Originally created 04/01/98

Additional area news



Extradition sought for teen escapee

Richmond County authorities have filed extradition papers to bring a 17-year-old rehabilitation hospital escapee back to Augusta.

Josh Wilborn was arrested Saturday in Hilton Head, S.C., after escaping from Charter Augusta Behavioral Health System and allegedly kidnapping and assaulting a security guard.

"Our folks are working with the district attorney to start extradition proceedings," said Chief Deputy Ronald Strength.

He said he doesn't know how long it will take to get Mr. Wilborn back to Augusta.

Mr. Wilborn will be charged with kidnapping and aggravated assault, and other charges may be brought by District Attorney Danny Craig.

Girl stabbed in argument

A dispute between two Aiken County residents ended in a stabbing early Tuesday.

The Aiken County Sheriff's Office is looking for Sherone Nealous Jr., 21, of the 500 block of Moton Street in North Augusta in connection with the stabbing of 16-year-old Temika Furtick, of the same residence.

Police said Mr. Nealous and Ms. Furtick previously were involved in a relationship.

The incident began at about 12:45 a.m. in the parking lot of Kroger in North Augusta, according to sheriff's spokesman Lt. Michael Frank.

SRS lobbyists unveil missions

Savannah River Site lobbyists Bennett Johnston and Proctor Jones went before Augusta commissioners Tuesday to tell them about possible future missions for the South Carolina plant.

The Aiken-Edgefield Economic Development Partnership, which hired the lobbyists with the help of private and public money, needs to raise an additional $200,000 for the two-year lobbying effort.

Although it might at some point, the group not yet has asked Augusta-Richmond County to contribute, said City Administrator Randy Oliver.

SRS is awaiting word on new waste cleanup and defense-related missions that would bring several hundred new jobs to the downsized plant.

It is estimated that one-third of SRS' 14,000 employees live in Richmond, Columbia and Burke counties.

Juvenile captured after escape

A 16-year-old who escaped from the Youth Development Campus was captured Tuesday in Dublin, after stealing a car in Louisville.

The juvenile climbed over the fence of the Augusta facility Monday night and was believed to be heading for his hometown of Moultrie, said Amos Bearden, campus director.

It is not known how he got to Louisville, he said.

He had been at the campus on Old Savannah Road about three weeks, serving a five-year sentence for burglary, possession of burglary tools and possession of marijuana.

Company to expand product line

A Blackville, S.C., company that produces furnaces and gas grills will borrow $2 million from the federal government to produce air conditioners.

The Ducane Co. will receive the loan to purchase machinery, equipment and pay for start-up costs for the new HVAC product line.

The new products are expected to bring 131 full-time jobs to Ducane.

Carolina First Bank of Columbia loaned the money, 80 percent of which is backed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Development program.

The program is intended to help rural communities develop, grow and improve their quality of life by aiming resources to their greatest needs.

Gardner to run for school board

Bob Gardner, past chairman of Richmond County's Republican Party, announced Tuesday he will run for the board of education seat now held by trustee Jeff Annis.

Mr. Gardner, 64, joins Brad Owens, 26, in the race for the seat Mr. Annis voluntarily is giving up come November.

Mr. Annis has said since early in his four-year term that he would not run for re-election.

Mr. Gardner, a retired Army major who once owned his own commercial photography studio, headed up the Richmond County GOP from 1992 to March 1997, winning re-election twice.

He said Tuesday he wants to combine his energetic personality with his concern for the school system his two grandchildren attend. Mr. Gardner said he is worried about teacher education.

Group allowed to open booth

COLUMBIA -- The Sons of Confederate Veterans, which threatened to sue for discrimination, will be allowed to set up its booth at a Pickens County festival after all.

The Southern heritage group had been told it was no longer welcome at the Pickens Azalea Festival on April 18 because of its association with the Confederate flag.

The Sons of Confederate Veterans then vowed to protest and possibly sue the Pickens Civitan Club, which has sponsored the festival for 14 years.

"We had seriously considered canceling the festival altogether, but the club felt that we had an obligation to these other groups," said Michael Chastain, festival committee co-chairman.

Teacher resigns after arrest

DILLON -- A Darlington Junior High School teacher has resigned after his arrest on drug charges.

Jeffrey Thomas Emerson, 41, of Dillon gave notice Monday. School district spokesman Charlton Cain did not say how long Mr. Emerson was a teacher there or what he taught.

Mr. Emerson was arrested Friday in Dillon County during a drug warrant roundup.

He was charged with two counts of conspiracy to distribute marijuana and two counts of distributing marijuana, according to booking reports.

Man pleads guilty to arson

LEXINGTON -- A Swansea man has pleaded guilty to first-degree arson in connection with a fire that killed his elderly aunt eight years ago.

Truman Wise, 66, also pleaded guilty Monday to obstruction of justice in connection with a charge of trying to hire an undercover agent to kill witnesses to a 1995 fire.

He will serve concurrent sentences totaling 12 years in prison, Deputy Solicitor Dayton Riddle said.

Investigators originally believed Ethel Wise died in an accidental fire. But information discovered in the 1995 investigation led to charges in the 1990 blaze.