Originally created 01/27/99

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Forum to address campus switch

WAGENER -- A public forum is set for Monday to discuss the possibility of switching the campuses of Cyril Busbee and A.L. Corbett middle schools.

Faced with an increase in enrollment and state and local initiatives to reduce class sizes in kindergarten through third grades, Busbee Elementary is bursting at its seams. And the five trailers on the campus are filled to capacity.

Corbett is larger and it is not overflowing. Administrators say its classes could be moved to Busbee without being cramped there, either.

School officials are also worried that they won't be able to comply with Gov. Jim Hodges' plan to cut kindergarten classes so the pupil-to-teacher ratio is 15 to 1. The ratio in most Aiken County kindergarten classes is 27 to 1.

To accommodate the plan, administrators proposed switching the two campuses. And on Tuesday, the Aiken County Board of Education unanimously supported the preliminary idea.

Parents are invited to offer suggestions at Monday's 7 p.m. meeting at Corbett's auditorium.

Woman robs Clearwater motel

Aiken County Sheriff's Office is investigating an armed robbery Tuesday at a Clearwater motel.

Shortly before 5 p.m., a woman walked into the lobby of the Ashley Motel in the 900 block of Jefferson Davis Highway and used the pay telephone.

She then asked whether a particular person was staying at the motel, was given an answer by the desk clerk, then pulled a knife, according to police reports.

She walked behind the counter, demanded money and took an amount from the register, then left, police said. She left the motel in a dark-green 1998 Mazda Protege with South Carolina license plate 241 EMD.

The woman was described as white, 25-30 years old, 5 feet 5 inches tall, weighing 135 pounds with blond hair and hazel eyes. She wore a white T-shirt and blue jeans. The vehicle was reported stolen and was heading toward Augusta.

Anyone with information may call the sheriff's office at (803) 642-1761 or 800-922-3211 or call Crime Stoppers at (803) 642-1798. Callers can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a cash reward.

Drug arrest made at school

A Grovetown man was charged Tuesday with possessing more than 2 grams of cocaine and less than an ounce of marijuana in the parking lot at Greenbrier High School.

Jairo Humberto Lopez, 21, of 5581 Wrightsboro Road, had gone to the school at about 1 p.m. to pick up a student, said Columbia County sheriff's Capt. Steve Morris. School Safety Officer Duke Smalley approached Mr. Lopez, who tried to run but was quickly detained.

Officer Smalley searched Mr. Lopez's vehicle and found the drugs, Capt. Morris said. The marijuana charge is a misdemeanor; the cocaine charge is a felony.

Wreck halts bridge traffic

A large piece of logging machinery struck the Little River Bridge on Georgia Highway 47 on Tuesday, causing the log skidder to shift on the trailer and strike an oncoming car.

Traffic on the bridge -- the only direct link between Lincoln and Columbia counties -- was blocked for more than an hour while crews cleaned up the accident scene. One lane on the bridge was still closed late Tuesday while crews repaired the bridge, said Columbia County sheriff's Capt. Steve Morris.

The accident took place shortly after 11 a.m. as the transfer truck driven by Craig Cornell Chance, 34, of Augusta, began to cross the bridge from Lincoln County.

The log skidder on the trailer of the 1984 Peterbilt struck the bridge, shifted into the oncoming lane of traffic, and struck a vehicle driven by Derrick Deleon Ware, 24, of Washington, Ga. Mr. Ware was taken to Medical College of Georgia Hospital for treatment.

SRS renews Wackenhut contract

The U.S. Department of Energy has renewed its contract with a private firm to provide security at Savannah River Site.

The five-year contract with Wackenhut Services Inc. is worth about $300 million, said Bill Taylor, an Energy Department spokesman at SRS. Wackenhut has provided security and law-enforcement services at the federal nuclear plant since 1983.

Wackenhut was the only firm to bid for the contract, which includes a clause allowing it to be extended for another five years, Mr. Taylor said.

The firm employs 740 people at SRS. Its site operations include helicopters, drug- and explosive-sniffing dogs and armed paramilitary units.

Ex-students sue dance studio

Two students and the former landlord of an Augusta dance studio have filed a lawsuit seeking thousands of dollars they claim those who owned and operated the dance studio cheated them out of.

Anne Henderson, Elise P. Lehman and Security Land and Development Corp. filed the suit last month against Damir Romljenovic, Andy Tomljenovic and Nevenka Tomljenovic as owners of Steppin' Out Dance Studio and their agents Carolyn F. Higgins and Tom R. Byrd III. Ms. Higgins filed a motion this month asking the case be put on hold because she filed for bankruptcy Jan. 13.

Ms. Henderson is seeking $158,710 she paid to the studio for lessons, trips and competitions that were never held over two years. Ms. Lehman is seeking $21,595 and Security Land is seeking $41,656. The former dance studio operated in the 2600 block of Washington Road.

Agency offers business seminar

The Augusta-Richmond County Office of Equal Opportunity will offer a financial business seminar from 9-11 a.m. Saturday at Julian Smith Barbecue Pit on Milledge Road.

The free seminar, designed for minority, women and small-business owners, will include information on loan package preparation, preparing financial statements and business plans, and bonding programs.

Advance registration is recommended but not required.

Call Brenda Byrd-Pelaez, (706) 821-2403, for information.

This is the second in a series of workshops by the Office of Equal Opportunity to provide guidance to business owners interested in competing for county business.

Paine accepting parade entries

Paine College is accepting applications for entries to school's homecoming parade Feb. 13. The parade starts at 2 p.m.

Applications should be submitted by Friday to the Office of Student Activities, Paine College, 1235 Fifteenth St., Augusta, GA 30901.



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