News In Brief - March 5, 2008

Charlotte man arrested in Fort Mill store robberies

YORK -- A Charlotte man was charged earlier this week with robbing a Petro Express in Fort Mill twice within the last month.

Aaron Darcy Plummer, 19, faces two counts of armed robbery and two counts of possession of a weapon during a violent crime, according to multiple arrest warrants and reports from the York County Sheriff's Office.

Plummer's charges stem from robberies at Petro Express at 3473 U.S. 21. The store was robbed on Monday and Feb. 17.

In Monday's robbery, a man armed with a double-barrel shotgun took $480, the report states. The report further states that a clerk recognized the robber's voice and mannerisms, and he responded to his name when she asked, "What are you doing. Aaron?"

On Feb. 17, police say Plummer robbed the store of $100, according to another report.

Plummer, whose bond was set at $150,000, remained in custody Tuesday at York County Detention Center.

Parents invited to learn about Sunset Park plans

Sunset Park Elementary School will host three information sessions this week to talk about proposed plans to transform the school into an accelerated studies magnet school.

Meetings will be held at 3 and 7 p.m. Thursday and at 8 a.m. Friday at the school.

The meetings are open to all parents who think they might want to send their children to Sunset Park. Parents will have a chance to ask questions about the proposal.

The Rock Hill school board is still considering whether to adopt a plan that would place an increased focus on gifted-and-talented programs. A decision about the school's calendar also has not been reached.

York County receives safety awards

York County has received five awards from the S.C. Association of Counties for its safety achievements among counties in the state's Worker's Compensation Trust.

At Monday's York County Council meeting, Robert Benfield from the state's association of counties presented county staff with plaques for quick claim reporting, policies and procedures and sustained excellence.

The Public Works Department was recognized for going 813 days without a day of work lost because of injury. The county also received an award for installing a back-up camera on motor graders after an incident with a motorcycle. Benfield said he suggests other counties install similar cameras.

Forum to cover education issues facing Legislature

Those interested in learning about state legislation affecting public education are invited to attend a legislative forum at 6 p.m. Thursday at Winthrop University.

Mike Fanning, executive director of the Olde English Consortium, will give an overview of bills in the Legislature that would affect public education. Audience members will have a chance to ask questions.

The event is not designed to steer people toward a particular opinion of the legislation, simply to explain what it is.

The forum will be held on the second floor of Dinkins Student Center off Oakland Avenue.

Senate: Church raffles OK, but not poker

COLUMBIA -- Voters would decide whether to let churches hold raffles under a proposal a Senate panel has approved, but church casino night wasn't as lucky.

The Senate Judiciary Committee agreed Tuesday to legislation that would let voters decide in November whether to allow churches and community-service or charitable groups to hold raffles. The state's lottery law now bans them.

A bill allowing churches and other nonprofit groups to hold gambling nights was defeated on a 13-8 vote.

That vote came after the bill was amended to prevent groups from holding gambling events more than twice a year.

Senate committee takes teeth from tethering bill

COLUMBIA -- Dog owners would not face time limits on how long they can tie their pets with chains or ropes under a bill heading to the Senate floor.

The bill does make it illegal to restrain a dog for any unreasonable time that endangers the pet's health, safety or well-being.

It was a letdown for Alicia Schwartz of Dogs Deserve Better and dozens of others who watched the legislation lose its time limits.

Schwartz says the idea was to end the practice of keeping dogs chained continuously outdoors where they are forgotten and become more aggressive.

Senator John Hawkins of Spartanburg was pushing the legislation and said it was the best that can be done for now.