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ISSUE 12.07
Feb. 15, 2013

12/04 | 11/27 | 11/20 | 11/13


News :
Playing catch up
Legislative Agenda :
Election laws, restructuring on tap
Radar Screen :
Ethics reform will gain more speed
Palmetto Politics :
SLED looking into ethics allegations about Harrell
Commentary :
Is it time for a new Speaker of the House?
Feedback :
Hugs, kisses, slings, arrows on Episcopal church column
Scorecard :
Up for security; down for S.C. State
Stegelin :
Watch your back
Number of the Week :
Megaphone :
Get somebody tough
Tally Sheet :
Light week for new bills
Encyclopedia :
Isaiah DeQuincey Newman

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That’s how much the state Board of Economic Advisors is expected to add to the coming fiscal year’s estimated tax collections, thanks in part to an improving economy.   More.


Get somebody tough

"I recommend hiring a pit bull.”

-- Doug Robinson, the director of a national group of state computer chiefs, to a Senate subcommittee on Tuesday, as to the type of professional the state should hire to head the state’s proposed centralized cyber-security office. More.


Light week for new bills

Few major bills were introduced over the past week in the Senate. With the House on furlough, there were no bills introduced in the lower chamber. Of interest from this week:

Digital textbooks. S. 362 (Hayes) would allow school districts to opt out of a textbook rental system and buy the digital equivalent.

Board term limits. S. 373 (Ford) would keep anyone 72 or older from serving on a state board, committee or commission.

Old buildings. S. 375 (Hutto) calls for the “Dilapidated Buildings Act” to allow municipalities to remove decrepit buildings, with several provisions.

Lower pay. S. 381 (Bryant) would require reduction in executive salaries at the Department of Employment and Workforce to over- and underpayment rates for unemployment insurance, with other provisions.

Liability. S. 382 (Grooms) appears to be a revision of state liability laws related to unfair competition and acts, with many provisions.

High quality education. S. 388 (Matthews) calls for a constitutional amendment to rewrite language in the constitution to define public education as required to provide a “high quality education.”

Casinos. S. 389 (Ford) seeks a constitutional amendment to allow casino gambling.


Isaiah DeQuincey Newman

Born in Darlington County on April 17, 1911, I. DeQuincey Newman was the son of the Reverend Melton C. Newman and Charlotte Elizabeth Morris. He attended Williamsburg County public schools and Claflin College and was ordained in the United Methodist Church (UMC) in 1931. Three years later he received his bachelor of arts degree from Clark College in Atlanta, then earned his divinity degree from Gammon Theological Seminary in Atlanta in 1937. While serving as a student pastor in Georgia, Newman met Anne Pauline Hinton of Covington, Georgia. They married on April 27, 1937, and later had one child, Emily Morris DeQuincey.


Throughout his varied and distinguished career, Newman thought of himself primarily as a minister, and it was in this role that he made his most significant contributions to South Carolina. For some forty years, he served UMC churches in Georgia and South Carolina and held key positions with the UMC's South Carolina Conference and its General Conference. As a member of the UMC Merger Committee in the 1970s, he played a major role in bringing an end to segregated congregations.

Early in his ministry, Newman identified the struggle for racial equality as a matter of the spirit, as well as a social and political concern, and he developed a preaching style that linked morality with practicality, especially in reference to race relations. Vernon Jordan, a protégé who later became a national civil rights leader, remarked that he always listened carefully whenever Newman prayed, because he "always felt that when I. D. Newman was praying, God was listening. He seemed to have a direct line." Newman noted that every aspect of his career was simply an "extension of ministry."

In 1943 Newman assumed a key position in the emerging civil rights movement when he helped organize the Orangeburg branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Thereafter he contributed to the NAACP in a variety of capacities, including service as South Carolina field director from 1960 to 1969, the most critical period in the civil rights struggle. Newman was a gentle, self-effacing man, patient and slow to anger, who preferred diplomacy over confrontation. A tenacious advocate for simple justice in race relations, he also believed in nonviolent protest as the most effective means for achieving the goal. His quiet dignity and appeals to reason won him the confidence, and ultimately the support, of key white political and economic leaders. In effect Newman served both as chief strategist for the protest movement and as chief negotiator at the conference table, becoming the "unofficial liaison" between African Americans and the white power structure. Alone among the Deep South states, South Carolina dismantled its structure of legalized segregation with a minimum of violence, in large measure because of his leadership and dedication to peaceful change.

Inevitably Newman became an important player in the state's changing political fortunes. In the 1940s he participated peripherally in founding the Progressive Democratic Party, an effort to change the racial policies of the regular Democratic Party. Although Newman had long been a staunch Republican, by 1958 he concluded that the state Republican Party no longer had a place for him and other African Americans, and he switched his allegiance to the Democrats. Moving quickly into his new party's inner circles, he became a trusted confidant of such state leaders as U.S. Sen. Ernest Hollings and Governors Robert McNair and John West, as well as a delegate to several Democratic national conventions.

Extending his personal ministry into the lives of ordinary people, Newman worked to improve the condition of blacks and whites in rural South Carolina. Housing, medical care, the environment, aging, vocational education, and social services in general were among the concerns for which both state and private agencies sought his counsel. In recognition of his contributions, the National Institute on Social Work in Rural Areas in 1982 named him "Rural Citizen of the Year." Honorary degrees from state colleges and universities further acknowledged his achievements, and the University of South Carolina established an endowed professorship in social work in his honor.

On Oct. 25, 1983, Newman became the first African American since 1887 to serve in the state Senate. His election and the cordial reception he received from his fellow senators, all of them white, testified symbolically to the extraordinary influence he exerted on South Carolina's social and political development in the twentieth century. Newman served with distinction on several Senate committees until ill health forced him to resign his seat on July 31, 1985. He died in Columbia on Oct. 21, 1985, and was buried in Greenlawn Memorial Gardens.

Excerpted from the entry by John G. Sproat. To read more about this or 2,000 other entries about South Carolina, check out The South Carolina Encyclopedia by USC Press. (Information used by permission.)


Palmetto Priorities Statehouse Report encourages state leaders to develop and implement Palmetto Priorities involving several issues to make the state better a better place. Click the link to learn more about our suggestions for bipartisan policy objectives.

Here is a summary of our Palmetto Priorities:

CORRECTIONS: Reduce the prison population by 25 percent by 2020.

EDUCATION: Cut the state's dropout rate in half by 2020.

ELECTIONS: Increase voter registration to 75 percent by 2015.

ENVIRONMENT: Adopt a state energy policy that requires energy producers to generate 20 percent of energy from renewable sources by 2020.

ETHICS: Overhaul state ethics laws.

HEALTH CARE: Ensure affordable and accessible health care.

JOBS: Develop a Cabinet-level post to add, retain 10,000 small business jobs per year.

POLITICS: Have a vigorous two- or multi-party political system of governance.

ROADS: Strengthen all bridges and upgrade state roads by 2015.

SAFETY: Cut the state's violent crime rate by one-third by 2016.

TAX REFORM: Remove outdated special interest sales tax exemptions as part of an overall reform of the state's tax structure to be completed by 2014.


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Playing catch up

Education woes are clear, solutions aren’t

By Bill Davis, senior editor

FEB. 15, 2013 -- Big changes may be afoot in how South Carolina teaches its younger learners in the future, but which path to follow and who will foot the bill are still in question.

And about the only area of agreement between concerned parties – educators, administrators, and watchdogs -- is that there is a common problem, but not a common solution.

This week, the state’s Education Oversight Committee released results of an ongoing study of the state’s academic attainment goals. It showed South Carolina’s public school students aren’t meeting the goals.

Compared to the various goals in its 2020 Vision project, the EOC has found that, among other criteria:

  • 61 schools across the state are still rated as “at risk,” versus the goal of none by 2020.

  • More than one-quarter of students don’t graduate on time.

  • Only 80.3 and 69.8 percent of third and eighth graders, respectively, read on grade level, well below the 2020 goal of 95 percent.

As a result, the EOC, an appointed board of educators, business people and legislators charged with monitoring the state’s education accountability act, is advocating a major retraining of existing teachers.

Barbara Hairfield, the committee’s vice chair who doubles as a social studies curriculum specialist in Charleston County School District, said teacher quality is the number one factor in remediating poor young readers.

Hairfield said the EOC is recommending that elementary school teachers be further schooled in five areas of literacy training and middle school teachers three of the five. That way, she said, teachers could not only identify struggling readers, but then could implement a host of strategies to get them back on grade-level work.

Reading is fundamental, not expensive

Mick Zais, the state’s superintendent of education, has seen the same numbers, and has come up with his own solution: yearlong reading academies.

While the EOC has championed better training the teachers, Zais wants to better train the students.

According to Education spokesman Jay W. Ragley, Zais is advocating testing kids in third and seventh grades for reading proficiency and diverting lagging readers into a special “literacy year” during which they would focus on cross-curriculum reading training rather than advancing to the next grade.

Ragley said by steering lagging readers into intensive reading programs, schools would then transform in the minds and hearts of students from places of “frustration and humiliation” to places of success and self-esteem.

Ragley said by choosing not to “socially promote” kids from one grade to the next “just because they had a birthday” and redirecting them into special reading-intensive years would be “one of the best ways to get results with the dollars available.”

Ragley, citing similar efforts in other states, said the reading year idea could be accomplished at existing facilities with no extra outlays of cash because schools would just have to juggle classroom and teacher assignments. ”Florida did it with the same amount of money, not with a whole new set of appropriations,” Ragley said.


The Charleston-area Trident United Way (TUW) has entered the fray and is fighting for statewide universal 4-year-old kindergarten.

Currently, thanks to a yet-to-be-completely-adjudicated education adequacy lawsuit, nine counties offer 4K options to at-risk kids from relatively impoverished economic families.

TUW’s Anne Bergin said the goal is make those same education opportunities available on a voluntary basis to every family with a 4 year old as a way to save money over time and generate a better-trained workforce.   Of the approximately 60,000 students who are four during any given year, at least one quarter receive no educational training, according to estimates.

In South Carolina, it would cost $80 million to $100 million to pay for a voluntary 4K program to cover all children in the state, according to various sources. (The state is expected to grow $100 million in tax surplus revenue from increased growth in the current year, as highlighted in this week’s Number above.)

Bergin made the same argument made in car repair commercials: “You can pay me now or pay me later.” Her point is that money spent on early education has big dividends versus costly reading remediation (read: “repairs”) in third and seventh grades -- or down the road for students who drop out of the system and may become a drain on state resources instead of a contributor.

That argument has been bolstered this legislative session by companion bills in both the House and Senate.

Currently, Bergin, volunteers and other United Way professionals are working with chambers of commerce across the state to “friend-raise” into a stronger statewide coalition demanding 4K expansions.

And now the rub …

While it may be welcoming to some that many experts and concerned groups across the state agree there is a problem with state K-12 education, the various camps don’t seem to agree in how to fix it.

This week in his State of the Union address, President Obama called for national investment in early childhood education, such as is done on a voluntary basis in Georgia's “Bright from the Start” 4K program used  by than 85,000 children.

“I propose working with states to make high-quality preschool available to every child in America," the president said.

But Ragley assaulted the United Way’s 4K approach. Leaning on the results of two federal studies, Ragley said Zais is not convinced more early, and earlier, educational intervention and options work. 

“The studies showed that kids who took part in Head Start programs, the supposed ‘gold standard’ of early childhood programs, were no better off by third grade than kids who didn’t take part in them,” said Ragley.

Ragley said 4K supporters’ insistence that it wouldn’t cost the state more than $100 million a year to run a statewide program doesn’t consider all of the fiscal parameters.  The department’s unofficial estimate pins the dollar amount closer to $175 million in the first year and dropping to $150 million in subsequent years.

But critics say Zais’s plan for a special literacy year would result in stigmatization for kids that would be tantamount to dooming them to dropping out -- especially if some students are held back in both grades and never make it out of middle school before being old enough to drop out.

EOC Executive Director Melanie Barton doubted that schools could have literacy years implemented so easily.

She worried about how districts like Bamberg II, with nearly 45 percent of seventh graders reading below grade level, would handle such a change. Additionally, while she has seen research about retention success for kids held back in third grade, she said she is unaware of any work on the success of retention in seventh grade.

Crystal ball: It has been said that blame is for God and small children, and solutions are for adults. South Carolina, behind in so many education matrices, has a host of problems for which somebody needs to come up with a real solution. It’s time for the adults to act like adults and get on the same page and work together. Actually, it’s long been time.

Bill Davis is editor of Statehouse Report.  He can be reached at: Recent news stories include:

Legislative Agenda

Election laws, restructuring on tap

Wednesday will be a hot day for floor debate next week in the Statehouse.

In the House, a bill to resolve problems in the state’s election process  will return to the floor. Last year, you might remember, more than 250 people were kicked off the ballot because of inexpertly worded state election revisions.

In the Senate, a major restructuring bill will hit the floor.This bill would decide the fate of the Budget and Control Board and the creation of a Department of Administration. The bill will dominate floor debate and committee work for the coming weeks, and sources expect it to be completed in three weeks, well before the House is scheduled to release its proposed budget package.

Also next week:

  • House 3M. The full committee will meet Tuesday an hour and a half after adjournment in 427 Blatt to discuss recommendations that run from further defining the duties of adjutant general to regulating hair-braiding. Agenda.

  • House Judiciary. The full committee will meet an hour and a half after adjournment in 516 Blatt to discuss a bill that would allow for electronic transmission of state documents in response to a Freedom of Information Act request, among others. Agenda.

  • House Judiciary. A subcommittee will meet Wednesday at 9 a.m. in 516 Blatt to discuss a bill that would move the state Election Commission and its duties into the Secretary of State’s office. Agenda.
Radar Screen

Ethics reform will gain more speed

Allegations that House Speaker Bobby Harrell (R-Charleston) violated state ethics laws will give more power to efforts pushing ethics reform in the legislature. But the issue will become thornier during floor debates in the House with him at the rostrum.

Palmetto Politics

SLED looking into ethics allegations about Harrell

State Attorney General Alan Wilson’s office has asked the State Law Enforcement Division to investigate the merits of a five-point complaint lodged against House Speaker Bobby Harrell (R-Charleston) by Ashley Landess, president of the S.C. Policy Council.

All but one of Landess’ claims have been covered separately in the media before: from more than $325,000 in reimbursements from campaign funds without proper documentation to using his office to push a business.

But new is an allegation that Harrell improperly named his brother to the state Judicial Merit Selection Commission. The Policy Council is an underwriter of Statehouse Report.

Harrell has emphatically denied all charges. For weeks, Harrell’s office has characterized Landess as a disgruntled former Lottery Board member with a vendetta.

The formal filing of the complaint on Valentine’s Day highlights the increasingly aggressive stance that the Policy Council has adopted in recent years toward the legislature. One senior GOP senator said that where conservative legislators used to rely on the organization’s thoughtfully-researched position papers, it had since taken on the role of “an attack dog.”

Several sources doubted seriously that the allegations would be enough to topple Harrell from his perch atop the House, but if a smoking gun were to emerge, rumor mills could quickly turn out an election for a new speaker.

  • More below in publisher Andy Brack’s commentary.

DEW head unemployed

Department of Employment and Workforce Abraham Turner tendered his resignation to the governor’s office today. According to media reports, Turner resigned due to “personal reasons.”

DEW spokesman Adrianne Fairwell said she did not know when his resignation would take effect and did not know what reasons were given for his resignation. Instead, she referred questions to the Gov. Nikki Haley’s office. Haley’s office did not return calls for comment.

Turner’s timing is interesting as legislators just asked him about the recent DEW decision to close 17 rural offices across the state. One ranking senator, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the back-story was that Turner did not want to close those offices. Critics have said the decision was an attack on the poor.


Is it time for a new Speaker of the House?

By Andy Brack, editor and publisher

FEB. 15, 2013 -- There’s been a quiet but growing buzz in recent weeks among some House Republicans about whether House Speaker Bobby Harrell will be able to keep his leadership role after months of bad press.

But on Valentine’s Day, a political bombshell burst that could break hearts and create opportunities for modern-day Machiavellis. It may be remembered by South Carolina political observers as our own “red letter day,” or even our own St. Valentine’s Day Massacre.

On Thursday, the conservative S.C. Policy Council filed a major ethics complaint against Harrell that will intensify the recent buzz about whether he can remain an effective speaker. Unlike just a few days ago, now there may be enough blood in the water to attract some sharks who might want to be speaker.

Supporters see Harrell as a good, solid man -- a mostly moderate Chamber of Commerce Republican  who leads with confidence, authority and affable pizzazz. Former chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, Harrell is one of the few leaders in the state who understands the big picture and how the pieces of state government fit together.

But detractors brand him as a bully who uses his power in subtle ways to keep a firm grip on a sometimes unstable House Republican Caucus. These critics complain about how money from a leadership political action committee is a tool to keep people in line.


Read the Policy Council's complaint letter

Read a summary of the allegations

Harrell says the allegations against him are “a baseless attack that is driven by a personal and political vendetta” by Ashley Landess, the Policy Council president who Harrell did not reappoint to the state Lottery Commission in 2009.

Harrell’s troubles started last year when the Post and Courier reported that he reimbursed himself about $326,000 from campaign funds for using a single-engine propeller plane and other expenses for political trips over four years. Harrell, who said repeatedly he was in full compliance with state ethics laws, didn’t itemize expenses but eventually let an Associated Press reporter review records. He returned $23,000 to the campaign account for spending for which he reportedly lost receipts.

Coincidentally, $23,000 was the amount that Harrell’s leadership PAC paid a Charleston public relations firm in October 2012 for an “election expense” related to the firm’s work to urge completion of Interstate 526 in Charleston. Critics wondered how the money would be considered proper since the issue over the interstate completion wasn’t going to voters.

Earlier this month, the Policy Council and Post and Courier published stories that questioned whether Harrell used his influence as speaker improperly to get business for his drug repackaging company. Standing up to Harrell, one pharmacy advocate said, was a lot like “playing with fire.”

On Thursday, the Policy Council sent a five-point ethics complaint to S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson -- not the House Ethics Commission where it normally would go because it complained that Harrell being speaker might compromise the process. Wilson turned over the complaint to SLED to investigate. While four points of the complaint focused on the flights and drug repackaging company, a new allegation questioned whether Harrell broke state law in appointing his brother to the state’s Judicial Merit Selection Commission.

Regardless of what happens, Harrell is wounded. As one senior House lawmaker noted earlier this week, he’s still speaker and will remain speaker for the next two years, unless something comes of the ethics allegations against him. But after that, who knows? He likely will face a primary battle in 2014 and, if he survives, should have a Democratic opponent who might be tougher than usual.

And if Harrell returns to the House, he then would have to get reelected as speaker. An alliance of Democrats and Republicans could topple him, although Democrats often aren’t organized enough to vote with one voice. 

In the interim, you can bet your bottom dollar there are some House GOP leaders waiting in the wings to see what will happen. Mentioned as possibilities to be the next House speaker are several Republicans: Speaker Pro Tem Jay Lucas of Hartsville, Daniel Island’s Jim Merrill, Kenny Bingham of Cayce and Bruce Bannister of Greenville.

Anything can happen in the next two years. For now, Bobby Harrell is feeling the dark side of politics.

Andy Brack is publisher of Statehouse ReportYou can reach Brack at:



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Hugs, kisses, slings, arrows on Episcopal church column

To the editor:

Wonderful article on the Episcopal Church. [Brack, 2/1]  Hit the nail on the head. The parishioners of Holy Cross Faith Episcopal Church (my church) here in Pawleys are standing firm with the national church in spite of the "gated community" attitude of that Bishop located in Charleston.

-- Ross W. Lenhart, Pawleys Island, S.C.

You're naive

To the editor:

I have always respected your experience in government and your report on governmental affairs. It, therefore, troubled me greatly to read your terribly naïve entrance into the politics that are being played out within the Episcopal Church.

Having been raised within a family of Episcopal preachers and teachers, I can assure you that the theological debate about the role of scripture and Anglican tradition is a long one. You have frankly weighed in beyond your depth, so please do a little research. Look up St. James the Lesser in Philadelphia and learn how a deceased bishop imposed his choice and replaced the choice of the vestry, resulting in a long, expensive lawsuit won under Pennsylvania law by the Bishop, though this endowed church never receive financial support from the diocese.

I could name other churches where my family had ties and watched their traditions washed away by political correctness. As followers of Jesus Christ, we are supposed to be the salt and not just become the flavor of the year. I invite you to read and digest carefully what great theologians have written.

-- Ledlie Bell, Charleston, S.C.

You don't get it

To the editor:

Enjoyed reading your perspective on the split in the Episcopal Diocese in the lower part of our state. With all due respect, it appears that you are not a member of an Episcopal Church.

This schism, believe it or not, is actually based upon theology, not economics or money. The church has been in turmoil since the “gay man” Gene Robinson was elected as a bishop. Many lifelong Episcopalians have left the church over this issue, and it had nothing to do with money. Under church canon law, even though all the parishes were built and maintained and run at the expense of the members of the local parishes from the inception of those parishes, the parish property is owned by the diocese, not the national church. The operations of the diocese and the national church are funded in large part by contributions from the parishes.

Also, the Episcopal Church in the United States was called the Church of England prior to the Revolutionary War, so 300 years ago puts you at the year 1713. It became the Episcopal Church after that war for obvious reasons. Please check your facts and don’t adopt such a breezy attitude towards an issue that is very near and dear to many Episcopalians in our state, because your article is somewhat offensive

-- Samuel J. Galloway, Jr., Spartanburg, S.C.

Dear Ledlie and Sam: Despite your assumption, I am not naive about Episcopal church politics nor do I have a “breezy attitude” about the schism as I have served on a vestry and have been a delegate to a past convention. The breakaway diocese is, quite frankly, not following the teachings of Jesus about love and acceptance. Furthermore, the national church and dioceses have property interests in all church property in a diocese, a ruling which was affirmed by dioceses as recently as 1979.  But you, just as I, can have your own opinions of what I view as a bunch of zealous Biblical literalist rascals who are doing whatever they can to undermine the real Episcopal church. -- Andy Brack

Yes, it's about money and influence

To the editor:

As a loyal Episcopalian, I want to express my appreciation for your column concerning the events that have recently occurred. Our story has been difficult to disseminate and objective reviews scarce. Over the last few years, it was obvious that the diocese was mounting a propaganda campaign against the national church. What has been said about The Episcopal Church and the presiding bishop from the pulpit can only be characterized as vile and scurrilous. Those of us who support inclusivity and wanted to remain in the national church have been shouted down by overzealous communicants and clergy.

But as you so aptly noted, in the end, this is not about theology, but rather about money and the influence it brings. I feel that Lawrence intended to use the size, prestige and wealth of the diocese as a way to elevate his influence in the Anglican Communion beyond that of a mere bishop. Unfortunately, it appears that the political tides in the Anglican Communion have left him high and dry. Thanks again for your candor and objectivity. I'm sure you will suffer many "slings and arrows" for speaking out.

-- Paul Alford, Hartsville, S.C.

Heartbreaking situation

To the editor,

Your article is excellent. The saddest stories are those members of smaller churches in this Diocese who have been forced out of their churches -- a Georgetown couple told by their minister that perhaps they'd be happier at another church or the members of an Edisto Church who have to meet at a barbecue restaurant for services. Our ministers have been able to attend to their needs.

The fact that so many churches have followed Bishop Lawrence is unfortunately a testament to his charisma. He incited Episcopal churches in the Pacific Northwest to leave the national Church. 

Thank you for bringing this heartbreaking situation to the attention of your readers. I am confused as to why he didn't take his followers and form a new church. It boils down to money and power. 

-- Marian C. Greely, Charleston, S.C.

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Up for security; down for S.C. State

Hacking. National experts said South Carolina is moving in the right direction in re-doing its cyber-security; others say that the state could emerge as the model for the rest of the nation. More.

Natural gas. Governors from South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia are urging the feds to lift their ban on offshore drilling along the East Coast. This could mean more fuel for the country, but could mean coastal environmental problems, too. More.

Haley. Let’s hope that Gov. Nikki Haley’s call for state agency reviews of regulations isn’t old-hat loosening of the reins for business now that the economy is beginning to improve. More.

SCSU. A precipitous enrollment drop at South Carolina State University may lead to a revenue crunch at the beleaguered school. More.

Watch your back

RECENT STEGELIN: 2/8 | 2/1 | 1/25 | 1/18

Statehouse Report

Editor and Publisher: Andy Brack
Senior Editor: Bill Davis
Contributing Photographer: Michael Kaynard

Phone: 843.670.3996

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