Across the area

The First Citizens Bank on Walton Way Extension was robbed just before noon Friday. The robber is described as a white man, about 20 to 25 years old, 5-feet, 9-inches tall and weighing between 160 and 180 pounds, according to a Richmond County sheriff's press release. Anyone with information on the robber's identity can call the sheriff's office at (706) 821-1080 or (706) 821-1020.

Aiken most-wanted arrested in California

One of Aiken County's most wanted was arrested in California earlier this week.

On Monday, the Hesperia Police Department arrested and charged Maurice Lamont Council, 19, of Carriage Hills Place, Aiken, with murder, assault and battery with the intent to kill and possession of a firearm during a violent crime, Aiken County sheriff's Sgt. Dave Myers said in a news release.

Investigators believe Council fatally shot a juvenile, who was not named, and wounded Sammie Smith, 33, of Aiken.

Council is being held at the San Bernardino County Detention Center pending extradition.

Registration for exam course set for Monday

A free online remediation course designed to help high school students pass the science and social studies portion of the Georgia High School Graduation Test was announced Friday by Superintendent of Schools Kathy Cox.

Registration for the courses is set to begin Monday.

The program, called Exam Preparation for Science and Social Studies, was offered last summer and produced positive results, according to Cox's office.

Students can create a registration account using their Georgia Testing Identifier number. Instructions for creating that account and locating the identifier number can be found at: www.georgiastandards.org/Resources/Pages/Tools/ExPreSS.aspx

The program is scheduled for June 14-25.

Energy Department to hold meeting March 4

The U.S. Energy Department will hold a scoping meeting at 5:30 p.m. March 4 to discuss its plan to build a national repository for thousands of tons of unwanted mercury.

The meeting, to be held at the North Augusta Municipal Center, is to discuss a draft Environmental Impact Statement in which seven sites -- including Savannah River Site -- were evaluated for the project.

The department plans to build and open the storage facility by Jan. 1, 2013.

Public hearing on overlay postponed

The Aiken Planning Commission voted to postpone a public hearing on an increasingly unpopular Highway Overlay District Ordinance.

In a meeting Thursday, commissioners listened to concerns about the proposed ordinance, which would set design for about 1,000 businesses, including commercial and office buildings, multifamily residential buildings and new businesses. For 10 months, the planning commission and design and review board worked to develop the ordinance to improve the look of Aiken's major thoroughfares, said Aiken City Planning Director Ed Evans. The public hearing had been planned for Feb. 9.

The move to postpone the public hearing stemmed from the Greater Aiken Chamber of Commerce's decision to withdraw its support for the proposed ordinance last week. President David Jameson said the requirements would be a strain on small business owners.

The design and review board will also vote on whether to postpone its public hearing, scheduled for March 7. The board's meeting begins at 6:30 Tuesday at Aiken City Hall, 214 Park Ave. S.W.

Police say woman hit daughter's head

Richmond County authorities arrested an Augusta woman Friday on a charge of first-degree child abuse after she allegedly struck her daughter in the head several times.

Ameerah Ruquyyah Ali, 29, of the 1900 block of Battle Row, was arrested about 1:30 p.m. after an incident last week, according to Richmond County jail records.

The child had several bumps, bruises and an abrasion on her head from the Jan. 20 incident, a Richmond County sheriff's report says.

The girl was taken to the Medical College of Georgia Hospital, where staff told investigators she did not require further medical attention but that her injuries were consistent with child abuse, the report says.

Ali was also taken to MCG for a mental evaluation.

First Citizens Bank robbed

The First Citizens Bank on Walton Way Extension was robbed just before noon Friday. The robber is described as a white man, about 20 to 25 years old, 5-feet, 9-inches tall and weighing between 160 and 180 pounds, according to a Richmond County sheriff's press release. Anyone with information on the robber's identity can call the sheriff's office at (706) 821-1080 or (706) 821-1020.