Across South Carolina

Pills set for neighbors of nuclear power plant


COLUMBIA --- The state health agency says residents in 13 counties who live near nuclear power plants can pick up pills that could help reduce the risks of some cancers during a radioactive release.

Residents can get new potassium iodide pills to replace those set to expire this month. Residents don't need to throw out those pills yet.

The state Health Department says federal agencies tested the pills and extended the expiration date to 2009.

People can get the pills at public health departments in Aiken, Allendale, Barnwell, Chesterfield, Darlington, Fairfield, Lee, Lexington, Newberry, Oconee, Pickens, Richland and York counties.

Hunters set record for black bears killed

COLUMBIA --- Hunters killed a record 58 black bears during a two-week hunting season in three Upstate counties.

The state Natural Resources Department says eight bears weighed more than 400 pounds and the heaviest was 530 pounds.

The bears were killed in Greenville, Oconee and Pickens counties last month.

The previous record of 55 bears was set in 2003.

Skip Still, black bear biologist for the state wildlife department, says the results show the black bear population in the mountains and piedmont areas is growing.

Ambulance company denies fraud claims

SPARTANBURG --- An attorney for a private ambulance transport service said allegations the company fraudulently billed Medicaid are false, and a state investigation will not affect operations.

The state attorney general's office is investigating whether Gaffney-based Ambu-Star billed Medicaid and Medicare for providing basic life support when it wasn't needed.

Ambu-Star attorney John Simmons blamed the inquiry on competitors and said the company will continue to cooperate with authorities.

Converse professor wins national award

SPARTANBURG --- A Converse College history professor has been named the South Carolina winner of a national awards program.

Melissa Walker was among winners in 40 states and the District of Columbia who were recognized by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education.