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Jeffrey Collins/Associated Press

  • In the past few weeks, South Carolina has set records for COVID-19 hospitalizations and new cases have approached peak levels of last winter. Classes, schools and entire districts have gone virtual, leaving parents frustrated and teachers quitting weeks into the school year. Republicans backed a provision to ban masks in schools in June when cases were low and have not budged. Now teachers, students and parents are struggling with the fallout as more young people contract the delta variant, forcing nearly two dozen schools and two entire districts back to online learning within a month of returning in person.
  • A prominent South Carolina lawyer has surrendered to face insurance fraud and other charges in what's described as a failed plot to arrange his own death. Alex Murdaugh was issued a $20,000 bond and released Thursday on his own recognizance to return to drug rehab after the court hearing. State police say Murdaugh tried to arrange his death Sept. 4 so his surviving son could collect a $10 million life insurance policy. The State Law Enforcement Division has now been asked to open six investigations involving the Murdaugh family, including the unsolved killings of Murdaugh's wife and son — and the previous death of their housekeeper.
  • A prominent South Carolina lawyer surrendered on Thursday to face insurance fraud and other charges in a failed plot to arrange his own death. Alex Murdaugh turned himself at the Hampton County jail ahead of a bond hearing. State police say Murdaugh tried to arrange his death Sept. 4 so his surviving son could collect a $10 million life insurance policy. The State Law Enforcement Division has now been asked to open six investigations involving the Murdaugh family, including the unsolved killings of Murdaugh's wife and son and now the previous death of their housekeeper.
  • South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster says Kershaw County schools are a model in the state for fighting COVID-19 without requiring students to wear masks. The governor toured Camden Elementary School on Wednesday. He saw the thermal scanner that takes the temperature of every student as they walk in without them having to stop. The school also puts a lot of effort into contact tracing, only quarantining people who are within 3 feet of an infected person for more than 15 minutes. McMaster and Republican legislators back a one-year ban on school mask mandates put in the budget. State health officials have asked them to remove it.
  • State police say a prominent South Carolina lawyer tried to arrange his own death earlier this month so his son would get a $10 million life insurance payment. But authorities say the planned fatal shot only grazed Alex Murdaugh's head on Sept. 4. The State Law Enforcement Division says it charged the shooter, 61-year-old Curtis Edward Smith, with assisted suicide, insurance fraud and several other counts. Murdaugh was not charged Tuesday night, but agents said more charges were expected. Agents say Murdaugh gave Smith the gun to kill him and he followed Mudaugh to a lonely Hampton County road. But the bullet only grazed Murdaugh, who survived and called 911 after Smith left.
  • State police have officially opened an investigation into missing money that a law firm says was taken by an attorney from a prominent South Carolina legal family whose wife and son were killed three months ago. Monday's announcement means that, along with the investigation into the deaths, the State Law Enforcement Division has four other ongoing investigations into Alex Murdaugh and his family.
  • Republicans in the South Carolina House plan to meet as soon as they can to figure out how to fight back against President Joe Biden's order that all larger businesses require their employees be vaccinated against COVID-19. House Speaker Jay Lucas sent a letter to his Republican colleagues telling them it goes against every notion of privacy. But Lucas says House Republicans need to respond in a way that is legal since they are out of session. Senate Majority Leader Shane Massey says he thinks Biden's order will be overturned before lawmakers could return. South Carolina is in the bottom 10 in the U.S. in percentage of fully vaccinated people at just under 45%.
  • Some South Carolina cities are bringing back indoor mask requirements as this summer's COVID-19 outbreak in the state rivals the height of the pandemic last winter before vaccines were widely available. Three Midlands cities — Columbia, West Columbia and Cayce — all passed requirements that people wear masks indoors in public places except while eating and a few other exceptions. The emergency rules follow a ban by state lawmakers on mandatory masks in schools, for the most part. South Carolina is seeing abut 5,400 new COVID-19 cases a day. The state was reporting about 150 new cases a day in June when Gov. Henry McMaster ended a 14-month long COVID-19 state of emergency.
  • A lawyer from a prominent South Carolina legal family who found his wife and son shot to death at their home three months ago and was injured when a bullet grazed his head as he changed a tire over the weekend says he is going to rehab. Alex Murdaugh's statement Monday also said he "made a lot of decisions that I truly regret" but did not go into details. Hours later, Murdaugh's law firm said he took money from the business. PMPED law firm says Murdaugh is no longer associated with them. Murdaugh's 52-year-old wife Maggie and 22-year-old son Paul were killed June 7. No arrests have been made.
  • Investigators say a lawyer from a prominent South Carolina legal family who found his wife and son shot to death at their home three months ago had a bullet graze his head as he changed a tire on a lonely rural road. State police said Alex Murdaugh was able to call 911 after he was hurt Saturday afternoon in Hampton County.