“No one in their right mind is going to sell someone from New York a gun.”

Larry Mickalis, owner of Mickalis Pawn Shop in Summerville, on stings by New York City’s finest. Another local gun shop owner was recently sued by the city for selling a gun that was likely going to a third party. Source: New York Times, Post and Courier

Is the Green Building Movement Rising Faster than Sea Level? ·

Charleston has survived fires, military bombardment, one of the severest earthquakes in U.S. history, malaria epidemics, and killer hurricanes. One has to wonder — what else could possibly go wrong? The City Paper, ever on the alert for the Next Big Thing, dispatched a correspondent to the recent International GreenBuild Conference in Denver to find out. If the climate change experts who spoke there are right, much of the Holy City could be several feet below sea level within a few decades.
While Al Gore’s film An Inconvenient Truth describes a flooded New York City as the poster child for global warming, predictions suggest that Charlestonians will be fishing for spottail bass on King Street long before Manhattanites have to pull on their waders. And as for Charleston’s wildly appreciated real estate market — it could end up in the same boat as Confederate war bonds.
Opinion polls say most Americans still dismiss global warming as a vague threat that might affect far-off lands sometime in the distant future, but the GreenBuild folks are taking the whole thing seriously enough to do something about it now. In the five years since the U.S. GreenBuild Council was formed, the organization has become the go-to authority on minimizing the effect of buildings on the environment. Electricity use in buildings contributes a major share of all greenhouse gases, so widespread adoption of greener building designs could be one of the key solutions to global warming.
Green pioneer John Knott, whose Noisette project in North Charleston was presented at the conference as an example of sustainable development, said, “Today the sustainable world is the de facto building standard. Anybody who isn’t doing it just isn’t competitive. With increasing risks from global warming, insurance companies are now saying if buildings aren’t built to green standards, they aren’t going to insure them.”
Green may be an idea whose time is arriving. The Oxford American Dictionary selected “carbonneutral” as the 2006 Word of the Year. And right on cue, during the GreenBuild conference in Denver, a pedicab was seen coming up the street with its passengers shouting, “We’re carbonneutral!” Coming soon to the streets of Charleston? Stay tuned. —Edwin Gardner

One in 32

That’s the portion of the U.S. adult population that was in the nation’s prisons and jails or on probation or parole at the end of 2005. Source: The Department of Justice

“Thank God for Victoria’s Secrets’ new underwear line!”

Britney Spears copping to a little too much fun (and a vagina monologue) when out with friends Paris and Lindsay. Source: www.BritneySpears.com

Big Pecker ·

Two years ago in Arkansas, a kayaker spotted a big white-headed bird that looked a lot like the ivory-billed woodpecker believed to be extinct since the 1940s. (They disappeared in South Carolina after the flooding of bottomland forests to form Lakes Moultrie and Marion.) Birders scrambled to verify the sighting, and managed to capture video of the 30-inch-wing-spanned giant, setting off a hunt throughout the bird’s former native lands, which include the swamps of South Carolina. Last year 45 volunteers spent over 1,500 cumulative hours searching for the bird, mostly in Congaree National Park. Despite their failure to find one, the Nature Conservancy has hired a full-time coordinator to lead searches this winter, and they expect even more volunteers. With all the effort being poured into this, let’s hope this pecker shows some beak. —Stratton Lawrence

141 mph

That’s the speed Mount Pleasant police clocked one fast and furious driver on Interstate 526. The city vows to crack down on speeders, but they let this guy go over concerns about endangering other drivers. Source: The Post and Courier

Library Lobotomy ·

In order to meet proposed budget cuts for 2007, the Environmental Protection Agency is dismantling several of its libraries, including the main branch in Washington, D.C. Although the agency claims that “unique” print material will be made available online, lack of funding will likely keep many files boxed away, while others are already being destroyed. Without easy access to decades of compiled research and 25,000 maps, EPA scientists will have a harder time independently reviewing new industrial developments. Considering the Bush administration’s affinity for polluting industries, environmentalists are crying foul play. —Stratton Lawrence

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