April 26, 2015

Family of former Columbia mayor says road to recovery ‘will be a long one’

Former Columbia mayor Bob Coble (Image: Nexen Pruet)

Former Columbia mayor Bob Coble (Image: Nexen Pruet)

The family of former Columbia mayor Bob Coble released a statement updating his progress while recovering from a major heart attack last week. Although Coble’s family said the 20-year mayor is improving, they still asked for continuing support from the local community.

“As Dad’s doctors and nurses provide post-operative treatments, his vital signs are improving,” Daniel Coble, the former mayor’s son, said in a release. “We are particularly encouraged by his progress over the past 24-48 hours. But, Dad suffered a major heart attack and we know that his road to recovery will be a long one. Our family asks everyone to keep the well wishes and prayers coming as medical professionals continue to provide around-the-clock care for ‘Mayor Bob.’”

He underwent quadruple bypass surgery at Providence Hospital after he was rushed from the Statehouse via ambulance on April 15.  Nexsen Pruet, the law firm where he works as a lobbyist, said that Coble told a doctor at the Statehouse that he “was not feeling well” shortly before he was taken to the hospital.

The family also thanked the Statehouse staff and the on-site doctor for their quick actions in getting Coble to an ambulance.

Coble served as mayor of South Carolina’s capital city from 1990 to 2010. He currently serves as chairman of Nexsen Pruet’s South Carolina Public Policy and Governmental Affairs Group. According to his profile on the organization’s website, he is also the Columbia World Affairs Council Chairman and a member on the Columbia Urban League Board.

 

House Ethics Committee waives fines for former legislator, investigates another

Former State Rep. Ted Vick explains his situation to the House Ethics Committee last week

Former State Rep. Ted Vick explains his situation to the House Ethics Committee last week

The South Carolina House Ethics Committee on Tuesday voted to waive a $410 fine for a former member who insisted he did not intentionally violate campaign filing rules.

At the same time, the committee voted to authorize a possible deeper investigation into a second former legislator who is currently facing more than $56,000 in fines.

The ethics committee heard the appeals of former State Rep. Ted Vick, D-Chesterfield, and former State Rep. Eric Bikas, R-Easley, on April 14. The hearing was a rare public look into a legislative ethics appeals process that had, until recently, been conducted behind closed doors.

Both men were facing fines for late filings of required financial forms after leaving the Statehouse. Each also claimed to be unaware of all the required paperwork needed upon exiting office, although Vick’s case was only a few months old to Bikas’ nearly three years.

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SC House ignores governor’s veto threat, sends roads bill to Senate

Workers place concrete on an Interstate 95 bridge near the Dillon and Florence county line on Friday (Image: SCDOT)

Workers place concrete on an Interstate 95 bridge near the Dillon and Florence county line on Friday (Image: SCDOT)

The South Carolina House on Thursday advanced to the Senate a bill that tries to use expanded taxes to raise an additional $428 million each year for road and bridge work, despite a veto threat from Gov. Nikki Haley.

The Department of Transportation has said it needs $1.5 billion more than it is receiving each year  just to bring roads to “good” condition in the next two decades.

The measure approved in an 87-20 vote a day earlier would end a current sales tax exemption on wholesale gas sales in exchange for dropping the state’s current 16 cents per-gallon gas tax to 10 cents. Figures released by the state Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Office estimated that would lead to drivers paying a net equivalent of 10 cents more per gallon. To offset that tax increase, the bill expands income brackets so the typical taxpayer would pay $48 less.

The bill would also increase the current sales tax limit on new car purchases from $300 to $500 and would transfer all revenue from the vehicle sales tax to the Department of Transportation (SCDOT).

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Jennifer Garner visits SC Statehouse to promote early childhood education

 

Jennifer Garner and Save the Children Action Network president Mark Shriver speak with South Carolina Radio Network on Thursday

Jennifer Garner and Save the Children Action Network president Mark Shriver speak with South Carolina Radio Network on Thursday

Actress Jennifer Garner — perhaps best known for her starring role in the TV series “Alias” as well as the films “Daredevil,” “Juno,” and “13 Going on 30″ — shed her acting persona this week as she traveled to South Carolina’s Statehouse to promote childhood literacy.

Garner serves on the board of the nonprofit “Save the Children,” an international organization that works on behalf of children’s rights worldwide. While the program is best known for its work fighting hunger and helping orphans in Third World nations, it has also spent the past decade reaching out to help literacy programs in poor, rural American communities.

It was this second purpose that brought Garner and Save the Children Action Network president Mark Shriver to Columbia on Wednesday and Thursday. Garner, a native of West Virgina

“Kids growing up in poverty hear about 30 million fewer words by the time they’re three years old,” Garner said in a sit-down interview with South Carolina Radio Network. “And that matters. That is what gets the synapses to go off in your brain and set you up to be able to speak, to be able to read, to be able to take in verbiage. And go from learning to read to reading to learn.”

AUDIO: Garner speaks about “Save the Children,” and why she became involved (1:10)

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New licenses plates for on the way for South Carolina

Old plates top, new bottom. Photo courtesy of South Carolina DMV.

Old plates top, new bottom.
Photo courtesy of South Carolina DMV.

The South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will begin issuing redesigned license plates to comply with South Carolina laws which require a basic design for all license plates. DMV will make the changes in phases until all license plates have been transitioned, but the process will begin with specialty license plates.

“We found out from law enforcement that a lot of these older plates have lost their visibility and they’ve lost their reflect ability,” DMV Executive Director Kevin Shwedo told South Carolina Radio Network Thursday.

“This is only the first phase of the transition,” said Shwedo. “It will take time to complete the redesign for every South Carolina license plate. Not everyone will be affected right away and we want citizens to understand how it will work.”

During the initial phase, certain specialty license plates with vehicle registrations that are processed by DMV before May 1, 2015 will receive the current version of the license plate. If the vehicle registration is processed on or after the May 1 deadline, they will receive the redesigned license plate. DMV renews vehicle registrations every two years. If it is not time for the biennial registration to be paid, customers will receive a sticker for their license plate. Customers are not required to turn in older versions of their specialty license plates.

The new plates were designed in conjunction with law enforcement officials to provide maximum visibility. The license plate is white with a blue line at the top, above the name of the plate. A red line is below the name of the plate and the emblem is located on the left side of the plate. DMV is working with sponsoring organizations to ensure all plate designs meet both the law and the organizations preferences.

Shwedo said between now and somewhere between 2018, 2019 all license plates in South Carolina will use the same template. Which means motorists may have different types of plates, but they all will look uniform in layout and numbering, making it easier for law enforcement to tell that it is a South Carolina license plate.