Originally created 09/05/97

Local and regional news briefs



Two drug dealers sentenced to life

AIKEN -- Two men found guilty of being major dealers in crack cocaine in January were sentenced to life in prison Thursday in U.S. District Court in Aiken.

Elmore Moncrieft, 50, of Bamberg County, and Albert Shaw Nelson Jr., 39, of Florida, each received life sentences from U.S. District Judge Charles Simons Jr.

A third man, Nathaniel "Golly" Govan, 43, who pleaded guilty to drug charges, was sentenced to 108 months in federal prison.

According to trial testimony, Mr. Moncrieft bought land in Bamberg County, including a home commonly referred to as "The Compound" or "The Ranch." Federal prosecutors said Mr. Moncrieft got drugs from Mr. Nelson and distributed them from his Bamberg County home.

Judge Simons ordered Mr. Moncrieft to forfeit the home and $1.5 million in drug profits.

The three men were the last defendants in a major drug investigation that brought 50 convictions of drug dealers operating between Miami and the Orangeburg/Bamberg areas of South Carolina, federal prosecutors said.

Airport panel awaits response

Bush Field Aviation Commission will wait for a response from the Federal Aviation Administration before taking any action on a proposed cash offer from city officials to settle a 2-year-old financial dispute.

The airport commission met in a closed session Thursday with city attorney Jim Wall to discuss the settlement outlined in a Wednesday letter from Mayor Larry Sconyers to Dell Jernigan of the FAA-Atlanta Airports District office.

"We all want to resolve this as quickly as possible," commission Chairman Ed Skinner said.

Preliminary findings from the FAA inspector general's office found that more than $2 million was diverted from Bush Field to city coffers during the government's financial crisis in 1995.

Evans man guilty in fatal crash

An Evans man pleaded guilty Thursday to vehicular homicide in the first degree and driving under the influence and received a 10-year probationary sentence.

Family members of Russell I. Rosenkrantz, 19, asked Superior Court Judge J. Carlisle Overstreet not to send Jeffery A. Dow, 18, to prison. Mr. Dow was driving a Jeep Cherokee east on Washington Road on April 20 when he lost control of the vehicle. Mr. Rosenkrantz, a passenger, was fatally injured in the crash. The two young men were close friends.

Mr. Dow, who had a blood-alcohol level of 0.11, was fined $500 on the DUI conviction and ordered to pay $6,000 in restitution to Mr. Rosenkrantz's family for the funeral expenses.

SRS saved money by recycling

Savannah River Site saved more than $5.5 million in 1996 by cleaning and recycling tools and equipment that historically were discarded and by figuring out other innovative ways to prevent environmental pollution.

The South Carolina nuclear plant was honored in Atlanta last week with four Department of Energy awards for its efforts - more awards than any other department facility received.

One award was for SRS' decision to recycle small tools, protective huts and glove boxes used to work with radioactive materials. In the past, such equipment was thrown out, adding to the plant's large inventory of low-level radioactive garbage.

Man killed, four hurt at club

SWAINSBORO -- An Emanuel County man was killed and four others injured Wednesday outside a Swainsboro nightclub, officials said.

Jack Reality Green, 45, was shot twice in the back with a small-caliber weapon about 11 p.m. while standing in a crowd outside the Bama Club on Harris Street, said Swainsboro Police Chief Johnny Shuman. Mr. Green was pronounced dead at the scene.

Vincent Green, in his mid-20s, also was shot twice in the back but survived after surgery at Emanuel Medical Centers. He was listed in satisfactory condition Thursday.

Three others were hurt and treated at the hospital, Chief Shuman said.

Belongings hit by train

A Texas family didn't get a delivery this week as expected after the moving truck carrying their furniture and belongings ran into a snag: a moving train.

The American International Movers driver pulled into Augusta to rest for the night, hauling three loads in the trailer, said Manager Frank Allen. As he was crossing railroad tracks on Nixon Road in south Augusta about 1:30 a.m. Wednesday, the trailer got hung up on the elevated tracks.

About 15 minutes later, a train passed through, and "nobody can stop a train," Mr. Allen said.

The driver got out of the way in plenty of time, but the train plowed through the trailer, destroying one of the three loads in the truck, said Norfolk Southern Superintendent Don Devlin.

Mr. Allen said the family's belongings were insured.

Petting zoo to be held Sunday

Children can enjoy the Musical Petting Zoo from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday at Pendleton King Park.

The event, sponsored by Friends of the Symphony, benefits the Augusta Symphony Orchestra.

ValuJet load has dropped

ATLANTA -- ValuJet Airlines said Thursday its passenger load dropped slightly in August, when 57 percent of its seats were filled.

In July, the embattled airline reported filling 58.5 percent of seats on its flights.

Customers have been slow to return to ValuJet since the May 11, 1996, crash in the Florida Everglades that killed all 110 people aboard.

On Wednesday, ValuJet discontinued service to Charlotte, N.C., Louisville, Ky., and Columbus, Ohio, because of lower business.

The Atlanta-based carrier now operates 176 flights a day to 21 cities.

TV banned from slaying trial

DECATUR -- Live television will not be allowed when a new trial is held this month for a man accused of killing his infant stepson in 1971 and framing the baby's 2-year-old half sister.

Jan Barry Sandlin will be retried for murder Sept. 22, nearly 26 years after the death of 4-month-old Matthew Golder in DeKalb County.

Superior Court Judge Hilton Fuller declared a mistrial in the case July 14 after the half sister, Tracy Rhame, admitted she watched television coverage of her mother, Kathie Almon, testifying, in violation of court witness rules.

Freshmen drop from Citadel

CHARLESTON -- Classes have begun at The Citadel with 44 fewer freshmen than started training a week earlier, including two fewer women.

The school said Wednesday -- the first day of fall classes -- that 515 first-year cadets remained, including 18 women.

The 7.9 percent dropout rate at the military college, which is in its second year of voluntarily admitting women, is higher than Citadel officials had hoped for but is comparable to the rate in some previous years.