Originally created 07/10/98

Additional area news

Former astronaut to speak at college

Scott Carpenter, one of America's first astronauts, will speak at Augusta State University on July 27. His lecture will be at 10 a.m. in Butler Lecture Hall and is open to the public.

Mr. Carpenter became the second American, after John Glenn, to circle the Earth in a spacecraft on May 24, 1962, when he orbited three times in Aurora 7.

School seeks input on principal

A meeting will be held Monday in the Leavelle McCampbell Middle School multipurpose room to receive input regarding the principal vacancy.

Interested residents are invited to attend the 11 a.m. meeting. The school is on Canal Street in Graniteville.

Former Principal Vernelle Tyler recently took at job as a professor at USC Aiken.

Day-care owner denies crime

LAWRENCEVILLE -- A day-care center owner told Gwinnett County police she had no idea that a 3-year-old boy was inside a van when she locked the doors and left the van parked in the midday heat.

Eight days after Samuel Oh died after being left in the van for 2 1/2 hours, Eun Shin Cho sat down with detectives and told her side of the story, Capt. Duane Kissell said.

Ms. Cho told detectives that when she last saw Samuel on June 29, he was inside the Kids and Kids Academy day care center, watching her through a window as she loaded children onto a borrowed church van to take them home, Capt. Kissell said. She said she doesn't know how the boy got in the van.

A center employee found Samuel after his mother called to ask about him, police said.

Police will give the findings to District Attorney Danny Porter, who will decide whether to bring the case to a grand jury.

Nudist colony open to public

DAWSONVILLE -- Organizers at the Hidden Valley Nudist Resort in northeast Georgia are opening their gates to the public this weekend to celebrate national Nude Recreation Week.

Fees are normally $32 for couples and $20 for singles, but admission is free this weekend. Nudists at the Dawson County camp also can take hot-air balloon rides.

Resort spokeswoman June Wagner said Thursday the heat should increase attendance this weekend. She said a normal weekend draws 200 to 300 people, but more than 400 are expected this weekend because of the free admission and the heat.

"We never have a problem out here," Ms. Wagner said. "Our people are very well behaved. We're like a big family here, with a lot of regulars."

Utility sets another usage record

COLUMBIA -- South Carolina Electric & Gas Co. has set a 24-hour usage record for the fifth time in two months.

A peak demand of 3,936 megawatts was recorded at 5 p.m. Thursday, breaking the June 24 mark of 3,861 megawatts.

SCE&G serves more than a half-million electric customers in 24 counties throughout the Midlands and the Lowcountry.

Arson suspected in forest fire

AWENDAW -- Authorities believe someone intentionally started the blaze that has burned about 100 acres in the Francis Marion National Forest.

"We are pretty sure it started from someone driving along (Kinsey Road), stopping and setting a fire," forest manager Glen Stapleton said Wednesday.

Firefighters planned to make a fire break to contain the flames, several miles south of Awendaw in Charleston County. But it could take three or four days to put out smoldering debris and small flare-ups.

Schools rate high on fund report

COLUMBIA -- Most South Carolina colleges get an A when it comes to performance, according to the latest evaluations by the state Higher Education Commission.

The ratings, approved Thursday, will determine how $265 million in state funding is distributed to technical colleges, four-year schools and research universities.

Last year, the first year of performance-based funding, $4.6 million was distributed on that system. Next year, all $689 million that goes to public colleges will be based on the schools' performance on all 37 criteria.

More than half the schools scored 90 percent or better this year, compared with fewer than one in five last year. This year, performance was rated in 22 areas such as student test scores and student-teacher ratios.

Minister detained for yelling

SPARTANBURG -- A circuit judge held a minister from Startex in custody for hours for yelling after a court hearing.

Circuit Judge Derham Cole had the Rev. Terry Barnett, pastor of Startex's Restoration Baptist Church, detained at the former city jail for most of Tuesday.

Judge Cole talked with the Rev. Barnett at the end of the day and released him.

The Rev. Barnett's outcry came after Jeffrey Chastain's sentencing. Mr. Chastain pleaded no contest to performing a lewd act on a minor and was given one year in prison and a 10-year suspended sentence. The Rev. Barnett was with Mr. Chastain's family.

The Rev. Barnett reportedly yelled from the back of the courtroom, "You just put an innocent man" in jail.

Baby deer born on freeway

COLUMBIA -- State Trooper Jeff Baker always wanted to help deliver a baby.

But it was a baby deer Trooper Baker delivered Wednesday after stopping for a motorist on Interstate 95 in Sumter County.

"It was neat," Trooper Baker said. "It didn't gross me out."

Trooper Baker stopped for a motorist near the Florence County line who had his emergency flashers on about 1:15 a.m.

"The guy said a deer was hit by another car and it needed to be put out of its misery," Trooper Baker said.

A dead fawn lay beside the pregnant doe, and as the trooper approached, she delivered another fawn. Trooper Baker put on his latex gloves and rescued the baby, which he named Freeway, just before the doe died.

The fawn was taken to Sylvia Parris of Winnsboro, who cares for orphaned animals.

Bagel firm closes dough factory

GREENVILLE -- Manhattan Bagel Co. has shut down its 3-year-old bagel dough plant, laying off about 40 workers.

The plant mixed and shaped bagel dough. That work has been moved in the past two months to the company's Eatontown, N.J., plant.

The shutdown comes just three years after the company opened the $2.2 million plant to double the company's bagel production and allow it to supply 220 stores.


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