Originally created 09/17/97

Local and area briefs



Temporary ban on water usage

Augusta water officials have placed a temporary ban on all non-essential water use.

Water customers are being asked not to use water unless absolutely necessary for the next two days to avert a potential water shortage, said Max Hicks, Augusta-Richmond County utilities director.

A 36-inch water line from the Savannah River has been shut down so workers can repair a leak around a valve in the line off Eisenhower Drive, Mr. Hicks said. He expects the repair to be complete by late today.

Residents should not water lawns or wash vehicles until the line is back in use, Mr. Hicks said.

Current water use in Augusta-Richmond County is about 28 million gallons a day.

Child murderer denied parole

David Roy Wesley, who is serving a life sentence for the beating death of his roommate's 17-month-old child, was denied parole by the Augusta State Board of Pardon's and Parole.

The infant died in September 1990, after Wesley beat her because she would not stop crying. The parole board denied Wesley's request due to the circumstances of the defense, said chairman Walter Ray in a statement.

"This little girl was killed simply because she annoyed an adult," he said. "It was a sad reminder of how many children are in continuous danger of serious harm or death in their own homes."

Mr. Wesley will be up for consideration for parole again in September 2005.

Murder convictions upheld

The Georgia Supreme Court upheld the murder convictions of two Richmond County men.

In opinions released Monday, the state's highest court affirmed the convictions of Dwight Eugene Combs and Dewey Anthony Sims, finding both men were fairly tried and convicted in Richmond County Superior Court.

Mr. Combs was convicted of murdering Willie James Lambert, 58, and Teresa Burton, 28, on May 17, 1994. Both were shot to death in what police believed was a robbery at Mr. Lambert's James Brown Boulevard home.

Mr. Sims was convicted of murdering Shelley Griffin Jr., 22, on Jan. 26, 1996. Mr. Sims, his brother Leroy Sims and Terry G. Tolbert argued with Mr. Griffin who was shot to death on Mauge Street. Leroy Sims and Mr. Tolbert were also convicted of murder in Mr. Griffin's death.

Main Street Awards given

A rehabilitated downtown Augusta commercial building and a downtown walking tour brochure were the recipients of the 1997 Georgia Main Street Awards.

At the annual meeting in Thomasville, the Georgia Main Street program will recognize Bryan M. Haltermann of Haltermann Partners Inc. for the historically sensitive rehabilitation of 1028-1036 Broad St.

The Augusta Metropolitan Convention and Visitors Bureau, Main Street Augusta, Historic Augusta, Inc. and the Cotton Exchange Welcome Center will also receive an award for their collaborative on a walking tour and brochure entitled Discover Augusta's Art and Architecture.

The brochure highlights 48 sites, lists 30 eateries and includes a fold-out map.

Two arrested in robbery

Harlem police have arrested two men believed to be involved in an Aug. 12 robbery of the Jet Food Store, Highway 278 in Harlem.

Purvis Williams, 17, of Ansley Circle, and Tarric Moment, 19, of Lamkin Road, both of Harlem, were taken into custody Monday and charged with armed robbery, said Harlem Police Chief Johnny Beard.

Police believe these are the same men who entered the Jet Food Store around 1 a.m. wearing stocking masks and demanding money.

On a video surveillance tape, one man was seen brandishing a pistol and banging on the cash register, Chief Beard said.

State leaders get pay raise

COLUMBIA - Leaders of South Carolina's state agencies will get an average 2.48 percent salary increase in October under guidelines adopted by the state Budget and Control Board.

The pay raises approved Tuesday were slightly below what state employees got earlier this year. The state Legislature gave state employees a 2.5 percent pay increase.

The raises go as high as 4 percent for heads of 15 state agencies. University of South Carolina President John Palms, who got a 4 percent pay raise, makes the most money among agency heads at $168,408.

Lightning strike kills hunter

FLORENCE - A lightning strike killed a 48-year-old hunter this weekend, Florence County Coroner M.G. "Bubba" Matthews said.

Samuel D. Cribb of Florence was pronounced dead Sunday evening after emergency room staff at Carolinas Hospital System tried to revive him.

Cribb was hunting with a friend off South Carolina Highway 327 near the Darlington County line when a storm moved through the area.

Lightning apparently struck a tree he was touching, Matthews said. Cribb may have been climbing down from a hunting stand, he said.

Agency vetoes sandbag idea

CHARLESTON - Isle of Palms property owners who want to put three-ton sandbags on an eroding beach have lost the first round of a fight with the state Bureau of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management.

An administrative law judge ruled the agency has authority over the beach in question, even though some of the property is landward of a state setback line that regulates oceanfront construction.

The 55-unit Summer House condominium and three other property owners asked for permission to install the heavy bags. Ocean and Coastal Resource Management turned them down, saying the bags would act like a sea wall and cause the beach to wear away in front of them.

Search continues for pilot

CHERRY POINT, N.C. - Rescue crews continued to search Pamlico Sound Tuesday for the pilot of a South Carolina-based fighter jet that crashed into shallow waters during a nighttime training mission.

Marine officials said the body of Capt. Stephen S. McDonald, 30, of Sugar Land, Texas, was found about 5 a.m. Tuesday. McDonald was the weapons and sensor officer aboard the FA-18D Hornet, part of Beaufort, S.C.-based Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 224.

The pilot, Capt. Brian Smith, 28, of Nashville, Tenn., was still missing late Tuesday, said a Marine spokeswoman.