News In Brief - June 7, 2008

Police: Man arrested with kilo of cocaine

CHESTER -- Chester authorities said Friday they busted a Charlotte man with a kilo of cocaine with a street value of $50,000.

Authorities charged Ricardo Lee Swain, 34, of 8206 Providence Road in Charlotte with trafficking cocaine, Detective Scott Thompson of the Chester County Sheriff's Office said.

Around 11 a.m., police received an anonymous tip that Swain would be in Chester County to pick up a large amount of cocaine, Thompson said. Around 2:30 p.m., Swain arrived at a BP gas station in Richburg.

"Officers stopped Swain and recovered a kilo of cocaine and $10,775," Thompson said.

Swain's charge could carry up to a 30-year prison sentence, Thompson said.

"It was a good arrest to seize this much cocaine and keep it off our streets," Thompson said.

Rock Hill man sentenced for bank fraud

A 44-year-old Rock Hill man will spend more than two years in prison for conspiracy to defraud five banks.

A U.S. district judge sentenced Mark Simril to 33 months in prison, and he must pay more than $42,000 in restitution, according to a press release issued Thursday from acting U.S. attorney Kevin McDonald.

Around November 2002 to August 2003, Simril conspired with others to defraud Bank of America, BB&T, Carolina First Bank, First Citizens and Wachovia by using checks from closed or invalid accounts as well as cashing or depositing counterfeit checks, according to the release.

The release also notes that Simril admitted to leading others in participating in the bank fraud scheme. He also recruited people to open bank accounts to continue the scheme, the release states.

Spratt to give radio address

U.S. Rep. John Spratt will deliver the Democratic weekly radio address this morning.

Spratt, a Democrat from York and chairman of the House Budget Committee, will talk about his party's budget proposal. The speech airs at 11:06 a.m. on a number of networks, including CBS Radio, Fox News Radio and C-SPAN.

"The federal budget is like a battleship, badly off course," Spratt plans to say, according to a media release. "We cannot steer it to balance overnight, but we are moving it in that direction, applying fiscal discipline, but not at the expense of the values and priorities that we as Democrats hold dear."

Spratt says the budget would restore funding to energy and education initiatives that President Bush proposes cutting.

Winthrop extends DiGiorgio's contract

Winthrop University President Anthony DiGiorgio's contract was extended Friday, making him president until at least 2014.

DiGiorgio was given the highest possible rating on his annual evaluation by the board of trustees. Trustees said he "exceeds expectations" and recommended he receive the maximum salary increase allowable.

DiGiorgio's contract was set to expire June 30, 2013. He currently earns $157,380 a year.

--Jessica Schonberg

York schools get grant for emergency management

YORK -- The York school district is getting $109,246 to improve emergency management plans.

The district was one of four in the state and 92 in the nation that were awarded Emergency Planning Grants from the federal Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools.

"Nothing is more important to Americans than the safety of their children," U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings said in a press release. "These grants will support that effort by helping more school districts strengthen their crisis planning and better coordinate with their entire community to ensure the safety of our schools and students."

The money may be used for coordinating with local responders, conducting drills and exercises, purchasing emergency supplies and equipment, and for training school staff members and students on emergency response procedures, according to the release.

Lisa Spangler, coordinator of special projects, will be the project manager for the grant for York.

Catawbas plan tribal meeting

The Catawba Indian Nation will host a meeting for tribal members on June 17 at the Longhouse. The tribe will address future community development. The meeting starts at 7 p.m.

The Longhouse is on the tribal reservation east of Rock Hill. For more information, call 366-4792 ext. 233.

Waterford Trail to be dedicated

A dedication of the Waterford Trail is planned for 9 a.m. today at the Waterford Trailhead in the Waterford Business Park on Clubhouse Road in east Rock Hill. The event is part of Rock Hill's National Trails Day.

A trail system approved last year will connect River Park to nearby Waterford Golf Club and the future 3D Systems headquarters, giving hikers, golfers and employees a new way to enjoy the outdoors on Rock Hill's eastern edge.