Index Journal

December 19, 2014

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2 SECTIONS, 20 PAGES FRIDAY, DECEMBER 19, 2014 DAILY 75¢, SUNDAY $1.50 TODAY: Some clouds in the sky. In the high 50s. FORECAST, 8A Index-Journal is published with pride for the people of the Lake- lands. You are important to us. If you miss your paper, please call 223-1413 (before noon on weekends). Inside today's edition ■ ABBY 5A ■ BUSINESS 8A ■ CALENDAR 2A ■ CLASSIFIEDS XX ■ COMICS XX ■ EDITORIALS 6A ■ ENTERTAINMENT 5A ■ LOTTERY 5A ■ MARKETS 5B ■ OBITUARIES 4A ■ SPORTS 1B-4B Index-Journal is committed to editorial excellence. To report an error, contact Executive Editor Richard Whiting at 943-2522 or rwhiting@indexjournal.com. Senators: Forgiving loans could net more teachers COLUMBIA — South Carolina could recruit and keep more good teachers by forgiving student loans, paying teacher mentors a stipend and boosting some teachers' salaries, a Senate study panel said. Its leader, Sen. Wes Hayes, said Wednesday the state should focus such initiatives in rural districts where's it's particularly hard to fill classrooms with high-quality teach- ers. Rural districts pay less than their urban and suburban counterparts while also offering less in the com- munity, senators said. They discussed expanding loan- forgiveness programs, saying high debt may dissuade some students from a teaching career. Hayes, R-Rock Hill, called it a back-door way to pay more. Current programs are limited and require education majors to apply upfront for loans that are forgiven over time as they teach. Sen. Brad Hutto said more would-be teachers should also be able to benefit from loan forgiveness or better rates on existing loans. "People shouldn't be penalized just because they decide later to be a teacher," said Hutto, D-Orangeburg. South Carolina ranks 10th high- est nationwide in college debt, with students graduating from a four-year school with an average debt of nearly $30,000, according to the Institute for College Access and Success. South Carolina's minimum pay for first-year teachers is just $29,500 a year, though many districts pay several thousand more. The director of South Carolina's Center for Teacher Recruitment, Retention and Advancement, known as CERRA, said the state should put more into mentoring new teachers and "homegrown" initiatives such as Teacher Cadet, which encourages high-achieving high school students to pursue teaching. By SEANNA ADCOX Associated Press McCormick County Council agrees to infrastructure grants County Administrator Columbus Stephens' signature released more than $270,000 in grant funds from two public utility providers Tuesday as McCormick County Council autho- rized him to sign contracts with Little River Electric and Santee Cooper. The county has identified proper- ty to be used as an industrial busi- ness park for economic development, which is eligible for infrastructure assistance. The state allows the two utili- ties to provide assistance that other- wise would have paid as part of its license liability to the state through the Department of Revenue. "We're just trying to become bet- ter situated for companies looking for property," Stephens said. The property is a 47-acre tract at Highway 28 and Serpentine Drive. Stephens said utilities are in place, including water and sewer. Santee Cooper has agreed to invest $164,130 in infrastructure payments with Little River Electric providing $110,000. The grant agreement does include language provided that if the county does not use the funds appropriately as outlined in the agreement and state legislature they would be required to reimburse the state or the utility com- panies. In other news, council decided to table the third reading of an updated comprehensive plan for the county. Two sections required changes and will be sent back to the planning com- mission to make those changes. A deletion of a company that had recently closed was needed along with a division regarding the number of county employees and school district employees. An additional line will be added in the section that provides the number of employees spread through- out the county in their respective areas. "It's just for information purpos- es," Stephens said, adding it allows for people to see the differences between the two. Moving forward with the plan, the county will continue to make sure all zoning regulations and land-use elements are in place for further eco- nomic development. A public hearing and third reading of the plan will be held at the next council meeting on Jan. 20, 2015. By COLIN RIDDLE criddle@indexjournal.com ■ THE SALVATION ARMY Angel Tree gifts to help 400-plus families Santa's elves at the North Pole have nothing on The Salvation Army volunteers who helped distribute Angel Tree presents to Greenwood families Thursday morning. There was plenty of hustle and bustle at the former Cornerstone building on Spring Street. The volunteer corps Thursday was made up of Emerald and Greenwood High School ROTC students, Duke Energy retirees and members of The Salvation Army advisory board was directed by The Salvation Army Maj. Melody McClure. "We need the legs," McClure said. She worked her way throughout the building making sure the bagged gifts were distributed smoothly. She was outside making sure the lines didn't back up and even added a fourth table to assure that didn't happen. Assisting McClure with making sure there weren't any traffic jams was Jaquelyn Gingrich, a member of the ROTC at Emerald. Gingrich stood at the entrance to the build- ing, checked to see which tables needed presents and then directed gift carriers to the empty tables. "It's a wonderful opportunity to help those in need. A lot of people in this town go with- out because of dire situations in the economy right now ... which is really sad," Gingrich said. "Being able to help out is truly great so that the people can see the smiles on their children's faces, and that's the most important thing about Christmas." The Angel Tree Project provided gifts for Christmas for more than 400 families and more than 1,200 children. McClure noted it was about the same number of families and children The Salvation Army helped last year. "Sometimes you want to do more, more, more, but the fact is, I know how many we can really do, and do well," McClure said. "We limit it to that." McClure said it feels good to be able to help so many people. "It's amazing for us, but knowing the support of our community has been fabulous," McClure said. "If it weren't for people donating to the children, we would have any of this. I'm over- whelmed by the support we receive." The Angel Tree project ended Thursday, but there's still time for those wanting to help The Salvation Army to do so. The Red Kettle cam- paign continues until Wednesday. Volunteer bell ringers are still needed. Anyone wishing to help can call The Salvation Army at 864-229-3407. "Every year we've been here, we've gotten a gold coin in the kettle," McClure said, add- ing she thinks the kettle with the coin in it was By JOSEPH SITARZ jsitarz@indexjournal.com McCORMICK U .S. Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., heard about the achieve- ments of McCormick High School's students and had to learn about them for himself. Scott, the highest member of the federal government to visit the school, spoke to a select group of students Thursday morning in the media center. Sunlight streamed through a big window silhouetting him at times as he paced and inter- acted with students. In November, Scott became the first black senator since Recon- struction elected from the South. He said he can see support from Republicans and Democrats in the House of Representatives and Sen- ate coming to fruition in the future regarding the Keystone pipeline expected to generate 40,000 new jobs, passing a balanced budget and meaningful tax reform. "I actually think we are heading in the right direction," he said. Scott emphasized education and self-empowerment during the visit, which lasted less than an hour. "Not a single person in this room can stop you from being suc- cessful except yourself," he said. By DANIEL PERRY | dperry@indexjournal.com INSPIRATION U.S. senator Tim Scott visits McCormick High School U.S. Sen. Tim Scott answers students' questions during a visit Thursday to McCormick High School. PHOTOS BY MADDY JONES | INDEX-JOURNAL U.S. Sen. Tim Scott speaks to high school students about struggles he has overcome to become a legislator Thursday during his visit to McCormick High School. It was the first time a senator has visited the school. "Not a single person in this room can stop you from being successful except yourself." TIM SCOTT U.S. Sen. R-S.C. See TEACHERS, page 4A See INSPIRATION, page 4A See ANGEL, page 4A See Sports 1B for a Lander basketball update VOL. 96, NO. 205 www.indexjournal.com

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