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Crime-and-courts
breaking top story
Three murder suspects accused of trying to dig way out of Orangeburg jail

Three murder suspects are accused of trying to dig their way out of the Orangeburg County Detention Center. One is facing a previous escape charge.

“Each one of these who attempted this escape are awaiting trial for murder,” Orangeburg County Sheriff Leroy Ravenell said. “But fortunately these violent individuals were discovered before their plan was complete.”

Curtis Green, 22, is charged with escape while 36-year-old Leroy Bowers and 22-year-old Steve Rolley are each charged with assisting Green.

Officers at the detention center notified Orangeburg County Sheriff’s deputies on Saturday that three inmates allegedly attempted to escape by digging through a wall.

Deputies reported the inmates had damaged the locks on their cells to prevent authorities from entering, according to a sheriff’s office incident report.

The inmates were eventually convinced by deputies to exit the cells without force being used.

Green was originally arrested in 2016 and charged in a fatal shooting that happened the previous year. In 2018, he and three others were accused of overpowering and assaulting a correctional officer.

Bowers is awaiting trial for a June 2019 shooting that left one man dead.

Rolley is charged in a 2017 shooting in which he allegedly shot one of two individuals arguing with each other.

Green’s escape charge means he could be facing between one and 15 years in prison after he serves any sentence should he be convicted on his murder charge.

Bond was denied on each of the subjects.


Orangeburg Department of Public Utilities Electric Division employees Julian Bair and Clint Moore, on the ladder, put up approximately 80 American flags in the downtown area prior to Memorial Day weekend.


International
AP
Maskless Trump tours plant

YPSILANTI TOWNSHIP, Mich. — Pandemic politics shadowed President Donald Trump's trip to Michigan on Thursday as he highlighted lifesaving medical devices, with the president and officials from the electoral battleground state clashing over federal aid, mail-in ballots and face masks.

Trump visited Ypsilanti, outside Detroit, to tour a Ford Motor Co. factory that had been repurposed to manufacture ventilators, the medical breathing machines governors begged for during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

But his visit came amid a long-running feud with the state's Democratic governor and a day after the president threatened to withhold federal funds over the state's expanded vote-by-mail effort. And, again, the president did not publicly wear a face covering despite a warning from the state's top law enforcement officer that a refusal to do so might lead to a ban on his return.

Meanwhile, signs of renewed business activity are surfacing across the country as states gradually reopen economies and some businesses call a portion of their laid-off staffers back to work. Yet with millions more Americans seeking unemployment aid last week, the U.S. job market remains as bleak as it's been in decades.

More than 2.4 million laid-off workers filed for jobless benefits last week, the government said Thursday, the ninth straight week of outsize figures since the viral outbreak forced millions of businesses to closer their doors and shrink their workforces.

And while the number of weekly applications has slowed for seven straight weeks, they remain immense by any historical standard — roughly 10 times the typical figure that prevailed before the virus struck. Nearly 39 million people have applied for benefits since mid-March.

"There is little evidence that the reopening of the economy has, as yet, led to any sudden snap back in employment," said Paul Ashworth, an economist at Capital Economics.

In Michigan, all of the Ford executives giving Trump the tour were wearings masks, the president stood alone without one. At one point, he did take a White House-branded mask from his pocket and said to reporters he had worn it elsewhere on the tour, out of public view.

"I did not want to give the press the pleasure of seeing it," Trump said.

For a moment, he also teasingly held up a clear shield in front of his face. A statement from Ford said that Bill Ford, the company's executive chairman, "encouraged President Trump to wear a mask when he arrived" and said the president wore it during "a private viewing of three Ford GTs from over the years" before removing it.

The United Auto Workers union noted in a statement that "some in his entourage'" declined face masks and said "it is vitally important that our members continue to follow the protocols that have been put in place to safeguard them, their families and their communities."

The UAW also noted Trump's statement that he had just been tested for the virus and said it wanted to make sure he understood the wider "need for an economical instant test that can be administered daily to further protect our members — and all Americans."

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said that mask wearing isn't just Ford's policy but it's also the law in a state that's among those hardest hit by the virus. Nessel said that if Trump refused to wear a mask Thursday "he's going to be asked not to return to any enclosed facilities inside our state" and "we're going to have to take action" against any company that allows it in the future.

Trump has refused to wear a face mask in public, telling aides he believes it makes him look weak, though it is a practice that federal health authorities say all Americans should adopt to help slow the spread of the virus.

Ford said everyone in its factories must wear personal protective equipment, including masks, and that its policy had been communicated to the White House. At least two people who work in the White House and had been physically close to Trump recently tested positive for the virus.

Earlier Thursday, Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell huddled at the White House as Republicans stake out new plans to phase out coronavirus-related unemployment benefits to encourage Americans to go back to work.

Revamping jobless aid is fast becoming the focus of debate over the next virus aid package. After the Senate decided to take a "pause" on new pandemic proposals, senators faced mounting pressure to act before leaving town for a weeklong Memorial Day break. The Senate also began efforts to fast-track an extension of a popular small business lending program.

"Republicans and the White House are reaching consensus on the need for redesigning the unemployment benefits so they are not a barrier to getting people back to work," Rep. Kevin Brady of Texas, the top Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee, told reporters on a conference call.

The flurry of activity comes after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi pushed a new $3 trillion aid package through the House last week. The Senate, under McConnell, says there is no urgency to act, and senators are expected to reconsider more aid in June.

Over 5 million people worldwide have been confirmed infected by the virus, and about 330,000 deaths have been recorded, including about 94,000 in the U.S., according to a tally kept by Johns Hopkins University.


Govt-and-politics
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Orangeburg County Council
Orangeburg County Council District 4 incumbent challenged

Livingston

Orangeburg County Councilman Heyward Livingston is being challenged in the upcoming Democratic primary by former Consolidated School District 3 school board member Joseph Garvin.

Both candidates have filed for the Orangeburg County Council District 4 seat.

The state’s party primaries will be held June 9.

Joseph Garvin

Garvin is retired and the owner of Garvin’s Community Store in Springfield.

“I’m seeking the seat because I want to have the opportunity to give back to my community, and I know that I have the capability of giving my constituents 100%, unbiased representation as the councilman of District 4,” Garvin said.

“I would like to see quality growth in the west end of the county, which has been long overdue. And I will be able to work professionally. I will work in a professional way in order to make decisions based on the need of the community,” Garvin said.

“I do have the ability to represent those in my district in a fair and ethical manner,” Garvin stated.

He said, “I feel like I’m the best candidate because I have new ideas, and I want to see quality growth in the western end. We have an industrial park that we have in Neeses that has been there for about 15 years, and there’s nothing out there. I haven’t talked to our councilman about it, but I think that it was not planned properly to make sure that the community money was spent in a manner that it should have been spent,” Garvin said.

“If you don’t have the infrastructure, or you don’t have the water, or you don’t have the backing to do something, you can’t do it,” he said.

He detailed the goals he would like to accomplish if elected.

“My first goal would be to make sure I have a quarterly meeting with the Norway mayor, Springfield mayor, Neeses mayor, North mayor and Woodford mayor, and the representatives in the Great Branch area. All the people that’s in the community, I would meet with them to find out what their priorities are in their community. And then, when I find out what their priorities are, I would take those priorities and would work through them. We’ll work through all of them to make sure that we don’t forget about anybody in the community,” Garvin said.

He said, “I would be more vocal and more visible in the community. I would also make sure that all of the mayors in each town that I would be representing in District 4, make sure they have a fair shot at everything.”

Garvin assessed the work of the current council.

“I can only speak for District 4. I think that the county councilman, he has not been vocal enough, he’s not worked hard enough to make things come to our area. All of the little small towns like North, Norway, Springfield, Neeses, they’re dying out, and our children who are graduating from all the schools in this area in District 4, they don’t have any jobs. And it seems like to me that everything is way on the other side of Orangeburg,” Garvin said.

He noted that he served as a board member on the Orangeburg Consolidated School District 3 school board for over 20 years and as a member of the School Development Committee for the county.

Heyward Livingston

Livingston is retired.

Livingston stated that he seeking re-election to complete unfinished tasks.

“I’ve got some projects that I didn’t get through with on this last term. In fact, we’re working on one in Springfield now, the senior citizen center. We’re remodeling that building and we’ve got the roof on, but we didn’t quite get through with it, so I would like to have one more term to finish it up. I’ve got about three projects in Norway that we didn’t get started on last year, so I want to get those through,” Livingston said.

“I’ve got more work that needs to be done,” he said.

Livingston’s been self-employed most of his life.

“I’ve farmed, for about 20 years I was co-owner of North-South Wood Preservers and just a pretty good business mind. You’ve got to know how to handle your own money before you can handle somebody else’s money,” Livingston stated.

If re-elected, Livingston said “I would like to finish my projects up.

“It’s a lot of work to be done in Orangeburg County, and I would like an opportunity to finish it up and get through all of the loose ends,” he said.

Livingston believes he is the best candidate.

“I’ve got good business experience, and good common sense,” Livingston said.

He is particularly proud of one accomplishment during his tenure.

“Probably the best thing not only to me but all seven of us, when we got together and we voted to pass the capital projects sales tax. That was millions and millions of dollars that went into Orangeburg County infrastructure that we wouldn’t have had if it weren’t for that 1 percent capital sales tax,” he said

“Every town, every community got something out of it,” Livingston said.

Livingston noted that he is involved in the community groups of the towns in District 4.


Crime-and-courts
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Orangeburg shooting victim ID’d by coroner’s office

An Orangeburg woman is accused of shooting a man to death in a domestic dispute on Wednesday, Orangeburg County Sheriff Leroy Ravenell announced.

“This is the not the first time we’ve been to this address in response to a domestic dispute,” Ravenell said. “In just a few minutes, this went from argument to someone being shot.”

Shantell Corley, 33, is facing charges of murder and first-degree burglary.

John Hubbard, 33, of Presidential Drive, Orangeburg, died of injuries sustained in the shooting, according to Orangeburg County Chief Deputy Coroner Sean Fogle. An autopsy is scheduled for Saturday.

Corley was taken into custody Wednesday evening after investigators were called out to Presidential Drive.

Deputies arrived to find Hubbard on the ground with a concerned citizen using a towel to apply pressure to what appeared to be a gunshot wound.

As deputies assisted the concerned citizen, a woman ran out of a nearby apartment allegedly shouting, “I shot him!”

Witnesses told investigators the woman had been distraught after her vehicle was towed. However, it was brought back by the towing company.

After the return of the vehicle, the couple began arguing in public before entering an apartment, according to the witnesses.

The arguing couple then came out of the apartment again. Witnesses alleged the woman then used a handgun to shoot the man.

Corley’s burglary charge stems from witness claims that she entered another apartment and made threats to kill the occupants.

A court appearance for Corley has been set for Friday.