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
Going someplace cool this weekend?
Let The Backpacker help you go lightweight, comfortable and in style! Patagonia, Prana, Merrell, The North Face and more! Click for location, hours and more info.
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!
Now Hiring in the Vista!
Hickory Tavern is opening mid-December and looking for bartenders, servers, hosts and kitchen staff. Apply in person: Click for details!
This Week @ Social
Edward Shouse performs Friday the 21st, and on Saturday Absolut Vodka presents A Night in Sweden, with specialty Absolut drinks and live music by Christian Slick. Follow us!
Relaxation, Pain Management, and Stress Relief
Licensed massage therapist Allison Morris of AMR Massage offers 50% off your first session and every 5th session free of charge. Click here for location, hours, and more information.
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: