Originally created 10/24/98

Across the area

Proliferation foe at SRS gets honor

A local Savannah River Site support group will award a nonproliferation expert its Distinguished Scientist Award for 1998.

Albert L. Boni will accept the award at Citizens for Nuclear Technology Awareness' Edward Teller Lecture on Nov. 9. Mr. Boni is manager of the Savannah River Technology Center's Nonproliferation Technologies section at SRS.

The Distinguished Scientist Award honors SRS workers who have advanced nuclear technology through their work at the site, according to an announcement released by the citizens group. Mr. Boni earned the honor by developing methods of detecting the manufacturing, testing and deployment of nuclear weapons, the group announced.

Tickets are available for the Teller Lecture, scheduled for 6 p.m. at the Radisson Riverfront Hotel Augusta. Pulitzer Prize winner Richard Rhodes, author of The Making of the Atomic Bomb, will be the event's featured speaker.

For more information, call Citizens for Nuclear Technology Awareness at (800) 299-2682.

Investigators say fire not arson

Local fire investigators have ruled out arson as the cause of a brush fire Thursday that scorched three acres of wooded area near National Hills subdivision.

The fire started at Alexander Drive and quickly spread, but no homes or businesses were burned, Capt. Tommie Cox said Friday. Arson investigators determined the fire wasn't intentionally set, Capt. Cox said.

It took firefighters 45 minutes to contain the fire Thursday afternoon. Georgia Forestry Service was called in to help Augusta firefighters extinguish the blaze.

Investigators will list the cause of the blaze as undetermined.

"It could have been that someone tossed a cigarette out the window or could be that children were playing with matches or something, it could have been anything," Capt. Cox added.

Area authorities get police grant

South Carolina authorities will share $8.29 million in federal funds to reduce crime and increase public safety. Seven Aiken-area jurisdictions will get some of the money.

A total of $249,610 will be given to Aiken, Barnwell and Edgefield counties, the cities of Aiken, Barnwell and North Augusta, and the town of Allendale. Each jurisdiction will use the money to hire additional officers and purchase equipment.

The awards, announced Friday, were determined by a formula based on violent crime data collected by the Federal Bureau of Investigations.

Driver dies after train hits car

An Edgefield County, S.C., woman was killed Friday when she failed to stop for an oncoming train.

Laura T. Padgett, 20, of East Wise Street in Trenton, was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident, said Cpl. Mark Gosnell of the South Carolina Highway Patrol.

The 96-car Norfolk Southern train was southbound when Ms. Padgett attempted to beat the train across the track, police said. She was hit on the driver's side of her 1995 Ford Explorer and killed instantly, Cpl. Gosnell said.

The accident occurred at about 3 p.m. on H.E. Holmes Road, just outside Trenton.

Car safety inspections offered

Motorists can get their seat belts and child seats inspected free today at the Buckle Up Aiken County Car Seat Clinic, the second such clinic sponsored by Aiken County.

Trained technicians will inspect seat belts and child seats from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Wal-Mart Shopping Center on Whiskey Road in Aiken.

Information promoting car and seat belt use will also be distributed.

The Buckle Up Aiken County campaign was launched to bring seat belt awareness to motorists and their passengers.

Augusta park closes until spring

Augusta's Eisenhower Park has closed until spring for renovations of its ball fields.

The four-field facility will be demolished and reconstructed with improved landscaping, parking areas, and a new scoring tower, according to the Augusta Recreation and Parks Department. Contractor Mabus Brothers is completing the work, which is funded by special-purpose sales-tax funds.

The department says the park will reopen April 1. For more information, call 796-5025.

Officer kills man in shootout

NEWNAN -- A man who allegedly pointed a rifle at a Newnan police officer died when the officer opened fire on him.

Georgia Bureau of Investigation agent Joe Jackson said Friday he did not know how many times the 43-year-old man was hit Thursday, but that the officer fired a number of rounds at him.

Newnan Assistant Police Chief Ronnie Gore said bicycle patrol Officer Bryan Morgan was responding to a call that there was a man carrying weapons walking along a nearby railroad track.

Police were withholding the man's name until they could notify his relatives.

Prisons sued over retirement

COLUMBIA -- About 140 former and current state prison employees have sued the Corrections Department and the state Budget and Control Board seeking retroactive adjustment of their retirement benefits.

The class-action lawsuit was filed in Circuit Court on Thursday in Richland County.

The workers allege they were excluded from the state's Police Officers Retirement System, which will reduce their retirement benefits. The suit claims some workers with no police duties, like chaplains and doctors, got better benefits than the plaintiffs.


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