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"With just 28 days until the 2006 mid-term election, I am very optimistic that conservatives will make a strong showing across the nation."

Sen. Jim DeMint, writing from his bubble somewhere away from newspapers, television, and the internet. The message showed up last week on the senator's website, ironically, as the Mark Foley scandal continued brewing and Congressional and Republican support fell ever lower.
Superintendent visits Dist. 20 ·

School District Superintendent Maria Goodloe-Johnson and District 20 Constituent Board members are back to the corners after sparring last week during the superintendent's progress report to the board, where she fielded questions on embattled Burke High School and other District 20 needs.
The conversation got heated when constituent board member Pamela Kusmider asked about the district's refusal to accept transfers to Buist that the constituent board had approved this summer under No Child Left Behind. Goodloe-Johnson stated the constituent board can't override Buist's admission guidelines that include an evaluation and a lottery drawing for slots in the school, then she refused to answer any more questions because of the legal challenge the constituent board filed following the county's refusal to transfer the students.
Kusmider said the constituent board had asked several times in the last year for a clear understanding of their powers on transfers.
"When have you tried?" Goodloe-Johnson responded. "I would really like to know when in the last year you've tried to talk to me about transfers to Buist."
That pretty much ended the transfer questions, but constituent board members also complained that they weren't being included in address verification updates stemming from concerns of falsified addresses at Buist. County school board member Hillery Douglas stood up from the audience to defend the district.
"I don't know what you're complaining about, because we've bent over backwards to get input from everybody," he said.
Following calls from county school board members last week to reopen the book on reshaping District 20 schools, Goodloe-Johnson said the administration will present the more than two-year-old plan and recommended changes to the county board on Oct. 23.
The constituent board members also requested more vocational education on the peninsula. The superintendent said she's getting the same request countywide and that the state's Education and Economic Development Act will likely begin to address some of those concerns about training students for careers.
The superintendent noted the county continues to develop its programs for students that have fallen a few years behind, but that the best alternative is to get them ready to begin school through early childhood programs.
"That's the permanent fix to get students where they are all at their academic level," she says, noting the problem will be paying for expanding existing programs.—GH

$13,800

That's the amount of district money Charleston County School Board members David and Sandi Engelman have spent since July 2005 on official travel. The amount was released by the nonprofit Blue Ribbon Committee that is supporting Sandi Engelman's opponent Ruth Jordan in the November elections. Sandi Engelman says she is an individual board member. Her expenses total $4,574, ranked third behind Chairwoman Nancy Cook and Engelman's husband. Ray Toler is in a distant fourth with $2,768. Five board members have no travel expenses during the same period. Source: The Blue Ribbon Committee

66

That's the average number of days that a home is staying on the market in the Charleston area, the second lowest number in five years, according to the Charleston Trident Association of Realtors. Source: Charleston Regional Business Journal

$101 million

That's the estimated cost for a planned addition to the county's jail. Source: Charleston County

300 million

That's the benchmark the population of the United States is hovering near, with a projected increase of one person every 11 seconds. Source: The Washington Post
Money for Morris Island ·
Private fund-raising efforts to protect Morris Island from beachfront development are expected to begin in the next few weeks, following an expected contribution of $1.5 million from Charleston County.
Charleston boaters who have used the island's beaches for sunbathing and fished off its shores likely assume the island's already public property, but current preservation ends at the high-tide mark. In February, Ginn Co. purchased the island for $6.8 million and offered it up to the nonprofit Trust for Public Land for $4.5 million.
The Trust has already received $1.5 million from the State Conservation Bank. With the $1.5 million expected from the county later this month, that leaves $1.5 million to come from private donors and the Trust has been gearing up for the money-raising effort since the deal was announced in February.
The county's Parks and Recreation Commission will likely be responsible for developing the island as a public park, with a dock, walking trails, restrooms, and historic signs, says Trust regional director Slade Gleaton.
The need to protect the island is evident simply by looking across the harbor from its barren sandy beach as houses climb east of the Cooper River and large port ships, fishing vessels, and recreational boats share the water.
The island is also significant as a Civil War battleground site, including an 1863 battle immortalized in the movie Glory. One descendant of the Civil War battle has already pledged support and lead fund-raiser Gary Kovar is hopeful more historical and military buffs will follow.
"It's not just a great barrier island, it's not just a great natural treasure, it's a place where men bled and died," Kovar says. —Greg Hambrick

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