"When it came down to it, the staff and I felt what I believe a lot of people in America are feeling. Which is just enormous Paris fatigue."
US Weekly editor Janice Min on the tabloid's decision to keep Paris Hilton from its pages. Why are we noting it? This post at news.ccpblogs.com got more traffic than everything else but Thomas Ravenel's indictment and the sofa store fire. That city and school district coverage? Forget it. Janice Min may be tired of Hilton coverage. We may be tired of Hilton coverage. But, for blonder or worse, the City Paper readers have spoken. Source: The Associated Press
Constituent Boards Declawed
Constituent school boards, regionally elected boards unique to Charleston County, will no longer play a role in hiring, under a new law signed by the governor last week. Constituent boards, particularly the peninsula's District 20 board, have been foils for a number of district initiatives, most recently Sanders Clyde principal Mishawna Moore at nearby Fraser.
The bill, shepherded by local representatives Ben Hagood, Leon Stavrinakis, Chip Limehouse, Vida Miller, Wallace Scarborough, and Annette Young, gives the exclusive authority for teacher and principal hires to the county school board and the superintendent.
"There's an advisory role (for the constituent board) that could be a benefit, but they don't need to be in the hiring business," Hagood told the City Paper last fall. "The superintendent doesn't have any authority over her staff."
The board will still be responsible for most student transfers and disciplinary hearings. —Greg Hambrick
Connect the DOT
After eight months of debate, in its last week of the 2007 legislative session, the General Assembly passed Department of Transportation reform bill S.355, including four of the five priorities considered essential by the DOT Reform Coalition: transportation policies will be objectively analyzed and prioritized, alternative transportation solutions will be considered first, public hearings will be held on large projects, and regulations will ensure that projects are ranked and prioritized correctly. Maybe this will mean we fix our existing roads before building bigger ones. (Cough) Johns Island (Cough). —Stratton Lawrence
That's the percentage of students who reported having a family member hurt or killed in Rita or Katrina who now smoke, compared to 13 percent of students who did not endure a death or injury who said they smoked. Source: ABC News
Dems Prepare for Debate
With the Democratic Debate heading to Charleston on July 23, the question on everybody's mind is how to get tickets. The answer from state party chair Carol Fowler can roughly be translated to: "Good luck." It's likely going to come down to who you know in the Democratic Party or at the Citadel. Fowler said she's hopeful that there can be a drawing for some tickets, but details are far from complete.
The expectation is that there will be viewing parties around town, with most of them likely hosted by the campaigns. The local Dems are also organizing an after-party following the debate for attendees, with donations going to the city's Firemen's Fund. The debate will allow average voters to ask the questions via YouTube submissions. You can still submit questions (the more creative, the better). We have no doubt you can do better than the guy who asked about aliens, complete with footage of Santa Claus, or health care questions from an animated Hillary Clinton. —Greg Hambrick
That's the day Simon Cowell, Ms. "You Look Great," and Mr. "It Was a Little Pitchy For Me," come to the North Charleston Coliseum in search of South Carolina's tone-deaf and/or talented singers.
The House voted 90-13 last week, (and the Senate unanimously), to override Gov. Sanford's veto of bill H.3034, requiring all major state-funded facilities to meet "green building" construction standards. Considering Sanford's recent creation of the Climate, Energy and Commerce Advisory Committee, his veto of the bill is somewhat puzzling. Green buildings have proven to pay for any additional costs very quickly through energy efficiency and lower utility costs, and they're far less drafty in the winter. —Stratton Lawrence
That's where S.C. ranks in the Reason Foundation's national study of road systems' cost effectiveness. Apparently they've never driven west on I-26 at 5 p.m. Source: Reason Foundation
"Not to sell, but to share? And you call yourself a Republican. That's not capitalism. That's welfare."
Daily Show host Jon Stewart on South Carolina Treasurer Thomas Ravenel's recent indictment on charges that he handed out cocaine. Source: The Daily Show
Memminger Update Makes It On District Budget
A proposal to beef up programs at the downtown Memminger Elementary by unlikely school board allies Toya Hampton-Green and Arthur Ravenel got the more than $2 million needed as one of a handful of last-minute stocking stuffers for Charleston County School Board pet projects.
Changes are expected to include additional foreign language instructors and administration and staff to bring the school's programs to a comparative level with Buist Academy, the popular magnet school that has been criticized for its stringent admission guidelines. The board approved adding the resources at North Charleston Elementary as well.
The district's $320 million budget also included money for pay increases and the board instructed staff to develop the next budget based on a per-pupil formula, instead of the existing complicated point structure for allocating teachers and resources.
"My hope is that, if the student moves, the money follows the student," says board member Gregg Meyers.
Ray Toler and David Engelman voted against the budget. Brian Moody, an accountant, was not at the meeting. —Greg Hambrick
That's the number of votes supporters of open enrollment were missing in their attempt to override a veto by Gov. Mark Sanford. The bill would have allowed students to transfer between public schools, regardless of attendance zones and district boundaries.
If only we had known before Spoleto, we could have touted Patrick Sharbaugh's Spoleto Buzz Blog as an award-winning production of the City Paper — because that's just what it is. The winners of the annual Alternative Newsweeklies Awards were announced last month and Patrick's blog covering the 2006 festival took first place in a tight competition against the Arkansas Times and the Portland Mercury.
It's a much-deserved pat on the back for Sharbaugh, who just recently spent 17 exhausting days providing insightful, street-level coverage of the beast that is Spoleto. Congrats Patrick and great f'in job. —Stephanie Barna
Twisting the Top off Fed's Big Cookies
The OreoMobile, a 13-foot-tall stack of giant Oreo cookies stopped in Charleston on June 28 to show how the federal government's massive Pentagon budget is out of sync with taxpayer priorities. With each cookie representing $10 billion, OreoMobile organizers, including Ben and Jerry co-founder Ben Cohen, use the cookies to show what could be done by shifting just $60 billion of the $500 billion in defense spending to other programs like children's health care, education, energy independence, medical research, and deficit reduction. The goal is to make audiences hungry for change, but it'll likely make war hawks just hungry for more cookies. —Greg Hambrick