Avery G. Wilks, independentmail

Avery G. Wilks


Columbia, SC, United States

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Past articles by Avery:

Santee Cooper an accomplice, not a victim in VC Summer nuclear fiasco, lawsuit alleges

That contrast between Santee Cooper’s private concerns and public disclosures is the crux of a legal filing by its top customer, 20 SC electric co-ops → Read More

Santee Cooper spending more than $2M on pair of executives to turn the utility around

Santee Cooper is spending more than ever on a pair of new executives from Arizona to turn around the state-owned utility that lost $4 billion of its customers’ money the failed V.C. Summer nuclear project. → Read More

Facing uncertain future, Santee Cooper to pick retired Arizona utility exec as next CEO

Mark Bonsall, who retired as general manager and CEO of the Salt River Project in May 2018, will be hired to an 18-month contract at a board meeting next Tuesday, Santee Cooper board chairman Dan Ray confirmed. → Read More

In an era of rising college costs, USC’s law school is slashing tuition significantly

“We’ve been losing some very good students to out-of-state laws schools because of the cost,” USC School of Law Dean Robert Wilcox says. → Read More

New SC laws go into effect: Tuition increases, pay raises, online tax liens search and more

Here is a rundown of those changes and how they will affect South Carolinians. → Read More

New South Carolina laws go into effect Monday

Pay raises for SC teachers. Bonus for South Carolina state employees. A new Veterans Affairs Office and a higher gas tax at the pump. These are among the new laws that will take effect in July 2019. → Read More

In an era of rising college costs, USC’s law school is slashing tuition significantly

Students at the University of South Carolina’s Law School will see their tuition drop $5,100 in 2019-20 because of increased spending on higher education by the S.C. General Assembly. The cut is 17.3%. → Read More

SC taxpayers on the hook for consultant to fix Richland County elections agency

South Carolina taxpayers will have to pay some $50,000 to fix Richland County’s dysfunctional elections system. The state will hire a consultant to study and solve those elections woes after the county failed to count roughly 1,000 votes in the November midterms. → Read More

Denied top state job amid ethics questions, former SC lawmaker named magistrate instead

Mike Pitts, a Laurens Republican who withdrew his application to become director of the S.C. Conservation Bank amid questions of self-dealing, was named a local magistrate judge Tuesday by Laurens County lawmakers. → Read More

How Gov. McMaster got what he wanted from the state’s $9 billion budget

At the start of his first full term as governor, Gov. Henry McMaster, a Columbia Republican, proposed raising teacher pay, giving S.C. taxpayers a rebate, hiring more school resource officers and spending more money on higher education. → Read More

The history of South Carolina’s abortion laws

Here is how abortion restrictions have evolved in South Carolina as the Palmetto State, like others, have continued to whittle away at the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling affirming a woman’s right to have an abortion. → Read More

Former Santee Cooper CEO in secret talks with feds over failed VC Summer project

Former Santee Cooper chief executive Lonnie Carter is being interviewed by federal law enforcement as part of an ongoing criminal investigation into the failed V.C. Summer nuclear construction project, The State has learned. → Read More

SCE&G customers will get up to $146 million in VC Summer lawsuit settlement

Current and former customers of SCE&G will get up to $146 million in refunds for an unfinished power plant as part of a $2.2 billion legal settlement approved Tuesday by a judge. → Read More

SC Senate Republicans could have to cough up records in lawsuit over campaign spending

The S.C. Senate Republican Caucus could have to turn over fundraising and spending records as part of a lawsuit brought by state Sen. Dick Harpootlian, a Columbia Democrat the caucus failed to defeat in the November midterms. → Read More

‘Surgery with a sledgehammer:’ How Dick Harpootlian made a splash at the State House

In his first year in the SC Senate, Democrat Dick Harpootlian took on the Carolina Panthers’ tax breaks, got the Richland County Elections Commission fired and sank Mike Pitts’ bid to get a job at the Conservation Bank. → Read More

Richland elections director fired after agency failed to count 1,000 votes in midterms

Rokey Suleman’s two-year tenure as Richland County’s elections and voter registration director is over. The agency’s board fired him Wednesday after the office failed to count more than 1,000 votes in the November 2018 midterms. → Read More

SC lawmakers punt decision on Santee Cooper sale to 2020, leaving employees in limbo

South Carolina lawmakers will wait until next year to decide Santee Cooper’s fate. The state will spend months fielding and evaluating offers from companies to purchase or take over the management of the trouble state-owned utility. → Read More

Carolina Panthers get green light for move to SC as lawmakers OK $115M tax breaks

The Carolina Panthers will get $115 million in state tax discounts from South Carolina when the Charlotte-based NFL team moves its headquarters and practice facilities across the N.C. border and to Rock Hill. → Read More

Scandal-scarred SC electric co-ops look to turn new leaf with new reform law

A year after the Tri-County Electric Cooperative pay scandal, Republican Gov. Henry McMaster signed a new law to require more transparency and oversight for the state’s 20 electric cooperatives. → Read More

Lawyers spar over $64 million in attorneys fees in $2.2 billion SCE&G nuclear settlement

Attorneys argued for more than three hours Tuesday over whether a judge should approve the $2.2 billion settlement of a class-action lawsuit over SCE&G’s failed nuclear plant construction project and the nine electric rate hikes that paid for it. → Read More