Originally created 02/22/98

Local and area briefs



Service station hitin early robbery

Richmond County authorities are looking for a man suspected in a Saturday morning gas station robbery.

About 5 a.m., a man entered the Crown gas station in the 2000 block of Gordon Highway, told the cashier he was armed and demanded money, according to police reports.

The robber -- described as black, 6 feet tall and 150 pounds, wearing brown jeans, a black sweat shirt and black stocking cap -- fled in a red Geo Tracker with two cans of beer and an unknown amount of money.

Forum to discuss Reconstruction

Augusta State University plans to highlight an often-neglected period of Georgia's history: Reconstruction.

The Civil War Reconstruction Symposium will be held between 8:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. Saturday. Featured speakers include Paul Cimbala of Fordham University, who recently wrote a history on the Freedman's Bureau in Georgia, and Jonathan Bryant of Georgia Southern University, who has researched Greene County and Savannah during the period.

Augusta State historian Edward Cashin will speak about Augusta during the Reconstruction. To register, contact Continuing Education at (706) 737-1636.

Festival celebrates Scotland

MOULTRIE -- Oscar-winning actor Cliff Robertson joined nearly 300 visitors from 14 states and Canada on Saturday for the Scottish Weekend in Moultrie, a festival celebrating the heritage of Scots in America.

Mr. Robertson, who is active nationally in the Scottish-American community, received an Odom Heritage Award.

The award is named after Ellen Payne Odom, a landowner, musician, educator and family historian who left money following her death nine years ago to build a genealogical library in Moultrie.

"The reason the kickoff event is held in Moultrie is because the Odom Library is the archival and genealogical home to over 102 Scottish clans and organizations," organizer Beth Gay said.

Legacy funds go to poor blacks

MACON -- The money that former Macon Telegraph owner W.T. Anderson set aside a half-century ago in his will is being used to pay for the medical care of poor blacks. The first checks were issued this week by the estate's trustee, NationsBank.

The Medical Center of Central Georgia received $100,000 Friday for a comprehensive Diabetes Management Clinic and the Peach Regional Medical Center was given $30,000 for a pilot program to study and provide hypertension medical care.

A champion of equality and foe of the Ku Klux Klan, Mr. Anderson died in 1945 leaving a will with two main provisions: His 11 living heirs would receive monthly payments until death. The remaining money would fund medical care for poor blacks.

The payments began after the settlement earlier this month of a lawsuit filed by the state Attorney General's Office, which contended the bank had invested the estate too conservatively.

Police error admitted in shooting

GREER -- Greenville County Sheriff's Office said Friday that surveillance officers made a mistake that led to the fatal shooting of an unarmed suspect Thursday.

Deputies believed the suspect, Chinue Tao Hashim, 20, of Greenville, had a gun when he appeared to reach for his waistband when SWAT team member Master Deputy John Eldridge Jr. shot him in the head, sheriff's spokesman Sgt. Lee Owens said.

Authorities later learned Mr. Hashim -- who died at 12:15 a.m. Friday at Greenville Memorial Hospital -- was unarmed.

Deputy Eldridge, 29, was put on paid administrative duty Friday pending a State Law Enforcement Division investigation.

Lost money open for reclaim

COLUMBIA -- The state owes South Carolinians more than $63 million in unclaimed utility deposits, forgotten bank accounts and insurance refunds.

Beginning Wednesday, citizens will get their annual chance to reclaim that money with state Treasurer Richard Eckstrom's annual "Palmetto Payback."

Newspapers across the state will carry a special insert that lists the names of 20,000 South Carolinians owed money from dormant or unclaimed accounts.

Last year the pay-back returned more than $5.18 million.

Teacher suspended in slapping

PAMPLICO -- An elementary school teacher has been suspended for slapping a student in her classroom.

"It's a very unfortunate incident," Florence School District 2 Superintendent Steve Quick said. "She's a very good teacher. She just used bad judgment. There is no excuse, no reason to strike a child in any way, shape or form. We hope this was an isolated incident."

The teacher, who has not been named, had apparently asked the child several times to behave before slapping him, Mr. Quick said. Police will not investigate the case unless asked to by the child's parents.

Doctors to give commissions back

COLUMBIA -- Two LexingtonMedical Center doctors will return more than $40,000 in real estate commissions their wives earned in a hospital land deal, according to a settlement with the state Ethics Commission.

Hospital board members Dr. James Givens and Dr. O. Henderson Powell failed to "strictly comply" with ethics rules in the hospital's purchase of five acres on U.S. Highway 378 in Lexington, the Ethics Commission said Friday.

The doctors' wives, Louise Givens and Susan Powell, are real estate agents who represented the hospital in the $1.4 million land purchase.

The settlement is the largest in the 22-year history of the Ethics Commission, which typically settles cases for a few hundred dollars, said Herb Hayden, the commission's assistant director.

State cuts use of private lawyers

COLUMBIA -- Attorney General Charlie Condon said he will no longer give out contracts to private lawyers without state Budget and Control Board approval.

Mr. Condon, who earlier this week canceled contracts with eight law firms working on the state's tobacco lawsuit, said Friday he has brought in-house the remaining two cases that private attorneys were handling.

The cases include a lawsuit against a drug manufacturer and another against insurance companies. Mr. Condon said he also favors setting up a bidding process in order to award work on cases.