VA investigating shredded records

The Veterans Affairs Department is investigating why 95 documents apparently were mishandled and dumped in a shredder bin at the benefits office in Columbia.

The State newspaper reported Thursday the records were found Oct. 3 as part of an agency inspector general's review of how veterans' records and claims are handled.

The probe found that 41 of the VA's 57 regional offices had 500 records that were incorrectly slated for shredding.

An unidentified employee at the Columbia office is under investigation for mishandling the documents, which include new benefits claims and other personal files, the paper reported.

Associated Press

Meck briefs


Mecklenburg County officials will try again to buy a portion of the Doral Apartments in east Charlotte, a complex that has been damaged multiple times by flood waters including one in August.

County commissioners agreed earlier this week to let the county's Storm Water Services department apply for $3 million in federal grants to help it buy 160 of the apartment units, or about half of the complex. The department also would spend about $2 million in stormwater fees to help with the purchase.

The county said the money would be used to purchase the apartments, pay for relocation costs for as many as 80 families, and other costs, including demolishing the buildings.

If the county received the federal money, the owners of the Doral Apartments must agree to sell the property. County officials have said past discussions on buying units at the Doral died because the property owners didn't want to split the property.

The purchase would be part of a years-long effort by the county to remove properties from flood-prone areas. As part of the program, the county had bought the Cavalier Apartments located beside the Doral complex.

The 160 Doral units being targeted for purchase by the county sustained more than $4 million in flood damages from 1995 to 2007, the county said.

April Bethea

Regional briefs

Catawba County


Police believe three teens are behind dozens of burglaries in two counties over the past three weeks.

Police in Newton, Hickory and Conover and towns in nearby Burke County are questioning the teens.

Each of the towns has had a string of similar burglaries in the past few weeks. They believe the three could be connected to these crimes as well.

Arrested were Andrew McClellan, 16; Brandon Beatty, 17; and Michael Miller, 18.


South Carolina

Falling fuel prices should help keep South Carolina's school buses rolling.

This summer, state officials worried that the state Education Department's fuel fund could fall $20 million short.

But the agency's transportation director said Thursday the state is paying $2.37 a gallon this week for diesel. That's nearly $2 a gallon less than the peak cost earlier this school year.

Don Tudor said the lower cost, coupled with recent money transfers by the legislature, should keep buses running until the school year ends.

South Carolina is the only state that owns and maintains a statewide school bus fleet.

The state uses 12.6 million gallons of fuel yearly to put 5,000 buses on the road every school day.

Associated Press


Chester County school board member Jeff Kerr has been named Chester's new city administrator.

Chester has been without this top official for nearly a year.

Kerr, 46, has been a school board member for two years.

Charles D. Perry, (Rock Hill) Herald

Rock Hill

To help offset the blow of state funding cuts, Winthrop University plans to charge students an additional $50 in the spring semester, according to a news release from the university.

“It's less than the price of a soda a day,” university President Anthony DiGiorgio said in the release, adding that to absorb any more of the cut internally would “get to bone.”

Winthrop will absorb 94 percent – or about $3.2 million – of the cuts. The $50 charge, DiGiorgio said, will generate the $215,000 – the final 6 percent needed to make up the total $3.4 million the General Assembly cut.

(Rock Hill) Herald