Originally created 12/24/06

Across South Carolina

Sheriff offers amnesty in series of gun thefts

COLUMBIA - Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott is offering Christmas amnesty for anyone who turns in a gun stolen during a crime spree earlier this month.

Five teens stole 22 guns from two gun shops during four December break-ins, Sheriff Lott said. Only one of the weapons has been recovered, which led the sheriff to offer anyone amnesty - no questions asked - if they call the sheriff's office to turn in a stolen gun before the end of Christmas Day.

Once the grace period ends, Sheriff Lott said he plans to offer a reward of as much as $1,000 to anyone turning in someone with one of the stolen guns.

Panel tries to prevent work near air base

SUMTER - Members of the Sumter City-County Planning Commission have created a Shaw Protection Committee to consider buying development rights on land near Shaw Air Force Base to prevent development from getting too close to the installation, officials said.

When Pentagon officials ponder potential base closures, development around a military installation can play a large role in whether a site is put on a list for consideration to be slimmed or shut down.

"This may very well be the thing that keeps the base off the BRAC (Base Realignment and Closure Committee) list the next time it comes around," said commission chairman Otis Atkinson.

Four die when plane crashes into river

CHARLESTON - A family of four from New Bern, N.C., were killed after their plane crashed into the Stono River, the Charleston County coroner says.

Dr. Ray Armistead, 58, was flying his Cessna 340A, which went down around 1:30 p.m. Friday as it circled back for a second attempt to land at the Johns Island Executive Airport southwest of downtown Charleston, authorities said.

Mr. Armistead's 54-year-old wife, Patricia, and their two daughters, 27-year-old Lauren Armistead and 25-year-old Kristin Armistead also were killed , coroner Rae Wooten said Saturday.

The plane was brought to the surface Saturday after workers managed to raise it from 20 feet of water.

Authorities would not say whether the plane reported any problems after it took off from Rock Hill about an hour earlier.

"I know weather was here at the time, but that doesn't matter. I still have to examine the aircraft and look at the past maintenance, pilot experience and so forth," National Transportation Safety Board investigator Eric Alleyne said.

There was light rain and winds from the south of about 15 mph at the time of the crash, according to the National Weather Service.

Mr. Armistead was an orthopedic surgeon at Carolina Orthopedic Associates in New Bern, where he and his family were well-known, said Dr. Michael Towernicky, a friend, professional colleague and pilot.

Boil-water notice is lifted for customers

MYRTLE BEACH - A boil-water notice for about 3,000 customers of Browns Ferry Water Co. was lifted Friday after samples taken by an independent lab showed no signs of coliform.

Adam Myrick, a spokesman for the state Department of Health and Environmental Control, said the agency was notified early Friday that the flushing and repairs done by the water company during the past week were successful.

The company has added chlorine and repaired motors and pumps on three wells that supply water to parts of Browns Ferry, said water district director Robert Lance. Customers had been under a water-related alert since Dec. 14, when they were first told to bring their tap water to a full, rolling boil before drinking or cooking.


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