Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Regional briefs

AIKEN


Shooting leaves three dead in Wegener


Police are searching for a man they consider “armed and dangerous” after finding three bodies on Daytona Road, according to the Aiken Standard.


Police are treating the case as a homicide and are on the lookout for 46-year-old Kenneth Meyers, who may be driving a white van with ladders on the top. He could be headed for Alabama, and anyone with information about this crime or Meyers’ whereabouts should contact the Aiken County Sheriff’s Office at (800) 922-9709.


Because it is an ongoing investigation, the sheriff’s office withheld many details of the case, including the identities of the victims until each next of kin is notified.



CHARLESTON


Store agrees to pay firefighters’ families $2 mil


A Charleston furniture store has agreed to pay the families of nine firefighters nearly $2 million to settle a wrongful death lawsuit four years after a blaze resulted in the largest loss of firefighters since 9/11.


The $1.9 from the Sofa Super Store has been split among the families, along with millions from lawsuits against furniture companies and a roofing company, attorney Kevin Dean told the Times and Democrat. They also received at least $640,000 each from workers’ compensation funds.


“For the families, it’s been a tremendous emotional undertaking that they can now bring closure to and feel like that they’ve brought public awareness to the issue of avoiding these fires and deaths in the future as well as adequately taking care of the families and the over 13 children who lost their fathers,” Dean said. “It’s been a long four years.”


The fire is thought to have been started by discarded cigarettes at the store’s loading dock area, and a 2008 report filed by the city determined that outdated tactics, inadequate training and old equipment contributed to the nine firefighters’ deaths. Furthermore, sprinklers on the loading docks could have contained the fire.


The families accused the building’s owners of violating national fire and electrical codes, but the store owners blamed the city and its fire commanders for the deaths.



FLORENCE


Weight-loss success wins Miss South Carolina Pageant


Bree Boyce, who once weighed 230 pounds, was crowned Miss South Carolina at the Township Auditorium July 2.


Boyce, Miss Capital City 2011, shed 110 pounds before winning a preliminary swimsuit competition at the pageant. She chronicled her weight-loss journey through her Facebook page “Bree Boyce – Eating Healthy and Fighting Obesity.” Fans congratulated her on the victory by posting messages on her wall.


“I am so proud of you,” said Terry Harper. “I know how hard you have worked to get here. You are already an excellent role model; I can’t wait to watch you on your journey to Miss America!”


Others just said, “Congratulations,” but many told her that she is an inspiration.


Boyce is also the winner of the Lifestyle Change Award from the American Heart Association and says she hopes to motivate others to become healthier through good eating habits, exercising and believing in themselves.



Myrtle Beach


Man dressed as SpongeBob sells ice cream from his moped


Jay Shoop, wearing an ice cream hat and a cartoon costume, cruises the streets and neighborhoods of Myrtle Beach selling ice cream and beverages to families and businessmen alike.


According to the Sun News, Shoop has built a following among the residents of Myrtle Beach, with some buying from him every time he rides by their homes.


Others just stop to wave or talk to the friendly man while waiting at lights or while passing him on the street. Shoop will even jump off his moped and pose to the delight of people sitting in their cars.


Shoop said he loses a few pounds a day because of his heavy costume.


HBO series to film on boardwalk


Myrtle Beach City Council members voted unanimously to approve a special events permit for the popular comedy series “Eastbound & Down” to film on the boardwalk between July 5 and 9, according to the Post and Courier.


Creater Danny McBride stars as Kenny Powers, a once-great professional baseball player whose abrasive personality and career failures force him to accept a job as a substitute P.E. teacher at his former middle school. In the new season, Powers will be playing for the Myrtle Beach minor league baseball team.


A production assistant with HBO, Scott Clackum, said filming will take place at the boardwalk on Ocean Boulevard, on the beach, and at BB&T Coastal field, but the show will return in August to film aerial shots of the boardwalk and beach.


“We are thankful you’ve chosen Myrtle Beach,” Mayor Rhodes told Clackum. “This will be great publicity for us.”


 Other stars tied with the show include Will Farrell, a producer, and guest star Matthew McConaughey, who will be in town to film.



NEWBERRY


Ladies start their own shooting league


Newberry County started a ladies-only shooting league to help women with confidence, as well as improve their shooting skills.


Women tend to feel intimidated when they are surrounded by men with guns, organizer Angie Wofford explained to the Newberry Observer.


The small group of women will learn about guns, gun safety and self defense from Earl “Tex” Wicker, Cindia Deith, Barry Heffner and John Harvey, who are all experienced members of the Newberry Pistol Club.


The coaches encourage women to learn how to protect themselves, but say that owning a gun isn’t necessary. Instead, they recommend a gun-cleaning kit which can be bought at Wal-Mart.


Ladies who are interested in joining the league can attend the next meeting on Thursday July 14, at 7 p.m. at the Newberry Pistol Club.



SUMTER


Lighting strike causing smoky conditions weeks later


An unreachable fire continues to burn in the Pocalla and Pocotaglio swamps after lightning struck a tree in the area on June 15.


State Forestry Commission officials are warning drivers to take caution on smoky roads in nearby southern Sumter County until the next rain. Drivers are experiencing the dangerous conditions between Tidal Road and U.S. 521 toward Manning in the morning and late afternoon, according to the Sumter Item.

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