Viewers erupted in protests both online and on the streets after WIS-TV declined to renew the contract of popular local anchor Ben Hoover. Hoover announced the decision July 3 on his Facebook page: “Like so many other anchors and reporters in the past, I wish I was in a position to announce the next opportunity for my family and me,” Hoover wrote. “But, to be honest, I didn’t see this one coming.” Neither did viewers, some of whom lined up on the corner of Bull and Gervais streets to protest the decision. WIS declined to offer details of its decision, saying, “We simply cannot engage in a public conversation regarding details of Ben’s departure from WIS-TV. It is a private personnel matter.” — Dan Cook
Mayor Benjamin No Longer at Parker Poe Law Firm
Mayor Steve Benjamin is no longer working for the Parker Poe law firm. Although FITSNews speculated last week that the mayor’s departure was not voluntary, both Mayor Benjamin and a representative of Parker Poe say the parting was voluntary, amicable and had been in the work for several months. Both parties also say they intend to maintain a long-term relationship even after the mayor’s departure. Benjamin plans to pursue other business opportunities. The mayor’s city salary is $75,000. — Dan Cook
Downtown Real Estate Market Humming Along
Columbia’s central business district continued to outperform suburban areas of the city in its office-space vacancy rate, according to the latest report from Colliers International. The vacancy rate in the district stands at 11.8 percent; citywide, the rate is 17.3 percent, and in the suburbs it’s 22.4 percent. Free Times covered the downtown boom recently in the story “Main Street on the Move.” — Dan Cook
Despite Financial Troubles, S.C. State Head Could Get Big Bonus
You’ve probably heard that South Carolina State University is having major financial problems, having recently raised its tuition and received a $6 million loan from the General Assembly. Nonetheless, according to the Orangeburg Times and Democrat, President Thomas Elzey stands to collect a $50,000 bonus on top of his $300,000 salary due to a provision of his contract that calls for a bonus when he receives a “satisfactory” evaluation from the board, which he did recently. — Dan Cook
Metts Pleads Not Guilty
Longtime Lexington County Sheriff James Metts pleaded not guilty to charges that he accepted bribes in exchange for interfering in immigration cases, The Associated Press reported. Metts was suspended by Gov. Nikki Haley on June 17 after the federal charges were announced; he faces 10 charges. Jury selection is expected to begin in September. — Dan Cook
S.C. Most Patriotic State?
Real estate blog Motovo named South Carolina most patriotic state in the country. (And, perhaps not surprisingly to South Carolinians, it said California is the least patriotic.) The rankings are based on some valid data points, such as the percentage of people who vote and the percentage of veterans in the state, along with superficial measures such as how many people “like” America on Facebook. — Dan Cook
Cayce Mayor Announces Re-Election Bid
Cayce Mayor Elise Partin announced that she will seek a second full term in November. First elected in a 2008 special election, Partin was re-elected in 2010. She is campaigning on a platform of “fiscal responsibility, open communication, improvements in city services and increased quality of life,” including economic development. The filing period for candidates to register for the race is Aug. 1-15. — Dan Cook
File under “we hope the kid’s getting her proper cut”: Local 7-year-old Gabrielle Goodwin and her mother, Rozalynn Goodwin, invented a new type of barrette to secure girls’ pigtails and braids. The Double-Face Double-Snap Barrette will be for sale in 29 Walgreens locations in South Carolina and Georgia. — Dan Cook
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.
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!
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.
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.
Trustus Theatre Presents Evil Dead, The Musical
This musical version of Sam Raimi’s cult classic films promises to serve up more humor than horror. You can read more and purchase your tickets here.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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