City News February 2021
The City of Columbia to Recognize National Wear Red Day Virtually in the Fight Against Heart Disease

The City of Columbia will recognize National Wear Red Day on Friday, February 5, virtually this year. National Wear Red Day supports women affected by heart disease, the number one killer of women.

In the interest of public health, the City will take a digital approach to this year’s celebration of National Wear Red Day. Citizens are asked to participate as digital partners by sharing photos of themselves and loved ones wearing red, as well as by posting awareness messages on their social media platforms using the hashtags #GoRedColumbia and #WearRedDayColumbia. Make sure to tag the City’s social media accounts in all posts using @wearecolumbia on Instagram and @cityofcolumbia on Twitter.
"Our digital campaign this year will make it easy for citizens to participate simply by wearing red and sharing their photo,” said Councilwoman Tameika Isaac Devine. “This will allow us to not only increase awareness about heart disease in our community, but I also do it in a safe and socially distant way."
By virtually participating in National Wear Red Day, citizens will both be raising awareness for heart disease and taking action to help save lives.

For more information, contact the Public Relations, Media, and Marketing Department at
City Hall in Amber Lights
On January 19, 2021, City Hall honored the nearly 400,000 Americans who've lost their lives due to the COVID - 19 Pandemic by lighting City Hall in amber lights. We mourn with communities across our country forever changed from this deadly virus.
CRFD Selected for National Pilot Program
Focused on Community Risk Reduction
Recently the Columbia-Richland Fire Department became one of only 250 fire-service agencies in the U.S. that will take part in a new nationwide program to map areas of risk in our communities.

In the coming weeks, a new software will be coming online at the department that will help keep track of and chart areas in Richland County that have experienced fires and other types of emergencies. Using this information, the department can then take actions that will help reduce risk in communities that need it the most.

“This is part of our duty as firefighters and protectors of the public,” said Columbia-Richland Fire Chief Aubrey D. Jenkins, “We not only must respond to emergencies but must also take steps to prevent them from happening in the first place. I’m excited to see how our department puts this new software to use and can’t wait to see the difference it will make as we move our mission forward.”

The pilot program is being organized with fire departments through the National Fire Protection Association and the software will be powered by mySidewalk, which is an innovative community intelligence platform that is designed to use maps and graphs to chart areas of risk.
CRFD Volunteer Coordinator William Broscious has been heading the department’s involvement in the program and will continue to oversee activities as the department moves forward.

In addition to highlighting areas of risk, data that is generated by the new software will also be used to help the department pursue grant opportunities that focus on community risk reduction.
In addition to CRFD, the other fire departments in South Carolina that were selected for the program are the Bluffton Township Fire District, the Greenville City Fire Department, the Long Branch Fire Department, the North Myrtle Beach Department of Public Safety, and the Tyger River Fire Service Area.

From Left: Columbia-Richland Fire Chief Aubrey D. Jenkins & CRFD Volunteer Coordinator William Broscious
The City of Columbia and Local Partners Present the Fourth Community Conversation on The Color of Law
The City of Columbia and local partners have worked together to host four virtual sessions on the book The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America. The purpose of these sessions is to explore the concepts presented in the book to understand their role in shaping Columbia and explore ways we can address the effects of past policies to create a more equitable community.
The fourth and final session will take place on February 4th, 2021 from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm, and the topic will be Where Do We Go from Here: Innovative Solutions from Today’s Mayors.
Panelists for the session include:
1.      Mayor Steve Benjamin, Columbia, South Carolina
2.      Mayor Vi Lyles, Charlotte, North Carolina
3.      Mayor Chokwe Lumumba, Jackson, Mississippi

Register for this session now! Due to overwhelming interest in the community conversations, previous sessions have filled to maximum capacity.
The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America recovers a forgotten history of how federal, state, and local policy explicitly segregated metropolitan areas nationwide, creating racially homogenous neighborhoods in patterns that violate the Constitution and require remediation. It’s author, Richard Rothstein, is a Distinguished Fellow of the Economic Policy Institute and a Senior Fellow (emeritus) at the Thurgood Marshall Institute of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.
For more information on how to access The Color of Law, visit
Mayor Steve Benjamin - Columbia, SC
Mayor Vi Lyles - Charlotte, North Carolina
Mayor Chokwe Lumumba - Jackson, Mississippi
Parks & Recreation Virtual Training
The Parks & Recreation Department has partnered with the Public Relations, Media & Marketing Department to develop and create a series of videos that give citizens access to virtual training opportunities to help with wellness and recreational activities during the pandemic.
These videos cover a wide range of topics, including golf tips, couponing advice, and even art projects. Each video is presented by an employee of the Parks & Recreation Department and produced adhering to strict COVID-19 precautions.
"Our goal is to ensure that the community is still provided a level of service that allows for continuous engagement of activities that support their physical, mental and social well-being,” said Assistant City Manager Henry Simons on behalf of the Parks & Recreation Department.

“The pandemic has challenged us as communicators and has compelled us to find new ways to share information during these unprecedented times," said Leshia Utsey, Director of the Public Relations, Media and Marketing Department. "The Public Relations, Media, and Marketing Department is excited about this project with Parks and Recreation that will benefit our citizens. The range of videos includes exercise routines, arts and crafts, as well as wellness information. The best part about this series of videos is that all activities can be enjoyed at home or outdoors.”
The next round of videos in the virtual series will be available next week and includes soccer tips, fitness routines, gardening advice, and more.
To view the video series, visit the City of Columbia’s YouTube channel at: City of Columbia Government Youtube
Diamond Clarke - Parks & Recreation Hyatt Park
Joel Njoku - Parks & Recreation Martin Luther King, Jr. Park
Daisha Tisdale - Parks & Recreation Lorick Park
Dr. Germon Miller - Parks & Recreation Program Coordinato
Robert McCray - Parks & Recreation Pinehurst Park
Jacqueline Williams - Parks & Recreations City Gardens
Dr. Germon Miller and Courtney James - Cultural Arts Center
Dr. Germon Miller and Courtney James - Cultural Arts Center
Bohumila Augustinova - Columbia Arts Center
City Announces Almost 11,000 meals donated during Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Honor the Dream Virtual and Drive-Thru Food Drives

The City of Columbia and the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Foundation would like to send a heartfelt thank you to our community for the support of the annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Honor the Dream Virtual Food Drive and the Drive-Thru Food Drive benefiting Harvest Hope Food Bank. The food drives ended this past Monday, January 18, 2021.

Each food drive was a huge success donating a total of almost 11,000 meals during the pandemic. Monday was also, National Day of Service in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Organizations across the country hosted service events that focused on COVID-19 relief and address challenges that have been exacerbated by the pandemic, such as poverty, hunger, racial injustice, homelessness, mental health, and educational disparities.

Councilman McDowell said, "As the challenges of the pandemic continue to have an impact on our community, it is a pivotal time for us to work together to help those who need it most. Let's serve our community and honor Dr. King's legacy of service by supporting this food drive."
Councilman Edward Mcdowell Jr. helping out at the drive-thru food drive.
Randy Davis - Director of Parks & Recreation(left)

Councilman Edward Mcdowell Jr. (Middle)

Henry Simons - Assistant City Manager (Right)
Parks & Recreation staff receiving items to add to the food drive from the community
Randy Davis, Assistant City Manager Henry Simons, Councilman Edward Mcdowell Jr., Parks & Recreation Staff and volunteers
Community Development Department All Access Virtual Training
The City of Columbia Community Development department is holding an All Access Columbia virtual training session on Wednesday, February 10, with topic discussions on Community Development and Block Grants for Your Neighborhood and Non-profit Organizations.

Register for the virtual session here.
Office of Business Opportunities
 February 4, 2020 – 4:00 PM 
In the interest of public health and as authorized by City Council, the City of Columbia Board of Zoning Appeals will conduct a virtual meeting using video conferencing technology. Accordingly, members of the public and/or media who want to observe the meetings may do so remotely by streaming the meetings through CityTV accessed at this link. Members of the Board will have the ability to remotely participate in voting and operational procedures via telephone or other means of electronic communication.
The public may submit letters and statements via email to either in advance of or during the meeting as that account will be monitored during the meetings. Please be sure to include your name and the case information, such as address and request.
Virtual Public Participation: The public may join the virtual meeting on the web at
Public Participation via Telephone: The public has the ability to listen to audio and participate in the meeting via telephone. You may call 855-925-2801. When prompted, please enter the meeting code: 9431
Please press *1 to listen and remain on the line. If you wish to be placed in queue to speak on the live feed, please wait until your case is called and press *3. If unable to remain on the line for the meeting, you can press *2 to record a voice message to be read by staff into the record. If leaving recorded message, please speak clearly and state your name and case information.
Please continue to monitor for any additional information. Questions can be directed to Zoning at 803-545-3333 and/or
1. Approve January 7, 2021 Minutes B. OLD BUSINESS
2. 2020-0087-SE 919 True Street Unit D (TMS# 16408-01-03) Special exception to permit a day care facility (Talisha B. Scott, Creative Kids Child Care Center) (C-1)
3. 2021-0001-SE 7451 Garners Ferry Road (p/o) (TMS# 16312-01-08) Special exception to establish an automotive repair service (Bill Stern, Stern & Stern Garners Ferry Properties, Inc.) (C-3)
4. 2021-0003-SE 919 True Street Unit I (TMS# 16408-01-03) Special exception to permit a barbershop (Joseph Myers, Elite Kutz, LLC) (C-1)
 5. 2021-0004-SE 919 True Street Unit B5 (TMS# 16408-01-03) Special exception to permit a beauty shop (Charmaine McKinley, T.M.C. Hair Clinic, LLC) (C-1)
6. 2021-0007-SE 3725 N. Main Street (TMS# 09209-18-02) Special exception to permit an alternative parking surface (Richard Nodden, Nodden Business Service, LLC) (MX-1, -NC)
 7. 2021-0009-SE 919 True Street Unit G (TMS# 16408-01-03) Special exception to establish a miscellaneous retail store (arts & crafts) (Fiona L. Moore, Fee & Tee’s, LLC) (C-1)
                                    CONSENT AGENDA
The Board of Zoning Appeals uses the consent agenda to approve non-controversial or routine matters by a single motion and vote. If a member of the Board or the general public wants to discuss an item on the consent agenda (at the beginning of the meeting), that item is removed from the consent agenda and considered during the meeting. The Board then approves the remaining consent agenda items. If an item is removed from the consent agenda, that item will be heard after old business on the regular agenda.
MEETING FORMAT Applicants with requests before the Board of Zoning Appeals are allotted a presentation time of 10 minutes. This time should include but is not limited to an overview of the project, case history, and any pertinent meetings held regarding the request. This time also includes all persons presenting information on behalf of the applicant such as attorneys, engineers, and architects. This time limit does not include any questions asked by the Board of Zoning Appeals or staff regarding requests. Zoning staff may make a 10-minute presentation.
Any member of the general public may address the Board in intervals of 3 minutes; or 5 minutes if by a spokesperson for an established body or for a group of three or more. The applicant will then have 5 minutes for rebuttal.
The Board reserves the right to amend these procedures on a case-by-case basis.
ORDERS OF THE BOARD In accordance with S.C. Code §6-29-800 and §17-113(b) of the City of Columbia Zoning Ordinance all final decisions and orders of the board shall be in writing and permanently filed in the office of the board as a public record. All findings of fact and conclusions of law shall be separately stated in final decisions or orders of the board which must be delivered by certified mail to parties of interest. Generally, final decisions of the board are mailed to the applicant and parties of interest prior to the following board meeting.
It is the policy of the City of Columbia that all City-sponsored public meetings and events are accessible to people with disabilities. If you need assistance in participating in this meeting or event due to a disability as defined under the ADA, please call the City’s ADA Coordinator at (803) 545-3009 or e-mail as soon as possible but no later than 48 hours before the scheduled meeting or event to request an accommodation.
"Start Fresh" Financial Workshop
City’s Public Relations, Media and Marketing Department Partners with SCEMD for “Rely on Real” Information Campaign
The City of Columbia’s Public Relations, Media and Marketing department has partnered with the South Carolina Emergency Management Division (SCEMD) as well as other local and state agencies throughout South Carolina for the “Rely on Real” information campaign, with the focus and redoubled effort to combat misinformation and disinformation, especially during these challenging times of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Misinformation spread during these times may seek to minimize the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic or the efficiency of the COVID-19 vaccine. Disinformation is a form of misinformation, that is deliberately deceptive and can be just as dangerous. Misinformation and disinformation both put lives in danger. Neither are opinions or personal points of view. The goal of the “Rely on Real” information campaign is to stop the spread of misinformation and disinformation. Citizens can help to eliminate both by trusting and relying on official, verified sources of real information.

"During these challenging times, misinformation can be very detrimental to our citizens and also impede the progress that can be made to educate the public during the pandemic,” said Ms. Leshia Utsey, Director of the City’s Public Relations, Media and Marketing Department. “The distribution of reliable information will be critical in order to provide the public with information that will protect their health and safety. Our department is more than willing to join SCEMD and other health and government partners for this statewide information campaign, in order to provide timely and beneficial information to our citizens in the City of Columbia."

Real information is always changing in active and ongoing emergencies. We’ve been reliant on medical specialists during this pandemic, as they are experts in the field many are not as familiar with. It is important to stay up-to-date as any situation develops and listen to possible precautions public safety officials may have for the public. Personal preparedness is essential in every emergency; right now is no different. To learn more about the “Rely on Real” campaign, visit
City Council Extends Mask/Face Coverings and Temporary Suspension of Meetings
ORDINANCE NO: 2021-008
An Emergency Ordinance Extending and Amending Certain Emergency Ordinances Related to COVID-19
WHEREAS, SARS-CoV-2 (the Coronavirus) the virus that causes the disease COVID-19 continues to be a serious public health concern; and,
WHEREAS, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) and SCDHEC advise the use of cloth face coverings to slow the spread of COVID-19; and,
WHEREAS, in Executive Order No. 2020-63, Governor Henry McMaster urged municipalities to enact measures requiring individuals to wear a face covering; and,
WHEREAS, it is vitally important that we continue to work together to decrease the widespread proliferation of COVID-19 among us; and,
 WHEREAS, City Council finds that it is still in the public interest to protect public health and the general welfare of the public to extend the temporary suspension of normal operating procedures of City Council and City Boards and Commissions meetings as set forth in Ordinance No.: 2020-044 and to extend and amend the requirement that face coverings or masks be worn in public in the City of Columbia as set out forth in Ordinance No.: 2020-059; and,
WHEREAS, the requirements under both ordinances were further extended and amended by Ordinance 2020093 through January 5, 2020; and,
 WHEREAS, Sec. 2-86 of the Ordinances of the City of Columbia allows for the adoption of emergency ordinances on one reading without notice or hearing by affirmative two-thirds of the members present, and shall expire automatically on the 61st day following enactment; NOW, THEREFORE,
 BE ORDAINED by the Mayor and Council this 2nd day of February, 2021, that the City of Columbia extends the temporary suspension of the normal operating procedures of City Council and City Boards and Commissions meetings and allows for the Mayor, Council Members, Board Members and Commission Members to remotely participate in voting and operational procedures by telephone or other means of electronic communication.
BE IT FURTHER ORDAINED by the Mayor and City Council of the City of Columbia, South Carolina this 2nd day of February, 2021 that facial coverings shall be required in all public places within the City to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus disease, known as COVID-19 as follows:
1. Face coverings which cover the nose and mouth shall be required in all public places within the City. All persons entering a commercial establishment in the City must wear a face covering while inside the establishment. A face covering must also be worn in situations where distances between people change frequently such as a busy sidewalk, waiting area, or popular outdoor area where it is impractical or impossible to maintain six feet of distance at all times. This paragraph does not apply to religious establishments. However, the use of face coverings is recommended during religious activities as well.
2. All restaurants, bars, retail stores, barbershops, salons, grocery stores, and pharmacies in the City must require their employees to wear a face covering which covers the nose and mouth at all times while having face to face interaction with the public. Each individual employee violation of this ordinance will be considered a separate and distinct offense.
3. Any person who is unable to safely wear a face covering due to age, an underlying health condition, or is unable to remove the face covering without the assistance of others is exempt from this Ordinance.
Last revised: 1/6/2021 21007659
4. Face coverings are not required in the following circumstances: a. In personal vehicles; b. When a person is alone in enclosed spaces; during outdoor physical activity, provided the active person maintains a minimum of six (6) feet from other people at all times; c. When a person is alone or only with other household members; d. While drinking, eating or smoking; e. When wearing a face covering causes or aggravates a health condition. f. When wearing a face covering would prevent the receipt of personal services. g. When a person is 10 years of age or younger.
5. A person who fails to comply with Paragraph 1 of this Ordinance shall be guilty of a civil infraction, punishable by a fine of not more than $100.00.
6. A person who fails to comply with Paragraph 2 of this Ordinance shall be guilty of a civil infraction, punishable by a fine of not more than $100.00. Each violation of this Ordinance shall be considered a separate and distinct offense. In addition to the fines established by this paragraph, repeated violations of this Ordinance by a person who owns, manages, operates or otherwise controls a business subject to this Ordinance may, subject to all procedural protections set forth in the City Code, result in the suspension or revocation of any occupancy permit or business license issued to a business where the repeated violations occurred. Repeated violations of this Ordinance are additionally hereby declared to be a public nuisance, which may be abated by the City by restraining order, preliminary and permanent injunction, or other means provided for by the laws of this State. The foregoing notwithstanding, every effort shall be made to bring the business into voluntary compliance with the terms of this Ordinance prior to the issuance of any citation. For the purposes of Paragraph 2 of this Ordinance, “person” shall be defined as any individual associated with the business who has the control or authority and ability to enforce the social distancing requirements of the Ordinance within the business, such as an owner, manager or supervisor. “Person” may also include an employee or other designee that is present at the business but does not have the title of manager, supervisor, etc., but has the authority and ability to ensure that the requirements of this Ordinance are met while the business is open to the public.
7. Should any provision, paragraph, sentence or word of this Ordinance be rendered or declared invalid by any final court action in a court of competent jurisdiction or by reason of any preemptive legislation, the remaining provisions, paragraphs, sentences, or words of this Ordinance as hereby adopted shall remain in full force and effect.
 BE IT FURTHER ORDAINED that this emergency ordinance shall be terminated by the issuance of another ordinance or shall automatically expire on the 61st day after enactment of this ordinance.
 This ordinance shall take effect immediately.
City Video Hub
Parks and Recreation Virtual Programming Video Links:
February City Updates Video:
*The photos featured in the newsletter header are the winning entries of the #LoveColumbiaSC photo challenge. The winning photos were taken by:
Brian Ward, top left
Sylvie Smith, bottom left
William Brown, top right
Jeffery O'Shields, bottom right

Congratulations to all!