News In Brief - July 9, 2007

Downtown blacked out for two hours Sunday

Electricity was out for about two hours in the downtown Rock Hill area Sunday, according to Rock Hill Utilities Director Jimmy Bagley.

The outage began at about 1:15 at Cherry Road and S.C. 5 and extended to Saluda Road, he said. Power was restored shortly before 3:15.

It occurred when a powerful bolt of lightning took out part of a circuit, Bagley said.

There were three or four minor traffic accidents during the outage, but none where traffic lights were not working, said Lt. David Biggers of the Rock Hill Police Department.

"When the electric's off, people actually pay attention," he said.

Gas cap check to be held today at York Tech

York Technical College will host a Clean Air Works! gas cap check today from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the college's parking lot B.

The Mecklenburg County Air Quality team will be on hand to test automobile gas caps for leaks. Leaky caps will be replaced for free. The event is designed for York Tech employees and students, but the public also is invited to have gas caps checked.

York Technical College is a partner with Clean Air Works!, a project that engages area employers in the effort to improve air quality by providing them with tools to help employees take control of their commutes and by assisting in retooling operations and maintenance activities to reduce emissions.

For more information about Clean Air Works!, contact Warren Cook at 981-7236 or visit http://cleanairworks.org.

New measure lets jails make more transfers

New funding for the state prison system could alleviate some jail overcrowding in Horry and Georgetown counties, law enforcement officials said.

Last week, the legislature overrode Gov. Mark Sanford's veto of a measure that limits the number of prisoners county jails can transfer to state prisons.

The measure also gives $4.4 million to the state Department of Corrections to hire personnel at two prisoner processing locations in Columbia, DOC spokesman Josh Gelinas said.

The extra staff will mean county jails can transfer more prisoners sentenced to 90 days or more to state-run prisons instead of scrambling to find beds locally.

"That will help us a great deal. There are times we have had up to 80 inmates waiting to go to the Department of Corrections," said Tom Fox, director of J. Reuben Long Detention Center in Horry County.

-- The (Myrtle Beach) Sun News

Ex-Kershaw, Lexington counties official dies

SUMMERVILLE -- Gordon William Hartwig, a former county administrator for Kershaw, Georgetown and Lexington counties, died Thursday at his Summerville home. He was 67.

Hartwig, a graduate of Michigan State University who was born in Cleveland, was county administrator for Kershaw County from 1997 to 2001. He led the county into the 21st century, "kicking and screaming all the way," said Councilman John Wells, who represents Elgin.

Hartwig brought experience, told people what needed to be done and stood by his opinion, Wells said.

"Gordon was a very big person," Wells said. "He's one of these people that rises above any kind of pettiness in politics or government. He tried to do the right thing."

Within a few months of starting his tenure in Kershaw County, Hartwig instituted a program where the county would help pay tuition for employees taking college classes.

He spearheaded the effort to get Central Carolina Technical College to open its Camden campus in 2001, Wells said.

Before joining Kershaw County government, Hartwig worked as administrator for Georgetown County from 1990 to 1997 and Lexington County from 1985 to 1990.

--The (Columbia) State