Search Results for: friarsgate park

* Community Alert! Friarsgate Park *

There will be a community meeting next Tuesday, July 8th at 7:00 pm at Friarsgate Park in Irmo.

Recent activities at the park have caused the Irmo Little League, along with local law enforcement, parents, elected officials, and anyone interested in park safety to come together as one.

If you have a child that participates in sports at the park or if you live in the Friarsgate Area, this meeting is open to you.

FRIARSGATE PARK : Advisory Panel – get involved!

Here’s an email I wanted to share from Andy Hastings, Director – Friarsgate Park
Email: ANDY@rcrc.state.sc.us

Friarsgate Park Patrons:

I had the chance to attend a very informative meeting this past week for all the advisory councils across Richland County that provide input at RCRC managed facilities. Unfortunately, while I was at the above mentioned meeting, we had a gang related incident at the park which raised some safety concerns.

At Friarsgate Park, we have not had an active advisory committee for over 5 years. This is a need that needs to be addressed at our facility for two main reasons. First, an active advisory council leads to more community involvement and a safer park. Second, an advisory council could provide input to the park staff as far as what programs the community would like to see offered at the park.

Our next community advisory meeting at Friarsgate Park is scheduled for 5/19/08 at 6:30. We are looking for volunteers who are willing to serve on our advisory council. If you plan to attend this meeting or are interested in helping organize the advisory council for FGP, please call the park at 732-3220 or respond to this email so we may plan accordingly. Feel free to forward this email to any park patrons that may be interested in volunteering their time. Thanks

Andy Hastings
Director
Friarsgate Park

Richland County Recreation News

You may recall the past mess that was the Richland County Recreation Commission .

Once the delegation was able to make changes, we finally had someone from our area serve – and serve well, she has. Cynthia Shepard served for the past two years and recently stepped down to focus on other things in life. I’m hopeful the 14 Democrats and my fellow Republican on the delegation will support replacing Cynthia with another qualified individual from our area – so that we are not forgotten about while other parts of the county are seeing vast improvements and we are left with two antiquated parks.

Bill Malinowski is our county councilman and works directly with the county budget. I’m trying to help use some state funds that are set aside for each county to use in their parks. The county commissions must request the funds and our commission hasnot since 2017.

Today, I have again asked the county to support Friarsgate Park and Ballentine Park in our community. Because the majority of the delgation refuses to meet more than once a year, it will probably be January before I can hopefully give a positive update on my email to the County Recreation Commission Assistant and my colleagues on the legislative delegation.

As I learn more, I’ll obviously update!

***

To: Cornelia Watts;Jimmy Bales;Wendy Brawley;Beth Bernstein;Ivory Thigpen;Kirkman Finlay;Christopher R. “Chris” Hart;Todd Rutherford;Seth Rose;Leon Howard;Kambrell Garvin;Annie McDaniel;John Scott;Dick Harpootlian;Darrell Jackson;Mia McLeod;Thomas McElveen;
CC: Kim Janha

Ms. Watts, please share this email with the Chairman and Board. I do not have their emails.

Chairwoman Cotten and others,

First, thank you for your tireless service to the county and the commission. I cannot tell you how glad I am we no longer hear of the former turmoil and activities that occurred prior to your service.

As you know, a board member from my community recently resigned. We greatly miss Cynthia and I hope the delegation will meet soon and appoint a replacement. I will push for a replacement from our area as we have multiple county run parks that are very outdated compared to the others in Richland.

I’m sending this email to you and the delegation for 3 reasons:

1) Let’s appoint a replacement commissioner in the next 60 days – per notice by law, etc. I can certainly find very qualified individuals from the Irmo/Chapin area.
2) Can you and the Board contact the Irmo Little League (run from Friarsgate Park) and ask what safety and other improvements they NEED for that park?
3) Can you and the Board contact the Ballentine Civic Association (who, along with others, use Ballentine park) and ask what safety or other improvements they NEED for the park?

Today I received a packet from Alseha Cushman with SC Department of Parks, Recreation & Tourism showing the Richland County PARD account balance is $513,308.08. I also see there have been no requests for 2018 or 2019 or for the upcoming 2020 budget year.

I’m certain our parks – especially the two mentioned above (Friarsgate and Ballentine) could use improvements that these funds were created for.

I’m also certain any matching funds could be raised by the groups that use the facilities.

Please call me if you have any questions or if you need contact information for Irmo Little League or the Ballentine Civic Association. It’s my hope the delegation will discuss and support requests this year to help our county parks – and keep county funds servicing county parks.

I hope you’ll visit my website often to stay informed about what’s going on in the State House and in our community!

Nathan Ballentine

www.nathansnews.com

House of Representatives, District 71

Richland-Lexington Counties

320A Blatt Building

Columbia, SC 29221

VOTE…without the long wait this time!

For the first time since last year’s Election Fiasco , voters here in Northwest Richland County will get to go to the polls ( Library Bond Referendum and Columbia Mayor for a few precincts out here).

I’ve contacted Howard Jackson, the new Director of Richland County Elections and Voter Registration , and received the following information which should help restore confidence that Tuesday’s election will be nothing like last November.

Here are several precincts in the area along with their polling location and the number of machines and poll workers that should be present Tuesday when you vote.

ON THE OFF-CHANCE THAT YOU RUN INTO ANY PROBLEMS TUESDAY, PLEASE LET THE POLL WORKERS KNOW IMMEDIATELY. YOU MAY ALSO COME BACK TO THIS POST AND COMMENT OR CONTACT ME THROUGH THIS WEBSITE OR CALL MY STATE HOUSE OFFICE (734-2969) AND LET ME KNOW ANY FEEDBACK OR ASSISTANCE YOU MAY NEED.

Ballentine, Ballentine Elementary School, 12 machines, 9 poll workers
Dutch Fork #1, Dutch Fork High School, 9 machines, 7 poll workers
Dutch Fork #2, Dutch Fork Middle School, 12 machines, 9 poll workers
Friarsgate #1, Friarsgate Park, 7 machines, 6 poll workers
Friarsgate #2, H.E. Corley Elementary School, 6 machines, 6 poll workers
Harbison #1, Harbison Community Center, 6 machines, 6 poll workers
Harbison #2, New Heights Baptist Church, 5 machines, 5 poll workers
Oak Pointe, Oak Pointe Elementary School, 12 machines, 9 poll workers
Old Friarsgate, Dutch Fork Elementary School, 5 machines, 5 poll workers
Parkridge, Harbison Fire Station, 4 machines, 5 poll workers
River Springs, River Springs Elementary School, 12 machines, 10 poll workers
Riverwalk, The Episcopal Church of St. Simon & St. Jude, 11 machines, 8 poll workers
Spring Hill, River Springs Church, 5 machines, 5 poll workers
Springville, Lake Murray Elementary School, 11 machines, 9 poll workers

Richland County: Penny Tax Meeting, September 17th

From “The State/Dawn Hinshaw”

Richland County has scheduled the first round of community meetings to explain details of a proposed penny sales tax for transportation.

The increase, to 8-cents on the dollar on most purchases, would raise $1 billion over 22 years to improve roads; bus service; and expand bike lanes, sidewalks and greenways.

The sessions, announced Tuesday, are:

• Monday: 9/ 10 Adult Activity Center, 7494 Parklane Road
• Sept. 13: Eastover Park, 1031 Main St.
• Sept. 17: Friarsgate Park, 1712 Chadford Road
• Sept. 19: Richland County Public Library, 1431 Assembly St., Columbia
• Sept. 20: Blythewood Park, 126 Boney Road
• Sept. 24: Bluff Road Park, 148 Carswell Road

All presentations will begin at 6 p.m.

County spokeswoman Stephany Snowden said staff will give presentations as well as hand out project lists and maps.

Members of the anti-tax group Not a Penny More will attend some of the sessions “so we can at least ask appropriate questions,” spokesman Michael Letts said.

Richland County staff members are available to provide educational information to community associations, neighborhood organizations and other civic groups. See the county website at www.rcgov.us, e-mail transportationpenny@rcgov.us or call (803) 576-2050.

Irmo Little League: seeking sponsorships


2011 Coaches Pitch Champions: Muckdogs.

After a cold day of evaluations, I’m even more impressed by the volunteers, coaches and parents that keep Irmo Little League running!

Even before JC and Emma started playing t-ball a few years ago, I knew first hand this league and Friarsgate Park was a great asset for our community. It truly is a first-class run organization year-round.

I hope you’ll join me in supporting the league at some level this year!

*****

From irmolittleleague@gmail.com

Irmo Little League family:

** If you have multiple players in the league, you may receive this e-mail multiple times **

As many of you know, the batting cages at Friarsgate Park are being rebuilt. This new structure will be bigger and better than the old unit. There will be three full length batting cages, under a roof with lighting. The completion date is not finalized yet, but we are hopefully to have them ready in time for practices this season.

There are many other efforts that we are looking at doing this year to help improve the park, our facilities and equipment. Many of these projects are made possible by our sponsorship program. Some examples of things done last year were update/improvements to the climate of the concession stand, purchase of a machine to drag the fields, flag poles, softball pitching machine and more.

We are in the middle of our sponsorship program and hope to wrap it up in the next few weeks. We are asking for your help in getting additional sponsors. If you own your own business, we ask you to consider a sponsorship. For the rest of you, we ask that you talk to your employer about supporting your children and our community with a sponsorship. I contacted my employer this year, and they were more than willing to provide a sponsorship. One final opportunity is to participate in our individual program, called Friends of Irmo Little League. This is an opportunity for families to sponsor our league.

This year we will not only be recognizing all of our sponsors, but for all new corporate sponsors that you bring to us this year, you and/or your team will be rewarded also. Simply ask the person sponsoring to include your name so that we know to reward you. For all Friends of Irmo Little League sponsorships, we will be rewarding you also. Please see the details below and have any interested sponsor contact us at irmolittleleague@gmail.com.

Thank you for helping us in this very important campaign.

Brian Weseman, ILL President

Jeff Rivers, Sponsorship Manager

Corporate Sponsorships

Team Sponsorship ($300) – The companies name will be placed on the back of the team jerseys. Additionally, their logo and a link to their website will be on our website. These need to be in by February 20, 2012. Your reward: Your team will receive two snack tickets per player for the concession stand. That saves you from buying snacks for your team for two games.

Field Sponsorship ($500) – A banner will be placed on the outfield fence of one of our fields. Additionally, their logo and a link to their website will be on our website. Your reward: You will receive a gift certificate for $50 to our concession stand.

Dugout Sponsorship ($750) – A banner will be placed on the outside of one of the dugouts. Additionally, their logo and a link to their website will be on our website. Your reward: You will receive a free registration for one player in the fall 2012 season.

Individual Sponsorship

Friends of Irmo Little League – For a $100 tax-deductible donation to Irmo Little League your family will be recognized as a friend of ILL. You will also receive an ILL merchandise package containing two ILL car magnets, two koozies and two bleacher cushions. Simply send these to us and mark the check as Friends of ILL.

PO Box 1371, Irmo, SC 29063

Irmo Little League Registration this month!


2011 Coaches Pitch Champions: Muckdogs

Even before JC and Emma started playing on the fields of Friarsgate Park , I knew what the park and the Irmo Little League meant to our community.

Prior to my election we’d had no representation on Richland County Recreation Commission . I worked hard to change that my first year in office and was able to gain support from my Richland Delegation colleagues in the State House to approve the appointment of John Ecton to help begin a long overdue focus on Friarsgate Park and the Irmo Little League. Today, Todd Latiff, is our commissioner who continues to do great things for these fields and our kids.

While Friarsgate Park does have other activities, it’s the Irmo Little League that keeps the park going! Numerous parents volunteer their time and talents almost daily to assure the league maintains it’s spot as the “premiere” league in Richland County (as evidenced by our statewide champions and officials umpiring the Little League World Series ).

If you have a boy or girl who wants to learn about baseball/softball as well as the qualities of sportsmanship and teamwork, sign them up for the 2012 spring seasion.

Visit the Irmo Little League’s website to learn more details and, once again, I’ll see you around the ballpark this spring!

From Opening Day 2008

COMMUNITY UPDATE: February 2011

Be sure to pick up your weekly copy of The Irmo News to see weekly Legislative Updates, focused on activity inside the State House. Represenative Huggins and I rotate columns each week in order to keep you informed! As always, I try to write a community update each month here on Nathan’s News to also keep you informed what’s going on here in Irmo/Chapin/Ballentine/White Rock/Dutch Fork area.

*** STATE HOUSE ***

We’re a month into the session and, while we’re passing important legislation already, we are also all working on the upcoming budget (floor debate mid-March). A budget that Nathan’s News readers know has more than $800 million deficit compared to our current year’s budget.

It is premature to talk specifics at this point; particularly when many have differing ideas on how “best” to manage the crisis. I’ll again simply say this: look for cuts in “Education” and “Health Care” as those areas represent 70%+ of the General Funds portion of our budget. While we are in dire straits , it should be pointed out that state revenues are INCREASING. Problem is they have not increased enough to cover the stimulus money that’s propped us up and also our spending for the past few years.

Please feel free to call or email with any questions for clarification or more information about what you may hear in the news or from your friends. For example: many were up-in-arms when they heard proposals to cut “the Arts” earlier this month. What you may not have heard is that the cuts recommended were to the Arts Commission, where 77% of the $2.5million state funds are used for administrative salary….not grants. We aren’t taking violins from kids and smashing them on the floor, as it may have been portrayed.

Whether the Arts Commission salaries are cut from this year’s budget remains to be seen; however, I want everyone to know that like everything, there are two sides (or more) to every debate. The bright side to all this is that more citizens will start getting involved in the process and that is always a good thing, in my opinion.

*** YOUR MONEY ***

I touched on it above, but obviously how we spend your money this year is going to be the biggest topic of discussion (besides how the voting lines are drawn in redistricting). Closer to home, Richland County residents may be interested to know that of the $40,000 I secured from the State Parks, Recreation and Tourism (“PRT”) in July 2008, there is still $20,000 unused because the Richland County Recreation Commission continues to drop the ball. You may recall the gunshots, trespassing that occurred at Friarsgate Park a few years back. Because of that and meetings with constituents that use the park, we learned more security needed to be put in place. Through a grant program given to every county in our state by “PRT”, I secured the funds and work began to complete a fence around the perimeter of the park. That work apparently was never completed and last week I received a letter stating those reserved funds will expire this May. This is unacceptable, yet, not surprising from the Recreation Commission. These (in)actions also lead to many of you paying extra fees to utilizie the Irmo Chapin Recreation program. Please know I continue to work with members of the Richland County Delegation to try to fix these issues.

*** COMMUNITY ***

Spirit of Lake Murray Valentine’s cruises: If you haven’t been on The Spirit of Lake Murray yet, you are missing out! This month there are two great opportunities for you (and your family) to experience dinner while cruising our most beautiful natural resource in the area! I might surprise Karen with a Valentine’s Day Couples Cruise. Shhhh!

Cub Scout Pack 48 “Scouting for Food”: Starting February 5th, Cub Scout Pack 48 will be conducting a food drive to benefit the Sharing God’s Love food pantry located in Irmo. Please leave non-perishable food items in a box on your front porch or next to your mail box on Saturday, February 12th before 9:00am. Questions? Contact Harold Lind, food drive leader (553-9986).

2011 Friends of Scouting Dinner: March 9, 2011 at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center. I hope you’ll join me in a great event for the Indian Waters Council and an evening with Andrew Card (former Chief of Staff for President George W Bush. Funds raised will provide the Scouting program to more-than 8,000 youth members in the Midlands of South Carolina. Scouting continues to thrive in our area largely due
to friends like you who support the mission “to instill values in young people that will last a lifetime.”
We hope you will join us for this very large and important event. There is no ticket cost for the dinner; instead you will be asked to pledge your financial support. If you have already pledged, we thank
you and hope you can still join us and see how your gift is helping to transform lives! To confirm your reservation and/or sponsor a table, please check the appropriate lines on the form (link here) and fax to 803-750-9955; or call us at 803-750-9841.

Lake Murray/Irmo Rotary Club “Pins for Polio”: Karen and I (and the kids too!) will be at Anchor Lanes on Saturday, March 5th from 1pm to 3pm for a great family-fun event sponsored by my Rotary Club! We hope you’ll join us and consider a sponsorship or simply by showing up with a team of bowlers ready for some fun. Proceeds go to Rotary International’s mission to eradicate Polio from the planet. Questions? Call 603-7292.

Walk Across the Dam: School District Five of Lexington and Richland Counties is sponsoring a walking event to encourage active lifestyles for students and communities. The walk will take place across the Lake Murray Dam on Saturday, March 5 at 9 a.m. All ages are welcome to participate. The event is noncompetitive. All Lexington-Richland Five student participants will receive a t-shirt. Walking buddies and/or community member may pay $10 for a t-shirt. A link to the registration form can be found here . The registration deadline is February 15.

*** OUR SCHOOLS ***

Snow day(s) relief: Representative Huggins and I are filing legislation Tuesday to waive all snow days for District Five. Chip and I have given this much thought and feel it is best to do after listening to many in the district. Usually these local bills pass without debate; however, this year when the House bills dealing with “snow days” have gone to the Senate they are being sent to the Education Committee where they reside, waiting for some sort of action from the Senators.

Reception Honoring Dr. Stephen Hefner : A reception to welcome Superintendent Stephen Hefner to the school district will be held on Monday, February 14 from 4:30-6 p.m. at River Springs Elementary. The reception was rescheduled from the original date due to inclement weather. The community, staff and others are invited to come meet Dr. Hefner and welcome him to the district. The meeting will be held prior to the school board meeting, which begins at 7 p.m.

Chapin Cheerleaders at State House: For the third year in a row, this group of ladies visited the State House and were recognized for winning the AAA State Championship! I was tied up with my paying job that morning and unable to be there personally, but Rep. Huggins and Rep. McLeod presented them with their House Resolution and beamed with pride as they welcomed the ladies to the floor of the House of Representatives!

** THANK YOU **

Thanks again for the privilege you give me to represent the Irmo/Chapin/Ballentine/Dutch Fork community! If you have events or people you’d like me to share with our community right here 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!

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

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

COMMUNITY UPDATE: March 2009

My apologies for it being mid-month before the March Update was ready!

If you have events you’d like me to share on the website, please contact me directly through NathansNews and I’ll be happy to see how I can help pass along the news. Hopefully, you’re a frequent NathansNews reader or either following me on Twitter or Facebook . I try to stay in touch as much as possible and these mediums help me hear from you and learn more about you – the people I represent in Columbia.

STATE HOUSE

Last week was “Budget Week” on the House Floor and (if you were interested), you could have (for the first time ever) followed both Republican and Democrat House Members’ live updates during the debate at SCTWEETS.COM . ( WLTX did a story about Twitter/SCTweets a few weeks ago but most NathansNews readers are already up-to-speed about Twitter and several in our community are using the medium as well!)

In case you missed it last week: we took the $350 million “Budget Stabilization Money” from the feds , we restored several agencies (many to 2006 levels some to 2008 levels), we stayed until 11 p.m. one night and 2:30 a.m the next, and several of worked to gain support of amendments to help protect you and our state when these “stimulus funds” aren’t there in 2 years.

Last week was a busy week and my office visits were limited but I would like to thank the following constituents who took time from their busy schedule to come to the State House last month: Traci Richard, Ben Thompson, LaWandra Kelly, Ballentine Elementary School classes, Dick Hohn, Padgett Lewis, Chase Tolbert (8th grader from Dutch Fork Middle School), Janet Sternernberg, Bonnie King, Patricia Cummings-Lecque, Irmo Town Councilmember Hardy King, Oak Pointe Elementary School Classes, Stan O’Brien, Mike Lowman, Thom Chumney, Ralph Bell, Matthew Deans (8th grader, Irmo Middle), Jerome Singleton, Jr and his parents, Abner Montessori School (Chapin), Donna Quirk, Gabrielle Barnes, Kathleen Mercer and Kathy Cannon.

YOUR MONEY

The Budget passed by the House now heads to the Senate and from there to a Conference Committee to hash out the differences between the two plans. After that is finished, the budget will go to the Governor’s Office and then back to both chambers for consideration of any vetoes. It’s a long way from over so if you aren’t happy with it, it still has several changes before being finalized for our state! Let your Senators know over the next few weeks as they work to craft their version to be debated on the Senate floor.

Closer to home (money/transparency), I am excited to see IRMO become the first town in our state to hop on the “transparency express” and allow our community to “see the books!” (I’m equally excited that Lexington/School District Five appears to be leaning that direction as well!).

“By being the first local government to sign on to our local-government transparency initiative , Mayor John Gibbons, Irmo Town Council and town administrator John Hanson should be commended,“ said state Comptroller General Richard Eckstrom. “The town of Irmo is a pioneer, helping usher in a new era of transparency in South Carolina. They believe, as I do, that citizens deserve to know how public money is being spent. And taxpayers deserve easy, no-cost access to that information.”

I remember this summer fighting for more transparency in state government (and the price we paid) and I’m glad to see the movement is growing. I applaud Comptroller Eckstrom for his continued support and his push on this front to provide more transparency with state agencies and local governments. [Read more…]