Rock Hill approves increase in taxi cab rates
The Rock Hill City Council has voted to allow the city's taxi cabs to raise their rates.
Taxi companies operating in Rock Hill must register with the city, which regulates their operations. Records show four companies have registered, said Anne Bunton, who handles customer services in the city's finance department.
In May, three of the taxi companies wrote to the city asking for permission to increase their rates. Keeping up with fuel costs was becoming too expensive, they wrote.
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Here's what customers will pay, under the new rates:
• $3 minimum charge, up from $2;
• $2.60 per mile, up from $2; and
• 30 cents per minute of waiting time, a price that did not change.
-- Shawn Cetrone
Pulled ad to cost S.C., gay travel expert says
COLUMBIA -- The flap over an ad promoting South Carolina as "So Gay" will cost the state tourism dollars, according to an industry expert.
Gay and lesbian travelers likely will be turned off by the political posturing surrounding the ads, which were pulled by the state tourism agency and led one employee to resign.
"We experience discrimination every day, so we certainly don't want to when we travel," said Wesley Combs of the Washington-based communication firm Witeck-Combs, which specializes in gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender travel.
Combs noted that national media attention about the ad, including jokes on Conan O'Brien's late-night TV show, sends a sour message to gays and lesbians who spend an estimated $712 million a year in travel.
"We read," he said. And S.C. government leaders "are sending a signal that gay people are not welcome in South Carolina."
Gov. Mark Sanford and Greenville Sen. David Thomas on Wednesday reiterated that tax money should not be used to target gay travel.
"We welcome anyone to visit our state," Sanford spokesman Joel Sawyer said, "but we agree with Sen. Thomas about using tax money to promote any group with a particular social or political agenda."
-- The (Columbia) State
Columbia zoo euthanizes sick hippo
COLUMBIA -- A hippopotamus that was one of the first animals at Columbia's Riverbanks Zoo and Garden has been euthanized after several months of illness.
Zoo officials said Wednesday that the hippo named Montgomery had arthritis in two ankles, a tooth infection and digestive problems caused by pain medication.
The zoo says the hippo's condition became difficult to control and treat. He was euthanized Tuesday.
"Monty," as he was also called, was the only hippo at the zoo.
Spokeswoman Lindsay Burke says the zoo doesn't have immediate plans to get another hippopotamus.
Zoo senior veterinarian Keith Benson said it became difficult to keep Montgomery comfortable as the illness progressed. Montgomery was born at the Memphis Zoo in 1972 and had been at the Columbia zoo since 1974.
A flamingo and a white-faced saki monkey are the zoo's two remaining original animals.