Important Voting Location changes for June 9th primaries!

Just this morning, the Richland Delegation received updates of polling locations/changes for the upcoming June 9th primaries!

I’ve attached the impact to our community above in a screenshot of the excel spreadsheet I received. You will see RED means that poll will NOT be open June 9th. Instead, look for your precinct name next to another nearby polling location.

You may have also seen my recent column in last week’s Irmo News sharing how you can vote absentee during this time (and use COVID-19 as a valid reason). I’ve cut/paste some of that column below.

Voting absentee by mail requires the following steps.

Step 1: Get an absentee application in one of two ways: Get the application online from scvotes.org (you must be able to print it or save it for printing later) or request an application for yourself or your immediate family member from your respective county’s local elections office. In Richland County, you will request one from the Richland County Elections and Voter Registration office by phone (803) 576-2240; fax (803) 576-1510; email: rcelectionsinfo@richlandcountysc.gov; or mail, and you will be mailed an application.

Step 2: Once you’ve printed your application online or received your application in the mail, you must complete it, sign it, and return it to your respective county’s local elections office. You should return the application as soon as possible but no later than 5:00 p.m. on the Friday before the election, which is June 5, 2020 for the upcoming primary.

Step 3: Receive your absentee ballot in the mail. Step 4: Vote the ballot by following the instructions and returning it to your respective county’s local elections office by 7:00 p.m. on the day of the election. You may return the ballot personally or by mail.

The opportunity to vote in person absentee is also an available option. You can go to your respective county’s local elections office, complete an application, and cast your vote. In Richland County, it will be at the Richland County Elections and Voter Registration office located at 2020 Hampton Street, Columbia, SC 29204. You may vote in person absentee up until 5:00 p.m. on the day before the election. Rules for photo ID required to vote at the polling place apply.

Dine-in eating is back!

Midlands Connection update – highway, interchanges, overpasses

In the months (and years) ahead, you will see major work being done in our area. Please know this is in addition to other work you will continue to see on our secondary roads.

Sorry for quality of photo, but enlarge and see what’s in store!

No Republican on Richland Election Commission

I don’t need to remind everyone of the fiasco that has been Richland County elections.

Y’all remember, right? The hours long 2012 lines at polling places because not enough machines were sent to polling places … or the time we had to get a new Elections Director … or the time we had to get a new Election Commission or the time we had to get ANOTHER new Election Commission … or when Republicans were told in 2016 there wasn’t a primary (but there was) … or missing ballots last year …or, I’ll stop. I seriously could go on and on with the problems in this office – or rather pressue from outside the office?

It’s been one mess after another.

Finally, last year, I worked with Kirkman Finlay (R) to push to get 1 Republican on the board (which, afterall, is required by law).

Craig Plank was the Republican. Craig has served before and has tried to fix problems and build consensus in Richland County before. Unfortunately, that’s easier said than done in the county. Today he submitted his resignation letter to the Governor. Can I blame him? No.

Since he joined the Commission, he’s has been working to replace the previous Director (I believe the 6th Director in 6 years?) and it’s taken almost a year for the Commission to work towards getting a permanent Director in place – you know, something that would seem beneficial before statewide elections in June and November.

After more than a year, the Commission has lost out on their first choice. I’m curious to see when a qualified permanent Director will be named and, more importantly, when we can get a full board (which will still only have 1 Republican when we do). More to come…

I thank Craig for his efforts against when the odds seem to be stacked against reforming and fixing the county office.

Welcome back to work, South Carolina!

While I know many are still out of work and have been asking to return (salons, gyms, many others who’s place of employment is CURRENTLY not open) the growing sentiment is that we need to get our economy off the ground. Fingers crossed, but let’s all work together safely to make sure we can resume life as normal as possible as quickly as feasible!

Your Unemployment Questions Answered – May 6th 11am

The Chambers of Commerce for both Chapin and Irmo are bringing in top officials with the SC Department of Employment Workforce for a Zoom call for employers and employees this week!

If you have had to file for unemployment during the COVID-19 crisis either as an employer or an employee, this seminar will answer any questions you have about the process and how to navigate it.

Thank you to Jamie Suber (SCDEW Chief of Staff) and Todd Timmons (Chief Legal Officer) for agreeing to jump on this Zoom and take your questions. We are requesting that you email your questions in advance by noon on Tuesday (ceo@greaterirmochamber.com). SCDEW is well aware that the volume of calls and questions has made it difficult for the business community to get the answers they need. Please don’t miss this informative seminar.

Register here to receive LINK to ZOOM CALL

June Primaries – apply to be a poll worker


The June 9 Primaries and associated June 23 Primary Runoffs will be held as scheduled. The State Election Commission (SEC) has no authority to delay the primaries or enact any changes to the way our elections are required to be conducted by law. Qualified voters will be encouraged to vote absentee by mail, but we also must provide in-person absentee voting at county elections offices and election day voting at polling places.

State and county election officials know many of our long-serving and dedicated poll managers, particularly those that fall into high-risk categories, have decided that working the polls in June is not worth the associated risk to their health. The SEC understands and respects each and every poll manager’s decision on whether to serve in this challenging time. We thank you for your service. Our sincere hope is that as our situation improves, you can continue serving in the future.

If you are willing and able to serve, South Carolina needs you. The fact is we must have poll managers to have elections. Unless new poll managers step up to serve, we expect counties will have to close and consolidate polling places.

The SEC and county election officials will be doing everything we can to help make polling places as safe as possible for voters and poll managers, including: providing masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, sanitizing wipes, and disposable cotton swabs for making touchscreen selections. We will also provide online training when possible and small-group, socially-distanced training when necessary.

For more information click here.

To apply in less than a minute, online, click here! And Thank you!

Apply to be a Poll Manager

Poll Managers (except Poll Manager Assistants) must be registered to vote in South Carolina.
Any 16 or 17-year-old can apply to be a Poll Manager Assistant.
Clerks must be a registered voter in the county in which they are serving or an adjoining county.
Poll Managers may not be a candidate or the spouse, parent, child, brother, or sister of a candidate at any polling place where the candidate’s name appears on the ballot.

Marina Road Cleanup: May 9th BCA

Via Email

May 9th 8:00 am Adopt A Highway event to clean up Marina Road. Meet at First Citizens Bank to receive pickers, vests and orange trash bags. There should be no problem with the “social distancing” since we all work on our own to accumulate the trash. This is a good opportunity to be outside and get some exercise at the same time. The more people that help, the faster this event can be done.
We hope to see you all there. As you know, Marina Road has been adopted by the Ballentine Civic Association as part of the “Keep South Carolina Clean” program.
Any questions, please call 542-2419.

www.ballentinecivic.com
803-542-2419
or see our face book page

Meet Laura Boccanfuso and ABii – Shark Tank 5/6 at 10pm

It’s been awhile since I added a “Meet Your Neighbor” post, but now’s the time for y’all to meet Laura Boccanfuso who lives right here in our community with her husband Tony, their 2 daughters and 1 son.

You can learn more about her and her work by watching Shark Tank, next week, May 6th at 10pm!

***

Teachers and parents are always going to be the most important people responsible for helping children learn. Laura Boccanfuso, founder and CEO of Van Robotics , knows this very well, but is convinced that most teachers (and many parents) could use some help. Children have different learning styles, and need differing amounts of time and attention to achieve their educational goals, but most schools require a standardized curriculum. Teachers often struggle to meet the needs of more than 20 students in a classroom of varied style-learners.

Because of this, many school districts have already incorporated technology into their classrooms to enhance their students’ learning experience. But most standard technology and the accompanying software is not sophisticated enough to gather information necessary to adapt to the individual student’s learning preferences. Meet ABii, a small robot teacher’s aide, who delivers grades 2-5 core subject instruction by engaging students with fun, social interactions designed to improve individual academic achievement.

Before establishing Van Robotics, Boccanfuso earned an MS in computer science from Bowling Green State University and a Ph.D. in computer science from the University of South Carolina. Her focus was on artificial intelligence and human-computer interactions, and she was specifically interested in how to engage students with new materials. Working as a researcher for Yale University, she learned that the most effective methods involved continual monitoring and adapting to individual stress levels, and that this is especially important for children on the autism spectrum, or who have ADHD or other developmental issues.

After establishing Van Robotics in 2016, Boccanfuso developed eight prototype robots with 22 math lessons. In early 2018 they launched the first pilot program in schools in Alabama, Kansas, New York and South Carolina. Seed money was provided through Tech Stars Austin, South Carolina Research Authority, and Right Side Capital Management, totaling $1 million during the period January 2018 through June 2019. On January 27, 2018, Van Robotics was chosen as one of ten companies for the Techstars Austin 2018 accelerator, and The Tech Tribune named it as one of the very best tech startups in South Carolina in 2020.

Read more here.

Chapin High Student Government – Advisor of the Year

Chapin High School student council advisor receives state and national honors

IRMO – Roger Mize, at Chapin High School, has been selected as the 2020 South Carolina Association of Student Council (SCASC) Advisor of the Year and was named a finalist for the 2020 Warren E. Shull High School Student Council Adviser of the Year Award, sponsored by National Student Council (NatStuCo) and the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP).

“I have worked with some great councils over the years and believe that everything I have accomplished as an advisor has been because of them,” Mize said. “I am truly grateful for the group at Chapin and the inspiration and encouragement they have given me.”

Mize was one of eight finalists for the national award. Finalists receive free registration to the National Student Council Conference in June where they will be formally recognized on stage. Mize has been to several regional and national conferences and met some incredible advisors.

“The finalists for the Warren E. Shull Award are skilled educators who epitomize the commitment student council advisers make to promote leadership, service, and civic engagement as qualities of good citizens through student council,” said Nara Lee, director of NASSP Student Leadership. “National Student Council congratulates Roger Mize for his exemplary efforts to nurture and develop these qualities in high school student leaders.”

Mr. Mize has been one of the advisors for the Chapin High School Student Government for 6 years, previously serving as an advisor at Laurens District 55 High School and Student Activities Director at Richland Northeast High School. He has been an advisor and member of South Carolina Association of Student Councils (SCASC) for a total of seventeen years, currently serving as Assistant Executive Director for SCASC.

To read more, visit District 5 website