Across the area

Remains will be examined


Authorities collected the skeletal remains Thursday of a body found in a wooded area of North Augusta.

Forensic teams from the Aiken County Sheriff's Office and the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division will use DNA testing and dental records in an effort to determine the identity of the remains found by two bicyclists Wednesday evening near U.S. Highway 25, said North Augusta Department of Public Safety Capt. Randy Mosley.

Aiken County Coroner Tim Carlton said the remains appear to be those of a woman. The skeleton must be examined by a forensic pathologist before authorities can confirm the gender, Mr. Carlton wrote in an e-mail. Authorities continue to investigate the scene and scour missing person reports for possible identification, Capt. Mosley said. An autopsy is scheduled for today.

Man dead in possible suicide at travel stop

An out-of-town traveler stopped at the Love's Travel Stop in Thomson on Thursday morning and apparently shot himself, authorities said.

Traffic flow coming into the south side of the parking lot was rerouted by the McDuffie County Sheriff's Department during an investigation of the scene by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

GBI Maj. Gary Nicholson said the McDuffie sheriff's office received a call at 10:25 a.m. that a person was lying in the grass, possibly shot, in front of the truck stop. Maj. Nicholson said a trooper from the Georgia State Patrol post next door to the truck stop found the victim outside a camper with a single gunshot wound to the head and a handgun between his legs.

Maj. Nicholson said there is evidence indicating the death was a suicide, but it is still under investigation. The victim's identity was withheld until next of kin are notified.

Macon lawyer turns down Augusta job

The Macon attorney Augusta commissioners agreed to hire in October as their in-house general counsel turned the job down Wednesday, City Administrator Fred Russell said Thursday.

After hearing that J. Pope Langstaff had decided not to take the job, Augusta commissioners appointed Chiquita T. Johnson, the staff attorney they recently hired as interim general counsel while they continue their search. She will be paid $100,000 a year.

Commissioners also voted to make interim Finance Director Donna Williams permanent finance director and pay her $110,000, plus 5 percent deferred compensation.

Weapons charges are dropped against man

Weapons charges have been dropped against an Evans man whose girlfriend Columbia County authorities say committed suicide on Oct. 21 using the man's gun at his Rivershyre home.

Authorities have decided to dismiss the Oct. 22 warrant for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon against Ervin L. Gunter, 54, of Edenton Trail, because Mr. Gunter had been pardoned in 1985 for felony drug conviction in West Columbia, S.C., in 1972, sheriff's Capt. Steve Morris announced Thursday.

Capt. Morris said within days of Mr. Gunter's arrest on Oct. 22 that authorities were trying to verify the man's claim he had been pardoned for the prior conviction. Mr. Gunter's girlfriend, 32-year-old June Harris of Savannah, killed herself Oct. 21 on the porch of Mr. Gunter's home, authorities said.

Man's body found at Public Safety office

The body of a man was found outside the Aiken Department of Public Safety headquarters late Wednesday.

Lt. David Turno, a department spokesman, said the white man, who was found about 10:45 p.m., was in his early 70s and had a single gunshot wound. A small caliber handgun was found near the body.

The Aiken County Coroner's Office was to release the man's name after notifying relatives.

Man held on charges he molested a child

Aiken County authorities on Wednesday arrested a 20-year-old Salley man on charges of sexually abusing a now 8-year-old girl during the past three years.

Lance Oliver Lott was arrested on four charges of criminal sexual conduct with a minor first degree and three charges of lewd act upon a minor.

The suspect is in the Aiken County Detention Center, and a bond hearing is set for this morning.

Marine Corps League to honor veterans

The James L. Hammons Detachment No. 939 Marine Corps League in Aiken will have a Veterans Day service on Monday. The event will occur at 10 a.m. at the Veterans Park on Richland Avenue.

Champion organist to give free performance

The Augusta Chapter of the American Guild of Organists will present Scott Montgomery in concert at 6:30 p.m. Sunday at First Baptist Church of Augusta, 3500 Walton Way.

Mr. Montgomery is the winner of the 2006 National Young Artist Competition in organ performance. Admission is free, but donations will be accepted. For more information, call Alvin Blount at (706) 733-6627.

Red Cross to offer baby-sitting training

The American Red Cross of Augusta will hold baby-sitter training courses from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 10 and Dec. 28 at the Columbia County Library, 7702 Evans Town Center Blvd.

The course is for children between 11 and 15 years old and teaches skills to provide safe and responsible child care. To register, call (706) 724-8481.

'Best Marching Band' show will be Saturday

The Academy of Richmond County's Purple Pride Marching Band is sponsoring its 2nd Annual Garden City Band Invitational from 2-6 p.m. Saturday.

The Garden City Invitational will feature 12 Georgia and South Carolina high school bands and Fort Valley State University as a special guest band. The event, which is billed as the "Best Marching Band Show in the CSRA," costs $10 and will be held at Richmond Academy's football stadium.

Tickets can be purchased at the school, Kirkwood Music on Augusta West Parkway, Hair Depot on Deans Bridge Road and Big City Music on Wrightsboro Road.

For more information, call Band Director Arthur Wright at (706) 737-7152.

-- From staff reports