News In Brief - June 9, 2008

Boy injured in apartment fire still critical

Tyrese Thompson, the 9-year-old injured in a early Saturday fire at 405 W. Main St. Apt. C, remained in critical condition at a Charlotte hospital Sunday evening, according to hospital staff.

Firefighters carried Thompson from the burning building after finding him unresponsive on the floor next to his bed around 12:15 a.m. Saturday. Thompson was revived at Piedmont Medical Center before he was transferred to Carolinas Medical Center-Mercy.

Thompson's 10-year-old brother escaped the burning building on his own. Firefighters also rescued two teens from the roof of the house. They climbed onto the roof through a bedroom window to escape the flames and smoke after being alerted to the fire by a smoke detector.

No adults were home at the time of the fire, which has been ruled accidental. Fire officials said the blaze originated in the kitchen, where someone had left something cooking on the stove.

S.C. shrimpers starting media campaign

BLUFFTON -- South Carolina's shrimp industry is hoping that a media campaign will encourage residents to insist on getting the local crop.

Shrimpers have been struggling to make money because of rising fuel costs and cheaper imports. Wild American Shrimp spokeswoman Kara Viacrucis told The Beaufort Gazette that more and more boats are starting to close their operations.

But Wild American Shrimp and several state groups have partnered to promote local shrimp through billboards and promotions along the coast.

Restaurant managers say imported shrimp is cheaper, and also available all year long.

In South Carolina, white shrimp season runs from June through August. Smaller brown shrimp are caught in the fall.

Black leaders want biker S.C. rallies to go on

MYRTLE BEACH -- The NAACP and some local black community leaders say it would be a mistake to end the spring biker rallies that take place each year near Myrtle Beach.

The Sun News of Myrtle Beach reported Sunday that some local officials have suggested it may be a good idea to eliminate the events altogether. Racial tensions have long underscored the bike rallies, with the Atlantic Beach Bikefest drawing a predominantly black crowd and the Harley-Davidson rally a week earlier bringing mostly white bikers.

A Coastal Carolina University student was shot to death during the weekend of the Bikefest.

But former Atlantic Beach town councilman John Sketers said he hopes improvements can be made to both rallies. He echoed the NAACP's concerns by saying that ending the events could "send the wrong signal in terms of race relations."

Feds probe Tenn. trader for investment scam

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. -- Federal investigators are looking into more than 100 reports of an investment scam involving a Chattanooga foreign currencies trader with offices in multiple states, including South Carolina.

South Carolina FBI Agent Jim Lannamann confirmed the investigation into the business practices of Luis Rivas as creditors are currently seeking relief in U.S. Bankruptcy Court.

Chattanooga attorney Jim Fields filed a petition for involuntary bankruptcy last month on behalf of four out-of-state creditors who say they are owed a combined $1.1 million. He said based on e-mails from other investors that the amount could reach $10 million.

Rivas had offices in Chattanooga, Spartanburg, Orlando and Tulsa, Okla., but they are all closed and he could not be reached for comment.

N.C. car crash throws 2 into pond, killing both

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Authorities say two people died when a car traveling at least 105 mph on a city road crashed and flung their bodies into a nearby construction pond.

Raleigh police spokesman Jim Sughrue said 25-year-old Alton Lee Brothers was driving at least 105 mph in a 45 mph zone early Sunday morning when he lost control of the car. The vehicle struck a tree and broke in half, throwing the driver and a passenger into the pond.

Sughrue said Brothers and 25-year-old Jamie Alesia Shepherd died after they were transported to the hospital.