UNPUBLISHED PHOTO All Weekly DivisionFIRST PLACE: The Fort Jackson Leader Andrew McIntyreTop Cop Compeitition
USE OF TWITTER All Weekly DivisionTHIRD PLACE: Fort Mill Times Michael Harrison and Jenny Overman
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USE OF TWITTER All Weekly DivisionFIRST PLACE: Free Times Corey Hutchins
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BEST PUBLISHED EDITORIAL/OP-ED COLUMN Associate/Individual DivisionTHIRD PLACE: GSA Business Scott Miller Invest in better health, expand Medicaid A s one of the nation’s most unhealthy and impoverished states, South Carolina has a duty to its citizens to expand Medicaid and take the 9-to-1 match of federal funding to do so. Even if South Carolina opts against expansion, as a re- cent Supreme Court ruling allows, Palmetto State taxpay- ers will continue to help foot the bill for federal Medicaid dollars that other states will accept. Allowing the poor and uninsured to go without health care is expensive; hospitals, insurers, private businesses and anyone who pays for health care bear that cost. Expanding Medicaid will be expensive too, but not as much as Gov. Nikki Haley’s administration claims. Tony Keck, director of the S.C. Department of Health and Hu- man Services, says expanding Medicaid will cost the state at least $1.1 billion, possibly twice that. Independent analysis by the non-partisan Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation disputes Keck’s estimate, however. Kaiser says expanding Medicaid could cost South Carolina around $470 million from 2014 through and two thirds of adults, fourth worst. icaid would amount to leaving an estimated $2 billion a 2019, an average of less than $100 million a year. That • The death rate from stroke is 50 per 100,000 resi- year from the federal government on the table. It’s hard to amounts to a 3.6% increase for the state, Kaiser said. For dents, fifth worst. imagine the state delivering that kind of value on its own, that, an additional 250,000 impoverished, uninsured • 18.7% of South Carolinians are uninsured, even if it is more efficient. South Carolinians would receive covered care under the eighth worst. In her objection to expanding Medicaid, Haley is right. Medicaid program, possibly more. • Personal income is 80% of the national average. The Medicaid program can be wasteful. It needs to be re- Based on those figures, South Carolina would benefit • More than 18% of the population lives in poverty, formed to cover core services and provide states more flex- more by expanding Medicaid than all but three states, the sixth worst. ibility. But citing Medicaid’s imperfection is a poor reason Kaiser Foundation said. Here are some facts about South South Carolina ranks No. 45 among the states in overall to deny health care to so many South Carolinians. Carolina’s health and poverty from the U.S. Census Bu- health. It is time for South Carolina to invest in its health. Expanding Medicaid is a long-term investment in reau, Kaiser and the United Health Foundation: Haley says the state could provide more efficient, less our state’s most vulnerable population, and this is a • More than 10% of adults have diabetes, fifth worst costly health care on its own. The problem is the state time for the state’s leadership to back away from parti- in the nation. won’t make the investment on its own, or hasn’t shown a san politics and do the right thing for the citizens who • One third of children are overweight or obese, willingness to do so in the past. Refusing to expand Med- need it most.
BEST PUBLISHED EDITORIAL/OP-ED COLUMN Associate/Individual Division S.C. should set clean energy standards By James T. Hammond to drive up operating costs of coal-fired plants.FIRST PLACE: One reason the coal-fired plants can be shut down S outh Carolina is on the cusp of dramatic change is the growing capacity of cleaner, natural gas-fired in the way electric power is generated here, and generators and nuclear reactors under construction. the electric utility companies currently are act- SCE&G is building 2,200 megawatts of new nucle- ing without long-term policy guidance from state ar generating capacity at Jenkinsville in Fairfield government. County. Currently, Santee Cooper, the state-owned Utilities statewide plan to electric utility, owns 45% of those two new nuclear retire coal-fired electricity units. Columbia Regional generating plants on a large Nuclear power plants emit no noxious chemicals, scale, reducing by at least and the two new reactors at Jenkinsville will dramati- one-quarter the number of cally reduce SCE&G’s emissions into the atmosphere. the generators that emit sul- Duke Energy estimates it will retire the W.S. Lee fur, nitrogen oxide, mercu- Steam Station’s coal-fired operations by 2015. The ry, carbon dioxide and other utility is studying whether to convert the boilers to noxious chemicals blamed natural gas and will announce the decision later this Business Report Hammond for aggravating asthma and year. other respiratory illnesses. But no state is an island when it comes to clean air, These actions are good for environment and for and national and international trends will continue business. The Upstate and the Midlands have tot- to impact South Carolina’s air quality. tered on the brink of non-attainment of EPA goals for The amounts of chemicals pouring from coal- clean air. Slipping into non-attainment could bring fired plants worldwide is staggering. In 2004, the harsh limits on new industrial development. use of coal resulted in emissions of 3.9 billion met- Utility managers need the assurance that their ric tons of carbon dioxide in the United States alone, James T. Hammond decisions mesh with state policy. South Carolina has no policy on clean energy standards. Such a bill was introduced in the last session by Sens. John Matthews and Phil Leventis, but it died in a Senate subcommit- tee at the end of the General Assembly’s session in June. So far, planned retirements and closures of coal- according to the Natural Resources Defense Council. China belches the most pollutants into the Earth’s atmosphere and is building new coal plants at a tor- rid pace. But in the U.S., the shift toward natural gas and away from coal has been dramatic. The annual share of fossil-fired electric power generation from coal Duke Energy’s W.S. Lee Station in Anderson County is scheduled to from burning coal on a large scale. The Southern Environmental Law Center in Chapel Hill, N.C., said coal-fired power plants are among South Carolina’s fired plants include: has plummeted to about 55% of the total in 2010, biggest water users, in addition to the safety, land and from almost 80% in the late 1980s, according to the water problems associated with coal ash waste. Carolina Electric & Gas. U.S. Energy Information Administration. In the same The fact that utilities are not abandoning coal - period, the annual share for natural gas rose to about makes it even more imperative that the state set ville, owned by Duke Energy’s Progress Energy sub- 45% from less than 15%. standards for future coal plants. For example, Duke sidiary. Rising shale natural gas output has exceeded nat- Energy has a new coal unit under construction, the ural gas demand growth and depressed natural gas 825-megawatt Unit 6 at Cliffside Steam Station. Anderson County operated by Duke Energy. prices, while coal prices have risen, according to the Located just across the state line, on the Cleveland/ EIA. Those trends began in 2009 to change the cost- Rutherford County line in North Carolina, Duke Savannah River Site operated by the Department of benefit impact of using coal versus natural gas in the Energy’s Cliffside Station retired four coal units last Energy. eastern United States, the EIA reported. year. But, it continues to operate one existing unit, Meanwhile, Santee Cooper idled its Dolphus M. Between 2000 and 2012, natural gas generat- and plans to bring the new coal-fired unit online this Grainger coal-fired generating plant in Horry Coun- ing capacity grew by 96%, while coal-fired capac- year. ty, keeping it on standby in case the utility needs ity growth slumped, and petroleum-fired capacity Taken together, the trends away from burning coal backup generating capacity. The Grainger plant and declined by 12%. in our region and toward natural gas and nuclear the aging Jefferies plant in Berkeley County are under According to the EIA, current trends in electric generation of electric power are positive. review to determine whether the two units can be power generation suggest many coal-fired genera- As the utilities seek to maintain South Carolina’s brought into compliance with Environmental Protec- tors may be retired. In its annual energy outlook, the abundant and reliable sources of electric power — tion Agency regulations in a cost-effective manner. EIA expects 49 gigawatts of coal-fired capacity to be the fuel of modern industry — South Carolina poli- In 2010, 38 electric generators in South Carolina closed by 2020, or about one-sixth of existing coal cymakers should heed the energy companies’ urging power plants of at least 1 megawatt capacity reported capacity in the U.S. and less than 5% of total electric- to adopt clean energy portfolio standards, as neigh- using coal as their primary fuel source, according to ity generation nationwide. boring North Carolina already has done. the South Carolina Energy Office. The environmental impact of such a change would To continue the billions of dollars of investment The tide has been running against coal-fired elec- be huge, since today’s natural-gas plants give off only required to modernize the state’s electricity infra- tricity generation in South Carolina. about half the carbon dioxide as a similar sized coal structure, the utilities need the assurance that they In August 2009, Santee Cooper suspended plans to plant. and the state General Assembly speak with one voice build a 600-megawatt coal-fired power plant on the Studies have estimated that particle pollution from on these important standards. cr br Great Pee Dee River in Florence County. The plans more than 400 coal-fired power plants kill 13,000 met strong public opposition. Santee Cooper CEO people a year, and most coal-fired plants are concen- James T. Hammond is editor of the Columbia Regional Lonnie Carter said a decrease in electricity demand trated in the Midwest and Southeast. Business Report. Reach him at 803-401-1094, extension and proposed environmental legislation threatened Air pollution is not the only environmental impact 201.
HARRIS AWARD FOR EDITORIAL WRITING All Weekly Division F R O M T H E E D I TO R I A L D E S K Wright was right MIX A CAREER CRIMINAL, attempted rape and a Southern sheriff advising women to pack heat with the words, “you ain’t gotta be accurate, you just gotta get close” and it’s clear why Spartanburg SheriffTHIRD PLACE: Chuck Wright is the Palmetto State’s newest international celebrity. With one short press conference, he managed to trip over just about every Southern stereotype conceived on this continent and beyond. Type his name in Google’s search engine and you’ll get 2 million hits. It was Britain’s Daily Mail that quoted him as saying, “I know I’m going to get lit up by people that don’t like guns.” Yes, national gun control groups have been predictably negative. Yet Greenville Journal the overwhelming public support the sheriff describes is no surprise, either, considering the facts of the case that prompted him to advise women last week to “get a concealed weapons permit. Don’t get Mace. Get a firearm.” The victim in the Oct. 30 attack was reportedly walking her dog around 2:30 p.m. in Spartanburg’s Milliken Park when a man approached and asked if the dog was friendly. When she said it was, Susan Clary Simmons he grabbed her, dragged her into the woods, forced her to strip and attempted to rape her. She was later able to identify 46-year-old Walter Lance as her assailant – a career criminal Wright said has amassed more than 20 charges since 1983, including DUI, grand larceny, criminal domestic violence, escape and high and aggravated assault and battery. A prior arrest for criminal sexual conduct was not pursued because the victim was uncooperative. There’s no question the sheriff hit a public nerve when he said “our form of justice is not making it,” that he is tired of telling victims “I’m sorry, we can’t keep them in jail.” It’s also clear he spoke out of deep frustration, not a desire for vigilante justice. Wright made it plain he expects those who arm themselves to do so legally. Not everyone should have a gun, he said, but “it’s too bad someone with a concealed weapons permit didn’t walk by (Oct. 30). That would fix it.” It is this image – of civilians pulling guns in public spaces – that adds the threat of unintended consequences to Wright’s words. At minimum, state law requires those who hold a concealed weapons permit to take an eight-hour handgun education course that includes firing the gun in the instructor’s presence. Satisfying one instructor in a controlled environment comes nowhere close to the training level demanded of law enforcement officers, or their experience. Reliable research on the value of handguns in self-defense is tangled in the gun control wars. For every study that says using a firearm to resist assault increases the risk of injury or death, there’s another that shows thousands of civilians successfully defend themselves or their property with handguns every year, in numbers varying from 800,000 to 2.5 million. Several showed simply the credible threat of a gun was enough to end the majority of attacks. Even so, the key here is “credible threat.” A gun’s effectiveness in self-defense remains directly proportional to the skill of the person using it – as is the safety of those innocents anywhere nearby. Sheriff Wright made it plain he understands this distinction in the interviews that followed his first, emotional press conference. Now he owes it to his community to ensure all those women zipping pistols in their fanny packs at his urging understand it extremely well.
HARRIS AWARD FOR EDITORIAL WRITING Opinion All Weekly Division Can I please speak to Mrs. Franklin? Let me make one thing per- for potential columns. I had point. I acknowledge the phone fectly clear. I am not a woman. written “I’m no woman, man” has rung and that I have picked Never have been and I don’t re- on the list more than a year up the handset thing. Now, the ally see any circumstance ago. ball is back in your court. TellSECOND PLACE: where I ever will be a female. But I couldn’t pull the trig- me why you disturbed me just Let me make another thing Franklin’s ger. (Another manly reference.) when I was polishing my fin- perfectly clear. I am an avid I couldn’t admit to God and gernails. supporter of women. I’m mar- Corner everybody that people think “I’d like to place an ad,” the ried to one, I have a daughter I’m femalely. I didn’t want voice said. It was the voice of a who’s a female, a granddaugh- By Larry Franklin Rush Limbaugh to think me a woman. She had thrown the ter who’s a female and a slut. ball back to me in that way that The Clinton Chronicle daughter-in-law who’s a fe- phone. The only thing I can The last straw happened last women throw balls. Sissy-like. male. come up with is that my voice Friday. The phone rang, so I “I’m sorry,” I said. “Every- I work with hundreds of sounds female on the phone. did what any good woman one who could possibly help women every day. At least it Admitting that is almost as would do - I rushed to answer you - and even care about you seems there are hundreds of painful to me as having some- it. and what you want - is busy at them. one look at me and think I’m a “Chronicle,” I said firmly the moment. The men in the of- But I’m tired of people woman. and manly. None of that, fice are busy working. The thinking I’m a woman. It’s I’ve always thought my “Thank you for calling The women are talking about what Larry Franklin never happened in a face-to- voice was mainly and strong. Clinton Chronicle, Clinton’s they are going to cook for sup- face setting. If you are looking Sexy. hometown newspaper since per and how they could possi- at me, it’s pretty clear I’m a Nope. It’s soft and feminine. 1900 and now home of the bly be lucky enough to work man. Beyond the bulging mus- The first few times I was re- wildly successful and popular with someone as virile than me. cles and other tell-tell signs, ferred to as “mam” on the www.clintonchronicle.com, Can I get one of the gals to call there’s the baldness. phone, I chalked it up to a bad where you can take a test to see you back when they’re done Women don’t go bald, I’ve connection. After that, I de- if you qualify as a Republican cleaning and stuff?” found in my studies. It has cided the person to whom I was in Laurens County. To which of “Yes, mam. Have them call something to do with they are talking was an idiot. That was our award-winning employees me at 864-555-U812. Thanks, missing the “comb your hair in enough to sooth my bruised may I direct your call? May I sweety.” a circle” gene. manly feelings. I mean, it was personally suggest the hunky I was stunned. And hurt. It The times I’m accused of enough to make me cry. publisher?” That’s the way the reminded me of the time I was being a woman is when I’m Faithful readers will remem- females answer the phone. a senior in high school and I talking to someone on the tele- ber I keep a written list of items I’m more direct and to the had an accident. After asking me if I was OK, the man driv- ing the car who hit me asked me if my girlfriend was hurt. “I heard her screaming,” he said. I appreciated his concern, but I was alone in the car when it happened. These things really get my panties in a wad. (Larry Franklin is publisher of The Chronicle. His email ad- dress is lfranklin@clin- tonchronicle.com. Franklin’s Corner can be read online at www.clintonchronicle.com.) Vic’s Views By Vic MacDonald
HARRIS AWARD FOR EDITORIAL WRITING All Weekly DivisionFIRST PLACE: Coastal Observer Charles Swenson
PUBLIC SERVICE FOR WEEKLY NEWSPAPERS All Weekly Division Celebrating 10 years: Former benefit familiesTHIRD PLACE: still fighting Lake Wylie Pilot John Marks Julia Nesbitt The DeCuir family with dad Michael holding MacKenzie. - Dakota Gay with his sister Samantha By John Marks Want to help? firstname.lastname@example.org LAKE WYLIE — From a small, The 2012 Lake Wylie Children’s Charity concert will lakefront garden grows something be held Sept. 23 near T-Bones on the Lake. that time, season changes and Before the Sept. 23 event, the 2012 LWCC Poker Run even disease haven’t withered. will be held Sept. 15 with registration beginning at 11 Lannette Conder spends time a.m. at Sweetwater Bar & Grill on Charlotte Highway. tending that garden, a memorial All vehicles are welcome. Cost is $20 per vehicle and to her late son Dakota Gay. It’s $5 per extra rider. Stops include Sweetwater Bar & Grill in Lake Wylie, been five years since Dakota lost McKoy’s Smokehouse and Saloon in Charlotte, Tavern on the Tracks in his fight with brain cancer. It’s Charlotte, Mac’s Speed Shop in Steele Creek and final stop at T-Bones been nine years since his commu- on the Lake. For more information, visit lkwchildrenscharity.org. Mom Kathy holding Shalazia nity first rallied around his diag- Rhinehart nosis. But they’re still rallying and still continue to do in his name.” mia patient Luke Moore, 3. because organizers knew Dakota growing. Dakota’s fight became the It started as the Justin Mychals and wanted to help. They contin- “He knew what his destiny cause behind an annual fall fund- Child Cancer Benefit, named for a ued because, given the numbers was,” Conder said of Dakota, who raiser that now helps other fami- since relocated resident who and stories learned, planners just lost his father to brain cancer, too. lies facing pediatric cancer. On spearheaded the effort. This year, couldn’t stop. “He never ever gave up hope, but Sept. 23, the concert returns for its mostly the same volunteers work “They decided that they wanted he was the one who talked about 10th lakeside date, this time help- beneath the Lake Wylie Children’s all the things he wanted people to ing Lake Wylie resident and leuke- Charity banner. The events began S e e FA M I L I E S ■ 5 A
PUBLIC SERVICE FOR WEEKLY NEWSPAPERS All Weekly Division COASTAL OBSERVERSECOND PLACE: P.O. Box 1170, Pawleys Island, SC 29585 • 843-237-8438 • Fax 843-235-0084 Coastal Observer To the judges: Pawleys Island is a historic beachfront community that has been able to maintain its low-key character Charles Swenson and in spite of decades of population growth. That was challenged when a development group proposed to redevelop an old shopping center to allow a Walmart, which would become the area’s first big-box national retailer. Talks with county officials had gone on for over a year before the project was made public. Our Jason Lesley reporting began when the developer bought the property through a foreclosure sale a week before a zoning application was filed and only six weeks before a public hearing. The first challenge was getting officials to say on the record that Walmart was the tenant. The second was to report the impact of the proposed big-box store. The developer cited jobs, impact fees and tax revenue. We showed those impacts also included more traffic, closed businesses and – once the zoning changed – more big-Walmart plans Pawley’s box retailers. The immediate impact of our reporting and editorials was to raise public outcry to the point that the developers who had touted the Walmart to officials asked the county to stop using the “W word”Island store when speaking of their project. The public hearing drew over 1,300 people from a community of about 10,000, the largest audience for any county hearing. In addition to coverage in our print issue and online, we created a page on our website that updated automatically as we reported the progress of the hearing. Posts were made every five minutes over the course of the five-hour hearing. (The page attracted over 14,000 hits.) The Planning Commission voted to require the developer to stay within the county’s building-size limit. The developers claimed the motion was unclear and that the member who made it was tricked by the commission chairman. Our reporting showed otherwise. The final result of this issue may not be known by the time you read this letter. However, after the contest period ended, the developers informed the county that they will remove the big-box store from the project and revise their plan. Thank you for your consideration. Charles Swenson Editor
PUBLIC SERVICE FOR WEEKLY NEWSPAPERS All Weekly DivisionFIRST PLACE: Myrtle Beach Herald Charles D. Perry, Michael Smith, Tom O’Dare and Steve RobertsonExecutive’s past raises questions Covation exec didn’t file tax returns for 14 years Project Blue’s chief operating officer racked up more than $1.2 million in unpaid taxes, penalties BY MICHAEL SMITH AND CHARLES D. PERRY court transcripts show. interfere with the lawful government support of the project after a Herald comment. THE HERALD In 1999, Rocker was sentenced to functions of the IRS,” according to report about Rocker’s prison record. In an interview with the Herald 14 months in prison after he pleaded the Internal Revenue Service. New revelations about the circum- last month, Dave Rockers business Dave Rocker failed to file income guilty to one count of conspiracy to Rocker is currently the chief oper- stances leading up to Rocker’s prison partner and father, Bill, said the IRS tax returns for 14 consecutive years, commit income tax evasion. He ating officer of Covation Holdings, sentence only reinforce concerns pursued his son in the late 1990s. racking up more than $1.2 million in served 12 months before he was according to Horry County records. about using taxpayer money to sup- “You’ve got to understand, at the unpaid taxes and penalties, accord- paroled in January 2001, according Covation has been in talks with the port the Covation call center, some time, what was going on in the Inter- ing to federal court documents. to the federal prison bureau. Myrtle Beach Regional Economic council members say. nal Revenue Service,” he said. “They Rocker, an executive with Covation Rocker’s charges were reduced Development Corporation (EDC) “We’ve had too much trust and not were at the apex of their power.” Holdings — the company that’s after he agreed to assist the IRS in its and Horry County Council to possi- enough verification,” said council- But Bill Rocker didnt deny his seeking millions in taxpayer money investigation of a Klein conspiracy in bly build a call center at River Oaks man Carl Schwartzkopf. “Before you sons tax troubles. to open a Carolina Forest call center which Rocker participated. and International drives, creating up invest, it is absolutely essential that “David failed to file personal in- — also faced allegations of misrepre- In a Klein conspiracy, two or more to 1,020 jobs. you investigate. This is part of that come taxes for several years and sentation, inflating business expens- individuals agree to “use deceit, County council postponed a Sep- verification.” es and even sexual harassment, craft, trickery or dishonest means to tember vote to borrow $8 million in Rocker couldn’t be reached for See COVATION, Page 3A
SPORTS ENTERPRISE REPORTING All Weekly DivisionTHIRD PLACE: Free Times Eva Moore and Patrick Wall Blowfish Down to Final At-Bats;Bases Empty Is a Minor League Team On Deck? A post-storm rainbow appears as the Capital City Stadium grounds crew readies the field for the BY EVA MOORE AND PATRICK WALL Columbia Blowfish to resume their July 19 game against the Thomasville Hi-Toms. The game was PHOTOS BY PAUL COLLINS delayed for roughly an hour due to heavy rains. In the meantime, college students mill Benjamin is hell-bent on bringing to town? I t’s 10 minutes before first pitch on a mid- July Thursday, and thick drops of rain are pelting the north end of Assembly Street. about, downing two-dollar beers. Kids squeal and bounce in the inflated play castle and play the assorted mini-games in the concourse, seemingly oblivious to the delay on the field. It’s fitting that rain threatens to wash Making A Sale Last year, the Atlanta-based development group Bright-Meyers approached city of- ficials about buying the Capital City Stadium. out what could be one of the final games in It was part of a plan by megaretailer Walmart But Debbie, who answers the phone at infield dirt is soaked; it’s gone from a bright Capital City Stadium, a field notorious for to expand its presence in the Columbia area. the Columbia Blowfish box office, says the tan to a deep, dark brown. Water’s started flooding problems. Back in June, Columbia City Councilman Brian Newman — team’s baseball game against the Thomasville pooling on the concrete steps of the lower- City Council voted 6-1 to move forward with whose district includes the stadium — later Hi-Toms will go on as planned. There’ve level seats and collecting in the dugouts. selling the historic stadium to a developer told Free Times that although he understood been a few claps of thunder, she says, but the As the rain intensifies, most of the planning to build a Walmart-anchored at the time that Bright-Meyers usually ballpark is bone dry. fans scurry for cover — either under the shopping center there. The Blowfish’s final worked on behalf of Walmart, it wasn’t a Still, the threat of a summer storm has grandstand or to their cars. Those in the regular-season game in the wood-bat sum- sure thing Walmart was behind the deal. All kept the fans away — only about 400 or so grandstand aren’t totally safe; the corrugated mer collegiate Coastal Plain League is Aug. 1. he knew for certain was that the developer show up. (By contrast, Saturday’s game, in metal roof leaks, and strong winds whip rain Unless the Blowfish make the playoffs — the planned to build a retail development there. near-perfect baseball weather, draws about sideways into the seats. Creedence Clearwa- team finished in second place in the first- And Newman welcomed the investment in 2,000.) It’s raining steadily by the time Mi- ter Revival’s “Have You Ever Seen the Rain?” half standings, but currently sits first in the Columbia. chael Wilson leads off for the Blowfish in the plays on the loudspeakers. second half — the team could be homeless So did other city leaders. They wouldn’t bottom of the first. It’s pouring by the time Those who haven’t fled file into the con- after Aug. 1. make much off the sale, but the city stood Josh Miller runs a 2-2 count against Thomas- course. A ticket-taker by the front entrance With a sale of the Capital City Stadium to take in millions in tax revenue from the ville pitcher Kyle Keller, and the umpire’s had wonders aloud where everyone is going. His property seemingly imminent, there are businesses that would move in. Whereas enough. He suspends the game. nametag reads “Jim”; he’s middle-aged and questions: Where do the Blowfish go from the stadium actually costs the city money to The grounds crew races on the field with heavy set, his bright red Blowfish T-shirt bulg- here? And can Columbia land the profession- maintain, the sale would put the property on a large tarpaulin, but the damage is done: The ing at the waistline. This’ll blow over, he says. al minor league baseball team Mayor Steve the tax rolls for the first time. In October, Columbia City Council qui- 16 coverstory free-times.com | twitter.com/freetimessc | facebook.com/freetimes | July 25-31, 2012
SPORTS ENTERPRISE REPORTING All Weekly DivisionSECOND PLACE: Myrtle Beach Herald Charles D. PerryPower to the Pedal POWER PEDAL Growing cycling community inspires county plans for new bike paths TO THE BY CHARLES D. PERRY | THE HERALD “It’s the closest thing to flying.” Now Brunson is biking two to three times Sue Brunson’s week didn’t always include 45- weekly. She joined a local triathlon club and she mile bike rides. occasionally commutes to work on two wheels. A year ago, Brunson’s pastor saw her at a gym “It’s a lifestyle,” she said. and suggested that she try cycling. So the Myrtle That lifestyle has become more common Beach daycare operator joined the pastor and along the Grand Strand in recent years. At least his wife for a group excursion. three bicycle groups have formed in Horry “I got out and I loved it,” she County since 2010 and county officials are now said. developing plans for a network of bike paths. “We’ve gone from just little pockets of riders,” said Tim Woolford, co-owner of Grand Strand Bicycles in Myrtle Beach and Murrells Inlet. “It has real- ly just grown like crazy.” When Woolford arrived here seven years ago, he started a Saturday morn- ing group ride. The first trip consisted CHARLES D. PERRY | THE HERALD of Woolford and two friends. Local cyclists take part in a group ride. Last summer, there were more than 100 cyclists on five of the group rides. Some of the burgeoning interest can be at- Go green, save green tributed to higher fuel prices, Woolford said. • $4.6 billion: What bicyclists in the United States He also pointed out that the emergence of save every year by biking instead of driving groups like the Waccamaw Trail Blazers and • $308: Average annual cost of operating a bicycle the Myrtle Beach Triathlon Club has given • $8,220: Annual cost of operating average car people new options for bike riding. “All that spurs it,” he said. • 40%: Increase in the number of bicycle commuters Nationally, biking has become more from 2000 to 2010 popular, too. From 2000 to 2010, • 12%: Percentage of trips taken in the U.S. that the number of bicycle com- cyclists and walkers account for muters increased by 40 • 1.6%: Percentage of federal transportation dollars percent, according to that support bicycle or pedestrian transportation Sources: Sierra Club, League of American Bicyclists, National See BIKES, Page 10A Council of LaRaza
SPORTS ENTERPRISE REPORTING All Weekly DivisionFIRST PLACE: Coastal Observer Roger GreeneTroubled fund manager makes a new start on the cover Troubled fund manager makes a new start on the court BY ROGER GREENE he resigned from his previous COASTAL OBSERVER head coaching position at the private Oak Hill Military Acad- Stan Kowalewski does not emy in North Carolina, he did take his involvement with the so with the intention of spend- Waccamaw Middle School bas- ing more time with his children ketball team for granted. A and helping them reach their year after being charged by the academic and athletic poten- Securities and Exchange Com- tial. It is a commitment he does mission with securities fraud, not take lightly. Kowalewski sees his return to “I’ve watched my own kids the bench as a volunteer coach grow up around basketball,” as the start of a new chapter in Kowalewski said. “I’ve coached his life. their AAU teams and tried to A former fund manager in be involved with helping them Greensboro, N.C., Kowalews- as much as they’ve wanted me ki and his family moved to the to be. I’ve made a pact with my- Pawleys Island area last year. self that I’m only going to be in- In September, he was fined volved with coaching teams my $16.8 million by a U.S. District sons play for. They have a love Court judge in Atlanta and or- for the game and I have plen- dered to repay $8.6 million in ty of years of basketball left Tanya Ackerman/Coastal Observer what the court called “ill gotten with them. I don’t want to have gains.” Kowalewski, left, directs the action in the Wildcats’ any regrets that I didn’t give He appealed the fine and game with Rosemary this week. them every minute of time they while it is pending before the wanted.” U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Ap- Principal Bill Dwyer and peals, Kowalewski says work- out in New York who played at the middle school level. It’s basketball coach Marion Bus- ing with middle school athletes basketball at Dartmouth Col- rewarding.” by say Kowalewski’s influence has rekindled his passion for lege. “The kids are fun to work Kowalewski’s interest in reaches far beyond that of his basketball. with. The parents and adminis- coaching at Waccamaw Middle own son. Both say his presence “It’s been great,” said Kow- tration are very supportive. It’s arose from one of his four chil- has benefitted the entire team. alewski, a high school stand- been a while since I’ve coached dren being on the team. When SEE “COACHING,” PAGE 6
BUSINESS REPORTING All Weekly Division Fraud probe being swept Delinquent under rug?THIRD PLACE: BY JERRY BELLUNE JerryBellune@Yahoo.com Inﬁnity Business Group investors are frustrated. Many are worried they may never property taxes Lexington County Chronicle drop in county be able to recover millions of dollars they invested in the company. Others are angry because they feel the investigation of fraud charges may be swept un- INSIDE |_ der the IBG ofﬁcials face rug. state fraud charges, INSIDE: Are you delinquent? A list of who is & The Dispatch News Inves- A3 tigative Execs spent lavishly sources on themselves, A3. can be found on Pages B2-11 deny this. Everyone lost at IBG, They A3. BY JERRY BELLUNE say it is IBG dream dies, A8. a highly Settlement ends JerryBellune@Yahoo.com compli- ﬁght, A8. There’s a sign of hope on Lexing- Jerry Bellune cated case involving many investors who may be called ton County’s economic radar. to testify against Wade and Brad Cordell and others involved with It’s a small but detectable blip that them in the collapse of IBG. IBG operated from a brick build- shows property tax payments are up ing owned by Brad Cordell at 140 THE CHINA OFFENSIVE Gibson Road in Lexington. Among and non-payments are down. its operations was a bad check col- At this time last year, owners of China contract concerns our readers lection service for clients ranging from the food industry to retail stores to the public schools. Twin investigations have been un- derway for more than a year since 300,524 taxable properties had not paid. BY JERRY BELLUNE INSIDE _ | tractor did not underbid the - the ﬁrst complaints surfaced. The complaints included charges This year, Gene Rishkofski of the JerryBellune@Yahoo.com that the Cordells and their inner The high cost of River Bluff competition and make it up circle spent investors’ money on ex- pensive cars and boats, a condo at Lexington County Treasurer’s Of- High School has been a subject with overruns. Clemson, visits to gentlemen’s clubs ﬁce said he expects that to drop to and otherwise lived lavishly. of local concern. These allegation were included in around 300,100 parcels. But of even more concern to bid amount,” she said. complaints ﬁled with the state Attor- The Chronicle also asked, at ney General’s ofﬁce. In monetary terms, the county Chronicle readers is the issue of She said the project is on readers’ requests: Attorney General Alan Wilson has a Chinese government-owned - time and within the bid. conﬁrmed his ofﬁce has been inves- tigating and gave the Cordells 30 was owned more than $9.3 million River Bluff and the two company building the $138.9 ﬁcations or notices of cost over- Meadow Glen schools were ap- days to respond. The Cordells’ attorneys have de- in property taxes at this time last million showplace school. run has the Chinese contractor The Chronicle asked Lexing- proved by voters in the 2008 nied all charges. year, he said. This year he expects presented? Federal and state investigators ton 1 a month ago for: Bond Referendum. This includ- have been involved although FBI of- ﬁcials say they can neither conﬁrm that to drop to $8.9 million. ed $138.9 million for the new not deny they have an investigation Property taxes are paid by own- bid amount,” spokesperson Meadow Glen Elementary and high school land, site work and underway. Mary Beth Hill said. But investors FBI agents have in- ers of boats, businesses, commer- Middle schools and how much construction, Hill said. terviewed told the Chronicle what “There have been no cost of that will local resident work- overruns.” One way the China Construc- they were asked and how they an- swered a series of questions posted cial and private property, farmland, ers and suppliers receive. tion Company successfully un- on an FBI web site. homes and vehicles. der bid U.S. builders, industry The Better Business Bureau with- performance bond? sources say, is that it uses cheap drew accreditation after IBG ofﬁcials Lexington County uses the media for the high school. “ There have been no claims ﬁled for Chapter 7 bankruptcy un- The district has not respond- under the performance bond,” Chinese labor and below market der the federal Bankruptcy Act Sep- tember 1, 2010. to alert property owners who may ed to these questions. ﬁnancing and insurance from Involved in the investigation are be unaware that their tax payments she said. ofﬁcials who successfully prosecuted Chinese banks and insurers. the Home Gold and Carolina Inves- tors fraud case. are overdue.