Across the area

Alternative school to hold informative event


Bungalow Road Alternative School, 2216 Bungalow Road, will hold a special program for parents at 6 p.m. Monday.

Failure Is Not an Option will introduce the school's new principals, explain the tribunal process and discuss the evening school and Project Next Steps.

There will also be information on the new graduation requirements, Saturday school, Street Law 101 and the Ounce of Prevention Services Program.

3 arrested in robbery of convenience store

Aiken investigators have arrested three people accused a robbing a convenience store Wednesday night.

Nicole Lagrange, 23, and Freddie Dwayne Eubanks, 25, both of Clearwater, were in jail on charges of armed robbery. A 16-year-old male juvenile also has been arrested.

According to a statement from Aiken Public Safety, at 8:14 p.m., a man wearing a blue hooded sweatshirt entered a Shell gas station on Huntsmen Drive with a baseball bat.

The man reportedly approached the counter and slammed the bat down and received money. The bat was recovered outside the store in the shrubbery, the statement said.

Robbery suspect is arrested after chase

A North Augusta man was arrested Wednesday night after police say he robbed a store and led authorities on a two-state pursuit.

Matthew L. Johnson, 30, of the 100 block of Georgetown Court, was charged with armed robbery. Mr. Johnson is accused of robbing the Hot Spot on South Main Street in New Ellenton at 11:55 p.m., according to an Aiken County sheriff's news release.

Authorities pursued the suspect into and out of Georgia several times before he crashed his vehicle into a tree at the intersection of Old Nail Road and Old Jackson Highway, the release stated.

The suspect was injured in the crash and taken to Medical College of Georgia Hospital, where he was listed in critical condition Thursday, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Suspect faces charges of child molestation

Police have arrested an Augusta man on charges that he sexually assaulted two children.

Mitchell Holmes, 56, of the 1700 block of Essie McIntyre Boulevard, faces two counts of aggravated child molestation after being accused of engaging in a sexual act with a 7-year-old and 6-year-old girl, a sheriff's report stated.

The incident was reported in January. After an investigation, Mr. Holmes was charged Thursday.

Man pleads guilty to molestation charges

An Augusta man who videotaped himself sexually abusing a 2-year-old in diapers pleaded guilty Thursday.

Tracy W. McGee, 39, pleaded guilty in Richmond County Superior Court to aggravated child molestation, illegal surveillance and five counts of sexual exploitation of a child. Assistant District Attorney Ashley Wright told the judge she agreed to a negotiated plea that called for 30 years in prison to spare the child's older sister the trauma of testifying.

Judge James G. Blanchard Jr. accepted the sentencing recommendation. He ordered 10 years probation once Mr. McGee completes the prison time.

Science instruction will be recognized

Teachers who include environmental science in their instructional programs can compete for a $500 award in a competition to name the annual Environmental Science Educator of the Year.

The program, sponsored by the CSRA Environmental Science Education Cooperative, was created to recognize and reward teachers who encourage students to become critical thinkers on environmental issues.

All teachers K-12 in public, private and home school are eligible to apply.

The nomination deadline is March 28 and the winner will be honored, along with other nominees, on April 24.

Details and entry forms are available at or by calling Chuck Niemeyer, (706) 792-7761.

Salley man dies from injuries in truck wreck

A 62-year-old Salley man has died from injuries he suffered in a car crash a week ago.

Robert Widener died Wednesday afternoon at Medical College of Georgia Hospital where he had been since March 14 when was involved in a single car crash near New Holland Road in Aiken County.

According to a statement from the Aiken County Coroner's Office, the victim lost control of his 1997 Chevrolet truck, which overturned several times before striking a tree near the intersection of New Holland and Cooks Bridge roads.

Coroner Tim Carlton said Mr. Widener was not wearing his seat belt and alcohol is considered to be a factor.

Agency has rules for burning storm debris

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control issued guidelines Thursday for burning debris left behind by the storms that swept through Aiken, Allendale, Bamberg, Calhoun and Orangeburg counties last week.

A statement from the agency said the burning of tree branches, leaves and other vegetation must be performed under the supervision of county or municipal authorities at designated sites.

"There is an urgent need to remove and dispose of large volumes of debris caused by the severe weather," said Myra Reece, the chief of DHEC's Bureau of Air Quality. "This is being done under very tightly controlled conditions. Emergency orders issued by local authorities may disallow these guidelines and may prohibit all burning."

Some of the guidelines are as follows: Burning must be conducted in accordance with all state and local emergency orders; as much material as possible should be chipped, ground or salvaged as fuel; tires may not be added to enhance burning; domestic garbage or other types of waste may not be burned; piles must be at least 1,000 feet apart and may not exceed 45 by 45 feet in size; prevailing winds must be such that smoke will not create a traffic hazard; and the local DHEC regional office must approve burning locations.