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"Will there be any response to this publicly announced wickedness, on the part of Christian church leaders?"

That's Steve Lefemine, of Columbia Christians for Life, in response to an article in The State about a summer leadership camp being held outside Columbia sponsored by the American Association for Nude Recreation. The Association's goal is to train the next generation of leaders in the "family nudist environment." Lefemine calls the camp a "moral perversion of parading naked post-pubescent adolescents." Source: Columbia Christians for Life e-mail
Bigwigs Chime In On How to Save Burke ·
Approximately 30 community members representing various businesses, city agencies, and nonprofits gathered last week for a luncheon organized by the Center for Partnerships to Improve Education. The center, part of the College of Charleston's School of Education, started a year ago, but this was the first chance for those involved to sit down together — armed with stinky markers and large tear sheets — to discuss the community's role in strengthening its partner school, Burke Middle High. Superintendent Maria Goodloe-Johnson and new Burke principal Charles Benton spoke. Round-table discussions involving Burke faculty, Trident Technical College administrators, and reps from the mayor's office and Chamber of Commerce suggested ways to improve the school. The group brainstormed plans for greater community involvement through a mentoring program, an updated school website, and opening the lines of communication with an official calendar and a school-specific PR person. Former Charleston County School District deputy superintendent Dr. Barbara Dilligard — who attended Burke — was there representing COBRA Human Services Agency, the South Carolina World Trade Center, and Karaton Services. She says although the problems at Burke need to be faced, the situation is not beyond salvation. The center's director, Paula Egelson, says this meeting was on the agenda before any of the hoopla started about potential takeover of Burke by the State Department of Education. But with the meeting to discuss that possibility coming up soon (Wed. Aug. 9 in Columbia), the timing couldn't be more perfect. —Lynsy Smithson Stanley

$7.25

That's how much the minimum wage will be, if a bill passed Saturday by the House is approved by the Senate. The bill nearly failed due to eleventh-hour political blackmail on the part of Republicans who linked the minimum wage bill to a package rolling back taxes for the heirs of multimillionaires.
Passing the Dunce Cap · A report released in July by the U.S. Department of Education argues that private schools are not as cool as the Republicans would have you believe.
Reading and math scores — on the whole — are still higher in private schools than in public schools. But the results are quite different if similar demographics are compared. The new report classifies students by gender, race/ethnicity, education level of parents, knowledge of English, and eligibility for free lunches.
When compared in this way, fourth-graders in private schools did not score significantly different in reading than those in public schools. Math scores for public schools were slightly higher.
If private schools are broken down by religious affiliation, the report finds no significant difference between Catholic and Lutheran schools compared to other private schools. Conservative Christian schools had lower math scores than other private institutions.
Education Secretary Margaret Spellings has been accused of trying to bury the results of the new study — like so many reports that run contrary to the White House's agenda. National Public Radio reported last week that some have criticized Spellings for releasing the report on a Friday, when people pay less attention to news, and not allowing other government education administrators time to evaluate the new findings before the report's release.
Spellings called the accusations ridiculous, adding that the administration strongly supports public schools, but parents should have a choice.—Benjamin Schlau
Read the report at http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard//pubs/studies/2006461.asp

"This looks like administrative incompetence at the highest level."

That's Henry Copeland, District 20 constituent board member, at a July 26 meeting. He was responding to staff shortages at Burke Middle High and miscommunication between the school board and the constituent board. The meeting also addressed parental concerns over the address controversy at Buist Academy.

5.5%

That's how much existing home sales are down from last year in the South. Throughout the rest of the country the drop is even larger. In the Northeast sales have decreased by 9.8 percent, in the Midwest by 6.2, and in the West by a whopping 17.1 percent. Source: National Association of Realtors

90

That's the number of Charleston-based troops — active and reserve — sent to Cyprus on July 23 to assist in the evacuation of American citizens from Lebanon. Source: United States Air Force

900

That's the estimated number of new jobs that will be created by the new Tanger outlet in North Charleston. The haven of discount retail therapy will have 90 stores and produce over $7 million in annual tax revenue for the state.

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