Originally created 09/30/97

Local and area briefs



Beaulieu plant searched by agents

AIKEN - Federal agents Monday executed a search warrant at Beaulieu of America and Coronet Industries, including its plants in Aiken, northern Georgia and Alabama. Authorities, however, would not say what they were looking for.

A federal agent was seen carrying a box out of the Beaulieu office.

FBI spokesman Jay Spadafore said FBI, Customs, and Internal Revenue Service agents and federal marshals participated in the searches.

"I can't comment on the nature of the investigation or the targets of the searches," Mr. Spadafore said, adding that no arrests were made.

"We are cooperating fully and do not expect this to affect our operations in any way," Beaulieu and Coronet officials said in a prepared statement."Because this matter is subject to investigation, we cannot comment any further at this time."

Beaulieu ranked third among North American carpet and rug manufacturers in 1996 with more than $1 billion in sales, according to estimates by Carpet & Rug industry magazine.

Officials to seek help for SRS

Georgia and South Carolina lawmakers will fly to Washington on Wednesday to plead with House Speaker Newt Gingrich for a tritium accelerator project at Savannah River Site, said state Rep. Robin Williams, R-Augusta.

State lawmakers from both sides of the Savannah River signed off on a joint resolution asking Mr. Gingrich and Congress to forgo a proposed pilot at a commercial reactor and fund an accelerator next year to produce the tritium at SRS. The project would not only provide a needed mission for the plant but could also produce medical radioisotopes and support other research.

The accelerator would "create a whole new atmosphere of academic excellence in the Southeast," the resolution said. Lawmakers from both states will give Mr. Gingrich the resolution, Mr. Williams said.

Watering restriction rescinded

In the wake of a four-day drenching Augusta took from storm clouds last week, the city's Utilities Department has rescinded an odd-even water restriction imposed Sept. 18, officials said.

It was the second such lawn-watering restriction imposed this year - the first, imposed in May, was lifted in June. Last week's rain cut down on demand and replenished the city's raw-water reservoir, said Max Hicks, general superintendent of the waterworks operation.

"It was recovering slowly even before the rain, but now it's back to within six inches of being full," he said Monday.

Two robbery suspects sought

Columbia County authorities are searching for two men who robbed a South Carolina man at gunpoint Monday afternoon.

Kevin Eugene Adkins, 29, of Beech Island told sheriff's investigators he was tied up and robbed by two men inside a vending truck, while parked at television station WFXG (Fox-54), on Washington Road.

Mr. Adkins, a salesman for Burough Vending of Evans, said the two robbers - described only as two black males - held a gun to his head, made him lie down and bound Mr. Adkins' hands and feet with his shoelaces.

The robbers stole Mr. Adkins' wallet and six bags of money from his vending route, and possibly left the scene in a white vehicle, according to witness reports, said Sheriff's Capt. Steve Morris.

Crawford schools to reopen

KNOXVILLE - Crawford County schools were to reopen today after rainy weather in middle Georgia last week made local dirt roads impassable, school officials said Monday.

About 2,300 students who attend the county's elementary, middle and high schools were off Monday, but teachers reported for work.

"(Sunday) morning, the sheriff's department told me 20 roads had been closed," Superintendent Sandra Neal said. "I don't want any kids hurt."

A little more than 3.5 inches of rain have pelted the area since last week, following several weeks of hot, dry weather.

Crawford County has canceled school several times before because the dirt roads that crisscross the county have been washed out. The last time was February, when heavy rains had a similar impact.

Carter's in-law out of hospital

ALBANY - Allie Smith, mother-in-law of former President Jimmy Carter, was released from a hospital Monday after being treated for a heart condition.

Ms. Smith, Rosalynn Carter's mother, entered Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital on Sept. 18.

Sheriff denies liquor-scam charge

SALUDA - A Saluda County sheriff's captain accused of taking money to protect a moonshine operation has denied any involvement in the scheme, a Columbia television station reported.

"The only thing I did was my job as far as the investigation into this illegal liquor operation," Capt. Larry Chapman told television station WIS on Monday.

Wyman Adams on Friday was cleared of moonshining charges against him after testifying the 2,500-gallon still he operated at his seed-cleaning business was set up with Mr. Chapman's encouragement.

Mr. Adams said he paid Mr. Chapman $500 a month for protection, but was arrested when he refused to increase that to $2,000.

Mr. Chapman said he wanted to testify but prosecutors told him to stay out of court.

Sheriff O.D. "Dudley" Rushton has asked for a state or federal investigation.

York County reduces office

YORK - Budget cuts will strike the York County Public Defender's Office this week when the staff gets reduced by three people.

Two secretaries and a receptionist will lose their jobs after the office lost almost $100,000 this year from its budget. It was expected to lose more when the York County Council suggested contracting several private attorneys to replace some of the office attorneys.

2 killed in car accident

MARION Ä Two Philadelphia residents died and four others were injured in a car wreck near here, a Highway Patrol trooper said.

Kevin Rich, 26, and Jordian Rich, 7, were passengers in a car traveling north on U.S. Highway 501 when the accident occurred about 2:25 a.m. Sunday about five miles south of Marion, Coroner Jerry Richardson said.