Originally created 08/28/99

Area briefs: Builder, residents settle differences



A neighborhood's protest seems to have worked.

A lawyer representing residents of Hardy Pointe subdivision mailed a letter to a builder Friday confirming his intention to use to use only stucco and bricks for exterior construction, said subdivision resident Jennifer McKinzie. The builder's acceptance of the letter puts the agreement into effect.

More than 65 of the 71 residents in the subdivision had put "for sale" signs in their front yards to protest the builder, who they believe was intent on breaking the subdivision covenants.

"I think the signs brought the issue to public attention pretty quickly," said Jeff Meyer, who also lives in the neighborhood.

Keystone Homes had started building homes with brick or stucco front and sides but vinyl siding on the back, although the neighborhood's covenants stipulate brick or stucco construction only.

Residents had given Keystone President Lamar Crowell until Thursday to put in writing a verbal agreement to use only brick and stucco. However, the residents conferred with an attorney and learned that the verbal agreement and follow-up letter from the residents were sufficient, said Ms. McKinzie.

Thurmond recovering quickly

AIKEN -- U.S. Sen. Strom Thurmond is expected to leave a Washington hospital Monday afternoon, five days after surgery to repair an enlarged prostate gland.

The 96-year-old senator is recovering rapidly, according to his staff, which has been handling a barrage of inquiries for Walter Reed Army Medical Center. His office, which is accustomed to dealing with large volumes of mail, also relieved that burden from the hospital.

Walter Reed frequently has famous patients because of its proximity to the nation's capital, but rarely one like Mr. Thurmond, whose age and decades of attention to constituents have made him an icon. Elected to Congress in 1954, he is the oldest and longest-serving senator in the nation's history.

Aide John DeCrosta said the senator has been taking walks in the hospital corridors and eating meals in the cafeteria.

He is expected to check out around 2:30 p.m. Monday.

Man convicted in teen's death

CARTERSVILLE -- After deliberating for about an hour and a half, a jury Friday convicted the first of four defendants charged with killing an Atlanta teen-ager.

Eric Perkinson, 20, was convicted of murder in the slaying of 16-year-old Louis Nava on June 6, 1998.

The defendants were charged with carjacking two Dunwoody teens, driving them to Bartow County and then shooting them. The defense has argued that Mr. Perkinson is mentally retarded.

Company drops its demand

GREENVILLE -- An Upstate sewage company has dropped its demand for a gag order to prevent state officials and environmentalists from linking an algae bloom in Lake Greenwood to the company.

Roy Orvin, executive director of Western Carolina Regional Sewer Authority, said Thursday that the state Department of Health and Environmental Control had backed off previous statements and that the gag order was no longer necessary.

"DHEC did clarify the issue of the algae bloom," Mr. Orvin said. "They did come out and say Western Carolina couldn't be blamed, couldn't be connected to that algae bloom."

Western Carolina last week asked Administrative Law Judge Marvin Kittrell to issue a cease-and-desist order against DHEC and the Friends of the Reedy River and asked the groups to apologize for statements linking the algae bloom to Western Carolina.

Officials with Friends of the Reedy River objected to the request, saying they would continue to exercise their First Amendment right to free speech.

Cause of fatal fire investigated

PICKENS -- Authorities have not determined the cause of a fire that killed a woman when her house burned to the ground.

Investigators found Wanda Parnell Shivers' body in her bed after the fire was extinguished Thursday.

Assistant Fire Chief Joey Pace said his department was still investigating the blaze. An autopsy was pending Friday.

Trustees oppose unfunded raises

GREENVILLE -- The Clemson University trustees board wants the Legislature to stop mandating salary increases for the faculty and staff without funding those increases.

The board passed a resolution Thursday that asked the state Higher Education Commission to tell the General Assembly and South Carolinians about how such salary hikes increase fees and tuition.

Without the unfunded salary increases, trustees "could have limited or perhaps avoided any tuition or fee increases for a five-year period," the resolution said.

Trustees say such increases have cost Clemson $5.7 million the past five years. They said tuition has been increased during that stretch to raise $5.5 million.

State legislators fund only part of the required cost-of-living increases for college personnel. Schools are required to come up with the rest.

Top teacher to drive in style

COLUMBIA -- South Carolina's teacher of the year will pick up a shiny new extra reward next week. Not an apple, but a BMW Z3 roadster.

Mary Lostetter, a math teacher at Lugoff-Elgin High School, will receive the car from Gov. Jim Hodges and state Education Superintendent Inez Tenenbaum during a ceremony at the State Museum on Monday.

Ms. Lostetter is taking a one-year leave of absence to travel around the state for the Education Department and the South Carolina Center for Teacher Recruitment.

BMW plans to award each teacher of the year a roadster. It also will make a donation to the teacher recruitment center.

Groups unite against gambling

COLUMBIA -- Church leaders and anti-gambling groups say they need to work together to defeat a referendum that would allow video gambling to continue in the state.

Representatives from most of the state's major denominations attended the meeting Friday at the South Carolina Baptist Convention headquarters.

Bernie Horn, spokesman for the National Coalition Against Legalized Gambling, said the key to ending video gambling in South Carolina was forming a broad-based coalition of political, religious and community leaders.