‘Lasagna Love’ – right here in our community!

Maybe, like me, you weren’t aware of some great work being doing our community! Thank y ou Caroline and others! click below to donate, cook, or request a meal for a family who may need it during these times.

From WACH FOX website

COLUMBIA, SC (WACH) — The Lasagna Love movement started just after the pandemic hit the United States, when founder Rhiannon Menn and her toddler started making and delivering meals to families in the neighborhood who were struggling.

Here in the Midlands though, the Lasagna Love movement just began in October when Caroline Bryan from Irmo reached out to get involved.

“Sometimes we just need somebody to step in and say, ‘hey I see you, I see that you’re struggling, or I see that you’re having a hard day or a hard week, and I just want to spread a little love.” says Bryan. “We’ve helped people that have lost their jobs, lost their child care, anything like that to just stressed out families that are struggling with virtual learning.”

Those who volunteer are known as Lasagna Mama’s and Papa’s, and how often you can help out is up to you.
“We don’t have enough volunteers every week to meet the needs of every family, some families are having to wait two or three weeks,” says Bryan. “So we definitely could use more lasagna family members to volunteer and help.”

Lasagna Love is always looking for more volunteers, you can anonymously nominate a family in need , request a lasagna of your own , donate the groceries , or sign up to cook .

CDC guidelines are always followed, to reduce the chance of spreading the coronavirus.

“Our delivery is contactless so what we’ll do is will text the recipient and give them a timeframe then you just take it and you leave it on the doorstep and then you send them a text before you leave,” says Bryan. “So there’s no actual physical contact with the families you’re helping.”

Thousands of families nationwide have been fed through Lasagna Love.

Test Before Turkey

You heard McMaster encourage us to “Test Before Turkey” and you can do just that – for free – right here at the Ballentine Library on Dutch Fork Road.

You do NOT need an appointment – as I learned today when I drove up for my scheduled 3:30 time; but was told they had to stop for the day.

I hope everyone has a safe and enjoyable Thanksgiving! For other locations of testing around the state, click here.

Irmo Chamber Oyster Roast – December 1st

Come celebrate the holiday season with us in Irmo Town Park! Join us for our annual Holiday Oyster Roast on Tuesday, December 1st from 5:30PM-8:30PM. For 2020, we have partnered with our friends at the Town of Irmo and we will have Mayor Barry’s State of the Town Address followed by the lighting of the Irmo Christmas Tree! At 6PM, we’ll kick things off with live music from Tokyo Joe Acoustic in the gazebo and all the steamed Lowcountry oysters you can eat! We’ll also have local chili from The Food Academy Cafe (located inside Honda of Lake Murray) for all of your who don’t LOVE the oysters. Beer and wine is included in the ticket price. Come celebrate the end of the weirdest year EVER!

Tickets are $25 each and must be purchased in advance

WANTED: Someone from our area to serve on Transportation Committee

We continue to see growth in our community, and with that, improvements in our infrastructure are needed. If you are interested in serving on the Richland County Transportation Committee (representing our community in House District 71), please contact me here so I can review applicants before selecting our representative before the end of the month.

YOU MUST BE A RESIDENT IN HOUSE DISTRICT 71. CLICK HERE AND TYPE YOUR ADDRESS IN BOTTOM LEFT SECTION THAT SAYS “FIND YOUR LEGISLATORS”. If you see my name, you’re in the district and are eligbile! There’s no application, but please email me at NathanBallentine@schouse.gov and let me know why you’d like to serve and provide any background information on why you feel most qualified. You do NOT need to be an engineer or have a degree in public works. I’m looking for someone who knows our area, can attend all meetings, and is willing to speak up on our behalf.

I will promote this post this evening (November 9th) on my Facebook page , Twitter account , and will also include in my November Community Update email that will go out this weekend. I’ll put a deadline of November 30th for people to let me know they are interested and then make a decision by mid December so our person will be in place for January 2021 first meeting!

Brief information about the position:

* Represent our community in identifying road improvement needs
* Decide with other members which projects will be funded with Richland County Transportation Committe Funds
* Term (usually 2 years) – at will of House Member
* Meetings are bi-monthly on the 4th Tuesday

Additional information on county transportation funding:

SCDOT “C” Program: Improving Roads in your county.

About Us:

The C Program is a long-established partnership between SCDOT and the forty-six counties of South Carolina to fund the improvements of state roads, county roads, city streets, and other local transportation projects. SCDOT, like all state transportation departments across the country have quickly learned, the job is too big to accomplish without partnerships. The C Program is successful because local leaders and citizens alike are willing to work with SCDOT to meet the needs of the communities throughout South Carolina. The South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) C Program was established in accordance with Section 12-28-2740 of the S.C. Code of Laws 1976, as amended.

“C” Funds come from 2.66 cents per gallon of the state gasoline tax distributed to each of the 46 counties based on population, land area, and rural road mileage. Beginning July 1, 2018 and each July first through 2021, the CTC’s portion will increase by 0.3325 cents per gallon until it totals 3.99 cents per gallon. This increase must be used exclusively for repairs, maintenance, and improvements to the state highway system. These funds are distributed to each of the 46 counties based on a three part formula. The formula allocates one third of the C funds based on the ratio of the land area of the county to the land area of the state, one third based on the ratio of the county population to the state population and one third based on the rural road mileage in the county to the rural road mileage in the state. By law, each county is responsible for establishing a County Transportation Committee (CTC) appointed by the County’s Legislative Delegation. The number of members on the committee can vary from county to county. The CTC is entrusted with the authority to select and approve projects to be funded utilizing C funds.

The law stipulates that the counties spend at least twenty-five percent of their apportionment of C funds based on a biennial averaging of expenditures, on the state highway system for construction, improvements, and maintenance. Furthermore, the counties are to spend no more than seventy-five percent of their apportionment each year on their local system. Also, the balance of uncommitted funds carried forward from one year into the next cannot exceed three hundred percent of the county’s total apportionment for the most recent year.

During 2007, the Department reorganized the Preconstruction Division of the agency in an effort to improve the delivery of projects and programs including the administration of the C Program. The new organization took the form of four statewide regional production groups, which align themselves around the Metropolitan Planning Organizations and the Council of Government statewide boundaries. This reorganization improved resource management, enhanced communication, improved project ownership, and most importantly proposes to improve the project delivery time to insure roadway projects are in place for the benefit of the citizens of South Carolina. As a result of the reorganization, each regional production group has its own C Program Manager. The C Program Administration’s staff responsibilities include administering overall C program issues including financial issues and ensuring compliance with the C fund law.

Thank you!

I’m grateful and humbled again by the support I’ve received this election cycle! Thank you to everyone who voted and all the homes and businesses that asked for yard signs again.

I made sure all were taken down and stored away before the weekend!

Where do I vote? Who’s on the ballot?




Even though a record number of SC Voters have cast their votes , you can expect there will be wait times at your local polling location. Presidential Elections always have the largest turnout.

We’ve been fortunate to have a satellite location right here in our community for in-person absentee for Richland County for almost a month . For Lexington County , we only had 3 days at the Irmo and Chapin Town Halls this year; but we’ll have more days next time, for sure!

Y’all know I’ve been a watchdog for years in the county on this issue, ever since the (first) fiasco of 2012 . In a delegation of 15 Democrats and just me and another Republican, the hiring decisions for that office are obviously out of my hands; however, one of the ways I’ve been able to help was seven years ago when I got state law changed that reduced the size of precincts in our area. Since then I’ve also fought to be sure we have the best capable commissioners we can have and also pushed for the correct number of voting booths and volunteers at our precincts.

Before Tuesday, I also plan to share with you the number of booths that should be at each location. I have been told mutiple times we will have enough booths and there are more than 500 volunteers on reserve to help staff if staffing becomes an issue.

Today, I want to help be sure you are armed with the knowledge you need to reduce stress and wait times on what will definitely be a busy day.

Be sure to click here so you know where you will be voting next Tuesday . Be sure your address is current, if not, please call the Richland (803) 576-2240 or Lexington Election Office (803) 785-8361 and see how they can help you. From that page, you can also view your sample ballot so that you can be prepared to save time at the voting booth.

Clicking above can save you a lot of headaches and stress before Tuesday.

One last note, if you see any irregularities at precincts or have other issues, please let the poll worker at your precinct know and/or please comment below. I will check during the day and be sure to let state or county election personnel know.

I hope each and everyone reading this has voted or will vote! It’s worth the wait!

Fidelis Family Retreat

Yesterday I learned for the first time about a wonderful cause led by a local family here in Chapin: Fidelis Family Retreat

I plan to meet with the family next month along with Representative Huggins and learn how we can help even more than what they’re doing currently for fundraising.

Thanks, Jim Broach, Lisa Harris and others for “sending the troops” my way!

From their website…

Mission Statement

At Fidelis Family Retreat, we are establishing a new way for veterans to successfully interact with their families as well as their community through recreational therapy. Fidelis Family Retreat on Lake Murray, SC provides a peaceful place for relaxation, community events and activities, as well as multiple land and water activities year round. Recreational therapy adds fun into the veterans’ life, helps to reduce stress, anxiety, and/or depression related to; mental and physical disabilities incurred during time in service as well as the transition from active duty to veteran life. The retreat creates an environment that allows for the veterans’ barriers to come down assisting them to reconnect with their family and friends, taking important steps towards mending relationships and strengthening bonds by creating opportunities for healthy interactions as well as creating new memories.

When you come to Fidelis Family Retreat, one of our staff will be available to discuss any areas in which you are struggling or need guidance. Based on the needs of the veteran, family members, or friends; our staff will compile a packet with resources, tips, and tricks specific to each veteran that will assist in strengthening relationships with family and friends, and reintegrating into their local community.

From May through August we offer: overnight camps and local community activities. From September through April we offer our local veteran community: hobby classes, events, in addition to a multitude of land and water activities.

Vision Statement

At Fidelis Family Retreat we feel that our approach will help our veterans feel more connected to their community and less alone in hopes of decreasing the number of veteran suicides. Helping to overcome the battle in their minds here at home.

Try Hockey for Free Day – The Plex, November 7th!

On Saturday, November 7th 2020, USA Hockey and 350 local associations across the country will host Try Hockey for Free Day! Participating locations encourage kids, ages 4 to 9, to come try youth hockey. All locations will have limited equipment available for use.

Please register here

Zoning request – Connie Wright Road

Richland County Council will vote later this month (October 27) on a request on Connie Wright Road.

Our voice and vote on zoning matters is our local Richland County Councilman, Bill Malinowski.

I did speak with county officials today and I was told that staff and the Planning Commission both voted for a DISAPPROVAL of the request. It’s my belief County Council will also vote that way later this month.

Update on Wessinger Road

Rep Huggins and I share the area around Wessinger and wanted all to know the latest from SCDOT. Like y’all, we are disappointed in the amount of time this project is taking as well as the horrible conditions for all of us during the process.

Below is the very latest from SCDOT on 10/13:

The contractor’s plan to bring in milling equipment and crew is in action this week. They are milling 6 inches into the thick asphalt and this will facilitate being able to effectively reclaim the full depth of the 12″ cement reclamation. The contractor indicates that they expect the cement reclamation to be completed by October 30th and that the final surface on the entire road is expected to be completed by December 1st. Let me know if you would like to have additional information.