Local Updates from ABC News Radio for Columbia.


All SC Counties Declared in Incipient Drought

(COLUMBIA, S.C.) -- The South Carolina Drought Response Committee placed all 46 counties across the state in incipient drought -- the lowest level of drought -- on Thursday.

This action came despite forecasts of rain for next week, because the committee "couldn't ignore the incipient drought designation by several indicators."

"There was a lot of discussion about whether to upgrade certain counties especially in the Upstate since there was not overwhelming support by all indicators," South Carolina State Climatologist Hope Mizzell said. "However, the committee decided to err on the side of caution and upgrade the declaration."

All monitoring stations have recorded less than eight inches of rain in the past 60 days.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


US Supreme Court Denies Stay Halting Same-Sex Marriages in South Carolina

(COLUMBIA, S.C.) -- The U.S. Supreme Court denied an application for a stay to block same-sex marriages filed by the state of South Carolina.

The decision was made 7-2, though Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas said they would have heard the arguments for a stay.

South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson had stated last month that "until the courts rule on the matter, South Carolina will seek to uphold our state constitution."

Same-sex marriages, then, are expected to begin legally in South Carolina.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Nestlé Waters to Open Bottling Facility in Chesterfield County

(COLUMBIA, S.C.) -- The nation’s leading bottled water company is planning to build a $40 million, two-line water bottling facility in Chesterfield County.

The 200,000 square-foot facility, which will be located near McBee, S.C., is expected to open in early 2016 and create at least 40 new jobs.

It will produce bottle spring water under the company’s Deer Park brand and bottled purified water under the Nestlé Pure Life brand for distribution to customers primarily in the Southeast.

Almost $400,000 in property taxes is expected to be generated annually for the local government and school district.

“We're excited to congratulate Nestlé Waters on their decision to establish a new bottling facility in Chesterfield County,” said Gov. Nikki Haley in a statement. “Their $40 million investment and plans to create 40 new jobs is terrific news for the McBee community, our manufacturing industry, and the entire state.”

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Hilton Head Island Resident Arrested for Store Break-In, Attempted Airplane Theft

Beaufort County Sheriff's Office(HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C.) -- A Hilton Head Island resident has been arrested in connection with both a break-in at a jewelry store and the attempted theft of an airplane in September.

The Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office says that Brian Asher Wall, 25, was arrested on Friday during a traffic stop on Hilton Head.

On Sept. 18, the owner of a private aircraft at Signature Flight Services reported that someone broke into his Cessna 141 aircraft and caused significant damage. Although nothing was stolen, authorities say an estimated $7,000 damages was sustained.

Investigators processing the aircraft collected samples of blood found smeared inside the plane and submitted them for DNA analysis.

Then on Sept. 28, sheriff’s deputies responded to an alarm at the Gem and Jewelry store in Port Royal Plaza. Nothing was reported stolen from the business, but an estimated $250 in damage was sustained from the forced entry. Once again, investigators located blood at the scene, which they were able to collect for DNA analysis.

Authorities later received information that the samples from the airplane crime scene and the jewelry store burglary were from the same person. A comparative test against Wall’s known sample revealed a positive match of both samples to him.

Wall remains in custody at the Beaufort County Detention Center on a $95,000 bond.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio


Myrtle Beach Police Seek to Identify Sex Assault Suspect

Myrtle Beach Police Department(MYRTLE BEACH, S.C.) -- Authorities in Myrtle Beach are asking for help in identifying a suspect wanted for questioning in a criminal sexual conduct incident.

The Myrtle Beach Police Department says a woman reported being sexually assaulted around 3 a.m. on November 1 in the area of Broadway at the Beach.

Images of the suspect were captured on a nearby security camera.

Anyone with information on the suspect or the incident is asked to contact police at (843) 918-1382 and reference report 14-024727.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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