Thomas Ravenel confirms to the Post and Courier that he's been out collecting signatures from registered voters to mount an independent challenge to U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham this fall. (Democratic state Sen. Brad Hutto will also be on the ballot.) Formerly a Republican, Ravenel served as South Carolina's state treasurer in 2007 before being indicted on cocaine distribution charges and heading to federal prison; as a result of his run-in with the War on Drugs, he's now a Ron Paul-endorsing libertarian. He recently gained national fame as the star of reality show Southern Charm. He'll need 10,000 signatures to get on November's ballot.
Although Latta residents voted Tuesday to change the town's form of government, essentially wresting power from the mayor who'd fired a popular police chief in April, the mayor defied voters by hiring a new police chief Wednesday morning. It's still unclear whether the mayor has the authority or budgetary power to do so.
In the ongoing corruption trial of businessman and former S.C. State University trustee Jonathan Pinson, on Wednesday jurors heard a wiretapped phone call from 2011 in which Pinson said Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin and City Councilwoman Tameika Isaac Devine "worked behind the scenes to help Zahn [a Florida businessman who pled guilty] and Pinson win a contract to rebuild the city’s oldest public housing complex," The State reports. The men did not get the contract to raze and rebuild the housing project, Gonzales Gardens.
The state Department of Transportation is finally opening up those long-closed lanes on Interstate 20 in northeast Columbia, ColaDaily reports. Work on the project will continue; however, as of today, "three lanes will be open to eastbound traffic along the six-mile widening project from Interstate 77 to just east of Spears Creek Church Road (Exit 82). Three lanes will be open westbound by 6 a.m. Friday as long as no weather delays occur."
Lexington County Council voted 4-2 to move forward with a November referendum to allow Sunday beer and wine sales.
Surreal Innovation Salon Now Open
Columbia’s newest total care spa is now taking appointments and offering $10 off services $25 or more for first time clients. Location, hours, and more info here.
A Re-Imagined Christmas Carol at Trustus
Watch as five actors perform all the characters of Charles Dickens’ classic story and create a live musical score in a production that had audiences and critics raving last year. Get your tickets here!
Great Gifts for the Whole Family
Don’t miss Half Moon Outfitters’ holiday sale! Up to 30% off Prana, Patagonia, The North Face, and other great brands. Location and hours here.
Ice Skate on Main Street
Columbia’s famously hot skating rink opens Thanksgiving Day! Additional information and discounts can be found here.
A Family-Friendly New Year’s Eve Carnival
From 5-11 PM on December 31st on Main Street, enjoy rides, games, karaoke, food, drinks and more! More information here.
Make Your Own Beer and Wine!
Come get started on your “liquid hobby” and help us celebrate our 46th year in the Columbia area. Bet Mar Liquid Hobby Shop: 736 St. Andrews Road.
SEARCH FREE TIMES
Holiday Wish ListWhere to shop for gift ideas in Columbia this season: