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COAL ASH

SCE&G moves almost a half million tons of ash

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - South Carolina Electric & Gas has moved almost a half million tons of coal ash from lagoons on the Wateree River to a lined landfill at its generating plant site on the river near Columbia.

The Southern Environmental Law Center said Friday that the figure was included in a semi-annual report on the work released at the end of June. The ash is being moved under a settlement of a lawsuit brought by the Environmental Law Center two years ago.

The removal of the ash is ahead of schedule. Under the agreement, the utility said it would remove 240,000 tons of ash by next January.

The lagoons had 2.4 million tons of coal ash in them when the work began.

HALEY-SURGERY

APNewsBreak: Power briefly transferred to Democrat

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - Gov. Nikki Haley is home after temporarily transferring some executive power to Democratic Lt. Gov. Yancey McGill.

A Haley aide told The Associated Press that the Republican governor had outpatient surgery on her right arm Friday morning for "radial nerve decompression."

Haley transferred authority under a constitutional provision that says the lieutenant governor "shall have full authority to act in an emergency" in the case of the governor's temporary disability or absence.

Spokesman Rob Godfrey says McGill had that authority for several hours, starting at 7 a.m. Godfrey says no issues arose.

He says doctors attribute Haley's injury at least partly to her hand-signing 39,000 letters since taking office.

McGill became lieutenant governor June 18. He is the first Democrat to have gubernatorial powers since January 2003.

FLASH FLOOD

Flash flood warning extended for Charleston

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) - A flash flood warning has been extended on the South Carolina coast.

The National Weather Service says the warning will remain in effect through Friday afternoon in the immediate Charleston area. The warning means flooding is imminent or highly likely and was scaled back a bit after an earlier warning for Charleston, Berkeley and Dorchester counties.

Heavy rains drenched the area Thursday, with some places receiving up to 8 inches. Numerous streets in the Charleston area were closed because of flooding but all have reopened.

Meanwhile, a flash flood watch is posted for the Pee Dee and the north coast through Sunday evening. It means conditions are favorable for flooding.

The National Weather Service in Wilmington predicts 2 to 4 inches of additional rain, with some areas receiving 6 inches.

OCONEE NUCLEAR-LEAK

Duke: Oconee didn't do everything to prevent leak

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - Duke Energy officials say site operators didn't take all possible precautions to prevent a radioactive water leak that led to shutdown of a South Carolina nuclear reactor.

The comments came during a U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission meeting in Atlanta on Thursday. Engineers and regulators examined the development of a crack in a high-pressure injector line that led to a leak that forced the shutdown at the Oconee Nuclear Station last November.

The shutdown came after engineers detected flaws in the airtight, steel-lined concrete containment building designed to prevent radiation from leaking into the air or ground.

Officials said there was no threat to employees or the public, and the crack was quickly repaired. Regulators made no decisions public Thursday about the safety significance of the leak.

GAY MARRIAGE

Candidates for governor differ on gay marriage ban

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - Gov. Nikki Haley's Democratic challenger says South Carolina should 'pause' in defending a lawsuit trying to overturn the state's gay marriage ban.

Camden Sen. Vincent Sheheen's statement comes days after a federal appeals court ruled Virginia's similar ban is unconstitutional.

South Carolina is in the same judicial circuit, but Attorney General Alan Wilson said his office will continue defending state law. Haley quickly agreed.

Sheheen's campaign manager said Monday the senator would monitor the proceedings. On Thursday, Sheheen said the state should pause in its legal battles and await a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Petition candidate Tom Ervin said Tuesday that government does not belong in the bedroom and further action wastes taxpayers' money.

All three say they personally believe marriage is between a man and a woman.

MURDER CONVICTION

Hartsville man gets 40 years in 2012 slaying

DARLINGTON, S.C. (AP) - A Hartsville man has been sentenced to 40 years in prison for a stabbing death two years ago.

A Darlington County jury deliberated about two hours Thursday before finding 33-year-old Brannon Bryant guilty of murder and a weapons charge in the 2012 death of 25-year-old Shannon Patrice Thomas.

Authorities say they responded to a 911 call and found Thomas on a street dead of a stab wound to the chest. A prosecutor said that Bryant had chased Thomas before stabbing her.

Bryant said the two had been dating but authorities said they were not able to determine the nature of their relationship.

GOLF CART DEATH

Gaffney woman dies after falling from golf cart

SPARTANBURG, S.C. (AP) - A 52-year-old Gaffney woman has died several days after falling from a moving golf cart.

Cherokee County Coroner Dennis Fowler says Melanie Blanton Whisenant died Wednesday morning at a hospital.

Fowler says Whisenant was a front seat passenger on the golf cart being driven by her husband just before midnight Saturday. Fowler says the woman reached down to get something from the floorboard, fell out and hit the pavement.

Whisenant was taken to the hospital for treatment from a head injury. Officials are still investigating her death, and an autopsy is planned.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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