The Weekly Rewind: Week of January 11th

HOUSE WEEK IN REVIEW
January 13, 2022

The House amended, and then returned to the Senate S. 865, legislation to adopt the 2020 US Census results and establish the election district boundaries for each member of the United States House of Representatives from South Carolina.

The House nonconcurred with Senate amendments for S. 525, a bill that updates the solid waste laws to include the regulation of advanced recycling. The Senate insisted upon its amendments; as a result, the House appointed Reps. Hiott, Burns and Atkinson for conference committee.

From the House Floor – Congressional District Lines

District Five names permanent superintendent

From the District’s website

IRMO – Lexington-Richland School District Five Board of Trustees voted Monday to hire Dr. Akil E. Ross, Sr. as the district’s permanent superintendent.

Ross has been serving as interim superintendent since July. The announcement was made during a January 10 school board meeting. The new contract lasts until June 30, 2025 and will pay Ross $210,000 annually. He’ll officially take the title on February 1, when the new contract goes into effect. The old agreement that made him interim superintendent will be allowed to expire on January 31.

“We are very excited about Dr. Ross’ leadership,” said Board Chairwoman Jan Hammond. “He is a humble and knowledgeable leader that can lead this district to bigger and better things.”

Dr. Ross began his 20-year education career as a teacher and coach at Eau Claire High School in Columbia, S.C. He came to School District Five from Richland School District One in 2005, where he first served as assistant principal and then principal at Chapin High School. In 2018, he left Chapin High School to serve as the Director of Secondary Education for the district. Dr. Ross is also an author and Affiliate Professor of Educational Leadership at the University of South Carolina (UofSC).

“It’s an incredible honor, and I am humbled by the responsibility of leading this great school district,” Ross said. “I don’t take this responsibility lightly and will continue to work hard to serve the students, staff and community. I am very proud of the opportunity ahead of building a great future for our children. The work begins now and I am excited to get started.”

Dr. Ross has received numerous professional recognitions and accomplishments during his career including: the 2017 South Carolina Association of School Administrators (SCASA) Secondary Principal of the Year and the 2018 National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) Principal of the Year. He was featured in Principal Leadership Magazine, The Rotarian Magazine and Columbia Business Monthly, 50 Most Influential, 2018. Dr. Ross was named the 2020 UofSC College of Education Adjunct Professor of the Year.

Merry Christmas!

I hope you stay safe during the holiday season and can enjoy time with family and friends!

Merry Christmas,

Nathan

Sign up for regular Community Updates (monthly)

Almost every month for the past 16 years, I have emailed a COMMUNITY UPDATE to keep everyone informed about what’s going on at the State House as well as around the community.

If you are not on the distribution list, please email me at NathanBallentine@schouse.gov and ask to be added.

Many of the posts, I write myself. Others are pulled from local papers or the Lexington Five website.

Let your neighbors know. I’ve personally added more than 100 since our December Update.

I have always believed that elected officials that stay in touch often have a much better chance of serving their constituents well. I always appreciate the feedback, advice, concerns I receieve after the newsletter has gone out – and during the entire calendar year.

Please note: In order for me to respond quicker to your email, please type the word CONSTITUENT in the subject line. Those emails stand out over the hundreds we get every week!

Thanks for spreading the word!

From the House Floor – Vaccine Mandate Update

Koon Road Bridge Closing December 6th

Got some calls about the Koon Road Bridge Closing signs that were posted last week.

SCDOT informs me they will close the bridge for two weeks (December 6th thru December 17th) while some work is being done on a water line.

The bigger news for y’all to know is that the bridge will be closed for SIX MONTHS starting in February 2022 as it is replaced as part of major overhaul by the SCDOT in our community. For more on that, click here.

Obviously, road improvements bring their own challenges – so please understand for progress to happen, we will have some more pain in the year(s) ahead.

There is a lot of work happening in and around Chapin, Irmo, on up to “Malfunction Junction” in the present and in the years ahead!

The Living Christmas Story – Union United Methodist

From The New Irmo News

Union United Methodist Church is preparing to host the full production of their long-standing tradition, the 28th annual drive-through living nativity, “The Living Christmas Story.” This event will take place Friday through Sunday, December 3-5, 2021, from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. each night. For over 20 years now, the Union United Methodist Church parking lot has been transformed into the city of Bethlehem, as the ‘greatest story ever told;’ a drive-through re-enactment of the way life was over 2,000 years ago on the night Jesus Christ was born. The presentation features scenes that can be viewed as vehicles travel through the Union parking lot. This is a gift to the community, with no admission fee.

“The Living Christmas Story,” uses real people from the Irmo community, and includes live animals that become the town of Bethlehem. Villagers, a blacksmith, the innkeeper, Herod’s Court, the marketplace and many more scenes come alive as you drive through and experience the night Christ came to us. Often described as beautiful and moving, “The Living Christmas Story” is an experience that many thousands of spectators have witnessed, which is over 140,000 visitors over the last 27 years.

Those who have experienced “The Living Christmas Story” provide comments, such as: “My parents brought me to The Living Christmas Story each year when I was a child. Now I am bringing my own children. It is one of the best memories I have of Christmas and I want that for my children too!“ “Thank you for such a beautiful and free-to-attend portrayal of the true meaning of Christmas.” “Our children want to ride through ‘The Living Christmas Story’ over and over! It brings the story of Jesus’ birth to life for them. Thank you!” “The Living Christmas Story is a realistic view into life at the time of Jesus’ birth! Our grandchildren love seeing the live animals and all the people dressed in authentic clothing in the market. It is a very worthwhile family experience!” “Driving through ‘The Living Christmas Story’ at Union United Methodist Church has become a yearly tradition for our family to begin our Christmas season.”

“Due to the pandemic, we are taking extra safety precautions for all of our cast members,” said Glenna Dean Wildt, Co-Chair of The Living Christmas Story Planning Committee. “As for the public, this is the perfect activity. You get to sit in your car and experience the beauty of Christmas.”

Start your holiday season with an event that the whole family will remember.

To learn more about Union United Methodist Church please visit www.unionirmo.org or “Like” them on Facebook @unionumcirmo.

Dutch Fork Football – playing for 6th consecutive state title

Looks like it’s time to order another set of Rally Towels for this helluva program!

After defeating Fort Dorchester Friday night, the Silver Foxes are going for a SIXTH consecutive State Championships this week! I emailed the company that helps me provide these flags every year and hope to hear from them tomorrow! If so, I’ll bring them again to the school and get them to Dr. Gary in time for the big game!

For those that may not know, here are some program highlights currently:

62nd straight game without a loss
61st straight win over in-state teams
36th straight since the tie w/Mallard Creek
34th straight road win
28th straight playoff win (record)

Here’s hoping those streaks continue Friday!

Chapin Cheerleaders – State Champions (again)!

Once again, Rep Huggins and I will get to recognize these ladies/program at the State House in the spring. As I always share from the House Floor – “You can’t spell Champions without Chapin!”

From The Lexington Chronicle

THOMAS GRANT JR.
chroniclesports@yahoo.com

“We got that gold, we took it back!”

This was the yearlong rallying cry for the Chapin High School competitive cheer team.

It began not too long after the Lady Eagles finished runner-up to Lexington High School last November at the SC High School League Class 5A final held in Florence.

“The day after state, they had a meeting and we were determined that it was going to happen this year,” longtime Chapin head coach Vicki Williams said. “But they’ve been practicing ever since then to get back. So it was a goal to get back.”

The daily regiment of fine-tuning the self-choreographic routines paid off Saturday at Colonial Life Arena.

Back in familiar surroundings, the Lady Eagles returned to their championship perch by winning the Class 5A title once again. In claiming a school-record 15th overall state title, three of the last four in Class 5A, Chapin scored a 349, the highest point total posted by any classification, to dethrone defending champion Lexington.

The Lady Wildcats finished 27 points behind the Lady Eagles for their fourth Class 5A runner-up trophy since 2016.

This marked the fifth straight year since Class 5A was created Chronicle Country teams were 1-2 in the final standings.

Other local teams who placed high were River Bluff in third place and Dutch Fork was sixth.

Prior to the Class 5A final, AC Flora repeated as Class 4A champion. Both Airport and Irmo were third and fourth, respectively, on a day six Chronicle Country teams finished in the Top Five of their classificaitons.

“Tonight it’s about this team,” Chapin coach Billie Williams said. “They’ve worked harder than any team we’ve ever had.”