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"He's governed as governor the way McCain says he'd govern as president."

The Wall Street Journal's Gerald Seib, the latest of many to give his two cents on Gov. Mark Sanford's potential as a running mate for the Republican presidential candidate.

Wal-Mart Faces Determined Opponents

There's nothing like Wal-Mart to stir up anti-growth ire in a community. Since the formation of Islanders for Responsible Expansion (IRE) less than three weeks ago, the group has accumulated nearly 4,000 signatures protesting the plans for a Super Wal-Mart on James Island with an added a grocery section. The group also attracted over 200 citizens to an organizational protest meeting last week and set up a website at ISREX.org. Wal-Mart received approval to cut down 20 old growth trees last month but is awaiting the approval of the City of Charleston to purchase the 3.88 acres of wetlands needed for the site as well as permission from the U.S. Corps of Engineers to fill the property. Those same wetlands were protected in the original deal to build the existing Wal-Mart in 1995, says Amy Fabri, an IRE founder. "If you mitigate something, it's for perpetuity," she says. "There is no time limit to forever." Fabri is also concerned about noise pollution, increased crime from a 24-hour store, and a spike in truck traffic on Folly Road. City of Charleston Planning Director Christopher Morgan has said that a new store would have to go before the Design Review Board, and could better reflect James Island's character than the existing store. City Council member Tim Mallard opposes the expansion and says he's frustrated with the city's apparent hurry to push it through. "The City doesn't really care much about the suburbs," he says. "They use the suburbs to ring the cash register to do all the projects downtown, and they don't ever listen to the people of the suburbs to ask them if they want anything. If the city wants a project, they generally go after it with a vengeance." Mallard argues that the 1995 agreement should be enough to deny the sale. —Stratton Lawrence

56

That's the number of pharmaceuticals found in trace amounts in the Philadelphia water system. Drugs were found in small amounts in another 23 major cities. Source: The Associated Press

New Chamber forecast Leaves Parish in the Past

The first anniversary of Al Parish's indictment for allegedly bilking local investors out of up to $80 million isn't until early April, but the beginning of the end came in March '07 with Parish's final regional economic forecast for the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce.

Needless to say, there was a healthy explainer attached to the Chamber's announcement for this year's economic forecast, based upon historical data tracked and collected by the Chamber and provided to College of Charleston economist Frank Hefner.

The data is put through Hefner's own econometric model and then provided to the Chamber's Economic Outlook Board. Called the forecast's "key to success," the board adds "the real-time, real-knowledge insight into the actual performance of the local economy," according to the Chamber announcement.

The economic forecast will be held from noon to 2 p.m. on Thurs., March 20, at the Charleston Place Hotel. —Greg Hambrick

50

That's the estimated number of tapes the Pentagon has recently acknowledged that document the interrogations of suspected terrorists at the Charleston Naval Weapons Station. Defense officials have said the tapes do not show waterboarding or other controversial tactics, but there is one tape that shows a suspect being gagged. Source: New York Times

Charleston Readies for Apple Store

Apple did its best to keep the lid on plans for a King Street shop, but city approval for storefront changes last week have put the deal in the better than likely category. The Post and Courier recently reported that the company is already taking applications for the new location, formerly Granny's Goodies and Cumberland's. The new look will include the trademark Apple Store glass front with the company logo in white over the door. The rest of the building's facade will take on a far more traditional King Street look than Granny's wore in its day. —Greg Hambrick

Ravenel to serve 10 Months for coke

Former state Treasurer Thomas Ravenel was sentenced to 10 months last week after pleading guilty to handing out cocaine to his friends. Codefendant Michael Miller, accused of providing the drugs to Ravenel, also received 10 months. Neither will begin serving their sentences until prosecutors follow up on leads they've provided to investigators. Ravenel "has given a complete debriefing of his participation in the drug conspiracy and the participation of others involved in the conspiracy and provided the Government with historical information concerning drug distribution," according to court filings by federal prosecutors. —Greg Hambrick

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