In Tuesday's runoff election, Molly Spearman beat Sally Atwater, the widow of conservative political operative Lee Atwater, to become the GOP's candidate for superintendent of education. The race was ugly in its final days, marked by rumors that Spearman was a closet Democrat and Atwater was, at best, incompetent. Spearman, if elected in November, would be a less conservative voice than incumbent Superintendent Mick Zais, who's made a big show of rejecting federal funds and programs.
Meanwhile, on the Democratic side, Tom Thompson beat Sheila Gallagher for the superintendent nomination, proving that maybe South Carolina Democrats aren't ready to free the weed after all. (Gallagher came out early for legalizing marijuana as a way to fund schools.) See all runoff results here.
The small town of Latta voted overwhelmingly to change its form of government, wresting power from the mayor who fired popular police chief Crystal Moore, who is gay, in April.
In Lexington County, longtime County Councilman Bill Banning lost to Ned Tolar, who's upset about the county's push for a sales tax hike to fund road projects.
Two Florida strippers continue to be a major theme of testimony at the corruption trial of businessman Jonathan Pinson. On Tuesday, The State reports, a Florida businessman testified that he flew Pinson and Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin to Florida, where "he paid two women who worked at Rachel’s strip club between $1,000 and $1,100 to return to the Westin hotel where Zahn had booked rooms for the group. ... [The witness] testified that as Benjamin, Pinson and others on the trip were leaving Rachel’s and heading back to the Westin 'to have cocktails ... one of the girls asked me out in the hall, ‘What are we talking about here?’ '" At that point, the defense objected and the testimony on that point was stopped.
Columbia City Council voted Tuesday night to borrow $35 million by issuing bonds backed up by hospitality tax revenues to build the much-discussed Bull Street baseball stadium. Councilman Moe Baddourah, at the last minute, asked the mayor why the city wasn't holding a voter referendum on issuing the bonds. But as Councilwoman Tameika Isaac Devine (who voted against the stadium) pointed out, the city has already obligated itself to pay for the stadium somehow.
Tax-Free Weekend at Best Mattress
With big savings from July 31st-August 2nd, you can afford handcrafted quality. Free bed frame and pillows on any Full, Queen, or King set $599 and above! Click for locations and hours.
Columbia’s Largest Sidewalk Sale
Shop local this tax free weekend! Devine Street and Five Points are teaming up for a massive sidewalk sale featuring great in-store specials from all your favorite retailers and a Saturday art stroll. Read more hereand here!
A Healthy Happy Hour
4-7 p.m at Good Life Cafe on Main St. Try our $4 local draft beers, $4 organic wine, 1/2 off select bottles of house wine and $5 handcrafted house cocktails with juices cold pressed and made daily. Click here for more info.
New Downtown Dessert and Coffee Bar!
Tony’s Italian Eatery has teamed up with Southern Charm Sweets to bring you the highest quality dessert selection in the downtown area. 1120 Washington St., Suite 2. Find us on Facebook!
Relaxation, Pain Management, and Stress Relief
Licensed massage therapist Allison Morris of AMR Massage is offering 50% off your first session and every 5th session free of charge. Click here for location, hours, and more information.
Happy Hour and Sushi Specials All Week
Red Bowl in Lexington now has great early bird and late night sushi specials 7 days a week, as well as 99-cent kids meals on Saturdays! Click here for special information and hours.
SEARCH FREE TIMES
Local restaurants serving locally grown food during Palmetto Tasty Tomato Restaurant Feast, July 11-18:
U.S. Security Associates
Now hiring immediately for armed and unarmed security officers. WE TRAIN YOU! Columbia & surrounding areas. ussecurityassociates.com
Real Estate Spotlight
Concord Park From the $150’s. Off 12th St. Extension. 803.419.2227. mungo.com
Click here for more real estate.
ST. ANDREWS COMMONS APARTMENTS 1 & 2 BR’s available with many amenities. Close to everywhere YOU WANT TO BE! 1200 St. Andrews Rd., Columbia, SC. Click here for more info.
WATERFORD APARTMENTS 1 & 2 BR’s available with many amenities. Prime location, and plenty of space. Live large at Waterford Apartments. Bring in our ad in Free Times for $50 off your application fee. 1340 Longcreek Dr., Columbia, SC. Click here for more info.
GABLE HILL APARTMENTS 1, 2 & 3 BR’s available with many amenities. Surround yourself with Southern comforts at Gable Hill Apartments! Bring in our ad in Free Times for $50 off your application fee. 310 Ross Rd, Columbia, SC. Click here for more info.
Donate Plasma Today & Be Somebody’s Hero For Life. You could earn up to $400 a month! Program and fees vary per location. Contact your local center today. 803-736-5888. Click here for more info