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Sun. Headlines: Protesters want Confederate flag removed from SC statehouse

A large crowd rallied Saturday against the presence of the Confederate flag on the grounds of the South Carolina Statehouse, calling it a “symbol of hate.” Several people spoke at the rally, which lasted more than an hour. The crowd chanted "take it down" and ended the rally by singing "We Shall Overcome."  The rally came three days after the shooting deaths of nine people in a massacre at the black Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston.

One Republican state legislator said before Saturday’s event that it's past time for the state to remove the flag from the Statehouse grounds. Representative Doug Brannon of Landrum said the flag is "not just a symbol of hate, it's actually a symbol of pride in one's hatred." Brannon plans to introduce a bill when the legislature resumes next winter to move the flag and pole to the state's Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum.  Brannon has been in the House for five years. He says he's always thought the flag should be removed but didn't have the nerve to propose it until Wednesday's massacre at the Emanuel AME church in Charleston.

Meanwhile, in Charleston, hundreds of protesters walked down the streets Saturday night, chanting "Black lives matter," “Stop White Terrorism,” and "We can't take it no more."  Marchers agreed to re-route the protest at the request of police. It ended as planned at the Daughters of the Confederacy building, where a banner was hung with the names of the nine shooting victims.

And a funeral is planned this week for South Carolina state Sen. Clementa Pinckney, one of nine victims in the shooting massacre at a Charleston church.  Pinckney was the church’s pastor.  His casket will be at the Statehouse for public viewing on Wednesday afternoon. Additional public viewings will be held Thursday at a Columbia church and at the Emanuel AME church.  His funeral will be Friday at 11AM at TD Arena on the College of Charleston campus.

MAN SHOT TO DEATH IN NORTHWEST CHARLOTTE

A 49-year-old man was shot to death in northwest Charlotte early Saturday. Police were called to the 5400 block Windy Valley Drive, off Rozzelle’s Ferry Road, at 3:36 AM, where they found Shawn Lovell Parker dead of a gunshot wound. Charlotte Mecklenburg Police have interviewed other people who were at the home at the time of the shooting. The Mecklenburg County District Attorney’s Office and police vice and gang units are helping with the investigation. 

HEAT IS WITH US FOR A WHILE

No break in the heat over the next few days. …  With temperatures forecast near 100 degrees, the National Weather Service has issued a warning about excessive heat through mid-week.  A strong high-pressure system will settle over the region Monday, pushing temperatures to near record highs. The heat, combined with high humidity, could produce dangerous heat index values.

GOVERNOR LOBBIES FOR ROAD BONDS

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory is fighting to find support for his plan to borrow $3 billion for road and infrastructure projects, while the General Assembly focuses on reaching a budget agreement.   McCrory spoke at two events this past week in Raleigh and Durham, asking audiences to pressure legislators to put two bond questions of $1.5 billion apiece on the November ballot.  House Republican leaders say they like the idea of the bonds, but they’d rather put them to a vote next year. The Senate budget offers its own proposal: raising Division of Motor Vehicle fees and transferring money to the Highway Fund to pay for $300 million in road projects.

BIRDS BANNED AT SC STATE FAIR

Most fowl and bird competitions won't be part of the 2015 South Carolina State Fair as officials take precautions against the avian influenza virus, commonly called bird flu.   Fair officials told The Herald of Rock Hill they decided to cancel  the contests after discussions with state health officials.  The ban means chickens, pheasants, bantams, peacocks, turkeys, geese and ducks won't be exhibited.