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September 25, 2009     The Columbia Star
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John Temple tigon tanpl thaolumbia aa com Briefs by John Temple Ligon Foreclosures According to RealtyTrac's Foreclosure Market Report, there were 358,171 foreclosure filings in the country for August. S.C.'s August increase was less than 2 per- cent over July foreclosures. Georgia's was 7.3 percent over July. Richland County's August foreclosures totaled 390, while in July there were 213, a gain in August of 83 percent. Among the most innovative The U. S, News & World Report 2010 'kmerica's Best Colleges" guide cites USC among 18 other national universities as having made "the most promising and innovative changes in academics, faculty, students, campus, or facilities." USC was ranked #11, tied with Clemson, Rice and Emery. The Moore School's under- graduate program in international business retained its #1 ranking for the 13th consecutive year. Warning: November 30 is getting close Time is running out on the $8,000 first-time home buyer tax credit. The home purchase must be complet- ed on or before November 30. Gas prices push inflation According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the nation- al Consumer Price Index (CPI) for August rose 0.4 per- cent. Gas prices were more than 80 percent of the overall increase. Broadband Thanks to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, there is a national pool of funds for broadband grants totaling $7.2 billion. Gov. Mark Sanford recently announced an advisory committee that will handle applications for the federal broadband infrastructure stimulus funds. Both public and private groups are encouraged to apply for broadband grants. If they can pay tuition, let 'em The N.C. Board of Community Colleges voted 16--1 last week to allow undocumented immigrants to attend N.C. community colleges. The policy will likely take another year before it becomes law. In S.C., according to census figures, immigrants make up 4.3 percent of the population or 190,014 in 2007. Unemployment The natttrtl'unemployment rate for August was 9.7 percent. In 'S.C., it was 11.5 percent; Georgia, 10.2 per- cent; and in N.C., 10.8 percent. For August, 42 states lost jobs. Michigan's unemployment rose to 15.2 per- cent, the country's highest. Nevada vas second at 13.2 percent; Rhode Island, third at 12.8 percent; and California and Oregon were tied for fourth at 12.2 per- cent each. Mortgage rates boost the country, According to its Web site, the Consumer Energy Alliance is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization created to help expand the dialogue between the ener- gy and consuming sectors to improve understanding of energy security, more effectively develop and use both renewable and oil and gas energy resources in an environmentally conscious manner, create sound ener- gy policy, and maintain sta- ble energy prices for con- sumers. The CEA reports South Carolina's total energy con- sumption in the state equals 398 mil. Btu per capita, which gives it a rank of 15 in the U. S. The state's largest energy-consuming sector is industry (38%) while the rest of the state's consumption is distributed among the transportation (25%), residential (21%), and commercial (15%) sec- tors. S.C.'s rate of electricity consumption per capita is higher than the nationwide average due to high indus- trial use and high air-con- ditioning demand during the hot summer. Nearly three-fifths of S.C. house- holds use electricity (58%) as their primary energy source for home heating. s.c.'s natural gas sup- ply is transported from the Gulf Coast by two major interstate pipeline systems. In the last days of his administration, President 13ush (#43) directed the U.S. Department of the Interior's Minerals Manage- ment Service to create a new five-year plan for energy production. About a year ago, last October, Con- .... gres allowed a moratori- um on off-shore drilling to expire. Running along the S.C. and Georgia coasts is an area ripe for oil exploration called the Carolina Trough, which has been identified as possibly having more illlmm00 hllaDim00 than 100 million barrels of oil and maybe 16 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Compared with the Ameri- can Southwest and Alaska, say, that's not so much. The gamble in going after what's in the Carolina Trough is there might be more, much more, which sets up incentives to explore. The real incentive is the price of oil, now not so high, but if there's a belief in peak oil, there's incen- tive. Peak oil, the argument goes, has already hit. We just don't know it yet. Peak oil is when oil exploration and production cannot possibly keep up with con- sumption, which eventual- ly results in high demand and low supply and there- by outrageously high oil prices and deliriously happy shareholders in Big Oil. Leases for blocks of the sea floor offshore S.C. are right now already eehad, uled to go on sale in 2014. Offshore Virginia leases go on sale in 2011, where the state government forbids any drilling closer to shore than 50 miles. S.C. still has no such restriction, but most law makers appear to be leaning that wa maybe as much as 60 miles. Citizens are sometimes led to believe offshore S.C. oil would be S.C. oil. Not so. Oil found anywhere in the world sells to a world market at a world price. Oil produced offshore S.C. would not be anywhere near to a refinery compler The nearest and largest available to rig operators is probably Philadelphia, so that's where S.C. oil would be sent for processing. Off- shore S.C. oil would add to the world supply, which in theory means little S.C. would help hold down or even drive down the world price of oil, but not meas- urably. Natttral gas, on the other hand, doesn't take much processing, just delivery. The Southeast Energy Alliance recently released a study that suggested off- shore energy exploration would create 2,254 new jobs in S. C. while generat- ing $45 billion in state, fed- eral, and local government revenues. On Monday, Septem- ber 21, the 90-day com- ment period U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar imposed on offshore oil and gas leasing closed. The Southeast Energy Alliance was hoping South Carolini- ans would send Salazar let- ters in favor of S.C.'s inclu- sion in the federal govern- ment's five-year plan before the September 21 deadline. More than a year ago, Gov. Mark Sanford sent a letter to President Bush asking for protection of coral reefs near the Caroli- na Trough. The protected areas could be miles of coral mounds reaching heights up to 300 feet. He wanted Bush to use the Antiquities Act to preserve an area of coral called the Charleston Bump, a deep- water bottom feature 100 miles southeast of Charleston. The Charleston Bump could be designated as a Marine National Mon- ument, Sanford argued, which was pa'bf Sanford's strategy to stop all drilling offthe S.C. coast. Sanford has been quiet lately about drilling off- shore, as he has somewhat withdrawn while he tries to head off further investiga- tive inquiries and possibly impeachment proceedings. He has, though, begun to look at natural gas drilling as entirely different from oil drilling, favoring the natural gas route. Whether it be for natu- ral gas only or in conjunc- tion with oil drilling and whether it be among the valued coral or away from the protected coral, some S.C. lawmakers say the state can use the economic impact of offshore drilling and production. To put it in perspective, the state is now challenged to draw up a comprehensive energy plan. To also put the possi- bilities in a different per- spective, compare the endowments at the Univer- sity of Texas and the Uni- versity of South Carolina. Ask President Pastides what he thinks. but S.C. still sluggish As jobless numbers increase, home buying decreases, and mortgage rates tend to fall with the falling demand. So, long-term mortgage rates, according to Freddie Mac, fell to 5.04 percent in the week ending Sept. 17, the lowest since late May. Meanwhile, due to falling interest rates, national housing starts and build- ing permits rose in Augustto the highest levels for the past nine months, optimistically anticipating more demand in the near future. In S.C., according to the S.C. Employment Security Commission, the state's construction industry has lost 25,500 jobs since its peak about two years ago. Star Profile J Chris Weston Charleston cruise Starting May 18, Carnival Cruise Lines will offer regu- lar five-, six-, and seven-day cruises from the passen- ger terminal in downtown Charleston. Cruises will be aboard the 2,056-passenger Carnival Fantasy. The S.C. State Ports Authority has recently hired an urban design firm, Cooper Robertson, to update a plan for a nine-acre area in downtown Charleston including the passenger terminal. Cooper Robertson is one of the world's best urban design firms with project histories such as Battery Park City in NYC, the new community Celebration by Disney in Florida, and the new town of Val d'Europe outside Paris, France. Robertson.came to Columbia under Mayor Patton Adams' invitation in the late '80s to consider downtown Columbia, espe- cially the Vista and the proposed convention center. Mayor Coble never arranged any more visits. Good Lord Leighton Lord III, managing partner of Nexsen Pruet law firm, career home of Columbia's Mayor Bob Coble, has filed as a Republican candidate.for attorney gener- al. Hardly a week earlier, Mayor Coble, Lord's law part- ner, declined to run for re-election. Since Coble has never commented on thematter, maybe this gives Columbia a chance to ask how Lord's law firm avoided price competition and still scored the legal work on the mayor's convention center project, fully funded by the City of Columbia for about $40 million. The mayor's own law firm, of course, contributed to the mayor's political campaigns. [ Section B Business Chris Weston of C.T. Weston & ociates By John Temple Ligon tnpleCthecalumbiastacom Sertoma's beginnings were in Kansas City, 1912, in the Coates House Hotel. Then it was called the Co- Operative Club. The Sugar Bowl football game in New Orleans was first put together by the local Co- Operative group in 1934. There was an official name change to Sertoma in 1950 when the phrase SERvice TO MAnkind offered its three syllables. Every year Sertoma clubs raise more than $20 million for local communi- ty service projects. Weston would like to see that on the rise. Weston was born at Columbia's Baptist Hospi- tal. His father was Tucker Weston, an orthopaedic surgeon. Watson was the third oldest of five children. Immediately above him is Mary Weston Grimball, recently the CEO at Junior Achievement. After getting schooled at Heathwood Hall Episco- pal School, Schneider and Brennan Elementary, and Crayton Junior High School, Weston left town for his four years of high school at Christchurch School on the banks of the Rappahannock River in Vir- ginia. At Christchurch Weston was on the track, soccer, tennis, and sailing teams. Weston went to The Citadel where he stayed with his sailing, competing across the country. His ten- nis developed a mean two- handed backhand, which he put to full use as a 3.5 league player until his eye- sight failed to keep up with the demands of the game. He started The Citadel in pre-med, and he fin- ished in business. Immedi- ately upon graduation with his BS in business, Weston went to work as a manufac- turer's representative for Columbia's Tom Glaze- brook. After ten years with Glazebrook, Weston totally immersed in the insurance industry. Weston hung his own shingle at C.T. Weston & Associates about 20 years ago. He located in his father's office building at 1410 Bamwell Street. While sailing in Charleston, Weston met his wife, Charleston's Anne Thornbill, a graduate of both Ashley Hall and Duke University. She is the asso- ciate head of school and provost at Heathwood Hall. They have two girls. Sarah is a Clemson alumna living in Los Angeles and working in human resources for a Fortune 500 compan Tay- cor, the country's top equipment financing and equipment leasing compa- 1-2 C.T. Weston & Associ- ates is an insurance firm owned and run by Chris Weston. The firm is a suc- cess story and has been for decades, but Weston's posi- tion with Sertoma Inc. is what piqued interest in him at The Columbia Star. Communitarianism is threatened, as illustrated in the recent book, Bowling Alone by Robert Putnam, where the country is losing its sense of neighborliness anti,community and shared responsibility. Probably due in part to cutthroat competition in commerce and the professions and even the arts, there is a falloff in civic club mem- bership. There's no time, as the common complaint goes. Weston is a long-term member of the Columbia Sertoma group, about 55 Columbians who meet at Seawell's across Rosewood Drive from The Rocket. Weston has been a district governor for two years and next an international direc- tor. Weston's new position with Sertoma Inc. is junior vice president, and then he'll rise soon to senior vice president, which puts him in line to become presi- dent--elect. Classifieds/Crossword Puzzle 3 Sudoku/Public Notices 4 ny. Drayton is a junior at Clemson, planning on a semester in France next year. When their girls were eight and four, the Westons took in two boys from India, ages 14 and 15, thinking it would be for less than a year while the boys attended Heathwood Hall. Ten years of temporary stand-in parenting later, the Westons helped the boys move back to Daman, more than a 100 miles north of Mumbai. They are both married and running the family businesses big businesses, it must be said. Chris and Anne Weston are looking forward to tak- ing out some time next year while they visit their daughter Drayton in France. Public Notices 5-15 Home and Cmrden 16 The Columbia Star 803-771-0219 PO Box 5955 Columbia, SC 29250 www.TheColumbiaStar.com