Originally created 07/22/98

Additional area news



Auto accident killsAppling woman

THOMSON -- An Appling woman was killed in a traffic accident when she was ejected from her car as she drove off Georgia Highway 150 in McDuffie County.

Norma L. McDaniel, 55, was driving north on Stagecoach Road at 4 p.m. Monday when she apparently lost control of her car and drove onto the shoulder, according to the Georgia State Patrol. When she tried to get back onto the road, the car overturned and she was ejected from it. She died at the crash scene.Biologists take bear from roadFAIRBURN -- A black bear's weeklong trek through areas south of Atlanta ended when wildlife biologist Greg Balkcom shot it in the rump with a tranquilizer dart near Interstate 85 in south Fulton County.

The sedated bear was kept overnight Monday at the Fort Valley Game Management Center. Officials expected to set it free, said Lisa Doty, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Natural Resources.

State wildlife officers had to take action when the bear started rambling along the busy interstate in south Fulton County, she said.

"It was a public safety danger," she said. "If he runs out in traffic, he causes a wreck."

Before that, officials had been content just to observe the bear because it was not posing a threat to people.

Voter sticker started on napkin

ATHENS -- The peachy lapel sticker sported by Georgia voters Tuesday got its start when an election official sketched out an idea on a napkin during a convention last year.

Dot Glenn, a member of the Athens-Clarke Board of Elections, was at a state election officials' meeting on Jekyll Island when the assembly was asked to come up with a new design for the stickers handed out to voters at the polls.

Ms. Glenn, 55, doodled a sketch of a fuzzy peach. That peach, with the words "I'm a Georgia Voter" on it, replaces the "I Voted" stickers handed out at the polls for years.

Mall owners demand cleanup

ATLANTA -- Owners of Underground Atlanta are urging city officials to clean up the neighborhood so they can get top dollar for the retail and entertainment complex.

Underground Festival Inc. announced plans last weekend to sell the complex, which was built in the heart of the city to showcase its history and keep conventioneers and suburbanites downtown at night.

Underground Festival has not set a price for the complex, but wants to get enough to repay the $18.3 million in municipal bonds still owed by the city on the commercial facilities. The center, as well as its public plazas and parking garages, were financed with $86 million in bonds issued by the Downtown Development Authority.

City workers are now picking up trash on weekends in the public areas around Underground and steam-cleaning the plazas, said Larry Wallace, Atlanta's chief operating officer.

Senators didn't read budget

COLUMBIA -- Seven senators spent six months grilling lawmakers and state employees to find out how someone sneaked a bribery-tainted $22.4 million tax cut connected to Operation Lost Trust into the 1988 state budget.

Yet those same senators unanimously gave final approval to this year's $4.9 billion state budget on the last day of the legislative session without seeing the entire document.

"It wasn't like we bought a pig in a poke or that there was blind trust," said state Sen. Tommy Moore, D-Clearwater, who led the Lost Trust investigating subcommittee. "There's a certain amount of trust that we have to put in our colleagues."

The bipartisan subcommittee released its final report on the 1988 capital gains tax rollback last week, saying the bribery-tainted legislation got through because of a flawed appropriations process.

The tax break, which was embroiled in the Lost Trust vote-selling sting, gave 21 taxpayers about 40 percent of the refund.Local workers reject contractWINNSBORO -- Mack Trucks Inc. workers have approved a new contract, but Mack workers rejected both it and a local contract agreement.

United Auto Workers members at Mack facilities nationwide approved the master agreement by a 2-to-1 margin, but the contract lost at the Winnsboro plant by one vote Sunday. Local 5841 also turned down the local contract proposal by about a 20-vote margin.

The local vote does not affect the master agreement, which contains a three percent base-wage increase, cost-of-living allowances and pension and health care plan improvements. More than 67 percent of UAW members who cast ballots ratified the agreement that will replace the existing contract that expires Oct. 31, national union President Stephen P. Yokich said Monday.

Workers in Winnsboro will be asked to vote on the local agreement again Thursday, local union President Skip Ritter said. He would not say what issues were in the local contract.

Guard accused in inmate assault

ORANGEBURG -- A jail guard has been fired after he was accused of assaulting a handcuffed inmate.

Gregory Massey, 35, was charged with assault and battery and freed Thursday on a personal recognizance bond. Mr. Massey had been under investigation by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division since an inmate at the jail filed a complaint against him in March.

Inmate David D. Powell, 32, told Orangeburg County sheriff's officers that four detention center officers assaulted him. Mr. Powell said Mr. Massey hit and kicked him while the inmate's hands were cuffed behind his back. Mr. Powell said he heard another officer telling Mr. Massey to stop, but he refused.

Skydiver's backup chute unused

GREENVILLE -- A veteran skydiver who fell to his death failed to open his backup parachute after having a problem with his primary one.

A pin that would have deployed a reserve chute for Greenville businessman William Hamilton was never pulled, Greenville County Deputy Coroner Mike Ellis said Tuesday.

Mr. Hamilton, who had made more than 550 dives, fell 13,500 feet to his death Sunday at Donaldson Center Industrial Park. The reserve chute released perfectly when tested by investigators, Mr. Ellis said.