Originally created 01/30/98

Local and area briefs



Construction closes entrance to park

The Broad Street park entrance to Olmstead Park will be closed until Feb. 6 while park improvements are done. Residents should use the Milledge Road entrance to get into the park.

In Columbia County, CSX Railroad will be working on the crossings on Parham, Newmantown, Lone Oak and Sawdust roads and Old Augusta Highway. The work will begin immediately and last about two weeks.Aging main water pipe breaksAbout 30 customers who live along Peach Orchard Road and East Side Court had no water when they awoke Thursday because of a water main break, city officials said.

All but four customers were without water for only an hour, said Augusta Utilities Construction and Maintenance Superintendent Brian Richards.

he pipe broke about 800 feet from a similar break that occurred last month. On Dec. 19, a pipe at Peach Orchard and Dunham Court broke.

The age of the area's water pipes is the culprit, Mr. Richards said. City officials are using emergency money to repair and replace the 50-year-old piping.

Crimewatch group to meet

A Fox Creek Community Crimewatch meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Saturday at Central Baptist Church in Aiken.

crimewatch representative for the Aiken County Sheriff's Office will be present to field questions. The Rev. Bill Archer, pastor of Central Baptist Church, also will be present. For more information, call Tyler Robinson at 648-2725.

Meetings dispute prompts suit

FAYETTEVILLE -- Five members of the Fayette County school board who have been accused of violating Georgia's open meetings law have sued a prosecutor who said he planned to file charges against them.

The suit against Fayette Solicitor Steve Harris was filed Wednesday in Fayette County Superior Court.

ainesville lawyer Phil Hartley, who was hired by the board, said the complaint was filed so a Superior Court judge can interpret certain provisions of the open meetings law.

Mr. Harris said he thinks the board erred Dec. 2 when it gathered at board Chairman Woody Shelnutt's house to evaluate Superintendent Dave Brother's performance.

Mr. Hartley said the board wants to know if a government entity is bound to provide legal notice when it meets to discuss matters it can only discuss in executive session.

Firefighters charge retaliation

LBANY -- Firefighters are accusing Albany's fire chief of passing over a lieutenant for promotion because of his father's successful discrimination suit against the city.

Five white firefighters last week were awarded $50,000 each in U.S. District Court because they were denied the opportunity to interview for promotion to battalion chief. They said the chief wanted to hire a black firefighter for the job.

On Wednesday, the five filed a court motion accusing Fire Chief Henry Fields of retaliation. The motion, which seeks to amend their successful suit, says Lt. Ronald Rowe Jr. was due to be promoted to captain Saturday but will not get the job because his father, Ronald H. Rowe Sr., was a plaintiff in the reverse-discrimination suit.

Chief Fields said Thursday that his decision not to promote the younger Mr. Rowe had nothing to do with the suit.

Mayor accused of cheating paper

RIDGEVILLE -- Ridgeville Mayor Allen Bozardt faces trial this spring on a charge of grand larceny for allegedly throwing away more than $10,000 in military newspapers to get extra sales commissions.

A Berkeley County grand jury indicted Mr. Bozardt on Wednesday, stemming from a 1996 videotaped incident that showed Mr. Bozardt in a trash bin outside a Naval Weapons Station loading dock in Goose Creek.

Mr. Bozardt asked for a jury trial, saying the charges were politically motivated. He delivered military newspapers to 10 or 12 stops per week until 1996. He received $150 to $200 per week in commissions.

In October, Goose Creek police dismissed the misdemeanor and charged him with grand larceny for allegedly dumping $10,000 in newspapers.

Teacher faces student sex charge

SPARTANBURG -- A former Dorman High School math teacher has been accused of sexual misconduct with a 16-year-old female student at the school.

Stacy Lea Strawn, 23, of Spartanburg was charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor, an offense punishable by up to three years in prison. She was released Tuesday on a personal recognizance bond.

Deputies began investigating when an anonymous letter accusing Ms. Strawn of sexual relations with students was sent to Sheriff Bill Coffey, according to reports.

Ms. Strawn went on administrative leave in November and then left. Officials would not say whether she resigned or was fired.

Suspect may have tried escape

ORANGEBURG -- Authorities believe a man suspected in the New Year's Eve killing of a state Highway Patrol trooper was trying to escape when he broke out the window of his cell.

Bayan Aleksey, 29, of Philadelphia, broke a metal stool off a table in his cell and broke the window, Orangeburg County Sheriff's spokesman Robert Keith said.

Mr. Aleksey and Gloryvee Perez Blackwell, 25, of Bensalem, Pa., were indicted earlier this week on murder charges in the shooting of 1st Sgt. Frankie Lingard.

First Sgt. Lingard was shot Dec. 31 after he stopped a speeding Ford Mustang driven by Mr. Aleksey on Interstate 95 near Santee. Ms. Blackwell and her two children also were in the car.

Top-teacher finalists named

COLUMBIA -- Five finalists have been chosen for South Carolina's Teacher of the Year Award.

The teachers selected were: Nancy Elizabeth Baker, who teaches first grade in Chesterfield County; Jane Baker Benton, who teaches seventh grade in Clarendon County; Tracy Holcombe-Craven, an early childhood teacher in Rock Hill; Janet B. Faucett, a special education teacher who works in Richland County; and Kimberly T. Poston, who teaches science in Florence County.

A five-member selection committee will interview the nominees and select a winner in Columbia next week.

The honored teacher will take a yearlong sabbatical from the classroom to work with the South Carolina Center for Teacher Recruitment and the state Teacher Forum.