News In Brief - July 21, 2007

Rock Hill teachers receive grants from the state

Some Rock Hill school teachers recently were awarded grants to improve programs in their classrooms.

The awards, announced Thursday by the state Department of Education, total $42,000 for the district.

The money will be used for programs on topics including history, literacy and career development.

The idea is to promote creativity and innovation in the classroom.

"All of these projects reflect a sincere desire to use new ideas and new methods in educating children to a high standard," State Superintendent of Education Jim Rex said in a news release.

Grant money is headed to Northside, Oakdale, Old Pointe and Richmond Drive elementary schools, Northwestern High School and the Rock Hill Career Development Center.

Winthrop gets a nearly $700K federal grant

Winthrop University recently was awarded a nearly $700,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Education to prepare teacher candidates, faculty members and Rock Hill teachers for working with students with limited English.

The grant will allow 50 teachers to take graduate-level courses needed to become certified to teach English to people who speak other languages. Seventy-five teachers will take graduate courses on how to deal with students with little English knowledge.

The grant also will allow 50 Winthrop faculty members to attend summer sessions on how to prepare future teachers for working with students with little English skills.

According to a news release from Winthrop, the Rock Hill school district has more than 550 students who speak languages other than English, but only two fully-certified teachers in that field.

Democrats to take part in debate festivities

Fifty Democrats from York County will travel together to Charleston on Monday for a presidential debate viewing party.

The Democratic candidates are scheduled to debate at 7 p.m. in McAlister Field House at The Citadel. A charter bus will leave from downtown Rock Hill at 2 p.m.

The trip is being organized through Hillary Clinton's campaign, but all Democrats are invited, said Joyce Knott, who is coordinating Clinton's local organization. About five seats were still available as of Friday.

Participants will watch the debate with other Clinton supporters at the Marriott in Charleston.

Afterward, Clinton is expected to address the group.

For more information, call Knott at 328-9041.

Charlotte cleanup to be held today

CHARLOTTE -- Several hundred volunteers are expected to participate Saturday morning in a community cleanup sponsored by a Charlotte-based Latino religious organization. Jesus Ministry is hoping to match the turnout of its March 10 cleanup, when more than 600 people picked up trash across east and northeast Charlotte.

"We are proud of this city, and we hope this effort will raise awareness in the community of the littering problem," said Maudia Melendez, of Jesus Ministry. "The roadsides in some parts of Charlotte are not pretty."

Anyone interested in volunteering is asked to gather between 8 and 9 a.m. Saturday at the Eastway Church of God, 1131 Eastway Drive. Volunteers will be assigned to groups that will work across the city between 9 a.m. and noon.

-- The Charlotte Observer

Courtney's restaurant owner missing

PINEVILLE, N.C. -- Police suspect foul play in the disappearance of the owner of a popular South Charlotte restaurant who went missing earlier today.

Robert Marotta left home at 5:30 a.m. to open Courtney's, his restaurant on Park Road. A half hour later, a Courtney's employee dialed 911 and told officers that the door to the restaurant was open and Marotta was missing. Police and SBI investigators say they found suspicious evidence at the scene, but didn't say what.

They're asking people with information to contact Sgt. Det. B. Connell at 704-889-2231.

Marotta is white, six feet tall with green eyes and brown hair. He was last seen driving a light blue Ford Expedition with license plate number RXS-1688.

-- The Charlotte Observer

Landmark Columbia bar on the market

COLUMBIA -- Jaco's Corner is for sale.

The landmark Olympia mill village bar, ancestral family home, corkball field and Spit and Argue Club could give way to a hotel, modern shops or condominiums.

Asking price for the 1.35 acres across from the S.C. State Fairgrounds is $1.6 million.

Real estate agent Lee Marsha, who is handling the sale, said there is a lot of interest in the property because of the growth much of it spurred by optimism over the Steve Spurrier era of Gamecock football.

More than 400 condos ring the stadium. The new "cockominiums" sell for up to $785,000. Game-day parking spaces go for $26,000. For Janet and Jake Jaco not to take the money would almost be irresponsible, Marsha says.