August 27, 2014

Coker cuts ribbon on largest expansion in college’s history


Louise and Harris DeLoach cut the ribbon on the facility bearing their name Friday (Image: Coker College)

Louise and Harris DeLoach cut the ribbon on the facility bearing their name Friday (Image: Coker College)

Coker College officials dedicated a new $12 million state-of-the-art athletic center in a ceremony Friday.

The Harris and Louise DeLoach Center is now the largest building on the private campus in Hartsville. The new center will host indoor athletics facilities and a fitness center for the school’s roughly 1,200 students.

College president Robert Wyatt said the school already knew its old gym was woefully inadequate when he took the post in 2010. “We’ve been playing in an outdated gym,” he told South Carolina Radio Network. “We had a seating capacity of about 400 and it was not air-conditioned.”

So the small school sought out donations, turning towards former Sonoco Corporation CEO and Chairman Harris DeLoach, a philanthropist who frequently donates to education efforts in the Hartsville area. Wyatt said DeLoach and his wife Louise’s commitment helped bring other donors forward, making the school’s current $21 million building campaign possible.

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Coroner: Teen who died on Broome High School track likely had heart issue

The Spartanburg County Coroner said Thursday that a high school student who died after collapsing on the track at Broome High School may have suffered a fatal heart-related issue, but more tests are needed to confirm it.

Coroner Rusty Clevenger said 14-year-old Chaquantei Fowler of Cowpens was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital around 3:41 Wednesday afternoon. Spartanburg County School District 3 had previously said the ninth-grader suffered a medical emergency while on the track. School personnel and emergency medical service workers tried unsuccessfully to revive the teen.

Clevenger said a microscopic analysis will have to be performed before he can give a more definitive cause of death, but said preliminary indications are that Fowler had a heart-related issue. He ruled out any foul play.

School district officials said they will honor Fowler prior to the start of the Broome-Chesnee football game on Friday night.

“We offer our deepest prayers and sympathies to this student, his family, and Broome students and faculty,” the school district said in its statement revealing the death.

Anderson man sentenced for releasing asbestos while demolishing mill

An Anderson man was sentenced to more than three years in prison after prosecutors say he continued to demolish an old mill despite knowing the building contained hazardous levels of asbestos.

37-year-old Scott Farmer was sentenced Tuesday to 41 months in prison and three years supervised release after earlier pleading guilty to knowing endangerment by release of asbestos.

Prosecutors said Farmer and his employees were working on demolished portions of Haynsworth Mill in Anderson between November 2012 and April 2013 in order to sell scrap metal from the building. The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental said it repeatedly warned Farmer to stop work on the building because of the asbestos, which have been linked to cancer. However, investigators said Farmer continued to do the work without setting up safeguards for his employees or customers who bought the scrap metal.

In March 2013, DHEC issued an emergency order against Farmer to cease all activities on the site due to the hazardous levels of asbestos. But inspectors said they caught Farmer doing more demolition work on the site a month later.

“Exposure to asbestos can cause serious health problems and in some cases may prove fatal,” Maureen O’Mara, Special Agent in Charge of EPA’s criminal enforcement program in South Carolina, said in a statement. “The defendant’s actions threatened not only the environment but the safety of his workers and the surrounding community.”

The former cotton mill was built in 1948 and operated in the heart of Anderson until its closure in 1996, according to research by the Greenville Textile Heritage Society.


34 sailors kicked out of Navy in cheating scandal at Charleston sub school


Image: Department of Defense

Chief of Naval Operations Navy Adm. Jonathan W. Greenert and Navy Adm. John Richardson, director of the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program, brief reporters about the scandal back in February (Image: Department of Defense)

At least 34 sailors are being kicked out of the Navy for their roles in a cheating ring at a nuclear submarine school outside Charleston. Meanwhile, another 10 are under criminal investigation.

The Associated Press reports that the scandal at the Naval Weapons Station in Goose Creek was more extensive than the Navy realized when it first revealed the cheating in February. The investigation centered on exams that senior sailors needed to pass in order to become instructors at the Nuclear Power Training Unit.

In all, 78 enlisted sailors were implicated. Investigators said the cheating appeared to have been happening for at least seven years but has only been discovered in a single unit and was not known by commanding officers. Adm. John Richardson, director of naval reactors. told the AP that 34 sailors were removed from the submarine program and administratively discharged from the Navy. Two more were punished for minimal involvement but will remain in the service. 32 other implicated students and staff were exonerated by Richardson.

However, an additional 10 sailors are now under criminal investigation. Adm. Richardson told the AP those 10 were “ringleaders,” who provided exam answers in advance to others taking the test and tipped the students off about which test would be given.

The investigation found that a master file of tests and answers was illegally taken from a computer prior to 2007. The file contained all five sets of tests that were rotated among students. Emails containing the answer keys were then circulated between students, along with a number denoting which test they would be given.

An unidentified officer was also given a verbal warning for “deficiencies” with oversight of the test. That officer was not identified and Richardson said investigators do not believe the officer knew about the cheating.

ACT scores hold steady as more students take test in SC

The average composite scores among high school seniors taking the ACT college placement exam in South Carolina held steady in 2014, although they did drop slightly further behind the national average.

The average composite score of 20.4 (out of 36) remained unchanged from the 2012-2013 school year, according to data released by the South Carolina Department of Education on Wednesday. South Carolina’s public school students did increase their mean composite score by 0.1 points to 20.2.

However, South Carolina gave up ground to the nationwide average, which increased from 20.9 to 21.0.

The ACT standardized test is given to high school students to assess their college readiness. It’s scores are often considered by colleges in addition to results from the more popular SAT test. The ACT includes science questions, however, while the SAT does not. The composite score is the total average for a student’s performance in the English, Math, Reading, and Science sections.

The Education Department said more South Carolina students took the ACT in 2014 than ever before. There was a 12.7 percent increase in the number of public school students who took the test in 2014 from a year earlier. There was an 11.3 percent increase in the number of overall students who took the test in 2014.

“South Carolina students are to be commended for their performance on the 2014 ACT test,” State Superintendent of Education Mick Zais said in a statement. “While South Carolina’s average ACT composite score was slightly under the national average, its proximity proves that we are making progress.  These are positive results that we can build on for the future.”

The ACT tests students in four subject areas: .  While composite statewide students’ scores for English and math showed no change from 2013, there was a 0.1 point increase in both reading and science for 2014.

The Governor’s Schools, as is usual, saw the highest composite scores with 27.8. York County School District 4 had the highest among traditional public schools at a 23.3 average. Allendale County School District and Bamberg County District 2 had the lowest scores with 14.4.