8.24.09 Ask-A-Lawyer: Nosy’s Report

8/24/09 Ask-A-Lawyer Call Center at WLTX
8/24/09 Ask-A-Lawyer Call Center at WLTX

On Monday Night, WLTX became ground zero for ASK-A-LAWYER. We arrived in time to start and learned that the calls had started as early as 4:30 p.m. Once we were shown our call-center, we started answering phones “Ask-A-Lawyer, how may I help you?” while our web counter-parts began their online-duty.

Jeff Goodwyn answers questions at WLTX Ask-A-Lawyer
Jeff Goodwyn answers questions at WLTX Ask-A-Lawyer

The 6 on-camera attorneys were Cynthia A. Coker, T. Jeff Goodwyn, Edna Primus, Jennifer W. Rubin, Tana Vanderbilt and Robin F. Wheeler.

Cindy Coker, SC Bar Public Services Director
Cindy Coker, SC Bar Public Services Director

The phones were ringing non-stop. WLTX graciously provided us with water and chocolate; both of which were appreciated. Darci Strickland and Andrea Mock interviewed us during the session and helped us maintain our energy with their enthusiasm. And at the end of the evening, JR Berry dropped by to thank us for our hard work.

Edna Primus and Tana Vanderbilt field questions
Edna Primus and Tana Vanderbilt field questions

Caller Origin:

  • 18 of my 30 calls originated from Richland County;
  • 1 from Fairfield;
  • 1 from Florence;
  • 1 from Greenwood;
  • 2 from Kershaw;
  • 3 from Lexington;
  • 3 from Orangeburg; and
  • 1 from Sumter.

Mind you, I had 30 calls total in a 2 1/2 hour span and I even took a moment off the phones for an interview.

Caller Issues:

  • 6 questions about Divorce/Alimony
  • 5 Child Support/Child Custody and Visitation/Adoption
  • 4 Consumer Law including Bankruptcy
  • 3 Wills and Estates
  • 2 Employment
  • 2 Medical Malpractice/Health Care
  • 1 Social Security
  • 1 Landlord/Tenant
  • 1 Homeowners Associations
  • 1 Immigration
  • 1 Traffic Laws
  • 1 question about Taxes; and
  • 2 non-legal questions.

Ask-A-Lawyer also included the “web-chat” piece. Three attorneys (Peter M. Balthazor, K. Cameron Currie, and Jennifer L. Locklier) fielded web questions during the same time.

All in all, it was a busy time, but I enjoyed every caller and hope that they felt that they had received a worthy service from us. I will DEFINITELY do this again.

Thanks to SC Bar staff Deborah Morris who coordinates the event, Joey Heape who insures that the web equipment functioned properly, and Elizabeth Martin who popped in for a few photos.

And special thanks to our host station, WLTX. You helped us make this a success!

-NOSY WHEELER

LATE PS – I wish I had asked the name of the camera operator at our station because he was an absolute delight. When he saw us running out of water, he brought the new bottle to us. Thank you Camera Operator!

Tune In TONIGHT and Tomorrow Morning

The Big Picture is once again featuring a topic of interest to South Carolinians in the civil justice community. This week’s topic is The Working Poor.

For the program, Mark Quinn, the host of The Big Picture, interviewed prestigious guests such as Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter, Sue Berkowitz of SC Appleseed Legal Justice Center and Dr. Adolphus Belk of Winthrop University.

TV Air Date: TONIGHT: Thursday – August 06, 2009 at 7:30 pm

Every Friday morning “The Big Picture on the Radio” airs on ETV Radio. Discussion focuses the television topic of the week amongst other timely subjects. Be sure to check ‘The Big Picture’ homepage each Friday afternoon to tune in live starting at 1:00 p.m.

TV repeats of Thursdays broadcast will air each Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and again on Sunday at 1:00 p.m.

-RFW

South Carolina, Subject of Washington Post Article

Columbia, South Carolina (my hometown) is featured today in More Need, Less Help by Amy Goldstein at the Washington Post.

The subject is that as South Carolina’s ranking rises in unemployment and the financial crisis spirals out of control, the need for assistance rises.

  • South Carolinians are out-of-work.

  • South Carolinians are hungry. 

  • South Carolinians cannot pay rent or mortgages. 

  • South Carolinians are going without medication.

  • South Carolinians are worried about their children and their futures.

Food pantries like Harvest Hope are working as hard as they can to fill orders. But their supplies are running short.

Other charities, like the United Way of South Carolina, United Way of the Midlands, the Central Carolina Community Foundation, the Family Service Center, and the Salvation Army, are working round the clock to assist, but their donations are dwindling as well.

Excerpts:

Timothy Ervolina, president of the United Way Association of South Carolina, worries that the web of philanthropic and nonprofit groups may not be able to fulfill the governor’s [Sanford] expectations. Ervolina has watched fundraising fade at United Ways across the state, even as calls pour in to their crisis hotlines.

. . .

South Carolina Legal Services, a statewide network that gives free legal help, in July received the biggest grant handed out by the South Carolina Bar Foundation but in January was asked to return 15 percent of it.

The time to act is now. If you can afford to make a donation, please do so.

Your donation may offer someone else hope. Hope to carry on. Hope for their children. Hope to live.

Thanks Washington Post for sharing the story of Columbia, SC!

-RFW

Hot off the Press: SC Jobs Down 76,100 from 1 year ago (Jan. ’09)

workforce-trends-newsline-jan-09

South Carolina’s Unemployment Up in Double Digits at 10.4%

The South Carolina Employment Security Commission press release today noted that unemployment reached the highest levels since April 1983 when levels were 10.7%.

Allendale County has the dubious honor of having the highest statewide rates at 23.4% (up 2 from December 2008) while 11 counties kept their rates under 10%. Lexington County had the lowest unemployment rate in the state with 7.5%.

Nationally, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that national unemployment rate rose from 7.2 percent in December to 7.6 percent in January and was 2.7 percentage points higher than a year earlier.

-RFW

Breaking News from Columbia Business Report

More on UNEMPLOYMENT . . .

According to the Columbia Regional Business Report (CRBR), the South Carolina unemployment numbers are off by 21,000,per revised figures released today by the U.S. Department of Labor.

Also in CRBR’s report

The U.S. Department of Labor reports that South Carolina still has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country. Only Michigan, Rhode Island, California and Washington, D.C., had higher unemployment for 2008 than South Carolina, which ended the year with 6.9%.

-RFW

Addendum re: SC Unemployment

South Carolina: 3rd highest unemployment in the USA

see also