Latest South Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 4:20 p.m. EDT

September 22, 2018 - 12:00 am

TROPICAL WEATHER-THE LATEST

The Latest: Soldier's home robbed during hurricane work

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina soldier returned home after helping with the Hurricane Florence relief effort to find his home had been robbed.

Multiple media outlets report that National Guardsman Luis Ocampo was working in storm-battered New Bern for 10 days and found his Charlotte home ransacked when he returned Friday.

Ocampo said he found everything of value had been stolen, including a large TV, gaming system and a laptop with Ocampo's schoolwork on it. He said food was also stolen from his refrigerator.

Ocampo said his girlfriend and son were staying with family, but had checked on the house Thursday night. By the next morning, his place had been ransacked.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police have confirmed they are investigating.

A GoFundMe page for Ocampo had raised nearly $15,000 in one day.

NUCLEAR REACTORS-SOUTH CAROLINA

Federal appeals court keeps rate cuts for failed nuke plants

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A federal appeals court has refused to stop rate cuts for customers of a private South Carolina utility who are saddled with billions of dollars of debt for a nuclear plant that never generated power.

The U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals denied a request Friday from South Carolina Electric & Gas to stop the temporary rate cuts while it appeals and also denied a request to speed up the case.

The South Carolina Legislature passed the 15 percent rate cut in June. It was retroactive to April and knocks about $25 a month off the average residential customer's bill. Customers have already received some credit on their bills.

Lawmakers say shareholders, not ratepayers should shoulder the cost of the failed two new reactors at the V.C. Summer Nuclear plant.

SC GOVERNOR

SC gov nominee video features kids singing 46-county song

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — With 46 days to go in the general election campaign, South Carolina's Democratic gubernatorial nominee is out with a unique video the campaign says shows a commitment to representing people in the state's 46 counties.

The video released Friday by James Smith's campaign features school children singing the names of all the state's counties.

In a release, Smith's campaign says the state representative and running mate Mandy Powers Norrell "will be a governor and lieutenant governor for all South Carolinians."

Smith faces Gov. Henry McMaster in the November general election.

TROPICAL WEATHER-HOTEL SWEPT AWAY

Florence sweeps away motel and family's hard work, savings

SPRING LAKE, N.C. (AP) — Hurricane Florence washed away half the rooms at the Starlite Motel in Spring Lake, North Carolina. What's left will probably have to be demolished.

Co-owner Kishor Depani says he and his brothers had saved for years to purchase the property a few months ago. Now they are hoping that the government can help because they didn't have flood insurance.

Depani said in an interview that he and his two brothers invested much of their life savings in the motel about nine months ago. He said that they had paid off little of their mortgage in that short time and estimates that they still owe the bank between $400,000 and $500,000.

UNEMPLOYMENT-SOUTH CAROLINA

South Carolina's unemployment rate drops to 3.4 percent

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina's unemployment rate again dropped slightly last month.

The Department of Employment and Workforce said Friday that the jobless rate in South Carolina in August was 3.4 percent. That's down from 3.6 percent in July.

The agency says South Carolina also set a record with more than 2.2 million people working.

Officials say professional and business services added 4,000 jobs, while manufacturing lost 1,500 jobs.

The agency said in a news release that Bamberg County had the highest August unemployment rate at 7.7 percent. Charleston and Lexington counties had the lowest jobless rates at 3.0 percent.

The national unemployment rate was unchanged in August at 3.9 percent.

TROPICAL WEATHER-THE LATEST

The Latest: Death toll rises to 43 in aftermath of Florence

Authorities say the death toll has now risen to 43 dead in the aftermath of former Hurricane Florence.

A statement released by North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper's office said Friday evening that there are now 32 confirmed dead in that state. The statement says a 46-year-old man in Brunswick County died when a tree he was cutting fell on him. Other deaths have been reported earlier in South Carolina and Virginia.

Cooper, meanwhile, has praised efforts of first responders who evacuated people from rising floodwaters. His statement says that in the past week, first responders and emergency teams have conducted nearly 5,000 rescues in storm-ravaged areas. That's twice as many people as were saved after Hurricane Matthew.

About 56,000 homes and business remain without power as of Friday afternoon.

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