Originally created 02/04/05

Across South Carolina



Duke Power changes policies after death

COLUMBIA - Duke Power will not cut off the electricity of customers 65 or older this winter, one of several policy changes resulting from the death of an 89-year-old Greenville woman whose power had been disconnected because of unpaid bills.

The company said it also will not shut off power of customers with medical problems who don't pay this winter. The company will target customers 65 and older and those with medical conditions to make "a more rigorous attempt" to contact them or a third party before disconnection.

Duke will calculate its temperature averages differently to determine at what point it will suspend disconnections, said spokesman Tim Petit.

Those new policies should help prevent future tragedies, Mr. Petit said.

Pregnant woman gets $4,050 for belly ads

MYRTLE BEACH - A Myrtle Beach woman selling advertising on her pregnant belly will receive $4,050 from the highest eBay auction bidder, Golden Palace Casino.

Amber Rainey will have the online casino's Web site temporarily tattooed to her stomach Thursday. It will remain until she delivers her first child, due March 21.

Ms. Rainey didn't think her belly would fetch much as advertising space, but the casino has a record of unusual buys, including paying $28,000 for a grilled cheese sandwich with the image of the Virgin Mary.

Ms. Rainey has received national attention as her eBay auction page received more than 50,000 hits.

Fourth man is charged in Florida man's death

FLORENCE - A fourth man has been charged with murder and attempted armed robbery after a Florida man had a heart attack and died following a robbery attempt last month at an Interstate 95 rest area.

Derrick Devon Sellers, 23, of Latta, was taken into custody in connection with the death of 70-year-old James Booras. Mr. Sellers had been sworn into the National Guard on Tuesday.

Investigators said Mr. Sellers and the three others plotted to rob Mr. Booras at gunpoint in a bathroom at the Florence County rest area shortly before midnight Jan. 14.

Federal grant will aid in lake's dam repairs

COLUMBIA - A nearly $2 million federal grant will be used restore a dam on Lake Moultrie damaged last year by Hurricane Gaston.

The grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency will strengthen the Jeffries Hydroelectric Dam, a 75-foot earthen dam near Moncks Corner. It will pay for 75 percent of the repairs, with state and local governments picking up the rest of the tab, FEMA said.