The Catch-Up: Lexington’s second ramen house opens, Lexpo draws a crowd

Posted 2/22/23

A restaurant the Chronicle reported was coming in November has opened.

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The Catch-Up: Lexington’s second ramen house opens, Lexpo draws a crowd


A restaurant the Chronicle reported was coming in November has opened.

Lexington’s Taipo Ramen House began serving diners Feb. 16, offering varieties of its titular noodle soup, along with other Japanese dishes such as rice bowls and shumai dumplings.

The restaurant marks another expansion to the reach of a family that owns a popular local Japanese restaurant.

Jonathan Chen — an owner of both Ganbei and Hokkaido, the ramen house that opened in August in the same Columbia Avenue shopping center that houses Eggs Up Grill and Rush’s — told the Chronicle last year that Taipo will be overseen by the Hokkaido team, with fellow Hokkaido owner Elaine Chen having more influence over the new restaurant.

The new ramen house, which is Lexington’s second such restaurant, is located at 5341 Sunset Blvd. in the same shopping center as Bellacino’s. It offers both dine-in and takeout service.

The restaurant’s website lists its hours as 11 a.m.-9 p.m. seven days a week.

Former Lexington-Richland 5 board member disputes ethics charges

Ken Loveless is no longer a member of the Lexington-Richland School District 5 board, but the state Ethics Commission isn’t done with him yet.

The commission held a hearing on four charges filed against Loveless Feb. 16. The former board member, who was ousted in November along with all of the other District 5 incumbents running for re-election, is accused of inquiring about and discussing the construction of Piney Woods Elementary in 2020 when the general contractor on that job had hired Loveless’ company for another project.

Loveless’ attorney, Desa Ballard, argued he didn’t violate ethics law “because he didn’t vote on the project and any discussions he participated in are legal,” The State’s Holly Poag reports.

Ballard said, “It’s not illegal for Loveless to participate in conversations about the school as long as he didn’t participate in any voting,” and contested that Loveless visited the Piney Woods work site in June 2020, with Loveless testifying that he didn’t attend the site visit.

“During Thursday’s hearing, the commission’s chief investigator, Ryanne W. Caldwell, testified that state law says public officials with a conflict of interest must recuse themselves from any action related to the conflict,” Poag reports. “Loveless did recuse himself in early 2021 after he reached out to the ethics commission.”

A ruling in the case  is set to be announced in a few weeks.

Lexington Chamber reports more than 500 attendees at Lexpo

The Lexington Chamber hosted its Business Lexpo Feb. 16 at the Barr Road Sports Complex.

This latest edition of the event found the Chamber moving the expo from the summer into February and continuing to enhance its selection of business exhibitors with an array of restaurants offering food samples and a bar serving beer and wine for the happy-hour-timed event.

The chamber reports that about 550 people attended the event, perusing the 95 local businesses who were on hand as exhibitors.

The Chronicle spied Rep. Joe Wilson, Lexington’s representative in Washington, making the rounds and introducing himself to the exhibitors, and Sheriff Jay Koon was behind the table at the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department’s booth.

Drainage work closes lanes in West Columbia

Drainage work is causing lane closures in West Columbia.

The state Department of Transportation said in a release that it was set to begin drainage repairs to the system under Charleston Highway/ U.S. Highway 321 near Airport Boulevard on Feb. 21, closing lanes in the area through mid-March.

“Dual lane closures will impact travel southbound on Highway 321 and drivers traveling southbound should anticipate delays during peak travel periods,” the release states. “Access to Williams Street will be closed at the intersection of Highway 321 and a detour route is in place along Platt Springs Road for local traffic. These lane closures are not expected to impact northbound traffic.”

Traffic will still be able to turn right into the old Kmart parking lot off Charleston Highway to access the businesses there, but the two right-hand lanes leading up to Williams Street will be closed.

Chronicle founder donates books

Retired Chronicle founder Jerry Bellune recently donated $1,400 worth of books to a local nonprofit that looks to fight adult illiteracy.

Bellune donated the books to Turning Pages SC, with which he works annually to put on the Authors for Literacy fundraiser in Lexington.

Among the books donated was Bellune’s “Lead People, Manage Things,” which “offers 18 proven strategies on inspiring others to greater life achievement,” a release states.

"Our nonprofit thrives on community gifts. We are so grateful for Jerry’s ongoing generosity," Lisa Cole, Turning Pages’ interim executive director, is quoted "Volunteers come to us for professional development in tutoring. This donation will help us provide more accessible education.” 

"Tutoring is an advanced form of leadership," Bellune is quoted. "I have seen the work they do. Tutors deserve our recognition and appreciation. These books will help tutors inspire their learners even more.”


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