Originally created 05/08/02

Across South Carolina



Cigarette tax increase returns to debate floor

COLUMBIA -More debate is expected today on the proposed cigarette tax increase that most people thought died in budget talks last month.

Rep. James Smith of Columbia said in a Democratic caucus meeting Tuesday that he would introduce an amendment to the state budget when it returns to the House this week.

South Carolina's current cigarette tax of 7 cents per pack is the fourth-lowest in the nation and hasn't been raised in more than 20 years, Mr. Smith said.

Sides resolve argument over homeowner's flag

NORTH MYRTLE BEACH -A dispute between a resident and a homeowner's group about flying the United States flag has ended.

The Fairway Oaks homeowner's association had threatened to fine Mike Kaminsky $25 a day if he did not remove the flag flown outside his home by Saturday.

During a Saturday meeting, the group voted to allow U.S. flags to be flown on national holidays and every Sept. 11. For now, residents may fly the Stars and Stripes until the association places one at the neighborhood clubhouse.

Searchers keep looking for man in crash at lake

FAIR PLAY -The search continued Tuesday for a man missing and presumed dead after a sport utility vehicle ran over a guardrail on Interstate 85 over Lake Hartwell on the Georgia-South Carolina border.

One body was recovered, and one person survived the crash about 5 a.m. Monday.

The group was returning from mission work in Washington D.C., said John Whatley, a spokesman with Tres Dias, an interdenominational Christian organization that has a chapter in the Atlanta area.

Corrections Department deficit spending OK'd

COLUMBIA -The Budget and Control Board agreed Tuesday to allow the state Corrections Department to spend $6.1 million more than it has in its budget.

The agency's shortfall stems mostly from the 2.5 percent budget cuts approved for all state agencies in March. That cut followed a 4 percent cut approved last fall.

The prisons department said it already had cut more than 1,000 people from its payroll and slashed $3 million from monthly operating costs of $7.2 million.