Originally created 12/26/05

Across South Carolina



Upstate wants help with storm cleanup

GREENVILLE - Without federal assistant, Greenville County officials say, cleaning up debris from this month's ice storm could take longer than winter itself.

It would take up to four months for the county's 64 workers to pick up the estimated 23,000 tons of debris from roadsides, said Paula Gucker, the assistant county administrator.

If the Upstate qualifies for disaster assistance money from the federal government, the money would let the county hire outside crews to help speed up the pickup, Ms. Gucker said.

The city is collecting all debris, whether it fell in the roads or in yards. The county is collecting only what it cleared from roads.

Officials from the South Carolina Emergency Management Division are scheduled to visit this week for a damage survey, Ms. Gucker said.

Afterward, they could ask the governor to declare the Upstate a disaster and seek money from the Federal Emergency Management Administration to cover some of local governments' cleanup costs, she said.

"Regardless of FEMA, we are working to clear debris as quickly as possible," Ms. Gucker said.

Body identified after fire at mobile home

SPARTANBURG - One of the victims of a mobile home fire in Wellford has been identified as 43-year-old Ronald Lynn Copeland.

Neighbors say Mr. Copeland lived in the home with David Jackson, who was in his 70s. Investigators said they believe that Mr. Jackson was the other fire victim, but he has not been positively identified.

Spartanburg County coroner's investigator Stephen Lully said he was able to identify the body because Mr. Copeland's dentist volunteered the necessary records.

Autopsies revealed that both men died of carbon monoxide poisoning and burns.

Investigators had determined the cause of the fire, but neighbors said the two men had been using their electric oven to heat the mobile home.

School documentary inspires service group

FLORENCE - A documentary on rural schools in South Carolina has prompted a Columbia service group to help out a Dillon County school.

After watching Corridor of Shame: the Neglect of South Carolina's Rural Schools, City Year decided to help out Dillon District 2's J.V. Martin High School.

Built in 1896, the school is the oldest still operating in the state.

City Year sent 22 volunteers to the school. They painted murals, touched up hallways and stairwells, painted faculty bathrooms and fixed the front of the school.

"The film really made me want to help in any way I could. I wanted to help them have a sense of pride in their school," said Patricia Mathison, the program and operations manager for City Year.

Dillon 2 and seven other rural districts have sued the state, saying they don't get enough money from the state to adequately teach their children. The districts say the state relies too much on local property taxes and not enough on state funding.