Originally created 07/31/98

Additional area news



Army reservists plan detonations

Don't be alarmed if you hear loud booms coming from Fort Gordon this weekend. It's just Army reservists demolishing things as part of their training.

Company C of the 122nd Engineer Battalion from Graniteville will detonate plastic explosives between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday and from 8 a.m. to noon Sunday.

On Saturday afternoon, reservists with the 391st Engineer Battalion from Greenville, S.C., will demolish three old metal towers in the fort's training areas.

B.B. King to play at civic center

Legendary blues musician B.B. King will perform in September at Augusta-Richmond County Civic Center, officials confirmed Thursday.

The B.B. King Blues Festival also will feature Stevie Ray Vaughn's brother and ex-Fabulous Thunderbirds guitarist Jimmy Vaughn, blues crooner Dr. John and blues guitarist Delbert McClinton. The festival is scheduled for 7 p.m. Sept. 17 in the arena.

Civic center management is billing the event as the venue's grand reopening. The civic center has been closed during installation of a $1 million ice floor for minor league hockey.

However, a date when B.B. King Blues Festival ticket sales begin has not been determined, said civic center General Manager Pat Cumiskey. Tickets will cost $25 to $30.

"It'll be a really incredible show," Mr. Cumiskey said. "Hopefully, somebody will come see it."

The festival is in its seventh consecutive year. Formerly known as the Blues Music Festival, the event has always featured Mr. King as headline entertainer but was renamed in his honor this year.

Gunman robs poker business

A gunman robbed an Aiken video poker business Thursday and shut two women into the store's restroom before getting away.

A man sat down at a poker machine about 2 p.m. at Just for Fun in the 1200 block of Richland Avenue and lost $10 playing the game, according to police reports.

Then he told the clerk he needed to go to his car for more money.

He returned with a handgun and demanded money. The clerk gave him money from her pocket and the man took a bank bag containing more than $2,600 from a desk drawer.

The robber took the clerk and a customer into the restroom and pushed a desk against the door on the outside.

After three minutes, the clerk left the restroom and set off the store's alarm, police said.

Truck slams into apartment

A motorist from Trenton, S.C., knocked down an apartment wall at Aiken's Cushman Apartments while trying to avoid hitting another vehicle.

"The truck was halfway into the apartment," said Capt. Tom Galardi of the Aiken Department of Public Safety. No one was home at the time, and no injuries were reported.

Timothy Charles Brown, 36, was charged Tuesday with improper passing, having no insurance and driving on a suspended license, police said.

Mr. Brown told police he was headed north on Laurens Street and tried to pass another vehicle that was turning left onto Cushman Drive.

He swerved his 1993 GMC truck to avoid a collision, ran off the left side of the road, hit a street sign and crashed through a unit at the apartments.

Masked men rob poker parlor

Two masked men robbed a video poker business on Reynolds Pond Road in Aiken County.

Two men, one armed with a gun, walked into Gizmo's Video Games about 9:35 p.m. Tuesday and ordered the clerk to open the cash register, sheriff's Lt. Michael Frank said.

One man wore a multicolored scarf over his face, and the other wore a black mask, according to police.

The clerk handed them a bag containing an undisclosed amount of money. Then the men got into a car and drove away, Lt. Frank said.

City getting grant for housing

The city of Aiken will get $264,000 from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Community Development Block Grant program to build 10 houses and clean up vacant lots. The city also will use the money to revitalize targeted neighborhoods, many of them on Laurens Street.

The program provides money to support development of affordable housing, community revitalization and economic development with an eye toward providing sanitary housing for families with low to moderate income.

South Carolina communities will receive $18.365 million through the program and related federal housing dollars.

Addition to provide 30 jobs

SWAINSBORO -- Rayonier is building a $14 million addition to its Swainsboro mill for timber drying and finishing.

Rayonier is a global supplier of specialty pulps, timber and wood products. The project is expected to be complete by the end of 1999 and add about 30 jobs to the 70 people already working there.

The installation of drying, finishing, sorting and grading equipment will reduce costs and increase productivity by handling more steps on site rather than trucking to another mill, said Dave Morgan, general manager of Rayonier's Wood Products Group, based in Baxley.

Son cited in dropped campaign

GOOSE CREEK -- James W. "Jimmy" Hinson says concern for his son prompted him to drop his campaign as a petition candidate against his estranged wife, state Rep. Shirley Hinson, R-Goose Creek.

"There's been too much turmoil between my son and I, and he's too important to me," Mr. Hinson said. "The two of us sat down and had a lengthy conversation, and he asked me not to run."

The younger Mr. Hinson is a rising sophomore at the University of South Carolina. Jimmy Hinson circulated petitions to run against his wife in state House District 92. Mrs. Hinson will now be the only candidate on the November ballot.

The Hinsons have been the focus of a public marital dispute since Mrs. Hinson sought a restraining order in March. She alleged her husband threatened to kill her and stalked her at the Statehouse. Mr. Hinson was arrested in June after state Rep. James Law, R-Moncks Corner, said Mr. Hinson threatened his life and told him to stay away from his wife.