“Eggnog laced with Bourbon.”

One of the benefits of doing Christmas in Charleston, according to Travel + Leisure magazine’s Top 10 Christmas spots.

Scarborough’s Heart May Not Be In Appeal

Former Rep. Wallace Scarborough is challenging his Nov. 4 loss to Democrat Anne Peterson Hutto in front of the state House of Representatives, but comments he made to the City Paper in the run-up to the election have us wondering if his heart is really in it.

The State Election Commission confirmed the results earlier this month, but Scarborough continues to suggest more than 300 ballots were illegal and that the entire election should be thrown out. A rematch, without the Obama push behind it, could provide a different outcome.

But Scarborough told the City Paper in August that he wouldn’t be interested in running again in 2010 if he didn’t win the prized chairmanship of the powerful Labor, Commerce, and Industry Committee. That chairmanship went to Rep. Bill Sandifer (R-Oconee) earlier this month.

“I’ll be the first to say, if I don’t get this chairmanship, I don’t think I’ll run again because you hit the glass ceiling,” Scarborough said. “If I’m in the House and if I’m not constantly moving up and I’m not constantly being able to get things accomplished for my area, it’s time to give somebody else a chance.” —Greg Hambrick

District Budget Crunch Prompts School Shuffle

The Charleston County School District is proposing several options to address persistent budget shortfalls, including recommendations to shutter about a dozen schools countywide. For the peninsula, that would include closing Fraser Elementary and Charleston Progressive Academy at the end of the school year.

Charleston Progressive parent Renata Turner asked the board to do some soul-searching. “The parents, teachers, staff, and students are committed,” she said.

No one wants to see their neighborhood school closed, says Superintendent Nancy McGinley, but it should result in improved schools focused on strengthening opportunities and replicating success.

The district also would temporarily relocate Buist Academy and Memminger Elementary in 2010, rebuilding the schools to address seismic concerns. One proposal would have Buist middle school students remaining at the former Charleston Progressive campus, potentially adding up to 400 students to the magnet program. Funding for these changes hasn’t been identified yet.

The district would also relocate James Simmons Elementary School to the Rivers Campus and the Charleston Charter School for Math and Science would move move to the Archer campus. —Greg Hambrick

Redevelopment On Charleston’s Horizon

With few other opportunities for Charleston to grow on the peninsula, the City of Charleston is eyeing a $155 million redevelopment plan for the area of Lockwood and Fishburne that includes the municipal center and a healthy portion of the parking at Joe Riley Jr. stadium. The area is unpopulated and well positioned for a fresh coat of potential, with the help of partners like the Medical University of South Carolina and other medical and technology firms.

The Horizon Redevelopment Project, named for an existing side street that will be the center of the plan, is “a research-oriented urban infill development which seeks to advance the knowledge-based sector of the area’s economy,” says Mayor Riley. City Council was expected to take up final approval for the project at a meeting Tues., Dec. 16.

The area targeted for redevelopment is mostly the block between Lockwood Drive, Hagood Avenue, Fishburne Street, and the Crosstown Expressway. In order to facilitate redevelopment, the city will invest in street extensions, expanded public parks, and increased parking. Sitting on the site of a former landfill, one of the largest costs will be preparing the area for redevelopment.

The city will pay for Horizon by borrowing against the projected increase in property tax collections as the land is built out, as well as the increased taxes from surrounding properties that will see a positive impact from their new neighbors. —Greg Hambrick


That’s the estimated retail value of counterfeit Nike, Christian Dior, and Ralph Lauren apparel seized last week in Charleston by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. American industry loses an estimated $200 billion a year to the illegal use of trademarks and copyrights, so double check that your Polo horse has all four legs. Source: Department of Homeland Security

City Give Boys and Girls Club Christmas Cash

On the verge of closing its doors due to lack of funding, the Boys and Girls Club of the Trident Area’s Shaw Center will stay open through the end of the year, due to a $5,000 grant by the City of Charleston.

The Boys and Girls Club’s seven area sites are expected to close at least through January due to state budget cuts and a large drop in donations. The nonprofit is the largest provider of after-school programming in the area, with nearly 700 students depending on it daily as a place to go in between school and home.

The city provided the bridge money so the downtown center could stay open through the holidays, when working parents need it the most. Mayor Joe Riley called on others to offer their support to extend the life of the struggling program.

Unless the organization generates $250,000 by February, the students and employees of the Boys and Girls Clubs will be left looking for somewhere else to go. For the children who hang out and learn at the clubs after school, that could mean the streets. For the parents, it could mean hiring help or taking off from work.

Will McCormack, a manager and teacher at the Mary Street location, called the Shaw Center a safe haven for kids.

To offer support, visit www.bcga.org/clubs. —Hadley Lyman and Greg Hambrick