COMMUNITY UPDATE: November 2009

There’s a lot to share this month!

ACCEPTING PAGE APPLICATIONS IN NOVEMBER: If I represent your family in House District 71 and your son/daughter is a college-student in the Midlands that would like to serve as my page for 2010 session, please contact me this month. Page work in the House is for 12 hours each week ($7.25/hour) and includes being assigned to a specific committee or the House floor, running errands, filing, some computer work and some research.

** STATE HOUSE **

Last week was one of the most enjoyable weeks in my short-tenure as your state representative and I hope it’s the beginning of a new era in Palmetto State politics . First and foremost, we worked together for the benefit of our state with no partisan bickering and no “us v. them” finger-pointing. We also stayed focused on what is important to the people who elected us: jobs, jobs, jobs. Here’s a brief summary with details on what we accomplished in two short days.

Soon, we’ll be able to pre-file bills for the session that begins January 12, 2010. If you have suggestions for legislation or have bills of interest to you, please contact me directly through Nathan’s News (Click “Connect”) so I can research, consider drafting legislation and also watch those bills closely on your behalf. The pre-file dates are November 17 and December 15. Please know that this is the second-year of a two-year session so it would be extraordinary for a bill filed this month to become law in just five short months. We’re also expecting more furlough weeks this session: February 9, March 29 and April 6 which will also make passage of newly filed bills very uncertain.

As you know, a year from now will be another General Election for the House of Representatives and all statewide constitutional offices. Several campaigns are already in full-swing and, like all political races in South Carolina, it’s probably just a matter of time before the mud starts slinging . I’m hopeful for a new day in Palmetto Politics; but while we may have appeared to work together last week, you can bet that all will change when the two parties (and political consultants for each candidate) start campaigning against each other. Unfortunately, many campaigns use the “stragegy” of attack, smear and slander, in hopes that voters will believe anything and not actually focus on the issues and ideas that can improve our state. I’m sure I’m like you when I write I would rather hear candidates talking about their ideas and qualifications and not attack (factually or otherwise) their opponent. Hey, we can all hope; can’t we?

** YOUR MONEY **

One year ago this month, 58% of voters supported a $244 million bond-referendum for school renovations and additions. District Five is keeping everyone informed of the progress you’ll be seeing over the next few years. The scope of the each proposed project is subject to change and I have learned that bids are coming in much lower than originally expected.

** COMMUNITY **

LOCAL ELECTIONS: This past Tuesday, voters in Irmo re-elected Hardy King and Barry Walker to new terms as council members as well as voted in favor of alcohol sales on Sunday inside the town limits. Chapin voters also re-elected Mayor Stan Shealy and at-large Town Council members Robbie Frick and Leland Teal to new terms.

CHAMBER GALAS AND AUCTIONS: I hope to see you this month at the Greater Irmo Chamber of Commerce Gala (November 10) at the Radisson Hotel and also the
The Greater Chapin Chamber of Commerce Gala (November 20) at the Columbia Conference Center .

IRMO’S ANNUAL LITTER PICK-UP Is scheduled for Saturday, November 14, 2009, from 9 – 12 noon. Volunteers are needed and appreciated. Please meet behind Irmo Town Hall (corner of 7300 Woodrow and Columbia Ave). If you are interested in helping lead a clean-up crew four times a year for a road in our area, please let me know!

FRIENDS OF HARBISON STATE PARK mark your calendars for a Members benefit event. We will be hosting a Night Trail Ride Wednesday, November 18. The event is free for Friends Members but non-Members are welcome too for a $25 fee (or you could join Friends for $25). Registration will be on a first come, first serve basis. Detailed registration information and guidelines will be sent soon.

** SCHOOLS **

GRIDIRON UPDATE: It’s been a pretty good year for most our teams and this Friday Irmo and Dutch Fork end their regular season playing against each other. Both Irmo and Chapin will make the playoffs this year and we wish both Coach Hanna and Coach Earley the best of luck! Irmo running back Mustafa Greene was also selected to represent our state in the annual SC/NC Shrine Bowl!

TEEN IDOL: Jessica Aull, a student at Dutch Fork High School, was named the 2009 RCPL Teen Idol on Thursday, October 22 at the Richland County Public Library in downtown Columbia. Aull was one of 19 finalists selected after three rounds of auditions to compete for a variety of prizes including recording time at Strawberry Skys studio and the chance to sing at a variety of community events. Contestants were judged on vocal quality, song selection, projection and stage presence by three local celebrity judges—Otis Taylor, music writer for The State; Scooter O’Cain, division manager and co-owner of Geiger Carolinas and member of the local band Random Reality; Tyler Ryan, host of Tyler and Ken Program, heard every morning on WXRY, 99.3 FM; and preliminary judges Will Stuart, local musician, and Dr. Linda Kershaw, coordinator of music at Benedict College. To see the other contestants (including more from District Five, visit the Richland County Public Libary link )

JARED MEET JORDAN: Oak Pointe Elementary fourth-grader, Jordan Brideau, won the Subway Fresh FitVideo and Poster Competition and had a special visit from Subway TV personality Jared Fogle last week. More than 1,000 students in the Midlands submitted entries to show how they stay healthy and fit, and 10 winners were selected – with at least three from area schools being recognized. The contest was intended to help educate students about healthy lifestyle choices in an effort to combat childhood obesity. Jordan’s poster showed a neighborhood brimming with activity. A girl rode a bike, while another turned cartwheels – much like she and her sister do, according to Tina Brideau, Jordan’s mother. A man – whom Jordan identified as her father, Joe – swam in a pool.

** 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