State Report


Property owners in Forest Acres won’t have a tax increase next year.

Tuesday, the City Council gave final approval to a $2.2 million budget for 1995-96 that actually decreased by $3,600.

Forest Acres typically sets its property tax rate in October. Administrator Ron Garbinski said no change is expected.

The council unanimously approved the budget, with Councilman Bob Galloway absent from the last meeting of the fiscal year.

A new mayor, J.C. Rowe, and newly elected Councilman Frank Brunson will be sworn in next month. Both attended Tuesday evening’s meeting.

Air Force takes another look at Shaw Officers Club probe

SUMTER — The Air Force is looking into how Shaw Air Force Base personnel handled the final part of a probe of its Officers Club, said a spokeswoman for U.S. Sen. Strom Thurmond, R-S.C.

The investigation by the Air Force Inspector General’s office was prompted by a letter from a former club employee who complained about how she and other club employees were treated, spokesman Chris Cimko said.

The employee, Leona M. White, said the club’s 40 employees were accused by an officer of stealing from the club and were held against their will for most of the day on March 13.

Shaw’s chief lawyer disputes the former employee’s version of events, however. Lt. Col. Pete Carey, Shaw’s staff judge advocate, said no officer made any “blanket” accusation of wrongdoing because they knew “a lot of people didn’t do anything wrong.”

Area schools to be inducted into S.C. writing hall of fame

Three Lexington County schools have joined a writing hall of fame, the state Department of Education announced Tuesday.

To receive that honor, a school’s writing program had to be recognized for three consecutive years. Gilbert Elementary in Lexington 1 and Campus R/Irmo Middle and H.E. Corley Elementary in School District 5 were among 16 hall of fame schools statewide.

In addition, 49 schools were honored for their 1994-95 writing programs. These included Northside Middle in Lexington 2; Frances Mack Elementary, Lexington 4; Chapin Middle, Irmo Elementary and Nursery Road Elementary, School District 5; Horrell Hill Elementary, Richland 1; Summit Parkway Middle, Richland 2; and Blaney elementary and Camden Middle in Kershaw County.

Irmo High School received an honorable mention.

The schools, honored for their students’ achievement in writing, were named after a nine-month evaluation that included two visits by members of the state Writing Improvement Coordinating Council.

Beasley sending confusing waste message, critics say

Some environmentalists are surprised by Gov. David Beasley’s challenge of a federal judge’s ruling that overturned state restrictions on hazardous-waste disposal facilities.

Some of them are activists who have criticized Beasley’s plan to keep a Barnwell County low-level nuclear waste landfill open.

Without the state’s appeal, Sierra Club attorney Jimmy Chandler said, “It would have sent a message that the state’s not willing to defend these regulations, so why do you care?”

Beasley’s spokeswoman, Ginny Wolfe, said the governor’s stances were not inconsistent.

“The Barnwell issue was based on health and safety,” Wolfe said. “South Carolina needs a place to dispose of our own waste.”

On Monday, Beasley’s office filed the notice that it would appeal U.S. District Judge Matthew Perry’s April ruling.


Warning issued on rabies; raccoons biggest concern

Raccoons continue to be the main carrier of rabies in South Carolina, and several recent encounters are prompting health officials to warn people not to mess around with them.

“Cute as they are, please don’t try to rescue or raise them,” said Pat Wright of the division of vector control for the state health department. “There is no way of knowing if they have rabies or not.”

At least 10 people were exposed to a rabid raccoon recently in Charleston County and had to undergo rabies prevention treatment. In Beaufort County last week, three people were treated after playing with a baby raccoon. And in Aiken County, four people were exposed after trying to make a baby raccoon a pet.

Leader of school for deaf resigns to run Florida inn

The man who led the South Carolina School for the Deaf and Blind through its most successful and growing years has resigned to run a historic inn in Florida with his wife.

Recognized as a national leader among educators of the deaf and blind, Joe Finnegan will remain at the Spartanburg school until the end of January to help find a successor.

Finnegan helped the state-run school expand programs and facilities. Construction has started on a $3.2 million learning center where students will have the latest technology to help them learn and communicate.

Finnegan and his wife, Margaret, bought the 200-year-old St. Francis Inn in St. Augustine, Fla., in 1985, hoping to manage it themselves someday.

SLED agent pleads guilty to credit card fraud charge

ANDERSON — A former State Law Enforcement Division agent has pleaded guilty in federal court to credit card fraud.

Robert Hamilton, 36, pleaded guilty Monday to making more than $3,000 of unauthorized charges on a bank card. He faces as much as 10 years in prison and $250,000 in fines. He will be sentenced at a later date.

Hamilton obtained a Visa card from First Union Bank in 1991 and rang up $3,118 in charges, but denied making those charges when the bank contacted him, Assistant U.S. Attorney Will Lucius said.

Prosecutors agreed to drop charges against Hamilton’s wife, Angelia G. Hamilton, in exchange for his guilty plea.

Tissue found near creek didn’t belong to human

FLORENCE — Tissue found near a creek that at first was thought to be a possible human fetus turned out to be from a reptile or amphibian, police said Tuesday.

Police were called to Timrod Park late Sunday after a woman found the tissue but was unsure what it was. The substance was sent to the Medical University of South Carolina for examination.

ALSO . . .

AIKEN — Aiken City Attorney James M. Holly will become deputy state treasurer and chief of staff for State Treasurer Richard Eckstrom. He will join Eckstrom’s office Monday.

June 14, 1995  State (published as The State)  
Columbia, South Carolina
Page 7

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