News In Brief - August 30, 2007

DOT to offer refreshments at Welcome Center

FORT MILL -- Drivers who stop at the S.C. Welcome Center on Friday will be offered free refreshments and safety brochures as part of the S.C. Department of Transportation's "Safety Rest Break."

The program, which will include free tire pressure checks, is aimed at increasing safety on the highway during the busy Labor Day weekend. Drivers will be reminded to refresh themselves on long trips by stopping periodically to rest.

Friday's program will begin at 10 a.m. and end at 3 p.m.

Student killed by lightning strike on soccer field

SPARTANBURG -- A student at Oakbrook Preparatory School died Wednesday after he was struck by lightning on the private Christian school's soccer field, authorities said.

Alex Holbein, who would have turned 18 today, was struck on the head by a lightning bolt around 3:30 p.m. and died from a brain injury at the hospital about 30 minutes later, according to the Spartanburg County Coroner's Office.

Soccer coach Tim Blakeney also was struck by the bolt. He was in fair condition Wednesday night at Spartanburg Regional Medical Center, hospital officials said.

A group of players and coaches were on the field when they head a loud clap of thunder and saw the player and coach get struck, authorities said.

Feds send $3.6M to S.C. to help with power bills

COLUMBIA -- Federal health officials said they will give $3.6 million to South Carolina to help low-income families pay power bills sent skyrocketing by record-breaking heat in August,

The money is part of $50 million being sent to 12 states by the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt said.

The help will be distributed by the program's local offices, officials said.

August has been a record-breaking month for heat across much of the state. The high has been over 90 degrees every day so far this month in Columbia and the Greenville airport has had 10 days where the high reached 100 degrees or hotter.

Drew Theodore joins Dodd's team in S.C.

COLUMBIA --Businessman and former Democratic comptroller general candidate Drew Theodore is backing U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd's presidential campaign.

Theodore said he is endorsing the Connecticut senator because he has the best chance of beating a Republican in 2008.

Theodore will join state Sen. Phil Leventis of Sumter and former state Rep. Joe Brown of Columbia as co-chairs of Dodd's campaign in South Carolina.