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Editor's Note: Final edition posted at 8:30 a.m.

State pre-pay tuition plan at risk

A state plan that allows parents to pre-pay tuition is at risk due to a $41 million shortfall, according to the state treasurer's office.

According to the Greenville News, "Soaring tuition hikes and sagging investments have put the Tuition Prepayment Program in jeopardy. Faced with a taxpayer bailout or exacting tuition concessions from the state's universities, some suggest shutting it down."

Some 6,200 families have more than $112 million invested in the plan, the paper reported.

Republican candidates for state treasurer used the news to criticize investment strategies by incumbent Democrat Grady Patterson, whose office blamed soaring tuition rates. More below in Statewide.

Lawmakers need to clean up campaign finance system

"Outgoing state Rep. Dan Tripp has introduced a bill that has little chance of passing but deserves consideration. His bill would limit the ability of lawmakers to create their own political action committees and thereby set up a second campaign finance operation.

"Several legislative leaders have their own "leadership committees." These committees raise money, support political candidates and undertake independent activities such as advertising and mailings.

"The problem is the committees can be used to circumvent campaign finance limits. For instance, a company can double the amount it's allowed to give to a specific lawmaker by giving to the lawmaker's campaign and to the lawmaker's political action committee."
Source: Spartanburg Herald Journal


NAACP campaign to focus on disparities
Officials from the S.C. conference of the NAACP announced Tuesday the launch of the Freedom Fund Campaign to raise money for programs and initiatives to address racial disparities in the Palmetto State.
Source: The State/AP

4-K funding plan passes committee
The House Education Committee endorsed a measure Tuesday requiring that the state’s public school systems and private day-care providers share any new money the Legislature appropriates this year for expanding 4-year-old kindergarten.
Source: The State

SRS retirees concerned about pensions
Savannah River Site Retiree Association members are worried their pension and medical benefits could be affected by potential contract changes at the former nuclear weapons complex.
Source: Myrtle Beach Sun News/AP

Black-owned businesses struggling in S.C.
According to U.S. Census Bureau statistics released Tuesday, the number of black-owned businesses in the Palmetto State grew 23% from 1997 to 2002, but they generated less than 1% of the state’s sales.
Source: The State

• 8.2% of Greenville businesses are black-owned
Source: Greenville News

• Number of black businesses grows by 61% in Florence
Source: Florence Morning News

• Business is booming for black entrepreneurs nationally
Source: New York Times/AP

• Businesses up 31% in Charleston area
Source: Post & Courier

State college prepay plan in trouble
South Carolina's Tuition Prepayment Program, which helps parents put away money for their kids' college education while locking in tuition rates, has a $41 million shortfall, according to the state Treasurer's Office.
Source: Greenville News

• State treasurer candidates spar over tuition program
Source: Greenville News


Group airing radio ads on property tax issue
NoHomeTax.org, a homeowners' group claiming to have 250,000 members statewide, began airing about $10,000 worth of radio ads on Tuesday urging the state Senate to move forward on a property tax relief plan.
Source: The State/AP

• Transcript of radio ad
Source: The State/AP

• Several property tax plans under consideration
Source: The State

• Senate to take up House tax reform plan again
Source: The State

• Senate could vote on House tax reform plan today
Source: Greenville News

• Bauer casts deciding vote to keep House plan alive
Source: Post & Courier

Lawmakers taking up FOIA-related bills
The S.C. House and Senate are holding hearing this week on several measures dealing with the state's Freedom of Information Act.
Source: The State/AP

• Lexington council frequently excludes public
Source: The State

House committee approves scalping bill
The state House Judiciary Committee approved a bill Tuesday that would set up an organized ticket scalping market by requiring scalpers to share the profits with the venues and ticket companies.
Source: The State/AP

Black judge will take over Lloyd's seat on bench
All three candidates nominated by a state judicial screening panel to fill the at-large Circuit Court judgeship vacated by U.S. Attorney Reggie Lloyd are black.
Source: The State/AP

• Panel says more females, minorities needed on bench
Source: Beaufort Gazette

Bill on Bull Street property headed to House Ways & Means
Under a bill approved Tuesday in a House subcommittee, money generated from selling the state Department of Mental Health's Bull Street property would be used to pay for care and services for the mentally ill.
Source: The State/AP

House subcommittee kills school choice bill
A school choice bill that would have given parents a state check or tax credit to send their kids to private school died in a House subcommittee Tuesday after members voted to adjourn debate.
Source: The State/AP

Bill would give hybrid car owners a tax credit
A state House subcommittee passed a bill Tuesday that would give consumers who purchased hybrid cars a $500 to $700 state income tax credit.
Source: The State/AP

Bill would provide $300M in loans for school construction
Rep. Herb Kirsh and other lawmakers are sponsoring a bill that would create the S.C. School Facilities Infrastructure Authority, which would give rural districts a less expensive way to borrow money for school construction.
Source: The State/AP

Committee approves regs allowing bridges to marsh islands
The House Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs Committee approved regulations Tuesday that would let developers seek permits for bridges to about 250 small coastal islands.
Source: The State

• Proposal combines DHEC plan, cuts
Source: Beaufort Gazette

• Compromise reached on bridge rules
Source: Post & Courier

Norman lagging Spratt in campaign funds
Despite fundraisers with Vice President Dick Cheney and Karl Rove, Republican challenger Ralph Norman trails incumbent Congressman John Spratt in campaign funds by about 40%.
Source: Charlotte Observer

• Spratt praises Bush choice for budget office
Source: New York Times

Moore, Willis push initiatives
State Sen. Tommy Moore, a Democratic candidate for governor, introduced a bill Tuesday that would increase the cigarette tax, while his primary opponent, Florence mayor Frank Willis, touted his city's selection for an after-school program.
Source: Greenville News

Horry County projects cut from Senate budget
Horry County senators hope to restore millions of dollars that were slashed from the Senate Finance Committee's version of the state budget, including allotments for the state Children's Museum, beach renourishment funds and a grant to Coastal Carolina University.
Source: Myrtle Beach Sun News

Senators pass bill on tech college names
The state Senate passed a bill Tuesday giving all state technical colleges the option of adding "community" to their names.
Source: Spartanburg Herald-Journal


Osteen Publishing debuts new publications
The Osteen Publishing Co., which publishes The Sumter Item, has launched At-Ease and LakeSide, publications aimed at Midlands-area residents and visitors.

Source: The State/AP

Sanford, NASCAR drivers push support for Darlington
Governor Mark Sanford hosted several NASCAR drivers and officials at the Governor's Mansion in Columbia Tuesday to urge support for Darlington Raceway.
Source: The State/AP

• Sanford stresses economic impact of Darlington race
Source: Florence Morning News

• Drivers Mayfield, Spencer express support for track
Source: WBTW-TV

Midlands home sales, prices up
According to the S.C. Association of Realtors, home sales in the Midlands increased by about 7% in March over the same month last year, and median home price was up 4.8%.
Source: The State

• Declines in home sales show coast becoming buyer's market
Source: Myrtle Beach Sun News

McClatchy CEO visits The State
Gary Pruitt, CEO of The McClatchy Co., visited employees of The State Tuesday during a tour of soon-to-be acquired Knight Ridder newspapers.
Source: The State

Beach First sees jump in earnings
Officials at Myrtle Beach-based Beach First National Bank reported Tuesday that earnings increased about 150% during the first three months of 2006 compared with the same period last year.
Source: Myrtle Beach Sun News

• South Financial reports rise in earnings
Source: Greenville News

SPA asks high court to order Jasper to drop plans
The State Ports Authority filed a request with the S.C. Supreme Court Tuesday asking them to order Jasper County to abandon plans to condemn a proposed container terminal site on the Savannah River.
Source: Post & Courier

• Ports Authority seeks to end competing condemnations
Source: Beaufort Gazette

New credit union to open in Charleston
Charleston-area businessman Calvin Glover has established the new Port Trust Federal Credit Union, which is scheduled to open by mid-May.
Source: Post & Courier


 Goss named to Wofford post
Darrin Goss, the director of multicultural affairs and leadership programs at Wofford College, has been named director of career services.
Source: Spartanburg Herald-Journal

 Alcohol tests not to be used at prom
Due to legal concerns, Beaufort County School District officials have reconsidered administering breath-analysis tests at prom.
Source: Hilton Head Island Packet

Horry high schoolers to go to college
Over 150 Horry County 9th graders will go to Horry-Georgetown Technical College in the fall as part of a new national initiative called the Early College High School project.

Source: Myrtle Beach Sun News

Southerlin to retire from Blue Ridge High
The principal of Greer's Blue Ridge High School for the past 29 years, Kenneth Southerlin, has announced that he will retire June 30th.
Source: Greenville News

Laurens schools hires Lackey to aid in search
Laurens School District 56 has hired consultant John Taylor to assist its board in its search for a new district superintendent to replace Charles Lackey.
Source: Greenville News

Clemson considering plans for facility in downtown Greenville
Clemson officials will present plans Thursday to the university's board of trustees for a Clemson Renaissance Center in downtown Greenville for hundreds of business graduate students.
Source: Greenville News

Middleton named Charleston's top teacher
Jennifer Middleton, a sixth-grade science teacher at the Military Magnet Academy, was named Charleston County Teacher of the Year on Tuesday.
Source: Post & Courier

Amos resigns as principal at Burke
Curtis Amos, the principal at Burke High School since last summer, submitted his resignation Monday, effective June 30th.
Source: Post & Courier


 Development threatening eagles' habitat
Officials at the S.C. Center for Birds of Prey in Awendaw say a growing number of eagles are being treated for injuries suffered in turf battles, an indication that they are running out of available habitat.
Source: Hilton Head Island Packet

• Young bald eagle still recovering from surgery
Source: Hilton Head Island Packet

Red flag alert still in effect in six Upstate counties
S.C. Forestry Commission officials have lifted the statewide red flag fire alert in all but six Upstate counties, saying they have responded to nearly 150 fires across the state since Friday.
Source: The State/AP

• Dought response plan to get use
Source: Lake Wylie Pilot


 Georgetown Hospital System honors volunteers
Georgetown Hospital System recognized its 290 volunteers, who have worked some 52,424 hour, at the Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon Tuesday.
Source: Georgetown Times

Bausch & Lomb plant not inspected for 3 years
The Bausch & Lomb plant in Greenville that produced the contact lens solution linked to an outbreak of potentially blinding eye infections had not been inspected by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for three years.
Source: The State/Cox News Service

• Contact wearers switching back to eyeglasses
Source: Myrtle Beach Sun News/AP


 York voters reject Sunday alcohol sales
York residents voted against Sunday alcohol sales on Tuesday by a 56% to 44% margin.

Source: Rock Hill Herald

Oconee rejects building moratorium language
The Oconee County Council eliminated the word "moratorium" from a proposal to control lakefront development in the rapidly growing county, as builders and Lake Keowee homeowners squared off on Tuesday.
Source: The State/AP

• Greenville developer threatens suit if regs pass
Source: Seneca Daily-Journal

Richland council delays decision on Wal-Mart
Richland County Council voted 8-2 Tuesday to delay rezoning a parcel at Killian Road and I-77 for a new Wal-Mart Supercenter.
Source: The State

Bamberg approves $6.5M budget
Bamberg County Council members approved Monday on the first reading a $6.5 million budget that does not include a tax increase.
Source: Orangeburg Times & Democrat

Orangeburg council opposes new commercial areas
The Orangeburg City Council voted 5-2 Tuesday to approve an amended comprehensive plan that favors single-family residential areas over commercial zones.
Source: Orangeburg Times & Democrat

Horry council approves LR overlay
Horry County Council unanimously approved Tuesday a zoning overlay for that will guide the appearance, accessibility and safety of new development in Little River.
Source: Myrtle Beach Sun News

NMB planners give nod to annexation
The North Myrtle Beach Planning Commission voted Tuesday in favor of annexing nearly 73 acres of land where developers plan to build single-family and multifamily homes, retail and office space.
Source: Myrtle Beach Sun News

First black mayor elected in Anderson
Terence Roberts made history Tuesday by defeating incumbent Richard Shirley in a runoff election making him the first black mayor of Anderson.
Source: Greenville News

• Roberts: 'Folks voted for change'
Source: Anderson Independent-Mail

• York elects first black woman to council
Source: Rock Hill Herald

• Roberts wins election with 2,219 votes
Source: WSPA-TV

Greenville council clarifies stance on takings
Greenville County Council voted unanimously Tuesday to limit its seizure of private land for public use.
Source: Greenville News

Franklin concert a hit in Greenville
Aretha Franklin performed for a sellout crowd at Greenville's Peace Center Tuesday night.
Source: Greenville News

Beckmann wins FB runoff
Political newcomer Carl Beckmann defeated veteran City Councilman Wallace Benson Tuesday, taking nearly 60% of the vote in Folly Beach's mayoral runoff election.
Source: Post & Courier

Group files complaint over CARTA service during SEWE
The S.C. Motorcoach Association has filed a formal complaint with the Federal Transit Administration saying CARTA broke federal rules when it accepted $23,000 to provide bus service for the Southeastern Wildlife Exposition.
Source: Post & Courier

Dorchester council considers limits on pets
Dorchester County Council is considering a proposal that would limit the number of dogs and cats residents can own.
Source: Post & Courier

Basket weavers seek protection
Mount Pleasant sweetgrass basket weavers are seeking to be placed on the National Register for Historic Places to prevent being displaced by future development.
Source: Post & Courier


 Brown deserves credit for recognizing immigration problem
"Steve Brown has done the people of Greenwood a great service by publicly recognizing the immigration problem. As strange as it might seem to some people, he has also broached a predicament that cannot be solved by pretending it’s not there. Until and if government officials at all levels, along with state and community leaders tackle a difficult problem, it can only get worse."
Source: Greenwood Index-Journal

 York court helps in efforts against domestic violence
"Lawmakers have stiffened penalties for repeat offenders, and S.C. Attorney General Henry McMaster successfully lobbied the General Assembly this year to provide $2 million to fund additional prosecutors and establish centralized courts to handle domestic violence cases. The participation of so many agencies and officials at all levels in this joint effort is a reassuring sign that South Carolina recognizes the seriousness of its domestic violence problem and is equally serious about doing something to stem it."
Source: Rock Hill Herald

 Come-See-Me Festival a smashing success
"This year's Come-See-Me Festival got a big boost from Mother Nature. Nonetheless, it would not have been the huge success it was without the months of preparation and hard work of festival organizers and volunteer workers."
Source: Rock Hill Herald

 Sanford right to challenge Chester to be healthier
"All South Carolinians have to do is exercise and eat right and much of the billions spent on health care in South Carolina could be spent on something else. Some agency in Chester County should take the program up as an active project. Let's call that a challenge, shall we?"
Source: Chester News & Reporter

More troopers needed to enforce DUI laws properly
"It takes money for legislators to put more troopers on the highways, and we’re glad they’re finding some to do that. But it doesn’t take a penny to change the message they’re sending to the troopers we already have, along with the local police who have stopped bothering the drunks. All it takes is a spine — and more concern for the innocent victims of drunken drivers than for the drunks themselves."
Source: The State

Luchok & Gareau: Bill doesn't protect pregnant women enough
"If you believe all women, especially pregnant ones, deserve greater protection under the law, this bill is not the answer. We can best support healthy children by protecting the health and well-being of mothers and mothers-to-be. Let’s concentrate our efforts on crafting bills that can truly value women, protect them from violence and appropriately punish those who perpetrate violence against them."
Source: The State

Orangeburg development status should be distressed
"Orangeburg lawmakers are working hard to ensure the county remains 'distressed.' Sounds odd for an All-America County that seeks to be a leader in economic development and quality of life — a county that proudly professes every day here is a great one. Elected leaders say the 'distressed' label, however, is essential if Orangeburg County is to develop into the powerhouse it can be."
Source: Orangeburg Times & Democrat

Bailey: Hooters Air will be missed
"It was cool having a hometown airline. It made Myrtle Beach feel more grown up. The airline business is tough, and as Hooters Air owner Robert Brooks said, 'cutthroat.' Astute businessman that he is, he couldn't save Hooters Air. That says more about the competitiveness of the industry than it does him."
Source: Myrtle Beach Sun News

NMB council handled deal properly
"The conventional wisdom hereabout is that in cutting development deals, local councils neglect to look out for residents because they're in thrall to developers. As illustrated by North Myrtle Beach City Council's deal this week with the folks redeveloping the Barefoot Camping Resort, this view is often unfair."
Source: Myrtle Beach Sun News

Oil companies need to explain gas prices
"In the wake of last fall's $3-a-gallon gasoline and the recent spike in prices, President Bush on Tuesday pledged the federal government will be on the lookout for unreasonably high prices this summer. Before that can happen, the oil companies will need to offer an adequate explanation of how prices are set."
Source: Greenville News

Greenville board right to extend Fisher's contract
"Test scores have held steady or risen slightly. Fisher's current salary is comparable to those of other superintendents in the Southeast. The board was right to reward her strong performance as superintendent."
Source: Greenville News

Dorchester council needs to protect historic area
"Restricted growth has been repeatedly endorsed in public hearings held by County Council. That can be accomplished by zoning if accompanied by the selective installation of infrastructure, including roads, water lines and sewerage. Residents should insist on a coordinated plan to restrict development, including protective zoning and a limit on the availability of infrastructure. The installation of utilities in the historic district threatens growth management goals."
Source: Post & Courier