The main question in a continuing trial in Columbia on the use of the death penalty in South Carolina is whether the methods of execution — death by firing squad or electrocution — causes the condemned to feel pain. 

If so, the suit alleges the punishment is unconstitutional because it would be cruel and unusual punishment. In testimony Wednesday, medical professionals gave conflicting answers. The trial continues, possibly with closing arguments.

In other headlines: 

Conroy keeps on teaching.  This City Paper exclusive looks at how the late South Carolina author Pat Conroy is still teaching lessons six years after his death. He is the first White man to be buried in the St. Helena Memorial Gardens, a Black cemetery.  Frequent visitors leave pens and other memorabilia at his headstone to show the inspiration and impact he had on others. Colleagues reminisce about Conroy and the impact on their own lives and they share Conroy’s story to others.

Charleston proposes $15 minimum wage for city employees. Charleston City Council proposed Wednesday to raise the minimum wage for all city employees by 15%. City employees include those who work in city hall, the people who pick up trash and first responders. The wage increase is expected not to require a tax increase, officials said.

I-526 port exit may hurt surrounding neighborhoods. In a meeting that attracted nearly 300 people, residents near the I-526 and Long Point Road interchange expressed concern over the noise the plans would create. The proposed plans include a redesign of the interchange and a new port-related exit.

New MUSC ambulances help expand care for kids. Two new ambulances for MUSC’s Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital have been designed to help professionals work in higher levels of care for the youngest patients. The ambulances are equipped to help babies as small as 500 grams or as early as 23-24 weeks.

Charleston tech firm Blackbaud cuts back on positions to remain conservative.

One of Charleston’s largest tech firms is taking a step back to be “more conservative.” Blackbaud recently announced it plans to reduce its workforce and slow down on hiring due to the current economic climate.

Charleston high school student recognized for National Student Poets. Five high school students from across the nation were chosen to receive a $5,000 National Student Poets award. The recognition and money will help the students share their love of poetry within their communities. Winslow Hastie Jr. of Charleston School of the Arts in North Charleston is one of the recipients.

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