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March 27, 2009     The Columbia Star
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March 27, 2009
 

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4 MARCH 27. 2009 Rosewood Community Council discusses Bagnal property By Josh Cruse The Rosewood Community Council held a short meeting on Thursday March 19. Rebecca Munnerlyn gave anupdate on the process with the Bagnal Property. The Bagnal Property is an eight acre piece of land in the Rosewood area. A proposal for the property was made to turn it into a high density apartment complex for stu- dents. The planning commission passed a vote 6-2, despite the recommendation from the city staff to deny the proposal. Even though the proposal passed the plan- ning commission, it still must be approved by the city council. That meeting will take place in early May. M rlyn also gave a brief update on the interim measures. The measure passed a vote in February. All the information concerning the interim measures are cur- rently with Dr. Belinda Gergal, which she will present to the city council. Ryan Cockrell gave an update on the new skate- board park. The bids have been received, and are current- ly sealed. They will be opened on March 26. jeff Rainwater, a representative from Community Development, offered a review of Super Saturday that took place on February 28 at Meadowfield Elementary School. Super Saturday is a program with the city to get the city out to the neighborhood. It pro des an opportu- nity for residents have questions answered by some city services like the police department. The next Super Saturday will be held at Eau Claire High School on May 16. West Columbia Mayor's Roundtable meets March z3 By Benjamin Higgins Higginsb2C~ahoo.com West Columbia Mayor Bobby E. Horton held his monthly Mayor's Roundtable in the New Brookland Room of West Columbia City Hall on Monday, March 23 at 6 pro. City Council members present included Mayor Bobby E. Horton, Mayor Pro-Tern Tommy G. Parler, Eric L. Fowler, L. Dale Harley, and Jack L. Harmon. Members absent were Boyd I. Jones, Marsha Moore, Cathy Shan- non, and B.J. Unthank. The Mayor's Roundtable is a forum for residents and business owners in West Columbia to express their concerns directly to the mayor. There is no set agenda, and minutes are only taken when a quorum of council members (five people in West Columbia's case) are pres- ent. Much of the early portion of the meeting focused on housing issues. Residents in attendance were very concerned that many land owners in the area who rent their properties are not keeping those dwellings up to city code. Mayor Horton reminded residents that city ordi- nances require buildings to conform to the Southern Building Code. He also discussed a law in Wilmington, Delaware that allows residents to take photos of code vio- lations and report to the city. The mayor noted that West Columbia is in the process of creating a similar law. "We are dealing with that issue in terms of the slumlords," Mayor Horton said. Developer Julie Cooper announced that her organi- zation's work on condominiums on Violet Street is enter- ing its final phase. The mayor discussed the city's efforts to help pro- mote the Meeting Street area. "We (West Columbia) are business-friendly. We want to stay business-friendly," Mayor Horton said. Referring to Meeting Street specifi- cally, he added that "We spent some money down there." Many residents were curious about council's efforts to help beautify the city. The mayor pointed out that a faqade grant had been approved for the Triangle City area and stmetscaping work would soon go from the Zesto's in Triangle City to Jarvis Klapman Boulevard. Councilman Harley thought the city should pro- mote the idea of composting and suggested that compost bins to be handed out to residents at the next city ban- quet. Mayor Pro-Tern Parler expressed his concern involving the Babcock Center. According to its mission statement listed on its Web site, "Babcock Center, Inc. is a private, nonprofit organization founded in 1970, serving men and women with mental retardation, autism, head and spinal cord injury, and related lifelong disabilities." Councilman Parler expressed his concern that some of the homes the Babcock Center provides for its clients are too crowded with as many as six to eight people in a sin- gle home. Mayor Horton explained that the issue had come up in the past, and state law requires those num- bers. Interested readers can learn about the Babcock Center by (803) 799-1970 or visiting www.babcockcen- ter.org. Councilman Fowler expressed his frustration over numerous signs that are illegally posted often on the weekends. Mayor Horton stated that the city regularly fines those who put up such signs and will continue to remove them regularly. The Mayor's Roundtable concluded at 7 pm. Government/Neighborhoods THE COLUMBIA STAR SC Off duty fire fighters turn out in force By John Temple Ligon Templ~eColumbiaStazogm Roll call Columbia City Council convened Wednesday morning soon after 9. Council member Kirkrnan Finlay III was absent, and all other council members were pres- ent: Tameika Isaac Devine, E.W. Cromartie, Mayor Bob Coble, Sam Davis, Daniel Rickenmann, and Belinda Gergel. Lawyers For about 30 minutes before the regular council meeting on the third floor of City Hall, council met in executive session on the second floor with three of its defense lawyers concerning the hotel litigation. As an executive session, the meeting's discussions were not revealed. Brenda Jones Miriam Atria City favorite The March 2009 Employee of the Month is Brenda Jones, senior administrative secretary for the city's eco- nomic development office on the ground floor in the for- mer AT&T Building. Jones was nominated by her supervi- sor, Deidre Crow, and endorsed by Jim Gambrell, head of the department. Jones has been with the city since May 2002. expressed disappointment with the city, sharing all the same reasons of the previous speakers. King volunteered to work on a health insurance steering committee. Barley McClinton wondered where all the money went. In other words, since the Columbia Fire Depart- ment also covered all of Richland County for fees from the county, what happened to the fees? Next meeting Council meets at six in the evening in the city build- New director Haneez Zattam, Outgoing exeCutive director of the April 1. World Affairs Council, introduced her successor Sabrina Mandanas. Fishing Miriam Atria, president of the Capital City Lake Murray Country economic development office, narrated her video about the Forrest Wood Cup fishing tourna- ment. Total economic impact of the event was $46,556,207. Television coverage of the event was broad- casted to 81 million Fox Sports Net households in the U.S. On World Fishing Network, the Forrest Wood Cup was broadcasted to more than 429 million households in Canada, Europe, Africa, and Asia, making it the most widely distributed fishing program in the world. Atria is trying for a return engagement with the event, but she asked for a larger convention facility. The convention center on Lincoln Street was built too small for the fish- ing tournament and all its collateral activities. Firefighters and health insurance Something short of 100 Columbia firefighters, both active and retired, waited through the council meeting to see their representatives get invited to speak before council on the matter of health insurance. The city is run- ning out of money, and the city employee health insur- ance plan could possibly begin charging premiums to a group promised no premiums from the day they started their careers with with city. Scott Fulkerson worked at the Columbia Fire Department for 29 years. He protested the possibility the city might take away what had long been promised to its employees, the premium-free health insurance for life. John Wright began with the Fire Department when there were eight stations in 1974. Now there are 34 sta- tions. Wright has been retired for five years after a 30-year career, and he believed a deal was a deal with the city. They can't start charging for something promised as free when Wright agreed to work for the Fire Department. Joe King rolled his oxygen tank to the lectern and ing in Heathwood Park, 800 Abelia Road, Wednesday, tower on and Photo by Mimi M. Maddock Water The water tower on Gladden Street in Melrose Heights has been scaffolded and wrapped and is presently being painted. Homeowners 85% Cash Out! 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