By BRUCE SMITH
CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) - It's been a year and a day since neighborhood groups and others sued over the expanded Charleston cruise industry. And now the case is finally coming before a judge.
Circuit Judge Clifton Newton of Kingstree holds a hearing Thursday to discuss the case with attorneys.
The South Carolina Supreme Court appointed Newton to act as a referee, gathering evidence and reporting back to the justices. The court has agreed to hear the case without it first winding through lower courts.
Opponents say cruises cause congestion and pollution and want the court to block construction of a new state cruise terminal. Supporters of the industry say Charleston has always been a port town and cruises are properly managed and mean millions for the economy.