Across South Carolina

Fort Jackson poison claims under inquiry


COLUMBIA --- The Army has been investigating allegations that soldiers' food at its largest basic training base in South Carolina was being poisoned, but no credible information to support the allegations has been found, an Army spokesman said Thursday.

Army spokesman Lt. Col. Christopher Garver said the investigation has been going on "for almost two months" at Fort Jackson outside Columbia. It wasn't clear who made the allegations or whether any soldiers had been sickened.

Garver said he could not release any specifics of the investigation by the Army's Criminal Investigative Service to protect its integrity.

"I can say that, according to CID spokespersons, they have not found any credible information to substantiate the allegations," Garver, who's based at the Pentagon, said in an e-mail.

He said he is unaware of any arrests made in the investigation.

Army spokesmen from Fort Jackson didn't return repeated phone calls and e-mails seeking further comment.

Bill will reduce voter notices in local papers

COLUMBIA --- A bill allowing the South Carolina Election Commission and local governments to save money by publishing fewer, shorter voter notices in local newspapers received initial approval Thursday.

The bill approved by a House Judiciary subcommittee would move most of the information in those legal advertisements from print to the state Election Commission's Web site. Smaller, cheaper ads in newspapers would direct readers to the site.

The shortened ads still would have to give the date, time, type of election and deadline for registering to vote. The ads would be run in papers once, rather than twice as required under current law, 45 days before an election.

The state Election Commission, which reimburses local governments for notices on statewide primaries and general elections, spent about $85,500 on the ads in 2008, according to the agency.

The amended measure would cut the costs by more than half.

The bill moves to the full House Judiciary Committee.

Latest tourism report shows revenue boost

CHARLESTON, S.C. --- Sun and fun mean more than ever to South Carolina as new figures show tourism now pumps $18.4 billion into the state economy.

That's up from about $16 billion in 2006, according to the state Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism.

The latest numbers are for 2008, before the worst of the recession hit. Numbers from last year, modeled for economic impact, won't be available until early 2011, said Chad Prosser, the department's director.

Prosser told The Associated Press he expects this season to show a rebound from 18 months of recession.

-- From wire reports