Across South Carolina

Amphitheater brings new name, new acts


MARION - The venue formally known as the Carolina Amphitheater has new leadership and plans to put on its first concert in three years this spring.

The 27,000-seat amphitheater near Marion has had a rocky history, fighting off lawsuits over unpaid bills and dealing with a fraud indictment of a former owner.

The current owners have brought in a new leadership team and renamed the amphitheater the Carolina Entertainment Complex in hopes of a new start.

Officials hoped to open the season with classic rock acts Blackfoot and Molly Hatchet on March 31, but that date has been scrapped. Instead, it looks like the first concert will be May 10, with acts for Myrtle Beach Bike Week.

The amphitheater expects to schedule eight to 12 concerts this year and expand to a full concert schedule for 2008.

Man left child alone for sex, police say

ANDERSON - A man who thought he was going to have sex with a 12-year-old girl he met on the Internet left his 2-year-old son at home alone 35 miles away as he sought out the encounter, police say.

James Joseph Matthews was arrested after leaving his home in Greer for Anderson to have sex with what he thought was a 12-year-old girl, police said.

But the girl was an undercover officer, authorities said.

Mr. Matthews has been charged with criminal solicitation of a minor, attempted criminal sexual conduct with a minor and unlawful neglect of a child, according to warrants.

Mr. Matthews was a Greenville County deputy for more than two years before leaving in 2005, sheriff spokesman Master Deputy Michael Hildebrand said.

$150 million lawsuit halts bridge project

LAKE MARION - A Lake Marion bridge project has been delayed indefinitely by state road builders because of a $150 million lawsuit.

It could take years to resolve the lawsuit by environmental groups - and construction can't start without the state water quality permit, which officials have not applied for because of the lawsuit.

A statement by the agency said it intends to seek the state permit, but not if "developments in that lawsuit indicate that a re-evaluation of project plans is required."

Key arguments against the bridge are shortcomings in the Department of Transportation's environmental impact study. Conservation groups who filed suit in September said it lacked key information.

The state Department of Health and Environmental Control denied the water quality permit last month, citing similar concerns about the environmental impact statement and a lack of information.

- Edited from wire reports