News In Brief - April 8, 2008

Westminster Catawba school vandalized

Authorities believe juveniles are responsible for ransacking a classroom and hallway at Westminster Catawba Christian School over the weekend, said Lt. Jerry Waldrop of the Rock Hill Police Department.

Police reported to the campus at 2650 India Hook Road on Sunday morning after a group discovered a teacher's desk and several lockers had been emptied and the contents scattered about the school, according to a police report. Apparently, someone climbed through an unlocked window and removed posters from the wall, poured white-out fluid on the teacher's desk and opened and emptied multiple lockers.

A teacher told police nothing appeared to be missing, but the mess had to be cleaned. The break-in likely occurred sometime between 4:30 p.m. Friday and 7 a.m. Sunday, the report states.

Waldrop on Monday said no arrests have been made, but police are investigating evidence collected at the scene.

46 cited with underage drinking in Fort Mill

FORT MILL -- Police cited 46 young adults for underage drinking at a party in Fort Mill overnight Saturday, according to a York County Sheriff's Office report.

Officers responded to a noise complaint at 835 Springfield Parkway around 12:15 a.m. Sunday and discovered a large gathering of people at a barn, the report states. When the officers approached the building, people ran.

After surrounding the perimeter, deputies issued citations to 46 individuals, ages ranging from 17 to 20, for possession of beer or liquor under the age of 21, the report states. All individuals were released after receiving a copy of the citation. No arrests were made.

Web site offers school choice information

A new tool on the S.C. Department of Education's Web site puts information about public school choice offerings across the state in one place.

The site includes community listings and descriptions of existing public school choice programs, as well as a search engine to identify programs by name, format, district and school.

State schools Superintendent Jim Rex has been a supporter of giving parents more say over where their children go to public school.

Examples of school choice programs are single-gender classes, Montessori, year-round schools and magnet schools that focus on a particular area or style of learning.

To check out the new tool, visit sceducationchoice.com.

Siren test scheduled for Wednesday

Sirens located around Catawba Nuclear Station will be tested before noon Wednesday.

No public action is required during this three-minute test scheduled for 11:50 a.m. Testing the sirens allows officials to ensure they are working properly.

Hearing a siren does not mean to evacuate. The siren sounding is a signal for residents to tune to a radio or TV station in their area that would carry an emergency alerting message. County officials would use these stations to provide information to the public.

Chester County students to march for literacy

CHESTER -- Students from Great Falls Elementary School, Lewisville Middle School and Chester Park School of Inquiry will be among about 1,100 students who will march Thursday from the state library to the Statehouse to celebrate the importance of reading in libraries.

After students reach the Statehouse grounds, there will be a roll call of the schools participating. Students will bring their favorite books to read on the Statehouse grounds.

The event, dubbed "Kids Who Read Succeed," is designed to emphasize the impact libraries and reading have on students. It's being sponsored by the S.C. Association of School Librarians and the S.C. State Library.

State blamed for delays on northern leg of I-485

CHARLOTTE -- The contractor building the latest segment of Interstate 485 blames the state for what could be a nearly two-year delay because it didn't buy all the property and move utilities so construction could begin.

Virginia-based Skanska said it couldn't begin surveying as planned in December 2003 because huge chunks of land weren't yet owned by the state. Skanska contends that delays in moving a major gas pipeline lasted 62 weeks, and there were five other significant delays in moving utilities.

The complaint gives insight into the troubled history of Charlotte's most recent outerbelt project. The N.C. Department of Transportation doesn't believe the problems were severe as Skanska has stated, but it has admitted to being slow in getting the site ready.

Northern Mecklenburg County residents are frustrated at the slow pace of the loop, whose final segment may not be finished until 2018.

Skanska executives are also upset at two recent changes to the job to accommodate new development -- a Target at Northlake Mall on W.T. Harris Boulevard and a car dealership on Old Statesville Road. Reed said the N.C. Department of Transportation only recently gave it hand-drawn plans for adding turn lanes on the roads, after weeks of waiting.

Skanska was supposed to finish the 5.5 mile segment by spring 2007. It said the state's tardiness delayed the project 311 days, and it has requested $8.58 million in compensation. The total cost of the project is $94 million.

Hands, feet found in Greenville houses

GREENVILLE -- Two black plastic bags containing a hand and a foot each were found Monday at two homes about a mile apart, authorities said.

The hands were "amputated" at the wrists and the feet were taken off at the ankles, Greenville County coroner's investigator Scott Ramsey said.

It's unclear if the victim or victims survived the dismembering, Ramsey said.

"We don't know where the rest of the body is," he said.

A woman told police she found body parts near her apartment. A second person soon reported a similarly gruesome find inside a home about a mile away.