What a busy week the first week of May is going to be! At Town Hall, we have a Planning Commission meeting on Tuesday and the National Day of Prayer observation on Thursday at noon. Friday is Chapin’s Relay for Life at Crooked Creek Park. On Saturday, we have our new Chapin Downtown Farmer’s Market, and supporters of Chapin We Care Center will be teeing it up at Timberlake for the annual Sticky Open Benefit Golf Tournament. Zoning Administrator Chris Clauson and I will be participating in the Mayor’s Bike & Walk Summit in Columbia on Thursday and Friday. This will be a good opportunity to learn more about adding bike and pedestrian infrastructure as well as potential funding resources that may benefit Chapin.
We recently received a request to bring awareness to our community regarding the prevalence of food allergies in our society. I was shocked to learn that more than 15 million people in the United States suffer from some sort of food allergy and as many as 200,000 people are treated annually in our emergency rooms as a result of an exposure to these allergens. Therefore, we will be presenting a proclamation at our May 16 council meeting to name May 14-20, 2017, as Food Allergy Awareness Week in Chapin. You can learn more about the impacts of food allergies and prevention tips at www.foodallergyweek.org.
Last week the Governor signed into law a $22 billion bailout of the state’s pension system. While I believe the legislature should have taken more responsibility in shoring up this shortfall, it means the town and our employees will be paying more into the system. While I think we would all agree our employees are our most important assets at Town Hall, paying more for retirement contributions takes away from our ability to address other needs, such as infrastructure, equipment, vehicles, and software upgrades to name a few. We must continue to identify and evaluate new revenue streams to keep up with rising costs as well as address capital projects that we need to undertake. Town Council members will need to take ownership of the rising costs, commit to shoring up our revenue sources without putting the financial future of our town in jeopardy. Thus far, the other council members refuse to acknowledge and propose any kind of resolution to this concern.
I enjoyed attending the Chapin Chamber’s ribbon cutting for Capital Kitchen and Bath and Exit Palmetto Real Estate’s new offices in Ballentine last week. Gerald and Kristin Meetze, Lisa Cloyd and Bobby Brooks have been supportive business owners of the chamber for some time, and they have also assisted the town in various ways over the years. I wish them much success in their new location. And we had a very nice ceremony honoring Fred Lieb last Friday. Major General (Retired) Steve Siegfried presented him with the Bronze Star medal, and American Legion Commander Richard Strobel presented him with a beautiful handmade Quilt of Valor. Thanks to everyone who came out and especially Lieutenant Colonel (Retired) Ron Saxton with the SC Honor Flight for organizing this special program.
A couple of notable events on the horizon, Lake Murray Presbyterian Church is hosting the baccalaureate service for seniors graduating from Chapin and Spring Hill high school next month on Tuesday, May 23 at 7:00 pm. And on Monday, May 29, the American Legion Post 193 will hold their Memorial Day ceremony and reception at Town Hall. It was a pleasure to host the flag ceremony last year, and we look forward to even more people coming out to remember the loved ones and neighbors who have paid the ultimate price for our country and the freedoms we enjoy as citizens.
On the Chapin High athletic front, we want to congratulate the Chapin girls' lacrosse team for an outstanding season. They played in the state championship game this past Saturday but fell to Bishop England. The Chapin High baseball team advanced in their championship race, defeating Myrtle Beach Saturday 14-6. Several other teams are still working their way through the playoffs so we wish all of these young student-athletes the best as they finished out their seasons.