Grapevine: Appeals Court pushes back Charleston cruise terminal case

A rendering of the proposed new cruise ship terminal at Union Pier.

Legally speaking, this ship is still out at sea.

Attorneys debating the merits of a construction permit for a new passenger cruise terminal in downtown Charleston will have to wait a few more months for their day in court.

The S.C. Court of Appeals had indicated it would hear the case in December, but scheduling conflicts have delayed the matter, the Associated Press reported Friday. The court has informed attorneys it is considering scheduling the case in May.

The case concerns the State Ports Authority’s plans to relocate its cruise terminal to a waterfront warehouse to be renovated at the north end of Union Pier.

The Department of Health and Environmental Control issued a permit for the $35 million project almost three years ago to allow additional pilings beneath the warehouse.

Preservation and conservation groups are challenging the permit, saying regulators didn’t consider the impact of the terminal on the city’s historic district.

Potential future lawyers from six Charleston-area high schools will spend a good part of their weekend arguing, objecting and making motions.

The occasion is the annual S.C. Bar Charleston Regional High School Mock Trial Competition, which takes place Saturday at the Charleston County Courthouse at 100 Broad St.

The students will present the prosecution and defense in a fictitious case involving arson, robbery and the murder of a well-known woman in a small South Carolina town. They’ll be trying to impress a panel of local volunteer lawyers and judges. Each team will be judged on its presentation skills, rather than the legal merits of the case.

The participating schools this year are: Berkeley High School; Cane Bay High School; Charleston County School of the Arts; Fort Dorchester High School; James Island Charter High School; and Wando High School.

Winners of the regional contests advance to the statewide competition March 11-12. The top high school legal eagles in South Carolina will head west to the national competition in Boise, Idaho, in May.

A Charleston-based robotic vending machine maker inked a deal to expand its sales reach.

Robofusion Inc., which makes self-operating frozen yogurt kiosks, signed a licensing agreement last week that names San Diego-based Fresh Healthy Vending as the exclusive franchisor throughout the U.S. and Canada. It can also sell Robofusion’s frozen yogurt machines.

The unmanned dispensers, created by Allan Jones of Daniel Island with co-founder James Wolf of Ohio, are billed as “one of a kind” and provide frozen yogurt in nine flavors with six topping choices at a rate of up to 60 servings per hour.

“Fresh Healthy Vending was an obvious choice for Robofusion’s broad expansion in the franchise market,” Jones said. “Fresh Healthy Vending has 240 franchisees in place and is adding more daily.”

Nick Yates of Fresh Healthy Vending called the kiosk “a hit for all ages — combining innovative technology, a high-demand product and interactive experience.”

The University of South Carolina is bringing advanced manufacturing-related engineering courses to Charleston.

The school’s McNair Center for Aerospace will offer advanced industrial engineering design certification courses in Charleston starting later this month.

The courses are part of the new McNair Advance initiative and are offered through a licensing agreement with France-based Dassault Systèmes. They are lumped under the acronym CATIA, or “computer aided three-dimensional interactive application.” It’s a technology that’s widely used in the automotive, aerospace and robotics industries, and it allows designers to create highly detailed computer-generated, three-dimensional models.

The week-long courses will be taught at the local Darla Moore School of Business outpost at 151 Market St. in downtown Charleston.

“There is a great demand for training current and potential employees in state-of-the-art solutions technologies that are being used by major industry players,” Ramy Harik, assistant professor of aerospace computer-aided design and manufacturing at USC and program director of McNair Advance, said in a statement.

Future McNair Advance offerings are being developed to serve the needs of industry partners, such as Boeing Co., and those looking to boost their career marketability.