"This significantly weakens the vital protections that South Carolina's coastline has enjoyed for the last 25 years."Governor Mark Sanford, in a recent letter to South Carolina's congressional delegation, sharing his displeasure with plans to allow offshore drilling along our coast. Source: AP
Expressway to Expansion ·
A little over a week ago, $420 million was awarded to the County of Charleston from the State Infrastructure Bank (SIB) to complete the Mark Clark Expressway. The completed expressway will connect the Citadel Mall area of West Ashley with Maybank Highway on Johns Island, and — in time — the James Island connector.
While some are cheering the SIB's decision, others have thrown their hands up in exasperation. The frustration surrounds concerns over what the completion of Mark Clark will mean for expansion on Johns Island, and where that money could have been better spent.
"It's very much against the wishes of the people of Johns Island," says Johns Island farmer Thomas Legare. "We've got more important needs in Charleston County than that. The fight hasn't even begun yet. We're going to put a stop to this thing."
The $420 million for Mark Clark was awarded instead of the County's $300 million request for a new access road linking Interstate 26 with the container port being developed at the former Charleston Naval Base. The access road project would have directed attention to redevelopment of the Charleston neck area — an area sorely in need of road maintenance and rehabilitation.
"We have missed a golden opportunity to look dispassionately at what is best for the future of our region," says Dana Beach of the Coastal Conservation League. "This area is getting screwed again."
Beach also suggested that the completion of the Mark Clark Expressway became a priority to local politicians and planners because of recent decisions to use Kiawah Island golf courses for PGA tournaments.
Why invest in urban redevelopment when there's a golf game to get to? —Elle Lien
FYIU.S. Rep. Henry Brown's (R) pet project, the Deep Oceans Energy Resources Act, which would open up the South Carolina coastline to oil and natural gas drilling, passed the House at the end of June. South Carolina's three Republican representatives — Brown, Wilson, and Barrett — voted for the bill, while the two Democratic congressmen — Spratt and Clyburn — voted against. Source: http://thomas.loc.gov
14That's the new "age of consent" in South Carolina as it relates to child sexual abuse by other minors. The age was recently lowered from 16. Source: AP
1,100 acresThat's the number of acres of Francis Marion Forest that received a stay of execution from the Senate this week. The Bush Administration's proposal to buy the land failed to make it out of committee. Source: http://thomas.loc.gov
10That is the number of homicides in Charleston for 2006 as of the end of June. This is equal to the total number of homicides from 2005 — and this with six months of the year still ahead of us. Source: Charleston Police Department
"Someone you know, someone you love... is gay. They need your help in November."This is a billboard from the Alliance for Full Acceptance posted off of I-26 westbound. The gay community is fighting back against the proposed amendment to ban gay marriage that is headed for the ballot in November.
This month, Jacob's Law goes into effect. The law— named for Jacob Stebler, the victim of a crash between a 15-passenger van and an 18-wheeler truck — makes it mandatory that any school-sponsored transportation of children be done by school buses.
This is a dubious mandate in the state of South Carolina, where in the last month, two buses spontaneously combusted, and a study from the Union of Concerned Scientists found that one S.C. bus produced 531 pounds of smog pollution per year — the worst in the nation.
After the most recent bus fire, 2,100 buses were taken off South Carolina roads. Evidently, the Type D, $104-million fleet of buses is riddled with flaming, soot-spewing lemons. A house budget includes $37.8 million to replace the buses this year. Are you shocked that the numbers don't add up? Most of the General Assembly received their arithmetic training in South Carolina schools, which perform almost as well as their buses.
"Within five or six years, we'd have no bus older than 1990," says Don Tudor, the state Department of Education's transportation director. Too bad the flame-throwing fleet was purchased in 1995. —EL