COMMUNITY UPDATE: July 2009

We’re at the halfway point of summer and I hope you and your family have had a chance to relax and spend time together at the lake, beach, mountain or wherever it is you can relax (and try to stay cool)!

As you can tell, I haven’t written as many blog posts this summer but will be more regular now that our vacations are behind us . For the first time in several years, I didn’t have a monthly update (June). Sorry about that! Come back often and let me know your thoughts!

STATE HOUSE

What more can I say after the shocking news from the State House last month? Before I left for vacation, I shared my thoughts here and here on my blog. Again, I can only hope that something good can come out of all this for our state. Certainly my prayers are with Mrs. Sanford, the boys and our Governor during these times.

Focusing on our state is what we need to be doing though and the House Republican Caucus will be meeting next month to share our ideas and agenda items we’d like to see pass next session. Since January 2010 marks the last year of this two-year session, we’ll need to focus on building consensus (within party, with Democrats, with Senate, with Governor’s Office) if we are to make real improvements in jobs, education, healthcare, our tax system and the overall well-being of our citizens. Any legislation that does not pass by next June will be dead.

YOUR MONEY

While the overall economy is struggling, there are a few things we can all do to help stretch our dollar . One thing my family does when we go out to east is try to take advantage of Kids Eat Free nights . Karen also uses coupons at the grocery store, we buy generic items (mostly), and she’s a regular with the “1 cent coupon” at Publix. You can also save a little bit on gas by driving a few more blocks down the road or using Kroger, Sams, Walmart cards. Many folks are also refinancing as mortgage rates continue to hover around 5%. If you can get a home equity loan to payoff higher-rate credit cards, I’d recommend that because Prime is very low now (beware, it can – and will – go up though). You can buy clothes from consignment stores or Ebay and you can also sell clothes there as well. Lastly (and I’ll admit we do NOT do this here at home) you can turn up your thermostat a little and water your yard a little less.

Those aren’t earth shattering actions but if you aren’t already doing some, you might want to consider. I’d be curious to learn of other ideas you have too. Please feel free to share with the readers!

COMMUNITY

I’ll be hosting a COMMUNITY COOKOUT next month that I hope you can attend. I first hosted the event two years ago and was pleased to see almost every local elected official in attendance. When elected officials stay in touch regularly (instead of just during an election year), I feel we are better able to do our job. This cookout is a great way for you to meet/talk with school board members, mayors, county council members, town council members, Representatives, Senators, and statewide elected officials. I’ll post more information later but go ahead and put down Tuesday, August 18th at the Rusty Anchor in Chapin on your calendar. Much like the Irmo Community Prayer Breakfast that Rep. Huggins and I started 4 years ago, this cookout is an event I hope will continue for many years to come!

RICHLAND 101: From 9 a.m. to 1 p.m, July 23, children ages 6-12 can learn about county government at Dutch Square Center. A free lunch will be provided. Children will learn about animal care, climb inside a firetruck, and ambulance and talk insets with the county’s bug man – among other activities. For more information or to register call 576-2067 or click here.

LEAGUE OF CHAMPIONS: The Irmo Little League has again produced state champions this season! Coaches Pitch, Minors and Majors leagues all had state/division championship teams. Some will go on to represent our state in national tournaments later this week and next month!

NATIONAL NIGHT OUT: Since my August update might not go out the first week, I wanted you to know August 4, 2009 is National Night Out. Last year I rode with Law Enforcement and attended events in various neighborhoods. If your neighborhood is having events that night, please let me know and I’ll try to arrange to be there. Last year I again visited Waterford, Riverwalk, and the Village at Hilton.

SPIRIT OF LAKE MURRAY: NathansNews readers already know about the newest vessel on Lake Murray. Joining the Southern Patriot will be the Spirit of Lake Murray (hosting Sunday lunch cruises this summer). Now there are two great ways to enjoy the crown jewel of the midlands – Lake Murray!

SCHOOLS

Last month, I mentioned that our school district was now on Twitter . You can get insight from following the district there or, of course, the district’s website . I had lunch with Dr. Berg last month and appreciated his frank, open conversation about where our district was, what got us here, and his vision on where he’d like to go next. Board Members already confirming their attendance at this year’s community cookout are Carol Sloop, Jan Hammond, Roberta Ferrell, and Ellen Baumgardner.

In late May, I announced the 2009 Ballentine Scholarship Winners . Every year the selections get more difficult as our district has outstanding bright minds with leadership qualities! During graduation ceremonies this year, I was pleased to learn of the highlights of our Class of 2009 in District Five: scholarship money, National Merit Scholars, sports/club state championships, etc!

THANK YOU

Thanks again for the privilege to serve you in Columbia! If you have events or people you’d like me to share with the community through Nathan’s News, please let me know and I’ll do my best to help!

I’m always eager to spend time with you at your Homeowners Association Meetings, Churches, and other civic events in the community! Let me know dates and times and I’ll work to be there!

Please contact my office, 734-2969, or contact me here through Nathan’s News anytime I can help!

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