“They were afraid not to support me.”

GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, in Charleston recently, crediting celebrity supporter Chuck Norris for his campaign’s surge to the lead in some statewide and national polls. He also said that people are starting to pay attention to the campaign and getting in-depth opportunities to hear what he’s got to say. Unfortunately for him, that’s also included past comments on isolating AIDS patients and recent comments disparaging Mormons.

Back to One

Three members of the Charleston Fire Department’s Uniform Committee told News 4’s Sarah DeMarco last week that Fire Chief Rusty Thomas decided to go with T-shirts instead of the polo shirts the firemen had recommended. One of the many criticisms of the fire department after last June’s Sofa Store fire was Thomas’ unilateral role as the decider. When ushering in recommendations from an independent fire review team, Thomas seemed to be ready for the change — welcoming a new committee structure aimed at providing firefighters more input in decisions.

“This is not what we agreed upon,” Brian Rivers of Engine 8 told DeMarco of the T-shirts included in Thomas’ uniform plans.

It seems the boys wanted to look a little more dressy, but Thomas was going for a more casual, comfortable look. Earlier this year, Mayor Joe Riley lamented the loss of the stuffy polyester suits that turned out to be, themselves, a hazard. The firefighters are worried that these executive decisions will make the department’s new committee structure moot. —Greg Hambrick

Chamber against State Immigration Law

The Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce has backed away from suggestions the group’s Policy Committee made last month that a state solution on illegal immigration would be acceptable with conditions protecting diligent employers.

The full board voted last week to not support any state solution.

“In the end, we have come to the conclusion that the right place is the federal level,” says Charles Van Rysselberge, chamber president and CEO. “We need to use the power and influence of the business community and our state leadership to tell Congress they must find the solution.”

Hitting the campaign trail in just six months, state legislators will be excited to act on the issue early next year. —Greg Hambrick

“He was, at his own expense, sharing with a limited number of friends.”

Lawyers for former state Treasurer Thomas Ravenel, asking the court to grant probation instead of prison time for distributing cocaine to his friends. They were apparently painting his role as more of a philanthropic enabler instead of a drug dealer. The probation request also noted Ravenel’s “strong and distinguished” family was ready to help in his recovery and that prison would put Ravenel in contact with the criminal element he’s trying to get away from. Source: The Post & Courier

27

That’s the rank for Charleston’s Academic Magnet High School among U.S. News and World Reports top 100 schools in the nation. The peninsula’s Sanders-Clyde Elementary was also honored recently, selected as one of five schools in the state considered for the National Blue Ribbon Award, presented to schools that have excelled regardless of students’ disadvantages.

Second Amendment Weekend?

In advance of the legislative session that begins next month, State Rep. Michael Pitts, R-Laurens, has introduced a bill that would create a “Second Amendment Weekend.”

There may be ceremonial gun-shaped cakes, Kevlar wrapping paper, and Uzi pinatas that one would expect for such a festive holiday. But the legislation would also exempt taxes on firearms for the weekend after Thanksgiving. Because that’s what’s missing — an incentive to own guns.

Probability South Carolinians will be kissing under the hanging gun clip: 1 out of 10 —Greg Hambrick

$2 million

That’s how much South Carolina has spent annually on reducing teenage smoking, one of the lowest amounts spent in the country. Regardless, a recent report notes the state has cut smoking among high school students from 36 percent to 19 percent in eight years. Source: The Associated Press

Spike vs. Biscuit

Already tired of the usual suspects among presidential candidates? The newly renamed Charleston Animal Society has announced two more candidates who are more concerned about naps than nuclear weapons and more focused on treats than trade agreements. The society (formerly the Jon Ancrum SPCA) has launched the campaigns that offer Lowcountry pet owners a choice for president: Spike the dog or Biscuit the cat. Votes can be cast from now through February at www.spikevsbiscuit.org. Think of it as practice for November. —Greg Hambrick