“If consumers are increasingly aware of trans fat, where do they expect to find it if not in fast-food restaurants?”

U.S. District Judge James Robertson, before throwing out a suit brought against KFC for the trans fats that were once found in their fried foods. The company says that it has stopped using trans fats. Source: CNN

Paper Boy Turned Developer

Evening Post Publishing, parent company of the Post and Courier, is stepping out of the print and press business and into the role of real estate developer. The company recently announced it was trying to figure out what do with the 12 acres of urban wasteland surrounding its King Street headquarters.

“We got into the real estate business more out of necessity than through any predetermined plan,” says Pierre Manigault, president and CEO of Evening Post. “Our holdings on the peninsula came to be through some 50 years of randomly buying properties adjacent to the newspaper offices as they became available. I think most were purchased with expansion of the company in mind, as well as to ensure that any future redevelopment would be done properly. In the past few years, as King Street’s rebirth has moved uptown, we have come to realize that — like it or not — we are in the real estate business.”

Evening Post announced late last year that it would expand its business ventures with a new digital division and a magazine and book publishing arm that includes the new Garden and Gun magazine, on newsstands now. But the real estate business is a much sharper diversion from the company’s media-based core and puts the paper in the unique position of becoming the news. The P&C ran an article last month highlighting the property’s potential and the excitement among city planners and neighboring developers over what exactly the company will do with it, which remains to be seen.

It’s unusual for newspaper companies to stick their feet in development waters, says Bill Rogers, executive director of the South Carolina Press Association, but it’s not unheard of. The publishers of a Seneca newspaper also own shopping malls, and empires like the New York Times and USA Today, among others, have built massive headquarters and sold off or leased space in their buildings. And it’s not just real estate that newspapers are trying their hands at. The Chicago Tribune‘s recent sale included a promise that the media company would dispose of its decades-long stake in the Chicago Cubs.

While some may question the conflict that a newspaper might face in covering its own development, others could argue there’s no one better to develop a property than a company so invested in the community.

The real estate division may be hard at work on the downtown property, but the company won’t be touching its 17,000 acres of timberland. Unlike other paper companies that are selling off large tracts at a profit, Evening Post is dedicated to preserving its timberland and has placed conservation easements on several tracts.

“This company has a tremendous conservation ethic, and we will continue to practice it and preach it,” Manigault says. —Greg Hambrick


That’s the number of killings in the City of Charleston this year after a shooting on N. Nassau St. on May 6 that left two men dead. Source: The Post and Courier

“I would support Charlie for anything else, but that would be a major disaster.”

Sen. Robert Ford (D-Charleston) on the governor’s planned appointment of former state Attorney General Charlie Condon to the S.C. State Ports Authority Board of Directors. Condon played a role in the prosecution of union workers after a 2000 riot, leading Ford and others to question Condon’s selection. Source: Post and Courier


Blissful Buzz

When it comes to happy hour, S.C. politicians get things done. At 4:23 p.m. on May 2, Gov. Sanford signed bill H. 3218 into law, allowing bars and stores to sell craft beer with an alcohol percentage of up to 17.5 percent by volume. Microbreweries can now legally distribute high-gravity beers and barleywines, further inching S.C. out of its blue-lawed, Dark Age hole. Cheers to Pop the Cap S.C. for their hard work getting the bill passed, and keep an eye out for Charleston’s own craft ale house, Coast Brewing Co., to open at Noisette this summer. —Stratton Lawrence

Teenagers who are Smarter than You

What do you know about nanotechnology? Three Wando High School students know quite a bit, and recently won first prize in the 2007 ExploraVision Awards, a national contest to “encourage kids to create and explore a vision of future technology by combining their imaginations with the tools of science.” Christopher Mullin, Jonathan Heywood, and Joseph Rivers received the award for their Self Constructing Nano-Collector Molecules project, “employing nanotechnology in the design of a (kidney) dialysis system” to clean the blood and “deposit foreign bodies into an artificial kidney.” The system is not only more efficient than conventional dialysis, it’s less intrusive. Essentially, it’s an artificial kidney that eliminates the need for spending hours a day hooked up to a bag. Someone give these guys a scholarship. —Stratton Lawrence