Police Car Free Times

Three men escaped from the Orangeburg County Detention Center May 19, and two were still on the loose as Free Times went to press three days later. Update 5/23/18: Two of the three escapees have now been captured. Two of the men were being held on murder charges when they escaped, taking advantage of an electrical short that allowed cells to be unlocked; they also reportedly assaulted a guard.— Eva Moore

Kangaroo Also Escapes

For the second time in a week, a kangaroo got loose in McCormick County. “Yes, the Kangaroo got out again this morning, but is back home safely ... again,” the county’s emergency services department posted on Facebook May 17. The marsupial also got out, and was returned home, on May 15. While it is legal to have a kangaroo in South Carolina, as long as you have the proper permits and licenses, it is not clear why someone in rural McCormick has one, or how it keeps getting out. — Chris Trainor

Noble Says Smith’s Gun Positions are Like “a Klansman Taking His Sheet Off”

Democratic candidate for governor Phil Noble took a particularly vitriolic shot at opponent James Smith in a recent podcast hosted by political commentator Bakari Sellers, saying Smith’s position on gun regulations is like “a Klansman taking his sheet off and saying, ‘Well, I’ve changed.’” Smith has, in the past, received A and B ratings from the National Rifle Association. In 2016 he received a C rating. As reported by The Post and Courier, Smith, a 22-year member of the Legislature and a military veteran, “has now been given a seal of approval from ‘Moms Demand Action,’ one of the country’s most prominent gun control groups.” Alyssa Miller, a Smith spokeswoman, said, “The inflammatory comments made by Phil Noble on the podcast with Bakari Sellers this week are nothing short of defamatory and have no place in modern-day discourse.” — Chris Trainor

Smith Wins Progressive Network, Indivisible Midlands Backing

Meanwhile, gubernatorial candidate and S.C. Rep. James Smith continued to consolidate endorsements, winning the backing of two progressive groups: Indivisible Midlands, and the South Carolina Progressive Network. It was the Network’s first gubernatorial endorsement in the organization’s 22 years in existence — and they threw in their lot with the most establishment candidate in the Democratic race, a 22-year veteran of the General Assembly. Indeed, the Network suggested Smith’s establishment cred is part of the point — because they think it means he can win in November. “The Network has endorsed James Smith because he is the only candidate who combines the vision, commitment, and, most importantly, experience to work with the Republican-dominated Legislature — and can win the general election,” the group said in a release. “These challenging times are an historic opportunity to stop our state’s race to the bottom.” Indivisible Midlands also emphasizes Smith’s long experience in the General Assembly. — Eva Moore

Oversight Agency Says SCE&G Won’t Give Up Nuclear Records

The Office of Regulatory Staff says SCE&G will not give up records that could be used to justify a decrease in customers’ rates in connection with the boondoggle at V.C. Summer. According to Sammy Fretwell at The State, the utility is withholding summaries of auditors’ reports, records given to law enforcement investigating potential fraud at the now shuttered project, a 2016 estimate of the cost to complete the project, and more. Fretwell reports, “Regulatory Staff is seeking the documents as part of its legal effort to roll back the $27-a-month charge that SCE&G continues to charge its residential customers for the bungled nuclear plant.” — Chris Trainor

USC Softball Team Advances

The University of South Carolina softball team has advanced to the Super Regional round of the NCAA Tournament for just the second time in school history. Coach Bev Smith and the Gamecocks punched their ticket last weekend, winning the Regional round of games in Columbia. The only previous time USC advanced to the Super Regional was in 2007. The team will now travel to face Arizona State in a best-of-3 series, with the first game being at 11 p.m. Friday on ESPNU. — Chris Trainor

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