Originally created 01/19/99

Across the area



Mays in Minnesota with pneumonia

Augusta Commissioner Willie Mays was in a Minnesota hospital Monday night recovering from pneumonia.

Mr. Mays, Augusta's District 9 commissioner, apparently went to the hospital Sunday in Minneapolis and was diagnosed with pneumonia. A report on his condition wasn't available Monday night.

"I don't think he'll be at the meeting," Mayor Bob Young said of today's Augusta Commission session. "But I understand he's doing all right."

It wasn't known Monday if Mr. Mays was in Minneapolis on Sunday for the National Football Conference championship game, where the Atlanta Falcons defeated the Minnesota Vikings.

Mr. Mays is the second commissioner hospitalized recently. Commissioner Richard Colclough spent nearly a week at University Hospital in December after a vein in his leg collapsed, requiring surgery.

Ethics board clears Rowland

The South Carolina Ethics Commissionhas cleared New Ellenton Town Councilman Henry H. Rowland of wrongdoing in connection with a lawsuit over the town's unfinished sewer system.

The ethics commission Monday announced it is dismissing a complaint against Mr. Rowland. Although the ethics commission said it found no evidence that Mr. Rowland was pursuing improper economic interests in connection with the lawsuit, it said his actions appeared improper.

State officials advised Mr. Rowland against creating the appearance of a conflict of interests in the future.

Before Mr. Rowland was elected to the council in 1996, he served on the town's public works commission when the city sued that department over the sewer system. Mr. Rowland was named in the lawsuit.

After resigning and being elected to the town council, Mr. Rowland suggested the council ask the South Carolina Supreme Court, which was hearing the case, to dismiss the lawsuit. The court did so in 1997.

Schrenko to speak at Bel Air

Georgia schools Superintendent Linda Schrenko will be the guest speaker Thursday during a meeting at Bel Air Elementary School in Columbia County.

The meeting -- sponsored by the school's parent-teacher organization -- begins at 7 p.m. in the school's cafeteria. Mrs. Schrenko will speak about the recent public education report card released by the Georgia Department of Education. She will then accept questions from those attending.

The meeting is open to the public. Bel Air Elementary is at 325 N. Belair Road, Evans.

Atlanta teen to attend speech

ATLANTA -- An Atlanta teen who helped devise a way for homeless parents to maintain their children's medical and school records will be a guest of first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton at tonight's State of the Union speech in Washington.

Elam Hill, 15, a student at Atlanta's Walden Middle School, was part of a four-member Walden team that won the 1998 Bayer/National Science Foundation Award for Community Innovation. The competition challenges students to identify a community problem and solve it with technology.

The $25,000 prize will be used to implement the Walden students' project, a clearinghouse for the homeless students' records.

Elam, a public housing resident who wants to attend Georgia Tech, will be one of 10 guests of Mrs. Clinton when President Clinton delivers the State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress.

All 10 are people who have had an impact on their communities, Mrs. Clinton said.

County's teachers marked `dead'

COLUMBUS -- The 6,000 W-2 tax forms issued to Muscogee County school employees Friday had a fatal flaw.

"We are all dead," a teacher said. Instead of checking the box marked "pension plans" on their earnings statements, the payroll department checked "deceased."

"Unfortunately, the computer just printed in the wrong field," said school district Treasurer Fred Jones. But even death won't let them escape their 1998 income taxes.

School officials and area accountants say that by the April 15 filing deadline, the Internal Revenue Service will know they're alive.

"I don't think anyone will have a problem with their taxes -- just a good laugh," said Silvia Newell, a certified public accountant.

School board member resigns

CANTON -- The Cherokee County school board in a 5-0 vote accepted controversial member Tim Moxley's resignation.

Mr. Moxley, who did not attend the brief meeting Sunday, later said he was glad the board honored his wishes, made in a resignation letter last week to Gov. Roy Barnes.

"I'm knocked down, but I'm not knocked out. I'll be back," Mr. Moxley said.

A recall drive had been under way to remove Mr. Moxley, drawing more than 11,000 signatures. Instead, an election will be held March 16 to choose his successor.

Last year, Mr. Moxley angered teachers and parents when he took home employees' W-2 tax forms without an explanation. He was forced to apologize publicly as part of a settlement in a suit by employees. He also was accused of sending a letter telling the school system staff to ignore the chain of command and disregard board policies.

Court OKs watercraft rules

NORTH MYRTLE BEACH -- South Carolina's Supreme Court sided Monday with the city to keep personal watercraft from being launched at the peak of the tourist season.

In 1992, the city said that between May 15 and Sept. 15, the craft could not be launched from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Bob Barnhill, who owned a Jet Ski rental business near the beach, appealed. The case was sent to a referee, who said the rule exceeded the city's power and broke the state constitution.

But the Supreme Court said the ordinance is legal because it promotes safety during the times when the beach and swimming areas are most crowded.

Court says adoption not enough

COLUMBIA -- Adopting an adult does not give the new parent the rights to a special license to sell automobile insurance policies.

The South Carolina Court of Appeals on Monday reversed a 1997 circuit court decision, which gave Jack P. Gorman the rights to be a designated agent after he adopted A. G. Burnett, a 72-year-old insurance agent.

Designated agents can sell insurance policies for the state Reinsurance Facility, which backs policies for risky drivers. The designated-agent status cannot be sold but can be transferred to family members when the agent retires or dies.

Mr. Gorman, a Burnett Agency official, bought Mr. Burnett's agency and "adopted" him to gain the designated-agent status.