Across South Carolina

Police follow tips in teen's disappearance


MYRTLE BEACH --- Police looking for a missing 17-year-old New York girl were searching rivers and a highway about 30 miles south of Myrtle Beach on Friday.

Myrtle Beach Police Capt. David Knipes says officers are following tips in the disappearance of Brittanee Drexel.

Capt. Knipes says one of the tips led officers to two different rivers and areas along U.S. Highway 17, the main highway going south out of Myrtle Beach.

Police say the teen was last seen nearly a week ago after she left a group of friends who had traveled from Rochester, N.Y., to visit people at another hotel.

USC gets federal grant for research on fuels

COLUMBIA --- The University of South Carolina has received the largest research award in school history: a $12.5 million federal grant to set up a research center to do basic science on alternative fuels.

The school announced Friday that the center will be one of 31 established by the Department of Energy at universities across the nation. Sixteen others are being set up at DOE labs, with nonprofits and private firms.

South Carolina President Harris Pastides says the award puts USC on the leading edge of clean-energy research and will boost local and state economies.

Plan would help scam victims recover money

CHARLESTON --- Those who got little -- or nothing -- from the Ponzi scam of disgraced South Carolina economist Al Parish will be first in line to recover, according to a plan filed this week in federal court.

Some investors could receive as much as 25 percent of their initial investment, The Post and Courier of Charleston reported Friday. Authorities expect to recover as much as $9 million. A hearing on the plan is set for July.

Prosecutors say Mr. Parish defrauded hundreds of investors of $66 million. He was sentenced to 24 years in prison.

School official faces charge of solicitation

ANDERSON --- A man who served as superintendent in one South Carolina school district and was tapped to lead another has been charged with soliciting an immoral act in an Anderson County park.

Gary L. Burgess Sr., 51, was arrested Wednesday and released from jail later that day, the Independent-Mail of Anderson reported Friday.

The educator told the paper he would not comment about the arrest and was going to hire a lawyer. Jail officials said they could not say whether he had been required to post bond.

Mr. Burgess was superintendent of Anderson School District 4 until last year, when he retired after a school nurse accused him of intimidation.

He is scheduled to start work in July as Hampton School District 2 superintendent.