Across the area

Lengthy investigation leads to drug arrest


Authorities arrested a Harlem man Tuesday morning as part of a 10-month investigation with the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Federal and local authorities served a search warrant at the home of 25-year-old Derrick Boyd, of the 200 block of Shady Grove Drive, and seized several bottles of prescription painkillers, crack cocaine, four guns, two cars and about $5,000, according to Columbia County Sheriff's Office Staff Sgt. Tripp Penn.

Mr. Boyd faces charges including possession of cocaine, Staff Sgt. Penn said. The case is ongoing, and Staff Sgt. Penn said he could not comment specifically on Mr. Boyd's alleged activities.

Wallet theft suspects seen on store video

Columbia County authorities are looking for two women believed to be stealing wallets from shoppers' purses and asked the public's help in identifying them.

The women target purses left unattended, according to an e-mail from Columbia County sheriff's Capt. Steve Morris. They then use credit cards from the purses to purchase gift cards at stores, Capt. Morris said.

Anyone with information about the suspects is asked to call the sheriff's office at (706) 541-2800.

Contract with master plan designers OK'd

The Augusta Commission approved a contract Tuesday with Shields Design LLC, which is working on a master plan covering parts of the city not included in the downtown plan sponsored by Augusta Tomorrow.

City Administrator Fred Russell said the contract amount is about $500,000, which he planned to take out of the city's capital funds.

Commissioner Jerry Brigham said he would rather use excess sales tax dollars, and he asked Mr. Russell what happened to efforts to find outside funding sources, such as contributions from south Augusta industries and employers. Mr. Russell conceded that needs to be pursued further but said the contract needed to be approved because Shields has already started work and has subcontractors involved. Last month, the commission authorized Mr. Russell to spend up to $100,000 of the $500,000 contract amount for preliminary work.

On a motion from Mr. Brigham, the commission voted 9-1, Joe Bowles opposed, to approve the contract, with instructions to Mr. Russell to look for available local sales tax money and outside funding sources.

Terrorism exercise at fort to create delays

Military and civilian workers should expect more security searches and some delays while traveling into and on Fort Gordon next week as the post conducts its annual anti-terrorism exercise.

According to a news release, those who enter the base for appointments or regular business should avoid them if possible from Monday through June 26.

For more information, call the Installation Operations Center at (706) 791-9747.

Bear still wandering around

A wandering black bear that toured several Columbia County subdivisions Monday was on the move again Tuesday and traveled through several new areas without causing any problems.

The bear was spotted at places including the Columbia County School of Ballet, the woods behind the Earth Fare grocery store on Furys Ferry Road, Jones Creek subdivision and in the vicinity of Lakeside High School, county Emergency Services director Pam Tucker said.

Wildlife authorities say the bear is probably a male weighing about 150 pounds and probably 2 years old. Such bears commonly wander outside their normal habitat range in late spring and early summer in an instinctive search for new companions.

If the bear is left alone, it will continue to move and eventually will leave the area, Mrs. Tucker said.

"Right now it looks like it's moving in the right direction," she said, noting that the bear might be able to cross the Savannah River. "If it could get across the river he'd be in Sumter National Forest," she said.

Anyone seeing the bear should simply leave it alone, she said.

- Rob Pavey, staff writer