't raise taxes, but it will increase on-street parking tickets from $8 to $14 per ticket after state reforms on parking tickets reduced city revenues by $300,000. The new state law prevents municipalities from charging late fees for parking tickets until after 30 days. Prior to the new law, the city would charge an extra $4 per tickets after 10 days and would charge $17 after 20 days.
Mayor Joe Riley says the rate hike is an effort to pull people parking for long stretches off of the streets and into the parking garages.
"The parking garage daily rate is less than a ticket," Riley says.
The city also announced that it would be increasing parking enforcement during college basketball games at the new Carolina First Center, particularly in downtown neighborhoods. —Greg Hambrick
Chamber Wants To Know Your Business
Charleston Young Professionals, a networking group created by the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce, is asking the area's young entrepreneurs to complete a 40-question survey. It asks questions about why they chose the Charleston region and the priorities and amenities that they value most. The survey, along with the young professionals group itself, is an effort to target and retain the next generation of business leaders. Survey info at www.charleston-yp.com.
That's the Isle of Palms' ranking among the most expensive small towns in the nation, according to Business Week. They note the median home price is $782,000. It's only a matter of time before we get our own Real Housewives spin-off.
T-Rav Returns — Sort of
Thomas Ravenel has been relocated to an undisclosed North Charleston halfway house to serve out the remaining four months of his jail sentence for buying cocaine and passing it around to his friends. Ravenel, who resigned from his post as state treasurer after his indictment, was sentenced earlier this year to 10 months in a federal prison for the drug charges. He'll officially be released March 27, but it's common for prisoners to transition back to their community through these halfway houses. —Greg Hambrick
That's the number of members on the City of Charleston's commission that will determine what to do with the former Sofa Super Store site. Nine Charleston firefighters died in a June 2007 blaze at the Savannah Highway furniture store, leading the city to purchase the property to protect it from redevelopment. Discussions so far have included constructing training facilities for firefighters on the site. Others have mentioned a park or community center.
That's the number of manufacturing jobs South Carolina lost in November. There was more bad news last week, with Dorchester car parts manufacturer Robert Bosch offering all 2,100 workers a voluntary buyout package. Source: The Associated Press, Post and Courier
That's downtown Charleston's unofficial (actually, completely fictional) ranking among the worst places for post-Turkey Day tourists. First, more than 70 King Street storeowners were locked out on the busiest shopping day of the year (the police still have no suspects), then a woman lost control of her car four days later, driving into a crowd on a walking ghost tour, injuring two. Next time you see a visitor to Charleston, let them know that our stores are open regularly the rest of the year and, while we don't keep our cars on the road, we usually keep them away from crowds.
The state Election Commission upheld the Nov. 4 win of Democrat Anne Peterson-Hutto in the House District 115 race to represent James Island and Folly Beach. Republican incumbent Wallace Scarborough had challenged the close race after losing by just over 200 votes. Scarborough claimed there were more than enough illegal ballots cast by people who moved out of the district to make up the difference in the spread. But his argument for a new election was rejected.
In other news, because it's never too early to start talking about 2012, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee was in Aiken and Columbia last weekend to promote his book, and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin was stumping in Savannah last week for Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss — where we're sure she could see South Carolina from across the river. Take that, Russia. —Greg Hambrick