News In Brief - February 6, 2008

Northwestern student faces weapon charge

An 18-year-old Northwestern High School student was arrested recently after school officials found him with knife on school grounds.

Corey Michael Thomas of 4115 Wesley Wood Drive was charged Friday with carrying a weapon on school property, according to a report from the Rock Hill Police Department.

Around 8:30 a.m., school officials asked the student to empty his pockets. The report states the student pulled out a pocketknife with a blade that was nearly three inches long.

Thomas was released earlier this week on a personal recognizance bond, an official from the police department said.

Rock Hill school district spokeswoman Elaine Baker said the district's policy mandates out-of-school suspension or expulsion.

Officials: Watch out for GED scam

State GED administrators are warning against a scam that asks for expensive fees to take an exam posing as the General Educational Development Test, more commonly known as the GED.

Test administrators nationwide have reported increasing numbers of complaints from individuals who paid steep fees to take what they thought were official GED tests, and upon passing, thought they had earned their official GEDs.

The GED credential cannot be earned via the Internet or through correspondence programs, as scammers have indicated. The test measures the academic skills and knowledge expected of high school graduates in the United States or Canada.

For more information about South Carolina's GED testing program, call 1-800-277-7323 or visit www.scged.org.

Castle Heights principal out of hospital

Castle Heights Middle School Principal Kelly Kane is out of the hospital, where she spent more than a week after a car crash Jan. 24.

Kane is recovering at her daughter's house in Columbia, Rock Hill schools spokeswoman Elaine Baker said. She suffered a broken arm, several broken ribs and vertebrae, a skull fracture and deep cuts and bruises on her legs because of the accident.

Norris Williams, who will be principal of Dutchman Creek Middle School when it opens in the fall, is serving as acting principal at Castle Heights. Kane is expected to return to work, at least part time, within about a month.

Authorities are looking for the silver car they say caused the wreck near the intersection of Catawba Church and Springdale roads. Kane, whose car went off the road and hit a fence and a tree, was not at fault in the accident, according to the highway patrol.

S.C. DOT might replace 13 area bridges

If federal plans are approved, the South Carolina Department of Transportation could replace 13 bridges in the area.

If the U.S. Congress allocates billions of dollars toward a federal aid highway program as members discussed last month, bridge work in York, Chester and Lancaster counties will be among 13 proposed projects in the state totaling $510 million.

These 13 bridges were selected as part of $25 million the state would spend on 25 bridges in six counties. They include bridges over Clarks Creek, Little Allison Creek, Bullock Creek, Ross Branch, Beaverdam Creek, Big Dutchmans Creek and Wildcat Creek in York County.

In Chester, the bridges that could be replaced are over Little Rocky Creek, Conrad Creek, Shannon Creek and Fishing Creek. Two others in Lancaster County, over Rocky and Waxhaw creeks, are also being considered if this funding becomes available.

$5M in grants available to after-school programs

Five million dollars in 21st Century Community Learning Center grants are available to South Carolina schools and organizations that will sponsor after-school programs during the 2008-2009 school year.

Money can be used to provide academic enrichment activities for students, especially those from high-poverty and low-performing schools. Grants also will go toward literacy programs and other education programs for the families of students.

School districts, private groups such as faith-based organizations and public entities such as government agencies and higher education institutions are eligible to apply for the money.

Priority will be given to joint applications from school districts and at least one other public or private organization. Programs that target services to students who attend schools in "needs improvement" status also will be given priority.

To apply for a grant or to register for a workshop about the grants, visit www.ed.sc.gov. Grant proposals are due April 18.