Across South Carolina

Council prays before session on prayer


WALHALLA - The Oconee County Council had a prayer in its chambers before Tuesday's meeting, then decided afterward to have a public meeting next week to discuss whether to continue the practice.

Members of the American Civil Liberties Union were present. For nearly two years, they have challenged the county for allowing prayers that reference Jesus and single out one religion.

The council needs to carefully discuss its options for a prayer before meetings, County Attorney Brad Norton said.

"What we can do legally is very clear. We can very easily follow the law, but if we decide to gamble and stretch how far the law will go and the court says we're wrong, it will cost us in the neighborhood of $150,000 (to) $250,000 in attorneys' fees," Mr. Norton said.

Art institute to enroll students in spring

CHARLESTON - The new Art Institute of Charleston will begin enrolling students this spring for courses including culinary arts and graphic design.

The city recruited the institute to help offset the culinary training programs lost last year when Johnson & Wales University moved to Charlotte, N.C., from Charleston.

The Art Institute operates more than 30 schools in North America. The Charleston campus will begin classes April 2 in a building bordering Charleston's City Market area.

The school hopes to enroll 55 students this spring and about 200 for the fall term, said spokeswoman Paige Canaday Crone. Eventually it hopes to accommodate 750 students.

The institute will initially offer bachelor's degrees in culinary arts management, graphic design, interactive media design, interior design and photographic imaging. It will offer associate degrees in culinary arts, graphic design and interactive media design.

Interstate Peachoid picked for cleaning

GAFFNEY - One of South Carolina's most famous landmarks is getting a cleaning.

Workers are scaling the Peachoid - better known as the giant water tower painted like a peach - along Interstate 85.

Crews will spend the next several weeks cleaning the tower and plan to add a clear finish that might save its paint job for an additional five years, said Donnie Hardin, the general manager of the Gaffney Board of Public Works, which owns the water tower.

The million-gallon Peachoid was built in 1981 and repainted in 1996.

- Edited from wire reports