Columbia Star

1963        Celebrating 60 Years      2023


by John Temple Ligon

Voter turnout

According to a study by the Palmetto Project, South Carolina ranked 43rd in the USA in voter turnout for the November 2006 election. In 2002, the state’s turnout was ranked 36th; and for 1998, 28th. Last November, only about 35% of eligible voters actually cast ballots, which meant 65% of those who could vote did not.

Blythewood water, or lack thereof

Columbia- based developer Clif Kinder shut down his development plans for a 249- acre site in Blythewood. Called Blythewood Farms, the 700- home upscale residential development was called off due to lack of adequate water supply.

Bank start- ups

Through the third quarter of 2006, South Carolina recorded five new bank start- ups, which matched the number in Illinois, New Jersey, Tennessee, and Texas. Florida had 14; Georgia, 15; and California, 17, the largest number of bank start- ups in one state in the country. In Georgia, 11 of the 15 start- ups were in the Atlanta metropolitan area.

Greenville’s good idea

Greenville’s privately owned convention center, the Palmetto Expo Center, was bought by the city in 2001 from the Textile Hall Corporation for $6.7 million. A $22 million renovation is planned. Hospitality and accommodations tax funds will carry $11 million of the renovation. The state is expected to kick in $7 million, and the federal government, $1 million. The remaining $3 million comes from Carolina First Bank. For the $3 million contribution, Carolina First gets the convention center’s name changed to Carolina First Center. All of the $22 million is in hand.

Single women

In the United States, 51% of the 15- and- older women are separated, divorced, widowed, or never married; in South

Carolina, 50.4%.

Hydrogen, feasible alternative to oil

The H- Prize Act was introduced to the 109th Congress by South Carolina’s Senator Lindsay Graham and Representative Bob Inglis. The act passed in the House 416- 6, but it stalled in the Senate. Graham and Inglis are reintroducing the bill to the 110th Congress. The bill awards three prize categories: (1) $20 million, paid out with four $1 million prizes every two years, for advances in the use, production, storage, and distribution of hydrogen. (2) $20 million, paid out with one prize of $4 million every two years, for working hydrogen- fueled vehicle prototypes. (3) $10 million for a grand prize over the next 10 years for a break- through discovery putting hydrogen into wide use.

Michelin scores with the military

The U.S. military recently contracted with Greenville- based Michelin North America to manage its complete ground- tire program under a 10- year contract worth $1.7 billion, good for almost four million tires. Michelin employs more than 7,600 South Carolinians, including 1,500 in Lexington County.

Chief Justice Toal wants more judges

At the S.C. Bar convention in Charleston last week, S.C. Chief Justice Jean Toal complained S.C. has the highest number of filings per trial judge in the country and also the lowest number of judges per 100,000 people.

Lawyers want to get paid

Last week, the South Carolina Bar said the state’s court-appointed attorneys are providing $50 million to $60 million worth of services for a payment total of about $5 million. Attorneys are appointed by judges to represent indigents. The S.C. Bar recommends the payment total be increased to at least $16 million, which could carry the court- appointed attorneys at an hourly rate of $75.

Charleston’s Krawcheck slips, somewhat

Sallie L. Krawcheck, 42, the chief financial officer of Citigroup Inc. and originally a Charlestonian, was reassigned last week to head the company’s brokerage and private banking business, a position she held two years ago. As head of Citigroup’s global wealth management, Krawcheck replaces Todd Thomson who, reportedly, is leaving the company to pursue other interests.

Auto rates trimmed by State Farm

For the past four years, State Farm’s overall rates have declined by almost 10%. Liability rates, however, have gone up due to legislative actions requiring minimum coverage for personal injury in an accident to rise from $15,000 to $25,000, for total personal injury to increase from $30,000 to $50,000, and for property damage to increase from $10,000 to $25,000.

First Steps

South Carolina First Steps to School Readiness has money available in 37 school districts across the state for children to attend pre- approved private four- year- old kindergartenclasses. Children must turn four years old by Sept. 1 and qualify for free or reduced lunch or Medicaid to be eligible. For more information, visit or call 803.734.0479.

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