Columbia Star

1963        Celebrating 60 Years      2023


Passenger rail study grant The City of Charleston and the S.C. Dept. of Transportation have applied for a $500,000 grant to study a high–speed intercity passenger rail line connecting Savannah, Charleston, Florence, and Raleigh. If the grant is awarded, a $125,000 match is required, and Charleston has agreed to find the $125,000. The SCDOT has also applied for another $500,000 to study a statewide rail plan, and that grant requires a $125,000 match, too. Each of the studies is expected to take 18 months to complete.



School improvement grant The S.C. Dept. of Education has been awarded a $14.9 million federal grant to help state educators improve student achievement, teacher performance, and school quality by putting together a statewide longitudinal data system, creating a foundation for the integration of the data systems of early childhood, K–12, and postsecondary education. By expanding the current student data system, the state plans to create the S.C. Longitudinal Information Center for Education, called SLICE, which should meet federal requirements for collaboration with the state’s higher education.

Musicians balk The Charleston Symphony Orchestra musicians recently rejected a plan proposed for a scaled–back eight–performance 2010–2011 season. The orchestra’s board suspended operations due to a cash shortage. The musicians were mostly offered a salary of about $3,600 plus a benefits package worth also $3,600. Working on average about 15 hours for each of eight performance weekends, the musicians would make roughly $60 per hour.

Sheraton Columbia first The Sheraton Columbia Downtown Hotel has been announced as the first corporate partner of USC’s alumni association. Members of the Carolina Alumni Association are offered discounts at the hotel.

Drilling continues, of course Since the April 20 blowout at the BP offshore rig in the Gulf of Mexico, federal regulators have granted at least 19 environmental waivers for gulf offshore drilling projects and at least 17 drilling permits. Even after President Obama announced a moratorium on permits for drilling new offshore oil wells, at least seven new permits for drilling and five environmental waivers have been granted,

according to The New York Times.

Jobless For the third straight month, S.C.’s jobless rate fell. The unemployment rate in S.C. was 11.6 percent in April. The national jobless rate for April was up 0.2 percentage points to 9.9 percent.

Pharmacy college’s first graduation The merged school that combined USC and the Medical University of S.C. pharmacy schools this month graduated its 183 students in the class of 2010, the merged school’s first.

Atlanta gets a new business school building, too Georgia State University has hired architect Robert A. M. Stern, the master planner for projects at Georgetown University and Harvard Law School, for its new business school building. Stern designed the National Advocacy Center at the corner of Pickens and Pendleton. Stern worked with Columbia’s Watson Tate Savory Architects on the NAC. He was the dean of the architecture school at Columbia University when he designed the NAC, and for about the past 10 years he has been dean at Yale.

Boeing impact According to the Alliance for S.C.’s Future, the Boeing Co. will add $6.1 billion to S.C.’s economy each year and tack on almost $3 billion to state tax revenues over 30 years.

Rifles Palmetto State Armory will invest about $3 million to locate a new facility in Richland County, generating up to 50 jobs. The new facility will manufacture rifles. The company has been operating as an online retailer for the past two years.

Shoes Adidas, the athletic shoe manufacturer, recently opened the newest expansion of its distribution center in Spartanburg, now totaling 2 million square feet and employing around 1,200 workers. This is Adidas’s largest distribution center worldwide.

Mayor–elect envisions law school building Mayor–elect Steve Benjamin thinks the adaptive re–use of the former SCANA headquarters, aka Palmetto Center, as USC’s law school building works as good economics for both USC and Columbia’s Main Street. The law school could lease the 450,000 sq. ft. building, leaving it in private tax–paying hands that could also then depreciate the building for tax purposes, which USC could not. Benjamin cites the mutual benefits between SCAD and downtown Savannah as an example of what could happen on Columbia’s Main Street. The Palmetto Center is about the same distance from President Pastides in his Osborne Building office as is the current law school building across Assembly Street from the Coliseum.

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