The Daily Gamecock

In Brief: March 17, 2013

City council member to challenge Benjamin

Mayor Steve Benjamin will face at least one challenger in this fall’s mayoral election — city councilman Moe Baddourah, multiple media outlets reported last week.

Baddourah was elected in the city’s third district last year and owns Moe’s Italian Grapevine, a restaurant on Rosewood Drive.

He also started sending mailers to Columbia residents last week that tout his business experience and claim Benjamin helped friends and campaign staffers land government jobs, though the mailer doesn’t reference the mayor by name.

“The people’s interests aren’t well-served when politicians award important jobs to friends or create new government positions for campaign workers,” Baddourah said in a statement, according to The State.

—Thad Moore, News Editor

First, second amendments square off in state bill

A bill in the state House may well have the First and Second Amendments squaring off.

The proposed legislation, which has garnered the support of at least 57 legislators, would ban South Carolina doctors from talking about gun safety with their patients, The State reported.

According to The State, many doctors, like pediatricians, talk to their patients in an effort to make sure guns are stored and used safely.

“[Gun rights supporters] are trying to get big government to come in and dictate what we can and cannot say, while at the same time, they are trying to tell big government to stay out of their right to own guns,” Dr. Deborah Greenhouse, the president of the South Carolina Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, told the newspaper.

—Thad Moore, News Editor

SC’s smallest school slated to close

South Carolina’s smallest school is planning to close its doors in the 2013–14 school year, and it reflects the challenges rural schools face, The Post and Courier reported.

Edisto Beach Elementary currently has just nine students, a big drop from years past, which averaged between 30 and 40.

But jobs moved away, and so did island families.

“The jobs are just not here anymore,” Martha Strickland, who works as a principal a day each week, told the Charleston newspaper.

The fight to keep rural schools open despite their cost isn’t limited to Edisto Island, though. It’s happening a few miles down the road, further up the coast in McClellanville and elsewhere in the country.

“Residents are fiercely protective of their schools because they often are centers of their communities,” The Post and Courier’s Diette Courrégé Casey wrote.

—Thad Moore, News Editor