Literacy milestone, Sanders in S.C.

COLUMBIA— A literacy program at the University of South Carolina is hitting a special milestone.

Cocky’s Reading Express is handing out its 100,000th book on Friday. The university’s mascot-led literacy program is visiting schools around the Midlands that have been affected by recent flooding.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of Cocky’s Reading Express.

CHARLESTON — Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders is returning to South Carolina for a town hall with one of the state’s legislators.

The Vermont senator is attending a town hall in Charleston on Friday hosted by state Sen. Marlon Kimpson.

Kimpson says his co-hosts for the event at Burke High School include the Charleston Democratic Party and state representatives, including Seth Whipper and Wendell Gilliard.

Kimpson has invited all of the Democratic candidates to appear at individual town hall meetings in his Senate district. So far, Kimpson says Sanders and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley have confirmed.

COLUMBIA — The federal government has granted $30,000 to study the presence of mercury in fish that inhabit lower Gills Creek.

The State of Columbia reports ( the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s grant was announced Wednesday.

In a statement, agency officials say the grant will be used by the Gills Creek Watershed Association to examine the existence of mercury in fish and “communicate those findings” to people living in communities at the lower end of Gills Creek.

Watershed association director Erich Miarka says other parts of the watershed have had mercury sampling done, but little research has occurred on the lower end.

Miarka says the study will be done in conjunction with the University of South Carolina-Aiken and should start in the next several months.