Friday, January 29, 2021

West Columbia’s River District Plans Busy Year for 2021

The newly revitalized West Columbia River District is making plans for a productive 2021.  

The River District Association of West Columbia (Association) is a non-profit organization whose purpose is to increase the economic vitality, development, and beautification of member businesses and properties; to build networking relationships with other groups who have similar interests; and to promote historic preservation and serve the community.

With a goal of promoting business development from the public to its members, several activities are in the works to bring people to West Columbia. A benefit to members will be available in the form of cooperative advertising, allowing smaller companies to participate in ad venues that might not otherwise be affordable to them. 


The next membership meeting is scheduled for next Wednesday, February 3rd at 8:00am at Carolina Together, 803 Meeting Street, West Columbia SC 29169. There is no charge for the breakfast at this meeting. Initiatives for the coming year will be discussed and committee assignments opened for volunteers. Business owners and interested community partners are invited to attend. Since individual breakfasts are being prepared, please RSVP to Steve Cohen at so that the correct number of meals will be available.


Regularly scheduled membership meetings will be held on the first Wednesday of each month. In order to give members an equal opportunity to attend, the meeting time will rotate every other month from morning to late afternoon. With a breakfast meeting in February, the March meeting will be at 5:00pm on March 3rd.

For more information about the West Columbia River District, check out their website at 

Thursday, January 28, 2021

Lindsey Graham, the Chameleon of the Senate

Photo credit:

Lindsey Graham, a longtime South Carolina politician who has only recently shown his favor to true conservatives view, claims to be unhappy with this latest impeachment trial targeting former President Donald Trump. If he disagrees so strongly, why isn't he pushing for dismissal? 

On Tuesday, Graham used his still active Twitter account to publish the following statement, “I’ll try to achieve the ‘impartiality’ of @SenSchumer, @SpeakerPelosi and other leading democrats when it comes to impeachment. I’m confident I’m as impartial regarding the impeachment trial as @CillizzaCNN is in covering the news and Republicans!”


If Trump is no longer president, what’s the purpose in proceeding with an impeachment trial in the Senate? First, we have to understand what impeachment is and the possible outcomes of an impeachment charge and trial. 


Impeachment is a process used to charge, try and remove a public official for misconduct while in office. The power of impeachment is a constitutional power belonging to Congress. In impeachment proceedings, the defendant does not risk forfeiture of life, liberty, or property. According to the United States Constitution, the only penalties allowed to be imposed by the Senate are removal from office and disqualification from holding any federal office in the future. After removal from office, the removed person may be open to criminal prosecution for the actions that brought on the impeachment. 


Trump can’t be removed from office, as he is now a private citizen. The clear desire of those pushing for this trial is to disgrace Trump in the public eye and prevent him from ever holding a federal public office again. It’s not enough for Trump to be out of office – he must be destroyed and prevented from coming back in the 2024 election. 


Proceeding with the trial at all is a waste of legislative time and purpose. There are many pressing issues for the nation, but this trial of retaliation will go forward on February 8th


Graham’s stock went up with the conservative base when he made an impassioned speech at the 2018 Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearing for his ultimate appointment to the United States Supreme Court. “What you want to do is destroy this guy’s life and hope you win in 2020. You’ve said that. This is the most unethical sham since I’ve been in politics. Boy, y’all want power. I hope you never get it.”


Conservatives everywhere cheered his sudden show of passion and firm stance for a Republican court nominee. Yet three years later, and immediately following a razor thin victory over Democrat candidate Jamie Harrison’s challenge to his own Senate seat, Graham offers effusive congratulations to Harrison for being named chairman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC). 


"Congratulations to @harrisonjaime for being selected as Chair of the @DNC," Graham said in a tweet. "This is a big honor and I’m confident he will do a good job representing the Democratic cause. Jaime will be a formidable opponent." 


When multiple allegations of election fraud were made regarding the 2020 election, Graham told The State newspaper that, “Trump and his allies must stop pushing claims that widespread voter fraud stole the election for President-elect Biden.” However, he donated $500,000 to Trump’s legal efforts in mounting election result challenges in several key states. 


Wednesday, January 27, 2021

South Carolina 2020 real estate market is a record year

COLUMBIA (Jan. 27) -- South Carolina REALTORS® (SCR) today released its December 2020 statewide real estate market data and its 2020 annual market report and video. The data show a record-breaking year despite the pandemic.


"Because SCR fought for real estate to be deemed an essential service, REALTORS® were able to continue to work for homeowners throughout an unprecedented time, said Morris Lyles, SCR 2021 president and Realtor® at ERA Wilder in Columbia.

Realtors® closed out December with a 20% increase in closed sales, an increase in median sales price of 13%, and 40% less inventory compared to December 2019.

In examining the annual market report, pending sales increased 5%, finishing 2020 at 104,998. Closed sales were up 2.4% to end the year at 101,500. Hilton Head, Beaufort, Charleston, Greenwood and Aiken led the state in closed sales.

“101,500. That number represents the total of closed transactions for 2020. That's the highest ever recorded for South Carolina,” said SCR CEO Nick Kremydas.

Comparing 2020 to the prior year, the number of homes available for sale was lower by 36.8%. There were 16,840 active listings at the end of 2020. New listings decreased by 6% to finish the year at 118,667.


Inventory was an issue throughout the year, with only 16,840 homes currently for sale in South Carolina. That is a 37% drop from 2019 and 50% less inventory than what was available 2016.


Home prices were up compared to last year. The overall median sales price increased 12% to $245,000 for the year. Single family home prices were up 12.6% compared to last year, and condo home prices were up 12%.


Sellers received, on average, 98% of their original list price at sale, a year-over-year improvement of 0.6 percent.


Some trends including inventory shortages and buyer demand are expected to continue into 2021. 


Up-to-date and archived reports are available at

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Limited Availability of COVID 19 Vaccine Troubling to Area Residents

Retired LPN Helen Lane

If you're over the age of 70 and hoping to quickly get a COVID 19 vaccine, you'll have to quite literally get in line. Pack your patience, as the application process for setting the appointment is not only lengthy, you're required to go through several steps on more than one website to get your name on the list.

The DHEC site gives you a link to register for a vaccine appointment:


Locations accepting appointments for Phase 1A, which includes those age 70 and older, are shown on the vaccine locator map. There were seventeen locations listed, with the bulk of them stating that they’re not accepting appointments for the vaccine at this time. Further, walk-ins aren’t being accepted by Prisma Health as of yesterday. 


According to the DHEC website, “South Carolina, like all states, currently has limited supply of COVID-19 vaccine. Some locations that offer vaccine may not have an appointment available for several weeks, depending on their vaccine supply. Facilities receive doses of vaccine each week from the federal government.”


The complicated process for registering for the vaccine may be a barrier to those in the 70 and above age group. Not everyone has access to a computer and further, the complicated process may cause some people to just give up. For example, all available COVID-19 vaccine appointments at Publix Pharmacies in South Carolina have been claimed. Additional appointments will be announced as Publix receives more inventory. Those seeking an appointment through the Publix Pharmacy will need to schedule online only, as the local pharmacies aren’t taking calls or walk-ins. 


Helen Lane, a retired LPN and resident of Lexington County, tried several times to get an appointment as soon as the vaccine was announced. “You’ve got to jump through hoops and try to get in,” she said. “I never got in touch with anybody personally. I went on four different sites and filled out the application and before I could get it filled out and sent in, they’d already advanced the dates at least two months.” She attempted to reach, either by phone, the internet or both, Lexington Medical Center, Prisma Health, DHEC and Doctor’s Care.


Lane described the process as time consuming and frustrating. “When you first sign in, they give you three weeks of times and dates, but by the time you got the rest of the stuff filled out, none of those were open. I finally got an appointment with one of the four I was working with for the first dose. You’ll have to go back through everything again for the second one.”


As a part of the registration process, Lane had to also visit the CDC website and create a profile. “That wasn’t hard, it was pretty straightforward,” she said.   

Prisma Health, one of our area’s largest healthcare providers, is working rapidly to provide the COVID-19 vaccine. They’ve outlined a detailed procedure to schedule an appointment:

If you have a computer and email access:

  • Fill out our vaccine request form or call us at  833-2PRISMA (833-277-4762). Note that each person must have their own email. You can not register more than one person with the same email.
  • You will receive an email from to confirm receipt of your online request form. This is not an appointment.
  • You will receive an email from the CDC with a link to the Vaccine Administration Management System (VAMS). This link is unique to you and cannot be shared with anyone else.
  • Click the link to the VAMS portal and create a username and password. Do not use Internet Explorer. Use Google Chrome, Safari or other web browser.
  • Follow the instructions, which include completing a medical questionnaire and scheduling an appointment.

If you DO NOT have a computer

  • Ask a friend or family member with a smartphone or computer to help you create an email and register for an appointment. Appointments are required to receive a vaccine.
  • Call 833-2PRISMA for help with registering for an appointment.
  • Visit a Prisma Health vaccine location for in-person assistance with registering for an appointment. All Prisma Health vaccination sites are offering this service except Richland Hospital and Greenville Memorial Hospital. Please expect long wait times for scheduling assistance as it is available on a first-come, first-served basis for a small number of people.
  • Note that Same-day appointments and vaccinations are not available at any of our vaccine sites.

Monday, January 25, 2021

Commercial/Industrial Construction Impacted by Ongoing Pandemic

MSI is a commercial and industrial construction and maintenance company experienced in offering its services to the community since 1972. Located in West Columbia, S.C., they offer non-union, multi-craft capabilities in the mechanical, civil, fabrication, electrical and construction management fields. 

Cesar Palacio has served as the Chief Operating Officer 2011. His team has had to make many changes to maintain their business at a reasonable operating level since the pandemic began in March 2020. “The challenge was adapting to new and ever-changing guidelines that varied from customer to customer” Palacio said. “Some were putting more guidelines in place than others and we had to change our internal culture to keep up. If we had one customer that required a mask and a face shield be worn at the same time and then another customer that only required a mask, it was a bit confusing for our staff to know what to do. So, ok you wear a mask. We have that across the board. We have clients on both ends of the spectrum for what’s required. Most of our guys don’t have a problem with it,” he said. 


MSI is running at approximately 30 percent less than the previous year. “A lot of projects were delayed,” Palacio commented. “We’re working on projects today that we should’ve been working on last summer.”


They were able to keep the bulk of their customer base and only had one that was shut down because of COVID. “We had just finished building there and their other personnel would come from out of the country in rotating crews. Since the virus, they couldn’t keep the rotating crews since Brazil couldn’t send people here as freely as they used to, leaving the locals who hadn’t been trained well enough to run the plant on their own,” he said. Otherwise, MSI’s customers have adapted and kept moving forward. 


Upward swings in the cost of materials have caused their expenses to rise. “Steel has gone up by 10%, concrete has gone up by 15%, lumber has gone up. We had no choice but to pass on cost increases to clients, but as far as labor, we’re keeping the labor costs the same, thereby sacrificing some of our expectations on the return to lower the burden,” he explained.


Safety supplies have been a challenge to find, especially masks, gloves and hand sanitizer. Palacio purchased $6,000 worth of hand sanitizer in bulk over the summer to make sure they had enough. 


MSI committed to protect its workforce throughout the COVID downturn. “We’ve been able to keep everyone. We took advantage of the PPP (Paycheck Protection Program), it was my duty to seek it out because everything was so uncertain,” he said. “It helped us keep everybody on and without it, we were prepared to sacrifice some profits to keep our staff employed.” MSI doesn’t have plans at this time to pursue a second round of PPP funding. 


In talking about the proposed change in the minimum wage, Palacio doesn’t think it will impact his company directly, at least initially. “I think it will push all the pay rates up and the ones we have here making over $25 per hour, they’re going to expect that figure to go up over time if the bottom pay rate goes to $15 per hour,” he said. 


When the nuclear plant construction at Jenkinsville was still in progress, welders made $38-$40 per hour. “We couldn’t get any welders because they were paying that kind of money. When the whole project shut down, all of them were out of work,” Palacio said. “Applicants would come to us and put down that same expectation of pay, but we couldn’t meet it. It took about six months for the local population to accept that $25 per hour was the going rate. Companies from out of state were paying that kind of money and it was hurting us, but I’d have to believe paying wages that were too high contributed to their collapse.”

Friday, January 22, 2021

West Columbia Business Owner Thwarts Car Theft

Real Estate School of South Carolina owner Chip Browne stopped his vehicle from being stolen on Thursday night by catching the would-be thief in the act. 

After finishing his evening real estate license course livestream, he was shutting off the lights in his building on Medical Circle, across from Lexington Medical Center around 9:30 p.m. As he approached the front door, he noticed that the lights were on inside his new SUV as well as the headlights. The passenger side rear door was also open. 


He rushed outside and found a male suspect inside the back of the vehicle, rummaging through the items on the back seat. He confronted the man, asking him what he was doing in his car. The suspect didn’t have a good answer and somehow Browne was able to convince him to come inside the business. On the way back to the front door, Browne noticed that weapons were piled up on the front seat. 


He called his wife to come back to the business and assist him with the suspect. She called the West Columbia Police Department to respond to Browne’s location and hurried to their office. Upon arrival, she found her husband’s vehicle with all of its doors and hatch open and Browne with the suspect inside the front lobby, the suspect with his hands in the air. Shortly thereafter,  the first officer from the West Columbia Police Department arrived to take over the scene. 


The suspect had several hundred dollars belonging to Browne in his pocket, which he turned over after being questioned. The quick and professional response by the West Columbia Police Department impressed Browne, who said, “I really appreciate all that they did and how fast they got here. It could have turned out very differently. I don’t understand why the man didn’t immediately run away or be more confrontational with me, but he didn’t. I’m just really lucky right now.” 

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Local Home Care Agency Adapts to COVID'S New Normal, Sees Continued Growth

Annalee Jewell and Melisa McCleod from McLeod Home Care

COVID has changed the world of home care and locally-owned McLeod Home Care in Lexington, SC has worked hard to look after both their clients and staff during the past year.  

How do you socially distance when providing hands-on care? You don’t. Finding a way to deliver what’s needed while keeping both caregivers and care recipients safe has been a months’ long evolution.


Melisa McLeod and her husband Tim are the owners of McLeod Home Care. “It’s been a transition, getting used to all the different changes,” said Melisa McLeod. “For us, our point of view has been to be a little more proactive. Early on, we were even helping other home care agencies find PPE (personal protective equipment).”


Their agency saw a thirty percent drop in companionship hours because family members that weren’t normally home and available suddenly were able to step in for loved ones that would’ve needed paid care. With job losses, stay at home orders and changes in how everyday businesses and schools conducted operations left thousands of people at home that were used to being out during the day. However, by year’s end in 2020, they’d made up for those lost hours and even posted positive growth as the local situation settled into a new normal.  


In 2019, approximately 1.4 million people were employed in the home care industry. For an idea of a common activity performed by a home care worker, a survey in 2019 showed 81% of home care clients required assistance with toileting, one of the activities of daily living (ADLs).

The Activities of Daily Living are a series of basic activities necessary for independent living at home or in the community. They are performed on a daily basis. There are many variations on the definition of the ADLs, but most organizations agree there are five basic categories.

1. Personal hygiene – bathing/showering, grooming, nail care, and oral care. 
2. Dressing - being able to make appropriate clothing decisions and physically dress and undress oneself. 
3. Eating - the ability to feed oneself, though not necessarily the capability to prepare food. 
4. Maintaining continence - being able to mentally and physically use a restroom. This includes the ability to get on and off the toilet and cleaning oneself. 
5. Transferring/Mobility- being able to stand from a sitting position, as well as get in and out of bed. The ability to walk independently from one location to another.

The level of independence is based on whether someone can perform these activities on their own or they need help from a caregiver.

Regular testing of direct care personnel became an important part of the McLeod Home Care routine. “With testing, we were ahead of the curve, as our caregivers are being tested on a weekly basis. We did it in-house through a partnership with an assisted living community and that made it easier to send our staff into the facilities by showing current test results. It’s been a bear to track, but we’ve done it,” McLeod said.


Their staff has also had priority access to the vaccine. “I do feel that people are a little more comfortable once they’ve gotten the vaccine,” she added. 


The vaccine is an option for everyone on their staff, but it’s not being made a mandatory requirement. “We have given them the opportunity to be vaccinated and we are about 25% vaccinated right now. We are keeping our staff informed and anyone that has an objection to the vaccine has the chance to let us know,” she said. 


The future is really interesting for home care right now. McLeod Home Care opened a new office in Lexington in 2020 and is likely to open another location in 2021 as well. “The new office in Lexington was way overdue, we were busting at the seams and have already filled it up office-wise. It has made our production 50-70 percent higher than before. I can hear other people work and the previous office was so challenging. We have lots of meeting space and it’s good to collaborate,” McLeod said. 


They also have a secondary office inside Discovery Village in northeast Columbia. They’re actively hiring for care and in-office staff, as well as two more marketers. 


Political changes are a potential impact on this business and many others. “If the minimum wage is increased to $15 per hour, that cost will unfortunately have to be passed along to the client. I’m thrilled that workers could get more money, but all of our expenses will go up and everybody will have to deal with that,” she said. 


The unintended consequence could be that the hourly rate for care charged to clients increases to the point that the average person can no longer afford help. “A client who can’t pay $30 an hour for someone to come deliver professional-quality care may turn to a family member that’s unemployed or even fully employed and strapped for time and end up with fewer needs met and a lower quality of life,” she added. 

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

The End of the Innocence

Photo credit: Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP

Today marks a huge change in the direction of the United States.  Our God-given rights as Americans have endured for more than 200 years. But on January 20, 2021, things are moving away from the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. 

Rampant censorship is happening with many online communities and the goal of the Democrats, Big Tech, mainstream media and their allies is not just opposing the ideas of those who don’t think or believe as they do, it’s the total annihilation of thought different than theirs. 


The Left is calling for an army of detectives to report on activities of Trump supporters. This edict is being heralded by celebrities like former newscaster Katie Couric, who called for Trump supporters to be deprogrammed during an appearance on HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher.


Mike Lindell and his My Pillow company are under attack, being dropped by national retailers such as Kohls and Bed, Bath and Beyond. Democrats want to punish him for his political beliefs. Where does that happen usually? Not in America. This morning, the streets of Washington, DC resemble a city in North Korea and not our free nation’s capitol. 


Millions of Americans have moved away from traditional media sources, including Fox News. But with the rise of Newsmax, OAN and Right Side Broadcasting, the push from Big Tech to eliminate them from existence grows. Right Side Broadcasting is a homegrown media company from Alabama that’s streamed many Trump rallies in 2020 and provided coverage for President Trump when other traditional media shunned him. Even this morning, Right Side Broadcasting was one of the only media companies broadcasting the entire event as President Trump said goodbye at Joint Base Andrews, even as their Twitter account was suspended for no legitimate reason. 


The time to stand up for freedom is now. Our country has been a great melting pot with a free exchange of ideas. Civil discourse is good for growth and learning, but when you decide that over 74 million Americans are just wrong and need to be re-educated or silenced, the trajectory of progress moves right down the drain. 

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

The Erasure of Conservative Thought Continues with the Deplatforming of Popular Gun Site,


The intersection of first and second amendment rights and the cancel culture is quickly becoming volatile. 

Facebook is now banning ads for weapon accessories. As reported by USA Today and other media outlets Facebook says it is temporarily banning ads that promote weapon accessories and protective equipment at least through January 22nd. 

"We already prohibit ads for weapons, ammunition and weapon enhancements like silencers. But we will now also prohibit ads for accessories such as gun safes, vests and gun holsters in the US," Facebook said.

Following along is massive online DNS and web services company, GoDaddy, with the deplatforming of the popular gun site

President and co-founder of, Juan Avila, says that his site has been  

around a long time and is one of the grand daddies when it comes to online communities, founded in 1996. 

What happened to him this past week was a total shock. “We got an email from GoDaddy on Friday, asking us to remove some content,” he said. “We took a look, we have about 300 moderators and staff that work for us and take care of everything for us and it was already handled. I emailed them back to let them know and as always, if there is anything more we can do to help or if any other content came up, to just let us know. Nothing from them until Monday when we got an email saying they were shutting us down. I emailed them this week to review what happened and nothing.”

GoDaddy is a popular choice for anyone wanting to purchase a domain name or hosting and email services. Avila has done business with them for about 15 years and feels he’s had a good relationship with them. This swift pulling of the plug on his website - as perhaps a panicked reaction to the events at the Capitol or even capitalizing on the democrats’ sentiment - was unexpected and he was given no recourse to stop it or appeal.

“They didn’t provide any reason on why or what the offending content was or even if they want to have any process to fix it. It was just, ‘you’re terminated.’ There’s plenty of fear mongering going on and a particular focus now on those who own firearms and support the second amendment,” he said. 

The online community at is a network of police, current and former military and everyday Americans that have a tie because of a shared faith in the Second Amendment and what it stands for in America. “We’ve done a number of events across the country and it’s always been wonderful to spend time with them and none of them wants to see what’s going on today. We don’t support violence or anything illegal, it’s just like everything else, you may have buddies that love cars and get together or friends who love music and get together and talk about those things, it’s the same thing. We’re just everyday Americans, sharing something that we love,” he added. 

People who support the second amendment today are now being treated as domestic terrorists, according to Newsmax personality, Michelle Malkin. She doesn’t feel average citizens are the threat, but rather the thugs who have burned businesses and destroyed cities in anything but peaceful protests. 

The First Amendment would not be possible without the Second Amendment. With the swift purge of conservative voices by Big Tech and the mainstream media, there’s a growing desperation among those who are afraid of losing their voice and the ability to communicate. 

Avila agrees, saying, “In this day and age, it’s a concerted effort to silence opposing viewpoints. Anyone with a conservative-leaning view is subject to this movement they have going on. If you’re online, have a backup plan and a backup plan for your backup plan. It’s only a matter of time before they deem this kind of talk illegal. Once they do that, we’ll have to figure out how we can reach people. The fact that they’re going after companies like Newsmax and Fox News is deeply disturbing. With the Biden administration coming in, policies they can pass that will make them look good to the masses is what they want to do. is a minority-owned business and if they really cared, they would look out for you. I would just be careful.” 

His site has found another host and is back online.

Monday, January 18, 2021

Has new GOP US Rep. Nancy Mace screwed up big time?

 Mace trained to use a gun - FB photo 

US Rep. Nancy Mace (SC-Dist 1) got elected by pinning herself to President Donald Trump. She defeated Trump-hating Democrat Joe Cunningham. 

Then - as soon as she got the chance- the publicity-drunk Mace unjustly stabbed Trump in the back. 

From the "Newly seated Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.) said Sunday that President Trump “put all of our lives at risk” with his rhetoric before the Jan. 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol. 

Mace made the comment while discussing a bipartisan effort to censure Trump." Link to Mace's comments betraying the man who got her elected... Click here to see

Of course there is no evidence Trump did anything to spark violence. And much of the violence was triggered by ANTIFA and BLM operatives, according to the FBI. And Mace has a photo of herself, left, bragging that she has been trained in how to use a gun- while blaming Trump for violence. 

There's a chance Mace's fledging political career could already be over. On Monday, Mace posted the cliché-esque meme in honor of MLK on her Facebook page. Click here to see

Facebook is a liberal forum, and even there the responses to Mace were brutal. Here are a few below: 

I hope you enjoy your 2 years! It’s a shame that you would turn so quickly, I’ll never vote for you again!

Wow...that's quite a 360 Nancy. You might have stabbed your supporters in the back faster than former Tea Party RINO Marco Rubio . Hopefully you've been paid...because your future don't look so bright.

Gonna be one term Nancy, running on promises you have no intention of keeping will not be tolerated in this new Republican Party. You and Graham need to go.

You need to be recalled. Your useless thinking Trump put anyone in danger. That was the democrats. Obviously they voted the wrong person in. You have no common sense

You are one and done Nancy! You lost the 4 votes in my home! Not only that, I am actively raising money for whoever your opponent is! Retire Rhino!

Nancy you are a huge disappointment!

I’m done with you!!!!!

Have you finished betraying the constituents that you represent? Or, are you going to continue stabbing us in the back on national television?

She betrayed what she said. Will not get my vote again

Hope you have plans for another career after your campaign was a sham.

(Trump) helped you get elected. Shame on you.

I (LEFT) YOUR PAGE. You had your first moment of greatness to stand for this nation, but you didn’t. Bye!

Had no idea you were descended from the benedict arnold family

Columbia Gun and Knife Show Has Overflow Attendance

The South Carolina Arms Collectors Association held a two-day gun and knife show this past weekend at the Jamil Temple in Columbia. Even though the number of vendors was reduced to comply with CDC guidelines, interest was so strong that on Saturday, there was a consistent line outside until early afternoon of people waiting to get inside. Overflow parking in the grass was necessary because of the large attendance on both days.

They removed 120 vendor tables that they would normally have and created fourteen-foot wide aisles, limiting the occupancy of the building to 400 people as a COVID protocol. 

Several other shows are planned throughout the year, including Greenville as well as Columbia. 

Even with the reduced number of tables, a large number of vendors attended the Columbia show, with booths showcasing handguns, shotguns and rifles, both new and used. Historical weapons were also on display, as well as weapons accessories and ammunition. By the second day, most of the ammunition had been sold. 


Vendors came from all over South Carolina and even from out of state. Several vendors said they’d had a great show, selling more than eighty percent of the items they brought to sell or trade. The bulk of the business conducted at the show was in cash, as most vendors weren’t set up for credit card processing. 


No loaded weapons were allowed at the gun show, even with a Concealed Weapons Permit. Only on-duty law enforcement officers could carry a loaded firearm on the premises. All weapon safety precautions were taken. 

Some attendees expressed concern that it may be more difficult in the future to find weapons and ammo, so the need to stock up now was pressing.

Started in 1968, the South Carolina Arms Collectors Association is based in Neeses, SC and is a nonprofit organization that promotes the lawful collection, possession, study and enjoyment of firearms, other weapons and related items, both antique and modern. Their mission is to promote safe and lawful use through the holding of public exhibitions from time to time in South Carolina and to provide their members with the chance to buy, sell or trade weapons and related items in accordance with all federal, state and local laws.


Saturday, January 16, 2021

Antifa-BLM Activist John Sullivan arrested in connection to insurgence

John Sullivan is accused of organizing an Antifa-Insurgence rally on January 6th at the Washington Monument before several people stormed the US Capitol.

The US House of Representatives voted to impeach President Donald Trump, accusing him of inciting his supporters to trespass into the US Capitol. Yet there is no proof Trump did anything to incite a riot But as more evidence is revealed, other groups- who oppose Trump- seem to be the cause of the chaos. 

Also: Antifa supporter Daniel Alan Baker was arrested for plotting to murder Trump supporters and police on Inauguration Day. Click for link 

Sullivan has been accused. He turned himself in and then was released by police to house arrest. 

Sullivan can allegedly be heard urging on violent protesters in video he provided to the FBI, according to a federal criminal complaint. He has also shared the video to his YouTube and Twitter accounts under the fake name of Jayden X. 

Sullivan was caught on video according to a report in The Gateway Pundit posing as a Trump supporter during the chaos at the US Capitol more than a week ago. Link to video

The Gateway Pundit also reported that Sullivan, a militant Black Lives Matter and Antifa activist can be seen reveling inside the U.S. Capitol on Jan 6.

Sullivan claims that he regularly attends protests only to record what’s going on. He contends he did not actively take part in the insurgence in Washington. This is a lie. The leader of the Utah Antifa-BLM movement has been previously arrested.

Gov. Henry McMaster says open schools for 5-day, in-person class

Image from McMaster's Twitter feed.
Gov. Henry McMaster said it's time to reopen South Carolina schools for five-day, in-person class. He gave a coronavirus briefing Wednesday. And he's ready to sign it into law. 

"Parents shouldn’t have to choose between their jobs and their children. I ask the General Assembly to quickly send legislation to my desk that will require unwilling school districts to reopen their classrooms," McMaster said in his State of the State address Wednesday. Link to video

McMaster said in-person learning is important for the education of South Carolinian children, who will eventually become the state's workforce.

Mask laws and lockdowns have not necessarily affected the claims of more coronavirus. Positive test numbers have spiked or subsided regardless of rules to reduce contact. And many of the numbers associated with COVID deaths are primarily from other conditions or diseases, according to the CDC. In South Carolina, the average age of a stated COVID victim is 78. That's in line with average life expectancy.  

While the impact on COVID on mortality contains riddles, deaths from drug overdoses in Lexington County (SC) have spiked from 60 to 104 from 2019 to 2020. Suicides are up about 10 percent, from 51 to 56, according to the Lexington County Coroner's Office.     

The SC Department of Education is also urging school districts to offer more in-person options. 

Friday, January 15, 2021

Columbia's Real Estate Market Has a Bright Future


James Fleshman with
Foundation Mortgage Corp.

With the impending change in the White House and the balance of power firmly in the grasp of the Democrat party, the impact on the economy is still uncertain. Mortgage rates have been historically low in the past year, which has been a large part of the real estate market’s success. 


Buying a house in 2021 is more affordable now than it has been in the last fifty years. The end of December 2020 had rates for a thirty-year fixed mortgage at 2.96% and a fifteen-year fixed mortgage at 2.38%. 


“It’s been interesting, as we watch the very unusual political scene and how it may impact rates,” said James Fleshman, President and Founder of Foundation Mortgage Corporation. He began his career in the mortgage industry in 1991 and started his own company in 2001. He’s helped thousands of clients with purchase and refinance loans, reverse mortgages and more. 

“You’ve got all kinds of cross currents that are happening and a fear of inflation coming down the road with spending and the stimulus. Rates went up last week a quarter percent and came back down this week. The only thing I can see causing this to happen is government intervention, where they’re continuing to buy mortgage-backed securities. For as long as that continues, we will be in good shape,” Fleshman said.


The local Columbia real estate market has seen record activity, with exceptionally low housing inventory in December. According to the Consolidated Multiple Listing Service, the market-wide inventory level was down almost 44%. That level means there is just over a one month’s supply of homes available for sale. 


The last month of the year is typically one of the slowest for real estate sales, but a strong buyer demand continued to drive higher activity than normal. The median sales price is up almost ten percent, to $200,000. The price range that sold the fastest was the $150,000 - $200,000 segment, with an average days on market figure of 34 days. 


“As we watch the Fed talk about what they plan to do, they have no intention of tapering their purchases and I anticipate rates will stay low. Does that mean two and a half or three percent, I don’t know, but I do think it will stay low for the foreseeable future,” Fleshman said. 


“Gold and silver have skyrocketed over the last twelve months and all kinds of things are happening that should be having an impact, but yet rates remain low. None of this is acting like the market typically does. There’s an influence and it is almost entirely the Fed buying billions of dollars in mortgage-backed securities,” he added.


The purchase by the Fed of such a high volume of mortgage-backed securities is keeping the market afloat and there’s no indication of a course change at the government level anytime soon. 


Fleshman’s group has an interesting approach when thinking about when is the most advantageous time to buy a home. “Do you buy when the market is hot and everything is up? You’re paying top dollar for the real estate, but you’re getting it at the lowest rate in the history of mortgages. Say the market cools and rates go up to four percent, which is still on the low end. You’ll be better off to pay ten percent more for the house now at a lower interest than to wait to hopefully save money on the purchase price but pay another point and a half on the interest rate,” he explained. 

Thursday, January 14, 2021

National Radio Censorship Rises While Local Talk Radio Promotes Freedom of Expression

Cumulus Media is one of the largest conglomerates in the radio industry, controlling the stations that air popular talk radio hosts such as Mark Levin, Ben Shapiro and Dan Bongino. With more than 429 stations under their control, a directive from Cumulus impacts a vast listening audience.

On Monday, Cumulus Media released an internal memo regarding content that’s now prohibited on their stations. They’ve directed their hosts to stop suggesting that the election was stolen from President Trump or else face termination. 


As reported by The Washington Post, “Cumulus and its program syndication arm, Westwood One, ‘will not tolerate any suggestion that the election has not ended. The election has been resolved and there are no alternate acceptable paths. If you transgress this policy, you can expect to separate from the company immediately.’”


However, even though stations in the Cumulus universe air The Rush Limbaugh Show, he is not subject to their mandate, as his show is syndicated by a different company. 


Keven Cohen, owner of Make the Point Radio in Columbia, S.C., started his own radio station over seven years ago after leaving a name brand station controlled by a national company. His mission has always been to provide a different option to listeners in the Midlands, with a variety of shows hosted by local business people and the morning and afternoon drive times hosted by Cohen himself. 


Found at 100.7 FM, 1470 AM and online at the TuneIn app, Cohen’s reach has grown exponentially over the last seven years. He has had a number of national figures appear on his afternoon show that airs from 4 p.m. – 6 p.m., including members of Congress, presidential candidates and more. 


When asked his opinion on the Cumulus Media position, Cohen responded, “My gut reaction is the first rule of radio is protect your license, other than that, I’ve never believed in censoring or telling any of our hosts what they can say from a content perspective.”


Cohen emphasizes the importance of not violating the rules of the FCC, while allowing talk show hosts the freedom to use his or her creativity. “You still have responsibility as a radio station to understand the public good. You hope when these national talk show hosts have gained the level of acclaim and success they’ve reached, they understand their words have meaning,” he said. 


While he doesn’t support telling talk show hosts what can and can’t be said on any topic, he says the influence of a radio personality can be significant and discussions on the air need to be chosen carefully. “When you’re at the microphone and talking to thousands of people, your words carry a lot of weight. Talk radio listeners are people who tune in because they like the host. The host has to take responsibility for the content of the show. People hang on the words of Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Ben Shapiro and others. They have mighty loyal followers.


“I don’t believe in censoring my hosts, but if something is going on in our country or our city that’s inflammatory, you need to pick your words carefully. With my hosts, I trust them or I wouldn’t have them on my station in the first place,” he added. 


The Cumulus Media reaction may be a result of the public turmoil at the Capitol. “I think they realize as a big corporate entity that the shifting of power in D.C. is going to a democratic- controlled FCC and you don’t bite the hand that feeds you. Protect your license,” Cohen said. 






Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Secret Service Visits Columbia Business Owner over Social Media Post

Curran Stone, Owner of Car Toys Auto Spa

On Tuesday, the U. S. Secret Service made an unexpected visit to a local Columbia business owner over concerns about a post he made on Facebook three days prior.

Curran Stone, owner of Car Toys Auto Spa in Columbia, S. C., is a vocal conservative with a steady presence on popular social media sites, such as Facebook and Parler. He was visited by the Secret Service at his business yesterday, which has a separate apartment he uses as his primary residence. 

“I wrote a post on Facebook on January 9th and put ‘Just think what if 11/63 repeated itself on  01/21? Deja vous…indeed.’ I’m not insinuating anything, it’s just a post,” Stone said. On Tuesday morning, a black SUV parked outside of his building and a Secret Service agent and his partner asked to speak with him. 

“This must be something I said on social media,” Stone replied. The agent gave him a copy of the Miranda warning and asked him to acknowledge it with a signature. “I’ve done nothing wrong and I don’t need to sign it,” he said and then allowed the agents to come inside his building. He was given the opportunity to call an attorney, but quickly declined. The agents assured him he had the ability to refuse to speak with them or stop at any point. “I’ve done nothing wrong. I have freedom of speech, so I’ll talk to you,” he said.

The interview with the agents was wide-ranging, including a nine-page form that included questions about his background, his parents, siblings, education, his social security number and employment. He was asked if he owned any firearms and he confirmed ownership of a gun he inherited from his grandfather and a shotgun he’s never fired. When asked why he owned firearms, he replied, “You do see the neighborhood I’m living in? Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott told me to get a gun, so I got a gun. I started a business coalition in this neighborhood to clean up all the drugs and prostitution and make it a better place to live and work. There’s even a CAT (community action) team with the Richland County Sheriff’s Department assigned to me, would you like the name of the captain I deal with?”

Next, the agents read to him the Facebook post and asked if he’d even been to Washington, D.C. Stone hasn’t been there since 1992. They also asked if he was a member of any activist groups, to which he answered, “No, I’m a working person and I don’t have time to drive to Washington or anywhere else.” 


He was asked about any acquaintances that went to Washington recently. “No and I’m not going there and I’ve never gone to a protest or a rally in my life. It kills me that you think I’m a big influencer like Dan Bongino and Diamond and Silk – they talk worse than I did and you don’t do a thing,” he said. 

“I think anyone would be intimidated by a visit like this. Both of them were very nice about it and I know they’re just doing their job, but it’s a waste of time. It was very stressful, especially when they call you back several times to check your answers. I can’t keep being interrupted from work, I didn’t get any work done today at all.”


He was questioned about how long he has worked at Car Toys and who has supervised him. “I don’t have a supervisor,” Stone answered. “I’m the CEO and own 100 percent of the stock. What were you going to do, call up my employer and ask them to fire me?”


He was questioned about having a Parler account.  “I used to, but I guess I don’t now since they’re not even up,” Stone said.  The agents continued to press him about a post from last Saturday he made, saying he was tired of all the people that said we are going to have a revolution and then we’re not. Stone reiterated that a large portion of the American public is frustrated with current events. He’s been vocal for many months about the lockdown policies, the mask requirements, voter fraud and more recently the censorship of conservative thought. 


“I’m not looking to bump anybody off, I’m not some mafia guy, so you are barking up the wrong tree, I’m just making comments like everybody else. I understand you’re just doing your job, and I’ve answered all your questions, but now it’s starting to get kind of aggravating,” Stone replied. “Why aren’t you out chasing down the Antifa people who’re rioting, harassing the police, burning down businesses and doing all kinds of illegal stuff, but you want to harass me, somebody that just made some post, and being that I’m an American citizen I have a right to share my voice. I’m not doing anything wrong and you need to follow up with people who are.”


Stone said that neither of the Secret Service agents wore a mask during their visit. 


Oddly, the agents asked if Mr. Stone planned to take the COVID-19 vaccine and if he had any swastikas around the house. “I just laughed and said no to the vaccine and that my father was a D-Day World War II Normandy veteran that fought for the United States against Hitler and got a Purple Heart for it. Do you actually think I would support the Nazis,” he answered. 


Stone has no further plans to post on Facebook, even though the social media outlet was a regular source of business leads for him. The post has been removed from Facebook, but not by Stone. “They have the power to just take away anything you post, apparently.