Across the Area

School district to have shortfall of $5 million


The Aiken County school district is looking at almost a $5 million shortfall for next year's budget, according to early figures given to board members Tuesday.

Comptroller Tray Traxler prefaced the district's first budget workshop by noting that 50 percent of the district's revenue comes from the state and there are no definite numbers on teacher salaries or per-pupil costs yet.

Revenue is expected to decrease about $7.4 million to $145.1 million. With teacher salaries and benefits expected to increase based on required raises for years of service, the district expects about a $4.6 million shortfall. The state has also said pre-pupil costs will decrease to $1,625, down from $1,765 this year.

Traxler will present a preliminary budget April 22 and hopes to have more details about state revenue projections by then.

Man is arrested in afternoon shooting

Authorities have arrested a man in connection with a shooting about 4:30 p.m. Tuesday in the 2900 block of Shelby Drive.

Alexander Howard II, 28, of the 2800 block of Ann Street, is charged with aggravated assault, possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime and possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, according to Richmond County jail records.

Investigator Sean Cochran said the victim, who was shot at least twice, was in surgery Tuesday night. Investigators were trying to determine the motive.

Man who struck dump truck charged with DUI

A Grovetown man was charged with DUI after a collision near North Augusta on Tuesday morning.

South Carolina Highway Patrol charged Kristopher Ray, 36, with driving under the influence after his 1998 Ford van rear-ended a dump truck on Interstate 20 near North Augusta about 9:45 a.m., said Trooper Judd Jones.

Ray was injured in the crash and was taken to the Medical College of Georgia Hospital, Jones said. He was listed in serious condition Tuesday night, hospital spokeswoman Denise Parrish said.

The driver of the dump truck was not injured.

After register won't open, man takes beer

Richmond County sheriff's deputies are looking for a man who tried to rob a grocery store Tuesday.

The man entered the Food Lion at 3722 Mike Padgett Highway about 6:20 a.m. and picked up a case of beer, according to sheriff's Sgt. Calvin Chew.

The man brought the beer to the clerk, then passed a note demanding money. When the clerk couldn't get the register open, the man walked behind her and pointed a hard object into her back, Chew said.

The woman, who never saw a gun, still couldn't open the register. The robber then grabbed the beer and ran from the store.

Video of child leads to charges for his mother

Authorities arrested an Augusta mother after a video was found on her nephew's cell phone showing her naked 2-year-old son erotically playing with a stuffed bear.

The discovery was made after officers from the Richmond County Board of Education seized the Hephzibah High School teen's phone Monday as part of a separate investigation, according to Richmond County sheriff's Lt. Calvin Chew.

On the phone they discovered a short video showing the child playing with a stuffed animal, Chew said.

Both the mother and the teen can be heard encouraging the child to simulate sexual acts.

Investigators have charged the teen and the mother with felony sexual exploitation of a minor.

Man is arrested after taking woman's cash

An Augusta man was arrested Monday on sexual battery charges after he forced a 75-year-old woman to the floor and rummaged through her underwear for money.

James Andrew Deas Jr., 50, of 1942 Starnes St., is charged with robbery and sexual battery, according to a Richmond County sheriff's report.

The victim said Deas forced her onto the floor and put his hands in her bra and panties, the report said.

After he found $40 in her pocket he left her alone.