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Briefs: Vision expanding Columbia service to Florida, Alabama

May 17, 2011 6:03:00 PM - thestate.com
Just in time for summer vacation, low-cost carrier Vision Airlines is opening up its routes for Columbia passengers traveling to Disney World, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., and Hunstville, Ala. Vision launched its service to Columbia Metropolitan Airport in March with just one route to the Destin-Ft. Walton Beach, Fla., area. Customer traffic has been “up and down” but is gaining momentum, chief operating officer David Meers said. The expansion will allow travelers to connect to three new destinations through the Destin hub and Meers expects increased demand. The carrier is opening up routes at two dozen airports. Greenville passengers can connect to Knoxville, Tenn., and Las Vegas. The new routes go into effect June 1, with specials running from $39 to $99 each way. Meers said the airline now is planning its fall routes, which could include more direct and connector flights to more Florida destinations. Info: visionairlines.com

Growing population, urbanization could reduce Southern forests

Growing populations and increased urbanization could reduce the 200 million acres of forestland in the South by about 10 percent over the next 50 years, according to a U.S. Forest Service study released Tuesday. The multiyear study looks at the impact a variety of factors will have on the future of forests in 13 states, including South Carolina and stretching from Texas to Virginia. The diversity in Southern forests is “unparalleled in North America,” said Dave Wear, the project leader on the report. But that diversity and the home it provides to a variety of wildlife is threatened by a combination of four primary factors: population, climate change, timber markets and invasive species. But population growth and the ensuing urbanization are expected to reduce the amount of forestland in the South by as much as 23 million acres — about the size of the state of South Carolina — and stress other resources that forests depend on for survival.

Tidelands reports sixth consecutive quarterly deficit

The owner of Mount Pleasant-based Tidelands Bank reported its sixth consecutive quarterly deficit as it had to set aside $4.2 million to cover bad loans. Tidelands Bancshares Inc. said it lost nearly $4.5 million from Jan. 1 to March 31, compared to a nearly $2 million loss for the same period in 2010. On a per-share basis, the latest deficit totaled $1.09. Bank executives said that a turnaround plan the bank filed with industry regulators called for “several more quarters of pain” before improving and that the bank is making steady and better-than-expected improvements in winnowing its portfolio of soured loans. The seven-branch lender has struggled to rebound from the sharp real estate downturn that has socked many financial institutions in South Carolina, especially along the coast.

USA, South Carolina: (Latest Stories)