“The buck stops here. … I haven’t done anything wrong, obviously.”

House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) taking responsibilty and, mere moments later, shucking said responsibility in regards to his questionable response to e-mails sent by former Fla. Rep. Mark Foley to underage Congressional pages. Source: The Associated Press

$6,000

That’s the winning bid at a Star Trek auction held last week at the Christie’s auction house by a man dressed as Capt. Jean Luc-Picard. His prize was a jumpsuit worn by Ron Perlman in Star Trek: Nemesis. “It’s with Picard then,” the auctioneer said. “A sentence I never thought I’d say.” Source: Reuters

75.7%

That’s the percent of federal targets Charleston County schools met this year, besting the state rate of 70.3 percent. Source: Charleston County School District

Taking on Mr. T ·

Business and minority leaders and parents has announced the formation of the Blue Ribbon Education Committee, an alternative to A-Team Arthur Ravenel, Lurline Fishburne, Ray Toler, and Robin Beard who have been campaigning as a slate of candidates for accountability on the school board. The A-Team’s criticisms have rubbed some the wrong way, as they’re expecting the group will try to toss out Superintendent Maria Goodloe-Johnson and her Charleston Plan for Excellence.
Businessman and grandparent Paul Hines and former state legislator Lucille Whipper say it’s time to combat the A-Team and its partisan Republican Party supporters.
“We’re here to elect a school board for the kids, not the politicians,” Hines says.
The anti-A-Team has rolled out its own endorsements, including incumbents Susan Simons and Gregg Meyers for East Cooper, lawyer Toya Hampton Green for District 20, and Realtor Ruth Jordan for the West Ashley district. The candidates stressed they aren’t running as a team, only accepting the generous endorsement.
The committee includes nonprofit leaders, including Jon Butzon from the Charleston Education Network, and others are recognized Democratic Party leaders, like Whipper. But they stressed they were forming the Blue Ribbon Commitee as individual citizens.
Aked about the Blue Ribbon Committee’s staying power, Hines sees a short future as long as the A-Team is defeated.
“It all depends on whether we’re needed or not,” he says. —Greg Hambrick

$1 million

That’s the state grant to 24 churches to participate in an HIV prevention initiative. Led by the South Carolina HIV/AIDS Council, the pilot program is targeting black churches. Source: The State

One

That’s all that this storm season seems to have left in it. Colorado State University hurricane expert William Gray downgraded his forecast for the 2006 Atlantic storm season last week, predicting one more hurricane and two more named storms. Source: The Associated Press

9

That’s the number of times 240-pound Kip Black was shot with a Taser gun by police last week in North Charleston. Black, who appeared to be causing a public disturbance when North Charleston police arrived, died soon after of unknown causes. Source: The Post and Courier

School violence, Moore gives little suggestion ·

The national story of school violence hit home last week when a student at Burke High School, upset with another student, left school and came back with what turned out to be a plastic M-16 and a plastic handgun. A call from the student to a friend inside the school alerted officials, who locked down the campus, and a school resource officer spotted the student when he made it back to campus and chased him off, eventually capturing him.
About an hour earlier, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tommy Moore was campaigning in front of James Simmons Elementary School a few blocks away. He’d come to talk about Gov. Mark Sanford’s education record, but attention was already on shootings in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Colorado. Moore had few specifics on how he thought South Carolina schools could improve safety.
“Is there room for improvement? Of course,” he says. “We need to listen to law enforcement and our mayors and assist them in every way we can,” he says. “I think government needs to be a partner with communities and churches to address those violence and discipline problems.”
Superintendent Maria Goodloe-Johnson says that each school has a crisis plan in place, but that new standards on locking doors will be in place by the end of the week and each school will have an emergency lockdown drill by Oct. 30.
“Our security procedures are in place and our goal is to make sure students are safe,” she says. —GH