News In Brief - October 16, 2008

York County seeks input about agri-tourism complex

York County tourism officials want to know if local residents think a complex for horse, livestock and car shows is a good idea.

On Monday and Tuesday, consultants hired by the county will be at the Agricultural Building in York to talk to people about whether the county needs such a complex and, if so, where the complex should be and what features it should have.

Anyone can attend the meetings, but officials encourage those who wish to attend to call Bennish Brown, director of the York County Convention & Visitors Bureau, to set up a time. Meetings will take place in 45-minute increments. Brown's number is 329-5200.

The meeting times are:

Monday: 11:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.; 1:30-2:15 p.m.; and 2:30-3:15 p.m.

Tuesday: 9-9:45 a.m.; 10-10:45 a.m.; 11-11:45 a.m.; 1 p.m.-1:45 p.m.; and 2-2:45 p.m.

S.C., Ga. officials report progress over Savannah River

NORTH CHARLESTON -- Georgia's actions during the past three years prove it doesn't want a water war with South Carolina, according to the director of Georgia's Environmental Protection Division.

"We do not have to go down the path of resolving issues in the courtroom," Carol Couch said Wednesday during a presentation at the South Carolina Water Resources Conference.

Couch heads the Georgia team in the Savannah River Bi-State Task Force appointed by the states' governors in 2005. She and Mike McShane, leader of the S.C. side, discussed the progress and challenges in the shared use of the river.

Couch stressed the accomplishments in the last three years:

• The states are working to make their water regulations mirror each other, which would make later negotiations easier.

• Georgia forced coastal utilities to use more water from rivers and less from the underground aquifer. Growing development had sucked so much water from the fresh-water aquifer that salt water was beginning to seep into aquifer wells on Hilton Head Island.

• State officials are gathering scientific information to help make the difficult decisions on allocation basically how much water each state can take from the Savannah and how much treated waste each can put back into it.

-- The (Columbia) State

Disease-carrying citrus tree pest found in S.C.

CHARLESTON -- Authorities say a tiny bug that helped spread a fatal citrus disease to thousands of trees in Florida has been found along the South Carolina coast.

State Plant Regulatory Official Christel Harden said Wednesday that citrus greening disease has not been confirmed so far in South Carolina. But the pest that can carry the disease -- Asian citrus psyllid -- has been found in some backyard trees.

Authorities say South Carolina doesn't have a large citrus industry, but they hope to prevent the spread of the bug to states that do.

Federal and state officials have prohibited the movement of citrus plants and plant materials in Charleston, Beaufort and Colleton counties.

S.C. novelist's 'Bees' to debut in film Friday

COLUMBIA -- Sue Monk Kidd never had high hopes that her novel, "The Secret Life of Bees," would make it to the big screen.

In 2001, the year before the best-seller came out, Kidd was contacted about film rights.

"I decided to go ahead and option the book with the thought that it probably would never get made into a movie," she said by phone from her home outside Charleston. "The truth is there are a number of literary novels that are optioned, but very few of them actually get made into a movie."

Against the odds, "Bees" will make its nationwide debut Friday. The film, starring Queen Latifah, Dakota Fanning and Alicia Keys, has received mixed reviews. Some critics have praised the strong performances; others have disliked the "sweet and gooey" material.

But Kidd hopes her fans will find a faithful adaptation of the book.

-- The (Columbia) State