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This Hour: Latest South Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment

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MINISTRY EMBEZZLEMENT

Ex-SC homeless ministry officer accused of theft

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) - A former official with a homeless ministry in Charleston has been arrested and accused of embezzling more than $440,000.

Fifty-six-year-old Carol Libby of Mount Pleasant is accused of taking the money from Crisis Ministry between 2006 and 2013.

The former chief financial officer of the ministry has been charged in federal court with five counts of wire fraud.

Libby was fired last June after she was arrested by Charleston police and charged with breach of trust. She had worked for the organization for 10 years.

Officials thought last summer she had taken about $96,000.

Executive Director Stacey Denaux says the organization has recovered about half of the amount that was taken. Donors have offered $150,000 and insurance has paid $50,000. Denaux says Libby has repaid $52,000.

CAROLINA INVESTORS-SHEPPARD

No parole for Ex-Carolina Investors exec Sheppard

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - State parole officials have rejected a request for early release from prison for former HomeGold executive Ronnie Sheppard.

A three-member panel of the parole board voted unanimously Wednesday against releasing Sheppard, whose lawyers argued that he needs outside medical care because of a recent heart surgery.

Sheppard is serving a 20-year sentence for securities fraud, conspiracy and obtaining property under false pretenses for his role in the 2003 collapse of HomeGold and its subsidiary Carolina Investors. More than 8,000 investors lost $275 million in one of the biggest bankruptcies in state history. Several of those investors testified Wednesday against early release.

Several previous requests for early release have been turned down. Sheppard is eligible to ask again next year. He is scheduled to be released in 2016.

JELLYFISH DEBATE

Dozens attend meeting on SC jellyfish industry

BEAUFORT, S.C. (AP) - The processing of jellyfish is on hold along the South Carolina coast while officials wait for permit reviews and the results of toxicity tests.

More than 150 people attended a meeting Tuesday in Beaufort County to discuss jellyfish operations.

Those at the meeting were told the Department of Health and Environmental Control is reviewing applications for storm water permits for facilities to unload jellyfish in Beaufort County and process them in neighboring Colleton County.

A company doing business as Millenarian Trading Co. and Carolina Jelly Balls wants to catch cannonball jellyfish and ship them to Asia where they are considered a delicacy.

Some residents have expressed concerns about water pollution resulting from the operations. The company has said those concerns are unfounded.

WOLF PUPS

2 red wolf pups in SC named for Colbert, Jewell

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - Two wolf pups born earlier this month in South Carolina have been named for comedian Stephen Colbert (kohl-BEHR') and U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell.

The State newspaper reported that managers at the Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge in Charleston County said the pups are expected to go on public display in several weeks.

"Colbert" and "Jewell" were among six pups born April 8 at the Sewee Visitors Center. One was stillborn and a second died shortly after birth.

The two other pups have been taken to the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge in North Carolina.

Project leader Raye Nilius says Secretary Jewell visited Cape Romain in November. Colbert is a Charleston native who has a show on Comedy Central and will replace David Letterman on CBS next year.

KIDNAP VICTIM RESCUED

Indictment: Prosecutor targeted in kidnapping plot

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - An indictment says a North Carolina prosecutor was the target of an elaborate kidnapping plot, but the kidnappers had the wrong address and abducted the prosecutor's father.

The indictment was handed down Tuesday and charges nine people in the kidnapping of 63-year-old Frank Janssen. He is the father of Wake Forest assistant district attorney Colleen Janssen.

The indictment says the kidnappers thought they were going to the prosecutor's home, but looked up the wrong address on the Internet.

Authorities say the kidnapping was retaliation for Colleen Janssen's prosecution of Kelvin Melton, a member of the Bloods gang being held in a North Carolina prison.

Authorities say Melton orchestrated the kidnapping from behind bars. Frank Jansseen was abducted April 5 and held captive in Atlanta for five days before being rescued.

FBI-CHILD PREDATOR

FBI investigates suspected serial child molester

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - The FBI is asking for help to identify at least 90 victims of a suspected serial child predator who worked in American schools worldwide for four decades.

The suspect, 64-year-old William James Vahey, killed himself in Luverne, Minn., on March 21.

FBI agents in Houston filed for a warrant March 19 to search a computer thumb drive that belonged to Vahey, a U.S. citizen with residences in London and Hilton Head Island, S.C. An employee of an American school in Nicaragua where Vahey had recently taught ninth-grade world history and geography gave the drive to the U.S. Embassy.

Special Agent Shauna Dunlap says the thumb drive contains pornographic images of at least 90 boys, aged 12-14, who agents suspect were Vahey's students starting in 2008.

The FBI says Vahey told a Nicaragua school administrator that he drugged his victims.

CLEMSON-GIFT

Erwins give Clemson another $1 million

CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) - Clemson University is getting another $1 million donation from the founders of the Greenville marketing and advertising firm Erwin Penland to support the school's Erwin Center for the Study of Advertising and Communication.

Joe and Gretchen Erwin's gift includes more than $200,000 to establish two need-based scholarships, named in honor of Gretchen Erwin's parents, Eugene and Valerie Getchell.

The rest of the money will support the center's operation, including the addition of an executive director position and the construction of a state-of-the-art classroom.

The room in Daniel Hall will include moveable furniture and teleconferencing capability to allow students to interact with advertising professionals around the nation.

The Erwin Center was established with a 2012 gift of $1 million from the Erwins.

MYRTLE BEACH ARTS

Myrtle Beach to pay most of arts center budget

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (AP) - A tentative agreement would have the city of Myrtle Beach pick up most of the operating costs of a new performing arts center with some of the expenses paid for by the local arts community.

The Sun News of Myrtle Beach reports city staff and members of the arts community discussed the proposal Tuesday. The operating budget is expected to be almost $440,000 by the fifth year of operation.

Voters last November approved a referendum allowing the city to borrow money to build the $10 million center at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center. Since then there has been discussion of the operating budget.

A technical director who would work for both the convention and performing arts centers. Other expenses include utilities, maintenance and repairs and insurance.

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