Critics call education funding inadequate
COLUMBIA - Rural educators say the state budget lawmakers passed for the next fiscal year doesn't do enough to improve early childhood education as recommended by a judge's ruling in a school-funding lawsuit.
Florence District 2 Superintendent Steve Quick says the $23 million earmarked for full-day kindergarten for 4-year-olds from needy families in poor communities is inadequate.
Mr. Quick's district was among those suing the state over the way it funds public schools. Others in similar situations say the money includes a mandate to provide full-day classes, but not the resources to accomplish that.
Farm feeds hundreds with donated beef
GEORGETOWN - A few years ago, Georgetown home builder Mike LoVullo bought three cows and set them out to graze on a bit of land owned by co-worker Lee Godbolt.
Mr. LoVullo had a dream that he could raise enough beef to feed the people who rely on the Friendship Place soup kitchen in Georgetown. His efforts have ballooned into the nonprofit Outreach Farm, which in its first year has 49 head of beef cattle and more than 70 acres of leased land.
Mr. LoVullo and Bob Morin, the president of Outreach Farm's board, said they hope to replicate the program in other parts of the county.
Besides the food kitchen, the farm has delivered free beef to other Georgetown nonprofit organizations such as the community center Teach My People, the Pawleys Island Civic Club and Child Care, and two schools for disadvantaged boys.
Organizers say the meat is a key part of more than 800 meals a month in Georgetown and Horry counties.
Blacksmith, 93, says it's time to pass torch
CHARLESTON - Charleston's premier blacksmith, Phillip Simmons, has probably designed his last wrought-iron gate.
The artisan, who turns 94 on Friday, gave up the actual hammering on his elaborate designs about 10 years ago.
Recently, though, he says his eyes have become too weak to continue with the drawing and designing.
"My eyes are giving me a lot of trouble, and I'm suffering with diabetes," he said.
His last gate was completed a few years ago for the federal courthouse in Columbia named for Judge Matthew Perry.
Mr. Simmons isn't giving up entirely. He still spends part of his days at his forge, encouraging apprentices who he hopes will carry on his work.
"Somebody passed the art on to me, and now I'm passing it along," he said.