News In Brief - December 18, 2007

York County United Way needs toys

The United Way of York County is asking for donations of toys for the "Toys for Happiness" campaign.

The agency needs toys immediately for children ages 14 and younger, particularly for children ages 2 and younger and between the ages of 9 and 14.

"Toys for Happiness" provides toys for the children of York County families meeting certain income requirements.

"We are so thankful for the generosity shown to us during the holidays," Toys for Happiness coordinator Lora Holladay said in a statement from the United Way. "Unfortunately, our need has outgrown our donations, and we are asking the community to please help provide a bit of Christmas magic for the families and children in need."

Toys can be dropped off at Rock Hill radio station WRHI, 142 N. Confederate Avenue, United Way of York County locations in York and Rock Hill and at all YMCA sites in York County.

For details, call United Way at 324-2735 or visit www.myspace.com/toysforhappiness.

More time to sign up for Mother Goose party

The registration deadline has been extended for the Mother Goose Candy Cane party, to be held from 10:30 a.m. to noon on Thursday at Glencairn Garden in Rock Hill.

A few spaces remain on a first-come basis. Sign up at the Rock Hill Parks, Recreation and Tourism office in City Hall.

Children ages 5 to 10 will hear a story from Mother Goose, watch puppets with Chatty Evergreen, create a tree ornament and decorate a gingerbread man while enjoying hot chocolate. The cost is $5 per child; every child must be accompanied by an adult.

In case of rain, the event will be held at the Glencairn Garden Learning Center, 825 Edgemont Ave. Participants are asked to check for availability by calling 329-5620. Registration and payment will be taken from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Room 390 in the PRT office in City Hall.

McMaster: New law will help S.C. combat gangs

COLUMBIA -- Police officers and nonprofit groups have combatted gang violence in this state for years, but officials still know very little about gangs in South Carolina or why youths turn to that lifestyle, Attorney General Henry McMaster said Monday.

McMaster assigned a new committee to determine the extent of the state's gang problem and what can be done about it. A law approved by lawmakers in June allows the state grand jury to investigate gangs and compel testimony from gang members, something McMaster said should help both law enforcement and those trying to keep youth out of gangs.

In October, McMaster sent a letter to police chiefs, sheriffs, prosecutors and school district superintendents, encouraging them to report gang cases to his office. So far, two gang cases have gone to the state grand jury, and a third may be on its way, he said.