“Sometimes we have to make the hard decisions, and we have to let our friends go who are serving in Congress, because they’re not getting the job done.”

Carroll Campbell III on Congressman Henry Brown, a fellow Republican. Campbell is weighing a primary challenge in 2010. Source: The Hill

Governor, Mayors Battle Over Stimulus

Charleston Mayor Joe Riley quickly amassed the support of more than 50 of his fellow municipal leaders last week, calling on the state legislature to accept $700 million in federal stimulus aid. Last week, Gov. Mark Sanford told the Obama administration that he wanted a waiver to put that money toward the state’s debt instead of shoring up budget shortfalls and applying it toward job creation. If the administration refuses his request, Sanford has said that he will not accept the money.

“It’s just absolutely wrong,” Riley says of Sanford’s proposal. “People are being laid off. They’re losing basic services (to budget cuts).”

House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) included language in the stimulus bill that would allow the state legislature to override a governor’s refusal. It was a preemptive response to Sanford’s frequent criticism of the stimulus. While the White House has yet to respond to Sanford’s request, a bill has already been introduced in the state Senate to provide the override, if necessary.

In announcing his decision, Sanford told the City Paper last week that he was “comfortable with the consequences” of refusing the money — namely, that it could be spent in another state if not here.

“The easiest thing in the world would have been to accept the money and move on,” he says. “But it would have been completely at odds with the decision-making framework I’ve used for the last 15 years of my life.”

The message from Riley and the other S.C. mayors was that Sanford was disconnected from the needs of the state’s struggling residents.

“We not only hear their stories every day, we see their stories every day,” says Rick Danner, the mayor of Greer and the president of the South Carolina Municipal Association. —Greg Hambrick

Boys and Girls Club Art

Redux Contemporary Art Center and the Second Presbyterian Church are joining forces with the Boys and Girls Club’s downtown center to raise awareness and financial support for the struggling after-school program. “Art Thru the Eyes of a Child,” an innovative multi-venue exhibit, will display the art of 150 children from the club’s Shaw Unit and the Second Presbyterian Kindergarten class, depicting Charleston as they see it. The exhibition will be displayed at various venues throughout April and May, including the Boys and Girls Club Gala on March 26 at 28 Bridgeside Blvd. in Mt. Pleasant, as well as at Second Presbyterian Church at 342 Meeting St. and at the Starbucks at 475 East Bay St. downtown. All sales will fund the chronically underfunded downtown program on Mary St. For more info, visit www.secondpresbyterianchurch.orgHadley Lyman

$75.6 million

That’s the amount South Carolina received in earmarks in last week’s federal omnibus spending bill. The money included nearly $1 million for biofuel research in Charleston. Source: Anderson Independent Mail

Local Sustainability Honors

Two local sustainability programs won top honors from state environmental overseers last week at the 14th annual Recycle Guys Awards.

Sponsored by the state’s Department of Health and Environmental Control, the
Recycle Guys Awards recognize the state’s top recycling programs, projects, and people.

The Medical University of South Carolina was recognized for its waste reduction and recycling program. MUSC beat out 80 other schools based on its success in educating the community and continuing to expand the program. During the past year the sustainability team, headed by Christine von Kolnitz Cooley, recycled over 1,300 tons of municipal solid waste. The university promotes its recycling program to 11,000 faculty members, staff, and students and provides over 1,400 locations for paper collection. The school even saves a pretty penny by shredding their own paper — $200,000 saved to be exact.

The Charleston County Government’s Solid Waste and Recycling Department also won an award for its sustainability program among the state’s larger counties (with 150,000 residents or more). From 2007 to 2008, the amount of recyclable materials collected increased about 10 percent to 21,000 tons in 2008. Charleston County also provided curbside pick-up of recyclables to 130,000 homes, targeting 39 new neighborhoods in 2008. It operates seven drop-off sites with an additional 32 drop-off sites for cardboard collection. —Candice Summers

“Pounding Out Prostitution”
and “First Time
In Five Years.”

Two headlines on ABC News 4’s Twitter feed. The first one is about a sting in North Charleston. We’re still not sure what the second is about.

City Paper takes Honors

The 2008 South Carolina Press Awards honored the Charleston City Paper last weekend with four first place wins in it’s division.

Features contributor Jon Santiago won first place in Lifestyle Feature Writing for his cover story “A Suitcase Full of Songs,” about a songwriters night at a local café. News Editor Greg Hambrick won first place Feature Writing honors for his story “Not Another Civil War,” about the looming 150th anniversary of the Civil War.

City Paper Web Editor Joshua Curry took home two first place awards for his photography work, including a photo from Barack Obama’s College of Charleston rally in January ’08 and his photo essay on Charleston shrimpers and others who work on the local waters.

Stratton Lawrence also received a second place award for his sports feature story “Flying High” about local kiteboarding enthusiasts.

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