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Respect & Basketball

 

 

Although I have only had the privilege of meeting him on a few brief occasions, I can definitively say that University of South Carolina’s men’s basketball coach, Frank Martin, is a man worthy of respect. Two years ago, I had the opportunity to travel with the team on a road trip to their coach’s alma mater, Florida International University, and it was truly an eye-opening experience. Frank Martin has perhaps the most unique and inspiring background of any NCAA Division I basketball coach. Though he was born in Miami, Frank’s parents—both of whom immigrated to the States from Cuba after Castro came into power—spoke virtually no English.  Frank learned English as a second language only after he started school, but that was only one of many obstacles he faced as a boy. At the early age of 12, he began working at Dairy Queen and had a multitude of odd jobs over the years. He ultimately decided to pursue a full-time career as a basketball coach in 1992, after being shot at during his shift as a nightclub bouncer. He was studying physical education at FIU and coaching a JV team at the time, and he went on to accept a high school varsity coaching job after graduating in 1993.

Frank climbed the ranks and began coaching college basketball in 2000, and he’s made history from there. While head coach at Kansas State, he was named the Big 12 Coach of the Year, and he was the 2017 recipient of the Jim Phelan National Coach of the Year Award in 2017 after leading the Gamecocks to the Final Four. Frank has taken our men’s basketball team to new heights and has been a blessing to both USC and the men he has coached. He brings so much more to the lives of his players than wins and losses, and I guarantee just about every person who’s played for Frank Martin over the years would move mountains for him. Although he’s known to be vociferous and hard on his players, his tough love builds discipline and character—and a great basketball team. So far, the Gamecocks are having a winning season; they secured a big victory against UMass this week and we’re hoping for another against Houston on Sunday!

Go Gamecocks, and Go Frank Martin!

 

Mike Kelly

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KellyGram – ‘Tis the Season…For Friendly Rivalry!

 

 

Ladies and gents, it’s that time again—the 2019 Carolina-Clemson rivalry game is upon us! This Saturday, after spending Thanksgiving with friends and family for fellowship and too much turkey, we will don our garnet and orange respectively and head to Williams Brice Stadium to cheer on our rivaling teams. Although it looks to be an uphill battle for my Gamecocks, you really never know what will happen when a team turns up the heat for a good old fashioned rivalry game.

The Carolina-Clemson rivalry—just like that between Ohio State and Michigan, Alabama and Auburn, Georgia and Georgia Tech, Florida and Florida State, etc.—captures the attention of the whole state, even the non-football fans, and is always an exciting day in South Carolina! The Tigers are absolutely loaded this year and a favorite to win the National Championship title once again, but on Saturday I will be living by South Carolina’s motto: “While I Breathe, I Hope.” So with that, I’ll be rooting on the Gamecocks and keeping my fingers crossed for 12 months of bragging rights!

Have a wonderful holiday, and GO COCKS!

 

Mike Kelly

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KellyGram – Giving Thanks

 

 

The past 11 months have been a whirlwind of change, and in the hustle and bustle of it all, the year has slipped right through my fingers. It feels like no time has passed at all since we rang in 2019, yet suddenly, the holiday season is in full swing with Thanksgiving less than a week away. My Mike Kelly Law Group family will tell you that I can be a bit of a Grinch around the holidays; I love my work and the fast pace of it, so when we close up shop for days on end, I feel restless instead of relaxed. But when I pause to consider all that has transpired this year, both in my personal life and my professional one, I suspect that I might benefit greatly from a short reprieve; it will allow me to catch my breath and process the events of the year, but more importantly, to reflect on and give thanks for the joyous ones.

First and foremost, I thank the Good Lord for the gift of life and for allowing me to celebrate another Thanksgiving! I give thanks for the blessings that bring purpose and light into my life: my family, friends, and loved ones; the opportunity to make a difference in this world through my law practice; my wonderful clients and co-workers; my faith and beloved church; my health—and the list goes on and on. Of course, my football team is having a rough go of it this year…but let’s not dwell on that one! Even when the Gamecocks let me down, I am fortunate to have wonderful people around me to lift me up, a lifetime of memories that warm my heart and bring a smile to my face, and new opportunities and experiences to look forward to. So with that, I think I will give myself permission to slow down this Thanksgiving in order to count my blessings and digest all that has transpired this year (and, of course, lots of turkey!).

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

Mike Kelly

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KellyGram – Our Second Home

 

 

It’s no secret that I love living in Columbia, South Carolina—I’d even say it’s one of my favorite places on earth. That said, Myrtle Beach is a close contender, and Mike Kelly Law Group (and Mike Kelly himself!) has been proud to call the Grand Strand its second home for years. This is true now more so than ever in light of exciting new projects underway in the area. In March, Myrtle Beach’s City Council adopted a Master Plan for the redevelopment and revitalization of the downtown area surrounding our Broadway Street office. And downtown isn’t the only area that’s getting a makeover; several of the Grand Strand’s beach-front resorts are expected to undergo multi-million dollar renovations in the very near future, and even Kingston Plantation—my home away from home—will be seeing some aesthetic upgrades in the coming years. Meanwhile, the city’s tourism industry is experiencing record growth rates. All in all, I’d say that Myrtle Beach is quite the hotspot!

It’s exciting to think of the prospects this new development will bring to a destination that already has so much to offer. Not only does the Grand Strand boast one of the country’s most beautiful beaches, but it is also a haven for recreation. Home to 100+ golf courses, an annual marathon averaging 6,000 participants, NASCAR-sanctioned stock car racing, a Cubs-affiliated baseball team, and a host of sports camps and competitions, Myrtle Beach is a top destination in U.S. sports tourism. Likewise, there are over 1,500 restaurants to choose from in the area, more than 600 fine arts events held there annually, and countless shops and entertainment venues. From the SkyWheel—one of the country’s tallest Ferris Wheels at 187’ high—to the nearby Brookgreen Gardens and its 2,000 acres of botanical beauty, there is truly something for everyone in Myrtle Beach. It’s really no wonder that over 18 million people visited the Grand Strand last year, and I certainly feel lucky to call it my second home!

Have a great weekend!

 

Mike Kelly

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KellyGram – We Salute Our Veterans

 

 

For over forty years, I have passionately advocated for my friends and neighbors whose legal rights had been challenged or violated. To me, the individual freedoms of the American people, and the democracy at their foundation, are sacrosanct. And so, not a day goes by without feeling great reverence to the men and women whose service and sacrifice have allowed our liberty to endure: our veterans.

Unfortunately, many of us—myself included—do not do enough to express our gratitude for our veterans and their service to our country. With Veterans Day just around the corner, there is no better time than the present to rectify this. Whether it’s by joining in this weekend’s Veterans Day Salute at Williams-Brice Stadium, donating to an organization such as Wounded Warrior Project or Semper Fi Fund, or placing a phone call to the vets in your life just to say thank you, please take the time this week to salute our nation’s veterans.

Finally, to the veterans reading this KellyGram: from the bottom of my heart, thank you for your service.

Sincerely,

 

Mike Kelly

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KellyGram – Pig on the Ridge

 

 

We at Mike Kelly Law Group take pride in the communities that we serve—Richland, Fairfield, and Horry Counties—and love taking part in the rich and whimsical traditions that each has to offer.  Between the three locations, there is never a shortage of things to do on the weekends, and this one is no exception.  For me, the good times will be rolling in Ridgeway, SC while eating BBQ at one of the coolest fall festivals in the South: Pig on the Ridge.

The fun kicks off tonight at 6:30 with the “No Pigs Allowed” event, where the region’s finest BBQ chefs will whet the appetites festival-goers with all of the sides and fixings a Southern heart could desire…but there’ll be no BBQ to be found! Instead, the night’s main course will consist of a hearty serving of camaraderie and dancing in the streets as we get ready for Saturday morning’s BBQ cook-off. Contest entrants begin selling BBQ at 9am sharp, and it will sell out fast—so if you want to decide for yourself who has the best dish in town, be sure to get there early! The festivities will continue through the morning and early afternoon with a live DJ, hog calling contest, and an antique car show and parade. Contest winners will be announced at 2pm, leaving just enough time to catch a quick nap before cheering the Gamecocks on toward a victory against Vanderbilt!

So if you’re looking for a little excitement this weekend, all roads lead to Ridgeway, SC—see you there!

Have a great weekend!

 

Mike Kelly

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KellyGram – Howard Duvall for City Council

 

 

This week’s KellyGram is dedicated to a personal friend who has been a public servant for most of his life—Howard Duvall. Howard grew up in Cheraw, SC and graduated from Cheraw High School. He went on to earn a degree in Political Science from the Citadel, and afterwards, he served in the US Air Force and the South Carolina Air National Guard. After his military service, Howard returned to his home town of Cheraw, where he served on the Town Council before being elected to the position of mayor. He eventually became the executive director of the Municipal Association of South Carolina in 1992 and served in that capacity until his retirement in 2008. There is no one—literally, no one—in South Carolina who knows more about municipal government than Howard Duvall. And so, he decided to throw his hat in the ring for the At-Large seat on Columbia City Council and was elected in 2016.

Knowing Howard, I can say with confidence that he is a true, dedicated public servant. He has no hidden political agenda or axes to grind; he simply wants what is best for the citizens of the City of Columbia. Throughout his first term on the Council, Howard has been very active and played an integral role in preparing for and promoting Columbia as a destination for viewing the August 2017 Total Eclipse, finding funding for the ShotSpotter system, and helping to restore law and order in the city by working to limiting the number of bars in Columbia with all-night permits. Here are some of the ways he hopes to make Columbia even better in the 2020 term:

  • Improving crime prevention efforts through stronger partnerships between Columbia’s neighborhoods and police officers, and keeping morale high at our phenomenal Fire Department by increasing pay for firefighters.
  • Updating Columbia’s infrastructure by servicing and replacing water lines and repairing our roadways.
  • Freeing up the city’s budget through wiser spending decisions and eliminating government waste—not by increasing Columbia’s already heft property and sales taxes.
  • Creating new jobs by developing, supporting, and enacting policies to attract new companies and promote entrepreneurship.
  • Providing Columbia residents with better and more responsive customer service from the City’s agencies.

Though he has several enthusiastic opponents who are intelligent and well-meaning, I genuinely believe that Howard Duvall is THE person for the job! Vote for Howard Duvall for City Council At-Large on November 5th!

Have a great weekend!

 

Mike Kelly

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KellyGram – SakiTumi: Brunch’s Best Kept Secret

 

 

Having been a local business owner for over 40 years, I am a big advocate of supporting local establishments—particularly the ones specializing in food and beverages! Lucky for me, Columbia’s food scene (on both sides of the river) has exploded over the last 5 years. As a man with zero culinary skills, I eat out or get take-out almost every night of my life! My go-to restaurant for dinner and Sunday brunch was, for a long time, the eclectic and ever-inviting 116 Wine and Espresso. I vividly recall the morning I went into 116 and learned that Chef Ryan Whitaker (the best chef in the Midlands!) decided to sell his business so he could devote more time to his two precious children. It was Sunday after church—I went every Sunday when I was in town—and I just sat at the bar feeling sick over the news, questions racing through my mind: Where would I go for dinner? More importantly, where would I go for brunch?! I struggled with this last question for quite some time after 116 closed shop, as no brunch in town could hold a candle to Chef Ryan’s! But at long last, I have excellent news to share: I finally found Columbia’s new best brunch!

Sometimes, you find the greatest treasures in the places you’d least expect. Before my brunch discovery, I knew SakiTumi for its fresh sushi and, of course, its cocktails! But SakiTumi’s owner, David Shaw, saw an opportunity when 116 bowed out of the brunch scene, and he decided to mix things up a bit at the restaurant. SakiTumi is still serving its acclaimed sushi six days a week, but now, it is THE place to be on Sundays from 10 to 2, when David breaks out Columbia’s finest brunch menu. His dishes are reminiscent of 116, yet still wonderfully original—you won’t find masterpieces like the Bloody Mary Cheese Melt and S’mores Stuffed French Toast anywhere but here! I’ve loved everything I’ve tried off the menu, and it doesn’t hurt that the atmosphere and libations are just as spectacular as the cuisine! Needless to say, SakiTumi has become my new after-church hangout, and I highly recommend that you check it out—I give the whole experience the Mike Kelly Guarantee!

PS – If you’re a West Columbia resident, be sure to vote David Shaw for City Council!

Have a great weekend!

 

Mike Kelly

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KellyGram – Celebrating 150 Years!

 

 

The 2019 South Carolina State Fair is here! I have lived in South Carolina for 49 years now, and I’m sure I’ve visited the State Fair at least that many times. The tradition started when I was having a good time as a college student, and it was kind of like the Wild, Wild West out there! Once my boys came along, my visits to the fair were much tamer—though even more enjoyable—as I took them to ride rides, eat cotton candy, and play games. With Mac and Patrick all grown up, I haven’t been to the State Fair in quite some time, but that’s about to change—I’m a senior citizen now, and I’m looking forward to taking advantage of that hard-earned senior discount!

This year, the South Carolina State Fair is celebrating its 150th year anniversary, and it’s going to be spectacular! The new 150 Celebration Wheel ride is making its American debut right in our home state, complete with temperature-controlled gondolas large enough for 6 people and views from 150ft! There will be special exhibits and collector’s items available in celebration of the fair’s 150th anniversary, and it will be the theme of the much-beloved Sandscapes exhibit. The schedule is packed with live entertainment—including CIRCUS at the Fair and South Carolina Philharmonic’s “Conduct the Phil” series—and I’m excited to check it all out (though I’ll skip the livestock, LOL!) and eat some delicious fair fare! Hope to see you there—meet me at the rocket!

Have a great weekend!

 

Mike Kelly

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KellyGram – My Friend Bruce

 

 

I am blessed to have many friends, but I regretfully lost a very dear one on September 24, 2019—Bruce Carter. Bruce graduated law school one class ahead of me, and unlike many of us who pursued the more lucrative areas of law, Bruce dedicated his career to public service. In his final years, he worked in the field of Medicare/Medicaid for the state government and became THE go-to guy on the subject in South Carolina. Aside from his vocation, Bruce loved his family; he married to his longtime best friend, Judy, and had two daughters. He made it his life’s mission to serve his God, his family, his church, and his community. He was a pious man with incredible intellect and compassion. When Associate Director of our beloved St. Martin’s-in-the-Fields, Susan Prinz, delivered the homily during Bruce’s service on Wednesday, her message rang powerfully and true when she described Bruce as being summed up in a single word: he was a man of heart.

Not only was Bruce a devoted family man, he was one of the most active parishioners at our beloved St. Martin’s. He served as a lector, vestry member, and participated in numerous outreach ministries with the church. When he developed symptoms of heart disease several years ago, he became an avid volunteer with the South Carolina Heart Association, and still found the time to work at the Diocesan level as an expert on canon (church) law.

Bruce was, without question, a great man, and he will be sorely missed. I, for one, will miss our conversations about politics, Gamecock athletics, and our church and community. Still, it brings a smile to my face to think about those talks, and how many of them took place in the aisles of the Forest Drive Kroger, where we always seemed to run in to one another. It is strange to think that our paths will not intersect again in this life; that he is gone. But be that as it may, Bruce will never be forgotten. May he rest in peace.

Sincerely,

 

Mike Kelly

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