Originally created 06/14/05

Across South Carolina



Pension increases will start in July

COLUMBIA - A new law guarantees 63,000 state retirees will get annual cost-of-living increases in their pension checks beginning in July.

That's the most visible element of a major overhaul of the state's primary retirement system that legislators say will ensure that the program remains healthy by raising contribution rates, changing how the state invests that cash and clamping down on a program that allows retirees to stay on the job.

The state Budget and Control Board will meet today to discuss 3.4 percent cost of living increases that would be paid next month.

Sanford appoints new Chester County coroner

CHESTER - Gov. Mark Sanford appointed a retired Chester assistant fire chief to replace Chester County Coroner Watson Wright, who died last month.

Mr. Wright, 58, had been coroner for 16 years.

Terry Tinker, 58, is a veteran of two decades on the Chester County rescue squad and has previously served as a deputy coroner. He ran unsuccessfully for coroner last year against Mr. Wright.

Mr. Tinker says he expects to be sworn in today.

Chester County coroners are paid $19,932 yearly during their four-year terms.

High school graduate drowns at beach

COLUMBIA - A native of Nicaragua drowned at Myrtle Beach this weekend.

Luis Mena Jr., 18, of Gastonia, N.C., drowned Saturday while he and a friend were swimming at Myrtle Beach. Sgt. Philip Cain, of the Myrtle Beach Police Department, says Mr. Mena apparently was overcome by rough water.

He had lived in the United States for five years. Two weeks ago he graduated from Gastonia's Hunter Huss High School with plans to attend the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Election for Speaker seat will be Oct. 4

GREENVILLE - A special election for House Speaker David Wilkins' seat will be Oct. 4.

The Greenville Republican was named ambassador to Canada and officially will give up the House seat he's held for 24 years June 21.

Candidates can start filing for the seat at noon Friday through June 27. A primary will be held Aug. 16, with Aug. 30 set aside for a possible runoff, said Conway Belangia, the director of the Greenville County Voter Registration and Election Office.

Whoever wins the seat will serve the remainder of Mr. Wilkins' two-year term, which ends in 2006, Mr. Belangia said.