The latest news from South Carolina

Man can’t do anything right

A man wanted on charges of attempted murder turned himself in to the sheriff’s department Thursday morning and was arrested, but not before he tried and failed to shoot himself twice in the parking lot.

Jerome White, 38, is charged with attempted murder, kidnapping and two counts of pointing and presenting.

White is suspected of shooting a victim Tuesday at a residence in Hopkins. Responding deputies called for an ambulance and the victim was taken to the hospital with a hand wound.

Investigators say witnesses reported seeing White and the victim arguing. The witnesses left when White brandished the handgun, the department said.

White came to the sheriff’s department at 9 a.m. Thursday with an attorney. The department said White tried to shoot himself twice when he arrived, but his gun misfired both times. He was subdued without further incident.

Dog not mean, just horny (then dead)

A police officer investigating a complaint about a dog terrorizing the neighborhood shot and killed the animal.

Police were called to a home on Gilmore Street Tuesday in response to a complaint from a resident who said a neighbor’s dog had chased him, the report states.

The police report listed the dog as a pit bull, but the owner’s roommate, Natalie Macias, said he’s an American Bulldog named “Whitey.”

The neighbor complained that Whitey attacked his own dog, which was chained in his yard, as well as other people in the neighborhood. Police said they spoke with other neighbors who told them the dog had chased them.

The officer who responded was able to reach the dog’s owner by phone. While officers waited at the home with animal control, Whitey charged the fence and escaped through a hole. The dog then charged the police officer, who “defended himself from the advancing [dog] by discharging his firearm at the [dog],” which died as a result of his injuries, according to the report.

Macias believes the use of deadly force was unnecessary, and said the neighbors’ accounts of the dog’s viciousness were exaggerated.

“They could’ve subdued the dog with a tranquilizer. Shooting and killing him is just outrageous,” said Macias. “Whitey was great with kids and never hurt anyone.”

Macias said Whitey’s heightened aggression Tuesday evening could have been attributed to a female dog being in heat.

Bulbous head wins promotion


Despite having a head that looks like an overinflated basketball, Tavis Johnson has been promoted to assistant branch manager at Family Trust Federal Credit Union.

Johnson, 28, joined Family Trust as a part-time teller in 2002, and later become a member service representative and a loan officer.

Johnson is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in business management at Winthrop University.

Looks like rain

A strong thunderstorm is moving through southeastern York County. Very heavy rainfall, small hail and wind gusts are expected with this storm.

At 1:50 p.m., the National Weather Service Doppler Radar indicated the thunderstorm. Frequent lightning is occurring with the storm.

If outdoors, stay away from trees and other isolated high objects.

Jailer cracks the case

Police aren’t sure how a bag of crack ended up on the floor of Rock Hill’s jail.

Early this morning, a corrections officer notified police that a small bag of crack was found on the floor of the jail beside the bench near the front door, according to a police report.

The .60 grams of crack cocaine was placed in evidence to be destroyed.

No suspects were identified.

If a tree falls into your house, and no one is smart enough to be injured  …

A large oak tree that fell on three homes Thursday had been deemed a “public nuisance” the day before.

Around 8 a.m. Thursday the nearly century-old tree fell, causing more than $50,000 in damage to one residence and landing on two others. No one was hurt.

The day before, Rock Hill’s city forester was asked to inspect the tree. He said he determined the tree had a large split that appeared to be worsening.

After the inspection, he drafted a letter to send to the homeowners  that it needed to be removed within 15 days.

The tree fell the following morning.

As she heard the crash, Becky Talley said she worried instantly about her 64-year-old mother, who can’t walk.

“God was with us, because my mother shouldn’t be with us today. She was asleep in that front room,” Talley said.

“We thought we had another week or two before this happened, before it cracked apart and fell like this,” Talley said.

K-mart employee goes coupon crazy

An extreme coupon shopper ended up in jail for using them on the wrong products at a Rock Hill K-mart, police say.

Raven Barber, 17, was convicted of breach of trust for acting as her own cashier during a transaction at K-mart where she paid 20 cents for about $400 in purchases, police documents show.

She worked at the Cherry Road K-mart and sold products to herself on May 27, according to a police report. Barber used a large number of manufacturer coupons, but they weren’t for the same items she purchased.

She redeemed $408 in coupons. She bought $395 worth of merchandise, including a $210 gift card.

Barber was sentenced in municipal court Tuesday to a day in jail and ordered to pay restitution.

Teens arrested in TP incident

Two intoxicated underage men were arrested after using toilet paper and fire extinguishers to vandalize a YMCA and nearby yards, police say.

Blake Hoover and Andrew Frazier, both 19, were arrested early Sunday after being seen toilet papering near the YMCA, according to a police report.

Both were charged with burglary, breaking and entering, damage to property, criminal conspiracy and underage drinking.

After papering the YMCA lot, a witness saw the men spraying a fire extinguisher into several nearby yards, the report states.

Police found Hoover and Frazier near where the witness reported the damage. They also found a bus at the YMCA had been broken into and a fire extinguisher was stolen.

Police also suspect the men broke into a nearby home for sale by busting out the windows. Inside, someone tipped over the refrigerator and tore off the microwave door, according to reports.

Both men had scratches on their arms and hands.

How not to celebrate the Fourth

What a Rock Hill woman thought were fireworks turned out to be gunshots fired into her home, police say.

The 50-year-old woman told police she and her daughter heard loud bangs from inside her residence around 1:30 a.m. Sunday, according to a police report.

Although she thought they were just fireworks celebrating the July 4 holiday weekend, the woman told police she wasn’t comfortable at home and left to go to her mother’s house.

When she returned home just before 9 a.m., she found bullet holes throughout her house.

Police found 11 shell casings on Main Street near the house. Police believe a .40-caliber gun may have been used.

Residents aren’t sure why the shooting occurred.

The American Camel Coalition? Lobbyists go too far

How far would you go for something you believed in? Empty your savings account? Sell your furniture? Cut back on your day job?

Millie Hinkle, a natural medicine practitioner from Pittsboro, did all of the above.

Hinkle has spent three years working to get camel’s milk approved for sale across the U.S. She started a company called Camel Milk USA and founded the American Camel Coalition to promote legislation to benefit camel owners.

Hinkle wasn’t even that taken with the taste of camel’s milk when she first drank it in the 1980s during a trip to Dubai.

“It was rather salty-tasting to me,” she said. “I have to say I never thought another thing about it.”

In late 2008, an article in a health magazine got her thinking about that experience, and craving another taste. When she discovered it was illegal to sell camel’s milk in the U.S., she was determined to get it approved for sale across state lines.

Hinkle testified before a Food and Drug Administration panel in 2009 and helped get camel’s milk put under laws governing the sale of milk, allowing states to govern its sale.

Hinkle said farmers are selling fresh camel’s milk for about $40 a quart, given that camels cost at least $15,000 here and produce only about five quarts a day, half of what a cow produces. Camels, unlike cows, are not as cooperative about being milked, Hinkle said.

What drives Hinkle is a belief in the curative properties of camel’s milk. Based on small studies, she believes camel’s milk holds the key to curing ailments such as cancer, diabetes, autism and Crohn’s disease.

Elizabeth Mayer-Davis, president of Health Care & Education at the American Diabetes Association, says the health claims appear to be unfounded.

“I do not think that camel milk is particularly useful at this point in time,” said Mayer-Davis, a professor at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Hinkle remains undeterred. She said seven American universities are doing research on camel’s milk, including the effect of its protein on muscles.

“It has been a long struggle up until this point but I think it is really beginning to pay off,” she said.

Forget Manhattan, we have cou rouge (rednecks)

Pouvez-vous dire “South Carolina”?

State tourism promoters were in France last month asking that question — translation: Can you say South Carolina? — aiming to generate interest in the state among potential tourists from France.

South Carolina, along with 10 other Southeastern states, is trying to tap that market, which officials say is one of the most popular international markets to the U.S.

“They are coming to the U.S., and the goal is to get more of them to the Southeast,” said Beverly Shelley, director of marketing at the S.C. Tourism Department. “It makes sense to go try to get a piece of that business.”

Shelley and a dozen other tourism promoters spent about a week in two French cities last month, with Shelley aiming to woo them by mentioning the state’s beaches, historical offerings in Charleston and adventure opportunities.

“The French are interested in cultural kinds of things, the outdoors, festivals,” Shelley said.

About 1.2 million residents of France visited the U.S. in 2009, a 3.2-percent decline from 2008, and spent $4.1 billion on their visits.

Shelley admits that South Carolina isn’t going to be tops on the list of places for French tourists to check out. Bigger cities such as New York always will be more popular.

“A place like South Carolina is going to be part of a second visit or third visit,” she said.

Shelley says she plans to follow up with the groups she met to try to ensure stories are written and tour operators keep South Carolina in mind.

“Breaking into a new market takes time,” Shelley said.

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