Arguments delayed in S.C., N.C. water fight

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Supreme Court has postponed arguments in a dispute over water between North Carolina and South Carolina.

The court said Monday the delay was because of an illness in the family of a lawyer who was scheduled to argue the case. The court has not set a new date for arguments.

South Carolina wants the nation's highest court to keep utilities and municipalities out of the case, saying they would prolong the case and increase costs.

The action is the latest in a battle over the Catawba River basin. In 2007, South Carolina filed a federal lawsuit seeking to stop North Carolina from draining the watershed.

The court has appointed a special master to help resolve the dispute. Last year, that special master allowed the city of Charlotte, Duke Energy and a water system to enter the case.

Utility watchdog wants Duke, co-ops deal nixed

RALEIGH - A North Carolina utility watchdog group wants regulators to reject a deal allowing Duke Energy to sell power to South Carolina electrical coops.

The North Carolina Waste Awareness & Reduction Network filed its objection Monday with the state Utilities Commission. The group said Charlotte-based Duke Energy would sell electricity resulting either from energy efficiency programs or construction of new power plants financed by ratepayers.

Company spokeswoman Paige Sheehan said it needs to modernize power plants and prepare for growing demand.

Duke Energy announced it would supply the electrical cooperatives just days after South Carolina's state-owned utility dropped plans for a $1.25 billion coal-fired power in August. The coops were served by Santee Cooper.

Fall motorcycle rally described as quiet

MYRTLE BEACH - Local and state law enforcement officials said this year's annual fall biker rally was quiet.

The event officially ended Sunday.

"We didn't have any major incidents or major backups in traffic," said Lance Cpl. Sonny Collins with the S.C. Highway Patrol.

Officials didn't anticipate a large crowd for this year's fall rally and enforced local and state laws as usual.

The Pilgrimage, which ran Wednesday through Sunday, typically is smaller than the area's two spring bike rallies.

Organizers expected this year's fall rally - which has drawn as many as 40,000 people at its peak -- to have drawn between 10,000 and 20,000 people.

No official attendance numbers were available late Monday.

Stricter laws begin for burning yard waste

MYRTLE BEACH - Stricter laws for burning yard debris could go into effect today if the Horry County Council approves the final reading of a partial burning ban ordinance - one of the measures the county is taking in the aftermath of the April wildfires.

The council vote on the ban, which would make it illegal to burn debris in subdivisions with more than 11 houses on days when humidity and wind conditions cause a red flag warning to be issued, comes as the six-month anniversary of the S.C. 31 April wildfire approaches.

Horry County Fire Rescue Chief Garry Alderman said the ban would not have prevented the April fire, but will go a long way in giving firefighters a course of action in debris burns and in educating the public.

The Forestry Commission determined that the April fire, which burned more than 19,000 acres, destroyed more than 75 houses and damaged about 100 others, started after a backyard debris burn rekindled.