News In Brief - April 15, 2008

Skeleton found in Chester County

A human skeleton was discovered by some children late Monday in the Gayle Mill area of Chester County, Sheriff Robby Benson said.

Few details were available Monday night, but Benson said the remains were found shortly before 8 p.m. in a wooded area off Pinckney Street.

Investigators hope to release more information today.

S.C. bill says teens can't talk, text while driving

COLUMBIA -- A proposal that bans 15- and 16-year-olds from talking and text messaging on cell phones while driving is up for debate in a House committee this week.

The measure makes it illegal for anyone with a beginner's permit, conditional or special restricted driver's license from using a phone or other wireless device while driving. In South Carolina, teens can get a regular driver's license when they turn 17.

The bill is set for debate Wednesday. House members will consider exceptions for drivers using handsfree devices and emergencies.

Under the proposal, teens caught driving and using a cell phone could be charged with a misdemeanor and lose their license for 30 days. A third offense could mean up to a year suspension.

University could close if settlement not approved

CHARLESTON -- A lawyer for Charleston Southern University says it could be forced to close if a judge doesn't approve a settlement with hundreds of investors swindled by a former economist at the school.

Nine of the 600 or so people who invested with Al Parish have objected to the university's $3.9 million settlement offer and asked Monday to review the school's finances.

Attorney Rutledge Young says Charleston Southern is cash-strapped and its insurer will pay most of the settlement.

U.S. District Judge David Norton is expected to rule on the agreement in the next few weeks.

Parish pleaded guilty last year to fraud and lying to investi- gators. Investors lost $60 million to $80 million. A date for his sentencing has not been set.

N.C. media sue governor, allege violations of public records law

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Media organizations from across North Carolina sued Gov. Mike Easley on Monday, accusing his administration of violating the state's public records law through the "systematic deletion, destruction or concealment" of e-mail messages.

The complaint filed in Wake County Superior Court asks a judge to declare that Easley violated the law because his staff told cabinet agency employees to delete or destroy e-mails sent to and from the governor's office. Easley also violated the law personally last month when he threw away a handwritten note from former state Health and Human Services Secretary Carmen Hooker Odom, the lawsuit said.

Officer caught bringing alcohol to state prison

HOOKERTON, N.C. -- A correctional officer trainee has resigned after prison officials discovered him bringing alcohol into Maury Correctional Institution last week.

State Department of Correction spokesman Keith Acree said today that Stephen Bunch was caught with 30 ounces of alcohol, believed to be Everclear, last Thursday.