Across South Carolina

Teen will avoid jail for DUI by apologizing


CONWAY - A teen convicted of driving under the influence in a crash that killed her friend will avoid going to jail if she apologizes to the victim's family and creates a program about the dangers of drinking and driving for high school students.

Margaret Freeman told the judge she is sorry for what happened in August 2005.

The judge sentenced Ms. Freeman to 90 days in jail on charges of reckless homicide and possession of marijuana, but suspended those sentences provided she writes a letter of apology to the victim's family and completes a year of counseling and random drug testing.

She was 16 at the time of the crash that killed her friend, 15-year-old Erica Wilson.

Erica's family wanted a stiffer sentence but said they like the idea of an anti-drinking program.

Effort to block land condemnation denied

BEAUFORT - A judge has denied Jasper County's efforts to block the South Carolina Ports Authority's land condemnation for a new port on the Savannah River.

On Wednesday, Circuit Judge Ernest Kinard Jr. denied the county's request to block the condemnation of 1,800 acres Georgia owns on the South Carolina side of the river. Attorneys for Georgia and the State Ports Authority will present arguments to the judge, who will decide if the authority can condemn the land.

The land is owned by the Georgia Department of Transportation and used as a spoils area for silt dredged from the river shipping channel.

The port would be a boon to the local and state economy, creating as many as 90,000 jobs, Jasper County officials have said. It has wanted to build a privately financed port.

Bill would allow for all-day drink specials

COLUMBIA - "Happy Hour" at bars and restaurants could become "Happy Day" under a bill approved Wednesday in a House subcommittee.

The proposal would let businesses with alcohol licenses choose one day a week, except Sundays, for all-day specials on liquor drinks.

Currently, businesses can sell and advertise liquor drink specials - though not less than half-price - from 4 to 8 p.m. only. Breaking the law can be punished by at least three months in jail and a fine of at least $100.

The bill's sponsor, Rep. Doug Smith, said the proposal would legalize what many businesses already do.

- Edited from wire reports