The Daily Gamecock

In Brief: January 31, 2013

State senators file 21 constitutional amendments

As it turns out, the state Senate is none too pleased with South Carolina’s constitution.

Senators have filed 21 amendments, including 15 that would restructure state government, Free Times reported. One proposed ditching the current version of the document outright and convening a constitutional convention.

Passed in 1895, South Carolina’s is the oldest state constitution in the country that’s still working.

It was filed by Sens. Tom Davis, R-Beaufort, and Vincent Sheheen, D-Camden and would elect 124 delegates to retool the constitution, which Sheheen told Free Times is “junked up” by 330 amendments, a sign he see as the legislators’ lack of faith in the document.

To be passed, the amendments must be approved by the state House and Senate, signed by the governor and pass a statewide vote.

— Thad Moore, News Editor

Skating rink operates at loss, spurs business

Columbia thinks its ice skating rink generated about $200,000 for the local economy, but it took a $71,000 loss in the process, Free Times reported.

Between renting the rink and buying decorations, Main Street Ice cost the city about $203,000 and brought in just more than $132,000 from 15,413 skaters.

But those skaters spent money while they were downtown — the Convention and Visitors Bureau figures $12 apiece — and the rink could’ve had a less measurable impact, according to Free Times.

Jeff Caton, the head of the Parks and Recreation Department, told the alt-weekly that he thought the rink got people excited about coming to Main Street and shaped their perceptions of the area.

Free Times also reported that the city’s already working on plans to bring Main Street Ice back next winter, but next time, it’s looking for private sponsorships to help shore up the finance gap.

— Thad Moore, News Editor

Group of missing travelers found in Louisiana river

A search for three people who visited Columbia for a funeral ended this week when police found them in a river in northeastern Louisiana.

The three — Brady Brown, 48; Eddie Cobb Jr., 67; and Ella Williams, 51 — came to South Carolina for a Jan. 4 funeral and were headed toward Shreveport, La., when they drove off Interstate 20 into the Tensas River, where they apparently drowned, The State reported.

The victims were identified Wednesday after Louisiana State Police spotted the car’s bumper floating in the river. Rainwaters had made the search difficult because the river was flowing at higher-than-usual levels.

Investigators don’t yet know why the car ended up in the Tensas, according to The State; an autopsy conducted on the driver was incomplete Wednesday.

— Thad Moore, News Editor