NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. — South Carolina’s burgeoning aeronautics industry flew by another milestone Wednesday as the first Boeing 787 manufactured in the state completed its maiden flight.
The first aircraft from Boeing’s new $750 million assembly plant in North Charleston lifted gracefully into a hazy blue sky shortly after noon. It returned more than five hours later after clocking about 2,000 miles – mainly over the Atlantic – and flying to 41,000 feet.
Six Boeing employees were on board the plane and hundreds of workers gathered around it as the aircraft returned from its first flight.
By the end of this year, Boeing plans to have turned out four planes from its North Charleston plant. It hopes to be producing about three-and-a-half planes a month by the end of next year.
Money for voter ID suit stays in budget
COLUMBIA — Democratic state senators have failed in a bid to remove funding from the proposed 2012-13 budget for the voter ID lawsuit.
The Senate defeated 24-17 on Wednesday an amendment stripping $1 million from the attorney general’s office for its fight with the federal government on a state law requiring voters to show photo identification. Subsequent attempts also failed.
Republicans say the law is about preventing voter fraud. The federal government blocked the law in December, saying it could keep minorities from casting ballots. Attorney General Alan Wilson then sued.
Flooring company adds 500 Ga. jobs
SUMMERVILLE, GA. — Flooring manufacturer Mohawk Industries will add roughly 500 jobs as it expands its operations in northwest Georgia, officials said Wednesday.
Mohwak recycles billions of plastic bottles and containers into polyester fiber used in carpets. During the expansion project at its Summerville plant, the company will invest in technology making its recycling and manufacturing process more efficient to produce more fiber.
Baby beluga born at aquarium dies
ATLANTA — The first beluga whale born at the Georgia Aquarium died Wednesday, less than a week after her birth, the Atlanta attraction said.
The 82-pound beluga was underweight and had been in critical condition since her birth Friday and had been under 24-hour care from aquarium workers. The workers had reported the whale was improving steadily before her death.
“This was a very sudden loss,” said William Hurley, the aquarium’s chief animal officer. “Her blood indicators suggested her little body was working the way it was supposed to. The level of how critical she was improved every day.”
In other news
THE SOUTH CAROLINA HOUSE Ethics Committee has asked for more employment information from South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley before deciding whether to reopen an ethics complaint against her.
– Associated Press