COMMUNITY UPDATE: September 2009

With the dog-days of summer behind us, we’re full steam ahead into another school year! I imagine I’ll see many of y’all at one of the local high school games or school events this fall. THANK YOU to those that were able to make it out to our Community Cookout last month at the Rusty Anchor! Many of you told me we should have this cookout EVERY year and not just once every two years. I’ll keep that in mind!

STATE HOUSE

I appreciate all the advice and input you’ve given over the summer regarding South Carolina state government and the direction you would like to see our state move over the next few months and future years. As always, these important decisions I’m tasked with making, require input from you. Thanks for your willingness to share what’s on your mind!

Honestly I am not sure what the next few months holds but should the General Assembly be called back before January, I will continue to seek your input and opinions during this unprecedented times in SC state government. Thank you for your continued support and for always keeping in touch through phone calls, emails, Nathan’s News and talking with me in the community.

Your opinions and prayers help me more than you’ll ever know!

YOUR MONEY

I know it seems like a broken record but our state’s budget has been cut – again. This time another 4.04% across the board cut was approved the state’s Budget and Control Board. To anyone in our state, you know this is a situation that has been going on for too long. Of course, South Carolina is not alone in this mess but that doesn’t make anyone feel better.

Fortunately, months ago we passed a law that created the formation of the Tax Realignment Commission which is charged with performing a “comprehensive study” of the state tax code. Of course, while new ideas will be considered ( Fair Tax ), other recent laws were not allowed to be reviewed by the commission ( Act 388: Property Tax Relief ). I’m not sure how you can call something “comprehensive” when it clearly is not. With this commission in place, I’m not sure we’ll see any movement next year on individual legislation that deals with taxes. After all, it’s this “tinkering” around the edges that many feel may actually be doing more harm than good.

COMMUNITY

First of all, it was great seeing everyone at the Chapin Labor Day Parade earlier this month! I told Karen I couldn’t believe we ran out of candy again this year (we bought 5,000 pieces!). Thanks for the well wishes and for coming out for one of our areas premiere gatherings!

The Ballentine-Dutch Fork Civic Association will hold its General Membership meeting on Monday, September 14th at 6:30 pm at Ballentine Park. Representatives from Heritage at Lowman (formerly the Lowman Home) will share changes in their short-term and long-term plans.

The Annual Irmo Okra Strut is just days away (September 25-29)! It all began in 1973 as a fundraiser for the Lake Murray-Irmo Woman’s Club. The goal was to build a brand new library for the Irmo community. Local radio personality, the late Gene McKay, had the idea of naming the fundraiser the “Okra Strut” when he, jokingly, described the “ancient Irmese” as “a farming tribe who lived off okra!” In October of that year, the Woman’s Club had a modest arts & crafts sale inside Seven Oaks Park. I look forward to seeing you there along the parade route!

Representative Huggins and I hope you’ll join us again this year at the 4th Annual Irmo Community Prayer Breakfast on Thursday morning, September 24th, 7:30 a.m at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church. THIS YEAR’S EVENT IS FREE! Keynote Speaker will be Irmo High Principal, Mr. Eddie Walker. Please RSVP to Elizabeth Donehue at (843) 864-9414 or elizabeth@donehueagency.com.

America On The Move Week – Northwest YMCA: starts on September 20th! For those following me on Twitter or Facebook , you know I’ve been TRYING to be a little more healthier as I prepare for the grueling USMC Mud Run next weekend. If you aren’t a member of the Northwest YMCA in our community, you should see all the benefits! It’s more than “just exercise”.

SCHOOLS

School’s in full swing and our local high school football teams are doing pretty good! Chapin High School ( with new coach, Scott Earley, at the helm ) leads the way with an undefeated 3-0 start this year! Irmo is right behind at 2-1 and Dutch Fork is ready to change the momentum and improve on their 1-2 beginning.

Last week, a groundbreaking ceremony for a new building at Leaphart Elementary was held. I was unable to attend but school board members, teachers, parents, students and others gathered to break ground for the new addition.

Also, new for our kids, the Oak Pointe Elementary playground finally became a reality thanks to Wal-Mart, the National Guard, parents and faculty!

Speaking of Oak Pointe, I believe they became the first school in our district to be on Twitter! You can follow them @opespioneers . Also, you can follow District Five @LexRich5 .

District Seeks Members for Health Education Committee: Lexington-Richland Five is seeking persons who are interested in serving on the district’s Comprehensive Health Education Advisory Committee. Committee members advise the district on health education curriculum matters. Available positions on the committee will be filled by two parents, three clergy, two health professionals, two people not employed by the district, two teachers and two student representatives. The district strongly encourages interested clergy to serve on the committee. Members of the community who are interested in serving on the committee should send a letter of interest to Al Gates, Lexington/Richland Five, 1020 Dutch Fork Road, Irmo, SC before September 25, 2009. Letters can also be emailed to hgates@lex5.k12.sc.us.

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