Lexington-Richland 5 extends chief's contract

Herbert Berg will remain Lexington-Richland 5 school superintendent through mid-2012.

School board members agreed late Monday to a two-year extension for Berg.

No pay increase is included. although one could be added later. Berg is paid $195,000 yearly. He has held the post overseeing Irmo-Chapin area schools since mid-2008.

Berg's "steady hand and ability to connect with the community has led to much-improved community support and trust," board chairman Robert Gantt said.

"In addition, he has ably guided the district through budget cuts and the challenge that comes with our current economic climate and done so with minimal disruption to the education environment."

- Tim Flach

Broad River Road area improvement input sought

Business owners and residents of neighborhoods along Broad River Road can fill out surveys online about needed improvements.

Results will be used by consultants preparing recommendations on how to revitalize the corridor.

More than 200 people attended meetings held last week. Additional public opinion will be gathered through online surveys, said Reginald Simmons, transportation director with the Central Midlands Council of Governments.

"We're going to take all the public comments and see if we can design a plan and strategy to help realize that vision over the next 20 years," he said.

See www.centralmidlands.org. Scroll down to the button on the Broad River Road Corridor and Community Study.

The deadline to submit online surveys is Feb. 1, Simmons said.

- Dawn Hinshaw

Utah governor asks DOE to halt S.C. waste

SALT LAKE CITY - Utah Gov. Gary Herbert sent Energy Secretary Steven Chu a letter Tuesday asking him to halt the shipment of nearly 15,000 drums of low-level radioactive waste from South Carolina for disposal in Utah.

Herbert's letter was released hours before the DOE was scheduled to begin the first of three shipments from the Savannah River Site near Aiken.

DOE spokeswoman Jen Stutsman said the first shipments would continue as planned and would arrive in Utah in the next two weeks. The second and third rail cars won't leave South Carolina until 2010, she said.

The Department of Energy is circumventing state regulators' efforts to ensure that a private disposal facility in Utah's west desert can safely dispose of the depleted uranium, said Herbert.

Depleted uranium is different from other waste EnergySolutions Inc. disposes of at its site because it becomes more radioactive over time for up to one million years. The South Carolina waste is a byproduct of the uranium enrichment process used to make nuclear weapons during the Cold War era.

State regulators and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission have acknowledged that difference and have started a rule-making process to address whether it may need to be disposed of differently.

The NRC isn't expected to finalize its rules until 2012 at the earliest and it will likely be several more months before state regulators finish their rules.

Funding for the Savannah River Site cleanup comes from federal stimulus money, which is intended to quickly create jobs.

- The Associated Press

Magnet high school rated best in nation

CHARLESTON - U.S. News and World Report magazine has designated Charleston County Academic Magnet High School in North Charleston as the best magnet high school in the nation.

The publication also rated the school as the 12th best public high school in America.

According to the magazine's Web site, almost 22,000 public high schools were evaluated, and 1,750 were recognized for considerably outperforming their state standards.

The school in North Charleston has 606 students and average class size of 23. This year, students were offered more than $10 million in scholarships.

The Charleston County School District Web site notes that 100 percent of the students graduating from Academic Magnet attend college.

- The Associated Press