Originally created 04/09/04

Across South Carolina

Forest officials send beetles to fight pests

SALEM - Tiny beetles that feed on a destructive exotic plant pest have been released in infested lands in the Southern Appalachian forest.

U.S. Forest Service officials have teamed up with private partners and universities to breed the beetles and release them as part of an effort to establish a natural enemy in the region for the hemlock wooly adelgid.

About 4,000 Japanese pseudoscymnus tsugae beetles were set out Wednesday on hemlock trees near the Upper Whitewater Falls.

Adelgids coat trees with fuzzy white spots and feed by piercing energy-producing cells at the base of needles.

Fall from balcony at hotel kills toddler

MYRTLE BEACH - An 18-month-old boy, whose family was vacationing from Georgia, died after falling six stories from a hotel balcony.

Ashley Chandler Neesmith, of Darien, Ga., was pronounced dead at a hospital at 10:44 a.m. Wednesday, less than an hour after he fell onto a pool deck at The Breakers Resort Hotel, Horry County Deputy Coroner Dan Bellamy said.

An aunt watching the boy had turned away for a moment to wake up his father and the toddler left the room, police said.

Man gets 20 years for shooting policeman

COLUMBIA - A man who shot a state Highway Patrol trooper two days after Christmas has been sentenced to 20 years in prison, prosecutor John Meadors said.

Eric M. Maradiaga, 31, pleaded guilty to shooting Sgt. James Sinkler during a traffic stop and was sentenced Wednesday. Authorities said a bullet-proof vest saved the trooper's life.

Dogs are taken after rigged gun hits man

CHARLESTON - Dozens of pit bulls were seized from a rural property in Charleston County after a man on a surveying crew suffered pellet wounds from a gun rigged to keep people away, authorities said.

Some of the dogs were hidden from view in cages in tall grass. Others were tethered to the ground by chains, said sheriff's Capt. Dana Valentine.

Deputies and officials from the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals retrieved the dogs.


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