News In Brief - August 18, 2007

Man robs Family Dollar on Heckle Boulevard

A man used duct tape to tie up two female clerks during a robbery this week at a Family Dollar, Rock Hill police said.

Around 8:30 p.m. Thursday, police responded to an armed robbery and kidnapping at Family Dollar at 851 Heckle Blvd. An armed man approached a 20-year-old female employee and her 39-year female co-worker and demanded money, according to a police report.

The man duct taped the 39-year-old woman and led the other woman to a cash vault, where he took an undisclosed amount of money, according to the report. The man also took money from the cash register, the report states.

He then duct taped the 20-year-old woman and fled the store, according to the report. The man was about 5-foot-10 and weighed about 210 pounds. He wore a white collared shirt and gray pants, the report notes.

Anyone with details can call the Rock Hill Police Department at 329-7200 or CrimeStoppers of York County at 1-877-409-4321.

S.C. grads earn $684M in scholarships

South Carolina's 2007 high school graduates earned $684 million in college scholarships, the state Department of Education announced Friday.

That's the highest total since the state began tracking the information six years ago.

The scholarship totals came from an annual survey of South Carolina's local school districts, as well as the Governor's Schools in Hartsville and Greenville.

The state department of education estimated that about 90 percent of the scholarships were academic and that 10 percent were athletic.

Here's what local districts earned: York: $3.8 million; Clover: $4.2 million; Rock Hill: $11.4 million; Fort Mill: $4.9 million; Chester: $3.2 million

New precincts added in northwest Rock Hill

The surging growth northwest of Rock Hill has triggered the need for four new voting precincts. Voters in these areas will receive new registration cards in the coming weeks.

The Museum Precinct in Rock Hill has been divided into four. Mount Gallant Elementary School, which served as the previous polling place for the Museum Precinct, will continue to serve the new Mount Gallant Precinct. But four new locations have been added by the county elections office:

• Airport Precinct will vote at the National Guard Armory

• Lakewood Precinct will vote at Lakewood Baptist Church

• Laurel Creek Precinct will vote at the Laurel Creek Clubhouse

The elections office will mail new voter registration cards to all voters within the Museum Precinct. Voters should destroy their old cards.

For all future elections, voters must go to their new precincts. For information, call the elections office at 684-1242.

Head Start resumes Aug. 27

Head Start students will return to school Aug. 27, the program announced this week.

The federally-funded program serves children from low-income families and provides medical and dental service for children with special needs. Programs operate Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. in York, Chester and Lancaster counties.

To register a child or learn more details, call (803) 366-5398.

Flag football group to host open house

The Alumni Flag Football Committee, made up of former Northwestern and Rock Hill high school football players, coaches and cheerleaders from the 1970s, '80s and '90s, will host an open house from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday.

It will be at the Rock Hill school district administrative office on Anderson Road in Rock Hill.

The committee is meeting to discuss the upcoming flag football game to be held at 1 p.m. Sept. 22 at District Three Stadium and to register participants. Registration is $50 per player and includes a T-shirt. Registration for cheerleaders is $40 and also includes a T-shirt. Players similar in age will compete on the field at the same time. Proceeds will benefit the district's Power of Mentoring program. For details, call Serena Williams at 981-1006 or e-mail serenaw@rock-hill.k12.sc.us.

Drought makes grass carp harvesting difficult

LAKE NORMAN -- Biologists tabbed about 15 archers to harvest for research grass carp stocked in Lake Norman. The problem was that many of the best spots to find them, hunters said, are nonexistent because of the low water level.

The result: one grass carp brought in for research after the first weekend from a population of more than 10,000 stocked in the lake since 2004. Biologists want between 30 and 40 grass carp for research.

A special permit that allows the hunters to take more than the allotted two carp per day will extend until September.

State to retire airplane used in firefighting

The state Division of Forest Resources is planning to retire its 38-year old water-scooping airplane, a budget albatross that costs $10,500 an hour to fly.

Division officials said the plane, which the state bought 10 years ago for $4 million, is too old and expensive to operate. It costs up to $1.2 million a year to operate -- about 35 percent of the division's aircraft budget, said David M. Lane, head of forest protection for the division.

But Lane said the CL-215 airplane had effectively performed the task of protecting property and firefighters.

"That airplane has more than paid for itself," he said.