COMMUNITY UPDATE: January 2010

*** STATE HOUSE ***

Next Tuesday, January 12, I return for my sixth year as your State Representative in House District 71. I’ll join the other 123 members of the House as we finish the 2nd regular session of 118th South Carolina General Assembly.

With our state and people facing several challenges – primarily revenue shortfalls and record unemployment – it’s my hope that even during this “election year” we will make the tough decisions required and have the courage to look long-term instead of having the ballot-box mentality that often occurs every two years in the House.

It’s also my hope that we will work together to find solutions that will lead to job growth, improvement in the way we educate our children and restoring confidence in state government and state leaders.

*** YOUR MONEY ***

Obviously “the stimulus” and “government spending” are still is on the minds of several in the state and country. No need to rehash the debate here, but I believe most people in our state realize the stimulus was not the cure we were told it would be. And, as linked above, our state is in a dire position when the money-train stops.

While there are some that would disagree with this statement, I do not feel now is the time to raise your taxes and take more money from your pocket. I do not expect to see any tax increase this session except for maybe – maybe – the cigarette tax finally becoming law. That bill passed the House and is still in the Senate. Even if it passes that chamber, the Governor could again veto the bill.

Presently, the Tax Realignment Commission is reviewing the tax system in our state and will hopefully have recommendations for us to consider early this year. I believe we should expect to see some exemptions removed – unless politicians fear doing so would be viewed by the public as “tax increases” by some voters. That’s a shame. If we can’t eliminate some of the several tax exemptions during these times, we will never be able to do so. Critics will call it what they will but there are several exemptions on our books that have outlived their usefulness.

*** COMMUNITY***

Irmo Chamber: January’s Membership Luncheon is Wednesday, January 13th at 11:30 at St. Andrews Presbyterian. For more information, call 749-9335.

Chapin Chamber: January Members’ Breakfast Meeting on Tuesday, January 19th at 7:30 a.m. at Mt. Horeb Lutheran Church. The Speaker will be Darrell Scott, VP of Government Affairs for the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce. Breakfast is $5 at the door. Please RSVP to 345-1100 or laura@chapinchamber.com

Richland County: Workshop for neighborhood leaders interested in applying for community improvement grants will be held January 28th. The hour long session starts at 6:30 p.m. at the county administration building on 2020 Hampton Street. Erica Hink, neighborhood coordinator, will explain what type of projects qualify for matching grants up to $1,500. Groups can match the awards with volunteer hours. Past projects have included National Night Out events, community entrance signs, self-defense classes, newsletters, traffic signs and recreational equipment. For more details, contact Erica Hink at 576-1340 or hinke@rcgov.us

Irmo Little League: Registration for Baseball and Softball starts Saturday January 9th and will be held every Saturday (9, 16, 23, 30) and Tuesdays (12, 19, 26) at Friarsgate Park inside the recreation center. Saturdays 10 am – 2 pm and Tuesdays 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm. You must live in Richland/Lexington School District Five school district or in Lexington County to be eligible to play. Ages 5-15. Email irmolittleleague@bellsouth.net for more information.

This week we’ve had two member of our community appear on the evening news. Mike Andrews (owner , Bob Andrews Motors) spoke about taking proper care of your car during winter months while Noel Goodrich (Foxboro neighborhood) beat Mother Nature to the punch by bring snow to the area.

*** SCHOOLS ***

Later this month, our area high schools will receive information about the 2010 Ballentine Scholarships. These are available to any high school senior living in House District 71 (public, private, or homeschool) who plan to attend USC, Clemson, Winthrop, Columbia College or Midlands Tech. Recently, I heard from past recipients who updated me on what they have been doing since they received their scholarship. A very impressive group in many ways!

Forty teachers in Lexington-Richland Five recently earned the distinction of becoming National Board Certified Teachers, according to data released today by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. They join the 291 teachers in the district who previously received national certification, taking the district’s total to 331 – the fourth highest number in the state.

Teachers earning certification in 2009 include: Meredith Baker, Irmo Middle; Lynda Bergerson, Seven Oaks Elementary; Chad Boland, Dutch Fork High; Kailanya Brailey, Chapin Middle; Sheri Carpenter, Dutch Fork Middle; Ashley Davis, Irmo High; Amy Dickson, H. E. Corley Elementary; Erin Doty, Dutch Fork Middle; Jill Downs, Leaphart Elementary; Jessica Felker, Nursery Road Elementary; Matthew Gams, Chapin Elementary; Lindsay Head, Nursery Road Elementary; Jennifer Henry, Chapin High; Nicole Herring, Chapin Middle; Donald Holloman, Irmo High; Alice Howe, Dutch Fork Middle; Sara Kimberlin, Chapin High; Louis Landreneau, Dutch Fork High; Barry Lee, Irmo Middle; Gloria Lee, Dutch Fork Middle; Mary Lyerly, Dutch Fork High; Elizabeth Mantsch, Irmo Middle; Brandy McDonald, Harbison West Elementary; Angela Morvay, Irmo Elementary; Kinsi Near, Dutch Fork High; Jennifer Owens, Leaphart Elementary; Michelle Patterson, Chapin Middle; Melissa Phillips, Dutch Fork High; Carmen Plemmons, Lake Murray Elementary; Liesl Price, Irmo Elementary; Dana Riley, Chapin Elementary; Robert Schiesser, Nursery Road Elementary; Patrick Smallwood, Dutch Fork High; Kelly Still, Chapin Elementary; Beth Thompson, Ballentine Elementary; Scott Thur, Irmo Middle; Carl Tilson, Dutch Fork High; Susan Vaughn, CrossRoads Middle, Liz Wertz, Leaphart Elementary and Gene Williams, Irmo High.

Dutch Fork hires new AD/Football Coach: For the first time since the school opened, Dutch Fork will welcome a new face to lead the athletics department and the Silver Fox Football Team next fall. Tom Knotts (Independence High, Charlotte) has a career record of 296-60 at three schools and coached Independence High to state championships in 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005 and 2006.

** THANK YOU **

Thanks again for the privilege to return to Columbia and represent the Irmo/Chapin/Ballentine/Dutch Fork community! 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