COMMUNITY UPDATE: November 2007

Here’s this month’s regular update to keep you informed of what’s going on in the State House and in our community! If you have events you’d like me to share on the site, please email me at BallentineN@scstatehouse.net and be sure to put the word CONSTITUENT in the subject line so that I can reply to your email before the hundreds of others I receive daily.

STATE HOUSE

In two months (January 8, 2008) the Legislature will reconvene for the second year of the 117th South Carolina General Assembly.

It should be a very interesting year (all 170 House and Senate members up for re-election, budget concerns, etc) and I need to know what you feel should be our priorities this year. Next Tuesday I will be meeting again with several of my colleagues to discuss the direction we hope to move our state in 2008. Items I will continue to share with them and work towards providing solutions are improving education, improving our roads, slowing down government spending, growing jobs in our state, and to sum it up: “just getting us off the bottom of every list in the country.” These aren’t just my ideas. These are topics I hear from you regularly when I’m in the grocery store, at church, or visiting your Homeowners Association meetings.

We will have two dates prior to January 8 that we can pre-file legislation: December 5 and December 12. It’s best to get bills filed earlier; however, that doesn’t mean they have a better chance of passing. It does mean they have a quicker chance of being debated in subcommittees or committees and then ultimately in the House and Senate chambers. Any bill that did not pass both bodies last year is still “alive” in the legislative process. Any bill that does not pass before June 2008 though will be “dead” and the process starts all over again.

If you know a college student who would like to serve as my page for the 2008 session, please have the student call my office (734-2969) and email me his/her resume. Page appointments must be made by December 1 and I want to obviously give preference to members of my district. Pages must be able to work 15 hours from Monday through Friday during the months of January through June.

YOUR MONEY

Did you buy groceries yesterday? If so, you may have noticed savings that weren’t there before yesterday. As part of the Property Tax Relief Act that we passed, the grocery tax (on unprepared food) has now been eliminated! That started yesterday, November 1.

Have you seen your property tax bill? (Lexington County bills have been mailed and Richland County bills will be mailed November 6). If you’ve seen them, you’ve no doubt noticed a nice savings from your previous bills in the past. Savings you asked for when you sent me to Columbia. I listened and I delivered.

Lastly, I’m trying to save you a little bit more if you have a high school senior who plans to attend USC, Clemson, Winthrop, or Midlands Tec next year. Please have your senior check with his/her guidance counselor in January to apply for one of five scholarships I give to students living in House District 71. These scholarships are named in memory of family members and their respective alma maters. There are three $1,000 scholarships for USC, Clemson, and Winthrop and two $500 scholarships for Midlands Tec. Past winners have been an impressive bunch of young men and women.

COMMUNITY

It’s not often two Presidential candidates visit our community within days of each other! Tomorrow, Senator John McCain will be at Hot Dog Heaven (7444 Broad River Road) at 8:45 a.m. Please call 771-4465 to RSVP for the event. Also, next Wednesday, Governor Mitt Romney will be at Gatsbee’s in the Irmo Village beginning at 9:00 a.m. These events are open to anyone! Both these men are seeking the GOP nomination to be our country’s next President.

Congratulations to the following student-athletes: Dutch Fork Football players McKenzie Dowd (6-5, 272 OL) and Maxwell Travis (6-2, 270 OL) were named to the 2007 NC/SC Shrine Bowl! Named to the SCADA North/South Game were two more Silver Foxes, BJ Sumter (6-0, 291 OL) and Assistant Coach Al Berry.

Oak Pointe Elementary has selected their representatives to the District Honor Choir for 2007-2008 year. You can see these students by clicking here.

The Ballentine-Dutch Fork Civic Association will meet Monday, November 5th at the Community Center in Ballentine Park. The meeting begins at 7pm and topics discussed will be Incorporation Efforts and the December 8 Christmas Party.

The 12th Annual Greater Irmo Chamber of Commerce Auction is November 8. Silent Auction starts at 5:30 and the Live Auction begins around 7pm. The Radisson Hotel Columbia & Conference Center (Bush River/I20) will host the event with Carrabba’s Italian Grill serving at 6:30pm. Tickets are $20 per person or $30 per couple. Please contact the Chamber Office or purchase tickets at the door the night of the event.

The Chapin Chamber of Commerce is having a Holiday Open House that began last night and goes through Saturday. Please visit several local merchants who will be open extended hours during these days with several discounts and special events….it’s time to begin thinking about Christmas!

Irmo may host the Columbia Inferno soon! The Irmo Chapin Recreation Commission voted Friday afternoon to sell 26.44 acres to Lexington County and 8 acres to an unidentified developer for an arena site near the intersection of St. Andrews and Bush River roads. The Columbia Inferno Friday night acknowledged plans to build a new arena on the former BC Components site, tucked behind the Bi-Lo, Wendy’s and Aldi’s on St. Andrews Road. The arena entrance likely would be from Bush River Road. The Lexington Events Center, a multi-purpose arena for hockey, concerts and sporting events, will be developed by Ribeau Entertainment. The company was put together by Inferno owners Ezra Riber and Sam Imbeau.

SCHOOLS

In case you’ve been under a rock or haven’t read The State or The New Irmo News for the past several weeks…. our community will vote next Tuesday, November 6, on a Bond Referendum put forth by the Lexington/Richland School District Five Board of Trustees. You can read many posts about this topic on my blog and I’m sure between now and next Tuesday there will be much more in newspapers, on TV, and in your mailbox. Whatever your opinion, please make your voice heard by voting on this important matter. Do not sit this one out.

As the high school season winds down (or should I say just gets started) I hope you’ll continue to support our local teams! Chapin has a final regular season game at Hilton Head while the playoffs begin for Dutch Fork (at Conway) and Irmo (home against North Augusta).
If volleyball is more to your liking, please attend the State Volleyball Championships at Dutch Fork High School this Saturday. Four state titles will be held in the Silver Foxes’ Gymnasium.

THANK YOU

First – a special thanks to those veterans who have served our country proud! November 11 is Veteran’s Day and I was pleased to learn today that at least one school is holding a program to recognize the event. Next Friday, November 9, The Lake Murray Elementary School Third Graders will read America’s White Table written by South Carolinian Margot Theis Raven. I’m glad to see our students remembering this occasion. I hope you will remember it in your own way by thanking those who served and those who are currently serving.

Thanks, too, for visiting the site! Please let your friends and neighbors know about it so that they can stay as informed as possible.

You have given me a great honor by choosing me to represent you in the South Carolina House of Representatives and I remain as committed as ever to staying in touch. Please contact my office, 734-2969, or email me at BallentineN@scstatehouse.net anytime I can be of service to you or your family.

Nathan Ballentine
www.nathanballentine.com
House of Representatives, District 71
Richland-Lexington Counties
320A Blatt Building
Columbia, SC 29221