News. Brief.

Columbia Has New Top Cop

Plus: Baseball Vote Set for April 8

By Free Times
Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The City of Columbia named William “Skip” Holbrook its new police chief on March 21. Holbrook, who most recently was police chief of Huntington, W. Va., steps into a politically charged situation marked by turmoil during the search for a chief and controversy over allegations surrounding the past two chiefs.
— Dan Cook

Baseball Vote Set for April 8

Columbia City Council has delayed a second and final vote on whether to fund a minor-league baseball stadium at Bull Street. The vote will probably come April 8. Councilman Cameron Runyan, the likely swing vote, says he’s still doing his due diligence — last week, he visited Greenville to discuss its recent baseball experiences with city officials there. — Eva Moore

Politician Hired

The College of Charleston hired Lt. Gov Glenn McConnell to be its new president — over the protests of faculty and students who don’t take kindly to McConnell’s love for all things Confederate, not to mention his lack of education experience. — Eva Moore

S.C. House Votes to Restrict Abortion

A bill that would ban abortions in South Carolina after 20 weeks of gestation easily cleared the House of Representatives on Wednesday, 84 to 29. Supporters of the bill argue it’s necessary because a fetus can feel pain after 20 weeks, a claim hotly disputed by a majority of doctors and scientists. — Porter Barron Jr.

Dog Bites Man, Plays Online Poker

Politico is now reporting what’s been making the rounds of gambling news sites the past few weeks: U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina suddenly wants a federal ban on online gambling — after billionaire casino mogul Sheldon Adelson started fundraising for him. Graham has never taken much of a position on online gambling in the past, but he’s introducing a bill to ban online gambling any day now, Politico reports. — Eva Moore

Locals Weigh In on Contraceptives Coverage Case

The U.S. Supreme Court is taking up the question of whether private employers are required under the Affordable Care Act to offer health insurance that covers contraceptives. South Carolina’s conservative Palmetto Family Council sent an email newsletter yesterday praising the efforts of several Nelson Mullins attorneys who filed an amicus brief on behalf of theologians, the Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, the Coalition of African-American Pastors and others arguing that the requirement was a violation of religious freedom. Meanwhile, some observers are asking which version of Justice Antonin Scalia will show up on this case, considering that he once argued strongly that granting liberal religious exemptions to civil law could create “a slippery slope to lawlessness.” — Dan Cook

Pay Up

Old mistakes are haunting the City of Columbia: The city has to pay the federal government $215,000 for accounting mistakes in a summer youth program back in 2000, Clif LeBlanc reported in The State. The city neglected to keep proper payroll records on teenagers it hired.  — Dan Cook

Changes Come to the Radio

Some upheaval on the radio dial for fans of classic and modern rock: Columbia’s Fox 102.3 and Rock 93.5, both owned by Portland’s L&L Broadcasting, have merged to become the new Fox 102.3, a broad mainstream rock station. In a press release, L&L promises that “Columbia’s Rock Station” will retain favorite on-air personalities from both entities while seeking to bridge four decades of rock music by playing “superstar artists like AC/DC, Pearl Jam, Tom Petty, Led Zeppelin, and The Red Hot Chili Peppers.” As for Rock 93.5, it will now become the new Q93.5, “Columbia’s Hit Music” station. A press release promises that this new format will include “Hit music” from the last 15 years — “Maroon 5, Pink, Imagine Dragons, Train, and Katy Perry.” You know, the essentials.
— Jordan Lawrence

Law Would Broaden Use of DUI Ignition Locks

Under a bill passed by a state House subcommittee, drivers convicted of driving with an alcohol level of 0.15 or higher would be required to have ignition locks placed on their car; the special locks contain a breathalyzer that would keep drivers from starting their car if it detects alcohol. The subcommittee weakened the original bill, which called for ignition locks on anyone arrested (but not necessarily convicted) with a level of 0.12 or higher. The bill is called Emma’s Law after a 6-year-old girl who was killed by a drunk driver. — Dan Cook

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