Politics & Government

Gubernatorial candidates to debate

The 10 candidates who want to be elected governor of South Carolina in 2010 will debate next Tuesday on S.C. ETV.

The five Republicans and five Democrats will discuss natural resources issues, including conservation and economic development.

ETV said the 90-minute debate is the first time in S.C. history the primary candidates from both parties will share the stage at the same time.

The debate, to be taped at Rocquemore Auditorium at Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College in Orangeburg, will broadcast statewide at 8 p.m. Tuesday. It also will be streamed over the Internet at www.scetv.org/candidatespotlight.

Debate participants include:

Democrats: Columbia attorney Dwight Drake, state Sen. Robert Ford of Charleston, Charleston attorney Mullins McLeod, S.C. Superintendent of Education Jim Rex and state Sen. Vincent Sheheen of Camden

Republicans: U.S. Rep. Gresham Barrett of Westminster, Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer, state Sen. Larry Grooms of Berkeley County; state Rep. Nikki Haley of Lexington and S.C. Attorney General Henry McMaster

The debate will be rebroadcast on the ETV World digital channel at 9 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 5.

State to study mercury pollution

South Carolina is starting a study on the effects of mercury pollution, but it will be smaller than first planned because of state budget cuts.

The Post and Courier of Charleston reports the Department of Health and Environmental Control says it won't be a full statewide study because the agency lost $40 million in budget cuts.

The study will initially focus around Florence because mercury contamination is high in the area.

Mercury occurs naturally in the environment but can also collect in rivers and lakes from pollution from burning coal. The newspaper reported that South Carolinians who eat fish from contaminated rivers have unusually high levels of mercury.


Tar balls found on S.C. beaches

The Coast Guard is cleaning some beaches on the South Carolina coast after tar balls were spotted on the shore.

The Coast Guard said teams on Edisto Island and Seabrook Island found tar balls Sunday morning. The Coast Guard says it is continuing an oil spill assessment and is working with contracted crews to clean the Charleston-area beaches.

An oil spill was reported in Charleston Harbor on Oct. 20. The Coast Guard says it hasn't heard reports of the oil causing problems for fish or wildlife. The Coast Guard says cleanup efforts on Sullivans Island, Folly Beach and Fort Sumter have been effective.

Authorities say they have not determined the source of the oil but have several samples to test. The tests are not expected to be finished until late this week.


Litter pickup scheduled for Irmo

Fall into Litter Pickup is set for 9 a.m.-noon Saturday, Nov. 14 in Irmo.

Individuals, school and church groups and other organizations are invited to participate in the town beautification, which is being coordinated with Palmetto Pride and Keep the Midlands Beautiful's Midlands Pride Week Blitz.

Volunteers should meet behind Irmo Town Hall, at 7300 Woodrow St. and Columbia Avenue. Trash collection supplies will be provided.

Call (803) 781-7050 for other details.

Send in photos for salute to military

Do you have family members in the military who are currently deployed overseas?

We'd like to run their photographs in a special edition of Neighbors on Nov. 12.

The deadline to submit photographs is Wednesday, Nov. 4. Here are the guidelines:

- Military personnel must be currently deployed overseas.

- Include the following information: name, age, rank, branch of service, and where he/she is serving.

- Head-and-shoulders photographs are preferred, though we can crop to that format from a full-frame photograph.

- The family member submitting the photograph must live in Richland, Lexington or Kershaw counties. Include the town or community where you live, as well as a contact phone number.

- Electronic photographs should be in .jpg format and e-mailed to dkujawa@thestate.com. We cannot download photographs from Web sites.

- Print photographs should be mailed to The State, Neighbors, Attn.: Dawn Kujawa/Military Photos, 1401 Shop Road, Columbia, SC 29201. Include a self-addressed, stamped envelope if you would like the photograph returned.