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News In Brief - December 4, 2008

Strip mall fire ruled arson; arrest made

LANCASTER -- The Lancaster County Sheriff's Office has made an arrest in a fire last month that destroyed a strip mall, according to WSOC-TV, The Herald's news partner.

Authorities have not released the name of the suspect who was arrested last week, saying they're close to making another arrest in the case and don't want to jeopardize that, WSOC reported Wednesday.

The Nov. 6 fire, which authorities believe was set, destroyed a barber, a flower shop, an auto glass business and a swap shop at the Pitmon Place building, causing $300,000 in damage.

-- WSOC-TV

Worker dies after piece of N.C. bridge falls

OAK ISLAND, N.C. -- A South Carolina construction worker was killed Wednesday after a large concrete girder crashed to the ground as crews worked to build a new Oak Island bridge.

Lee Construction of the Carolinas identified the worker as Jose Montalvo of Sumter. The Star-News of Wilmington, N.C., reported that Montalvo was on the girder when it fell about 40 feet. He died at the scene.

Jerry Lawrence, a risk manager for Lee Construction, said two other workers were injured. Ricky Bryant, of Supply, N.C., was flown to New Hanover Regional Medical Center and needed surgery. Roberto Hernandez, of Sumter, was taken to Dosher Memorial Hospital in Southport, N.C.,with minor injuries.

Construction on the bridge, which connects the island to its namesake town on the mainland, is to finish next December.

Ex-treasurer Ravenel moved to halfway house

COLUMBIA -- South Carolina's former state treasurer, who is serving prison time on a federal cocaine charge, has been moved to a halfway house in Atlanta.

A posting on the Federal Bureau of Prisons Web site indicates that Thomas Ravenel is at a facility for inmates preparing for release. The inmates are monitored closely, but they are expected to find jobs to help pay for living at the facility.

The bureau's information on Ravenel does not say when he was moved from the minimum security prison in Jesup, Ga., where he began serving his 10-month sentence in May. He is scheduled to be released March 27.

The 46-year-old real estate developer resigned after six months as state treasurer after his indictment in 2007. He pleaded guilty last year to conspiracy to distribute cocaine.

School bus wreck in Columbia injures 8

COLUMBIA -- Richland County officials say eight students suffered minor injuries when a school bus and another vehicle collided in south Columbia.

Richland District 1 and Emergency Medical Services officials said Wednesday the students were treated at a hospital.

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