Columbia Star


by John Temple Ligon

Leave a good thing alone

About 50 years ago according to Pee Dee legend, when the plans for I-95 were being developed, an entertaining delegation from Dillon’s South of the Border (SOB) visited Washington to convince lawmakers and their planners the new highway needed to tangentially pass by SOB. Washington worked that way then. In 2006, the new I-73 to Myrtle Beach appears to be missing Dillon and running west of Latta, but protests from Dillon could risk delays and maybe even some federal funding for the 90-mile stretch through South Carolina. Other Pee Dee officials and U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham are urging Dillon boosters to stay out of the process this time and simply be happy the highway is getting built.

Marriott smoke-free

Columbia’s Marriott Hotel at the corner of Hampton and Main will gain smoke-free status come September, as will all Marriott properties in Canada and the U.S. Currently 90% of Marriott’s rooms are smoke-free, as is the majority of its public spaces. Marriott’s second-quarter profit rose 35% to $186 million from $138 million a year earlier.

Ritzy Greenville

An 11-story hotel, spa and condo project, the Peacock Hotel, will open in downtown Greenville in the spring of 2008. Its 116 rooms of about 500 square feet each are expected to charge $250 per night. Also, the hotel will offer two suites of 1,000 square feet each. The 12 condos will sell at an average price above $1 million.

South Carolina Democrats take calendar advantage

In election year 2008, Democrats will oversee a caucus in Iowa on Monday, January 13, and a caucus in Nevada that Saturday, January 19, followed by New Hampshire’s primary on Tuesday, January 22.South Carolina’s primary is expected to come a week later, the second in the country.

The movies come to South Carolina

Death Sentence , a major motion picture starring Kevin Bacon, will be filmed in Columbia and its surrounding areas. The movie’s action is in Boston, and Columbia plays Boston.

Clemson gets on board

Planningprograms from workshops to film festivals, Clemson University trustees last week approved its proposed Center for the Visual Arts. Once under way, the center will joint venture projects with Clemson’s International Center for Automotive Research in Greenville. The president at Clemson, James Barker, is an architect.

Charleston transit

Last week the Charleston Area Transportation Authority (CARTA) picked up an additional $1.1 million in annual funding from the Charleston County Council for the next six years. With its newly found funding, CARTA plans to proceed with its park-and-ride commuter express plan.

South Carolina jobless

The second-worst unemployment in the nation, South Carolina’s jobless rate hit 6.7% in June. The worst in the country was Mississippi’s 7.1%. The nation’s unemployment rate was 4.6%, the same as in North Carolina.

And a few more jobless

Over the next two years, Modine Manufacturing will close its auto parts plant in Blythewood, laying off 170 workers.

Capital comes to the hydrogen capital

New Jersey-based Millennium Cell is planning a presence in USC’s fuel cell research center. In 2009, the National Hydrogen Association will hold its annual meeting in Columbia.

First Community on the rise

The holding company of First Community Bank, First Community Corporation, recently reported a gain in second-quarter income of 27.4%. The banking firm made $707,000 in the period a year ago, and this year, $901,000. First Community’s merger with the Bank of Camden was completed on June 9.

Fancy yourself a saucier?

Columbia’s Lake High is the go-to guy ( to hear about the S.C. Barbecue Association’s Barbecue Sauce Workshop, August 28, at the State Farmer’s Market. For word on the Carolina Q Cup Cook-off, October 6-7, also at the State Farmer’s Market, go to

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.