Keep the Midlands Beautiful Seeks Teens for 2010-2011 Student Advisory Board

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Keep the Midlands Beautiful is now accepting applications for the 2010-2011 Student Advisory Board and Student Advisory Board Leadership Council.

The Keep the Midlands Beautiful Student Advisory Board, which is made possible through the support of Waste Management, will work with Keep the Midlands Beautiful to develop in-creased awareness of environmental issues and pursue community improvement projects in participating students’ schools and communities. Students will gain leadership skills and valuable community ser-vice experience, while also connecting with like-minded students from other schools.

The 2010-2011 Student Advisory Board will be comprised of up to 60 students from public and private schools in Richland and Lexington Counties. Members will serve on the board for the 2010-2011 school year and are required to attend a fall workshop and to participate in at least two service projects during the school year.

Applications are required and are due April 30, 2010. Full details and the application form are available at   Applicants will be notified by May 14.

Benjamin Elected First Black Mayor of Columbia

“Well, hello Columbia!”

Those were the first words that Mayor-Elect Steve Benjamin said into the microphone Tuesday night when he greeted a jubilant crowd at his official campaign party held at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center.

The evening began early, around 6:30p.m., with a number of local news broadcast crews and newspaper journalists establishing themselves in the optimal location to capture the evening’s events. Within the next hour and a half, the crews had grown to nearly 1,000 supporters. The atmosphere continued to grow with excitement as the first poll numbers were released, showing Benjamin the leader by 200 votes. But there was a long way to go, as only five precincts were in.

Over the next hour, the margin between the candidates widened as more precincts closed and votes were reported. With each poll update announcement, the cheers grew louder and louder as the crowd anticipated what seemed to be, a clear victory.

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Silver Foxes remain in hunt with semi-final round win over Wildcats

COLUMBIA-The hunt for a Girls 4A state championship is still very much on for the Silver Foxes of Dutch Fork High School.

This ambitious search for distinct identity among state prep teams in their class moved one step closer to reality on the heels of the Silver Foxes decisive 70-37 win over West Ashley in a Lower State semi-final round game Tues. night (Feb. 23), at Dutch Fork.

With the win,  Faye Norris’ surging Silver Foxes move on to face-off against Goose Creek for the Lower State title Fri. night (Feb. 26) at The Citadel. Tip-off time for this game is set for 7 p.m.


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Supreme Corporations

I am Texan by birth and Southern by acculturation. My family would attest I’m not beyond relating stories that mysteriously expand upon each re-telling. Given my trade, I read much of Madison, Hamilton, Story and Marshall. But, truth told, I prefer Mark Twain, Will Rogers, Woody Guthrie and Huey Long. I do not find hyperbole completely uncongenial.
That conceded, I find no words to convey adequate outrage over Friday’s U.S. Supreme Court decision, in the Citizens United case, to radically untether corporate spending in our electoral politics. It is bizarrely anti-democratic. It overtly robs the American people of any conceivable tool to prevent a complete slide into mocking, cynical, purchased, cash-register politics. It marks the court as mere shill for the dominance of economic privilege. Unmolested, it will lead to both democratic and constitutional crises. It is a ruling that will come to reside, deservedly, in infamy.

By a slim majority, the court reached beyond the factual dispute before it to reshape the way elections are conducted. Justice Anthony Kennedy’s stunning opinion overruled two recent, major precedents – one from 1990 and one from 2003. Giving the back of the hand to statutes like the Tillman Act that have placed limits on campaign spending by business entities for over a century, the justices determined corporations must be treated like human beings in the political sphere.


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Lady Gamecocks suffer another disheartening setback

Dawn Staley and her Lady Gamecock basketball team seemingly can’t catch a break, as the current (hoops) season moves toward the end of regular play.

Losing a close game to Mississippi State, at Colonial Life Arena (CLA), Staley’s charges suffered another stinging defeat at the same on campus facility just days later, when they were beaten 72-68 by Arkansas in a Southeastern Conference (SEC) contest Sun.(Feb.14).

The loss to the 10-14,3-9 SEC Razorbacks, who were down to them by 18, with a little over eight minutes left in league duel, all but eliminated the Lady Gamecocks (13-12,6-7) from NCAA Women postseason championship competition.


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Does He See You?

I finally saw the blockbuster movie, Avatar.

There’s one part in the movie in which Jack Sully says to his alien-like love interest Neytiri, “I see you.” Of course he sees her. I mean, she’s standing right there in front of him. But that’s not what he meant. He meant, “I see you; I feel you; you are as much of a part of me as this heart that beats inside of my chest.” Although I saw that line coming from a mile away, it nevertheless had a significant impact on me.

While I was driving home in silence after the movie, I couldn’t help but think back to a past relationship that I admit, took me for a bit of a spin. That was one guy that I thought really saw me. But here, years later, it is clear that he didn’t. When a man sees you, he will do what Jack Sully did… give up the things that are comfortable and familiar to him to make things work with you. Now I know Avatar is just a movie; a fairy tale, no less. But the overall message still rings true. When a man really sees you, he will move mountains. I’ve seen it happen. How many men do you know who were living the life… I mean parties, women, fun, rock and roll… only to let it all go when he met her.


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Closing offshore areas to fishing will imperil jobs and the coastal economy

Imagine a vast area off the South Carolina coast that’s closed to fishing, stretching north from the Georgia border for nearly 150 miles to near McClellanville.
Now imagine the impacts that the closed area would have on recreational, commercial, and charter boat fishermen, and businesses such as hotels, restaurants, marinas, boat dealers and suppliers, and bait and tackle stores, that all depend on offshore fishermen–both from in and out of state—for nearly all of their income. 
What you just imagined may very well come true if  the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (SAFMC) approves closing a nearly 10,000 square mile area in the South Atlantic to fishing in an effort to protect red snapper, of which 3,500 square miles are off the South Carolina coast.

This despite the fact that the National Marine Fisheries Service has already imposed a total closure of the red snapper fishery and red snapper landings in South Carolina account for just 11 percent of the total landings in the South Atlantic region.

Clearly closing fishing areas off this state is not justified by the facts and would cause severe economic hardship to the state and its coastal counties, including the significant loss of jobs for South Carolinians at a time when job creation is badly needed.


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Do Black People As a Race Still Have Something to Prove?

I was privileged enough to attend the opening night of Black Eagles, a stage play written by Leslie Lee and produced by Twin Productions . The play, which was held at the Patriot Hall Performing Arts Center in Sumter, SC, sang the praises of the Tuskegee Airmen. I say I was privileged to attend the event because in addition to the performance of 12 fine community theatre actors, was a real life Black Eagle, Leroy Bowman. Mr. Bowman still lives in Sumter and I was honored to be in his presence. I just wish more people were there to witness the tribute paid to him.

We all know the story of the Tuskegee Airman, right? In case you don’t: the Tuskegee Airmen were the first African American military aviators in the United States armed forces. During World War II, blacks in many U.S. states were still subject to Jim Crow laws. The American military itself was racially segregated. As a result, the Tuskegee Airmen were subject to racial discrimination, both within and outside the Army. Despite these adversities, they flew with distinction. The Tuskegee Airmen were particularly successful in their missions as bomber escorts in Europe.

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