Originally created 04/23/98

Local and area briefs



Police arrest 18 incounty drug sting

Jefferson County officials arrested 18 people on possession and sale of cocaine and marijuana charges Wednesday.

Wednesday's early-morning sting was the second phase in a three-phase operation in which a total of 42 people have been arrested. The first phase targeted the north end of the county and Wednesday's sting targeted Louisville, Bartow and Wadley. The last phase will target the southern part of the county, said Maj. Charles Gibbons.

Police said most of those arrested were caught trying to sell drugs to undercover agents.

School invites parents to fair

A whole new crop of students will sort through math lessons at Glenn Hills Elementary School tonight as about 350 parents participate in a math and technology fair.

The event begins at 6 p.m. at the school off Glenn Hills Drive. The forum includes activities on probability, measurement, computers, problem-solving and geometric puzzles. The information will be wrapped into games and hands-on lessons.

For more information, contact Glenn Hills Elementary School at 796-4942.

Student gets academy appointment

Russell McCray Jr., a Butler High School senior, has been appointed to the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo. He will receive a four-year, full scholarship to the military school.

Mr. McCray, son of Sgt. and Mrs. Russell McCray of Augusta, was a member of his school's Marine Corps Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps and the drill team. He played varsity football, junior varsity basketball and ran on the school's varsity track and cross country teams. He attended Georgia Boys' State and is a member of the Boy Scouts and 4-H.

Jury to be selected in case

BARNWELL, S.C. -- Jury selection will begin at 9:30 a.m. today in Barnwell County in the trial of the Williston man accused of killing his father and his father's girlfriend in 1996.

In the past three days, a pool of at least 35 people was qualified to serve on the jury panel. Selection of 12 jurors and two alternates will be made today from that group.

David McClure Jr., 20, is accused of stabbing to death his father, David McClure Sr., 39, and his girlfriend, Donna Fitzpatrick, 31. The couple were found slain inside their Williston home in January 1996.

The younger McClure was arrested and charged in connection with their deaths the following month after police found him at the Set Free Christian Discipleship Ranch in San Bernardino, Calif. Police in California described the ranch as a drug rehabilitation center.

If convicted, Mr. McClure faces a possible death sentence. Jurors would hear additional testimony in a second phase of the trial before deliberating on whether Mr. McClure will get life in prison or death.

Truck knocks down power line

A logging truck struck a power line Wednesday morning, knocking out power in Edgefield County for more than an hour.

The truck struck a wire that took out a 150,000-volt transmission line, taking several relay stations out of service, said Gary Stooksbury, chief executive officer of the Aiken Electric Co-op.

No one was injured and the longest power outage was an hour and 19 minutes, Mr. Stooksbury said.

Board reassigns principals

After a lengthy executive session Tuesday, Aiken County Board of Education members approved the reassignments of two principals.

Peggy Wertz, principal of J.D. Lever Elementary School, will take over the same position at North Aiken Elementary for the 1998-99 school year. She will succeed Charles Leopold, who is retiring in June.

And after only one year of service at Wagener-Salley High School, Larry Dennis will take over as principal at Busbee Elementary School. The position is currently held by Joy Shealy, who recently was promoted to position of assistant superintendent for Area 4.

Group reports on immigrants

ATLANTA -- A national organization of immigration lawyers says immigrants who apply for citizenship in Atlanta must wait up to four years before they can be sworn in, longer than in any other city in the nation.

An Immigration and Naturalization Service official in Washington disputed the figures, released by the American Immigration Lawyers Association. But local INS officials acknowledged the wait can be lengthy.

Although immigrants pay taxes and can work without citizenship, they cannot receive government benefits or bring in family members who live abroad. They also cannot vote without citizenship.

Monthly surveys of AILA chapter members on how long it takes local INS offices to process citizenship applications produced the survey's data. It said the wait in Hartford, Conn., is six months, in Miami two years and in New York 18 months.

Water project exceeds budget

ATLANTA -- Atlanta's $36 million project to replace the city's aging main water plant is two years overdue and over budget. Work has stalled as contractors blame each other for the problems.

The biggest problem at the Hemphill Water Treatment Plant is that 14 newly installed valves don't work, and some people involved in the project are concerned about whether the plant can produce enough safe water this summer.

Construction manager Edgar E. Perrey Jr. has complained that "brick, rock and other construction material" have blocked sewer lines at the plant on three occasions, causing raw sewage to pool on or near drinking water storage tanks.

"This causes a potential for unsanitary water entering the city's water system," Mr. Perrey wrote in March 1997. Last month, he warned that this summer's peak demand for water may strain the system if some of the problems are not corrected.

Worker electrocuted in plant

GREENWOOD, S.C. -- A worker installing a light fixture at the Fuji photo film plant was electrocuted, Greenwood County's coroner said.

Jeffery McNeely, 42, died Tuesday. Coroner Grady Hill said an autopsy Wednesday confirmed electrocution as the cause.

Mr. McNeeley worked for Greenville electrical contractor Walker and Whiteside.

Craig White, Fuji's vice president of human resources, said Mr. McNeely`s supervisor found him after the accident.