News In Brief - September 26, 2007

Guidance counselor to lead mentor program

An Independence Elementary School guidance counselor will serve as the Rock Hill school district's new mentor program coordinator, the district announced Tuesday.

Zipporah Little will assume the post as soon as a replacement is hired for her old job.

Little has been a guidance counselor at Independence since 2004 and was last year's teacher of the year there. She has a Bachelor of Arts in sociology from Claflin University, a Master of Education in guidance and counseling from South Carolina State University and a Master's Plus 30 Hours in guidance and counseling from Winthrop University.

Also Tuesday, the district also announced the hiring of a new assistant principal for Rock Hill High.

Anthony Thomas, a high school social studies teacher from Swansea will begin his new job immediately. Thomas graduated from Rock Hill High before going on to earn his Bachelor of Arts in history and secondary education from Winthrop and his Master of Education in educational leadership from the University of South Carolina.

Businessman arrested on drug charge

FORT MILL -- A local pharmacy owner who was named the Business Person of the Year has been charged with felony possession of cocaine.

Alvin Lee Steele, 49, of 2650 Island Cove Road was charged after an early morning arrest Friday, according to a Fort Mill Police Department report.

An officer noticed Steele's car parked on Bass Street near the Walter Y. Elisha Walking Park around 1:30 a.m. When the officer approached the car to ask why the driver was parked there at that hour, Steele "seemed extremely nervous," the report stated. The officer got permission to search the car and found a plastic baggie with less than 1 gram of cocaine, the report stated. The officer also reported finding a cup of beer in the car's center console.

According to the report, Steele told the officer the powder in the baggie was cocaine, and he later provided a written statement to police.

Steele, the owner of Fort Mill Pharmacy, was released later that day on $10,000 bond for the possession charge and $200 bond for the open container charge.

Steele was named the Fort Mill Business Person of the Year earlier this year by the York County Regional Chamber of Commerce. He couldn't be reached for comment Tuesday.

-- Fort Mill Times

Candidates Sutton, Hinton to speak at forum

Kevin Sutton and Susie Hinton will field questions on crime, gang problems and other topics at a forum on Monday in Rock Hill. Each are running for different seats on the Rock Hill City Council this fall.

Churches in the Weed & Seed crime-fighting program are sponsoring the event, which will be moderated by Rock Hill lawyer Leah Moody. The forum starts at 7 p.m. at the Emmett Scott Center, 801 Crawford Road.

Sutton faces no officially declared opponent in Ward 3, though Vince Blackwell has registered as a write-in candidate. Hinton has no opposition for the Ward 1 seat formerly held by the late Winston Searles. The election is Oct. 16.

The public can submit questions in advance. Contact Dorene Watts at 325-2527 or dwatts@rock-hill.sc.us. Contact Harvey at 325-2020 or jesclon@worldnet.att.net.

College building reopens after 6 sent to hospitals

COLUMBIA -- Emergency officials in Columbia say a high concentration of a cleaning solution in a Benedict College classroom building caused six people to go to the hospital with breathing problems.

Columbia Fire Deputy Chief Aubrey Jenkins says the injuries were not serious. He says cleaning solution was left in a bucket in the hallway of a science building. Several people complained of a strong odor, watery eyes, nasal burning and irritated skin.

Classes in the building were canceled as a precaution for most of the day but will resume this evening.

Jenkins says hazardous materials experts found no chemical leaks.

No other buildings were affected.