Across South Carolina

NAACP leader calls on Haley to remove flag


COLUMBIA --- The NAACP's top officer called on South Carolina's "first governor of color" to bring down the Confederate flag that flies a stone's throw from Gov. Nikki Haley's Statehouse office.

NAACP President Benjamin Jealous on Monday pointed out a longstanding fight with South Carolina over the Confederate flag on Monday during his keynote speech for the civil rights organization's annual convention in Los Angeles.

"Perhaps one of the most perplexing examples of the contradictions of this moment in history is that Nikki Haley, South Carolina's first governor of color, continues to fly the Confederate flag in front of her state's Capitol," Jealous said. Haley is the first governor in the state born of parents who immigrated from India.

"Given the similarities between our struggles to end slavery and segregation and her ancestors' struggle to end British colonialism and oppression in India, my question to Gov. Haley is one that Dr. (Martin Luther) King often asked himself: 'What would Gandhi do?' "

The NAACP launched an economic boycott of the state in 1999 about the banner, which flew atop the Statehouse dome and in the chambers of the House and Senate. A compromise in 2000 moved the flag to a monument outside the Statehouse.

Lieutenant governor says he won't resign

COLUMBIA --- Republican Lt. Gov. Ken Ard told reporters as he entered the Statehouse on Tuesday that he has no plans to resign after the attorney general turned an ethics investigation over to the state grand jury.

"We are completely cooperating with the AG's office to bring this thing to a conclusion," Ard said.

Ard gaveled the Senate into session and occasionally huddled with legislators during breaks. He smiled frequently and shook their hands.

State Law Enforcement Division Chief Mark Keel on Monday approved a request that would open a grand jury investigation being sought by Attorney General Alan Wilson.

The investigation comes weeks after Ard agreed to pay $48,000 in civil fines to the state Ethics Commission for 107 counts of breaking state campaign finance laws after authorities said he used campaign cash for personal expenses. He also paid $12,500 to cover investigation costs and $12,000 to reimburse his campaign for improper spending.

Official says he won't resign over article

COLUMBIA --- A Kershaw County Republican Party official said Tuesday he will not step down despite a furor over his apparent online support of an article saying killing law officers can sometimes be justified.

Jeff Mattox, a co-chairman of the county party, said he can't even remember ever clicking "like" on the article entitled "When Should You Shoot a Cop" and posted on Facebook on July 15 by another local party member.

But local officials noticed the former home builder-turned political activist's name underneath the posting and decried his apparent support of the piece, which originally appeared on the Web site and calls on citizens to decide for themselves when police actions are justified and act accordingly.

In other news

THE KIT-BUILT AIRPLANE that killed a jogger on Hilton Head Island last year lost power because it had a damaged crankshaft caused by an earlier, unrecorded, propeller strike, the National Transportation Safety Board has concluded. Robert Gary Jones, of Woodstock, Ga., was listening to his iPod and jogging when the plane hit him from behind as it tried to make an emergency landing on the beach March 15, 2010.

THE RAIN THAT FINALLY fell in Horry County hasn't been enough to extinguish a wildfire burning for more than three weeks. Authorities say the more than half-inch of rain this week has created mud that has trapped equipment. The fire was started July 3 from fireworks.