Search Results for: cookout

Great time! This year’s Community Cookout

Thanks again to all those who made this year’s cookout another great event for our community!

From the sponsors/hosts/contributors to those that showed up for their first-ever “political event”, thank you!

We had several elected officials attend and give our neighbors a chance to speak with them one-on-one in a casual setting. I was also very pleased that my efforts to personally stuff over 1,000 newspaper boxes with an invitation resulted in folks showing-up for the first-time to meet neighbors and other officials.

Thanks again to the following elected officials who attended:

US Congressman Joe Wilson
State Comptroller Richard Eckstrom
State Senator John Courson
State Representatives Chip Huggins, Ted Pitts, Nikki Haley
Richland County Councilman Bill Malinowski
Chapin Mayor Stan Shealy
Irmo Town Councilmembers Hardy King, Barry Walker
Lexington/Richland District 5 Board Members Robert Gantt, Jan Hammond, Carol Sloop, Ellen Baumgardner, Roberta Ferrell

Also attending were the Presidents/CEO of the Irmo Chamber of Commerce (Meredith Allyn) and Chapin Chamber of Commerce (Laura Howell).

Special thanks again to Bert Pooser for his hospitality at The Rusty Anchor and The Quarterdeck . Also to Sticky Fingers for their food and beverage service, and to Jim LeBlanc for his acoustic music.

Also, thanks to Elizabeth Donehue for coordinating the event with her first-class attention to detail!

Community Cookout coming August 18th!

Two years ago, I hosted a Community Cookout to give everyone tthe opportunity to meet/speak with several local elected officials all in one place….right in our community!

This year, I’m doing it again!

I hope you’ll make plans to attend…more information will be posted in the next two weeks!

The following local elected officials have confirmed* their attendance for the event:

Lieutenant Governor Andre Bauer
State Attorney General Henry McMaster
State Comptroller Richard Eckstrom
Senator John Courson
Senator Ronnie Cromer
Representative Nikki Haley
Representative Chip Huggins
Representative Ted Pitts
Chapin Mayor Stan Shealy
Richland County Sheriff Leon Lot
Richland County Coroner Gary Watts
Richland County Councilman Bill Malinowski
Lexington County Councilman Johnny Jeffcoat
Irmo Town Councilmembers: Hardy King, Kathy Condom, Barry Walker
Lexington/Richland School District Five Board Members: Carol Sloop, Jan Hammond, Ellen Baumgardner, Roberta Ferrell

*confirmed as of July 20, 2009

People, Not Politics (2022)

Later this month, I’ll file paperwork to run again in hopes of serving your family in Columbia. From the beginning our campaign, and how I serve, has been about People, Not Politics.

I can still remember the men, women, kids (and dogs!) I met during our first campaign in 2004. Knocking on more than 3,000 doors gave me a very good insight to what’s important to the people here in the Irmo/Chapin/Dutch Fork area. None of the “political insiders” gave us a chance back then – but y’all rallied around our message and on June 8, 2004 chose me as your Republican nominee for SC House District 71.

Since then, we’ve had two other primaries in 2016 (84%-16%) and again in 2018 (70%-25%-5%) . In 2020 we had a general election (65%-32%-3%).

I don’t take for granted your support and hopefully earn that daily with my service to our community.

In the weeks ahead, I’ll share some endorsements . The one that matters most though comes from y’all!

Thank you for the honor and privilege to serve in the South Carolina General Assembly! Anytime I can be of service to you or your family, email me at NathanBallentine@schouse.gov or call me at the office (803) 734-2969 or at home (803) 834-4613.

The Weekly (and yearly) Rewind – May 24th

rewind-t3951k

Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to serve as your State Representative in Columbia! This week we finished the first session of the 123rd General Assembly and I want to briefly touch on legislation that many of you have followed and asked me to focus on for our state.

To simplify things, I share that we had a focus on Education, Energy, and Economic Developement (while adding that I continued my push for more Ethics reforms).

During his State of the State address in January, Governor McMaster proclaimed this year to be the ‘Year of Education,’ and the House took that charge seriously by passing a transformative education bill aimed at fundamentally reforming the way we educate our children. The legislation we passed was the culmination of several years of work and meetings throughout our state with many stakeholders: our neediest school districts, district personnel, teachers and parents. While the bill sits in the Senate, I can share more below about other ways we focused on education in our state budget.

While not all of the bills that passed the House were passed by the Senate or signed by the Governor, here are a few of the major accomplishments from the House this session. As a reminder, this is the first year of a two-year session, so legislation that did not pass the Senate can be continued when we return next January.

The Education Budget

The 2019-2020 budget is built on the foundation of protecting taxpayers, a renewed commitment to being resourceful and efficient, funding core functions of state government, and providing value for every dollar we spend.

We devoted over $300 million for education in this year’s budget. Some highlights include:
$159 million to provide every teacher a pay raise
$15 million to increase base student cost
$68 million for workforce partnerships in technical schools
$10 million for school resource officers
$20 million for new textbooks
$19 million for new school buses
$2.2 million for mental health counselors
$44 million to colleges in exchange for an agreement to freeze the cost of tuition for in-state undergrad students
We funded pay raises for state employees, law enforcement, firefighters, and judges.
We funded education and treatment programs to combat the opioid crisis.
We devoted $25 million for disaster relief for farmers from crop loss and damage related to Hurricanes Michael and Florence.
We committed $40 million for new voting machines to ensure fair and secure elections.
We provided taxpayers a one-time $50 rebate from last year’s budget surplus.

More on Education

The House passed a comprehensive education reform bill that includes raising teacher pay, decreasing statewide testing, consolidating small school districts, and creating a committee that will monitor the education achievements from pre-K to post-graduation. The bill, crafted with input from Governor McMaster as well as teachers and educators from across the state, was sent to the Senate where parts of our bill (offered in smaller separate bills) have been moving forward. We are hopeful that when the Senate comes back in January, they move forward with passing the House bill.

Highlights from The S.C. Education, Career, Opportunity, and Access for All Act:

· The act raises the minimum salary for starting teachers by almost 10%. All other teachers will receive an average raise of 4.8%.

· It eliminates 4 of the 6 state assessment tests to allow more time for classroom discussion.

· It adds a 30-minute duty free break for all teachers during the school day.

· It requires school districts with fewer than 1,000 students to consolidate with neighboring districts to share resources and save money.

· It increases funding for school mental health services, school resource officers, new school buses, and updated instructional materials.

Energy Solutions – Solar

The Energy Freedom Act passed the legislature unanimously and was signed by the Governor. The bill expands rooftop solar energy options by removing the existing 2% net-metering cap, allows solar customers to be compensated for the energy they produce and send back to the grid, and establishes a regulatory structure for future solar energy to compete with larger utility companies. Solar energy in our state is booming. In 2016 there were 1,160 cumulative installations; today the state is home to more than 18,000 solar systems and is expected to add 22,000 systems over the next five years. You may recall last session’s battles that I and others fought against the utility companies in our states. This bill would not have passed without support from the SC Energy Caucus which I co-founded and served as the first co-chairman with Rusell Ott (D-Calhoun). That bipartisan effort, along with a push from many conservative Republicans who stood with me, enabled this year’s bill to pass with ease in just a few months. As I shared on Facebook last week, nothing worthwhile comes easy – this bill and movement is a testament to that!

Energy Solutions – Santee Cooper Update

The legislature is moving forward with the process of deciding ultimately what to do with Santee Cooper in wake of the $9 billion debt accumulated from the failed VC Summer nuclear plant by the state-owned utility. Locally, our damage was mainly done by SEC&G. For the coops and others around the state, the next shoe will soon drop. Like we did during the SCE&G hearings, we must determine the best way to alleviate further damage to our ratepayers. The Department of Administration will seek binding offers from companies interested in purchasing Santee Cooper as well as offers from companies interested in managing Santee Cooper. In addition, Santee Cooper will be asked to submit its own plan on how they would improve if allowed to maintain ownership. The Department of Administration is charged with evaluating offers from these companies and bringing the best proposals to the General Assembly to consider by January 15, 2020.

Economic Development

The legislature passed a bill that will allow professional sports teams the same tax incentives as other large corporate companies who choose to bring their business and create jobs in the Palmetto State. The Panthers are moving their practice facilities and corporate offices to the Rock Hill area, which will officially bring the North Carolina NFL team into South Carolina’s economy. This move is expected to bring at least 5,700 jobs and more than $3 billion in economic development to South Carolina. As a realist, I’m not sure $3 billion will be the figure; but also as a realist, I know the state will receive far more benefit than the investment we are making. I’d like to remind everyone that opponents saying “we’re giving $115 million to a liberal billionaire” are being disingenuous. We are not giving your money or money we currently have to anyone. We are letting a business keep a portion of their tax dollars only after they commit to investing and contributing to the bottom line of our state revenues.

Ethics – no more Golden Parachutes

After years of having my bill sit in committee without a hearing from a former Chariman, I was able to finally have a hearing on a bill that would save taxpayers from paying for “Golden Parachutes” for officials convicted of public corruption. The new Chairman of the House Judiciary committee gave me a hearing and the subcommittee unanimously passed the bill that, simply stated, lets all public officials (not just House/Senate…we’re talking mayors, councilman, schoolboards, etc) know that if they are guilty of public corruption, they lose their state retirement and state health benefits. The bill didn’t make it to the Senate (yet) but will when we return in January.

One other important piece (that doesn’t begin with the letter E) is close to my heart. As the son of a combat veteran (Vietnam) as well as grandson of veterans, i’m pleased to share that the legislature passed (and the Governor signed into law) a bill to elevate the South Carolina Department of Veterans Affairs to a cabinet level agency. The Governor also signed into law a bill that will give in-state tuition for military personnel and their dependents regardless of the amount of time they have spent in that state. The House passed the Workforce Enhancement and Military Recognition Act, which removes the present limit in relation to the income deduction of military retirees. It also allows military retirees at the age of 65 to deduct any military retirement income that is included in their taxable income. The Senate has yet to take up this bill. These bipartisan bills reflect South Carolina’s strong military tradition and show appreciation to our veterans.

I wish everyone to have a safe and enjoyayble summer. While Rep Huggins and I are out of session in Columbia until January, please know we will be visiting with you again and working on any state matters you need help with over the next several months.

Be sure to SAVE THE DATE (Wednesday, August 14th) for my “once every two years” COMMUNITY COOKOUT which will be held again in Chapin! As always, we will have state, local, and most likely federal officials present for you to interact with in an casual setting on the shores of Lake Murray! I’ll share more on my website at www.nathansnews.com. The event is FREE to the public thanks to the generosity of our Sponsors, Hosts, and Supporters! Hope to see you and your family there!

As your State Representative, I am honored to serve you in Columbia. Please feel free to contact me with any comments, issues, or concerns that you may have or tell me in person on August 14th!

Closed for repairs (again)

closed

Not sure what keeps happening to the website but for the 2nd time in a few months; we’ve basically been shut down.

I’d like to thank Wesley Donehue and his team at Push Digital (the ones who originally put this site together years ago) for stepping in again to fix the problem.

Unfortunately, all your comments over the years were lost and many links in my posts are now “dead links”. Not to mention my “Donate” link doesn’t work either. Despite that, we had another great turnout at our Community Cookout last month and I very much appreciate the support (financial, prayers, volunteers, etc). I’ll post pictures of the event next week.

Now that we’re up and running again, I’ll continue to update you regularly and keep you informed about what’s going on in the community and in Columbia!

As always, please contact me here for a quicker response to your concerns or needs!

COMMUNITY UPDATE: August 2013

***************
STATE HOUSE
***************

Even though no new bills can be filed until January, that doesn’t mean legislators aren’t working over the next several months to improve our quality of life in South Carolina. If you’re a constituent (or someone reading from outside the area), please let me or your local representative know of any suggestions you have that we can consider in the last year of this two-year session.

We report back in January but will need time to research and draft legislation before then. One issue that recently came to my attention deals with taxes on watercraft. I’ve met with local individuals and also the Department of Natural Resources and will work to help individuals from the unexpected “back taxes” sometimes owed by previous owners when title changes hands. Dealers usually help avoid this for buyers but if you purchase a boat directly from an individual, this can happen without you even knowing what is owed. It forces the new owner to basically pay taxes for something he/she hadn’t even used…and often in a different county than where they live. This needs to be addressed.

What are other ideas or areas that you feel we should address for the Lake Murray area, Midlands, and entire South Carolina? Please let me know by contacting me here.

**************
YOUR MONEY
**************

Sales Tax Holiday Weekend started yesterday and goes until midnight Sunday. Enjoy the “back-to-school” savings and be sure to check this list to see what is tax exempt and what is not tax exempt.

For months, many in the area have been concerned about a housing development in the works on Bickley Road. I’ve kept Nathan’s News readers informed and recently let everyone know that NO tax credits were awarded to the project. While a developer is certainly within his/her right to continue with the project (because it was already zoned accordingly), it’s my understanding these projects usually do not proceed unless they receive the tax credits. As information, for any zoning issues, our first contact should be our local county councilman. Out here in Northwest Richland County, that’s Bill Malinowski. If you have questions about developments and zoning, be sure to let him know.

**************
COMMUNITY
**************

Community Cookout: This year’s COMMUNITY COOKOUT is set for August 13th again at the Quarterdeck/Rusty Anchor from 6pm to 7:30 pm. Ever since I was elected, I’ve worked to bring national, state, and local elected officials together for our community to meet and talk with in a casual setting. Be sure to RSVP for this year’s event. BBQ and drinks will be served and music will be provided by Jim LeBlanc! Bring the whole family; but RSVP with your headcount no later than August 6th! We’ve planned meals for 200 people and we’re almost over the number already!

Chapin Labor Day Festival : Starting August 31st, join your neighbors in several events around town: Run or Walk A Crooked 5K for Meals on Wheels at Crooked Creek Park on Saturday, Aug. 31; a Bluegrass Concert Celebration at Chapin Presbyterian Church on Sunday, Sept. 1; and a full day of events on Labor Day including the famous Chapin Labor Day Parade at 9:30 AM, the Chapin Champion talent contest, rides, arts and crafts, vendors, concessions, Gospel concert at Chapin Christian Counseling and Grace Chapel, Classic Car Cruise-in, Friends of the Library Book Sale and more. Click here for registration and more information.

The Greater Irmo Chamber of Commerce No membership meeting this month; but definitely don’t miss the Summer Luau at Pine Island on August 8th from 6:30 to 8:30pm. Tickets are 1 for $10 or 2 for $14. Pay at door or call/visit chamber to reserve yours today!

The Greater Chapin Chamber of Commerce Membership Luncheon, August 13th. Topic: Future Workforce Development. Sponsored by Midlands Technical College. LOCATION: Center for Advanced Technical Studies (916 Mt. Vernon Church Road) The lunch meeting begins at noon and upon completion of the meeting, the staff at the Center will be offering brief tours of its state-of-the-art campus. If you have not seen this fantastic facility yet, you won’t want to miss our Aug. 13 meeting. Admission is free for Chamber members and $10 for guests. Register online or call 345-1100 to reserve your space.

Ballentine-Dutch Fork Civic Association : has no meetings during the summer. Next meeting will be September 9th at 6:30pm at Ballentine Park.

Meet your Neighbor: Please be sure to email me news of accomplishments of your friends and neighbors in the community! A recent neighbor I’m proud to share with you is Kelly Jones: Richland Library Ballentine Manager. I try to regularly update the website with people around town who are doing great things right here in Ballentine, Irmo, Chapin and White Rock. I’m willing to help promote their work/cause and simply need you to let me know what’s going on!

*****************
OUR SCHOOLS
*****************

The Chapin Eagle Club : Hope you can join Karen and I at the 5th Annual All Sports Benefit/Auction. Saturday, August 10th, 6:30 to 9:30 at the Columbia Conference Center. For more information, click here .

Time for Kickoff! Dutch Fork wants to “finish the job” after falling just short of a State Championship last year. While Chapin fields another strong football team, it’s Chapin’s Cheerleaders who consistently win State Championships. Look for them on the sidelines this season and see why they regularly bring home the title. Bob Hanna’s Irmo squad will be led this season by QB Demetrius Lewis who recently tied for the Top Senior Award at the 3rd annual QB1 Challenge .

District Five Retains “A” Rating Under Federal Accountability System: Lexington-Richland School District Five again has received an overall “A” rating under the current federal accountability system. The formula used for this rating is part of the state’s approved Flexibility Request from certain provisions of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), commonly referred to as No Child Left Behind (NCLB). School districts also receive a state report card rating which is usually announced in November. District Five is the only district in the Midlands with the “A” rating. The new ratings, released August 1 by the South Carolina Department of Education, shows that 14 schools in District Five received a grade of “A” and five received “B” ratings. No schools in the district received below a “B” rating.

School’s back! District Five teachers start August 13th and all students start the following week, August 20th. For the District’s 2013-2014 calendar, click here.

**************
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
803-734-2969
www.nathansnews.com
House of Representatives, District 71
Richland-Lexington Counties
320B Blatt Building
Columbia, SC 29201

COMMUNITY UPDATE: July 2013

***************
STATE HOUSE
***************

After narrowly passing the budget in the House (54-52) earlier in June, the House and Senate returned last week to vote (override/sustain) 81 gubernatorial budget vetoes. That is usually the last bit of work we do for the year; therefore after we voted on the vetoes, we adjourned this 1st regular session of the 120th General Assembly.

We will return Tuesday, January 14, 2014 to finish the last year of our two-year session.

As I wrote earlier on the website, no budget is ever perfect . Almost every member has something in the budget he/she doesn’t like and the gubernatorial vetoes are the last chance for us to have impact on the state’s spending priorities. In the years I’ve served, it seems we have sustained more vetoes this year than in years past. A good sign that some things can slowly change in Columbia.

In the coming weeks, I’ll update you on major legislation that became law this year and other legislation that fell short. All bills are “alive” until next year’s session ends so while it’s frustrating important items like Ethics Reform and Department of Adminsitration have not passed both chambers, I do expect them to be debated next year in hopes for passage of the best possible legislation the House, Senate and Governor can agree upon.

**************
YOUR MONEY
**************

I’m tired of having to write about the Richland Election Fiasco; but feel a duty to keep everyone informed – especially since local taxpayers are paying $100,000 for the mess (not counting our share of the one-billion dollar tax increase that passed in November – after failing the previous time it was on the ballot).

Hopefully, the billion dollars will be spent wisely and with the most impact for our citizens and business community. Frankly, there are only a few items on the list that are in our area and I will work to see those come to fruition ( the intersection at Kennerly Road and Coogler Road being one of the most needed for safety ).

Every time I see the video of hundreds of you waiting in line , it bothers me more and more how our local Elections Office totally mismanaged the process. I have continued since then to offer solutions and keep voters informed so that future fiascos can be avoided.

Earlier this year, you may recall that the House passed my bill to reduce our precinct sizes in our House District . In the last few weeks of this session, other Richland colleagues wanted their precinct sizes reduced as well, and so we joined together on one county-wide bill that has now become law . With the recent Supreme Court ruling that South Carolina no longer has to get any changes “blessed by Washington”, look for your new voter registration information in early 2014. I will also work with the local Election Office to find additional voting places for these precincts OR may have voting precincts share a facility (example: one precinct votes in cafeteria of school, while another votes in the gymnasium). Obviously, having less people vote at each location (gym, cafeteria, etc) should help reduce the wait times…as well as having an Election Office send the appropriate number of machines out to the voters this time.

**************
COMMUNITY
**************

This year’s COMMUNITY COOKOUT is set for August 13th again at the Quarterdeck/Rusty Anchor from 6pm to 7:30 pm. Ever since I was elected, I’ve worked to bring national, state, and local elected officials together for our community to meet and talk with in a casual setting. Be sure to RSVP for this year’s event. BBQ and drinks will be served and music will be provided by Jim LeBlanc! Bring the whole family!

By now, you’ve probably heard about the “Wendover Project” that is applying for tax-credit, low-income housing in the Ballentine area. I will continue to keep you informed and have been working with other elected officials, community leaders, and concerned neighbors to be sure your feedback is heard at the SC State Housing Authority. For the latest update here on my website click here . I believe by the end of the month we will know for sure if tax credits were awarded to the project or not.

Two weeks ago, The Greater Irmo Chamber of Commerce announced their board members for the 2013-2014 year. If you’d like to meet them and other chamber members, plan on attending the next Membership Meeting,Wednesday, July 10th, 11:30 a.m. St. Andrews Presbyterian or signing up for the 2013 Purple Martin Cruise (with Palmetto Health Parkridge and the Spirit of Lake Murray). This annual summer event is set for Monday, July 29th and will set sail at 7:00pm.

The Greater Chapin Chamber of Commerce has their Monthly Membership After Hours & New Member Reception July 16th at Ava’s Copper Pot Bistro from 5:30 – 7:30 pm . They will be welcoming all the new members who have joined the Chamber since last summer so this will be a great opportunity to meet them and learn about their products or services!

Turning to other organizational meetings in the area this month: the Ballentine-Dutch Fork Civic Association has no meetings during the summer.

MEET YOUR NEIGHBOR : Please be sure to email me news of accomplishments of your friends and neighbors in the community! Recent neighbors I’m proud to share with you are: Miriam Atria and the Richland County Sheriff’s Department. I try to regularly update the website with people around town who are doing great things right here in Ballentine, Irmo, Chapin and White Rock. I’m willing to help promote their work/cause and simply need you to let me know what’s going on!

*****************
OUR SCHOOLS
*****************

As I watched 2 of our 3 high schools’ commencement ceremonies, I was again reminded of how good we have it in Lexington/Richland Five. (Missed Irmo’s due to work obligation I couldn’t get away from). I was also pleased to see the recognition of graduates who will be serving our country’s armed forces next year and also seeing one of the ceremonies end with a benediction.

From the District’s website : Lexington-Richland School District Five’s graduating classes of 2013 earned a record number of scholarship offers. The amount totaling more than $125 million includes academic and athletic scholarships for students from Chapin High School, Dutch Fork High School and Irmo High School. More than 1000 District Five students graduated during ceremonies on Friday, June 7.

Chapin High School graduates were offered more than $32 million in college scholarships, said Annette Moore, the school’s guidance director. “This is over $6 million more than last year’s scholarships, and there were three students from this class who were offered full tuition scholarships. Congratulations to all students in the class of 2013!”

At Dutch Fork High, the number of scholarships offered totaled more than $51.7 million. That’s a $2 million increase over 2012 and almost double the school’s scholarship totals in 2011.

Irmo High School’s 2013 graduating students were offered more than $41.8 million in college scholarships, said Robert Taylor, the school’s guidance director.

The scholarship amounts represent awards at four-year, two-year and technical colleges and universities in South Carolina and other states. Scholarships were earned based on several criteria including academic performance, athletics and community service.

**************
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
803-734-2969
www.nathansnews.com
House of Representatives, District 71
Richland-Lexington Counties
320B Blatt Building
Columbia, SC 29201

COMMUNITY UPDATE: September 2011

***************
STATE HOUSE
***************

The House and Senate are in recess until most likely January 2012 when we’ll return to finish the second year of the 119th General Assembly. Believe it or not, most officials are busier when we’re not in Columbia (in session) than when we are in session. Whether it be committee meetings , constituent meetings/town halls, or just being out in the district staying in touch, the fall months keep us busy. But it’s the best part of serving! If you’d like me to come speak to your Homeowners Association, Civic Organization, Church or any other group you belong to, please contact me and I’ll work to make it happen! Elected officials who stay in touch all the time (and not just during election time) are better able to do our job and serve our constituents!

**************
YOUR MONEY
**************

I’ve mentioned on Nathan’s News before that I serve on the House GOP Tax Study Committee and that is one of the main things we’re working on in the House for 2012. As I shared with the committee last week, we should call it the “Job Creation Committee” since that’s what the primary focus should be! With our rising, high unemployment rate, it’s critical to get South Carolinians back to work and to see job creation in our state. To be clear, I don’t believe government creates jobs; but government policies and actions can help foster an improved climate to encourage existing companies to expand and new companies to come to the Palmetto State.

If you have any ideas, please share. There are bound to be readers out there who have ideas that we may not be considering and I’ll be happy to have those vetted with my colleagues.

**************
COMMUNITY
**************

IRMO MAYORAL AND TOWN COUNCIL RACES : After years of service to the community, Mayor John Gibbons is not seeking re-election. On the ballot this fall will be (for mayor): Suzanne Gooch, Hardy King, Barry A. Walker Sr. and Kathy Condom. For Town Council (two at large), Paul Younginer, Harvey Hoots and Sarah Watson

38th ANNUAL OKRA STRUT! Last month was another great turnout in Chapin for the Labor Day Parade and this Saturday, it’s Irmo’s turn to shine! Look for the Lake Murray/Irmo Rotarians and “Okra Man” again this year and also enjoy the Friday Night street dance and the vendors, rides all weekend! My family will be spot #16 in the parade and we look forward to seeing you again along the route!

6TH ANNUAL IRMO COMMUNITY PRAYER BREAKFAST: I hope you’ll join Representative Huggins, me and almost 200 neighbors this week at what we consider “the kickoff to the Okra Strut”. This year, the breakfast will be held at Seven Oaks Presbyterian on the morning of Thursday, September 22nd. Last year was one of our largest crowds ever and regardless how long Representative Huggins and I serve the area, it’s our hope this event will continue for many more years!

ROTARY CLUB OF CHAPIN 17TH ANNUAL CHARITY GOLF CLASSIC: Friday September 30th at Timberlake Country Club. For more information call Pat Zeigler (749-8210) or Thomas Gore (941-4440).

COMMUNITY COOKOUT: I want to again thank everyone who came out to our Community Cookout last month at the Rusty Anchor! We had a great time and enjoyed having several statewide, national, and local elected officials in attendance.

*****************
OUR SCHOOLS
*****************

UPDATE ON CHAPIN HIGH SCHOOL: School District Five of Lexington and Richland Counties announced today that it is moving forward with plans to advertise bidding for the Chapin High School renovation and expansion project. Construction has been held up for many months with legal appeals; but in recent weeks there have been two favorable court rulings regarding the building project. The last of the agency approvals needed to bid the project has been issued to the district. The Chapin High project is one of 10 renovation and new construction projects approved by voters in a 2008 bond referendum.

DISTRICT FIVE FOUNDATION FOR EDUCATIONAL EXCELLENCE : is hosting a community benefit October 13th from 6pm to 9pm at Saluda Shoals Park. The evening will include silent and live auctions, drinks and appetizers. Money raised will go the Backpack Program and other educational initiatives that support our students, families, schools and staff. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased through their website (linked above)

BACK TO SCHOOL MESSAGE FROM SUPERINTENDENT HEFNER : The beginning of a new academic year is always an exciting time. Students are eager to learn, teachers are energized and ready to try new instructional methods and staffs welcome the sounds of children throughout the building. I am pleased that I was able to be a part of this wonderful time in Lexington-Richland Five. I can tell you, that I too, eagerly anticipated the first day of school and the beginning of my first complete school year in Lexington-Richland Five…(read more by clicking link above)

**************
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 29201

COMMUNITY UPDATE: August 2011

***************
STATE HOUSE
***************

The first session of the 119th SC Generally Assembly has receded with a scheduled return of January 10, 2012. For those wishing to get a thorough (non biased, non partisan) summary of Major Issues debated the past several months in the House, click here .

A more concise synopsis was included in my 2011 End of Year Report and Survey that was distributed to thousands of voters in the Irmo/Chapin community last month. *If you did not receive this communication, please contact me and I’ll see to it that one goes out immediately.

As always, the issue most people watch more closely than others is the state budget. Earlier this week, I added a video clip here on the website to provide you a look inside the “debate”. This year our budget passed by only 3 votes in the House and only 7 votes in the Senate.

Another closely watched process for many throughout the state was the Redistricting Process that occurs by law every 10 years. Every House and Senate district saw at least some change to their current lines. In addition, our state picked up a 7th Congressional seat in Washington and, pending court approval, the new seat will be anchored in Horry County and the PeeDee Region.

Over the next several months, I’ll continue to speak with community groups, neighborhood associations, church groups and others to learn what you’d like me and the rest of my colleagues to be working on in January when we return. If you have suggestions, advice or recommendations, please let me know so I can start researching and considering possible legislation.

**************
YOUR MONEY
**************

Beginning this Friday (August 5th at 12:01 am) and running through Sunday (August 7th at midnight), you may purchase several “back to school items” and not have to pay sales tax. I say “back-to-school” because that was the overall intention of the legislation; however, when you peruse the list, I’m sure you’ll wonder how some items fit that category.

Speaking of sales-tax exemptions, I’m honored to be selected to serve on the House GOP Caucus Tax Study Advisory Committee . Our task is to review our state’s tax structure and hopefully craft legislation that takes a comprehensive approach at reform. Recently the committee heard from Dr. Mike Fanning (www.roarsc.com) who gave a very informative – and interesting – presentation. If you’re interested, that presentation is available here . As I shared with the committee’s chairman (Tommy Stringer, R-Greenville), if we have the courage and intelligence needed for this task, we can make a significant change for the better for all our citizens! Stay tuned for additional update over the next several months.

**************
COMMUNITY
**************

COMMUNITY COOKOUT: In less than 2 weeks (August 16th), almost 20 elected officials will gather at the Rusty Anchor and give our community a chance to mingle in a casual setting with everyone from a US Congressman, our Constitutional Officers, County and Town officials and School Board members! If you haven’t RSVP’d yet, it’s not too late to join us for BBQ, banana pudding, music and fellowship!

IT’S PARADE TIME! September marks two big parades/events in our community! First it’s the Chapin Labor Day Parade followed by the Irmo Okra Strut! This year, I want any child/family who wants to walk in the parade to join me and my family for both parades! Contact my wife, Karen at our home (732-1861) and we’ll give you details on when/where. Everyone loves a parade! (Don’t be surprised to see a few Presidential Candidates on the parade route as well!)

6TH ANNUAL IRMO COMMUNITY PRAYER BREAKFAST: I hope you’ll join Representative Huggins, me and almost 200 neighbors next month at what we consider “the kickoff to the Okra Strut”. This year, the breakfast will be held at Seven Oaks Presbyterian on the morning of Thursday, September 22nd. Last year was one of our largest crowds ever and regardless how long Representative Huggins and I serve the area, it’s our hope this event will continue for many more years! (Speaking of the Prayer Breakfast, my church – Riverland Hills Baptist – served as the host church of the inaugural event. This summer, my pastor – Ed Carney – celebrated his 20th anniversary at the church!)

KICKOFF IS AROUND THE CORNER! Once again, I’m looking forward to “championship seasons” from all three of our local high schools. Each Saturday morning on Twitter, I’ll give you a “Community Football Update” where you can see who won, who lost, and their current record. Just yesterday, we learned about upcoming realignment in High School sports which won’t have an impact this season; but will next season. Hopefully, I’ll see you at one of the games this fall! [Read more…]

1/10/2012

Tonight I told JC and Emma “Daddy’s done with the State House until January!” They were excited; but then Emma quickly asked “What about Wells Fargo ?” Kids. Gotta love ’em!

Today we wrapped up the first year of the 119th General Assembly by actually having very limited debate on a compromise plan for our state’s new 7th Congressional District.

Earlier in the day, I joined a few other colleagues as part of the House GOP Caucus Tax Study Advisory Committee that will be meeting over the next several months to work towards legislation that will take a comprehensive approach at changing our state’s tax structure. I told our chairman ( Rep. Tommy Stringer – Greenville ) “If we (the committee, lawmakers) have the courage and intelligence that’s needed for this, we can truly change our tax system for the better.” More on that in the coming days and weeks here on Nathan’s News.

For now, I want to step away for a few days. Recharge the battery and then I’ll come back with an August COMMUNITY UPDATE, a recap the budget from this year, a recap this past session, and share the results from this year’s legislative survey that several members of the community returned.

In a few weeks (August 16th), I hope to see many of you at a regular event I’ve hosted since being elected in 2004. Our COMMUNITY COOKOUT. I’m grateful both the Irmo Chamber and Chapin Chamber cleared their events calendar so everyone will have the opportunity to mingle with several statewide office holders and local elected officials as well! For more information, click here .

Thanks for checking in. Look for new updates next Monday!