News In Brief - July 10, 2007

New trustee named to Winthrop board

Attorney Dalton Floyd of Surfside, a former chairman of the S.C. Commission on High Education, has been named to the Winthrop University Board of Trustees.

Floyd will fill a seat as the governor's at-large appointment, succeeding trustee Larry Durham of Lancaster. Floyd likely will perform his first official duties at Winthrop's convocation on Aug. 20.

Born in Lake City, Floyd earned a bachelor's degree in business administration and a law degree, both from the University of South Carolina. He served as a captain in the U.S. Air Force from 1963-1966 and was certified as trial and defense counsel of the Judge Advocate General Corp for the Air Force. He has organized and served as general counsel for three financial institutions and is the attorney for the Carolinas Section of the PGA of America.

He received the Order of the Palmetto, the state's highest civilian award for service, for his work as member and chairman of the S.C. Commission on Higher Education from 1996 through 2005.

Raging fire destroys Upstate mill

WELLFORD -- A fire at a Spartanburg County mill raged back to life Monday, destroying a large part of the mostly abandoned buildings.

More than 100 firefighters fought the blaze after it started Sunday at the Old Jackson Mill in Wellford. They stayed on the scene after the fire reignited, eventually collapsing most of the roof of the old mill, which closed in 1997.

The mill site does still contain two small companies, but they were closed the week of July 4, officials said.

There have been no serious injuries, although one firefighter suffered a wrist injury and several have been treated for heat exhaustion, authorities said.

At least 28 Upstate fire departments with 16 tanker trucks helped fight the fire, officials said.

Firefighters expect it will take at least a week to put the fire out.

Iraqi girl who lost legs to be treated in S.C.

GREENVILLE -- A 9-year-old Iraqi girl injured during a U.S. air strike may walk again after she receives prosthetic legs at a hospital here.

Salee Allawe arrived at the Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport on Sunday with her father, about eight months after a bomb hit her home in Hasswa, Iraq. She and her brother were playing with friends outside during the air strike, which killed her 8-year-old brother, Akram. Salee's legs had to be amputated at the knees.

The November 2006 strike came just days after her family moved about 40 miles from Baghdad to Hasswa, thinking it would be safer, said Cole Miller, a co-founder of the nonprofit No More Victims, which helps Iraqi children injured in the war.

The local Upstate Coalition of Compassion partnered with No More Victims to bring Salee and her father, Hussein, to Greenville for medical help she couldn't get in Iraq. Donations paid for her travel and visa expenses.

"She says she's very, very happy to be here," said Haifa Abdulhadi, who translated for Salee. He was among about 25 people greeting the girl at the airport, carrying a huge sign that read "Welcome Salee" in Arabic and English.

Salee's first appointment at the Shriners Hospital for Children in Greenville, which is providing surgery and prostheses at no charge, was Monday. She could walk within six months, said Lisa Hall of the coalition, which formed about a year ago.

"We just knew that we wanted to help a war-injured child," said member Selena Frank.

Black asks to avoid jail, give eye exams

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Former House Speaker Jim Black, having pleaded guilty to charges of public corruption, wants to stay out of prison so he can give free eye exams and eyeglasses to the poor.

In court papers filed Monday, Black submitted an 11-page business plan for the optometry clinic and said it could be running within days. He has been an optometrist for more than 40 years, often seeing patients when not in Raleigh on legislative business.

Black suggests he could give the free exams five days a week from his own offices, giving 2,000 exams a year at a benefit to the taxpayers of $543,882.

"This plan would allow Dr. Black to serve his punishment in a way that is beneficial to the community at large," his attorneys wrote. "This plan would save the taxpayers considerable money, and would provide indigent children with corrective vision services that would otherwise go unattended."

The unusual proposal comes less than two days before Black, a Matthews, N.C., Democrat, is to be sentenced in federal court. He faces a maximum 10 years in prison -- a potential life sentence at age 72 -- and a maximum fine of $250,000 for taking illegal payments from chiropractors with interests before the General Assembly.

Sentencing is scheduled for Wednesday in Raleigh, though Black has asked for a delay to allow his lawyers more time to prepare. No delay has been announced.

Court expedites appeal in Ga. teen sex case

ATLANTA -- Genarlow Wilson will get a hearing before Georgia's top court earlier than expected.

The state Supreme Court on Monday said they would hear a pair of appeals from Wilson, who's serving a 10-year prison sentence for having oral sex with a fellow teenager, next week. The court reversed its earlier decision not to expedite the case. The justices had initially been scheduled to hear Wilson's appeal in October.

The court gave no reason for the decision to move the case ahead on the docket.

A Monroe County judge last month said that Wilson's sentence was "a grave miscarriage of justice" and ordered him released. But state Attorney General Thurbert Baker appealed that decision saying the judge overstepped his bounds. Baker argued the ruling could help free some 1,300 child molesters in Georgia's jails.

Wilson's lawyer, B.J. Bernstein, has asked for Wilson to be released on bond while the appeal is decided. A Douglas County judge denied that request, saying Wilson's conviction on the charge of aggravated child molestation made him ineligible for bond.

Bernstein has appealed that decision.

The state Supreme Court said it would consider both appeals July 20.