Across South Carolina

Planning for drought pays off for system

GREENVILLE --- After the driest year on record for the region, the Greenville Water System has issued only voluntary conservation measures for its customers.

Compare that to other cities along Interstate 85 such as Atlanta and Durham, N.C., which have put in drastic conservation rules and, barring a rainy winter, have only months of water left in reservoirs.

Greenville's system has been planning for such dry times for decades, General Manager Lynn Stovall said. It serves about 400,000 people with three reservoirs, constantly monitoring the lakes to assure none of them are drawn down too far.

Property tax change cuts house payments

COLUMBIA --- Many South Carolina homeowners should see a refund and a reduction in their monthly mortgage payments once their lenders pay their tax bills this month.

The school operating portion of property taxes was removed by a law that took effect in June. Those taxes are usually about half of most property tax bills.

But many lenders kept charging the same amount for property taxes throughout 2007, meaning homeowners' escrow accounts will have more money than needed to pay taxes.

State Rep. Nathan Ballentine says homeowners should call their lender if they don't get a notice by the end of January.

Couple charged with giving teens alcohol

SPARTANBURG --- Police say a Spartanburg mother and her boyfriend have been arrested after they held a party where teens drank alcohol.

Investigators say Elizabeth Evans, 42, and Rajai Marzouca, 51, supervised the teens Sunday night as they attended an 18th birthday party for Ms. Evans' daughter. A parent of one of the teens called police when he arrived at the party and found his son had been drinking.

Police say the couple served beer, wine and liquor. Ms. Evans and Mr. Marzouca are each charged with 10 counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

The party was at Ms. Evans' catering business, Events on Main, which has helped cater parties for members of the state's congressional delegation and Vice President Dick Cheney.

Grandmother arrested after dog kills toddler

SUMMERVILLE --- A Summerville woman has been arrested after her 2-year-old grandson was attacked and killed by a pit bull in her yard last month.

Authorities say Tracy Shelton was charged with unlawful conduct toward a child.

Prosecutors say Ms. Shelton fell asleep Dec. 13 while watching Holden Jernigan. The boy wandered into the fenced yard, where the dog was kept, and was mauled, authorities say.

-- Edited from wire reports