Originally created 11/13/97

Additional area news



Company to make war on cable theft

Jones Intercable is cracking down on residents who obtain cable TV illegally with door-to-door audits and advanced technology, officials said Wednesday.

For a year, the company has knocked on doors to find out if residents are getting cable television for which they do not pay, said Vic Scarborough, marketing manager.

"It's just like stealing and we will take legal action," Mr. Scarborough said. Cable theft is a state offense which carries a $1,000 fine and a year in jail. It's also a federal crime which carries a six-month jail sentence and up to $100,000 in fines, he said.

At a news conference Wednesday, Jones officials demonstrated new technology in which cable trucks with sensory alarms will pick up "leaks," or sites in neighborhoods where cable is illegally programmed.

But for residents who are receiving illegal cable and want to become paying customers, they can order cable and they won't be prosecuted, Mr. Scarborough said.

Aiken County bridge reopened

WARRENVILLE -- The bridge at the foot of Howlandville Road connecting Warrenville and Graniteville is open, according to Al Barwick, Aiken County engineer.

The heavily traveled thoroughfare had been closed since May, much to the dismay of local merchants who complained of loss of business when traffic was detoured away.

Mr. Barwick said the bridge was completed 24 days behind schedule and would result in a fine of $400 a day against the main contractor, Carolina Bridge Co.

"I don't know whether the prime contractor will bear the whole expense because he subcontracted it out, but that's his responsibility," Mr. Barwick said.

It was scheduled for an Oct. 9 finish.

Meeting to discuss school funds

Members of the Columbia County Board of Education will meet with local legislators today to discuss education-funding priorities for the upcoming General Assembly session.

The meeting, which is open to the public, is set for 6 p.m. at Bel Air Elementary.

School officials are expected to lobby for increased funding for instructional materials, like textbooks and supplies, and point out budget shortfalls caused by the further loss of motor vehicle taxes.

Also on the wish list, school officials want new playground equipment for Bel Air, Euchee Creek and Greenbrier elementaries, costing $10,000 to $15,000 for each school.

"We can't pay for those with taxpayer money," said Superintendent Tom Dohrmann. "Hopefully, a legislator can procure those funds."

Disaster drill scheduled

Emergency response authorities will hold an 8:30 a.m. disaster drill today at Bush Field airport using the mock scenario of a plane crash involving a military transport with 225 people aboard.

The scenario involves "victims" -- who will have make up applied to simulate injuries -- transported from theoretical flood zones in Georgia, Alabama and Florida, said Richmond County Emergency Management Agency Director Pam Tucker.

The event is part of the Full Scale Disaster Preparedness exercise, with about 1,200 people from 27 local law enforcement, medical and emergency management agencies.

The exercise seeks to test the community's preparedness and response capabilities.

Strengths and weaknesses will be discussed at a follow-up meeting Nov. 20.

School graduation test offered

Richmond County students who need to pass the Georgia high school graduation test have another chance to do so next week.

The test, required for obtaining a highschool diploma, will be offered again each day from Monday to Nov. 21. The next chance to take it will be in March.

Students who have failed the test once or are new to Georgia or the Augusta school system may take the test next week.

Anyone who graduated with a certificate of attendance instead of a diploma may also retake the test.

Students will take the test at their regular schools. Anyone already out of the system should call the counselors at their former schools to sign up for the test.

Each day, students will take a different portion of the test, covering math, science, social studies and language arts. Writing will not be offered next week.

Individual schools can notify students which portions will be offered which days.

Teacher accused of false charge

ROSSVILLE -- Authorities arrested a substitute teacher who claimed to have suffered a satanic attack in a classroom Wednesday and charged her with falsely reporting a crime.

Walker County Sheriff Steve Wilson said investigators were able to show that Teena Denise McCurdy was creating a hoax.

Ms. McCurdy, 42, claimed a young man, who was wearing a mesh glove with satanic symbols on it attacked her from behind with a box cutter in a classroom at Ridgeland High School as school was starting, said Donald Swafford, the principal.

Investigators broke down Ms. McCurdy's story after discrediting her claims with film from hallway monitoring cameras, which didn't show any student entering the classroom, Sheriff Wilson said.

Double-murder suspect arrested

GRIFFIN -- The man accused of gunning down his live-in girlfriend and her father in a Griffin hospital emergency room surrendered Wednesday after authorities surrounded him at a house in south Atlanta.

Areguss Anton Clark, 20, of East Point, was arrested at about 3 a.m. Wednesday in Atlanta by the Atlanta SWAT team, said Griffin Police spokesman James Landham.