Tale of three cities
The Charleston Area Regional Transportation Authority (CARTA) ran a successful summer with Free Ride Fridays offered on the fourth Friday of June, July, August, and September. Here in Columbia, Richland County Council is setting up a citizens’ advisory committee (with no elected officials) for the CMRTA. In Greenville on Monday, November 27, the Greenville Area Transit Authority celebrated its 30th birthday with the warning it may have to cut all public bus service on weekends if it can’t bridge a $480,000 funding gap.
According to Houston-based law firm Fulbright & Jaworski, U.S. companies with revenue of $1 billion or more each handled on average more than 550 legal actions in 2005. The big companies spent an average of $20 million last year on suing or being sued.
Unlike local weeklies in central South Carolina, daily U.S. newspaper circulation fell 2.8% in the six-month period ending in September, according to the Newspaper Association of America.
Linda Schrenko, Georgia’s former state school superintendent, is in federal prison for embezzling $600,000 in federal education money. Her deputy superintendent and campaign manager for her failed 2002 gubernatorial bid, Merle Temple, reports this Friday, December 1, to an Edgefield County federal correctional institution. Described in court as Schrenko’s lover, Temple pled guilty to charges of conspiracy, theft of federal funds, and wire fraud.
Charlotte homeless on the way
According to the Charlotte Observer , on any given night in Mecklenburg County about 5,000 people must sleep on the street or in shelters. The local Salvation Army’s director, Deronda Metz, who has been with the organization 16 years, reported recently denying admission for the first time due to lack of beds. Word of Columbia’s homeless accommodation expansion plans should reach Charlotte soon enough.
S.C. unemployment rate for October was 6.6%, the third highest in the country. The nation’s unemployment rate for October was 4.4%.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 15.5% of the population of S.C. failed to fully afford food at some point in the last year. S.C. had the fourth highest rate of hunger in the country.
What’s next? A firecracker stand in the lobby?
Last week, Charlotte-based Bank of America signed a five-year deal as the official bank of NASCAR. Meanwhile, NASCAR is seeking to expand in China and western Europe by marrying its licensing, sponsorship and media expertise with local partners, according to The Financial Times.
According to the Institute for International Education, 2,493 South Carolina college students studied abroad last year, up 34% from a year earlier.
Kansas City, Mo., has the country’s second-highest amount of total retail space in the planning, bidding or post-bidding phases, according to Property & Portfolio Research Inc. Kansas City’s planned 18 million square feet of retail is second nationally to the 23 million for Phoenix. Kansas City’s metropolitan area population is about two million. If the combined population of Richland County and Lexington County followed Kansas City’s lead on a per capita basis, we should have maybe three-to-four million square feet of retail space under way.
Edward Liddy’s beach house on the South Carolina coast is not covered by the same insurer he uses for his home in Chicago which is Allstate Corporation. In catastrophe-prone coastal areas, Allstate won’t write many homeowner policies. Liddy is Allstate’s CEO and chairman.
Charleston Symphony Orchestra
The CSO is in a last-minute drive for new income. If the money doesn’t come in by February, the CSO will shut down. The CSO is the largest professional performing arts group in S.C. Mayor Joe Riley, a member of the CSO board, and the City of Charleston has raised the city’s annual contribution from $80,000 to $130,000, and the city will pay another $110,000 for the CSO performances during Spoleto. The Savannah Symphony Orchestra ran out of money and closed down in January 2003. The Charlotte orchestra finished 2005 with losses of almost $500,000. The N.C. Symphony in Raleigh is raising new money with its new music director. The S.C. Philharmonic in Columbia is searching for a new conductor.
Delta Woodside no more
On October 13, Fountain Inn-based textile company Delta Woodside filed for bankruptcy. In another two weeks, the company’s last employees will have to find work elsewhere. Its Duck Head brand, spun off by Delta Woodside and bought by Goody’s Family Clothing, had sales of $135 million for 2005.
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