Third Thursday Service Project, October 2012
Yesterday was our Kiwanis Third Thursday Service project, the first of many to come. Kiwanis members donated toiletry items to support Mental Health America and their Operation Santa initiative.
As Published by Aiken Standard on 11/5/2009
By ROB NOVIT
To watch the full-length video of the Aiken Standard's interview with Gov. Mark Sanford, scroll down or click here.
With just over a year and one legislative session left in his two-term tenure as governor, Mark Sanford wants the public to get involved in trying to get meaningful change enacted in state government.
The governor spoke at the Aiken Kiwanis Club on Thursday and later met with editors and reporters at the Aiken Standard.
The reason he's touring the state, Sanford told Kiwanis members, is to urge every person to talk to other people and continue that process as a way to get the Legislature to move on government restructuring, to remove budget authority from the Budget and Control Board and to put an end to electing all or most constitutional officers.
"Between now and the next session, you can make a remarkable difference," Sanford said.
He drew a laugh when he pointed out that few people could identify the five members of the Budget and Control Board (he's one of them). South Carolina is the only state with such a board, which has the authority to cut the state budget in mid-year, based on economic forecasts.
"How much accountability is there in a group of five people you don't know?" Sanford asked. "The fundamental flaw is that the buck stops nowhere."
Shortly after the Kiwanis meeting, the S.C. Supreme Court ruled that an ethics investigation related to Sanford's travel can be made public. According to the Associated Press, the ruling can clear the way for legislators looking at impeachment to review a report on the probe. Following his admission in June of a relationship with an Argentinian woman, Sanford's travel expenses have undergone scrutiny from the media and lawmakers of his own Republican party.
Sanford's lawyers argue that the governor should have the chance to respond first before an upcoming report on a State Ethics Commission criminal investigation is released to the S.C. House. Later in the day, Sanford stated his position on that issue, using similar arguments he made on his last visit to Aiken several weeks ago.
Every governor in recent history has used business class on airlines for state travel, he said, as has the Department of Commerce secretary and senior members of his staff. A legislative audit committee looked into those issues and found no material wrongdoing. No one knew they were breaking any laws, said Sanford. Ironically, he added, his own travel budget is 70 percent less than that of his predecessors.
"We have always been for complete transparency," Sanford said. "But the preliminary report doesn't tell you anything, just a recap of the headlines. ... It's like the prosecution is giving its case, but I don't get to tell my side of the story."
After his admission of adultery, Sanford said he was horribly embarrassed and did consider resigning, as many legislators and the members of the public were asking him to do. That would have been the easier course, but his friends encouraged him to stay in office to see whether he could help make the needed changes in the government structure.
Other topics covered during the day included the Savannah River Site and public education. Sanford called the decision in Washington not to open the nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain in Nevada a huge mistake that hurts SRS. He called that action nothing more than the kind of politics that the Obama administration had promised to avoid.
SRS "has always been a national dumping site," Sanford said.
On the issue of public education, the governor said there is no chance that the General Assembly will repeal or revise Act 388, the property tax reform measure that shifted property tax funding for K-12 education to the state. The economic downturn has cost school districts millions of dollars in the past two years, although stimulus money resulted in a revenue loss of less than 1 percent, Sanford contends.
But any changes in Act 388 will only occur when the economy improves, he said. Legislators won't reverse a structure now that could result in tax increases for property owners.
He supports merit pay for teachers but argues there is little chance of significant improvement in the public schools without extended choice options, such as tuition tax credits or vouchers.
"Change won't happen without market consequences," Sanford said.
Asked about his effectiveness as governor, he said that will be determined over time by people impacted by the policies of his administration. Sanford cited his work in pushing through tax cuts, tort reform efforts, the land set aside for conservation, the needed changes at the Department of Motor Vehicles and other agencies.
The state does have high unemployment, caused in part by people moving to South Carolina from other hard-hit states, "but we have 6,000 more people working today than we did six-and-a-half years ago," Sanford said.
As Published by Aiken Standard, March 21, 2009
By ROB NOVIT
After 23 years as the Key Club adviser at Silver Bluff High School, teacher Mary Thomas still gets excited about her students' accomplishments and for good reason.
The service-based organization has won a "Distinguished Club Award" at the Carolina District Key Club Convention previously and did so again at the 2009 event in Durham, N.C., last weekend. This time, Silver Bluff was one of three schools in the 260-school district to earn a "diamond" designation for superior performance in all areas.
Senior David Estep took first place for his striking poster illustration promoting the club. In 2008 his entry captured second place in international competition. Once again, Estep has qualified for the international conference in Dallas in July.
Nick Hall, also a senior, was among five students in the district to win the Outstanding Lieutenant Governor Award. In that role, he works with six high school Key Club programs and helped start a club at Aiken High School.
Silver Bluff also took first place for its single service project. Key Club members tutor children in after-school projects and also raise funds for Unicef, the Children's Miracle Network and the March of Dimes. The students as a group took first place in talent for a rendition of "We are the World." Freshman Victoria Jacks took third in the oratorical contest.
Key Club is the high school division of Kiwanis International. Thomas said the Silver Bluff program has gotten tremendous support and encouragement from the Aiken Kiwanis Club.
"I got involved with Key Club the second I got to high school," Hall said. "It was the most popular club and all my friends were joining. But as the years go by, you see who is dedicated to the organization. I'm in a bunch of clubs, but this is the one I've dedicated the most time to. It's really had an impact on my high school career."
Estep said Key Club has given him to the opportunity to become self-taught with Photoshop and video production. But he agrees with Principal Todd Bornscheuer, who praised Thomas and her students for their focus on responsibility that extends to civic engagement in the community.
"It has helped me become a better person," said Estep. "It's fulfilling to go to nursing homes and see people smile. That's really rewarding."
Freshman Sarah Zimmerman readily admitted she joined Key Club last fall because it would look good on a resume. But she too has been won over because of the club's community projects and is now the chapter's secretary. Club members recently visited the We Care nursing home for St. Patrick's Day.
"It's a great opportunity to help others and it's a lot of fun, too," Zimmerman said. "It's really important to get involved."
Contact Rob Novit at email@example.com.
As Published by Aiken Standard, 2/13/2009
By HALEY HUGHES
The Kiwanis Club of Aiken invites couples and singles alike to a pancake breakfast Valentine's Day morning.
Held at Aiken's First Presbyterian Church downtown, the breakfast will start at 7 a.m. and last until 11 a.m.
"Kiwanis International is known for its pancake breakfasts," said Aiken member Cheryl Fogle.
"We've gotten good feedback so far."
Kiwanis is also known for its youth-focused programs, and the Aiken club is no different.
The pancake breakfast Saturday will serve as a fund-raiser for the club's various community service projects and its sponsorships of youth clubs like Builders Club in local middle schools, Key Club in high schools and the Circle K Club at USC Aiken.
Funds will also help the Kiwanis Club of Aiken participate in a volunteer action day in April called One Day, where its members and members of the school youth clubs will take part in a beautification project at Boyd Pond Park.
"We think we can serve the community best by helping them (youth) with opportunities they may not normally have," Fogle said.
Breakfast attendees will be served pancakes and have a choice of bacon or sausage and coffee or juice.
Tickets are $7 or two for $12 and will be available at the door or in advance by calling Fogle at 641-3612.
First Presbyterian Church is located at 224 Barnwell Ave. N.W.
As Published by Aiken Standard, 5/7/08
By ROB NOVIT
Lexi Kimbrell came out to the Aiken Kiwanis Club"s annual Tricycle Races ready to ride. She"s only 3 years old, but, hey, she"s got good genes.
"I"ve been racing motorcycles all my life and work at Aiken Motorcycle Sales," said her dad, Chad Kimbrell. "Lexi has a dirt bike and a tricycle, and she"s got her tricycle racing shirt on. We"re having a good time."
The event for kids age 3-8, sponsored this year by Shaw Areva Mox Services, is the club"s biggest fundraiser, said Kiwanis President Scott Singer. The proceeds are used to support the Circle K clubs and Key Clubs in high schools, as well as Terrific Kids programs at the elementary level.
Silver Bluff High School"s Key Club adviser Mary Thomas brought some of her students to help with face-painting and bookmarkers.
"We want to support the Kiwanis Club because they do a lot for us," said Key Club member Angela Wilson. "The program has taught me to not think of self, but to serve others."
In the race for 4-year-olds, Angelica Rodriguez finished in a dead heat with Caden Cribb for first place.
"This is an awesome event for the kids," said Angelica"s mom, Pamela Rodriguez. "It"s a good cause, too."
The winners by age are listed in order of finish:
* 3-year-olds (No. 1) -- Sterling Osbon, Markee Lott, Tucker Crenshaw, Lexi Kimbrell and Landon Williamson (tie), Ryan Mondshein.
* 3-year-olds (No. 2) -- Benjamin Tripp, Tucker Samaha, Walker Griswold, Alexis Barton.
* 4-year-olds (No. 1) -- Angelica Rodriguez and Caden Cribb (tie), Andrew "Jack Jack" Singer, Luke Hanna, Lauren Evensen, Michael Roberts.
* 4-year-olds (No. 2) -- Alexander Jakub and Nick Jakub (tie), Alex Glass, Evan Bishop.
* 5-year-olds (No. 1) -- Sam Jones, Brayden Tripp, Cade Bargelon, Sophia Frank, Bobby Robinson.
* 5-year-olds (No. 2) -- Brown Crenshaw, Justin Turno and Parker Gibbons (tie), Madelyn Simmons.
* 6-year-olds (No. 1) -- Ruston Bowles, Dustin Williamson, Brycen Williamson, Stephen Webster, R.C. Corbett.
* 6-year-olds (No. 2) -- Tanner Hay, Brad "Dash" Singer, Madison Hall, Madison Griswold, Rachel Larson.
* 7-year-olds -- A.J. Glass, Jake Hibbits, Justin Snipes, Bree Davis, William Griswold, Jayla Lott.
* 8-year-olds -- Brennan Webster, Chelsea Anders.
Corporate and government sponsors of individual children included Aiken County Council, Osbon Cleaners, Southern Bank and Trust, Shaw Areva, Tripp Land Surveying, USC Aiken, Bradley Plumbing and Heating, Regions Bank, Burger King, Durban-Laird Insurance, Family Pharmacy, Aiken Office Supply, Holley Fuel, Dixie-Narco, the Aiken Standard, Hitchcock Healthcare, Cherry Bekaert & Holley, Webster Photography, Aiken Drug, Security Federal Bank and Substation II.
Contact Rob Novit at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As Published by Aiken Standard, 2/23/08
By ROB NOVIT, Senior writer
Talks about health lifestyles can be fun, especially when lots of games are included.
That"s the verdict of Greendale Elementary School fourth-graders, who enjoyed weekly visits from Silver Bluff High School Key Club members over the past month.
Earlier this week, the high school students engaged the younger children with relay races and trying to keep one or more volleyballs bouncing on a parachute held by the kids.
"We talked about fitness, wellness, teamwork and hygiene," said Jamie Rautio, who has a fourth-grade sister, Stephanie, at the school.
Advised by teacher Mary Thomas at Silver Bluff, Key Club is an international organization affiliated with the service-learning program, Kiwanis International. The high school students used a formal curriculum, "High Five for Life."
They also talked with the fourth-graders about brushing their teeth properly and encouraging the children to ask their parents about preparing healthier meals, said Autumn Kephart. She especially enjoyed the visit, as she, too, has a sister in fourth grade, Celine.
Several of the other Key Club members also attended Greendale, said the elementary school principal, Rebecca Koelker. They had approached her about doing a service-learning project at Greendale.
"It seems to have worked out real well," she said. "It"s a lot easier for fourth-graders to listen to them. It also gives our kids a chance to see others in high school doing well, giving them something to aspire to. We"re really happy to work with all the Area 5 schools."
Silver Bluff senior Angela Wilson has been involved with Key Club all four years of high school.
"It"s great," she said. "I love serving and helping others. We visit Helping Hands and the We Care (residential) facility. Key Club has taught me to be that shining light, and it"s really had an impact on me during high school."
Contact Rob Novit at email@example.com.