SCE&G’s nuclear plans – This weekend, the P&C published a package looking at the energy landscape in the Palmetto State, where one of the nation’s only nuclear projects is moving forward in the Midlands despite cost overruns and trends moving away from nuke plants and toward cleaner and safer alternatives (Georgia has the lone other active reactor project). Meanwhile, SCE&G has been jacking up power rates in the state–five times in the past two years–to rates that are the highest in the region. That prompts the question, is nuclear power the right call by SCE&G? Last week, the Columbia Free Times’ Corey Hutchins also penned a cover story looking into the background of how we got here.

Folly Fourth – Folly Beach officials reported just eight alcohol citations and two arrests (P&C) this Fourth of July holiday, a year after a rowdy beach party where seven were arrested (AP) prompted the town to enact a beach alcohol ban. One local kitchen manager said “this Fourth of July has been almost a joke,” saying the ban has hurt local businesses.

Zombie voters – After a year of hearings and investigations, a SLED report obtained by the AP last week showed that there was no intentional or widespread voter fraud by those using the names of dead voters in the state’s elections.

Gay contestant in Miss S.C. – Analouisa Valencia, who turns 20 on Tuesday, is biracial, bilingual, and openly gay. She’s also competing to become Miss South Carolina (AP).

Riley ain’t runningP&C’s Brian Hicks says that contrary to some peoples’ assumptions that 10-term Mayor Joe Riley would run for re-election despite saying he wouldn’t, it looks like Joe is really going to call it quits when his term expires in 2016.

S.C. students in default – Federal education data compiled by USA Today compared graduation rates to student loan default rates, finding 12 S.C. schools (P&C), including Trident Tech, that have higher loan default rates than graduation rates.

S.C. budgetThe State looks at where state lawmakers decided to sink $350 million into one-time expenses in the newest state budget.

GOP faces voting rights dilemmaElection law changes (NPR/AP) from Republican-controlled statehouses across the South are no longer subject to the federal Voting Rights Act, leaving political leaders to weigh questions of long-term legacy and short-term success as demographics change across the region.

Columbia Bull Street development – A war of words is being waged in Columbia as the city continues to push forward on planned redevelopment efforts at an abandoned state hospital site on Bull St.: Mayor Steve Benjamin attempts to explain reasoning behind the development, State columnist Warren Bolton and Columbia City Councilwoman Leona Plaugh urge restraint on the fast-moving plans, and the paper’s editorial page suggested the same.

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