Across the area

N. Augusta sewer rate to increase in July

 

North Augusta residents will be paying more for sewer service starting July 1.

City council approved on final reading Monday an increase that will raise the average residential bill $1.05 a month. The change was necessitated by an increase in rates charged by the Aiken County Public Sewer Authority.

Mother left five kids home alone Sunday

Deputies were called to a Hephzibah home Sunday where they found five unattended children under 10 years old, according to an incident report.

The children told officers their mother, 29-year-old Naomi Coppinger, and George Butler Jr., 26, were arguing before they drove away from the home in the 4500 block of Greystone Drive. When the children realized they were alone, they went across the street to a neighbor's home for help.

One hour and 20 minutes later, the mother returned and told police she believed the children were asleep when she and Butler left, police said.

Coppinger was not charged, but the children were left in the custody of their grandmother, police said.

Police say teen shot man during drug deal

Authorities have a 16-year-old in custody, charged with shooting a man during a drug deal June 10, according to Sgt. Blaine Dresser of the Richmond County Sheriff's Office.

Police say Derell Demarcus Little robbed and shot 22-year-old Glen Lamar Belcher in the leg on Bahama Drive. Belcher told officers he was attempting to buy marijuana at the time of the incident. The teen will be charged as an adult with armed robbery, police said.

Aiken school board to approve budget tonight

The Aiken County school board will approve the final version of its $149.8 million budget for next year during tonight's meeting.

The budget is about $2.5 million less than the 2009-10 budget but does not include any furloughs. Salary increases for years of experience for teachers were also cut.

The school board is expected to name an Area 2 assistant superintendent. Rosie Berry, the current assistant superintendent, retired this year.

The 7 p.m. meeting will be at 1000 Brookhaven Drive in Aiken.

Augusta Prep offers reward for information

Officials of an Augusta private school are offering a reward for information about a weekend vandalism.

Someone likely used an unlatched door to get inside the middle school building of Augusta Preparatory Day School at 285 Flowing Wells Road, said Rebecca Blair, the school's chief financial officer.

"We had vandalism to the middle school and fire extinguishers were dispersed into a majority of the classrooms and were especially focused on computers," Blair said. "Paint was thrown on an American flag in a teacher's classroom. It was a gift from a soldier in Iraq."

School officials believe the vandalism occurred Sunday because some of the red paint on the flag and floor was still wet when police arrived Monday.

Anyone with information about the incident should call the Columbia County Sheriff's Office at (706) 541-1044.

Man, 44, charged with breaking into vehicles

An Augusta man was arrested late Sunday after authorities say he returned a second time to take items from the Richmond County school system's Maintenance and Facilities shop on 15th Street.

Bobby Dean Johnson, 44, was charged with six counts of entering an auto, school safety Lt. Richard Roundtree said. He said authorities believe Johnson, who was already wanted on a felony probation warrant, also was involved in thefts at the facilities department last month.

Roundtree said school officials received a report of an alarm sounding at 11:05 p.m. Sunday. Officials then accessed a camera system that provided live remote video showing a man there breaking into vehicles, Roundtree said. Richmond County deputies made the arrest.

Governor hopefuls to attend forum Thursday

At least six candidates for Georgia's upcoming governor's race will gather Thursday at Savannah Rapids Pavilion to field questions on water, energy and the environment.

The forum, to be held from 7 to 8:30 p.m., was organized by the Georgia River Network and the Georgia Water Coalition as part of the group's annual Paddle Georgia canoe trip, which began in Franklin Springs, Ga., last week and will end Friday night in Augusta.

Scheduled to participate in Thursday's gubernatorial forum are Republican candidates Jeff Chapman and Nathan Deal and Democrats Thurbert Baker, Carl Camon, DuBose Porter and David Poythress.

Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. More information is available at www.garivers.org.