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Windows to New Worlds

Windows to New Worlds 17-Year, $23 Million Museum Project Offers Universe of Exploration for S.C. Students By Kara Meador Wednesday, July 30, 2014 | Back to Free Times Family home After 17 years of planning, fundraising, designing and building, the South Carolina State Museum’s new Windows To New Worlds project officially opens on Aug. 16. It includes a planetarium, 4D theater, observatory and an exciting and collaborative approach to education that can reach every school and give every student a chance to reach for the stars. We were there the day a critical piece — an antique telescope that has been retrofitted with digital capabilities — was moved into place. Here’s a look behind the curtain. This 1926 refracting telescope is with more than $2.3 million. Photo by Sean Rayford Through the Looking Glass The South Carolina State Museum has housed historic artifacts since opening in 1988, but on this day in June the museum is making history in South Carolina. The museum’s $23 million Windows To New Worlds renovation project —17 years in the making — is coming to fruition, but not before a handful of people complete a tedious task. On the fourth floor of the museum, a forklift gingerly elevates a 1926 refracting Alvan Clark telescope 15 feet in the air. While the vintage telescope dangles from two heavy canvas straps, a handler on a step ladder works to attach the telescope to a gigantic base called a pier with a series of large gears that resemble sun dials. The telescope is worth more than $2.3 million dollars. No pressure. “It’s a lot of mass and it’s a lot of moving mass, so there’s a little bit of nervousness, but we have a pro with us today,” says Tom Falvey, the museum’s director of education. Three massive legs support the telescope to make sure the device doesn’t shake or lose alignment. Museumgoers will get their first glimpse of the gigantic tripod three stories below when they enter the first-floor lobby. Each leg of the tripod is 42 feet tall and weighs more than 11,000 pounds. It’s hot. The only moving air wisps through plastic sheets blocking a large opening in a fourth-floor wall. A glimpse outside reveals a viewing terrace that will make for some fantastic star gazing. It also offers a great view of the city. Back inside, men guide the pieces of the telescope together underneath another obvious new addition to the museum. A 5,000-pound observatory dome was hoisted on top of the State museum in April, altering the shape of the museum and the Columbia skyline. With prior experience planning and building a $22 million theme park in Michigan and 20 years at Six Flags Astroworld in Texas, State Museum Executive Director William Calloway has never shied away from mammoth undertakings, but even he is awed by scope of this project. “It looks great on paper, but until you see it get built, you really don’t understand the size and the scale of it,” Calloway says. “Even though I’ve done this for a long time, I was surprised at how big it is. How impressive it is, what a ‘wow’ factor it has.” It takes more than an hour, but the telescope is eventually safe and secure. Staff members are overcome with emotion. Some tears are shed as they see the last major piece of the puzzle needed to make the renovation project click into place. In addition to the refracting telescope, museumgoers will be able to view an antique telescope collection donated by a local amateur astronomer named Robert Ariail. The oldest telescope in the collection dates back to 1730. Artist's rendering Opening New Vistas in Education South Carolina Nobel Prize-winning physicist Charles Townes, who led the groundwork for development of the laser, actually worked on the very same refracting telescope that’s being housed at the museum when he was a professor at Columbia University in New York City in the late 1940s. The university donated the vintage instrument to the State Museum. “Imagine looking through the same telescope that Charles Townes looked through during his days at Columbia,” Tom Falvey, director of education, says. The museum is modernizing the instrument with gears, computers and digital eyepieces, so any kid in the state can actually log on to a computer and direct the telescope to a specific location and see the images. The fully digitized telescope will play a central role in the museum’s new distance learning and onsite STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) initiatives.  “It will be the first time that remote access of a telescope will be provided free-of-charge to classrooms across an entire state,” says Anna Kate Twitty, public relations manager. Falvey and Executive Director William Calloway are both excited about the prospects. “For a kid to know that he or she is controlling the instrument and seeing the images and then talking live to an astronomer — I mean, that’s really special,” Falvey says. Calloway sees a big boost in accessibility. “A lot of kids, schools and families around the state can’t afford to come to Columbia,” he says. “This is a way that we can reach out to those kids.” In addition to providing a hands-on approach to getting South Carolina students more interested in science and technology, workforce development was also a big consideration when developing the educational aspects of the renovation project. Photo by Sean Rayford Fueling Imagination If you park in the front lot at the State Museum, it looks as if the moon has been captured and placed in a enormous crystal box. The large sphere is the planetarium. The sight is captivating in itself, but it’s hard to get a feel as to how big the attraction is until you enter. When you do, you are engulfed by a 55-foot dome-shaped screen; the theatre seats 145 people. Imagine looking at the night sky when Sherman marched on Columbia in February of 1865: With the planetarium’s state-of-the-art software, State Museum officials can recreate sky and star positions up to 1 million years into the past or the future. “It will be a great way for educators to tie in history with astronomy and science,” Public Relations Director Anna Kate Twitty says. The museum’s partnership with NASA will allow students and visitors to see real-time spacecraft launches and interact with astronauts on the International Space Station. But the planetarium is more than just an odyssey into space; the museum also plans to offer out-of-this-word laser light shows where people can rock out to music from bands like Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd. Boeing and NASA are both major contributors to the observatory. Boeing is a major South Carolina employer and NASA’s administrator Charles Bolden is a Columbia native. Artist's rendering 4D Theater: Can You Feel It? Museum Director William Calloway says he’s excited to see the reactions when people first experience 4D. What’s 4D? Anna Kate Twitty, public relations director, explains: “It combines a film experience with real-life sensations.” Imagine a 3D movie tornado, but instead of just seeing it, you can feel the wind or the raindrops. Condensed versions of popular flicks like The Polar Express and Ice Age will be shown. This is the only permanent 4D theater in the state. When you combine all of the elements of the renovation project under one roof, Twitty says the museum will make history again. “It will be the first of its kind in the U.S. to have an on-site and online observatory and classroom, a digital planetarium and theater, a 4D multi-sensory theater and an outdoor viewing terrace all in one place.” What a Place for a Party The museum is counting on rental space to be a major revenue generator, too. The Planetarium Lobby, newly created meeting rooms and even the fourth floor Observatory and Terrace will be available for small dinners and receptions. The Cotton Mill Exchange museum store will be expanded. Storytellers of South Carolina Windows To New Worlds is slated to open to the public Saturday, Aug. 16. The museum staff expect to have more than 100,000 students visit the museum in the 2014-15 school year — an increase of 35 percent. School groups are admitted free. There’s a lot of work that needs to be done before then, but nobody said adding a new chapter to South Carolina’s history would be easy. An army of workers in hard hats and neon vests has stripped the old Cotton Mill building that houses the State Museum, uncovering original brick walls and hardwood floors dating back to the original 1893 building. The Windows to New Worlds Project marries the old with the new, creating a storyline. “The State Museum is current, it’s competitive, it’s unique, but it’s also history,” says museum Executive Director William Calloway. “We still are the storytellers of South Carolina, so this helps us tell our story in a different way. Through our films in the theaters, through our new exhibits, we can weave a wonderful story.” For information on admission, hours of operation, exhibits and more, visit Back to Free Times Family home comments powered by Disqus Free Times Family Magazine / Media / Apps for Kids By Free Times Wednesday, July 30, 2014 | Endless Numbers Originator Inc. ($4.99), Android and iOS Ages: 3-5 The adorable monsters of Endless Alphabet return in this fun early math skills app. Ride along on the ferris wheel as the monsters guide you through numbers, counting and simple addition. Tapping the numbered cars on the wheel leads children through activities that teach number recognition, basic addition and counting by twos, fours, fives, etc. The activities are highly intuitive and don’t pressure users to come up with correct answers, so children are able to navigate the app easily and at their own pace. Each number is made engaging with a combination of fun voices and fantastic artwork. Silly animations that link with each number, like the six-armed monster doing a wiggly disco dance, are sure to provide plenty of giggles. — Sarah Cameron, Richland Library Reading Rainbow RRKidz Inc., Free to try, $9.99 monthly subscription, iOS and Kindle (expansion to Android planned) Ages: 3-9 Want to introduce the world of Reading Rainbow to your own kids? Hosted by LeVar Burton, this app received Common Sense Media’s 2014 ON for Learning Award. Children can choose books based on their interests and can travel to faraway lands via video field trips. There’s also a parental dashboard where parents can track their child’s reading progress. While you can try this app for free, there is a subscription cost for unlimited access: $9.99 per month or $29.99 for six months. Books and videos are added weekly and there are hundreds of books just waiting to be explored. — Heather Green, Richland Library Sparklefish Whosagoodboy Partners (Free), iOS and Nook tablet Ages: all Sparklefish is mad libs with a twist: say a noun, verb or adjective into your device and the app records your additions, inserts them into a pre-recorded narrative, and plays back the recording complete with participants’ contributions! Both educational and hilarious, this game can be played as a group or solo. — Jessica Gemmill, Richland Library comments powered by Disqus Free Times Family Magazine / Media / Books: Number One Sam; The Lost Boy; Wolf Children By Free Times Wednesday, July 30, 2014 | Back to Free Times Family home Number One Sam Greg Pizzoli Disney/Hyperion Books, 36 pages, $16.99 Ages: Pre-school Retro-inspired illustrations and a great story make this title a winner. Sam is No. 1 at everything when it comes to racing. So on the day of the big race, no one is more surprised than Sam when he loses. Pizzoli does a beautiful job exploring what it feels like to lose and the pressure to win. Readers also get a chance to see Sam discover what’s more important than winning. A great book to share, this title might strike an extra chord with children focused on perfection or winning. — Heather McCue, Richland Library The Lost Boy Greg Ruth Scholastic/Graphix, 189 pages, $24.99 Ages: Tweens When I saw this new graphic novel appear on our shelves, I had to take it home. I finished it in one sitting because I couldn’t wait to solve the mystery of Walter Pidgin, the lost boy. The story actually begins years later with Nate discovering Walter’s tape recorder under the floorboards of his new house. As Nate listens to Walter’s story, a world beyond the one that he knows is revealed — a world where insects ride dogs, dolls come to life and a growing evil resides. It soon becomes clear that Nate and his neighbor, Tabitha, must discover what happened to Walter and save the world as they know it. Tweens and teens are sure to devour this gripping graphic novel. The only problem is that it will leave you wanting to know what happens to Nate, Tabitha and the rest of their new friends. — Heather McCue, Richland Library Wolf Children: Ame & Yuki Mamoru Hosoda and Yuu (illustrator) Yen Press, 528 pages, $26 Ages: 13 and up This graphic novel, an adaptation of the animé film Wolf Children, tells the tale of Hana, a young woman in college who falls for a man who is secretly a werewolf. They marry and have children, but soon into their happy union, the father is killed in an accident, leaving Hana to raise two werewolf children without a clue as to what they need. The story switches between the perspectives of Hana and her children, showing how growing pains for one family member affect the others. This is ultimately a sweet story that encourages family ties while acknowledging the gulf, whether natural or supernatural, that separates generations. — Thomas Maluck, Richland Library These Broken Stars Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner Disney/Hyperion, 384 pages, $17.99 Ages: 13 and up After their luxury space ship falls from hyperspace, two survivors find themselves stranded on a deserted planet. Lilac and Tarver share their story of survival, hope, and love through alternating chapters as they navigate the empty terrain and uncover the eerie mystery that lies beneath the planet’s surface. Fast paced and beautifully written, These Broken Stars will leave you eager for more. — Brittany Crowley, Richland Library Back to Free Times Family home comments powered by Disqus Free Times Family Magazine / Media / Music & DVD Reviews: Raffi; Secret Agent 23 Skidoo; Wild Kratts By Kevin Oliver Wednesday, July 30, 2014 | Back to Free Times Family home Raffi Love Bug Rounder Records Several generations of children have grown up with the artist known as Raffi. From my experience as a young parent myself, I saw his “Baby Beluga” permanently imprinted in my family’s brains. He has been active and popular as a children’s musician for nearly four decades. Love Bug is his first album of original material in more than 10 years, but he’s hardly forgotten how to entertain and enthrall his tiny listeners. Raffi is totally focused on his target audience, children. Like Captain Kangaroo or Mr. Rogers, that means he’ll probably not appeal that much to mom and dad. But the kids will be fascinated and fully engaged from the moment he starts singing. Raffi’s songs are rendered in a gentle acoustic folk style that’s melodic but not overpowering for little ears; he sounds like a big kid himself most of the time. With 16 new songs here, there is something for everyone to enjoy, from the ‘do what your parents tell you’ tune “Mama Loves It,” which makes a great clean-up-time song, to the mellow reggae groove of “Cool Down Reggae,” a perfect one to put on when it’s time to wind down and relax. Raffi’s place as a perennial children’s favorite is secure, and this collection will serve to introduce his music to yet another new generation of young listeners. Secret Agent 23 Skidoo The Perfect Quirk Underground Playground Records Too many children’s music albums tend to be music about kids instead of for them, but North Carolina hip-hop children’s musician Secret Agent 23 Skidoo understands how to make music that’s inclusive and appealing to children without talking over their heads. His musical vehicle of choice is a blend of hip-hop and funk that allows for call-and-response vocals with a batch of kids — among them his daughter, dubbed MC Fireworks. Those additions come out most prominently on “3 Pointed Back,” an indictment of the popular kid activity of pointing at others with your finger (“Every time you do that you have three pointed back”). It is set to a scratch track and trap drums straight out of a Jurassic 5 album. Other guests include Craig Griffith from The Verve Pipe, who adds blues harmonica to the classic child fantasy of “PJ’s All Day,” and Recess Monkey’s Jack Forman as a vintage boxing announcer on the story-rap “Pillowfight Pillowfort.” Skidoo’s hip-hop is unusual for ‘kid-hop’ in that it doesn’t sound forced or fake; he leans old school (think Sugarhill Gang or Kool Moe Dee) and throws in some rhythmic variety in the form of polka, reggae and Motown-style tunes that will have kids and parents bobbing their heads to the beats. Wild Kratts Tiny Trouble DVD, PBS Kids With STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) subjects being the buzzword for primary educators these days, a series like PBS’ The Wild Kratts is a great way for kids to be exposed to science, biology and more in an entertaining format. The series follows Martin and Chris Kratt, scientists who are a combination of Marlin Perkins of Wild Kingdom and “Crocodile Hunter” Steve Irwin, but they have an advantage neither of those TV stars could have imagined — their Creature Power Suits allow them to get up close and personal with their animal friends. There’s a bumbling bad guy to provide conflict and storylines in which the Kratts use their suits to help save the animals from various fates. Some “hey, watch this” moments from the Kratts provide comic relief, but underneath everything are strong lessons about how animals use science in their own natural lives. This short DVD collects two episodes of the series for about an hour’s worth of educational entertainment. Back to Free Times Family home comments powered by Disqus Free Times Family Magazine / Family Finance / The Balancing Act Between Retirement and College Walking the Responsibility Tightrope By Heather Green Wednesday, July 30, 2014 | Is forfeiting a sustainable retirement worth saving our children from student loan debt? Back to Free Times Family home Being a parent means putting your kids first. Right? This can certainly be said for the many Americans who are sacrificing their own retirement in order to fund their kid’s higher education. Is forfeiting a sustainable retirement worth saving our children from student loan debt? Is it possible to have both? According to the Social Security Administration, most Americans believe that winning the lottery is the best retirement savings strategy. With college costs rising 40 percent since 2004, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, a class in financial literacy might be a better investment. That’s especially true when we consider a 2014 survey by the Employee Benefit Research Institute that found 43 percent of Americans believe that they will not have enough money to comfortably retire. Ellan Jenkinson understands these challenges first hand. She and her husband have three children ranging from 2 to 17, with their eldest, Lily, going off to college in the fall. They admit that they are not as financially prepared as they had hoped. “Honestly, we haven’t been able to save much at all for any of our kids’ college since we’re still paying off our own student loans,” Jenkinson says. Money has been the deciding factor when looking at higher education options. The Jenkinsons are definitely not alone. Anita McCray says she was not able to put large amounts of money away for her two boys because of mortgages and debt. On the up side, she and her husband are trying to build up their retirement savings. Her eldest son recently graduated from the University of South Carolina, where in-state tuition tops $10,000, and McCray admits that the reason he went there was because he received a substantial scholarship. Lily’s picks were also based on finances and scholarships. Spending her junior and senior years at the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities gave her an edge since the staff places emphasis on finding grants and scholarships. Lily says she never thought about saving money for college until her senior year but plans on saving some of the money she’s earning this summer for college expenses. How far in advance should parents save for both college and retirement? Katherine Stewart, a financial services specialist for Palmetto Citizens Federal Credit Union, advises that it is never too early to begin saving. “Whether it’s for retirement, college, or just a rainy day fund, beginning to save early allows you to benefit from compound earnings,” she says. Georgia Coleman is doing just that. She and her husband started a Future Scholars 529 plan, a state-sponsored investment where savings grow tax-free and are limited to education expenses, around their son’s first Christmas. Like the Jenkinsons, Coleman is paying off her own student loans so there is not much money in her son’s Future Scholar account yet. “Right now, we feel it is wiser for us to concentrate on saving for retirement and paying off debt,” she says. Jenkinson and McCray also share this savings strategy. When asked if any of them had ever thought about cashing out 401ks or retirement accounts to pay for college, all three families said no. “Never — you can borrow money to attend school, but you cannot borrow money to live on in retirement,” McCray says. Stewart advises against digging into retirement accounts to pay for college. Fees and penalties are expensive and there are smarter alternatives such as financial aid, scholarships, grants, and loans. To many of us, sustainable retirement seems like a dream — something that we have all heard about, seen others’ achieve, but do not think is realistically possible. Due to increases in life expectancy, not only are we living longer, but our retirement age is increasing. The Social Security Administration suggests that Social Security only replaces 40 percent of your average income and retirees will need 70 percent or more of pre-retirement earnings for retirement. So how do we achieve a balance? While there is no one-size-fits-all solution, Stewart says retirement should take priority over college savings and recommends speaking with a financial adviser about options. “There’s something to be said for making your own way in the world,” Coleman says. “I think my husband and I value what we have more because we put ourselves through school and worked for every bit of it. As far as retirement, it is like putting your own oxygen mask on before your child’s.” Is Traditional College Right for Everyone? In 2013, the National Center for Education Statistics reported 15.7 million students attending four-year institutions and 13.8 million in two-year colleges. Before you make life-changing decisions about financing college, make sure you consider whether it’s the right option. Advantages of two-year schools Less expensive Industry-focused Enter workforce earlier Specialized, hands-on training Flexible for nontraditional students Can be a springboard to a four-year school Advantages of four-year schools Higher median earnings Increased lifetime earning potential Increased job opportunities Increased exposure to life experiences Back to Free Times Family home comments powered by Disqus Free Times Family Magazine / Life / Fostering a Sense of Wonder Whether It’s Staring into Space or Playing in the Dirt, Kids Need Creative Space By Kara Meador Wednesday, July 30, 2014 | Back to Free Times Family home Looking up at the stars from the rocky terrain outside her Western New York home fascinated a young Cass Runyon. “I was always curious about why the stars are there,” recalls Runyon, now a college professor and director of the South Carolina Space Consortium. “How did the moon form? Is it the same as the Earth?” She can trace her love of science to a camping trip with her family where she listened to the Apollo moon landing on the radio. “I couldn’t see it on TV, but I could visualize what they were describing,” she says. “Hearing Neil Armstrong saying he’d taken his first steps. I was bitten after that.” Inspiration. Where does it come from? How do kids decide what they want to be when they grow up? “Kids get inspired by so many things,” says Bridget Miller, an assistant professor of early childhood science education at the University of South Carolina. “I’m watching a little boy and a little girl digging in the dirt right now,” she says. It’s a common scene, but Miller sees more. She says that when you watch kids play, you see their creative juices flowing; you see how they think creatively and gain confidence. Then, adults step in. Parents, teachers and coaches want to help, but sometimes wind up doing more harm than good. As adults, we want to make sure kids do it right, do it better, win. Let’s face it: As parents, we don’t want to see our children fail. That’s when we start failing our children, according to the experts. “That’s one of the most difficult things to teach my students,” Miller says. “They want to step in and help the children out — and I say let the children draw their own conclusions. More often when a child is left to finish a project, it is a better design or more efficient than when an adult finishes it for them.” Exposure is Key Runyon and Miller agree that somewhere around middle school, a child’s inherent creative instincts start to wane. It’s the time when science and math can take a backseat to socialization. Runyon says it’s also the time where standardized testing becomes a big deal to teachers, parents and kids who are trying to make the grade. “The way our educational system is set up can restrict a child’s ability to be creative,” she notes. Poverty also plays a role in how kids are inspired. Kids whose families don’t have a lot of resources often lack the ability to expose their children to opportunities. Some kids simply don’t know that certain paths exist. Runyon is working with Tom Falvey, education director at the South Carolina State Museum, in an effort to expose kids from all walks of life to science and technology through the museum’s newly created Windows to New Worlds project. Windows to New Worlds, slated to open to the public Aug. 16, includes distance-learning opportunities. Kids who live in rural communities will be able to dial into the State Museum’s new telescope through special software and a computer. Some students will even be able to talk with astronauts working on the International Space Station. Columbia has a number of inspirational natives that kids can look up to, Falvey says. “We have Nobel Prize winners right here in Columbia [Kary B. Mullis – 1993 Nobel Prize in Chemistry] and we have folks like astronaut and NASA administrator Charles Bolden [a Columbia native] — great heroes who do great things. So it’s not out of anyone’s reach and I think that there’s an opportunity to come and see something magical. I know it’s inspired a lot of people in the past and that’s what our goal is.” Runyon recalls visiting with students in South Carolina’s poor, rural schools known as the “Corridor of Shame.” “I tell them to keep the dream alive,” she says. “It’s an old cliché, but it’s so true. I tell kids to find their dream and keep it alive. Don’t give up on yourself.“ What Can You Do? How can you foster your kid’s creative juices and help shape him or her into a person who loves to learn? Miller says let kids be kids. It’s OK to let your little Spidey wear his costume grocery shopping, or to let your princess make mud pies. Experts advise encouraging kids to create in their own way and if they fail (gasp), chalk that up as a valuable learning experience, too. Oh, and if you work in an interesting field, look for opportunities to share your experiences in area preschools and local school districts. You never know who you may end up inspiring. Back to Free Times Family home comments powered by Disqus Free Times Family Magazine / Health / The Great Vaccination Debate Public Health Officials Urge Compliance, But Some Parents Disagree By Elizabeth Catanese Wednesday, July 30, 2014 | Back to Free Times Family home Summer’s almost over: Time to tear your house apart looking for your kids’ shot records to assure the school that, yes, little Jimmy has the required immunizations. It’s a basic public health measure — one which, while a general pain in the ass (or arm or leg), keeps all of us safe from polio, measles and diphtheria, and nine other diseases that terrified and afflicted our grandparents. Or not. While South Carolina currently requires immunization against 10 diseases (12 for day care), nearly 12,000 students were unvaccinated or had no proof of vaccination in the past school year. This doesn’t even count homeschooolers whose parents choose not to vaccinate — which studies suggest happens at a much higher rate than it does in the general population. And the trend is growing: Since 2009, the number of unvaccinated children in South Carolina public schools has increased by 50 percent. It’s not like these diseases exist only in the dim past: Once near-eradicated, many communicable diseases are on the upswing. In 1999, South Carolina saw only 26 cases of pertussis (whooping cough) but last year, there were 486 — some from an outbreak at Clemson Elementary School. Measles, once nearly eradicated, is making a comeback. The Centers for Disease Control reported that through May, there have been 288 cases in the U.S. A 2013 measles outbreak in North Carolina led to 23 confirmed infections, along with 115 quarantine orders. South Carolina has had no cases in recent years, according to the state Department of Health and Environmental Control. But the agency reports that in outbreaks around the U.S., “about 87 percent of the unvaccinated cases were found to have a personal-belief exemption to vaccinations.” Knowing all this, who would deny their children protection? Jennifer Reinhardt, a Columbia mother of two, speaks for many in the anti-vaccination movement when she says, “I don’t believe they’re effective and I’m alarmingly against the ingredients.” Like many, she says most measles and pertussis cases occur among the vaccinated — a point the CDC refutes — and says that “every disease out there is less scary than the vaccine for it.” The idea of her children contracting pertussis is scary, she says, but she’s not as concerned about the measles: “There was an episode of The Brady Bunch where they all had measles.” Like other vaccine-refusing parents, she believes in strengthening the immune system naturally: eating organic, unprocessed foods, staying active, and using alternative medicines when necessary. She doesn’t worry about unvaccinated children attending public school, though she is choosing to homeschool. Laura Stuck also refuses vaccinations for her 22-month-old daughter. “The fear of side effects outweighs my fear of her catching the disease for a majority of them,” she says. She keeps her daughter healthy by staying home with her and limiting contact with people she calls “high-risk” like child care workers, medical professionals and frequent travelers. “The most high-risk exposure she gets is the mall play area once a month or less, which is cleaned twice a day,” Stuck says. And like many vaccine refusers, she doesn’t feel that pharmaceutical companies are honest about shots’ side effects: “I think they definitely don’t tell the public the entire truth.” Big Pharma hiding the truth about vaccines? Local medical professionals don’t buy it. Dr. Elizabeth Boggs, obstetrician and mother to a 1-year-old boy, says she vaccinates her son because “the science behind it is sound, and I believe that I am an important part of public health.” Jim Beasley, public information director for DHEC, agrees: “By vaccinating themselves and their children, they are doing everything they can to keep their family and communities healthy.” Vaccine refusal, Boggs says, “creates a gap in public health… the fewer vaccinated people, the easier it is for vaccine-preventable diseases to spread.” Another local mother of two, Claire Houle, points to other reasons to vaccinate. During a polio outbreak in the 1940s, she says, “my father was sent away for the summer to keep him from possible infection. He told me about waiting on the train platform alone, traveling by himself, but more afraid of polio than of being alone.” Despite this, Houle believes that unvaccinated children should still be allowed in public school, because “inclusion is an important part of public ed.” Dr. Boggs agrees — and despite her disagreement with vaccine deniers, she believes they have a right to public education. Regardless of your stance on vaccination — or unvaccinated children in public schools — you’ve still got to produce some documentation before the school year starts. For most parents, that means calling the doctor’s office to get shot records. Of the state’s 742,325 students enrolled in K-12 public schools last year, 5,900 did not have complete evidence of vaccination, 1,487 children were medically exempted and 4,761 kids received a religious exemption. Religious or medical exemption forms can only be obtained at a public health office. The state might let your kid avoid shots. But no way can they skip the paperwork. Facts about communicable diseases Vaccines required for students: 9 (diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis B, chicken pox). Daycare attendance requires an additional two vaccines (Haemophilus influenze type B and pneumococcal). SC Pertussis Cases in 2013: 210, 127 in children under 18 SC Influenza Cases, 2013: 923, 240 in children under 18 SC Chicken Pox Cases, 2013: 186, 135 in children under 18 Back to Free Times Family home comments powered by Disqus Free Times Family Magazine / Activities / Shaking Up School Fundraising Does the Old Model of School Fundraising Still Work? By Anne Postic Wednesday, July 30, 2014 | Many parents, rather than work the complicated equation, just write a check. Back to Free Times Family home How are your math skills? Decent? You probably have a teacher to thank, but teachers are not given nearly enough money to stock their classrooms, nor do many schools have enough funds to upgrade technology, buy sports uniforms or purchase supplies. How can they make up the difference? We need a formula for neighborhood fundraising. Here goes: x (Pitch Quality) + y (How Well I Know the Kid’s Parents) + (How Many Times My Kids Have Sold to Them) — 2 (How Many Times the Parents Pretended Not to Be Home When My Kids Knocked) + 4 (How Underfunded the School Is) + (Cash on Hand — How Much I Need for Coffee or Whatever) — (The Age of the Kid, Since the Older the Kid, the Easier They Will Take Rejection) — .5 (How Unhealthy the Thing Is) + 0 (How Much I actually Need or Want the Thing) ÷ How Many Kids Will Be Knocking = z Z = how much you should spend, and x and y are on a scale of one to 10. Confused? You should be, because the formula is needlessly complicated — just like school fundraising. Be harsh when figuring x and y, because they play a major part in how much you have to fork over. A cute kid can’t always work a sales pitch, and one invitation last year for porch beers does not a best friend make. Ask yourself the hard questions: How would this kid do in a Disney audition? Would her parents bring a casserole if my dog died? And do not fail to compute the last value — how much you need and want the thing — then multiply it by zero, because that’s exactly how much this element factors into your decision. See? Easy! Many parents, rather than work the complicated equation, just write a check. Or sell the stuff themselves, leaning on grandparents, who are easily charmed, and office mates who have hit them up on behalf of their own underfunded offspring. There’s another applicable formula. It’s simple, and it applies to most door-to-door selling fundraisers: x ÷ 2 = y, where x = the cost of the damn thing to you, and y = the money the school actually gets for each item. That’s without factoring in the volunteer hours by willing parents, and the hours the kids spend peddling their wares. Would you rather pay $20 and get nothing, or $40 for eight chocolate bars that leave a film on the roof of your mouth that you have to brush twice to remove? Motivating kids is daunting. Only a few crave new educational materials and, let’s be honest, most of them are selfish little pills who take everything for granted. They sell for the limo ride, the pizza party or the BMX bike. My own kid, or so I thought, was motivated by something better. “Mom!” he announced. “I’m going to sell a TON of cookies! I can win beets!” I was impressed. The fundraising horror stories were lies. His school worked with local farmers to provide something useful and healthy to the most motivated sellers, and they had gotten them excited about beets. I love beets, so I was more than willing to help. Alas, the beets in question were not edible roots, but fancy headphones, produced by Dr. Dre. My son did not win Beats, though he did get to go for pizza in a limo. Prizes can be a powerful motivator, but what about the kids who don’t have as much access to suckers? Not every child has grandparents who can afford overpriced goods, or parents who can make up the difference. Some children don’t live in neighborhoods where going door to door is safe. Not every student will feel like he or she did their part, and the prizes go to a select few. There are also prizes for group efforts in the classroom. Elise Carson Mullins chaired fundraising for two schools. While there were kids whose parents didn’t allow them to participate, Mullins says, “I imagine those kids got pressure in their classroom from friends and maybe teachers.” Should a 7-year-old be made to feel bad for not participating? No, but it happens. While sales-based fundraisers succeeded, Mullins noted that reaching out to business partners in the community netted a lot of money for a lot less work. One successful fundraiser came about when a bank donated $3,000 to print school T-shirts, which the school then sold for $10 apiece. Next time your kid comes home with an order sheet, be brave. Say no. Just don’t be surprised when you get the phone call from an enthusiastic parent asking you to join the PTO and offer some suggestions of your own. New Ideas: Fundraising Without Child Labor Community business partners Sales of school spirit items A coffee and doughnut kiosk at the school drop-off line. Guaranteed cash. Box tops, y’all Auctions of donated items, including artistic collaborations from each class, sure to end in a bidding war Straight up cold calling parents and begging An old-school bake sale, with cookies and coffee after drop-off. The parents even get to socialize for a few minutes. Exploit alumni. Know of a graduate in a popular local band? Ask them to play a show to raise money for their alma mater. Back to Free Times Family home comments powered by Disqus Free Times Family Magazine / Free Times Family Back to School 2014 By Free Times Tuesday, July 29, 2014 | comments powered by Disqus Free Times Family Magazine / Learning / So, Your Child Bombed Out of School? Schools, Corporate Centers and Private Tutors Offer Parents a Range of Options By Elizabeth Catanese Thursday, May 29, 2014 | By Elizabeth Catanese School’s out, and Junior’s grades weren’t exactly top of his class — or even in the middle. Actually, the words “below grade level” have been bandied about. Maybe your daughter’s A’s aren’t straight enough, Junior’s C’s are the gentleman’s variety and you fear they’ll both end up under the Gervais Street Bridge some day, begging for change from Vista shoppers. Marginal grades are no joke — and Junior’s not alone. In 2013, the National Education Association found that only 35 percent of South Carolina fourth-graders are proficient in math and 28 percent in reading — and those numbers drop by several points for eighth-graders. Almost a full quarter (23.5 percent) of the state’s high school students fail to graduate on time. So Junior’s need for remediation is nothing unusual. But if you want to shore up his knowledge over the summer or get him a jump on next year’s, where do you turn? All local districts offer options for high schoolers to make up one or two course credits. Richland One maintains face-to-face instruction at C.A. Johnson, while other districts have credit recovery programs that take place online (though attendance at a brick-and-mortar site is still sometimes required). In most cases, students need to have legitimately failed a course to enroll. Your best bet: Call your school’s guidance department, ask some questions and expect to fork over $100 to $125 per credit. If your child isn’t actually failing, but still needs a summer pick-me-up, you have other options, including Sylvan Learning Center, Kumon and Mathnasium. Most work like this: Students are tested and evaluated, and there is a discussion of their grades, their needs and your goals. This culminates with a detailed learning plan tailored to fill the gaps in your child’s knowledge, according to the specifically designed curriculum and teaching method unique to that center. It’s worth your time to browse their teaching philosophies before you shell out the cash. And shell out you will. Sylvan’s testing alone costs $199, with sessions at $47.99 each — and they usually recommend two a week. (And don’t expect that your child will learn algebra in two weeks if he didn’t learn it over the course of a year.) But don’t despair — there’s financing available. You’re paying for what are usually certified teachers who have proven success and a familiarity with Common Core standards. And it all comes with a 3-1 student-teacher ratio, which would be unheard of in a public school classroom. “We don’t want [the students] back,” says local Sylvan representative Tricia Wade. “We love them, but we want to help them become independent workers and thinkers.” Sylvan demands heavy parental involvement, with a touch-base meeting for every 12 hours of tutoring and daily homework. Mathnasium works much the same way. Like Sylvan, introductory testing identifies gaps in a child’s knowledge; Mathnasium’s testing is both written and oral. A learning plan is developed, with students doing worksheets that build to mastery. With a 4-1 student-teacher ratio, the tutor can, as local franchise owner Jason Elliston says, “step back” and “not hover.” “We make math make sense,” he says, with Mathnasium methods focusing on “number sense” rather than letter grades and rote memorization. “Just like a gymnasium works out the body, we want to work out the mind.” But he’s honest: depending on the gaps in your child’s knowledge, he may not be able to bring him to grade level over one summer. “If his gaps are too far back, we may not get there,” he says. And this isn’t a nickel-and-dime operation. Rates are monthly, rather than per session, with drop-ins welcome. As the center expands, Elliston and his wife, April, plan to hire more teachers and enlarge their course offering, which now runs from second grade to Algebra II. Another option is to bypass the world of binders, standardized testing and learning prescriptions with a private tutor. A tutor offers one-on-one instruction where and when Junior needs it. You can hover or stand back. And unlike a corporate center, a private tutor can tailor lessons. Local mom Janet Walkup prefers using a private tutor for her son because of flexibility and cost — significantly less than a corporate center’s, without the tacked-on testing fees. So where do you find someone who is (a) qualified, and (b) not a convicted felon/serial killer? Ask Junior’s teachers, his guidance office and his buddies’ parents for tutors who pass muster. Email local university departments, but be wary: Graduate degrees don’t magically confer teaching skills. When it comes to finding tutors online, and are reputable sites, and there are many others, also; just make sure to do your homework. Check references to rule out unqualified pretenders, look for specialists (writing tutors rather than writing-and-10-other-subject tutors), and negotiate expectations beforehand. Make sure their teaching style meshes with your kid’s learning preferences. Expect to pay anywhere from $25 per hour on up for quality help. Whatever you choose, public school teachers, corporate learning center representatives and private tutors all cite hard work as the determining factor in any child’s success. If your child wants to get into Princeton or just avoid a life of vagrancy and crime, the first lesson to learn is: Yes, you can, if you put in the effort. comments powered by Disqus Free Times Family Magazine / Activities / Smart Apps for Smart Moms 10 Apps to Help You Keep Life on Track By Amanda Ladymon Thursday, May 29, 2014 | Armed with an endless to-do list, moms are always on the go. You would probably call me “old school”: I have two paper calendars where I jot down schedules and accomplished tasks in the kitchen, along with a spiral day planner, and tons of Post-it notes with to-do’s scattered around the house. Sometimes, it has proven less than efficient, as wayward scraps of paper disappear. And communicating and scheduling for other family members continues to grow more complicated. With a new wave of tech-savvy apps readily available — and free in many cases — I started looking for a more streamlined approach. My first search led me to Cozi, an all-inclusive tool for family life and planning for both computer and mobile devices. The Cozi dashboard lets you manage multiple calendars, keep task and shopping lists, and get quick tips on a variety of topics like green living, travel planning and nutrition. Signing up was easy and quick. The web page layout and accessibility is very user-friendly and, in a way, fun — even for the less tech-savvy. This app works on both your home computer and mobile device, syncs up with multiple family users, and is the highest rated “all-inclusive” family app. If you have more specific interests or needs, here are 10 free apps to help you keep your family healthy, happy and on time. Financial Tracking Mint You link Mint (created by financial services company Intuit) to your bank accounts, credit cards, investment accounts, and insurance companies. Mint pulls in all your transactions and offers methods to categorize your spending and track financial goals. The Wall Street Journal calls it “the best online tool for personal finance.” Available for home computers and all mobile devices at Child Tracking GPS Tracking Pro With over 5 million downloads and a 4.5-star rating, this Android app makes locating loved ones via cell phone easy. Using a GPS map, each family member has a user icon — it’s easy and free. Android only. Search child-tracking app in Google Play on your mobile. Medical WebMD Baby I’ve used this app for researching ailments of my daughter, who is under 2. Both the website ( and the app have the same information. Mobile app available for Android and iOS. iTriage Mobile Health iTriage is a mobile database that allows you to check symptoms and gather information about potential illnesses or conditions. Also offers one-click access to urgent care centers and free clinics, as well as one-touch dialing for emergency situations. You can take iTriage further by creating an online account, linking your medical information as well as your providers so everything you need as reference is always in your pocket. Free for iPhone, iPad and Android. I’m Expecting This is my second pregnancy and second app I have used. I enjoy getting the weekly updates on development stages and upcoming doctor visits. You can also track and record symptoms, weight gain, belly bump pics and more. Available for Android and iOS. Shopping ShopSavvy This highly regarded app helps you shop and price compare with barcode scanning system to help you decide if you want to purchase locally or online. Caters to users as a personalized shopping experience. Available for home computers, Android and iOS. Grocery IQ Similar to Shop Savvy, but meant just for grocery shopping — make your list, organize items by aisle in your favorite store, barcode scan, price compare and more. Available for home computer, Android and iOS. Miscellaneous Google Calendar If you want the easiest way to keep an online calendar that can be privately shared with anyone of your choosing, this is it. Available for home computer, Android and iOS. Mom Maps Need to find a fun, kid-friendly activity or place to go? This is the app for you. Use anywhere using a GPS or navigation-based system. Available for Android and iOS. Pandora Love it. Use it daily. This streaming, personalized online radio app offers child-protected stations, including Disney Movie songs, classical music, and much more. Use it on your home computer or any mobile device. comments powered by Disqus Best of Columbia / Best of Columbia 2013 Nominees By Free Times Wednesday, June 26, 2013 |

pandora Voting is now closed. Winners here.

Pandora Outlet  

2013 Best of Columbia Nominees

Pandora Charms 2nd Wind Heating and Air $2.49 Dry Cleaners @116 Espresso and Wine Bar @drinkblogrepeat @rickcaffeinated @prodigalsam @tryjen 104.7 WNOK 14 Carrot Whole Foods 2 Fat 2 Fly 2108 State Street 32 Degrees 42 Magnolia 701 Center for Contemporary Art 90.5 WUSC 93.5 WARQ 96.7 Steve FM 99.3 WXRY Abberly Village Academy Sports Addams Bookstore Adventure Carolina ADT Agape Senior Center Al-Amir Alibabas Pipe Emporium Ally & Eloise Bakeshop AMC Dutch Square American Burglar and Fire Alarm Andrews Auto Service Andy Spreeuwers - 8 Sins Tattoo Arabesque Archer Avenue Arizona Steakhouse Art Bar Artizan Ashley Furniture Aspyre at Assembly Station Baan Sawan Baldwin Driver Training Band of Horses (The Township) Banfield Pet Hospital Bangkok Restaurant Bar None Barking Lot Dog Park at Saluda Shoals Basil Thai Beezer’s Bella-Riley’s Salon and Spa Ben Hoover (WIS) Ben Tanner (WIS) Best Buy Beth Dickerson - Capelli Studio Big Al’s Taxi Bikram Yoga Columbia Blue Cactus Blue Fin Seafood Restaurant Blue Marlin Blue Moon Landscaping Blue Ribbon Cab Company Blue Sky Bohemian Bojangles’ Bombay Grill Bombshell Beauty Studio Bonefish Grill Bone-In Artisan BBQ Bones Rugs and Harmony Brent Johnson (WTCB106.7) British Bulldog Pub Brittons Broad River Trace Broadway Bound Musical Theatre Company Buffalo Wild Wings Bug Outfitters Burnette’s Cleaners Bus System Café Caturra Café Strudel California Dreaming Camon Camp Bow Wow CanalSide Lofts Can’t Kids Cantina 76 Capelli Salon Capital City Cab Company Capital City Cycles Capital Club Capital Hyundai Capital Karate CarMax Carolina Ale House Carolina Crossfit Carolina Fine Jewelers Carolina Wings and Rib House Carrabba’s Carrabba’s Italian Grill Casa Linda Catch 22 Cellar on Greene Celtic Works Center for Dance Education Checker Yellow Cab Chick-fil-A Chili’s Chipotle Chipotle Mexican Grill Chris Compton CiCi’s Pizza City Art City of Columbia Dog Park City Roots City Yoga Clark’s Termite and Pest Control Cline’s Salon Vista Club EdVenture Cock ‘n Bull Pub Cola’s Coldwell Banker Colonial Life Arena Columbia Ballet School Columbia Children’s Theatre Columbia City Ballet Columbia Classical Ballet Columbia College Columbia Conservatory of Dance Columbia Driving School Columbia Marriott Columbia Museum of Art Columbia Tai Chi Center Columbiana Grande Columbia’s Greek Festival Complete Car Care Concord Park Congaree National Park Constan Car Wash Continued revitalization of Main Street Conundrum Cook-Out Cool Beans Cool Care Heating and Air Copper River Grill Coye Jones - Bella Riley’s Salon Critter Coiffures Crust Bakehouse Cupcake Cycle Center D’s Wings Cayce Danielle Howle Dano’s Darci Strickland (WLTX) Darcy Del Priore - Devine Street Tattoo Darius Rucker (Tin Roof) Dawndy Mercer Plank (WIS) Death of Paris Delaney’s Delhi Palace Deluxe Cab Dem’s Fine Jewelers

Pandora Charms Department of Revenue hacking Devine Foods Dick Dyer Dick’s Sporting Goods DiPrato’s DJ Ray’s Karaoke (The Saloon) Doc’s Barbeque and Southern Buffet Doctor’s Care Doctor’s Express Dog Daze Don Taylor - Copper Finch Tattoo Company Downtown Church Dr. Patrick Daley Dr. Tom Trinkner Drip Dust to Dust Green Burial Dutch Fork Driving School Earlewood Earth Fare East West Karate ECPI University Ed Robinson Laundry and Dry Cleaners Ed’s Editions EdVenture Egg Roll Chen El Burrito Electing Mark Sanford to Congress Elie’s Mediterranean Cusine Embassy Suites Emily Douglas Dog Park Ernest Lee (“The Chicken Man”) Essex Homes EXIT Realty Firehouse Subs Firestone Five Guys Burgers and Fries Five Points Animal Clinic Flying Saucer Forest Acres Four Paws Animal Clinic Frank’s Car Wash Fuse Massage Therapy Galeana Chrysler, Jeep, Kia Gamecock Stop Garnet and Black Traditions Gene Love Plumbing Genova Family Karate Gervais and Vine Get Your Gear On Gibson’s on Devine Goatfeathers Gold’s Gym Good Life Café Gore Salon Gov. Nikki Haley Granby and Olympia Mills Granby Crossing Granger Owings Grecian Gardens Green’s Beverages Groomingdale’s Groucho’s Groucho’s Deli Gudmundson & Buyck Gus Sylvan - State Farm Guy Landscaping Half Moon Outfitters Hampton Hill Athletic Club Hampton Inn Downtown Historic District Hampton Street Vineyard Handpicked Hannah Horne (WIS) Harbor Inn Harley Haven Harper’s Harvest Hope Food Bank Hay Hill Services Heartbreakers Hemingway’s Henry’s Henry’s NE High Life Smoke Shop Hilton Columbia Center Hip-Wa-Zee Home Advantage Realty Home Pest Control Honda Cars of Columbia Hot Dog Heaven House of Frames and Painting Hudson’s Smokehouse Hunter-Gatherer If Art IHOP Il Giorgione Immaculate Piercing Inakaya Indie Grits Festival Ironbrew Coffee Jack’s Custom Cycles Jadeveon Clowney Jake’s James Stark (WLTX) Jamie Scott Fitness Jason’s Deli Jeffers McGill Jewelry Warehouse Jim Gainey Jim Gandy (WLTX) Jim Hudson Automotive Group Jimmy John’s Jimmy Sauls - Allstate Jimmy’s Mart Joe Gorchow (WIS) Joe Pinner Joe Turkaly John Farley (WIS) Jonathan Oh (WOLO) Jonathon Rush (WCOS 97.5) Judi Gatson (WIS) Just the Thing Kaminer Heating and Cooling Kay Jewelers KD’s Treehouse Keg Cowboy Kenny Chesney w/ Zac Brown Band (Williams Brice Stadium) Knotty Headz Kristian Niemi - Rosso Trattoria Italia Kyle Smith Kyle Smith Pottery Lake Carolina Lake Murray Lamb’s Bread Vegan Cafe Larry Hembree Larry Lucas - State Farm Laser Chicken Ultimate Karaoke Laurel Crest Retirement Center Lexington Driving Academy Lexington Dry Cleaning Lexington Florist Lexington Medical Center Lexington Urgent Care Libby’s Liberty on the Lake Liberty Taproom Lillian McBride Linda’s Carraoke Little Pigs Lizard’s Thicket Longhorn Steakhouse Loose Lucy’s Los Bellos Portales Loveland Coffee M Vista Mac’s on Main Mad Platter Mai Thai Main Moon Main Street Café Manifest Discs Marble Slab Creamery Marcus Lattimore Mark Sanford Marshall Brown Marty Rae’s Mast General Store Matt Lee (WARQ 93.5) Maurice’s BBQ Mayor Steve Benjamin McAlister’s Deli McAngus Goudelock and Courie McDonald’s McDonnell and Associates McKay Cauthen Settana and Stubley McKissick Museum McNair Law Firm MEDCare Urgent Care Mediterranean Tea Room Meetze Plumbing Mellow Mushroom Midlands Technical College Midtown Fellowship Mike Davis - Terra Mikel Rumsey - Bombshell Beauty Studio Mill Creek Pet Food Center Miss Cocky Miss Saigon (Town Theater) Miyabi Japanese Steakhouse Miyo’s Modern Exterminating Moe’s Southwest Grill Mojitos Tropical Cafe Monterrey Mexican Restaurant Morganelli’s Moseley’s Motor Supply Co. Mr. Friendly’s New Southern Cafe Mr. Tint Mungo Homes Musician Supply Natural Vibrations Nelson Mullins Riley and Scarborough New Brookland Tavern NewSpring Church Next to Normal (Trustus) Nickelodeon NOMA Dog Park Non(e)such Nonnah’s Nuttall Tire and Battery Occo Skin Studio Ole Timey Meat Market Olive Garden Oliver Gospel MIssion Once Upon a Child Opening of Cross Hill Market Original Pancake House Ouch Studio Outback Steakhouse Outspokin Palmetto Health Palmetto Health Baptist Palmetto Health Richland Palmetto Pediatrics Palmetto Pig Palmetto Pro Tint Papa Jazz Paradise Ice Pasta Fresca Pavlov’s Pawley’s Front Porch Pawmetto Lifeline Peak and Fowler Pearlz Lounge Pearlz Oyster Bar Pecknel Pediatric Associates Pet Supplies Plus Pets Inc. PetSmart Pinch Pizza Hut Platinum Plus Plaugh House Pointe West Apartments Polliwogs Providence Hospitals PT’s 1109 Publick House Publix Punjabi Dhaba Pupcakes Rainy Day Pal Books Randy Scott Real Mexico Red Fraley Red Lobster Redbird Studio and Gallery Regal Sandhill Stadium 16 Reggie Anderson (WLTX) Revente Rice Creek Family Dentistry Richland County election debacle Richland Library Rick Henry (WIS) River Runner Riverbanks Zoo Riverwalk Park Robin Gottlieb - Bombshell Beauty Studio Rockaway Athletic Club Roe Young - State Farm Rosewood Rosewood Animal Clinic Rosewood Crawfish Festival Rosewood Florist Rosewood Hills Rosewood Market Rosso Trattoria Italia Roundabouts Consignments Rumsey Construction and Renovation Rush’s Russell and Jeffcoat Ruth’s Chris S.C. Rep. James E. Smith SakiTumi Salsa Cabana Salsarita’s Fresh Cantina Salty Nut Cafe Saluda River Club Sam’s Fine Wines and Spirits San Jose Sandhills Pediatrics Sandy’s Famous Hot Dogs Sarah and Susie’s Grooming Sato Japanese Restaurant Say Brother SC State Farmers Market Scratch ‘n’ Spin Sean McGuinness (“That Godzilla Guy”) Sesquicentennial State Park Sexual Trauma Services of the Midlands Shandon Shandon Baptist Church Shandon Presbyterian Shandon-Wood Animal Clinic Shane Anderson - Animated Canvas Shannon Purvis Barron - Indigo Rose Sharky’s Shaw’s Taxi Shealy’s BBQ Sheraton Sid and Nancy Signature Transportations Sims Music Sistercare Smashburger Snappy Car Wash Social Soda City Market Solar Solutions Solstice Kitchen and Wine Bar Something Special Florist Songs for a New World (Workshop Theater) Sonitrol South Carolina Confederate Relic Room South Carolina Equality South Carolina State Fair South Carolina State Museum Southern Pottery Southern Strutt Southern Vistas Southlake Cycles Spa 131 Sparkle Car Wash Speakeasy Spice Junction Sportsman’s Warehouse Spring Valley Heating and Air St. Pat’s in Five Points Star Music Starbucks State Street Pub Steven Diaz Steve Varholy (WXRY 99.3) Still Hopes Episcopal Retirement Community Strawberry Skys Strobler Subway Summit Cycles Sun Ming Sun Spirit Yoga and Wellness Superior Plumbing and Gas Sustainable Midlands Sylvan’s Taco Bell Takosushi Tapp’s Arts Center Taziki’s Mediterranean Cafe Tea Pot Chinese Terminix Terra Texas Roadhouse The Backpacker The Bird Dog The Blossom Shop The Book Dispensary The Boys and Girls Club of the Midlands The Cigar Box The Fresh Market The Friends Club The Glo Room The Gourmet Shop The Jam Room The Kraken Gastropub The L Word The Oak Table The Pizza Joint The Southern Strutt The Tobacco Merchant The Twitty Triplets (Trustus) The Vista The Whig The Wolfe Company The Woody The Wurst Wagon Thirsty Fellow Thomas Crouch Three Rivers Festival Thunder Tower Harley-Davidson Tiffany’s Bakery Tim Peters - Motor Supply Co. Tin Roof Tio’s Todd & Moore Tomato Palms Tonic Day Spa Total Wine and More Town Theatre Township Auditorium Trader Joe’s Transitions homeless center Travinia’s Italian Kitchen Tripp’s Fine Cleaners Tropical Grill True BBQ Trustus Theatre Tsubaki Restaurant Lounge Tsunami U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson Uncle Louie’s Unforgettable University of South Carolina Uptown Gifts Urban Nirvana US Lawns Utopia Utopia Food and Spirits Villa Tronco Village Idiot Vincent Sheheen Vino Garage Vista Commons Vista Smiles Vista Studios/Gallery 80808 Von Gaskin (WIS) WACH (Fox) Waffle House Weaver Systems Weaving the Fate Wescott Acres Wet Nose Oasis Whit-Ash Whole Foods Wild Hare Wild Wing Cafe Wilde Wood Downs WIS (NBC) WLTX (CBS) WOLO (ABC) Woodcreek Farms Workshop Theatre World of Beer Yamato Yesterdays YMCA Yoga Masala Yoghut Yumilicious Zaxby’s Zorba’s

comments powered by Disqus The Side Line / The Side Line: USC vs Texas A&M By Free Times Wednesday, August 27, 2014 | Look for the print edition of The Side Line in the Aug. 27 issue of Free Times. comments powered by Disqus Landing Page / Win Tickets to Marvel Universe Live! Assembling to Save the Universe at Colonial Life Arena By Free Times Wednesday, August 27, 2014 | Register to win tickets to Marvel Universe Live, Sept. 25-28 at Colonial Life Arena in Columbia, SC. Send your name and a daytime phone number to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) . comments powered by Disqus College Survival Guide / Free Times College Guide 2014 By Free Times Wednesday, August 20, 2014 | Welcome to Columbia, South Carolina, home to the University of South Carolina as well as numerous smaller schools — Midlands Tech, Benedict College, Columbia College, Allen University, Columbia International and more. We’ve put together this guide to help you navigate the city and some of the challenges of college. How do you stay safe without denying yourself the pleasures of Five Points and Vista nightlife? How do you decide where to live, eat and play? We’ve also given you some general pointers on making it through college — financial tips, dealing with drugs and alcohol and more. comments powered by Disqus Best of Columbia / Best of Columbia 2014 Index: Music and Nightlife By Free Times Wednesday, August 20, 2014 | Food & Dining Music & Nightlife Local Media Arts & Culture Goods & Services Politics & City Life Local Media Cover Story Writers' Picks Best of Columbia Party Free Times' readers voted for their 2014 music and nightlife favorites. Best Concert Darius Rucker Colonial Life Arena Runner-up: John Legend (Township Auditorium) Best Music Venue Colonial Life Arena Runner-up: Township Auditorium Best Blues or Jazz Club Speakeasy Runner-up: Hunter-Gatherer Best Karaoke Linda’s Carraoke (Art Bar) Runner-up: Kelly’s Deli and Pub Best Local Band Weaving the Fate Runner-up: Prettier Than Matt Best Local Solo Artist Danielle Howle Runner-up: Jessica Skinner Best CD Store Papa Jazz Runner-up: Manifest Discs Best Store for Vinyl Papa Jazz Runner-up: Manifest Discs Best Musical Instrument Store Sims Music Runner-up: Pecknel Best Recording Studio The Jam Room Runner-up: Strawberry Skys Best New Bar or Club Bourbon Runner-up: Tilted Kilt Best Bar or Club Tin Roof Runner-up: Art Bar Best Bartender James Pickle (Uncle Louie’s, Ruth’s Chris, British Bulldog Pub) Runner-up: Will Green (The Whig) Best Bar to Go to With Only $10 in Your Pocket The Whig Runner-up: Uncle Louie’s Best Place to Pick Up Guys Tin Roof Runner-up: Art Bar Best Place to Pick Up Girls Tin Roof Runner-up: Social Bar and Lounge Best Bathroom Wall Wisdom Art Bar Runner-up: New Brookland Tavern Best Bar Trivia Flying Saucer Runner-up: Village Idiot Best Bar Service Speakeasy Runner-up: World of Beer Best College Bar Jake’s Runner-up: Group Therapy Best Dance Club The Woody Runner-up: Social Bar and Lounge Best Neighborhood Bar: Downtown/The Vista Thirsty Fellow Runner-up: Tin Roof Best Neighborhood Bar: Five Points Jake’s Runner-up: Delaney’s Best Neighborhood Bar: Shandon/Rosewood/Forest Acres Rockaway Athletic Club Runner-up: Henry’s Best Neighborhood Bar: Harbison/Irmo The British Bulldog Pub Runner-up: Carolina Ale House Best Neighborhood Bar: West Columbia/Cayce New Brookland Tavern Runner-up: @116 Espresso and Wine Bar Best Neighborhood Bar: Lexington Old Mill Brewpub Runner-up: Mellow Mushroom Best Neighborhood Bar: Northeast Polliwogs Runner-u