Across the area

14 holiday DUI arrests made


Fourteen people were arrested and charged with driving under the influence in the early hours of the first day of 2008.

The DUI arrests outnumbered those from 2007's New Year's Eve night, said Richmond County sheriff's Sgt. Pete Lamb, of the DUI Task Force.

"We started getting really busy around 1:30, and we were still making arrests around 3 or 4 in the morning," Sgt. Lamb said. "I was surprised at how many there were."

The sheriff's office had about 10 police monitoring motorists on New Year's Eve, Sgt. Lamb said.

Deputies from Richmond and Columbia counties also wrote 13 seat-belt citations, 10 suspended license citations and five citations for no insurance.

Plane crash witness mentions engine noise

A witness to a fatal plane crash at an Augusta temple in December, watching from about 10 miles away, said the engine sounded like the "RPM was going up and down" and that it seemed all the cylinders weren't firing, according to a preliminary report released by the National Transportation Safety Board.

On Dec. 5, a four-seat, fixed- wing, single-engine Piper that left Charleston, S.C., for Cartersville, Ga., crashed into the Congregation Children of Israel Temple at 3005 Walton Way, killing 19-year-old pilot Ronnie Dean Baker III.

Mr. Baker had reported engine problems about 30 minutes before the crash, according to the report.

NTSB officials examined engine components, many of which were damaged from the crash. Several components will need more examination.

The report confirmed that Mr. Baker held a private pilot certificate and had 160 hours of flight experience.

Canal center has new hours during winter

The Augusta Canal Interpretive Center is operating on its winter schedule through March 31. The center's hours are 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

Petersburg Boat tours will be offered at 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 and 3 p.m., weather permitting. Special group charters for other days and times can be arranged with advance notice.

Call (706) 823-0440, ext. 4, for information and reservations.

New 800 number has service information

Officials have announced that a new toll-free phone number will be initiated this month for Georgians seeking information on state services.

The new number will be (800) 436-7442, according to a news release by Pam Tucker, Columbia County's emergency services director.

The number will be for Georgians who are seeking state services but don't know who to call. A call center will be available to connect callers to the right government service.

Residents in Columbia County can call 311 to get local government information or to request government services.

Speaker will discuss dementia at luncheon

Dr. Suzanne Smith, the director of the Memory Disorder Clinic at Medical College of Georgia, will discuss "Clinical Diagnosis: Dementias" at January's lunch and learn program held by the Augusta Alzheimer's Association.

The program will be held from noon to 1 p.m. Jan. 8 at the Medical College of Georgia Alumni Center at 919 15th St.

RSVP by calling Dr. Shirley Poduslo at (706) 721-0609.

Lecture series covers Aiken County history

The Aiken County Historical Museum and the University of South Carolina Aiken's Office of Continuing Education are presenting a five-part lecture series on the county's history.

The Many Facets of Aiken will be presented from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Tuesdays from Jan. 22 to Feb. 19 at the museum on Newberry Street.

The program will feature lectures on the Winter Colony homes, the story of the Winter Colony and its people and the history of Savannah River Site. The fee to attend the series is $30, which includes a $15 donation to The Friends of the Aiken County Historical Museum and a one-year membership for new members.

-- From staff reports