Summer in Sumter SC

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Big Money a Danger to Democracy? Hell Yes!!!!!

Egypt is a warning for U.S. democracy

By Frank Knapp, Jr.
S.C. Small Business Chamber of Commerce

FEB. 18, 2011 -- Make no mistake about it – the peaceful Egyptian revolution was brought about by the workers and small business owners of that country protesting together. They want economic opportunity for all and a democratically elected government that puts its peoples’ interests above the interests of the financially powerful, well-connected oligarchy.

There is a lesson here for our country.

Our government structures are becoming ever more influenced by those with extremely deep pockets at the expense of our citizens and small businesses. And while we have a tradition of a democratic election process to address needed changes in our government, that process is becoming less and less democratic.

This important issue was the topic of many meetings on my recent trip to Washington – reducing the extraordinary influence of big corporate money in our government. Last year’s Citizens United Supreme Court ruling that corporations are “people” that have a Constitutional right to spend unlimited amounts of money to influence elections has moved our country rapidly down the road to a far less democratic nation – a road we were already on.

Our government “of the people, by the people and for the people” is in jeopardy of becoming “of the corporations, by the corporations and for the corporations.” Real “people” will only be pawns to be manipulated when corporate money totally dominates our elections. Already we’ve seen how corporate lobbyists dominate the legislative process.

Small businesses are and should be very concerned. We know that big U.S. and multi-national corporations are only interested in profits regardless of the consequence to small businesses.

The fact is that what is good for big business is often not good for small business.
That is exactly the reason The South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce was founded over 10 years ago. Small businesses must fight for ourselves and not simply rely on paternalistic big businesses to allow scraps to fall off the bountiful table they have bought for themselves.

Right now in Washington big corporate campaign donors are pushing:
  • for even more tax incentives for offshoring production and jobs – lost opportunities for small businesses to supply goods and services to domestic manufacturing and fewer workers buying from our local small businesses.
  • to eliminate regulations aimed at protecting us from another financial meltdown causing another great recession – one that destroys the customers base, credit and loans small businesses need to survive.
  • to cripple any chance for comprehensive national energy and climate legislation – a significant opportunity for jumpstarting a green economy that will both create new small businesses and offer more opportunities for existing ones.
These and other goals of big corporations, many that now have no allegiance to our country or any country, are likely to be successful not on the merits of the ideas but on the size of the corporate campaign chests.

Fortunately, citizens and small businesses across this country are organizing to take back our democracy from these corporate “persons.” We understand that what the Egyptians are demonstrating to get, we are on the verge of losing.

So while our members of Congress publicly express their support for the Egyptian peoples’ desire for real democracy, they need to look at the direction our own country is heading and start listening to the concerns of our citizens and small businesses.

Egypt is a warning to the United States.

Frank Knapp Jr. is president and CEO of The South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce. While this commentary has appeared in newspapers across the country, Statehouse Report is the first to publish it in South Carolina.


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Friday, February 18, 2011

From the Desk of Susan H Wild

Uncovering the Species of Swan Lake

Sumter, SC:  When most USC Sumter students think of Swan Lake, the image of swans and Christmas lights, senior portraits and memories of long romantic walks on prom night flood their minds.  Many people don’t know about the hidden treasures that lie behind the gated lake adorned with bald cypress trees and beautiful iris which have made this park a national attraction.  However, a current environmental class at the university seeks to add another aspect to these memories.

Students at USC Sumter are conducting an environmental study this semester at Swan Lake Iris Gardens.  The project, entitled “Uncovering the Species of Swan Lake,” will consist of cataloging and describing many of the species that inhabit the property, especially those that are native to the region.  While the swans, irises, and other plantings are well known, many of the native species are not.  Uncovering many of the native species here is a worthy endeavor.  The data collected can be used to publicize an additional side of Swan Lake, since the class will work to consolidate its findings for distribution to the public, which may include a technical report, a brochure, a bird checklist. In addition, once we know what species are present, we can find out how to best care for them. 

“We look forward to having local USC Students working on an environmental project in Swan Lake Iris Gardens.  We as a community sometimes take for granted the amazing amount of natural habitat nestled in the center of our city.  Upon completion of their work the city will have useable data in which we will share with the local citizens and visitors to Swan Lake Iris Gardens.  We believe everyone will be excited with the efforts of the students and their findings,” stated Susan Wild, Communications, Tourism & Recreations Director for the City of Sumter.  Karleigh Brunson, a student involved in the project, sees the project as “an exciting opportunity to discover all of the different and maybe even new species just sitting in our community.”

Austin Jenkins, Instructor of Biology and Naturalist at USC Sumter brought the project request to Ms. Wild with the enthusiasm and excitement his students share while they are out walking the gardens.  With similar projects in his previous portfolio he knew Swan Lake Iris Gardens would be a perfect setting for the next set of student goals.  Since many species are present only during certain times of the year, the project will likely extend into the fall semester. This spring, the class is starting with the bird and plant life.

Susan H. Wild
Communications, Tourism & Recreations Director, City of Sumter
P O Box 1449
Sumter, SC 29151
Phone: 803-436-2500
swild@sumter-sc.com

Austin Jenkins
R. Austin Jenkins, PhD
Instructor of Biology and Naturalist
115 Science Building
USC Sumter
200 Miller Rd., Sumter, SC 29150-2498
(803) 938 - 3848
jenkinra@uscsumter.edu

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

From the Desk of Susan H Wild

OPEN TO THE SUMTER COMMUNITY!



Susan H. Wild
Communications, Tourism & Recreations Director, City of Sumter
P O Box 1449
Sumter, SC 29151
Phone: 803-436-2500

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Tuomey Hospital investigates safety measures after incident - WIS News 10 - Columbia, South Carolina |

Tuomey Hospital investigates safety measures after incident - WIS News 10 - Columbia, South Carolina |: "The Sumter Police Department said around 11:00pm a man entered the nurses station in the emergency room where he presented a handgun and shot himself in the head. Tuomey Hospital PR Director Brenda Chase said the man conducted the act in front of several staff members. The man was treated and airlifted to Palmetto Richland Memorial Hospital where he is listed in critical condition but stable condition. 'You know that's what's incredible about our employees,' said Chase, 'They were involved in a very traumatic event and then they immediately went to work on the patient.'"

SC’s state dog, the Boykin spaniel, making Westminster debut | GoUpstate.com

SC’s state dog, the Boykin spaniel, making Westminster debut | GoUpstate.com: "On Tuesday, the Boykin spaniel makes its debut in the Westminster Kennel Club 135th Annual Dog Show at Madison Square Garden in New York. The Boykins will be judged Tuesday morning, and the one chosen as best of breed will take the ring Tuesday night on national television when the sporting dogs group is judged."

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Problems continue to worsen at jail - The Item: News: jailovercrowding,

Problems continue to worsen at jail - The Item: News: jailovercrowding,: "Capacity and housing issues as well as worries about violent crime trends were something that jail Director Maj. Simon Major shared with The Item during a tour of the facility in December. Space is dwindling as violent crimes are becoming more frequent, he said. But since then, the trends have continued to worsen, so much so that overcrowding and lack of space for violent offenders is a real possibility. On Tuesday, Major briefed Sumter County Council as part of an effort to keep the group regularly updated about what's going on at the jail - a unisex, pre-trial facility located on Winkles Road in Sumter that operates on a $6 million annual budget. Major discussed the number of violent offenders currently housed at the jail, as well as trends showing the expected increase of those offenders during the next decade. It was information Public Safety Committee chairman and Councilman Artie Baker said is 'frightening.'"

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

26-year SAFE employee wins 2011 Business Person of the Year award - The Item: News

26-year SAFE employee wins 2011 Business Person of the Year award - The Item: News: "Beverly Gagne, president and chief executive officer of SAFE Federal Credit Union, is the 2011 Business Person of the Year. 'I was shocked and ecstatic when my name was called,' Gagne said. 'It's something that the Greater Sumter Chamber of Commerce has done over the years, and it's a great privilege to be the recipient of this award. SAFE has been a fabulous place to work at for 26 years.'"

Sumter businessman sentenced for fraud - The Item: News: fraud,

Sumter businessman sentenced for fraud - The Item: News: fraud,: "A Sumter businessman who pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud in March was sentenced Monday in federal court to 6 months in prison and ordered to pay $609,422.08 in restitution. Richard Overstreet, 59, will also have three years of supervised release, the first six months of which will involve electronic monitoring, said Senior U.S. District Judge Matthew J. Perry Jr. Perry granted a sentencing variance filed by Todd Rutherford, the attorney representing Overstreet, who was facing 27 to 33 months in prison."

Police seek help in finding most wanted - The Item: News: mostwanted,

Police seek help in finding most wanted - The Item: News: mostwanted,: "The Sumter City Police Department is seeking the public's help in locating five people on the agency's most wanted list. Maj. Alvin Holston said authorities are always grateful for residents who provide information concerning people who have committed crimes. 'The public has always been most helpful in assisting law enforcement on individuals that have committed crimes that have been brought to justice,' he said."

Police seek help in finding most wanted - The Item: News: mostwanted,

Police seek help in finding most wanted - The Item: News: mostwanted,: "The Sumter City Police Department is seeking the public's help in locating five people on the agency's most wanted list. Maj. Alvin Holston said authorities are always grateful for residents who provide information concerning people who have committed crimes. 'The public has always been most helpful in assisting law enforcement on individuals that have committed crimes that have been brought to justice,' he said."