Originally created 11/15/02

Across South Carolina

Museums ask for help from local lawmakers

COLUMBIA - Eleven new or expanded museums across the state are calling on the help of home-county lawmakers to get at least $50 million in state funds next year.

Private, federal and local government money will fund most of the estimated $280 million to build the museums.

The smallest of the new museums is the $6.6 million Children's Museum of the Lowcountry in Charleston. The largest is the $77 million Gateway to the Carolinas, a three-museum project near Rock Hill.

Man enters plea deal in 2000 chemical spill

COLUMBIA - A second former Tin Products employee has agreed to plead guilty to criminal charges for a chemical spill 2 years ago.

George Metts has signed a plea agreement on a federal criminal conspiracy charge stemming from pollution of two Red Bank creeks in Lexington County.

Mr. Metts is a former wastewater operator at the closed chemical plant. He improperly released wastewater contaminated with tin-based compounds for nearly a year before the spill in February 2000, the agreement states.

Wildlife group objects to siphoning of funds

COLUMBIA - The South Carolina Wildlife Federation is concerned that legislators have siphoned too much money from environmental protection accounts to pay for the state's financial crisis.

Last year, lawmakers used $53.4 million from environmental accounts to help balance the state's budget, according to a federation report released Thursday.

The federation analyzed 15 funds set up specifically for environmental programs. It found that the Legislature had lifted money from each of these accounts.

The biggest fund tapped by the Legislature was the Barnwell County low-level nuclear-waste fund. The Legislature took $49.3 million of the fund, the report said.

2 women face charges in school embezzlement

BEAUFORT - A district worker and her friend have been charged with embezzling money from the Beaufort County School District.

Tonia M. Smith-Grant, 34, and Robin Green, 37, both of Beaufort, were charged with criminal conspiracy and embezzlement of $6,000 in public funds, police officials said.

Ms. Smith-Grant created paperwork to get a salary for a fake teacher, police said.


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