Across South Carolina

Town gives approval to sex offender rule


LEXINGTON --- The Lexington Town Council has approved an ordinance that would effectively ban registered sex offenders from moving to the town.

The council made its decision after a favorable opinion from the state attorney general, who said it would likely stand up if challenged in court.

The ordinance approved Monday would prevent sex offenders from living or loitering within 2,000 feet of schools, churches, parks, playgrounds and other sites where children might gather.

State sees more bankruptcy filings

CHARLESTON --- The number of bankruptcy filings in South Carolina rose about 18 percent last year, in part because of troubled real estate and mortgage markets.

There were nearly 7,200 corporate and personal bankruptcy filings -- up almost 2,000 from the previous year. Still, the number was only about half of those in 2005, when changes in the law made it harder for people to file for bankruptcy.

The (Charleston) Post and Courier reported Tuesday that the cost of medical care, divorces and job losses were the most common reasons for filing.

But rising mortgage rates also played a role, and there will likely be more bankruptcies to come, said Charleston attorney Michael Drose.

Police say freed man threatened witness

DARLINGTON --- Darlington County deputies say a man mistakenly released from custody last week threatened a possible witness in his murder trial while he was free.

Authorities say 22-year-old Mardrall Addison was supposed to be sent to Darlington County jail to await trial on a murder charge after his release from a state prison last week, but instead he was released from custody.

Mr. Addison was free for four days before turning himself in Friday.

New House, Senate members join ranks

COLUMBIA --- Four new members of the South Carolina House and Senate were sworn in Tuesday, the opening day of the 2008 legislative session.

Legislators welcomed Reps. Shannon Erickson and Heyward Hutson, and Sens. Paul Campbell and Shane Massey, all Republicans.

One seat in the House remains vacant with the November resignation of Rep. Shirley Hinson, R-Goose Creek.

The General Assembly's GOP majority gained one seat with Mr. Massey, an Edgefield attorney who won a special election in November to replace former Democratic Sen. Tommy Moore. At 32, he becomes the Senate's youngest member.

-- Edited from wire reports