News In Brief - January 29, 2008

Registration deadline for FM school vote nears

People in the Fort Mill school district who want to vote in the March 4 school bond referendum must register by 5 p.m. Friday at the York County Registration and Elections office.

If registering by mail, the envelope must be postmarked by Sunday. The York County Registration and Elections office is at 13 S. Congress St., York 29745.

Those registering must be 18 or older and submit a current form of identification. If registering by mail, a copy of your driver's license will suffice.

On March 4, school district voters will cast ballots on two items -- one to build a middle school and two new elementary schools and to buy land for more schools -- and another to build an additional gym at each of the high schools and a 5,000-seat stadium at Nation Ford High. The two questions together total nearly $96 million.

Pro-bond group to hold meeting tonight

FORT MILL -- The Keep Our Schools Strong Committee that is promoting the March 4 school bond referendum in Fort Mill will present "An Inconvenient Truth (about growth in Fort Mill School District)" during a public forum tonight at Springfield Middle School.

The meeting will begin at 7 p.m., after the Springfield Middle School Parent-Teacher Association business meeting. The school is located at 1711 Springfield Parkway.

The presentation will focus on growth, its impact on schools and families, and why the group believes voters in Fort Mill school district should approve bonds to build more schools.

The meeting will be held in the school gymnasium and is open to the public.

Tougher restrictions on water unlikely for now

December rains mean emergency water restrictions won't be needed in the Catawba River basin before August, Duke Energy said Monday.

Duke has recorded an average of more than 6 inches of rain across the basin since mid-December. York County saw 4.24 inches of rain in December, up from the normal of 3.07. In January, the county has gotten about 1.6 inches of rain, down from a normal of 3 inches.

The National Weather Service predicts some short-term drought relief from those rains, but expects conditions that are warmer and dryer than normal through April.

Duke had previously estimated that Stage 4, or emergency, restrictions could be needed by February.

Utilities in the region have been under Stage 3 restrictions, including a ban on use of irrigation systems, since fall.

Stage 4, the direst level, would be likely to include a ban on all outdoor water use. Water rationing is possible, officials have said.

Sixty-five counties, including York, Chester and Lancaster, remain in exceptional drought, according to the widely watched U.S. Drought Monitor.

-- The Charlotte Observer