Originally created 01/16/97

Area News Briefs



Democratic official to address meeting

The Greater Augusta Democratic Breakfast Club meets from 9-10:30 a.m. Saturday at Picadilly Cafeteria at Regency Mall.

Leon Meyer, head of the Augusta Democratic Party's Political Action Committee, is the guest speaker.

The cost of the breakfast is $6. For details, call Julian Willingham at 736-6530.

NAACP planning annual banquet

The Augusta branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People will hold its 23rd annual Freedom Fund Banquet at 7 p.m. Monday in celebration of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday.

The event will be at Pullman Hall, 560 Walton Way. Former Superior Court Judge Bettianne Childers-Hart will speak on the theme "A New Day Begun."

Tickets are available for $25. For more information, call Mary Way at 869-8854, Nora Pope at 724-4574 or Cassandra Norman at 737-3726 or 821-8361.

Columbia County road to close

Ray Owens Road between Eubanks Drive and Tom Bartles Road in Columbia County will be closed today to replace a drain pipe.

The 1«-mile stretch will be closed from 8:30 a.m. to about 4 p.m. while work crews install an 18-inch reinforced concrete pipe.

In case of bad weather, the road work will be rescheduled for Friday.

Also, the newly-installed traffic signal at Washington Road and Club Car Driveway in Columbia County will begin flashing today at noon to alert drivers to its presence. The signal will continue to flash until Wednesday, when it will begin normal stop-and-go operations.

Voter registration drive planned

A voter registration drive will be held Wednesday from 9:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. in the University Center at Augusta State University, according to the Richmond County Board of Elections.

Bill would fund home-schooling

ATLANTA - Children who receive their schooling at home would be eligible for lottery-funded HOPE college scholarships under bipartisan legislation filed this week.

Reps. Ron Crews, R-Tucker, and Charlie Smith, D-St. Marys, want to extend the lottery-funded scholarships to any student with a B average in a college prep home school curriculum who scores at least 1,000 out of a possible 1,600 on the Scholastic Assessment Test.

Under HOPE, students who maintain a B average in high school can get free college tuition. Home-schooled children were left out because they are graded by their parents. About 12,000 children in Georgia are home-schooled.

Savannah senator to head caucus

ATLANTA - Black lawmakers have re-elected Sen. Diana Harvey Johnson, D-Savannah, to a second two-year term as head of the Legislative Black Caucus.

The second-term senator defeated Rep. Vernon Jones, D-Decatur. Ms. Johnson said the caucus will focus on improving minority contracting business with state government.

"We're as interested in anyone else in the major issues that confront of the state. We're interested in growth, education, welfare reform, technology, to build a bridge to the next century," she said.

Isakson expected to be elected

ATLANTA - The state's new school board got a two-hour orientation Wednesday, plus a warning from the soon-to-be chairman to be prudent with expense accounts.

Former state Sen. Johnny Isakson is expected to be elected chairman today of the new board, which was installed by Gov. Zell Miller last month and charged with the task of halting two years of bickering with Superintendent Linda Schrenko.

The previous board was plagued by a scandal over its expenses, and Mrs. Schrenko was one of its loudest critics.

Expense records in 1995 revealed that board members were charging the state for expensive hotel rooms and dinners at pricey restaurants. They also used an entertainment slush fund to buy cocktails.

Tokars jury selection to begin

LAFAYETTE - Jury selection begins today in the murder trial of former Atlanta attorney Fred Tokars, who is accused of arranging the 1992 slaying of his wife.

The trial was moved from suburban Atlanta's Cobb County, where Sara Tokars was killed, to this northwest Georgia city because of pretrial publicity.

Mr. Tokars is accused of arranging the death of his wife, who was shot in the head in front of her two young boys in November 1992.

Mr. Tokars was convicted in federal court in 1994 on racketeering charges that included arranging his wife's killing. He is serving a sentence of life without parole on the federal charges. Prosecutors say Mr. Tokars had his wife killed because he feared she was about to expose his illicit drug and money-laundering activities.

Brothers charged in teen's death

GREENWOOD - Two McCormick County brothers have been arrested and charged with killing a Greenwood teen-ager whose skeletal remains were found in a rural creek bed last year.

Norris Lights, 40, of Troy was arrested Tuesday afternoon and charged with murder, kidnapping and using a deadly weapon in a violent crime, said Greenwood sheriff's spokesman Dan Wideman.

His brother, Shelton Lights, 39, was arrested Tuesday night and faces the same charges, Mr. Wideman said.

The remains of Danielle Lee Palumbo, 15, were found around Coronaca Creek last March. She had been missing since June 1995, when she walked from her home to an apartment complex in Greenwood.

Investigators believe the girl was shot to death.

- Compiled by Jennifer Goodwin Miller