Originally created 05/26/05

Across South Carolina

Wilkins passes first part of confirmation

COLUMBIA - House Speaker David Wilkins said Wednesday morning he passed the first round of confirmation hearings on his appointment to become U.S. ambassador to Canada.

The U.S. Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee quizzed Mr. Wilkins about his stance on security issues before he was approved, the Greenville Republican told The Associated Press during a phone interview.

It typically takes two to four months for confirmations.

Mr. Wilkins said he was surprised by the accelerated process, which could wrap up before Memorial Day.

Arrests made after shooting of troopers

CHESNEE - Two Highway Patrol troopers have been slightly injured in a shooting incident in Cherokee County, a sheriff's spokeswoman says.

Jimmy Elrod, 31, of Campobello, and Charles Horne, 27, of Union, were struck by shotgun pellets Tuesday afternoon, said Leigh Caldwell, the sheriff's spokeswoman.

Robert Vincent Taetz, 68, of Chesnee, has been charged with two counts of aggravated assault and battery.

Mr. Elrod, Mr. Horne and two other people were riding all-terrain vehicles with the permission of the property owner when Mr. Taetz approached with a shotgun and accused them of trespassing on his property, Ms. Caldwell said. Mr. Taetz fired at them, she said.

Mr. Elrod was struck in the hand and Mr. Horne in the back and arm.

Insurers must cover mental illnesses

COLUMBIA - Health insurers in South Carolina will be required to include coverage for depression, anxiety, schizophrenia and other mental illnesses under a new law.

Gov. Mark Sanford allowed the legislation to become law without his signature Tuesday night.

The legislation doesn't cover drug or alcohol addiction treatments and would not be required on policies for businesses with 50 or fewer workers. But they would be required to cover treatments for illnesses ranging from bipolar disorder to post-traumatic stress disorder to adolescent and childhood depression.

Officer charged in drug conspiracy

COLUMBIA - A South Carolina Corrections Department officer has been arrested after authorities say he smuggled drugs to an inmate at Kershaw Correctional Institution.

Robert Honeycutt, 19, of Jefferson, was arrested Tuesday in Lancaster County and charged with conspiracy to distribute marijuana and conspiracy to furnish contraband, according to a news release from the State Law Enforcement Division.


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