In Brief: August 26, 2014

Congaree National Park managers set out a new proposal Monday for the management of the park’s extensive wild hog population, The State reports.

Through an 86-page environmental assessment entitled “Draft Management Plan for Non-native Wild Pigs within Congaree National Park,” the National Park Service officially called for measures to actively control the increasing native environmental damage caused by the invasive hogs.

The document related, in detail, the possible environmental effects from two proposed options, either implementing a plan for wild pig management or continuing inactivity and allowing the population to remain unchecked. The management plan, supported by the Park Service, may include increased hunting of the pigs by federal officials, though no public hunting is planned at this time.

— Davis Klabo, Assistant News Editor

The Columbia Housing Authority announced that it will be accepting applications once again for its popular Section-8 housing assistance program, The State reported.

Section-8 functions as a “rental assistance program” for low-income persons and families, using federal funds to help pay for them to rent homes in the private market, according to the program’s web page.

Participants in the program pay 30 percent of their adjusted gross income for rent and utilities, with the remaining balance paid for by CHA. The program was so popular that its waiting list was closed last year due to oversaturation, and remains closed.

However, CHA is offering interested housing applicants a chance to enter a limited time lottery program to join the program. The lottery begins on Sept. 15 and closes Sept. 19. Applications can only be made online, and will be chosen at random.

CHA estimates it could take three to four years to serve all of the 2,000 individuals and families who will be chosen by the lottery.

— Davis Klabo, Assistant News Editor

The Columbia Police drug analyst implicated in an internal investigation last week resigned Monday, The State reported.

Columbia Police and 5th Circuit Court review found that Brenda Frazier, who reportedly failed to follow standard procedure while performing drug tests, may have participated in over 1,000 cases.

According to Columbia Police Chief Skip Holbrook, Frazier’s tests were used as critical evidence in 188 criminal drug cases, cases that may now need to be reviewed.

Frazier was the only chemist working in the Columbia Police drug analysis lab during the vast majority of her tenure.

Police drug labs are usually run by at least two chemists, Holbrook said, allowing for in-house peer review and supervision.

Frazier initially sought review from other sources, particularly labs from Lexington County, Aiken County, and Orangeburg. When those labs stopped working with Frazier in February, she was not held to any standard.

As a result, Frazier’s testimonies as to the weight and substance of a drug, key facts in a sentencing, may have been compromised.

— Davis Klabo, Assistant News Editor


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