September 1, 2015

Legislators warn DHEC not to grant permit for Lexington sewage treatment facility

In this image tweeted by the SC House GOP, State Sen. Ronnie Cromer, R-Newberry, is joined by other opponents near the Saluda River (@SCHouseGOP)

In this image tweeted by the SC House GOP, State Sen. Ronnie Cromer, R-Newberry, is joined by other opponents near the Saluda River (@SCHouseGOP)

Midlands legislators are urging South Carolina’s environmental agency not to grant a critical permit for a Lexington sewage treatment facility that discharges into a river just upstream from Columbia’s riverfront.

A bipartisan group of Richland and Lexington County lawmakers held a press conference Monday against Carolina Water Services’ discharge permit. The company is seeking approval from the state Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) to continue treated wastewater discharges into the Saluda River, but conservation groups (most notably the Congaree Riverkeeper organization) have organized public opposition to the permit, citing dozens of violations for Carolinas and its parent company Utilities, Inc., the last 20 years.

On Monday, the group of lawmakers noted DHEC had initially ordered the small facility to connect with a regional wastewater network. But negotiations between the company and the town of Lexington have not reached an agreement. CWS’s permit expired years ago, but regulators have allowed it to continue operating while they deal with a large backlog at the agency.

“What you see is both sides of the aisle, both sides of this river, coming together to speak with one voice: to say no,” State Rep. James Smith, D-Columbia, said.

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Heavy rains cause flooding in Charleston area

Weather conditions as of 6:00 p.m. Monday

Weather conditions as of 6:00 p.m. Monday

Heavy rains caused flooding in the metro Charleston area Monday.

The National Weather Service forecasters say the worst should be over. “Nothing too heavy any time soon from what we are currently expecting,” meteorologist, Pete Mohlin told South Carolina Radio Network.

Charleston International Airport reported more than 6.4 inches of rain between Sunday afternoon and Monday morning. Mohlin said that was the fifth-wettest date on record at the airport since 1938. It was the most since 6.57 inches fell on October 24, 2008, the NWS said.

Residents were evacuated from a North Charleston mobile home park Monday afternoon and flooding closed numerous streets in downtown Charleston. An exit ramp at the Interstate 526/Paramount Drive intersection in North Charleston was closed Monday after a small mudslide washed onto the ramp.

No serious injuries were reported as of Monday evening.

“The worst of it seemed to be just north and west of downtown Charleston,” Mohlin said. “It is related to moisture that once was (Tropical Storm Erika). The official circulation with Erika, what’s left of it, will actually come up into portions of the Southeast on Wednesday.”

Logistics providers plans to hire 100 at second SC office

A third-party logistics provider is hoping to eventually create 100 new jobs in downtown Columbia when it opens this fall.

Total Quality Logistics, which partners with suppliers to match them with trucking companies, announced Monday it will open a new sales and operations office on the Capital City’s Main Street in late October. The Cincinnati, Ohio-based firm plans to hire the hundred employees over the next five years, according to a company spokesman.

Logistics providers have been a rapidly growing section of the American economy the past decade as fewer manufacturers or wholesalers continue to operate their own truck fleets, according to company spokesman Mark Motz.

“Gone are the days where people could spend the money to maintain their own fleet to get things around unless they’re really an immense company, like Wal-Mart,” Motz told South Carolina Radio Network.

TQL opened its first South Carolina office in Charleston five years ago. The company has 34 other offices nationwide, mostly in the South and West.

“We have experienced great success in South Carolina with our Charleston office,” company president Kerry Byrne said in a statement. “We’re excited to expand into Columbia, where we will have access to a deep talent pool and an opportunity to continue growing our business. Reaching into new markets like Columbia is one of the keys to our long-term success.”

Hiring for the new positions is underway. Those interested in joining the TQL team should visit the For more information on Total Quality Logistics, visit


#PalmettoPrimary: Estimated 10,000 at ‘Stand with God’ rally in Columbia

Ted Cruz speaks to the crowd at a pro-Christian family Statehouse rally on Saturday (Image: Cruz's campaign Twitter)

Ted Cruz speaks to the crowd at a pro-Christian family Statehouse rally on Saturday (Image: Cruz’s campaign Twitter)

A daily look at how the presidential candidates of both parties are trying to win the “First in the South” primary.

Two Republican presidential candidates spoke in front of an estimated 10,000 people during a Christian families rally at the South Carolina Statehouse this weekend.

Texas U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz and former Texas Governor Rick Perry both attended the “We Stand With God Rally” in Columbia on Saturday. Organizers are hoping the large rally will energize social conservatives frustrated with recent court rulings that effectively legalized gay marriage nationwide and what they consider a lack of action on Planned Parenthood.

“Let me say to the pastors… and faith leaders who are here: stand up and preach,” Cruz, the son of an Evangelical Christian minister, said. “Preach ‘life’ from the pulpit. Preach life to the congregation. We need to call in our leaders: no show votes, no empty votes, stand up and lead.”

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Audit questions Farmers Market land deal involving political donor

Farmers sheds at the State Farmers Market (Image: SCDA)

Farmers sheds at the State Farmers Market (Image: SCDA)

A new audit into the State Farmers Market claims South Carolina agriculture officials did not follow good real estate practices when they purchased sections of the site from a property owner who had donated the maximum allowed towards the reelection campaign of South Carolina’s agriculture commissioner.

The report released by the Legislative Audit Council on Thursday warns an appraiser who evaluated the $7 million sale may have relied too heavily on the limited liability corporation that benefitted from selling the land. It also said Agriculture Commissioner Hugh Weathers should have informed legislators that a political donor owned the property when he asked those legislators to set aside funds for the purchase.

But Weathers angrily accused the audit of making inappropriate insinuations of a political quid pro quo even though no laws were broken.

State Rep. Ralph Norman, R-Rock Hill, requested the audit last year after the Department of Agriculture paid $7.06 million for about nine acres of additional property at the farmer’s market in 2013. Three years earlier, the market relocated from its old downtown Columbia location to the site near Dixiana in order to provide better highway access for the larger wholesalers which operate on the property.

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