State still spends little on anti-smoking effort
COLUMBIA - A report that measures how much money is being spent on anti-smoking efforts ranked South Carolina at the bottom for the second year in a row.
South Carolina has spent none of its tobacco settlement money on smoking prevention programs during the past two years, even though the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the state spend at least $24 million a year, according to a report released by a coalition of health groups Wednesday.
A recent survey from the state Department of Health and Environmental Control showed the number of high school students smoking had decreased to about 24 percent, which is still above the national average.
The survey showed the number of middle-school pupils smoking was also above the national average.
Soldier charged in sex assault on 6-year-old
COLUMBIA - A 19-year-old Fort Jackson soldier has been arrested and charged with criminal sexual conduct with a minor.
Justin German is accused of sexually assaulting a 6-year-old girl in the bedroom of her Richland County home during a Thanksgiving Day gathering, deputies said.
The girl told her parents immediately after the alleged incident, a police report says.
Mr. German recently graduated from training at Fort Jackson.
Pickens jail escapee caught in Lexington
COLUMBIA - A man who escaped the Pickens County jail has been apprehended in Lexington County.
Authorities arrested Clyde William Parrish, 31, on Tuesday night near his girlfriend's home. Infrared detection from a State Law Enforcement Division helicopter helped authorities find Mr. Parrish. He was in jail for failure to pay child support.
Utility offers millions to help pay gas bills
COLUMBIA - South Carolina Electric and Gas has offered as much as $3 million to help low-income customers pay for natural gas this winter.
The utility will ask the Public Service Commission on Tuesday to approve its plan to allocate tax credits toward the Winter Assistance Fund. That fund will help pay gas bills for people with low incomes starting Jan. 1, SCE&G said.