Originally created 01/18/98

Local and area briefs



Report upcoming about Aiken Tech

AIKEN -- Kathleen Noble, president of Aiken Technical College, will present the college's 1997 annual report during a reception from 2 to 4 p.m. today at Woodside Plantation.

This year's report will focus on growth in academic programs, continuing education programs, student enrollment, financial aid awards, college resources and community and political support.

Dr. Noble is expected to spotlight last year's 18 percent enrollment increase, as well as the success of 12 recently established certificate and diploma programs.

Also included in the report will be the progress of the new Information Technology Center, made possible through a South Carolina Capital Improvement Bond.

Aiken Tech received $4.3 million for construction of that facility.

Lummus moving to Savannah

SAVANNAH -- Lummus Corp. of Columbus, one of the world's largest cotton gin manufacturers, is moving to a site not far from where Eli Whitney invented the first cotton gin in 1793.

Lummus will build a new $15 million, 275,000-square-foot plant near Savannah International Airport. The facility will house manufacturing operations and corporate headquarters for the 135-year-old company, officials said.

The move will create 250 new jobs in the Savannah area.

The 30-acre site is being sold to the company by the Savannah Economic Development Authority, which will issue $10 million worth of industrial revenue bonds to help finance the relocation, officials said.

The new plant should be operational by December or early January 1999. Lummus' Columbus plant was built in 1863, and trying to modernize it would not have been economically feasible, officials said.

Teens face gun-firing charges

ALBANY -- Four teen-agers were arrested after allegedly shooting pistols as a crowd spilled out of the auditorium at Dougherty High School following a talent show. No one was hit in the barrage.

Eddie Linkhoren, Christopher Burks and Stephon Miller, all 17, and a 14-year-old were all charged with having a deadly weapon at a public gathering, possession of a pistol by a person under 18, possession of a pistol in a school safety zone, and discharge of a firearm, Albany police Lt. James Williams said.

The four allegedly opened fire about 8:45 p.m. Friday, said Lt. Williams, who was outside the school with three officers from Dougherty County schools when several shots were fired from a .32-caliber revolver and a .380-caliber semiautomatic pistol.

"They were just shooting," Lt. Williams said. "We didn't see them leveling on anyone, and we're hoping they were just trying to scare the crowd."

Laidlaw continues takeover bid

COLUMBIA -- Laidlaw Environmental Services is proceeding with its plan to get hold of all the outstanding shares of an Illinois-based oil and chemicals recycler.

Safety-Kleen Corp. has rejected Laidlaw's unsolicited takeover bid. But the Columbia-based hazardous-waste management company is taking its offer directly to Safety-Kleen's stockholders.

Laidlaw's offer of $30 per share, including $15 in cash, expires at midnight Feb. 13.

Safety-Kleen has said it prefers a $27 per share all-cash offer from SK Parent Corp., a new company formed in part by a Toronto-based hazardous-waste company.

Two missing after outing

CHARLESTON -- Two friends out searching for crabs are missing and rescue workers are searching the area in the water and by air.

Boyd Collins, 49, and Mark Cypress, 38, both of Mount Pleasant, were expected back Friday afternoon to sell some of the crabs they had caught.

When they missed the appointment, family members called authorities, state Natural Resources Department spokesman Mike Willis said.

On Saturday afternoon, Mr. Willis said that a U.S. Coast Guard rescue plane spotted a long, white boat about a mile or so south of Cape Romain in the Bulls Bay area that met the description of the one the men were using. However, Mr. Willis says there was no confirmation it was the same vessel.

Rescuers from the Natural Resources Department, the U.S. Coast Guard and Charleston County were still searching the area in northern Charleston County.

Mr. Willis said high winds are making searches more difficult.

The fishermen launched out of Moore's Landing, which is on the Intracoastal Waterway near Andersonville, said U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Tom Worrall said.

Bus procedures under review

MYRTLE BEACH -- A 5-year-old boy walked across four lanes of U.S. Highway 501 traffic after getting off at the wrong school bus stop.

Now, A.J. Martinez's parents want to know why their child was allowed to put himself in danger.

Eddie Rodelsperger, director of operations and management for Horry County schools, said transportation procedures are under review because of this incident.

A substitute driver, whose name hasn't been released, was making just her second run when A.J. got off at the wrong stop. School officials have not blamed her, although she's been moved to other duties, Mr. Rodelsperger said.

A.J., a kindergartner at Carolina Forest Elementary School, fell asleep twice on the way home from school, awakened once by his 8-year-old sister, Terri.

When the bus stopped in their subdivision, Terri and several others got off. By the time Terri realized A.J. hadn't followed, the bus had driven off with the boy still on it.

Officer, dog shot in chase

HILTON HEAD ISLAND -- A Beaufort County sheriff's officer and his police dog were shot and wounded early Saturday while chasing a suspect after a fast-food restaurant robbery.

Officer James Covington had surgery to remove bullets from his right thigh and shoulder and was in stable condition at Savannah Memorial Hospital, according to The Island Packet of Hilton Head.

His dog, shot across the chest, had surgery at a local veterinarian's office and was expected to be fine.

The alleged gunman, whose name was not released immediately, also was shot twice -- in the shoulder and thigh -- when Officer Covington returned fire, the department said.