COMMUNITY UPDATE: August 2009

Once again last month, I enjoyed meeting with several of you in your neighborhoods and around the community! Thank you for your kind words of support and advice. I also appreciate it when you share concerns or ask questions that you may have about what’s going on in Columbia. Talking face-to-face with you, I’m better able to clear up any misconceptions or provide more insight to blog posts I’ve written.

While summer’s almost over, I hope you’ll have a chance for one more “day off” or “weekend away” with your family before school starts.

STATE HOUSE

Since I was first elected, many of you have called for guided tours of the State House. I’m always happy to arrange those for you, your family, or relatives coming to town but; unfortunately starting this week, the State House will now be closed on weekends. The building and the gift shop will only be open Monday-Friday.

Yes, this is just one of the very minor impacts of the falling revenues we are still experiencing in our state.

Later this month, I’m meeting with several colleagues (Republicans and Democrats) to discuss how we can work on lifting our state up from what seems to always be the “bottom of the rankings”. As always I appreciate those that share ideas here on NathansNews and also those of you who email me with your advice and suggestions.

It’s my hope that all elected officials will be focused on results and outcomes instead of being distracted this year.

YOUR MONEY

The 2009 Sales Tax Holiday weekend will begin Friday,August 7, 2009 at 12:01 a.m. and end Sunday, August 9, 2009 at midnight.

During this time, the 6% state sales and use tax, and any applicable local sales and use tax, will not be imposed on clothing, clothing accessories (e.g., hats, scarves, hosiery, and handbags), footwear, school supplies (e.g., pens, pencils, paper, binders, notebooks, books, bookbags, lunchboxes, and calculators), computers, printers and printer supplies, computer software, and bath wash clothes, blankets, bed spreads, bed linens, sheet sets, comforter sets, bath towels, shower curtains, bath rugs and mats, pillows, and pillow cases. The sales tax holiday, however, does not apply to sales of jewelry, cosmetics, eyewear, wallets, watches, furniture, rental of clothing or footwear, items for use in a business, or items placed on layaway or similar deferred payment and delivery plans.

If you’re not sure what is and what is not exempt this weekend, you can check by going to the SC Department of Revenue Frequently Asked Questions Page.

COMMUNITY

National Night Out : Tuesday, August 4th, is the 26th Annual “National Night Out”. For the past few years, I’ve attended several neighborhood events but I’m disappointed to report that this year, Richland County Sheriff’s Department and I only know about three events taking place: Riverwalk and Misty Glen will have nieghborhood walks and Woods Edge will host an ice cream social at 6:30 p.m. in their community room.

Community Cookout: I’ll be hosting this year’s gathering in two weeks that I hope your family and neighbors can make ito the Rusty Anchor on August 18th starting at 6 p.m. 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. Don’t forget to RVSP!

Get involved! If you’re a constituent living in Richland County, we need your services to assist with the Richland County Transporation Committee. Last week on NathansNews, I mentioned how I’m accepting letters of interest/resumes. To learn more about this opportunity, please read that July 30th post.

Saturday in the Park: In two weeks (August 15), Irmo’s last Saturday in the Park of the year will take place in the park. Come hear “Not Necessarily the Band” perform starting around 6pm.

WalMart opens: Additional savings comes to our area! Located only 3.4 miles from my house, the doors open in two weeks (August 19)! Originally there was much concern and many questions but I think everyone can now agree the building is very aesthetically pleasing and the road improvements (widening, lights, repaving…all on WalMart’s dime) will help with the ingress/egress.

Concert of Hope for the Homeless: Come join us on Saturday, August 22, 12:00 – 5:00 pm on Gateway’s campus for a Concert of Hope for the Homeless. All proceeds will benefit the Oliver Gospel Mission. Entertainment and music to include Bluegrass, Jazz, Beach, Country, Contemporary, Calypso, Christian, Gospel, and Dance Teams. Only $5 per car. Food vendors on site.

SCHOOLS

Back to School Time! Yep, summer’s almost over and soon the buses will be running and the halls will be filled with our children. On a personal note, Sarah will be starting middle school this year and her little brother JC will start kindergarten! Where does the time go? For more District Five information, visit their back-to-school link at the website. If you’re like me, you’re following the District on Twitter or Facebook and staying informed that way too!

Months ago there was much heartburn over the federal stimulus package sent from Washington to help prop up state budgets. As you know, that money was finally accepted in our state and District Five has been able to restore some jobs and put half the stimulus money in reserve.

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