Originally created 07/12/97

Local and area briefs



Augusta woman receives sentence

A 28-year-old Augusta woman twice charged with beating her young daughter received another prison sentence Friday in Richmond County Superior Court.

Angela M. Overton pleaded guilty to a second charge of beating her then 4-year-old daughter with a belt Feb. 7, 1996, hard enough to leave bruises and swelling.

Chief Judge William M. Fleming Jr. sentenced Ms. Overton to 12 years, to be served simultaneously with a five-year prison sentence she received Feb. 3 for her first cruelty to children conviction.

In that case, Ms. Overton was convicted of beating her daughter on April 20, 1993.

She had signed the paperwork to enter a guilty plea in that case about two weeks after her arrest in connection with the February 1996 assault on her child.

Library yard sale set

Augusta library employees are trying a new way to spruce up the place: Yard sales.

The first such sale starts at 9 a.m. today and ends at noon at the Maxwell Branch Library at 1927 Lumpkin Road.

For sale will be typewriters, office equipment, a cash register, shelves, records, chairs and other furniture, lamps, hot water heaters and other items.

Everything except what you'd expect to find at a library-run yard sale - books.

Memorial moving to fort

A small Vietnam War memorial, on display for almost a decade near Broad Street's Lamar Building, is being moved to Fort Gordon.

According to developer Bryan Haltermann, owner of the property, several veterans groups had expressed interest in moving the memorial.

Improvements slated to begin

Work is scheduled to begin Monday to improve public access to the Augusta Canal at Eisenhower Park, said Glenn Coyne, the canal authority's executive director.

The project, to be completed by city workers and equipment, will cost about $30,000, mostly for materials.

The work includes paving, signs in neighborhoods directing people to Eisenhower, lighting and trees.

Improved public access at Eisenhower Park will enable the closure of another access at nearby Riverlook Drive, a cul-de-sac where parking is sparse and complaints from neighbors have stirred controversy.

Community input is sought

The Columbia County Sheriff's Office will begin seeking community input next week on how to best use an anticipated $25,000 U.S. Department of Justice grant to be awarded later this year, sheriff's Deputy Bruce Nelson said Friday.

The money - to be awarded through the Local Law Enforcement Block Grant Program - is designated for use in community crime prevention programs and could be made available by Oct. 1, Deputy Nelson said.

The sheriff's office will begin Monday to assemble a citizen's advisory board to solicit community input on spending the grant money.

Deputy Nelson said one of the most likely uses would be to purchase equipment for the county D.A.R.E and neighborhood watch programs.

Out-of-court settlement set

ATLANTA -The city of Atlanta has agreed to an out-of-court settlement in the death of a park volunteer crushed by a runaway city dump truck.

At the urging of the city Law Department, the City Council has approved a $500,000 settlement for the survivors of Barbara Starr, 46, of Norcross, who died at Adams Park in 1993 while planting ferns with other volunteers.

The driverless dump truck, which had been parked by a city employee who left the vehicle unattended, instantly killed her.

Her husband, John Starr, who was working nearby, was seriously injured.

He spent 21/2 months in the hospital and had to learn how to walk again.

State beefing up patrols

GAINESVILLE -The state is beefing up patrols on Lake Lanier in the wake of three drownings over the Fourth of July weekend.

The Department of Natural Resources will increase its number of boat patrols on the lake from six to 10 on busy weekends and holidays.

Besides the three drownings at Lake Lanier last weekend, there were seven boating accidents and 12 arrests for boating under the influence.

Driver had poor record

GREENVILLE Ä The driver of a truck that careened down an embankment last July, crashed into a Japanese restaurant and killed three men had a poor driving record and his employers should have known that, four federal lawsuits allege.

The suits say John Kowats' record included a conviction for driving under the influence and that alcohol abuse diminished his ability to drive the truck.

In addition, the brakes were not in good condition, and Mr. Kowats was speeding and fell asleep at the wheel, the suits say.

The three victims were Hitachi employees from Japan.

Four other people, including a 9-year-old girl, were injured when the truck veered off southbound Interstate 85 and smashed through the restaurant.

The suits name Mr. Kowats, who lives in Connecticut, and his employers: Wheaton Van Lines Inc. and Rite-Way Moving Services.

They were filed for Noriyuki Kozeki and Naoyuki Hoshi, who died, and for Mitsuhiro Kato and Akio Okumara, who were severely injured.

Deputies jail store clerk

SPARTANBURG Ä Deputies jailed a 61-year-old convenience store clerk after he shot and wounded a suspected shoplifter.

Roy Elrod of Duncan went after 18-year-old Deneal Tyshaun Penson with a .22-caliber pistol Thursday after Mr. Penson allegedly grabbed a 12-pack of beer and ran out the door.

Mr. Elrod yelled for the man to stop, fired a shot in the air, then shot Mr. Penson in the back of his right calf.

Mr. Penson was charged with shoplifting and possessing beer as a minor.

He was released on $1,400 bond.

The clerk was charged with aggravated assault and battery and released on $10,000 bond.

- Compiled by Mike Hill