News In Brief - August 3, 2007

Tax-free shopping today through Sunday

Back-to-school shoppers will save some cash this weekend as a statewide sales tax holiday begins today and lasts until midnight Sunday, according to the S.C. Department of Revenue.

All school-related items purchased this weekend will be exempt from state local sales taxes. Items such as pens, pencils, notebooks and lunchboxes are all tax-free. Clothing, computer equipment, software, dorm room accessories and much more also are exempt from sales tax.

Furniture, jewelry, athletic equipment, rental items and items purchased on layaway are not included.

For more information and a complete list of tax-free items, visit www.sctax.org.

Thomas Epps certified by orthodontics board

Dr. Thomas Epps, an orthodontist in Rock Hill and Fort Mill for 20 years, has been certified by the American Board of Orthodontics.

To receive the voluntary certification, an orthodontist must prepare case studies and complete written and clinical exams. About 38 percent of orthodontists in North America are certified.

Epps graduated from Clemson University and the Medical University of South Carolina. He completed additional training at the University of Florida School of Dentistry. He is a member of the American Association of Orthodontists.

High school students complete Business Week

Approximately 150 high school students in South Carolina, including five from York County, graduated in mid-July from South Carolina Business Week at Presbyterian College in Clinton.

Business Week, which has been conducted for 24 years, cultivates leadership, teamwork and the free enterprise system in real world situations and prepares students for the workplace.

Area students were Rick Carver and Richard Jenkins, both of York Comprehensive High School; Andy Clinton of Rock Hill High School; and Josh Killough and Michael Ochieng, both of Clover High School.

Students interested in attending 2008 Business Week can visit www.scbusinessweek.com or call the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce at (800) 799-4601.

Re/Max Lakes & Land is York business of month

YORK -- Re/Max Lakes & Land of 1514 Alexander Love Highway has been named business of the month for August by the Greater York Chamber of Commerce.

Owner Tracy Ferguson III has been in the real estate business for 19 years.

Jobless benefits claims show modest rise

WASHINGTON -- The number of newly laid-off people signing up for jobless benefits rose modestly last week, although the latest figures suggest employment conditions are good.

The Labor Department reported Thursday that new applications filed for unemployment insurance increased by a seasonally adjusted 4,000 to 307,000 for the week ending July 28. That was a better than the 310,000 that economists expected.

International Paper profits more than double

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Paper and packaging company International Paper said Thursday its second-quarter profits more than doubled but failed to meet Wall Street expectations, as improved pricing was offset by raw material costs and planned maintenance outages.

Net income rose to $190 million, or 44 cents per share, from $83 million, or 17 cents per share, a year ago. Earnings per share from continuing operations before one-time items grew to 52 cents per share from 30 cents in the prior-year period.

Quarterly sales slipped to $5.29 billion from $5.72 billion in the second quarter of 2006, primarily reflecting year-ago sales from the company's U.S. coated papers business, which it sold in August 2006.