COLUMBIA – Tidewater Boats, a designer and manufacturer of premier saltwater boats, is growing its Lexington County operations. To accommodate the production of larger models, the company is investing $8.3 million and creating 100 new jobs.

Founded in 2006, Tidewater Boats uses state-of-the-art marine craftsmanship to design and build some of the most popular saltwater boats in the industry. The company has grown from a modest five models 10 years ago to 24 models today. Boat sizes range from 17 to 32 feet, with more models currently in the design process. Tidewater Boats accommodates a variety of customers by offering plush amenities for the whole family and the tools for the serious fisherman.

The company will be constructing a new satellite facility at 1 Brickyard Road in Lexington to produce its larger models. The site will allow for more modernized, streamlined production, while also freeing up space at Tidewater’s original facility to expand production.

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Firefighter fired for protesting dismissal files lawsuit

COLUMBIA -- A white fire department captain in South Carolina who was fired for posting on social media that he would run over protesters if they were still blocking traffic when his shift ended has filed a lawsuit alleging racial discrimination.

The State reported Tuesday that in a lawsuit pending in federal court, former Columbia Fire Department Capt. Jimmy Morris contends Columbia fired him because of his race and violated his free speech rights.

Morris wrote two Facebook posts in July 2016 saying he would run over protesters if they were blocking traffic when his shift ended.

He said he supports racial equality but thought demonstrating on a public roadway raised safety concerns. His lawyer, Paul Porter, say non-white employees who wrote similar posts weren't fired.

The city said Morris' dismissal was justified.

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Ex-employees of S.C. disabilities agencies charged

COLUMBIA (AP) — Two former employees of disability agencies in South Carolina have been charged in connection with their former employment.

The Greenville News reports 36-year-old Lavonda Ella Douglas was charged last month with breach of trust of more than $10,000, and 55-year-old Lisa Boyce Pressley was charged in November with abuse of a vulnerable adult.

Douglas is accused of altering her time sheets to augment her pay by $19,913 while working as a senior accountant at the Tri-Development Center of Aiken County last year. The agency's executive director, Ralph Courtney, says the funds weren't taken from residents.

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Man convicted of murder found dead at prison

ENOREE (AP) — A man convicted of murder has been found dead at a South Carolina prison in what authorities say is an apparent hanging.

The Spartanburg Herald-Journal reports that 43-year-old Steven Roy Earley Jr. was pronounced dead early Tuesday at Tyger River Correctional Institution in the community of Enoree.

Spartanburg County Coroner Rusty Cleveger says his agency was called to the prison before 3 a.m. that day because of the reported hanging. An autopsy is planned later this week.

State corrections officials said Earley was serving a 30-year sentence and had been transferred in 2016 to Tyger River, a medium-security prison for men.

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Mormon church leader dies

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Thomas S. Monson, considered a prophet by nearly 16 million Mormons worldwide, has died at the age of 90 after a nearly a decade as church president. He expanded the church's reach and its transparency and was known for promoting humanitarian causes despite leading a divisive fight against gay marriage.

Monson died Tuesday night at his home in Salt Lake City, according to church spokesman Eric Hawkins.

Monson spent more than five decades serving in top church leadership councils — making him a well-known face and personality to multiple generations of Mormons.

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