Across the area

Relationships at school under investigation


Some faculty, staff and administration at a Hephzibah middle school are under investigation after being accused of having improper relations during school hours.

Richmond County schools' Internal Affairs Department began the investigation at Spirit Creek Middle School this week, but the incidents are believed to have occurred last school year, Superintendent Dana Bedden said.

The allegations were brought on by an e-mail, he said. He's hoping the investigation will conclude next week.

"We have no concern about these people's personal lives. We only care about it happening on our time," he said. "We're asking that internal affairs makes this high priority."

Ex-bank worker admits guilt in embezzlement

A former bank employee who embezzled more than $600,000 from her Waynesboro employer pleaded guilty Friday.

Linda O. Burch, 44, of Midville, admitted to stealing from the First National Bank of Waynesboro for 13 years, according to a news release from U.S. Attorney Edmund A. Booth Jr.

She faces as much as 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine. A sentencing date has not been set.

Thomson High student caught with gun in bag

A 15-year-old Thomson High School student was being detained at the Augusta Regional Youth Detention Center after a gun was found in his book bag at the school Thursday afternoon.

McDuffie County Superintendent Mark Petersen said the handgun was unloaded and that the student was taken in a school system security car to the YDC. A spokesperson with the Thomson City Police Department said Friday the department had not been called about the incident and no report had been filed.

Dr. Petersen said the juvenile, whose name wasn't released, would have a hearing before a judge in McDuffie County on Monday morning.

"And we'll see what happens to him," Dr. Petersen said. "And he'll be going through our tribunal system. He won't be back in our school."

Sentencing delayed in fatal car wreck case

The sentencing of a Martinez man involved in a June 2007 fatal car wreck was postponed Friday.

David Blackwell, 36, is charged with homicide by vehicle, DUI and following too close. He was scheduled to appear before Superior Court Judge Michael Annis on Friday for a sentencing hearing.

However, his attorney, listed on court documents as Michael C. Garrett, called in sick and the hearing was postponed until Oct. 14, Judge Annis said.

Authorities have said Mr. Blackwell caused a wreck on Interstate 20 that killed Joseph Lester Kelley, 30, of Martinez.

Police said Mr. Blackwell lost control of his Ford Escape after it hit the rear of a Volkswagen Jetta while traveling west on I-20. The SUV flipped and Mr. Kelley was ejected.

Police accuse man of shooting ex-wife

An Augusta man was arrested Friday after being accused of shooting his ex-wife at her home.

David Mosley, 47, of the 3500 block of Garden Brook Drive, was charged with aggravated assault and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime. He is accused of shooting his ex-wife Carolyn Mosley, 45, in the leg and ankle Friday, said Richmond County sheriff's Investigator Charles Mulherin.

"They were attempting to reconcile and got into an argument," Investigator Mulherin said. "Unfortunately, it ended like this."

Mrs. Mosley was sent to a hospital with injuries that weren't life-threatening, he said.

County puts off review of gray water system

A plan by the Columbia County Commission to review an ordinance Tuesday to allow for a gray water irrigation system has been postponed.

Scott Johnson, the county's assistant administrator, said Friday that the county Board of Health must first review the system. He did not say when the commission might consider the issue.

Gray water irrigation systems allow for the use of water from a bath, shower, washing machine - any household water not containing fecal matter or bacteria from food - to be reused for watering lawns, flowers or shrubs.

At least one builder has started installing rainwater reclamation systems for irrigation purposes in future Columbia County homes. Such a system could be converted to use gray water.

Funding will expand Savannah research

The Southeastern Natural Sciences Academy will receive $300,000 from the city of Augusta and $150,000 from Columbia County to continue environmental research programs involving the Savannah River.

The studies, which began in 2005, have focused on chemical, biological and physical data collection and analysis on the 154 river miles from Thurmond Dam to Clyo, Ga., below Augusta.

The newest phase of research will add 34 miles to the study area, which will extend south to the Interstate 95 bridge. Scientists also plan to shift their focus toward biogeochemistry of organic matter, which will help evaluate the effects of cities and urban activities on water quality, according to a news release provided by the academy.

-- From staff reports