Man walks away from work-release

A man participating in the Charleston County Detention Center work-release program walked away Tuesday afternoon and was missing for about an hour before deputies found him at a motel not far away.

Larry Eugene Clayton, 26, of North Charleston was working with Charleston County Code Enforcement about 2:30 p.m. at Dorchester Road and Paramount Drive when he left the work site, said Maj. John Clark of the Charleston County Sheriff's Office.

Clayton was found about 3 p.m. in a room at the Airport Inn on Dorchester Road and was taken into custody without incident, Clark said. He said Clayton was in the jail for a traffic offense and family court charges.

School supplies focus of party

Community members are invited to a Back-to-School Bash on Saturday that will be hosted by 10 local churches.

Students between 4 and 13 years old will be able to take one of 500 free bags of school supplies and uniforms at Hampton Park on Rutledge Avenue at 10 a.m.

The bash also will include entertainment, prizes, gifts, horse rides, games and food.

North Myrtle OKs burning ordinance

NORTH MYRTLE BEACH — Leaders of a South Carolina community charred by a wildfire earlier this year are taking steps to prevent such a tragedy from happening again — and make residents feel safer.

Multiple media outlets reported that the City Council on Monday unanimously voted to give initial approval to an ordinance banning open, uncontained burning.

A burn ban has been in effect since a wildfire last spring destroyed 76 homes and damaged 78 others.

The new ordinance would prohibit city residents from setting uncontained fires outside. Violators could face fines up to $500, 30 days in jail or both.

The April 23 wildfire started when a trash fire set four days before rekindled. It caused a total estimated cost of $19 million in damage.

Zoo aims to fence out party animals

COLUMBIA — Zoos are home to some of nature's party animals, but one South Carolina zoo is looking to keep out some unwelcome partiers of another kind.

The State newspaper reported Tuesday that Riverbanks Zoo officials are fencing off part of one parking lot to keep people who party on a nearby river from coming near the zoo.

People often park at zoo lots and walk down to the Saluda River. But this summer, dogs belonging to somebody in the river crowd dug under fences and terrorized zoo animals, killing two birds. Last month, after a nighttime event for zoo members, two drunk men wandered up from the river and accosted a group leaving the zoo.

Officials hope the river parties will be more manageable when a riverfront trail around the zoo is complete.

Workers unearth unusual discovery

COLUMBIA — Workers constructing a McDonald's in South Carolina have a unique mystery: They found the tombstone of a woman who died exactly 74 years to the day when the marker was found.

Richland County Coroner Gary Watts said construction crews found the tombstone Tuesday as they laid pipes at the Columbia site where the original restaurant had been torn down to build a new one.

Watts said investigators found no human remains, leading them to believe the tombstone was part of a load of fill dirt used to build the original restaurant decades ago. The coroner said his employees are trying to figure out where the tombstone came from and contact the family of the woman whose name is on it.