Lexington 1 school board members are deadlocked over elimination of 70 jobs — mostly teachers — and other cuts, as well as a small business tax hike to counter declining state aid.
A 3-3 split late Tuesday left the plan in limbo.
Those opposed complained that the cuts would harm academic performance too much despite assurance from superintendent Karen Woodward that the $166.7 million spending plan is designed to minimize damage in classrooms.
School officials are trying to come up with a compromise so a spending plan is in place by the June 30 deadline.
Those opposed to the plan were Ed Harmon, Grady Harmon and Hazel Duell, with Frank Shumpert absent.
Grady Harmon and Duell are up for re-election Nov. 2.
-- Tim Flach
Lexington-Richland 5 tax hike on hold
Lexington-Richland 5 school board members are keeping a tax hike on businesses on hold while weighing use of up to $3.5 million in savings for school operations.
The $138.7 million spending plan approved this week left open the possibility of raising commercial taxes as much as nearly $36 per $100,000 of property.
Taxes may go up if board members decide to rely less on savings.
The plan, which goes into effect July 1, also abolishes about 20 jobs — up to five of them teachers — but relies on turnover instead of layoffs, officials said. Furloughs also are part of the plan, with teachers and clerical staff losing one day of pay and administrators two, officials said.
-- Tim Flach
Armed robbery leads to 3 arrests
West Columbia Police arrested a woman and two men in connection with an armed robbery and assault early Wednesday.
The victim, who lives on Dew Avenue, said he was walking from his car to his home when three people with guns followed him into his house. One suspect hit him on the head with a gun and put his young child at gunpoint, the West Columbia Police Department said.
The trio robbed the family of money and jewelry.
Officers making a traffic stop on a "suspicious vehicle" found the vehicle’s occupants matched the description of the suspects.
Arrested were: Carrie Callahan of Falling Springs Road, Columbia; Ricky Bell of Washington Street, Columbia; and Quincy Holley of Sandy Oak Lane, Gaston.
The three are charged with first-degree burglary, robbery with a deadly weapon, criminal conspiracy, kidnapping, possession of a stolen pistol and possession of a weapon during commission of a violent crime, the department said.
Investigators are checking into whether the suspects were involved in other Midlands robberies, possibly involving hotels.
-- Kelly Davis
Abandoned baby home to get home
A hearing has been scheduled early in August to determine the permanent home of a baby boy left June 10 at Palmetto Health Richland under a state law to prevent unsafe child abandonment.
The 6-pound infant was left at the hospital under the Safe Haven for Abandoned Babies Act, or "Daniel’s Law," the Department of Social Services reported.
The department has temporary custody of the baby, referred to as "Baby Boy Doe," but will hold a hearing 2 p.m. Aug. 2 to finalize the child’s home.
Anyone wishing to assert parental rights must do so at the hearing, the department said.
-- Kelly Davis
Lexington trail projects get grants
Two projects in Lexington County each have earned $100,000 grants from the federal Recreational Trails Program.
One of the grants went to Cayce for an extension of its riverwalk. Another went to the Community Open Land Trust, which is helping plan a new greenway along Fourteen Mile Creek in the town of Lexington.
Other projects gaining approval this year include the Parson’s Mountain and Cedar Springs off-highway vehicle trails in Abbeville County ($12,000), the Fuller Park/Turkey Creek trails in Barnwell County ($60,725), Wambaw Cycle Trail in Berkeley County ($156,000), Sewee Visitor and Environmental Education Center Boardwalk in Charleston County ($37,547), Lake Conestee Nature Park in Greenville County ($100,000), the Poinsett Reservoir Passage of the Palmetto Trail in Greenville County ($96,000), Wildcat Roadside Park in Greenville County ($100,000), Nine Times Preserve Trail in Pickens County ($33,014), Patriot Park Trail System in Sumter County ($100,000) and the U.S. 21 Bridge Connector in York County ($100,000).
-- Joey Holleman
McMaster threat probe closed
Authorities have ended an investigation into a presumed threat against the state attorney general and will file no charges.
State Law Enforcement Division spokeswoman Jennifer Timmons said Wednesday police spoke with the author of a note that purported to threaten Henry McMaster and determined the person poses no threat to the state’s top prosecutor.
The threat was made in a note placed in a bank deposit drop box in North Charleston last month. Police assigned security to McMaster, who at the time was running for the Republican nomination for governor.
Timmons declined to give specifics about the person who wrote the note because no charges are being filed.
McMaster placed third in the four-way gubernatorial primary last week.
-- The Associated Press
14 Benedict alumni being honored
The Benedict College Columbia #2 Alumni Club will honor 14 alumni during its first Champions for Tiger Pride gala Friday.
Among those being honored for commitment to college and community: Alma Weaver Byrd, Naomi Hall Dreher, Bobby Gist, Ida Bentley Johnson, Mildred M. Knightner, Andrew J. Lewis, Marlene Murphy McClerklin, Dr. Henry Thomas Marshall, the late Dr. Henry Dobbins Monteith, Rep. Joseph H. Neal, Luns C. Richardson, the late Dr. Edwin Robert Russell, Ethel Henderson Taylor and the late Bennie L. Williams.
The black tie optional event, at the Brookland Banquet and Conference Center, 1066 Sunset Drive, West Columbia, begins with a 6:30 p.m. reception, followed by a 7 p.m. dinner. Tickets are $40 per person, with gala proceeds benefitting Benedict College students. Purchase tickets by calling Essie Perkins, (803) 786-7024; Jasper Salmond, (803) 765-2795; or Benedict College Office of Alumni Affairs, (803) 705-4600.
-- From Staff Reports