News In Brief - August 29, 2007

Fort wins Chester County school board election

CHESTER -- Laurens Fort Jr. was elected to the Chester County school board Tuesday night, according to the county's election commission.

Unofficial results show Fort had 164 votes, defeating Glenn Ross, who had 74 votes.

The two Democrats faced off in the race for the District 2 seat in Great Falls that was vacated by John Davis in June.

Davis joined the board in 2002 and told The Herald in June that he was leaving the school board because of a new job and its travel requirements.

No Republicans filed for the post.

Money boosts plans for riverside museum

The future Stans Museum of Life and the Environment has received $600,000 in government money in its quest to develop a facility along the Catawba River.

The state General Assembly provided $500,000 during the 2007 session, with another $107,000 from the competitive grant program of the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services, or IMLS. The IMLS grant represents the first federal money for the new museum. The General Assembly also awarded $450,000 to the project in 2006. Both state appropriations had the support of the York County delegation to Columbia.

The museum is expected to cost around $50 million. Planned exhibits will help visitors understand how the Catawba River has served as the focal point for the Catawba Indians, as well as the source of power for the textile industry in 1800s and 1900s.

Part of the exhibit will be installed at the Museum of York County during 2008 to allow river-related programs to be offered before the new museum opens.

DJJ offers offenders chance to be speakers

COLUMBIA -- Steve Caldwell said he is proof a Department of Juvenile Justice program that sends inmates outside the prison as speakers works.

Caldwell was 13 when he was sentenced to 17 months in juvenile prison for assault. He was chosen as one of the agency's first Insiders -- a community service program that allows chosen inmates to speak at schools, churches and community events to keep other from committing crimes.

Fifteen years later, Caldwell is 28 and an assistant coordinator for the DJJ program. "It changed my life. It gave me the hope and belief in myself that was never there," Caldwell said.

Insiders coordinator Andy Broughton said 30 percent of the more than 100 inmates who have gone through the program have returned to prison, compared with 85 percent of the general population.

"After they start speaking and people start responding to them, that changes them," Broughton said. "It has been amazing to watch them be successful in a positive way -- to watch them grow and learn to care."

More state students taking A.P. classes

COLUMBIA -- The number of South Carolina students who earned college credit after taking advanced courses in high school reached an all-time high this year, according to results released Tuesday by state education officials.

Nearly 15,000 students scored high enough on Advanced Placement tests to receive college credit, almost 1,500 more than last year, the College Board reported.

Students also took 1,980 additional tests for a total of 26,117 exams.

In South Carolina, every student enrolled in Advanced Placement courses must take the test. The state has paid students' test fees since 1984.

To earn credit, students must score between a 3 and 5 on a five-point A.P. scale. How much credit is awarded depends on the college.

"Our A.P. classes have top-quality teachers, an intense focus on clearly understood goals and high expectations for all kids," said state Education Superintendent Jim Rex. "We need to approach every class that way, not just AP classes."

The College Board offers 37 exams in 22 subjects. In South Carolina, the five most-taken A.P. exams remain United States history, English literature and composition, English language and composition, calculus and biology.