The Agenda, published each morning, features the top Charleston-area stories you’ll want to know each day.

SCDOT puts I-526 back in Charleston County’s court
The SC Transportation Commission voted yesterday to return the I-526 project to the supervision of Charleston County Council. Earlier this year, Council voted to scrap the project completely, but after catching wind of a possible $11.5 million tab for money the state had already spent, the state was asked to take ownership. Wednesday’s 7-0 vote sends it back to Charleston County, which will need to decide how to handle the $558 million project.
Sources: Charleston City Paper, Post and Courier, Greenville News, Charleston Regional Business Journal

Bobby Harrell digs in amid ethics allegations
State Speaker of the House Bobby Harrell (R-Charleston) doubles down on his financial disclosure practices after catching heat for not itemizing more than $320,000 in reimbursements from his political campaign account. In the last year, several Columbia lawmakers have been in hot water for bankrolling themselves with dollars from their campaign coffers. Similar charges prompted a 7-count indictment for then-Lt. Gov. Ken Ard, leading to his eventual resignation.
Source: The State (AP), Post and Courier, “>Columbia Free-Times, The State editorial, O’burg Times and Democrat editorial
Post and Courier’s Renee Dudley, who broke the Harrell story, announces departure

DeMint joins Santorum, backs Missouri’s Akin
US Sen. Jim DeMint joined former Pennsylvania senator and GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum to throw their support behind beleaguered US Senate candidate from Missouri Todd Akin, who caught flak earlier this month for his comments regarding ‘legitimate rape.’
Sources: Politico
Charleston City Paper (Chris Haire): “Jim DeMint believes in ‘legitimate rape'”

New hospital(s) coming to Berkeley County?
A court ruled Wednesday that both Trident Health and Roper St. Francis hospital could be built in Berkeley County. Though Trident Health disagrees, the ruling ends the latest round in the ongoing battle between the two healthcare companies to stake their claim in the expanding Berkeley County health care market.
Sources: Post and Courier

SC refs among NFL’s replacements
The State looks at a handful of football officials with SC roots who’ve spent their past few Sundays (air quotes) “officiating” pro games among the ranks of the referees hired by the NFL to replace the officials locked out by the league during ongoing pension negotiations. With a new deal struck last night, though, it looks like the replacement refs will have to go back to working Fridays and Saturdays.
Sources: The State

Columbia’s Benjamin to hold press conference on Five Points violence
Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin will hold a presser today to discuss a rise in violence in the city’s Five Points dining and entertainment (read: drinking) district. The city ramped up patrols earlier this year after a rash of violent incidents, which subsided over the summer, but a shooting and fights in the area last weekend has caused the issue to resurface.
Sources: The State
Columbia Free-Times (10/12/11): 24 Hours in Five Points

Hilton Head is being taken over by cats
Headline pretty meow explains it all.
Sources: Hilton Head Island-Packet

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