I’m guessing for a good many folks on James Island today is like VE-Day, Xmas, and Y2k all rolled into one. It’s a time to celebrate like it’s 199-whatever. According to an ABC News 4 report, Wal-Mart has nixed plans to expand on James Island.

Round one goes to the islanders in the fight to stop a Wal-Mart expansion. The issue has been a point of contention on the island. But, public outcry forced the retail giant to change its plans.The retail giant is done pushing the expansion project. The Islanders for Responsible Expansion, the group in protest of Wal-Mart’s plan, says this isn’t over by a long shot.”Their plan is off the table, they heard the community loud and clear,” said Charleston councilman Gary White.

I don’t know about you, but isn’t it a little funny how Wal-Mart has become the new, I don’t know, litter. At the very least smoking in restaurants. Or leaving your toddler in the back seat of the car while you step into the convenience store to play video poker. The kind of cause that gets some folks all in a petition-signing frenzy, a particular form of self-righteous madness that is nearly indistinguishable from an epileptic fit. And I guess it helps that all the hip masses know that Target is where all the cool kids shop these days.Ladies and gentlemen, we present to you the best opening to a story all week. Congrats to the Post and Courier‘s Prentiss Findlay:

A rusty bicycle frame, empty beer cans, nets and a diesel generator are scattered on a Shem Creek hummock dotted with palmetto and oak trees.A warning is scrawled on a white wooden table surrounded by four chairs near torches: “If you get caught on the island or docks you’re going to get arrested.”The island, not much bigger than a large living room, connects to a dock where a half-sunken sailboat with a broken boom and tattered sail is moored. An aged shrimp trawler, “Freeloader III,” is tied up nearby. No one can be seen aboard.The town, which bought the property in January, wants to clean it up and will hold a public hearing Tuesday.

Love that attention to detail and the ability to establish a narrative at the same time. Prentiss, your award is in the mail, um, just as soon as we can figure out what that prize is.According to the P&C, Sen. Jake Knotts wants to protect whistle blowers who speak up during the Senate’s investigation of the S.C. Highway Patrol.

“The people who know best are the people who have had to live it,” said Knotts, R-West Columbia. “We need to make sure they have assurance there will be no repercussions.”Troopers have come forward privately over the years and more frequently recently, Knotts said. The fear of retribution, though, has stopped many from voicing their concerns publicly, he said.

That’s good and all, but who will protect us from Jake Knotts?Speaking of the HPD, The State reports that:

A special state Senate panel has launched an investigation into problems at the Department of Public Safety in the wake of allegations about how some troopers have treated black motorists.Sen. Glenn McConnell, R-Charleston, who led the Senate Judiciary subcommittee meeting Thursday, said information from the five-member panel will be used by the full Judiciary Committee to evaluate Gov. Mark Sanford’s nominee for the department director.

Call me crazy, but I’d say that while the senators probably want to get to the bottom of what’s going on at the HPD, you can be rest assured they’re also looking for a chance to give the governor a hard time.

Live 5 has the strangest story of the day, one that involves a School Board member and a proposal straight out of a late-night-drinking-session-smack-talk fest. (You know the kind I’m talking about, the one where you actually suggest that turning Manhattan into a gigantic prison makes sense, that the votes of the educated should count more than the stupid, and that, yes, Rocky D is occasionally funny.)

Charleston County School Board Vice-Chair Nancy Cook suggested sterilization as a way to reduce unwanted pregnancies, now she admits it was an extreme position.

On Thursday, April 3, 2008 during the 9am hour of WTMA’s “The Morning Buzz” Cook said the following:

“We’re not standing up as people and saying we’ve had enough of that. We’re not paying for another baby, maybe one, but after that we’re taking the baby and maybe you get sterilized. I know that sounds extreme…”

Regardless, her comments are raising a few brows.

“I don’t know what I said in the heat of the moment, what I was talking about, but I’m saying we have a problem,” Cook said

Welcome to my world, Nancy.