Latest News

In brief

Sheriff’s Office DNA Lab opens

After three years of planning, testing and purchasing equipment, the York County Sheriff’s Office has opened its own DNA lab that deputies and other law enforcement officers can use when investigating crimes that require forensic evidence.

The lab recently earned accreditation from Forensic Quality Services by meeting international standards for forensic testing labs, according to a York County Sheriff’s Office news release. FQS is the longest established provider of accreditation to forensic testing agencies in the United States.

“We have created a quality laboratory which has been recognized through a rigorous review process,” Cristy Kissel, the lab’s DNA technical leader, said in the news release. “We look forward to serving all the agencies in York County in their efforts to investigate and reduce crime.”

The lab will allow officials to forgo using the State Law Enforcement Division’s lab, which has experienced a backlog for several years. Law enforcement agencies across the state use SLED’s lab to test DNA in murder, rape and other cases requiring forensic evidence.

“It has taken us months to, at times, more than a year to get DNA results back for routine cases from the state lab,” Sheriff Bruce Bryant said in the release. “Now, we can have results in weeks and even as little as a few days, if necessary.”

The Sheriff’s Office lab was created through drug forfeiture money and grants, and is now operating on county funding. It is one of four local forensic biology labs in the state.

Sheriff’s office accreditation forum set

York County Sheriff’s Office employees and the community are invited to offer comments during the office’s on-site accreditation process at a public information session at 5 p.m. Aug. 12 in the Jury Selection Room at the Moss Justice Center, 1675-2A York Hwy.

York County Sheriff’s Office in 2008 earned Law Enforcement Accreditation as administered by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies Inc. Accreditation status is subject to review during a three-year accreditation award cycle and the York County Sheriff’s Office is approaching its third review. During the review, CALEA will conduct an on-site assessment of the York County Sheriff’s Office.

Comments also will be accepted from 1 to 3 p.m. Aug. 12 by calling 803-818-6634. Comments during the public information session and telephone session are limited to 10 minutes and must address the agency’s ability to comply with CALEA standards.

To submit written comments about York County Sheriff’s Office ability to comply with the standards for accreditation write: CALEA, 13575 Heathcote Blvd., suite 320 Gainesville, Va. 20155.

For more information, call 803-628-5998.

Blood drives announced

The Community Blood Center of the Carolinas will hold the following blood drives:

• noon-3 p.m., July 30, Lakeshore Christian Fellowship, 130 Shoreline Pkwy., Tega Cay.

• 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Aug. 3, Elevation Church, 2503 W. Main St., Rock Hill.

• 4:30-8:30 p.m. Aug. 5, Mount Holly United Methodist Church, 1996 Mount Holly Road, Rock Hill. Allie White student drive.

• 4-8 p.m. Aug. 9, Regal Manchester Stadium, 1935 Cinema Drive, Rock Hill. Donors get a free movie ticket.

• 3-6 p.m. Aug. 11, Toyota of Rock Hill, 640 Galleria Blvd., Rock Hill.

• 1-6 p.m. Aug. 12, Danny's Pizza & Pasta Restaurant, 2435 S.C. 160 W., Fort Mill. Lauren LaFranca student drive.

• 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Aug. 18, town of Clover, Community Center, 120 Bethel St., Clover.

• 4-7 p.m. Aug. 18, Anytime Fitness, 2115 Celanese Road, Rock Hill.

• 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Aug. 19, Nishie G’s, 727 Dilworth Lane, suite 105, Rock Hill.

• 1-6 p.m. Aug. 22, National Guard Armory, 126 Airport Road, Rock Hill.

• 4-8 p.m. Aug. 23, Regal Manchester Stadium, 1935 Cinema Drive, Rock Hill. Donors get a free movie ticket.

CBCC will hold its annual Pints for Pencils campaign in August and September. For blood donations made, CBCC will provide school supplies for local public school systems.

CBCC is also recruiting students for its Students Saving Summer Scholarship program through Sept. 30. High school and college students who organize and host a successful blood drive have the chance to earn scholarship money for their secondary education.

For more information or to register for the scholarship program, call 704-972-4727 or email

Call 704-972-4700 or go to to make an appointment.

Reserve seat for Off the Streets luncheon

Off the Streets Program’s first Ladies Luncheon and Silent Auction will be held noon to 2 p.m. Aug. 30 at First United Methodist Church, 190 E. Franklin Blvd.

Guest speaker is Jennifer P. Davis, author of “On My Way to Sixty ... I Lost My Mind!”

The Off the Streets Program is a nonprofit organization helping homeless women with drug and alcohol addiction to become self-sufficient by offering transitional housing and support in Gaston County and the surrounding areas. The program has provided the community with 10 years of support through providing a link to detoxification services, life skills training, job placement services, 12-step programs and other needed services.

Donations of gift certificates, gift baskets or other merchandise are sought.

Luncheon cost is $20. To make a reservation or for more information, call 704-879-4373 or 704-214-3331.

Become a master gardener

The 2014 Master Gardener class for York, Chester and Lancaster counties is accepting applications for the class starting Aug. 5.

Classes are held at the York County Clemson Extension, 120 N. Congress St., from 9 a.m. to noon Tuesdays through Nov. 11.

Call 803-684-9919 or email for information.

For anyone who cannot attend weekday classes, there is a statewide, online Master Gardener class offered through Clemson University. Visit for more information.

Comedian highlights Hospice fundraiser

Chonda Pierce, the “Queen of Clean Comedy,” brings her cheerful, unpretentious Southern charm, musical talent and wit to Rock Hill Sept. 4 for a Hospice fundraiser at First Baptist Church.

Pierce headlines Hospice & Community Care’s second annual LOL event, which raises money for under-insured hospice patients in the community. The evening will feature dessert and coffee.

Pierce has received five Emmy nominations, appeared in several films including “Your Love Never Fails” and “12 Wishes of Christmas,” is the author of six best-selling books and was recently honored with the “Comedian of the Year” Visionary Award.

Tickets are available at

For more information, call 803-329-1500.

Entries sought for literary competition

The Arts Council of York County presents its 11th annual Literary Competition, highlighting the best in short stories and poetry from across the Southeast, and the third annual Youth Literary Competition, highlighting the best in short stories and poetry from across York County. The postmark deadline for entries is Sept. 19.

The annual Literary Competitions include two categories – short story and poetry. Each category will be judged independently. Authors may enter both the short story and the poetry competition, and entries are eligible to win an award in each competition. Awards are $100 for first, $50 for second and $25 for third. There will be no repeat prize winners within the categories. The winners of the Youth Literary Competition will be awarded certificates of achievement.

There are no restrictions on subject matter. All participants must submit three copies of each entry for distribution to judges. Email entries will not be accepted. No entries will be returned. Your name must not appear on the manuscript, and pages must be numbered with the title of the entry. Include the title of the submitted work and all contact information on the entry form. For complete guidelines and entry information, visit

Entry fees for the adult competition are: nonmembers: $15 per entry; ACYC members: $10 per entry. There are no entry fees for those entering the youth competition. Those submitting to the youth competition must be enrolled in a K-12 program to be eligible to enter.

All participants are invited to a free, public reception and awards ceremony 6-8 p.m. Oct. 21 at the Center for the Arts, 121 E. Main St., where the winners will be announced. Winners are encouraged to read passages from their work at the reception.

For more information, call 803-328-2787 or visit