Weapons Station rebuilds copters en route from Afghanistan

A partially disassembled AH-64 Apache attack helicopter that’s fresh off a nine-month tour in Afghanistan is unloaded from a cargo ship at the Naval Weapson Station near Charleston.

Boeing South Carolina doesn’t have a complete lock on the aircraft manufacturing game in the Charleston region.

Over on the Naval Weapons Station in Hanahan, workers last week began reassembling 57 Boeing AH-64 Apache and Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters that are on their way home after flying missions in Afghanistan.

The Army attack and utility choppers belong to the 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade at Fort Bragg, N.C. They were partially disassembled and loaded onto a cargo ship in Rota, Spain, for the trans-Atlantic journey to the Charleston military installation. The vessel arrived last week, a Weapons Station spokeswoman said Friday.

As they’re rebuilt, the helicopters will be flown back to Fort Bragg. The flight schedule is not being released. The 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade was deployed for nine months starting in September in support of Operations Enduring Freedom and Freedom’s Sentinel.

Despite announcements this year of two major automobile manufacturing facilities — Daimler and Volvo — to be built in the Charleston region, South Carolina inexplicably dropped five places in Chief Executive magazine’s annual rating of the best and worst states for business.

South Carolina was ranked No. 10 in this year’s survey of corporate CEOs, falling from No. 5 last year.

The magazine did not give a reason for the decline. In fact, it noted that South Carolina is adding to its manufacturing corridor as Gov. Nikki Haley “trots the globe seeking new wins.”

The state “offers a highly educated workforce, low business regulation and favorable weather conditions that result in continued growth in its manufacturing sector,” according to the magazine, which also touted South Carolina’s status as a right-to-work state, its quality of life and the bustling Port of Charleston.

However, noticeably absent from the magazine’s summary of South Carolina was any mention of Boeing Co. and its $1 billion investment in North Charleston. Boeing didn’t even make the magazine’s list of South Carolina’s top companies. which instead included: AVX Corp.; SCE&G owner SCANA Corp.; Sonoco Products; and ScanSource.

A restaurant chain that sells both the sizzle and the steak is preparing for its downtown Charleston debut.

Ruth’s Chris Steak House has scheduled a private invitation-only event for later this week at 55 S. Market St in the French Quarter Inn, in the former Tristan restaurant space. It will include a steak-cutting ceremony rather than the traditional ribbon cutting.

The actual opening is on Sunday, which also is the 50th anniversary of the founding of the first Ruth’s Chris in New Orleans.

The Charleston location has been a long time in the making. Owners Nancy and Mark Oswald announced in May 2010 that they bought the Ruth’s Chris franchise for the city. They wanted to be on the peninsula, but were willing to wait until they found the ideal location.

The bankruptcy case that culminated in Friday’s sale of The Golf Club at Briar’s Creek on Johns Island was the legal equivalent of a two-hour round.

A mere 93 days had passed between the time the petition was filed Feb. 9 and when Judge John Waites approved the reorganization plan on Wednesday.

It was a personal best for Columbia attorney Bill McCarthy, who’s more accustomed to complicated, contested bankruptcy cases that can drag on months or years.

“I have never done one in less than 100 days,” said McCarthy, who represented the bankrupt private club.

Attorneys also credited the Briar’s Creek membership, who didn’t bog down the proceedings by bickering over money and who got fully behind the $11.3 million sale to an insider group led by founding member and Houston Texans owner Bob McNair.

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A tip of the cap also went to Waites for expediting the process.

“I’m impressed the case is roundly supported by the constituents,” Waites said.

Internet users in Summerville can now access free Wi-Fi in more areas downtown.

The increased wireless connection is from an initiative that’s part of the Google Data Center Community. Summerville Mayor Bill Collins said the enlarged Wi-Fi zone ranges from West Richardson Avenue to the intersection of Cedar Street.

So far, Google has invested about $51,000 into offering free Wi-Fi in Flowertown since October 2013, said Tiffany Norton, spokeswoman for Summerville. Goose Creek and Charleston’s Marion Square and Waterfront Park have similar services courtesy of the Internet search and advertising giant, which operates a large data center off U.S. Highway 52 in Berkeley County.

Charleston’s rooftop scene is now a little more crowded.

The Hilton Garden Inn Charleston Waterfront/Downtown at 45 Lockwood Drive now offers a new private event space called 45 Waterside with views of the Ashley Marina on the Ashley River. It opened last week to mark the lodging’s one-year anniversary.

Managed by LBA Hospitality, the new 4,200-square-foot private lounge can accommodate up to 150 people. It’s open by bookings only. It joins a slew of other rooftop venues across the peninsula, including one coming soon above the Midtown project at King and Spring streets.