Only a few show up for smoking hearing
Only a handful of citizens and restaurateurs turned out at Monday's public hearing at the Bessie Thomas Community Center to oppose a proposal that would limit smoking in Columbia County restaurants.
The proposal by the county's board of heath would require restaurants seating 35 or more people to set aside 75 percent of seating capacity as non-smoking.
Grovetown Mayor Dennis Trudeau, who is also chairman of the board of health, said the proposal is to protect employees and customers from the dangers of second-hand smoke.
However, Dell Gray, an employee of at the Huddle House on Belair Road, said that limiting smoking would hurt her business, where, she says, smokers make up a majority of customers.
Officials, though, said the lack of turnout at Monday's hearing proved there is little opposition to limiting smoking in restaurants.
A second hearing to discuss the issue is scheduled for Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the Evans Government Complex Auditorium.
Lake adds new areas for access, parking
New informal access and parking areas along Thurmond Lake opened recently for hunters, fishermen and outdoor enthusiasts.
The areas are designed to offer parking near some of the larger public tracts along the 70,000acre lake, including wildlife management areas. Dirt roads for use by bicyclists, horseback riders and hikers extend beyond the parking areas, but motorized vehicles are not allowed.
The sites are located at Ridge Road West in Columbia County; Shriver Creek, Cherokee Creek, and adjacent to the former Augusta College recreation area in Lincoln County; and Catfish Creek, Dordon Creek, Parksville North and near U.S. Highways 221 and 28 in McCormick County, S.C.
For more information, contact the Corps of Engineers at 1-800-533-3478, ext. 1131
Aiken public safety gets new motto
The Aiken Department of Public Safety has a new motto that will soon be displayed on all patrol cars and fire trucks.
The motto, "Dedicated to the Community," reflects new wording, approved in 1996, to the department's mission statement.
In a departmentwide contest, employees voted on the best motto. The contest winners, records technician Sherry Scott and officer Mike Hunt, will get a trip to a police or fire conference this year.
The new mission statement states that public safety is "committed to providing professional services in partnership with the community through dedicated efforts and innovative programs while maintaining human dignity and individual rights of our citizens."
Food bank to celebrate anniversary
The Golden Harvest Food Bank of Aiken is scheduled to celebrate its 15th anniversary today with an open house and dedication of its permanent distribution facility in Aiken.
The event is slated for 4 to 6 p.m. A brief dedication ceremony is scheduled for 5 p.m.
The agency opened a small branch operation on Vaucluse Road in Aiken five years ago. Last year, it distributed more than 500,000 pounds of grocery products.
Golden Harvest held a money-raising campaign last year to purchase its new building on Enterprise Avenue, as well as make major improvements to the interior and purchase food handling equipment.
High schools invite incoming parents
A number of meetings will be held at Columbia County high schools to allow parents of eighthgraders to visit the facilities and meet with teachers and counselors before students register for the ninth grade.
School officials will discuss high school curriculum, graduation requirements and the school system's Tech Prep program, which prepares students for high-skilled technical jobs while earning credits toward an associate technical degree at a two-year college or technical institute.
Teachers and counselors also will answer any questions parents may have.
The meetings will be held at the following locations:
Emergency crews plan tornado drill
Local emergency officials will participate Wednesday in the Georgia Emergency Management Agency's annual tornado drill held in conjunction with Severe Weather Awareness Week.
Locally, programs by the Augusta-Richmond County Emergency Management Agency will include drills to test emergency preparedness in area schools, businesses and government offices.
Educators prepare for conference
About 600 educators from Georgia and South Carolina are expected Saturday for the Early Childhood Development Conference at Augusta Technical Institute.
Workshops will cover topics from music and discipline to preventing illness and using nursery rhymes to teach cooking. For more information, call Betsy Bouwhuizen, Child Development Department Head, at (706) 771-4086.
County to close Vaughn Road
Vaughn Road in Columbia County will close Saturday to through traffic for about three weeks as part of construction to Fury's Ferry and Baston roads.
Crews will widen the intersection at Fury's Ferry, Baston and Vaughn roads, as well as align Baston and Vaughn roads.
Traffic will be re-routed along Parliament Road during the construction.
Priest to head St. Patrick's Parade
SAVANNAH - Monsignor Daniel J. Bourke, an 87-year-old retired priest revered in Savannah's Catholic community, will be the grand marshal of the 173rd St. Patrick's Day parade.
Monsignor Bourke is the second clergyman to lead Savannah's parade. The late Monsignor T. James McNamara served as marshal in 1967.
"I'm very, very happy," Monsignor Bourke said after his selection Sunday by the St. Patrick's Day Parade Committee. "I don't pretend to deserve it, but I'm glad I got it."
He said he plans to walk, not ride, in the March 17 parade.
A native of Birr, County Offaly, Ireland, he has lived in Savannah since 1934.
Two stings net 340 illegal aliens
RINGGOLD - Authorities arrested 340 illegal aliens in northwest Georgia in two separate stings that ended Monday.
Immigration and Naturalization Service agents from Atlanta and U.S. Border Patrol agents from Miami rounded up 303 workers over the weekend in the Ringgold area, south of Chattanooga, Tenn.
Most of them were in vehicles intercepted along Interstate 75, the INS said. Authorities stopped 17 vehicles attempting to smuggle illegal workers into the Southeastern states, especially Georgia and Florida.
Tony Campos, assistant district director of the INS, said the workers were crammed into vans, had very little fresh clothing and had not eaten since leaving Texas about 18 hours earlier.
The workers were from Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador.
On Monday, agents arrested 37 more illegal workers during another crackdown in Marietta, said INS District Director Thomas P. Fischer.
Most of the illegal workers were deported after processing.
Burned body found in forest
KINGSBURG - The discovery of a badly-burned body in some woods is being investigated by Florence County authorities.
The man's body was found in a wood thicket by firefighters called to a blaze about 11 p.m. Sunday, Coroner M.G. "Bubba" Matthews said.
A passing motorist spotted the fire.
The body was sent to the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston for an autopsy.
The body appeared to be that of a black man about 20 years old, Mr. Matthews said.
Gunshot victim dies after car chase
COLUMBIA - A Columbia man who was shot at an area nightclub died after rescue workers pulled him from a wrecked car in cardiac arrest, a Richland County Emergency Services spokesman says.
Paramedics were called to the Purple Rain Club about 3 a.m. Monday, but 22-year-old Joe Eady left before they arrived, emergency services spokesman George Rice said.
Police soon reported they were chasing a car containing Mr. Eady, Mr. Rice said. The driver ran away after the car went into a ditch, he said.
Mr. Eady died at Richland Memorial Hospital.
- Compiled by Mike Hill