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Headline Roundup: SC Sheriff Hopes Second Plea Deal Prevents Trial; Measles Case In Mecklenburg; Mor

Former Lexington County Sheriff James Metts is hoping a second attempt at a plea deal will keep him from going to trial on bribery charges. Metts, his attorneys and prosecutors signed an agreement a week ago. His trial is scheduled for January.

Metts is charged with taking money from a restaurant owner in exchange for preventing the deportation of some of the restaurant’s employees who were in the country illegally.

Former SC Governor Edwards Funeral Today

Former South Carolina Gov. James Edwards is being remembered as a statesman who succeeded at everything he did, from running the state to running a major university.

Edwards' funeral was held Monday at St. Phillip's Church in downtown Charleston. Gov. Nikki Haley joined former Govs. Dick Riley, David Beasley and Mark Sanford in remembering Edwards, whose coffin was draped with a U.S. flag.

Edwards, who died Friday, was South Carolina's first Republican governor since Reconstruction, serving from 1975 to 1979

One Diagnosed With Red Measles In Meclenburg

In the last week, one unvaccinated individual was diagnosed with red measles in Mecklenburg County.  The patient had traveled to a country where red measles is common.

As a precautionary measure, individuals who came in contact with the patient have been contacted. Preventative measures are being taken and at this time there is no immediate risk to the general public.

Red measles is a contagious respiratory disease that is caused by a virus. It is spread through the air through coughing and sneezing. Symptoms include high fever, cough, runny nose, red eyes and sore throat followed by a rash that spreads all over the body.

Measles can be prevented with a vaccine. Persons planning to travel out of the country should consult their physician about any needed vaccinations.

Panthers Secure Playoff Spot

The Carolina Panthers are preparing for the NFL playoffs. Carolina closed out the regular season last night with a strong win in Atlanta, 34 to 3. It’s the first time a team has won the NFC south division two years in a row. Quarterback Cam Newton says he and his teammates are now focused on preparing for the tougher playoff environment. The Panthers host Arizona on Saturday at Bank of America stadium.

New Laws Take Effect In NC New Year's Day

The slate of laws taking effect with the new year includes lower taxes for corporations and individuals, though taxi drivers and movie-makers are losing preferential breaks.

Scores of new laws or significant tweaks approved by state lawmakers take effect on New Year's Day.

A tax overhaul law that this year cut individual income rates to 5.8 percent pushes rates down to 5.75 percent in 2015. The corporate income tax that dropped from 6.9 percent to 6 percent in 2014 now falls to 5 percent in 2015.

Hunting and fishing licenses are being tied to inflation, possibly limiting fee increases. Military veterans and their spouses may find it easier to put skills to work as occupational licensing boards are ordered to issue approvals for previous experience.

Northbound I95 Lane Closed Over Great Pee Dee River

Authorities have again closed a northbound lane on the Interstate 95 bridge over the Great Pee Dee River for repairs.

The South Carolina Department of Transportation said in a Twitter posting around 8:45 a.m. Monday that the lane was being closed. Officials say more holes have appeared on the pavement of the bridge and must be patched. The lane will be closed at least through Monday.

Crews fixed a similar hole on Dec. 23, and the closed lane on the two-lane bridge caused 7- to 8-mile backups north of Florence. The repair work was finished the same day.

The bridge is at mile marker 175.

The nearest detour takes traffic at least 10 to 15 miles out of the way.

Judge Questions Legality Of SC Sheriff's Drunken Driving Arrest

A judge has questioned a state trooper's arrest of the Berkeley County sheriff on drunken driving and hit and run charges, saying South Carolina law only allows the county coroner to arrest the sheriff.

Sheriff Wayne DeWitt was arrested around 6 a.m. Sunday after police stopped him because his truck matched the description of a vehicle involved in a hit and run minutes earlier.

But during DeWitt's bond hearing 12 hours later, a judge questioned if he had the authority to set a bond since DeWitt's arrest might have been illegal. DeWitt's attorney said he would deal with that matter at a later court proceeding, and DeWitt was released.