October 22, 2014

Haley spends Greenville debate on defensive

Gov. Nikki Haley (File)

Gov. Nikki Haley (File)

The gloves came off at some points in Tuesday night’s debate among the five candidates hoping to be elected governor next month.

Incumbent Republican Gov. Nikki Haley found herself fending off verbal attacks from her challengers as questions moved away from what her campaign considers her strongest issue — the economy — and instead towards education, domestic violence, and Medicaid funding. The event at Furman University near Greenville was the last debate in the governor’s race before voters head to the polls in two weeks.

The debate also had a heightened intensity for the governor’s opponents, as a recent Charleston Post & Courier poll found Haley holds a 20-point lead over Democratic State Sen. Vincent Sheheen in the polls (51% to 31%). Independent petition candidate Tom Ervin was third in the survey with 11 percent support, while Libertarian nominee Steve French and the United Citizens Party’s Morgan Bruce Reeves were within the margin of error. Haley defeated Sheheen with 51 percent of the vote to 47 percent in the 2010 election. [Read more...]

Superintendent explains why Academic Magnet coach was fired over postgame celebrations

Charleston County School District Image

Bud Walpole (Image: Charleston County School District)

The varsity football coach at Academic Magnet High School in Charleston County has been relieved from his coaching duties because of postgame victory celebrations a school board member says involved players smashing watermelons and making ape-like sounds, according to the Charleston County School District superintendent.

But some parents were livid with the decision, saying the celebrations had no racial intent at all.

Superintendent Dr. Nancy McGinley said that Academic Magnet High School football coach Eugene “Bud” Walpole will no longer coach the Raptors because of what some in the district felt were inappropriate postgame celebrations that could be seen as having racial overtones.

“This is not an employee who has been fired for the district, he is still a teacher in the district,” she said. “This relieving of the duties was related to the coaching position only.”

McGinley said activities that were part of the celebrations were something the adults should have not let happen. “Therefore we took action to relieve the head coach of his responsibilities.” McGinley said.

[Read more...]

SC pork executive takes plea deal for carrying gun into congressional offices

The Cannon Building, where Pestage was arrested in July (Image: Architect of the Capitol)

The Cannon Building, where Pestage was arrested in July (Image: Architect of the Capitol)

A South Carolina pork executive accused of trying to enter a congressional office building in Washington with a handgun  has pleaded guilty in the case.

The Associated Press reports 59-year-old Ronald Prestage of Camden pleaded guilty Tuesday in the District of Columbia’s Superior Court to charges of having an unregistered firearm and unregistered ammunition. Prestage was arrested in July as he passed through the checkpoint of a House of Representatives office building. Concealed weapons are not allowed in federal office buildings. Prestage, who works with North Carolina-based Prestage Farms, was the president-elect of the National Pork Producers Council at the time.

A judge sentenced him to 30 days in jail, but suspended the sentence on the condition that Prestage successfully complete six months of unsupervised probation.

Neither Prestage nor his attorneys have commented on the case since the July arrest.

He also serves on the North Carolina State University board of trustees.

Bipartisanship? SCGOP, Democratic leaders say SC should appoint military chief

SC Democratic Party Chair Jaime Harrison speaks in support of the change during a press conference at the Statehouse's veterans monument

SC Democratic Party Chair Jaime Harrison speaks in support of the change during a press conference at the Statehouse’s veterans monument

In a rare moment of bipartisanship just two weeks before Election Day, the chairmen of South Carolina’s Democratic and Republican parties announced a joint campaign that will ask voters to end South Carolina’s status as the only state that still elects its military chief by popular vote.

A state constitutional amendment on the ballot this November asks voters whether the governor should instead appoint South Carolina’s adjutant general position, and sets qualifications for the job. The Adjutant General oversees the South Carolina National Guard, Air National Guard, and State Guard, as well as the state Emergency Management Division.

SC Democratic Party Chairman Jaime Harrison and his SCGOP counterpart Matt Moore announced a new media campaign to urge voters to support Amendment 2. Joining them in that call is the man who currently holds the Adjutant General’s post Maj. Gen. Robert Livingston. Livingston said he believes the “Vote Yes” campaign is needed because many voters do not know what an adjutant general even does. [Read more...]

SC jobless rate rises for third straight month

worker thumbnailSouth Carolina’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased to 6.6 percent in September, according to new data released by the state’s employment agency on Tuesday. That was up from a revised August level of 6.3 percent.

That bucked the trend nationwide, as the overall U.S. unemployment rate decreased to 5.9 percent in September from 6.1 percent in August.

The data released by the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce suggested that a slight growth in jobs was canceled out by much larger increase in the labor force, meaning more unemployed workers. SCDEW reported the number of South Carolinians working ticked up by 2,500 in September. but the labor force increased over the same month by nearly 9,000 people. The number of unemployed people in the state was slightly over 144,000, an increase of 6,400 from September

Since September 2013, a net of roughly 21,000 people have found work and the labor force has increased by nearly 6,700. The state’s unemployment rate has declined by 0.7 percentage points since September 2013.