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South Carolina Press Association Hall of FameCol. Thomas Bissell Crews 1832 - 1911
DISTINGUISHED SERVICE AWARD for her long and outstanding support of the S.C. Press Association
AN ORAL HISTORY OFSOUTH CAROLINA NEWSPAPERS Remembering Eyewitnesses to History CO-SPONSORED BY: School of Journalism and Mass Communications
THE GOAL OF THE PROJECT Our project’s goal is to capture video and audio interviews of some of South Carolina’s leading newspaper journalists from the last half century. We wish to ensure that the heritage of the state’s journalists and newspapers is preserved.
The Oral History is located on a website containing video and audio recordings, photos, links and biographic information. In addition torecalling stories from the past, such as the Orangeburg Massacre, we are also interviewing selected journalists who covered significant events to give their oral recollections and background information. AP Reporter, Jim Davenport’s interview page on the website.
Time is of the essence with this long-term, ongoing project. We must get interviews before key witnesses are gone. This is important for future generations of South Carolinians so we do notforget, and can broaden our perspective by looking at the past.
AN ORAL HISTORY OFSOUTH CAROLINA NEWSPAPERS Remembering Eyewitnesses to History Can be found at:SCNEWSPAPERHISTORY.COM
REMEMBERING THOSE WE’VE LOST Robert Nettles Hugh Munn Bob Bentley Vicki Shealy Mim Woodring Samuel Rayford Marshall Ernie Adams Dwight Dana Lance Noel Anderson Jim Davenport John Kerr Anne Mae Pickens Collins Gerhard Spieler Dr. J. Nolan Etters Walter Julian Mark Stafford LinderSEE PAGE 8 OF YOUR PROGRAM FOR FULL NECROLOGY
There’s still time to enter the iPad Mini rafﬂe! $5 each or $20 for 5 tickets. Cash, credit & checks are accepted. Tickets will be sold until the awards presentation starts. See any SCPA staffer to support the Foundation! Winner will be drawn at the end of the presentation! iPads donated by: South Carolina Newspaper Network
JUDSON CHAPMAN AWARD Open DivisionTHIRD PLACE: Charleston City Paper Un bal Paul Bowers an c Photography by Adam Chandler; CP photo illustration ed Residents of North Charleston’s poorest neighborhoods have easy access to junk food, Diet one mile of home, which can present a barrier to nutrition when a family lives in poverty and does not own a car. Sometimes kids from the neighborhood will stop by to help tend the small field beside the train tracks, but but not fresh fruit and veggies W Hampton says they’ve got a lot to learn. “You know they’ve never seen an earthworm,” says Hampton, who started cultivating the empty lot in the BY PAUL BOWERS the garden during his spare time, sometimes rising early Chicora-Cherokee neighborhood three years ago. His idea or working between jobs. But on a small scale, he is help- was to start a community garden where anybody could come hen Clay Hampton swings a hoe in his ing to solve one of the great ills that plague the southern tend the field, plant a few seeds, and take home some fresh FEATURE | charlestoncitypaper.com garden, he can hear the roar of trucks end of North Charleston. Every time a family takes collard produce to their families. passing by on Spruill Avenue and see his greens from his community garden for Sunday dinner, and Ashley Brown, who has rented a house from Hampton neighbors riding bikes down to the corner every time someone picks a bell pepper for salad, Hampton since October and lives directly next door to the garden, says convenience store. He grew up working enlarges an oasis in what many experts call a food desert. she has not yet taken him up on the offer of free produce in in his mother’s garden on James Island, Food deserts are low-income areas where residents have exchange for a little bit of labor. She is a big believer in fruits so he knows how to till the earth, kill weeds with a tarp, and little access to healthy food and produce, often because their and vegetables for her two growing boys, ages 2 and 4, but salvage seeds from a dying okra plant. Wiry and active at age neighborhood lacks a supermarket. According to the USDA, for now, she rides with her boyfriend to West Ashley to buy 69, he also knows the health benefits of working outdoors North Charleston contains 11 census tracts that fit the crite- healthy groceries. and eating fresh produce — and he wants to share those ria for food deserts, many in the river-bound stretch of land “I’m going to wait until Mr. Clay shows me the way, benefits with his neighbors. called the Neck. Of the 33,000 people living in those tracts, because I don’t want to mess it up,” she says. Hampton is not a social worker or eco-activist. He is a 19,500 have low access to grocery stores. For urban areas, handyman and sports bar owner by trade, and he works in “low access” is defined as the lack of a grocery store within continued on page 24 23
SERIES OF SPORTS ARTICLES Open DivisionFIRST PLACE: The Lancaster News SPORTS: Lancers sweep Spartanburg Methodist 9A Lancaster County’s triweekly newspaper INSIDE: Body found on Mt. Carmel Road Monday 2A The Gregory Summers Lancaster News Wednesday, March 14, 2012Lancaster Speedway Two sections/18 pages/75 cents GREGORY A. SUMMERSemail@example.com Crate Model driver Timbo Mangum, right, dives below Ted McDaniel after McDaniel tagged the Turn 2 wall during a practice run at Lancaster Speedway on Saturday afternoon. Saturday night Gregory A. Summers ple of sizes too big, but Jar- MORE INSIDE ed was definitely growing SHOWCASE firstname.lastname@example.org ◆ Banks Simpson wins first into it. Start ’em young. Fist-bumping with a dirt race at local speedway. 6A And chances are, regard- tracker in the back of a ◆ Getting track ready to less of size, Jared will be hauler is still a big deal. race is no simple task. 6A wearing it this weekend So when youngster Jared when the half-mile dirt Smith wanted to talk racin’ The youngster’s six track opens its gates for the and rubbin’ with Timbo words drew Mangum’s full 2012 local racing season. Mangum on Saturday af- attention. But this isn’t just any ternoon during a practice “You’re gonna be wear- opening event. The elite in round at Lancaster Speed- ing it next week, right?” dirt tracking will put Lan- way, Mangum set down the caster in the national spot- Largest dirt race in state history coming foam bowl full of chicken and rice he was working the veteran driver asked, smiling. light this weekend when the local track hosts the on. Before the youngster inaugural Carolina Crown. to Lancaster Speedway this weekend “I got me a Timbo shirt,” Jared said. could reply, his dad chimed in. The shirt was still a cou- See SHOWCASE | Page 7A
ONLINE COLUMN WRITING Open DivisionTHIRD PLACE: The News and Reporter Travis JenkinsSomething special
ONLINE COLUMN WRITING Open DivisionFIRST PLACE: The Moultrie News Renae BrabhamPiddlin in Dixie
ILLUSTRATION Open Division THIRD PLACE:Carolina Forest Chronicle Chris MowderGirl Scouts 100th Anniversary
INNOVATIVE CONCEPT Open Division Times,SECOND PLACE: NFHS Fort Mill Times team up Michael Harrison for cyber and Jenny Overman forum By John Marks email@example.comLive, online candidates debate FORT MILL — If there’s a rec- ord for fewest attendees at a polit- Candidates questioned via social media ical debate, it may be in danger. Which isn’t at all to say there By John Marks won’t be voter participation in Michael Harrison, the near future,” said an firstname.lastname@example.org Inside Fort Mill Times editor and event moderator. Oct. 24 event broadcasting from Dist. 26 oppo- First up were state House ■ Candidate profiles, 4A FORT MILL — A high school senior holds up her fingers to tell candidates and a Con- Nation Ford High School. That’s a Republican ■ On the ballot, 5A nents Jeremy Walters, a Libertarian Party candidate, and Raye Felder, gressman when they’re allowed to speak. when candidates for as an unaffiliated petition candi- ■ Why you should vote, Eudy, 5A running two area of- Another student tweets concerns on cafete- fices will take to their issues via snafutook date following a statewide ballot ear- ria food. lier this year. Both rookie candidates To say the least, Wednesday’s debate at those who have made social media a way of with questions ar- road mainte- social media, on job creation, tax reform, Nation Ford High School wasn’t the most life, including some of the youngest voters nance and per pupil school spending. traditional. Candidates for U.S. House Dist. riving and responses posting tax exemp- in next month’s general election. Felder wants to curb sales 5 and state House Dist. 26 took questions “We’re partners in a live. new adventure in de- tions and better measure school standards, not from a live audience, but a virtual one mocracy that represents a mash-up of tradi- and to improve state transportation opera- with Facebook and Twitter accounts tional journalism and social media, that we sponsored by the and examine The event, tions before raising the gas tax plugged into the live-stream event hosted hope encourages more participation Times andpaying back government benefits if Fort Mill in the ways of Nation Ford by the school and the Fort Mill Times. electoral process, particularly by those who The idea was to connect the races with have just reached voting age or who will in Please see DEBATE 5A
AFFILIATED OR NICHE WEBSITE Open DivisionSECOND PLACE: Myrtle Beach Herald Chris Mowderlistenupmyrtlebeach.com
ONLINE NEWS PROJECT Open Division LocalTHIRD PLACE: candidate Fort Mill Times forum to be streamed Michael Harrison and From staff reports Jenny Overman email@example.com FORT MILL — The Oct. 24 can- didate debate hosted as a jointOnline candidate forum project by the Fort Mill Times and Nation Ford High School will be streamed live from 10 a.m. to noon. The event will be broadcast from the Nation Ford News TV studio. There will not be a studio audi- ence, but the public is invited to participate via social media. Questions can be submitted by Twitter or Facebook and will be posted live, along with the re- sponses. Libertarian Jeremy Walters and independent Raye Felder, both running for S.C. House Dist. 26., will debate from 10 to 11 a.m.. Candidates for U.S. House Dist. 5, incumbent U.S. Rep. Mick Mulvaney and challenger Joyce Knott, will go head-to-head from 11 to noon. The community can submit ti d i th t i
BEST EVENT MARKETING Associate/Individual Division FIRST PLACE:Municipal Association of South Carolina 2012 Annual Meeting
BEST PUBLIC RELATIONS PROGRAM Associate/Individual Division SECOND PLACE: Simpsonville Sentinel Keith Grounsell Drugs in our Society
BEST PUBLIC RELATIONS PROGRAM Associate/Individual Division FIRST PLACE: S.C. Farm Bureau Bill Johns Member Benefits
2012 ELECTION/POLITICAL COVERAGE L ANCASTER VOTERS SPEAK OUT Here’s a look at the unofficial Lan- Two sections/20 pages I Lancaster County’s triweekly newspaper I 75 cents State Senate District 16 County Council District 1 School board District 2 All Weekly Division caster County vote totals for 2012. ◆ Greg Gregory (Republican) – ◆ Larry McCullough (Republi- ◆ Tyrom Faulkner (Non-partisan) The votes shown here in the races 15,685 can) – 3,363 – 1,393 for the S.C. House and S.C. Senate are for Lancaster County only. These State Senate District 27 County Council District 3 School board District 4 numbers do not include the paper ◆ Vincent Sheheen (Democrat) – ◆ Bob Bundy (Republican) – ◆ Bill Sumner (Non-partisan) – 2,711 2,989 2,591 absentee ballots that were received. An estimated 3,400-plus paper bal- State House District 44 County Council District 5 School board District 6 lots were still being counted at mid- ◆ Joseph Coy (Petition) – 1,802 ◆ Steve Harper (Republican) – ◆ Margaret Gamble (Non-parti- night. Check www.thelancasternews. ◆ Mandy Powers Norrell (Demo- 2,203 san) – 2,284 com for updated results. crat) – 7,758 ◆ Kathy Sistare (Democrat) – State Constitutional U.S. president ◆ Ryan Payne (Republican) – 1,914 Clerk of Court Amendment question 3,454 County Council District 7 ◆ Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan ◆ Jeff Hammond (Democrat) – ◆ From 2018 onward, will the (Republican) – 18,163 State House District 45 ◆ Brian Carnes (Republican) – Governor and Lieutenant Gover- ◆ Deborah Long (Republican) – 19,571 ◆ Gary Johnson and James P. 3,551 nor run on the same ticket and Gray (Libertarian) – 250 8,441 Coroner be elected jointly? As a result the ◆ Mike Morris (Democrat) – City Council District 3 ◆ Barack Obama and Joe Biden State House District 53 ◆ Linda Blackmon-Brace (Non- Lieutenant Governor will no lon- (Democrat) – 12,275 19,377 ◆ Phil Powell (Petition) – 38 partisan) – 95 ger preside over the S.C. Senate ◆ Virgil Goode and Jim Clymer ◆ Ted Vick (Democrat) – 329 Auditor ◆ Jackie Harris (Non-partisan) – and the S.C. Senate will elect its (Constitution) – 51 ◆ Cheryl Morgan (Democrat) – presiding officer from within that ◆ Richie Yow (Republican) – 597 275 ◆ Jill Stein and Cheri Honkala 19,173 body. (Green) – 78 State House District 65 City Council District 4 Yes – 15,943 ◆ Jay Lucas (Republican) – 1,517 Treasurer 5th District U.S. Congress ◆ Jean Cureton (Non-partisan) – No – 13,051 Sheriff ◆ Carrie Helms (Republican) –THIRD PLACE: 79 Local question ◆ Mick Mulvaney (Republican) – 18,807 ◆ Scott Case (Republican) – ◆ Tamara Green Garris (Non- 17,936 ◆ Will restaurants in Lancaster Coun- 10,067 Soil and Water District partisan) – 243 ◆ Joyce Knott (Democrat) – ty that have alcohol licenses be al- 10,985 ◆ Barry Faile (Democrat) – ◆ Phil Cleveland (Non-partisan) City Council District 6 lowed to sell alcohol on Sunday? ◆ Joyce Knott (Working Families) 20,229 – 15,657 ◆ Sara Eddins (Non-partisan) – Yes – 17,116 – 1,091 384 No – 12,771 INSIDE TODAY’S ISSUE Voters approve Sunday alcohol sales in restaurants, 2A The Lancaster News The Lancaster News WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 7, 2012 I WWW.THELANCASTERNEWS.COM S.C. House District 44 Lancaster County Sheriff The beginning of the end Powers Faile Staff Norrell wins seat Laura Caskey firstname.lastname@example.org Democrat Mandy Powers Norrell has won the S.C. doubles up Case Christopher Sardelli email@example.com House seat in District 44, which covers a Sheriff Barry Faile celebrated with large part of Lancast- his family late Tuesday night as he was er County, defeating projected to win a Republican petition second term in office. candidate Joseph Coy According to unof- and Republican can- ficial results from the didate Ryan Payne. Lancaster County According to un- Mandy Election Commis- official results from Powers sion at about 11 p.m., the Lancaster Coun- Norrell Faile was projected ty Election Commis- to win with 64.6 per- Barry Faile sion at press time, cent of the vote, Norrell won 57.4 percent of the vote which translates to with 7,758 votes, while Coy had 13.3 20,229 votes. His Republican chal- percent of the vote with 1,802 votes lenger, Great Falls police officer Scott and Payne garnered 29.3 percent of Case, trailed with 10,067 votes, which the vote with 3,954 votes. was 35.29 percent of the vote. Norrell, 39, is a partner in the Nor- The vote tally does not include all rell & Powers Norrell law firm in GREGORY SUMMERSfirstname.lastname@example.org absentee votes, which had still not Lancaster. She has served as city at- Elvira Faulkner-McIlwain opens paper ballots that were mailed into the county’s voter registra- been fully counted by midnight. torney for Lancaster for 14 years and “I feel good about it,” Faile said. tion office by Tuesday’s deadline. Poll workers, volunteers and election officials had a busy, See HOUSE | Page 2A non-stop day, thanks to a strong turnout by the county’s 47,000-plus registered voters. See SHERIFF | Page 3A City candidates Mulvaney headed County Council back to U.S. Capitol Dist. 5 race not final split Tuesday vote Reece Murphy Christopher Sardelli Council totals don’t reﬂect email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org Republican Congressman Mick Mulvaney is likely The battle between a one-term incumbent and her paper absentee ballot numbers heading back to Washington, D.C., for a second term Republican challenger had still not been settled late Jesef Williams to representing U.S. House District 5. Tuesday night in the race for Lancaster County Council’s Mulvaney, a Republican from Indian Land, was well District 5 seat, though there was a projected winner. email@example.com ahead of first-time Democratic challenger Joyce Knott Republican Steve Harper was projected to win over A political newcomer and an incumbent were leading as of press time Tuesday with 55.37 percent of the vote Democratic incumbent, and current council chair- their respective Lancaster City Council races as of press at 65,548 to 48,514. woman, Kathy Sistare, based on unofficial results from time late Tuesday night. Lancaster County voters also approved of their lo- the Lancaster County Election Commission released at Jackie Harris, who challenged Councilwoman Linda cal congressman with 17,936 of the county’s voting about 11:30 p.m. Blackmon-Brace for the District 3 City Council seat, gar- for Mulvaney versus 10,984 who voted for Knott. The vote tallies show Harper with 2,203 votes, while nered 76 percent of the votes in the five voting precincts Whereas his 2010 campaign focused largely on Sistare trailed with 1,914 votes. that encompass the city, according to uncertified results healthcare, Mulvaney’s focus during this year’s cam- The results included all precincts and 6,100 elec- from the Lancaster County Election Commission. paign was on what he called the three interwoven is- tronic absentee votes, though about 3,400 paper ab- All county precincts were reported by 10 p.m. Tues- sues of jobs, the economy and debt. sentee ballots had yet to be counted by midnight. day. However, around that time, election officials had Mulvaney was not available for comment by press Election officials expected the counting of those votes just begun to process absentee ballots. time. to last well into the early morning hours Wednesday. More than 9,000 county residents are said to have Mulvaney, then Lancaster County’s S.C. House Dis- The ideas of job creation and workforce develop- voted absentee. The Lancaster News received electronic trict 16 representative, defeated 12-term U.S. House ment dominated this year’s council race, though im- See CITY | Page 2A See CAPITOL | Page 2A See COUNTY | Page 2A Weather Index Deaths, 4A-5A Margie Jordan Cloudy, cool Johnnie Carnes William Massey Business .................................6B Entertainment ......................3B Lowry Plyler morning to David Copeland Classifieds ...............................7B Faces & Places ......................1B Ada Threatt start the day Coming Events ................3B, 4B Opinion .............................11A Almetta Estridge Highs: 57-59 J.D. Geiger Melenia Trotter Dear Abby ..............................3B Sports ...................................8A Lows: 33-35 Louise Hatchell Ossie Whitaker James Horton
2012 ELECTION/POLITICAL COVERAGE CYAN-AOOO MAGENTA-OAOO YELLOW -OOAO BLACK 2/6/01 All Weekly Division ® Friday, June 15, 2012 50¢ www.journalscene.com Primary 2012SECOND PLACE: The Summerville Jim Tatum/Journal Scene Journal Scene ReVille is brought into the courtroom before his sen- tencing on Wednesday. David Hester/Journal Scene Bennett, accompanied by campaign manager Brian Moniz, arrives at Summer House soon after learning he has won Child molester the Senate 38 seat. Supporters were already on site celebrating. See more photos at http://seenit.journalscene.com/ gets 50 years Bennett unseats Rose BY LESLIE CANTU AND DAVID HESTER Bennett shows The Journal Scene supporters the hole BY JIM TATUM he wore into the sole The Journal Scene Political newcomer Sean Bennett toppled Sen. of his shoe as he Leslie Cantu and Staff Mike Rose in the Republican primary Tuesday campaigned door-to- Louis “Skip” ReVille may get out of jail someday – but for the Senate 38 seat. door. He took his not until at least his 74th birthday. With no Democratic opposition in November, shoe off and removed ReVille, 32, a former teacher, coach, camp counselor, Bennett is poised to glide into the Senate seat. duck tape covering Bible study leader, and youth mentor pleaded guilty to a At an exuberant celebration at the Summer the hole just before number of charges related to his admitted sexual abuse of he held it up. as many as 35 young male students across the See BENNETT Page 8A Judy Watts/Journal Scene Lowcountry. During the sentencing hearing, held Wednesday in the Charleston County Courthouse, Judge Markley Dennis handed down sentences of 15 to twenty years each on 23 indictments ranging from criminal sexual conduct with a Carter prevails in primary minor, performing a lewd act on a child, distributing Will face incumbent nating race for the House 97 vote, to Bryngelson’s 1,353 won with a 10 percent mar- pornographic materials, and criminal solicitation of a seat, Ed Carter beat out votes. gin. minor during a sentencing These sentences will run con- Knight in November Jordan Bryngelson for the Wednesday, Carter said he Questions had come up currently with a fifty-year sentence Dennis imposed on a chance to face Rep. Patsy was pleased with the results. during the campaign about BY LESLIE CANTU The Journal Scene Knight in November. He had been looking for a whether Carter was a “true” See REVILLE Page 8A Carter won 1,643 votes, or victorious margin of 5 per- conservative, especially In the Republican nomi- almost 55 percent of the cent, he said, but instead Town employee See CARTER Page 8A Knight keeps policy updated Sheriff ’s post BY LESLIE CANTU agreed to allow him to The Journal Scene take on some of the duties BY JIM TATUM that an administrator The Journal Scene Summerville Town would do. Council agreed Councilman Bob Jackson It appears L.C. Knight will keep his job Wednesday to make some initially wanted to table as Dorchester County’s top cop for four basic changes to the the changes until council more years. employee handbook, but could hash out a policy on The incumbent sheriff won the left heftier questions for rehiring retirees, but he Republican Primary with a decisive 61 the budget retreat later this agreed that discussion percent of the vote over challenger Mike summer. could wait for the budget Turner. Director of retreat. Voter turnout was light, with about 12 Administrative Services Councilman Aaron percent of the registered voters in Lisa Wallace said the Brown also asked that the Dorchester County turning out to the changes were to provide a handbook change from polls but that was not unexpected for a Jim Tatum/Journal Scene more detailed policy on saying employee evalua- primary election. However, with no Bufort Blanton congratulates Knight on his victory over challenger Mike light duty and to change tions “may” be conducted Turner. See more photos at http://seenit.journalscene.com/ outdated wording that See KNIGHT Page 8A to “will” be conducted. Hearn, Hargett win council races refers to a “town adminis- “What I’m trying to get trator.” away from is subjectivity Summerville hasn’t had a in promoting employees,” town administrator since he said. BY LESLIE CANTU bents Larry Hargett and Bill Hearn Miriam Birdsong in November. Dennis Pieper resigned Having evaluations on The Journal Scene easily won the Republican nomina- Hargett, who currently serves as the more than a year ago. file provides a history of tions for their seats Tuesday. council chairman, has no opposition in After Mayor Bill Collins employee performance, he Dorchester County Council incum- Hearn will go on to face Democrat took office, the council said. See COUNCIL Page 8A Summerville Journal Scene • www.journalscene.com CYAN-AOOO MAGENTA-OAOO YELLOW-OOAO BLACK 01/29/08
2012 ELECTION/POLITICAL COVERAGE All Weekly DivisionFIRST PLACE: free-times.com May 23-29, 2012 Free Times Staff Ballot B mb or, How Jake Knotts Blew Up a Statewide Election 2012 Ethics Panel Wants More Competitive Pole Dancing Art Bar Agora: Artist Info on Haley’s Lobbying Stripped Bare Market and Showcase NEWS 8 ARTS 22 MUSIC 34
EDITORIAL OR COLUMN IN SUPPORT OF FOI/OPEN GOVERNMENT ISSUES All Weekly Division Heading for ‘Sunshine’ at the beachTHIRD PLACE: - Chronicle-Independent - (see front page story), - - reasonable not Martin L. Cahn not - not - - - not - - - - - - - citizens’ - - - - - - (Martin L. Cahn is the associ- - - ate editor of the Chronicle-Inde- - pendent, Camden, S.C. E-mail - responses to camden@ci-camden .com.)
EDITORIAL OR COLUMN IN SUPPORT OF FOI/OPEN GOVERNMENT ISSUES All Weekly Division SECOND PLACE: The News and Reporter Travis Jenkins The Law
EDITORIAL OR COLUMN IN SUPPORT OF FOI/OPEN GOVERNMENT ISSUES All Weekly Division The School Board of Un-Trustees Fish Leave it or Cut Bait to the Fair- The Voice Short is The Voice Speaks the list of things that Speaks transpire with the James Denton James Denton desired editor editorFIRST PLACE: amount of expediency, particularly when those to one’s self or to society as a whole. The justice system is no exception, and - those seeking relief through its laby- rinthine networks often grow frus- - ing recourse or restitution. - The Independent Voice But Monday morning, a Magistrate’s - der the feet of justice, giving the 6th Circuit Solicitor 15 days to either pros- - ecute or drop a case of criminal viola- - tion of the S.C. Freedom of Information Act against the president and individ- ual Board members of the Jenkinsville Water Company. Although it took a of Fairfield County motion to dismiss by the defense, at least now the matter may be given the appropriate attention by the Solicitor. - And not a moment too soon. For far too long, the Jenkinsville Wa- ter Company Board has topped the list of local public bodies who think that the law somehow does not apply to them; an attitude exacerbated by the James Denton fact that the JWC Board does not even believe itself to be a public body. But the FOIA is clear – if a body is sup- - ported by even one penny of public funds, as is the JWC, then that body - - is public. Furthermore, a recent con- versation with the S.C. Public Service - Commission, which regulates the rates of private utility companies, revealed - that they do not regulate the rates of - the Jenkinsville Water Company. Ei- - ther the JWC is public, therefore, or they are putting one over on the PSC. The Solicitor, meanwhile, has been - reluctant to prosecute the case from the outset – and for that he cannot be - blamed. For one thing, it is only a mis- demeanor. Most certainly, there is a - line out the door and around the block of far more grievous cases waiting at - the entire cast of the bench marked “Group W” from Arlo Guthrie’s “Al- ice’s Restaurant,” and worse. And it - is an unusual case, only the second of - its kind in South Carolina, and brings with it certain challenges, not the least of which is proving willful violation. The Freedom of Information Act - is currently the most viable tool by - which the public can ensure that their government – from the White House to - the local board room – operates in the open, before the very eyes of the elec- - torate. It is not just for newspapers, but for the public at large. It literally puts the “public” into the republic; and without it, democracy is in peril. And without an aggressive prosecu- tion of its violators, it is a law in name only. We encourage, therefore, the So- - licitor to take action, to prosecute fully - and earnestly, and to help make public bodies accountable to the public they serve.
INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING All Weekly Division SALES TAX WARS Amazon turns lemons into lemonade BY JERRY BELLUNE JerryBellune@Yahoo.com WHAT’S AT STAKE Amazon’s ﬁght to avoid sales tax collections may have a silver lining. The company which has opened a National internet sales topped $176 billion last year and are to Fraud new distribution center in Lexington County has reassessed its position. It now sees a way to increase prof- reach $279 billion by 2015, For- rester Research predicts. Amazon.com and other on- probe beingTHIRD PLACE: swept it by becoming an internet tax col- line sales are about 9% of total lector for other internet retailers. retail sales. Amazon for years has fought state That’s projected to triple over efforts to force it to collect sales tax- the next few decades. es from its customers. In South Carolina, lawmakers battled over making Amazon col- It’s recognizing there’s money under rug? Lexington County Chronicle BY JERRY BELLUNE lect sales taxes. The company said it to be made, said George Runner, JerryBellune@Yahoo.com would scrap its plans for the Lexing- a member of the California state Inﬁnity Business Group investors ton County center if it lost the ﬁght. Board of Equalization which han- are frustrated. In an 11th hour vote, Lexington dles sales taxes. Many are worried they may never County business leaders and law- “This is what smart business people be able to recover millions of dollars they invested in the company. makers prevailed to allow Amazon do,” he said. “They’re very slick at it.” Others are angry because they feel to tell its buyers they need to pay Amazon and other online mer- the investigation of fraud charges & The Dispatch News the tax but not to collect it for them. chants have long contended they’re Starting Feb. 1, Amazon will han- not legally obligated to collect sales may be swept un- INSIDE |_ dle sales tax chores for retailers who taxes in states where they have no der the IBG ofﬁcials face physical presence. rug. state fraud charges, sell through its site for 2.9% of the Inves- A3 taxes collected. Amazon doesn’t consider distribu- tigative Execs spent lavishly The strategy could mean millions tion centers like the one near Cayce sources on themselves, A3. in new revenue for Amazon. as a retail presence since it only ful- deny this. Everyone lost at IBG, A3. Jerry Bellune Analysts said Amazon is conced- ﬁlls internet orders. They The internet sales boom made Am- say it is IBG dream dies, A8. ing that internet retailers will even- a highly Settlement ends tually have to play by the same rules azon a target to cut losses in brick- compli- ﬁght, A8. as rival brick-and-mortar stores like and-mortar tax collections and tap cated case Walmart, Target and Best Buy. new sources of sales tax revenues. involving many investors who may be called to testify against Wade and BradRiver Bluff High School Cordell and others involved with them in the collapse of IBG. THE CHINA OFFENSIVE IBG operated from a brick build- ing owned by Brad Cordell at 140 China contract concerns our readers Gibson Road in Lexington. Among its operations was a bad check col- lection service for clients ranging from the food industry to retail stores to the public schools. | Twin investigations have been un- BY JERRY BELLUNE - derway for more than a year since INSIDE _ tractor did not underbid the the ﬁrst complaints surfaced. JerryBellune@Yahoo.com The complaints included charges The high cost of River Bluff competition and make it up that the Cordells and their inner circle spent investors’ money on ex- High School has been a subject with overruns. pensive cars and boats, a condo at Clemson, visits to gentlemen’s clubs of local concern. and otherwise lived lavishly. But of even more concern to bid amount,” she said. These allegation were included in The Chronicle also asked, at complaints ﬁled with the state Attor- Chronicle readers is the issue of She said the project is on ney General’s ofﬁce. readers’ requests: Attorney General Alan Wilson has a Chinese government-owned time and within the bid. - conﬁrmed his ofﬁce has been inves- company building the $138.9 River Bluff and the two tigating and gave the Cordells 30 ﬁcations or notices of cost over- days to respond. million showplace school. Meadow Glen schools were ap- The Cordells’ attorneys have de- run has the Chinese contractor nied all charges. The Chronicle asked Lexing- proved by voters in the 2008 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 ed $138.9 million for the new not deny they have an investigation bid amount,” spokesperson underway. Meadow Glen Elementary and high school land, site work and Mary Beth Hill said. But investors FBI agents have in- Middle schools and how much construction, Hill said. terviewed told the Chronicle what “There have been no cost they were asked and how they an- of that will local resident work- One way the China Construc- swered a series of questions posted overruns.” ers and suppliers receive. tion Company successfully un- on an FBI web site. The Better Business Bureau with- der bid U.S. builders, industry drew accreditation after IBG ofﬁcials performance bond? ﬁled for Chapter 7 bankruptcy un- for the high school. sources say, is that it uses cheap der the federal Bankruptcy Act Sep- “ There have been no claims The district has not respond- Chinese labor and below market tember 1, 2010. under the performance bond,” Involved in the investigation are ed to these questions. ﬁnancing and insurance from ofﬁcials who successfully prosecuted she said. the Home Gold and Carolina Inves- Chinese banks and insurers. tors fraud case.
INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING All Weekly DivisionSECOND PLACE: Myrtle Beach Herald Charles D. Perry, Michael Smith and Tom O’DareProject Blue 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
INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING All Weekly DivisionFIRST PLACE: Greenville Journal Charles SowellCounty Disabilitiesand Special Needs Board
CARTOON All Weekly DivisionTHIRD PLACE: Free TimesCarlos Montage
CARTOON All Weekly DivisionSECOND PLACE: News-Chronicle Mike Beckom
CARTOON All Weekly Division FIRST PLACE:Charleston City Paper Steve Stegelin