COPY-South Carolina Top News This Hour - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

COPY-South Carolina Top News This Hour

INMATE DEATH:

NEW: Inmate found to have been strangled

GREENVILLE, S.C. (AP) _ The Greenville County coroner's office says an inmate found dead earlier this month at the Perry Correctional Institution was strangled.

Authorities say Charles Martin was found on the prison floor December Eighth in a common area of the medium and minimum-security unit after an officer was alerted by other prisoners.

Martin was serving five years for aggravated assault and trespassing in Spartanburg County and was supposed to be released at the end of the month.

The coroner's office says Martin's death is being treated as a homicide.

HUSBAND CHARGED

NEW: Man charged with killing his estranged wife

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) _ Columbia police say a 51-year-old man has killed his estranged wife.

Investigators say Donald Ray Perry approached his wife in an apartment parking lot yesterday evening and shot her at least once.

Jamesinia Perry died later at the hospital.

ICE STORM

NEW: Greenville mayor wants utility to bury power problem

GREENVILLE, S.C. (AP) _ Greenville Mayor Knox White wants Duke Power to start burying the city's most vulnerable electric lines underground.

White says he is most concerned with some lines up to 50 years old. The mayor says those lines were more likely to fail during an ice storm earlier this month that left 350-thousand Upstate customers without power.

Duke says it will be glad to do that, if the city picks up the tab.

After an ice storm in 2002, a report by Duke Power noted burying all lines underground could cost up to 35-thousand dollars per customer.

RIGHT WHALES

NEW: Right whales seen off Cape Romain

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) _ Spotting right whales off South Carolina is not the rarity it once was.

Four whales have been spotted within eight miles of the coast this year.

A Wildlife Trust survey team is using planes and listening buoys to find the critically endangered species. Fewer than 400 right whales are known to exist.

The state is placing warning signs at marinas and boat landings to caution boaters.

DEMOCRATS-BUDGET

NEW: Clyburn: Americans deserve better than Bush's leadership

WASHINGTON (AP) _ U-S Representative Jim Clyburn says Americans deserve better leadership than what they're getting from the Bush administration.

Clyburn delivered today's Democratic weekly radio address. He says many Americans, including the troops in Iraq, are hurt by legislation that would cut 40 (b) billion dollars in federal spending over five years. The measure cuts funding for student aid, Medicaid and other entitlement programs.

Clyburn accuses the Republicans of using the measure to cut services to the troops' families while giving wealthy people unfair and unneeded tax cuts.

The Democrat also thinks the administration hasn't done enough to help victims of hurricanes Katrina, Wilma and Rita.

EVACUEE CHRISTMAS

NEW: Families celebrate holidays miles away from home

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (AP) _ The Bitting family won't be home for Christmas.

The family of five haven't been home since August, when Hurricane Katrina destroyed their Ocean Springs, Mississippi, home just three weeks after they moved in.

But that doesn't mean this Christmas won't be special. The Bitting brothers _ Slate, Grayson and Cademon _ will spend the holidays with their grandparents in Surfside Beach.

Eight-year-old Grayson says living with his grandparents has been one of his best experiences ever.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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