Columbia Will Be Shining Bright This Summer

And we get to wear our shades in the dark

I’m pretty excited about the fact that Columbia, S.C. is the prime viewing spot on the Solar eclipse South Carolina 2017East Coast for the August 21 solar eclipse.

I’m not a science geek or particularly interested in astronomy (actually, I’m lost when it comes to astronomy), so I’m not sure why I’m revved about two minutes and 36 seconds of daytime darkness. But I am, and so is the rest of the city.

2017 Solar EclipseAll sorts of eclipse-related events and festivals are planned for the week leading up to the big day. You can keep an eye on those here and here. For more scientific info on the eclipse, you can visit The Great American Eclipse.

If you’re in the area before or after the event, a new laser art display was installed and will be lighting up a portion of the Congaree River for the next decade. And that’s a pretty cool thing in our famously hot city.

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Taking hundreds of steps forward…

and seemingly endless steps back

As most of my readers know, I make it a point to speak up on the subject of South Carolina’s intolerable domestic violence statistics. Allow me to indulge in yet another public service announcement on the subject.

In less than 24 hours, there have been two conflicting news headline stories here in Columbia. First, the good news:

Hundreds walk to end domestic violence

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS)Early Saturday morning at Finlay Park in downtown Columbia, the city held its Eighth Annual Walk Against Domestic Violence. 

Domestic Violence

Source: Mayor Steve Benjamin/Twitter

The City of Columbia has been working toward bringing more awareness to domestic violence and this morning Mayor Benjamin, Councilwoman Tameika Isaac Devine, domestic violence advocates, supporters and survivors attended the one mile walk in support of the cause.

The Violence Policy Council reported in their annual “When Men Murder Women” that South Carolina ranks second in the nation for women that are killed by men. Statistics show that almost one in four women are likely to experience domestic violence in their lives.

The South Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault and Sistercare provide emergency housing for abuse victims in need. The City of Columbia wants everyone to know that there is assistance for those seeking to leave abusive relationships in the Midlands.

And, of course, the bad news:

Man wanted for stabbing estranged girlfriend arrested

Domestic Violence

Jason Boyles (Source: Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center)

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS)Richland County sheriff’s deputies arrested a man Saturday wanted on multiple charges, including attempted murder.

Jason Boyles, 28, is accused stabbing his estranged girlfriend Friday at a residence in the 1900 block of Roof Street.

Deputies say he went to the home to return the 24-year-old victim’s vehicle, then attempted to force the victim into her car.

When the woman tried to escape, Boyles stabbed her in the upper body, deputies say.

The woman was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.Boyles is also accused of pointing a knife at his estranged girlfriend Oct. 5 and stealing her vehicle.

Once arrested, Boyles will be charged with attempted murder, burglary, and criminal domestic violence of a high and aggravated nature.

Boyles and the victim share two children in common, deputies say.

Boyles was taken into custody Saturday near the 9800 block of Two Notch Rd. 

It’ll be nice when I never have to write about this topic again. But until the root of the problem is addressed, I’ll be doing whatever I can to bring about awareness of the issue and fight for change.

C is average, except when you’re Covered in Beer

The two big Cs in South Carolina are constantly trying to best one another. Columbia and Charleston just can’t be friendsI’m not as enamored with Charleston as most people I know are, though it’s lovely and on the coast (the beach = bonus points). It’s just too touristy and overpriced. I’ve already established Columbia’s many negative qualities, so we won’t go there.

cropped-beer_header

Covered in Beer

So, while I don’t give Charleston a 5-star rating, there are some great Charlestonians. For example, my daughter lives there, and she’s a great person (people say we’re alike in many ways). Her husband just happens to live there too, and he’s really great. And there’s Thomas Cochran, who I don’t even know, but appears to be pretty terrific. How do I know? Because he’s apparently the only person who’s looking toward 2014 with his head screwed on right.*  If you click on his name above you can see for yourself what I’m talking about.

If you need ideas on how to make 2014 your best year yet, go have a beer with Thomas. I’m sure he’d be happy to meet you in one of Charleston’s overpriced historically- themed bars. And he might even treat if he has a coupon.

Where's Thomas? I need help!

Thomas, help me get my head screwed on right!

* I’m sure there are others heading into the New Year with their head planted firmly in place, but he’s the only one of whom I’m aware.

Tweetin’ the Truth

@FreeTimesSC left the most important thing off its list of things the city of Columbia needs.

TweetI cannot figure out why the editorial staff doesn’t run stories of this nature by me before going to print.

Columbia’s Best and Worst

Each week, the Free Times, Columbia’s weekly alternative newspaper, prints what’s on the minds of its readers. “Rant & Rave”  is something to rave about, mostly because each week, Free TImessome of the worst, wisest,and weirdest people chime in, resulting in a pretty fair overview of our community and the people who live here.

So, for those of you who have never been to Columbia, here’s a peek at our fine city from this week’s “Rant & Rave.”  If you live here, you might recognize one of these people. Or even yourself.

THE WORST: What is the United States doing protecting these Cubans and Haitians and stuff like that? They are just coming into our country and destroying it, but our lawyers are protecting them. I saw it on 20/20. And it’s stupid. Americans, we just need to rise up and say, “Forget this. We’re not standing for it anymore.”

THE WISEST: Here is an irony: Everyone seems to be so disappointed with our elected officials, but at every election, the vast majority of incumbents get re-elected. In the Nov. 5 election in Columbia, every incumbent was re-elected. The only change that Columbia voters chose was higher property taxes.

THE WEIRDEST: South Carolina’s employers are no better than the mafia. If any employer pays 25 cents more an hour to get the workers he needs, he runs the risk of sleeping with the fishes tonight. Together, they’re only going to pay so much — and anybody who’s willing to pay more than that is in big trouble.

HONORABLE MENTION: Dear Free Times, I know this is a free publication and all, but y’all gotta do better with Rant & Rave. It was so bad [last] week, I cannot choose one, or even three fools, to make fun of.  What was your theme? “Intemperate musings of Ritalin-induced-maniacs?” Truly disappointed!

For the record, I agree with the last rant, but this week’s “Rant & Rave” made up for it in spades!

Columbi-yeah

Another jewel in Columbia’s crown

jeweled_crownYes, indeedy, Columbia made another top ten list – and not for anything embarrassing.

The real estate blog Motovoto ranked Columbia No. 7 in its list of 10 most creative mid-size cities. That’s a big deal!

Apparently quite a bit of creative thinking went into the rankings, but cities were based on the following criteria:

  • Art supply stores per capita
  • Musical instruments stores and teachers per capita
  • Galleries per capita
  • Art schools per capita
  • Bookstores per capita
  • Colleges/universities per capita
  • Theaters per capita

Take that, Charleston!

Boy Making Taunting Face

Hail, Columbia!

Occasionally, I come down pretty hard on South Carolina and the city of  Columbi-yeahColumbia in particular. In an effort to present a balanced perspective, today’s post is all about some of the terrific things there are to see and do here.

This summer I had the pleasure of taking a course that was tantamount to a walking tour of Columbia. Our small group visited various areas around town and spoke to people in the know about the culture and history of South Carolina’s capital city. My classmate Iman made a video highlighting the places we visited. This was Iman’s first attempt at putting together a film like this with no formal training – no easy feat. It also wasn’t easy doing a walking tour in Columbia’s 90 degree/98 percent humidity summer heat.

I’m going on the record here to say that there are some darn interesting aspects about Columbia, only some of which are highlighted in the film. Let me know if you learn something new, have questions, or are inclined to visit some of the places in the film. I’m sure Iman will be happy to escort you.