Across the area

Drunken driver to serve 3 years


A fatal drunken-driving crash led to a three-year prison sentence Thursday for an Augusta man.

Hilton B. Ward, 32, pleaded guilty in Richmond County Superior Court to vehicular homicide and driving under the influence.

Judge Michael N. Annis imposed the prison sentence and added 12 years probation to follow.

Mr. Ward must perform 250 hours of community service, speaking about the tragic results of drunken driving.

Mr. Ward ran a stop sign at Highway 25 and Hephzibah-McBean Road on Aug. 7, 2006.

He hit a vehicle driven by 38-year-old Frank Johnson, who was delivering The Augusta Chronicle about 4 a.m. Mr. Ward's blood alcohol content was .21. At .08, a driver can be charged with DUI.

Deliberations ongoing in kidnap, murder trial

A jury returns to deliberations this morning in Richmond County Superior Court where a South Carolina man is on trial, charged with murder.

The jury asked to retire for the night after deliberating several hours Thursday on the fate of Demetric L. Twitty, 32.

Mr. Twitty and two other men are accused of kidnapping and murder in the July 24, 2006, slaying of Mickel Ian Mosley. The 25-year-old Gaffney, S.C., man was shot in the head and thrown into the Savannah River.

Terminal will open to travelers a bit early

Although the official "grand opening" ceremony won't happen until Jan. 26, passengers will have the opportunity to begin using Augusta Regional Airport's new terminal on Sunday, according to airport officials.

The final touches are being added to the multi-year, $30 million renovation that includes a modern, new terminal with plantation-style columns, modern luggage screening technology and other services.

After the final flights have cleared Saturday night, workers will make the nocturnal transition to the new quarters in time to accommodate travelers Sunday morning, said Diane Johnston, the airport's marketing director.

Until then, she said, the new terminal remains off limits to the public, although some of the tenants are beginning to move equipment into the area.

Carol service to have handbells, quintet

There will be a vesper and carol service featuring the chancel choir, the Masters Handbell Ringers, Five Points Brass Quintet and orchestra members from Columbia and Augusta at 7 p.m. Sunday at Reid Memorial Presbyterian, 2261 Walton Way.

The service will include performances of Robert Shaw's Many Moods of Christmas and Randol Bass's Gloria.

Alzheimer's support focus of Lunch, Learn

Kathy Tuckey, programs director of the Augusta Alzheimer's Association, will discuss "Communication: The Language of Alzheimer's" at the free Lunch and Learn program on Tuesday.

The program is held at the Medical College of Georgia Alumni Center, 919 15th St. (across the street from the hospital). R.S.V.P. by calling Dr. Shirley Poduslo at (706) 721-0609 or the Alzheimer's Association at (706) 731-9060 by noon Monday.

Parents can comment on quality of schools

The Richmond County school system is seeking comments about the quality of its education.

Two open houses are being held for the public to give input and identify key issues. Both will be held from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Tuesday , with one at the Academy of Richmond County and one at Cross Creek High School.

Comments can be made online at The meetings are part of the school system's performance management review, a countywide audit.

Residents welcome visitors to tour homes

The North Augusta Christmas tour of homes will be from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. Friday and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.

The tour stops are: the home of Vince and Linda Dwan, 460 Shoreline Drive in River Club; the Stewart House, the home of Chris and Melody Garrison, 419 W. Martintown Road; the home of Deborah Holmes, 463 Arrington Ave., Hammond's Ferry; the home of Skip and Jean Jones, 910 Carolina Ave., Olde Towne; the home of Kevin and Lee Little, 468 Front St., Hammonds Ferry; the home of Steve McElmurray, 141 Savannah Point, Campbelltown Towne Landing; and the home of Donnie Thompson, 930 River Oaks.

Advance tickets cost $15 and are available until 2 p.m. today at the North Augusta Chamber of Commerce, Communigraphics, Jim Bush Flower Shop and Parks Pharmacy.

Call (803) 279-5074 for more information.

After today, tickets cost $18.

Ceremony to welcome home Gordon soldiers

Fort Gordon will hold a welcome ceremony for the more than 100 Task Force Lightning soldiers returning from Afghanistan on Monday, according to a news release.

The ceremony will be at 1 p.m. at the 513th Military Intelligence Brigade motor pool.

Task Force Lightning has been deployed to Afghanistan to provide intelligence collection since December 2006.

The 513th Military Intelligence Brigade is on Chamberlain Avenue between 15th and 12th streets.

Red Cross offers baby sitter training course

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

The course is for children between the ages of 11 and 15 and teaches skills necessary to provide safe and responsible child care.

To register, call the Augusta Chapter at (706) 724-8481.

Augusta Chorale set for Christmas concert

The Augusta Chorale's Christmas concert, featuring Handel's Messiah , will be held at 4 p.m. Sunday at Paine College's Gilbert-Lambuth Memorial Chapel.

Tickets cost $15 for adults, $5 for students, with group rates available.

For information, call (706) 830-0991.

-- From staff reports